Introduction to Daniel Chapter
In this chapter, the language returns to Hebrew from Aramaic used in
Daniel 2:4 through 7:28. From this
chapter until the end of the book, Daniel deals with prophecy.
The prophecies from chapters 8 to 12 involve the Gentile nations
in their relation to Israel. For this reason, many commentators
divide the book of Daniel into two halves, Daniel chapters 1 to
6, and 7 to 12, the first half deals with the Gentile nations
and the last half deal with prophecy regarding Israel, some
divide into three sections (1, 2-7, 8-12).
In the Daniel chapter seven, we saw animals that represented the kingdoms
of man. From God’s perspective, the kingdoms of men are beast
like, leading to the return of Christ. Chapter 7 is a summary of
events. Chapters 8 through 12 fill the details left out in the
Here in the eighth chapter, the animal representation of earthly
kingdoms continues. Two kingdoms are presented as animals in
this chapter, the two-horned ram represents Persia and the
one horned goat represents Greece. The focus turns to the
succession of kingdoms and points to an end-time event regarding
the Jewish Temple and the stopping of sacrifice.
In the ninth chapter, we are given a time line of Messiah, his first and
second comings. In 10 and 11, we are given details relating the
Gentile oppression of Israel.
Chapter 12 deals with the final events in Israel’s
history as it relates to the end of days.
The revelation of this chapter takes place while in 551-0 B.C.; Daniel is
about 69 years old, and an official in the Babylonian
government. This chapter focuses on the succeeding rulers of
the Greek kingdom, with particular attention to one who opposes
the Jewish faith and the Temple.
He stops sacrifice, and attempts to destroy the Jewish faith.
We find Daniel presenting a dual prophecy, with a short-term fulfillment
and a long-term greater fulfillment. The short-term fulfillment
is in the person of Antiochus Epiphanies, who did exactly that.
However, the longer fulfillment will take place in the future
under a coming ruler who will do what his predecessor Antiochus
If you picture two similar looking mountains separated by the valley of
time, the first mountain illustrates the second. In chapter 8,
we have a short-term fulfillment in the person of Antiochus IV
Epiphanies who desolated the Jewish Temple. He is the
pre-curser of an end-time’s ruler, the Beast (Revelation 13) who
like him, will desolate a future third temple Jewish Temple, in
the end of days.
The Vision at
DA 8:1 Inthe third
year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to
me-to me, Daniel-after the one that appeared to me the first
DA 8:2 I saw in
the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was
in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I
saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai.
Third year: Chapter 8 precedes chapter 5 chronologically. This chapter
takes place in 551 to 550 B.C. twelve years before chapter 5.
Based on the Babylonian Chronicle it is known the reign
of Nabonidus began his reign in 556 B.C. and Belshazzar became
co-regent three-years later in 553 B.C.
A Vision: This is Daniel’s second vision, this one occurred while he
was awake as opposed to the first one in chapter 7, which
occurred while he was asleep two years previous. (Daniel 7:1)
I saw: This is a vision as opposed to a dream; Daniel actually saw
what he is writing about as opposed to dreaming about it.
In Shushan: This city is one of the three fortress cities of the Persian
Achaemenian Kingdoms. The city is also the location of the book
of Esther and where Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2; 2:83:15 7:6
Daniel finds himself in the city, a Persian capital city while he is
serving under Belshazzar king of Babylon.
The discussion is whether Daniel is taken there in his vision or
whether he was physically present in the city during and had the
vision while he was there.
Ezekiel taken from the being with the elders of Judah in
Babylon is lifted to Jerusalem to witness the events taking
place inside the Temple.
3 He stretched
out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and
the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me
in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of
the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was,
which provokes to jealousy.
Daniel very could have been the Babylonian ambassador to the Persian
kingdom at this time residing in Shusan or Susa. In fact,
the tomb of Daniel is located in the city of Susa.
