Daniel 8: The Ram, He Goat, and Little Horn, Daniel 9: The 70 Weeks

The study of Daniel continues with the second vision found in Daniel 8. This vision occurs two years after the first vision. If you ever wondered why your church wasn't getting a full set of directions about what He wants you to do all at once, you can use Daniel's visions as encouragement. God has His own infallible timing for when He gives His children direction. Keep the faith and don't falter or give up hope. He will give you new direction when you are ready to receive it.

As with the previous vision, there is direct interpretation of several portions of the vision. In this case, the angel explaining the vision names countries (although not rulers) to remove any doubt about who is involved.

The ram with two horns

In the first portion of his vision in Daniel 8:1-4, he sees a ram with two horns standing before a river which Dake identifies:

The Euleus canal which divided Shushan from Elymais. Now called the Karun river.

In this view, the two horns were high, but one was higher and it came up after the first. The ram pushed westward, northward, and southward, and no beasts could stand before him.

In Daniel 8:20, we have the interpretation from God of the ram. The two horns are explicitly identified as the kings of Media and Persia. The rulers these two horns represented are identified in Dake's notes:

The kings of Media and Persia, Darius and Cyrus.

The larger horn is further discussed:

Referring to Cyrus the Persian who was king of the Medes and Persians after Darius the Mede. Under him and his successors Persia attained to a greater power than ever under the Medes.

Commenting on the direction of the ram's travel, Dake reflects,

The Medes and Persians conquered Lydia to the north, Babylon and other countries to the west, and Egypt to the south. Subduing all, they did according to their own will and became great.

The he goat

In the second portion of his vision in Daniel 8:5-7, a he goat comes from the west (spoken of as covering the whole earth where the whole is taken for a part), moving so swiftly that it doesn't touch the ground, with a notable horn between his eyes.

As with the ram, the angel interprets this in Daniel 8:21. The rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

Dake comments as follows on the he goat:

The acknowledged symbol of Greece. Caranus, the first king going with many Greeks to seek a new habitation in Macedonia was advised by an oracle to take goats for guides. Seeing a herd fleeing from a storm, he followed them to Edessa and there built the seat of his empire. He called the place Aegea, the goats' town and the people Aegeadae, the goats' people, names derived from aigos, goat. He chose a goat as the emblem on his standards. Aegea was the burying place of Macedonian kings. Alexander called his son by Roxana, Alexander Aegus - Alexander the goat.

The he goat that comes attacks the ram with fury. The two horns are broken. The ram has no power to stand before the he goat and is cast down to the ground and trampled. Nobody was able to deliver the ram from the he goat. Dake's comments on history,

This shows the hatred of Medo-Persia by the Greeks who had been invaded by Xerxes 144 years before and the growing enmity between the two powers.

The he goat's fall

In Daniel 8:8, we see that the great horn is broken and four notable kingdoms are formed out of the original kingdom. In Daniel 8:22 we see the interpretation. The four that stand up are four kingdoms that will come out of that nation, but will not have the power of the great horn. Dake identifies the general areas covered by these kingdoms as follows:

They would be known today as Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Egypt.

Cassander took over Greece and Macedon (from Wikipedia, an area in the northern-most part of ancient Greece), Lysimachus took Thrace (from Wikipedia, a region spread over southern Bulgaria, northeastern Greece, and European Turkey), Seleucus took the eastern portions of Mesopotamia and Persia (from Wikipedia, a region now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and southwest Iran). Ptolemy took Egypt and the Levant (from Wikipedia, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and parts of Syria). Palestine was a battleground between Seleucus and Ptolemy for some time.

The little horn

Corresponding to the first vision, a little horn rises. As with the other visions and dreams, this marks a shift from fulfilled to unfulfilled prophecy (as of this writing). This vision is also more specific than the others. It says that the little horn will rise from one of the four original divisions of the post-Alexander Grecian empire. The kingdom will wax exceedingly great and will extend toward the south, the east, and toward the pleasant land (or Palestine). If he is speaking without repeating directions, then this would tend to rule out the areas controlled by Cassander and Lysimachus (which were North and West of parts of Turkey and Greece), because from their countries to Palestine would be a South Easterly direction. Although Egypt could certainly influence world affairs to the south, Ptolemy's original territory largely incorporated Israel (although at various times Seleucus controlled portions of the area as well), the most likely candidate would be in the vicinity of the region controlled by Seleucus (Iraq, Syria, southeastern Turkey, and Iran) in Old Testament times. We'll study this further from the end of Chapter 11 and into Chapter 12 of Daniel.

There are some additional descriptions by vision and by angelic interpretation of the Antichrist here. In Daniel 8:9-14 we see...

  • He will have a fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23)
  • He will come onto the world scene after the 10 kingdoms are identified of chapter 7, and when transgression has reached a fullness (Daniel 8:23)
  • He will be powerful, but his power will be Satanic and not of his own. He shall destroy wonderfully and will prosper and practice (Daniel 8:24)
  • Through peace pacts many will be destroyed (Daniel 8:25)
  • He will wax great, even to the point of attacking the host of heaven and casting them down and stamping on them. This may be a reference to either the ministers of the temple (the Levites) when he will stop worship, or to the persecution of Christians as noted in Rev. 11. (Daniel 8:10, 24)
  • He will magnify himself to the high priest and will cut off the daily sacrifice at the temple, which will be destroyed. (Daniel 8:11)
  • He will understand dark sentences and through his policies, craft Heb. mirmah, deceit) will prosper (Daniel 8:23, 25)
  • Because of the sinful state of mankind, many will rejoice when this happens, and sin will prosper, be magnified and practiced under him. (Daniel 8:12)
  • The saints ask how long this will last, and the answer is given as 2,300 daily sacrifices (1,150 days) or 3 years, 2 months and 10 days. (Daniel 8:13-14) This is slightly short of the 3 1/2 years that the Antichrist will be in control of the temple, desecrating it, so it is clear that daily sacrifice stops before he takes power.
  • He will make war with the Prince of princes (Jesus) and will be broken without anyone raising a hand. This eliminates any previous king from being the Antichrist, because none made war directly against Christ.

At the end of this passage, the angel says that the vision will not come for many days. It would happen far in the future compared to Daniel's time. The vision made Daniel physically ill and he wasn't able to serve the king for several days. Of all the people he told the vision to, none understood it.

If you see the world around you today and feel that some of these things are close to being fulfilled, you need to be ready for Christ to return! If you aren't, then please read and act on The Gospel's Message. Christ wants you to be part of His winning team! He doesn't want you to have to worry about the Antichrist or any of the other prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. He wants you to be ready and looking for His return in the clouds to catch up His church to heaven!

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Dake excerpt taken from Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, © 1961, 1963 by Finis Jennings Dake, and is reproduced on our web site with permission from representatives of Dake Publishing.