1 In the third year of King Belshazzar's reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. 2 In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal. 3 I looked up, and there before me was (A)a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. (B)One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. 4 I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and (B1)became great.
5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a (C) goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. 7 (D) I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; (D1)the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. 8 The goat (D2)became very great, (E)but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place (F)four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.
9 (G)Out of one of them came another horn, which started small (H)but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. 10 (I)It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. 11 (J)It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the hosts; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. 12 Because of rebellion, the host of the saints [a] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
23 "In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, (G)a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, (G)but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. (I)He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. (K) When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. (L)Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.
In the eighth chapter of the book of Daniel, a prophecy is given to Daniel in a dream that is filled with
details about world events to come. Verses 5-12 contain the prophecy, and in the latter verses, the angel
Gabriel reveals the meaning of the vision to Daniel, and to us. The passage follows are color coded to
isolate the details we will discuss:
The Goat and the Ram:
PROPHECY OF THE RAM AND THE GOAT
Notes on Daniel 8:1-8
A: Two Horns are the Medo-Persian empire
B: Media was older but not as strong as Persia under Cyrus the Great. References to
Media go back as far as 800 BC, while Persian power began with Cyrus (600-529 BC)
who conquered Babylon in 538 BC.
B1,D2:These Scriptures say that the Medo-Persian empire would become great (B1),
but that Alexander would be Very Great (D1). This is exactly what happened!
C: Alexander the Great (1)
D: The fury of Alexander's attacks against the Persians may have been partly due to the
previous invasion, by Persian forces of Greece.
D1: In three major battles climaxing with the battle of Gaugamela, in 331 BC
Alexander's Army completely routed the Persians and ended their reign as the leading
power in the world.(4)
E: Alexander died of disease or maybe poison at the height of his power in 323 BC.
F: Cassander King of Macedonia, Lysimachus Macedonian King of Thrace, Seleucus
Macedonian King of Asia and Ptolemy a Macedonian general under Alexander the
Great who became ruler of Egypt. (5)
These prophecies concern world events that would in the future impact the captive
Israelites. It was the Persian ruler Cyrus that would allow the Jews to rebuild the temple
and the city walls of Jerusalem just as had been foretold by the prophet Isaiah 80 years
prior to Cyrus' birth.
who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I
please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple,
"Let its foundations be laid." '
The Little Horn:
The prophetic vision continues into verse 9-12. In these verses we are shown a vision
of another ruler who would come out of the divided kingdoms. These 3 passages are
full of many details, and we have a parallel passage in verses 23-25. Each of those
passages are listed here:
G: Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Out of one of them came another horn, which
started small . . . a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise . . .
but not by his own power)
Mithridates, born the third son of King Antiochus III was held by the
Romans as a hostage to insure that his father would pay the heavy war
reparations demanded by the Romans. Upon Antiochus III death, his
eldest son, Seleucus, assumed the throne. King Seleucus IV Philopator,
Mithridates older brother, exchanged the captive Mithridates with his
eldest son Demetrius. After his brother was murdered, Mithridates ousted
the murderer from the throne. Mithridates seized the throne from the true
heir, Demetrius. Seleucus' infant son Antiochus was formal head of state,
until his uncle, Mithridates had him murdered. Upon taking the throne,
Mithridates changed his name to Antiochus Epiphanes. He also took
divine title such as Theos Epiphanes for himself. His capricious and
eccentric behavior and even his insanity led some to refer to him as
Antiochus Epimanes ("The Mad One").
The passage speaks of a master of intrigue that would arise from humble
beginnings to become a king, but not by his own power. Webster's
Online Dictionary defines intrigue as: 1. A: a secret scheme:
machination b: the practice of engaging in intrigues. Mithridates'
schemes were many. As the third son of King Antiochus III, He had no
claim to the throne, and if not for his elder brother Seleucus' murder by
Heliodorus would have never assumed the throne. His scheme to gain
power from the legitimate heir, his nephew, paid off and he took the
throne that was not his. He later plotted and carried out the murder of the
last legitimate heir, the infant Antiochus. To legitimize his claim as ruler he
took the name Antiochus. In his later exploits he plotted against the
Egyptian rulers and the Jewish people. The stern face that the passage
attributes to Antiochus may have been a result of his madness, or of his
Notes on Daniel 8:9-12 & 23-25
H: (It grew to the south and the East and toward the beautiful land)
Antiochus after being freed took the kingdom of his brother for himself
"growing" in power from Athens to the south and east to his disputed
rulership of Syria and Mesepotamia. These are directly adjacent to the
Beautiful land, Judea.
I: (It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of
the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. . . . He will
destroy the mighty men and the holy people)
He sacked the temple stealing its golden artifacts and treasures. He
installed Jason as high priest, but replaced him with his brother Menelaus,
in 167 to extort greater tribute from the Jews. Jason rebelled and strove
to maintain his claim to the high priesthood. When Antiochus returned
from his failed attempt to conquer Alexandria, where he had been
prevented from proceeding and was forced to retreat by Roman
intimidation, he confronted this rebellion with great anger toward the
Jewish people. Some 40,000 men, women and children were cut down as
they hid in their houses, while another 40,000 were sold into slavery(2).
J: (It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host . . . )
Unlike previous Hellenistic rulers, Antiochus took on titles claiming that he
was god; such as Theos Epiphanes or god made manifest. He not only
subjugated peoples, as all conquerors have done, but went so far as to
try to annihilate the Jewish culture and religion. He gave commands that
directly opposed those given by the true God in the ancient Hebrew
scriptures. In these ways Antiochus Epiphanes set himself up to be as
great as the True God and took his stand against Him.
K: (When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand
against the Prince of princes)
Once the Jewish State was securely held by Antiochus, he set out to
destroy the worship of the most high God. He defiled the temple by
sacrificing a pig on the altar of god and by spreading its juices around
the walls and temple articles. He outlawed the reading of the Holy
Scriptures and sacrifices prescribed in the books of the law. Mothers
that circumcised their children, in accordance with Jewish law were
murdered by being thrown from high points in the city with their babies
tied around their necks.
L: (Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power )
Antiochus died of an illness at Tabae in 164 BC(6)
The many details and stunningly accurate prophecy of Daniel 8 could only be given by a
God that knows and sees the past, present and the future. The Bible claims to be the
word of that God, and Daniel 8 attests to the truth of that claim!
As with most prophecies, the events predicted in Daniel 8 have direct application to the
times shown here, but many feel that the prophecies may also have application to the
End time, when Christ will return for his people. One thing is certain, whether these
prophecies are single, or multiple in their application, only The Most High God could have
given such detailed and accurate predictions of the future. As He says:
8 "Remember this, fix it in mind,
take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.