In the city of Susa, in 1901 A.D. the Code of Hammurabi was found, in
addition to many archeological treasures.
Elam: The area is northwest of the Persian Gulf,
conquered by the Medes and later incorporated into the Persian Empire.
River Ulai: The river is an artificial canal built near the city of
Shusan, about 275 meters wide (900 feet) connecting the (Kerkha
Choaspes) river 20 miles NW of the city to the Abdizful River
himself at this river during this vision witnessing the events
in this chapter.
The Ram with
the Two Horns
DA 8:3 Then I
lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river,
was a ram, which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but
one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
DA 8:4 I saw
the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no
animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver
from his hand, but he did according to his will and became
I lifted my
eyes: In his vision,
Daniel lifts up his eyes. Daniel is actually seeing what he is
reporting on, the question is whether he was their on Babylonian
assignment or transported there in spirit.
A Ram: In the
vision, according to the interpretation in verse 20, represents
the Persian-Median Empire to the North East of Babylon. The
history of Media and Persia begins about 1000 B.C., as tribes
European tribes known as Aryans (Iran) migrated south from the
Caucus Mountain. One group known, as the Medes were able to
settle and conquer the Medes. The Medes allied with Babylonians
helped sack the city of Nineveh in 612 A.D.
The Persians also migrated from the north and settled
north of the Media. Medes and Persian were ethnically very
similar. The Persians dynasty, the Achaemenians, was founded
about 700 B.C. The kingdom was under Median power at first,
until Cyrus the Great rebelled against Median grandfather
Astyages. Cyrus was ethnically both Persian and Mede, his mother
Mandane was the daughter of Astyages the King of the Medes.
Archaemenian Persian Dynasties
Achaemenes or Hakhamanish
Ariaramnes or Aryiyaramna (Parsa
Cyrus or Kurash I ( Western
Cambyses or Kanbujiya I / Mandane daughter of Astyages, King of the
Cyrus II (The great)
rebelled, the Median generals joined in him in 549 B.C. and
established the Persian-Median kingdom under Cyrus. Later this
same Cyrus in 539 along with the Median generals and princes
would conquer the mighty city of Persia.
In fact, the Hanging Gardens
of Babylon were built for Cyrus cousin, and the granddaughter of
Cyaxares, king of the Medes, who married Nebuchadnezzar
and longed for the gardens back at Media.
Two horns: The arrangement of the horns demonstrates the validity of the
book of Daniel in the face of the critics. The two horns
represent the unique relationship between these two kingdoms.
Cyrus was Persian and Median, by overthrowing his grandfather
Astyages in 549 B.C., the king of the Medes, Persia the
younger kingdom, became greater.
higher: The Persian part of the Empire was dominated, as illustrated
earlier by the “Bear” raised on one side, chapter 7.
Higher one came
up last: The higher one
came up last because Cyrus the Persian overthrows the kingdom of
westward: The main
direction of conquest for the Persian/Median Empire was North,
West and South. There was very little expansion to the East,
because of the mountains separated the territory.
Persian Rulers to Alexander
Years of Rule
Cyrus the Great
Darius the Great
Artaxerxes I Longimanus
Darius II Ochos
Artaxerxes II Mnemon
Artaxerxes III Ochos
Darius III Codomanus
The Goat from
DA 8:5 And as I
was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across
the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and
the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
DA 8:6 Then he
came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing
beside the river, and ran at him with furious power.
DA 8:7 And I
saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him,
attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in
the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and
trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram
from his hand.
Suddenly a male
goat: The male goat
represents the kingdom of Greece
according to verse 21. Greece and Persia had a long history of
conflict; Greece was on the boundary of Persian expansion. The
notable horn is Alexander the great, who at the age of 23
inherited the Kingdom from his father Philip of Macedon. Philip
had planned to unite the Greek city-states, and conquer and
Hellenize the whole world, before his death.
West: Greece is
the west of Persia.
