“15When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”
“ 26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.” 27 And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.” Daniel 8:15-17, 26-27
Pastor Chris brought into alignment the prophetic truths in Daniel’s vision and the future hope for humanity in foretelling Jesus’ first and second coming. He explained how it directly relates to historical and future events. He then drove home the key take-away: we can firmly hope in the future since God has revealed that He defeats our adversary.
Daniel was in his 70s by this time and experienced in receiving visions from God and interpreting them. However, for this one dealing with events of both the end of the exile and the end-times, God sent the messenger Gabriel to provide the interpretation.
Chris laid out the plan of God, using these terrible leaders and massive empires, to prepare the way for Jesus’ coming to earth. Also, how the gospel as we know it, and the growth of the church have withstood the storms of society and continue to spread to all peoples of the earth. We have much to hope in, and for, in the challenges of today, and persecution of tomorrow – because we know who wins!
Understanding the Vision, the Interpretation, and Our Response
- The Ram: Persia – (vv. 1-4) – in the vision, Daniel was transported to the city of Susa (currently Iran) where he witnessed the expansion of the Medo-Persian kingdom as foretold in the king’s dream years before of the statue of gold, silver, bronze, and iron.
“1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. 2 And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. 3 I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4 I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.” Daniel 8:1-4
- The Interpretation: Persia (vv. 15-20) – the angel Gabriel came to interpret explaining to Daniel that the kings of Media and Persia are the ram’s horns. The rise of this empire releases the Jews from Babylonian exile, granting them the opportunity to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem about 12 years later (finished 35 years later). An example of double-fulfillment, Gabriel also speaks of the time of the end or latter days, a time yet to come.
“15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.” 18 And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. 19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.” Daniel 8:15-20
- The Goat: Greece (vv. 5-8)–this image marksthe rise of the little horn, Alexander the Great, over 200 years before he came to power.
“5 As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6 He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. 7 I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. 8 Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:5–8 (ESV)
- The Interpretation: Greece (vv. 21-22)– Alexander the Great built the largest empire to that point in history, but his excess prepared the way for the Gospel by way of a common language: koiné Greek (New Testament written).
“21 And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.” Daniel 8:21–22 (ESV)
- The Little Horn: Antiochus Epiphanes (vv. 9-14)–this man rose to powerthrough ruthless means, by killing his own brother. It’s reported he killed 80,000 Jews in just 3 days. He defiled the Jewish Temple by setting up pagan idols to be worshiped instead of God. His name means “god manifest” in defiance of the one-true God.
“9 Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. 10 It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. 11 It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. 12 And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” 14 And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.” Daniel 8:9–14 (ESV)
- The Interpretation: Antiochus Foreshadows the Antichrist (v. 23-27) – In rage, rebellion, violence, and idol worship this ruler is the pre-cursor to the antichrist of the latter days. Demonically driven, he aims to demoralize the children of God to reduce the effectiveness of the church.
“23 And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. 24 His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. 25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. 26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.” 27 And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.” Daniel 8:23–27 (ESV)
- The Dress Rehearsal: Our Response –We are to remain steadfast in God’s character and promises. Even when times and circumstances are causing us to suffer, we must remember that God, who lives in us as believers, has revealed to us the end of the story – and we win! This keeps us standing firm when the winds of culture, society, politics, family, income, relationships, and more buffet us from all sides, we have sure HOPE.
“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:44 (ESV)
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith…be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV)
- Imagine yourself at the time of the persecution of the exiles, what might give you hope for the future?
- What has been remarkable to you about Daniel’s visions of the ‘latter days’ or ‘time of the end?’
- How might most Christians be preparing for a future where the antichrist is in charge for a time?
- Why might some people fear what is foretold in the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation?
- Share some promises of God that we can take to the bank when the going gets rough.
- Ask God to show you what issues in the world around you cause you to fear the future. Confess that fleshly fear and ask God to give you assurance by His Spirit and His Word.
- Consider writing the truths that bolster your confidence in the future as a believer and post them prominently in your home, on your phone, or bookmarked in your Bible.
3 Questions to Ponder for the Entire Series in Daniel
- Who or what is supreme in your life?
- Does your life portray this?