Without touching: The conquest of
Persia, by the Greek kingdom was swift. Alexander the Great and
the Greeks were furious with Persia for all the damage inflicted
on Greece, including the burning of the city of Athens.
Furious power: The forces of Alexander the Great first defeated the Persians
Granicus River in Asia Minor in May 334 B.C., which was the
beginning of the complete conquest of Persia. In November 333
B.C., Persia was again defeated at Issus, near the Northeastern
tip of the Mediterranean Sea. The third and final battle took
place in the former capital of the Assyrian Empire, Nineveh in
October 331 B.C. At Nineveh, Persian power was completely
crushed; Alexander sacked and burned the capital of Persia in
retaliation for Greek suffering.
The Great Horn
Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became
strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four
notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.
Grew great: Alexander the
Great the Greek armies continued their conquest to the Indus valley, his men refused to go any further, from there they
returned to Babylon.
In Babylon, Alexander planned to create his world capital. He
married Roxanne, the daughter of the Persian King. Ten thousand
of Greek Macedonians married Persian women. This however
changed, at the age of nearly 33, Alexander the Great died of
fever and drunken debauchery in Babylon.
Large horn was broken: After Alexander
the Great died, his kingdom was fought over by his Generals for
a period of 20 years. Four generals emerged as head of his
kingdom, 1. Cassander assumed rule over Macedonia and Greece;
two. Lysimacus took control of Thrace, Bithynia and most of Asia
Minor; three. Selecus took Syria and the lands to the east
including Babylonia; four. Ptolemy established rule over Egypt
and possibly Palestine and Arabia Petraea.
The Little Horn
DA 8:9 And out
of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great
toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.
DA 8:10 And it
grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host
and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.
Out of them: Two of the kingdoms, The Ptolemy and the Seleucid’s were
locked in constant struggle over the centuries. Both of these
powers fought over Palestine. The details of this conflict are expanded in Daniel 11.
This came to a head with the eighth king of Seleucids/Syria
Antiochus Epiphanies who reined 176-164 B.C.
Antiochus conquered the Ptolemy’s/ Egypt to the
south, the east and Palestine/Jerusalem called the Glorious
heaven: Antiochus sold the High Priesthood of the Jewish Temple to
the highest bidder.
Some of the
stars: Stars are
pictured as people who stand out. The descendents of Abraham
were called stars Gen. 15:5; 22:17. Daniel 12:3 refers to those
who lead many to righteousness as “Stars” who will shine.
Antiochus, main goal was to turn people away from the God of
Israel, in his program to Hellenize his kingdom. Some of the
Jewish priesthood and secular Jews were his allies in this
cause. They were in opposition to the Hasidim who named
themselves who tried to be righteous and follow the Laws.
DA 8:11 He even
exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him
the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His
sanctuary was cast down.
DA 8:12 Because
of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose
the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He
did all this and prospered.
DA 8:13 Then I
heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that
certain one who was speaking, "How long will the vision be,
concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of
desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be
trampled under foot?"
DA 8:14 And he
said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the
sanctuary shall be cleansed."
He…himself: Antiochus named himself “Epi Phanes” god manifest. He
proclaimed himself as Zeus manifest in the world. The Jews used
a play on words and called him “Epimanes”, lunatic. Calling
himself god, he exalted himself as the Prince of the host.
sacrifice: Antiochus had
earlier conquered Egypt, but he was checked by the rising Roman
and forced into a humiliating retreat back to his kingdom. He
planned to make Palestine the buffer between his kingdom and
Rome expansion to the south. In order to do this he needed to
Hellenize the Jews and turn them away from their faith in the
God of Israel.
At first, he
sold the Priesthood to Menelaus of the tribe of Benjamin, who
was willing to introduce Greek culture to Jerusalem.
Then in order to speed the process along, Antiochus started to
force the people to worship and sacrifice to Zeus. Temple
sacrifices were stopped, and an image of himself, pictured as
Zeus was placed in the Jewish Temple. He forced the Jews to
worship Zeus and sacrifice to Zeus. He collected scriptures and
had them burned, and any who refused were killed.
41 Moreover king
Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one
people, 42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the
heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. 43 Yea,
many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and
sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath. 44 For the king
had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of
Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land, 45
And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings,
in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and
festival days: 46 And pollute the sanctuary and holy people: 47
Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice
swine’s flesh, and unclean beasts: 48 That they should also
leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls
abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation: 49 To
the end they might forget the law, and change all the
ordinances. 50 And whosoever would not do according to the
commandment of the king, he said, he should die.
51 In the
selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed
overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Juda to
sacrifice, city by city. 52 Then many of the people were
gathered unto them, to wit every one that forsook the law; and
so they committed evils in the land; 53 And drove the Israelites
into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for
54 Now the
fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and
fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon
the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of
Juda on every side; 55 And burnt incense at the doors of their
houses, and in the streets. 56 And when they had rent in pieces
the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with
fire. 57 And whosoever was found with any the book of the
testament, or if any committed to the law, the king’s
commandment was, that they should put him to death. 58 Thus did
they by their authority unto the Israelites every month, to as
many as were found in the cities. 59 Now the five and
twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol
altar, which was upon the altar of God. 60 At which time
according to the commandment they put to death certain women,
that had caused their children to be circumcised. 61 And they
hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses,
and slew them that had circumcised them.
transgression: Because of sin,
Antiochus was allowed to prosper. God permitted him to operate
and desecrate the Temple
because Israel was disobedient and following the practices of
A holy one
speaking: Daniel now
records a conversation between the angelic beings in his
vision. They also like Daniel are witnessing the events taking
place in the vision. The question revolved around the
desolation of the Temple
and the daily sacrifices.
sacrifices: The angel asked
how long will this transgression take place, the stopping of
sacrifice and desolation of the Temple. The act became known as
the abomination of desolation.
three hundred days: The reply has
sparked a lot of controversy and varied opinions. The angel
replied the transgression would last a period of 2300 days.
The word for
day used here is rqbBoqer
and means literally “Evenings and mornings”. Some see this
referring to 2300 evening and morning sacrifices or 1150 days.
The Seventh Day
Adventist understood this as a period of 2300 years and based
the return of Christ in 1884 on this verse.
The picture of
transgression of the Jewish Temple is event to occur at the end
of days, in the Third Temple
built on the same location. Twenty three hundred days is equal
to 6 years 136 days, with a biblical year being 360 days.
about this 2300 day period,
Innumerable explanation have been attempted to make the 2300 days
coincide with the history of Antiochus Epiphanies. The terminusad quem of the twenty-three hundred days is taken by most
expositors as 164 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanies died during a
military campaign in Media. This permitted the purging of the
sanctuary and the return of Jewish worship. Figuring from this
date backward twenty-three hundred days would fix the beginning
time at 171 B.C. In that year, Onias III the
legitimate high priest was murdered and a pseudo line of priests
assumed power. This would give adequate fulfillment in time for
the 2300 days to elapse at the time of the death of Antiochus
the 2300 days are interpreted
days are start at the killing of Onias III till the death of Antiochus 6 years 136 and pre-figure a
future desecration of the Temple.
actually means 1150 days because the Hebrew word means
evening and mornings. Therefore, the period under
consideration is 3 years and 68 days based on 360-day
actually means years, and looks forward to a future
interpreted in Relation to the time of the End
DA 8:15 Then it
happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking
the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the
appearance of a man.
DA 8:16 And I
heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called,
and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision."
DA 8:17 So he
came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell
on my face; but he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the
vision refers to the time of the end."
DA 8:18 Now, as
he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to
the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright.
DA 8:19 And he
said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the
latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the
end shall be.
Suddenly…appearance of a man: The angel
Gabriel appeared to Daniel in the form of a man. This is the
first appearance of Gabriel in the Bible.
know from scripture Gabriel has access to the throne of God, and
the voice has one of authority who commands Gabriel to “Make
this man understand the vision”. Therefore, we can conjecture
the voice is more likely God commanding Gabriel. We see a
similar event in chapter 9 of Daniel. Daniel in the ninth
chapter is praying for Jerusalem’s restoration and Gabriel is
sent from the throne of God to answer Daniel’s prayer. (Daniel
Gabriel: The name, layrbg Gabriy'elmeans Gabriel = "warrior of God" or "man of God".
He said: Gabriel
informs Daniel, the vision is in reference to the end. The time
of this revelation is about 551 B.C., over 300 years before the
appearance of Antiochus act on the Temple
mount. The event occurs during his day, but a similar act is
going to occur at the end of days. Jesus refers to the
“Abomination of Desolation” in Matthew as a yet future event to
occur at the end of time.
14 "And this
gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a
witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by
Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads,
let him understand),
16 "then let
those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
of desolation under Antiochus took place 200 years before Jesus
reference to the event. Jesus speaking about the end in the 14th
verse correlates the end with the abomination of desolation.
referring to end time event, illustrated by the nearer term
event of Antiochus.
Interpretation of the Ram and the Goat
DA 8:20 "The
ram which you saw, having the two horns-they are the kings of
Media and Persia.
DA 8:21 "And
the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is
between its eyes is the first king.
DA 8:22 "As for
the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four
kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.
The Ram: The is the Media Persian empire.
male goat is Greece, led by Alexander the great.
division of Alexander’s kingdom between his four generals
following his death.
The Latter Time
of the Kingdom
DA 8:23 "And in
the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have
reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce
features, Who understands sinister schemes.
DA 8:24 His
power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall
destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall
destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
"Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his
rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy
many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince
of princes; But he shall be broken without human means.
DA 8:26 "And
the vision of the evenings and mornings Which was told is true;
Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the
time: The word, tyrxa'achariyth
means after part, end, a last, hindermost. The reference is to
end time of the kingdom. This period is characterized by the
appear in the latter time of their kingdoms
Antiochus appeared at the end of the Seleucid control
Antichrist will lead the armies in the end to destroy
Israel. Zechariah 12:3,9-10, Revelation 19
appear when the Transgressors are come to the full
Israel accepted Antiochus except for those who went in
hiding and revolted with the Maccabees
Antichrist will appear at the end of the age when sin is
at its height.
shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands
Antiochus was diabolical betraying his brother and his
sons, who saved him from the Romans
Antichrist will seduce the world through peace.
power shall be mighty, but not by his own power
allowed him to have power for period.
allows the Antichrist to come to power. Satan indwells
him and works through him
his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his
Antiochus was a master at deceit and manipulation
Antichrist will deceive and fane peace to establish
exalt himself in his heart
Antiochus proclaimed himself as god manifest. He
demanded worship of himself, pictured as Zeus
Antichrist will curse the God of heaven and those who
dwell there, he will demand worship by those on earth.
destroy many in their prosperity
the wealthy in Israel
submitted to Antiochus, turning Jerusalem into a Greek
wealthy rather then losing their possessions will submit
to the Antichrist
even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be
broken without human means
Antiochus set up an image in the Temple
and proclaimed himself god, he demanded to be
worshiped. He died insane in 164 B.C. having heard of
the success of the Maccabees.
Antichrist will challenge the God of Israel, by placing
an image of himself in the Temple and demanding worship.
refers to many days in the future
Antiochus is a picture of this end time king.
event occurs at the end of day, before the return of
DA 8:27 And I,
Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and
went about the king's business. I was astonished by the vision,
but no one understood it.
Daniel: These were
hard on Daniel both emotionally and physically.
business: The king is Belshazzar, This lends credence to the idea
Daniel was serving in Persia as
ambassador during this time.