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1. What did Daniel see first in this vision? Daniel 8:1-3 NKJV
“I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a .”
By this point in these lessons you’ve learned how to let the Bible interpret prophecy. Remember, we let the Bible define its terms and we look for parallels to other Scriptures.
2. What does a beast represent in prophecy? Daniel 7:17, 23 NKJV
“Those great beasts, which are four, are four which arise out of the Earth… The fourth beast shall be a fourth on earth.”
Prophecy’s beasts symbolize kingdoms. Now the question is, “What kingdom is this ram?” Let’s look at the details.
3. How does Daniel describe the ram? Daniel 8:3, 4 NKJV
“I lifted my eyes and saw … a ram which had two , and the two horns were high; but one was than the other, and the higher one came up last.”
In our last study we saw how the multi-metal image of Daniel 2 unlocked the meaning to Daniel 7. In a similar way, the beasts of Daniel 7 can help us understand this vision. Take a moment right now to review Daniel 7:1-10 and the kingdoms they represent as outlined in our last lesson.
Then ask, “Which beast in Daniel 7 is like the ram with one side being higher than the other?” You no doubt recall the bear was “raised up on one side” and that he symbolized the kingdom of Medo-Persia (Daniel 7:5). By using Daniel 7, we can safely say the ram kingdom in chapter 8 is Medo-Persia. (Later we will read the angel Gabriel’s inspired interpretation to see if we are correct.)
4. What beast attacks and destroys the ram nation? Daniel 8:5-8 NKJV
“Suddenly a male came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without the ground… The male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it notable ones came up.”
Which beast in Daniel 7 followed the Medo-Persian bear and was known for its incredible speed and four divisions? The fast leopard with four heads represents how Alexander the Great, Macedonian Greece’s first king, conquered the world in less time than any other general in history! The four heads portray Alexander’s empire splitting among his four generals when he suddenly died (Daniel 7:6). The goat is also shown traveling at such a high rate of speed that its feet don’t touch the ground. After the “great horn” (KJV) is broken, four horns spring up in its place. This is a perfect representation of the empire’s division at Alexander’s death. The goat is a fitting symbol for Greece.
5. What is the next kingdom after Greece? Daniel 8:9-12 NKJV
a. “A little which grew exceedingly great” (verse 9).
b. “It cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and them” (verse 10).
c. “He even exalted himself as high as the of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down” (verse 11).
d. “And he cast down to the ground” (verse 12).
The little horn kingdom followed the Grecian goat and became a great nation. In Daniel 7:7, 8 the “dreadful and terrible” beast that “trampled” its enemies and its little horn growing out of it represented the kingdom of Rome and the medieval Roman Church. Therefore, the little horn in chapter 8 is both the ancient Roman Empire and the medieval Roman Church.
6. What happens next on the prophetic timeline? Daniel 8:13, 14 NKJV
“And he said to me, ‘For two thousand three hundred days; then the shall be cleansed.’”
The little horn’s bold attack on God’s sanctuary and truth will go unchallenged until the “sanctuary is cleansed” at the end of the 2,300 days. But what is the parallel event to chapter 7?
7. In the vision of Daniel 7, what event reverses the work of the little horn? Daniel 7:25, 26 NKJV
“But the shall be seated, and they shall take away his [the little horn’s] dominion, to consume and destroy it forever.”
In chapter 7, the seating of the judgment follows the little horn and reverses its bold attack against God, His law, and His loyal people. In a future lesson we will look more closely at how the cleansing of the sanctuary in chapter 8 enlarges our understanding of this judgment. Review what we’ve learned this far by comparing Daniel 7 and 8 in the chart.
8. How does the angel Gabriel interpret the vision of chapter 8? Daniel 8:15-22 NKJV
a. “Gabriel, make this man the vision” (verse 16).
b. “The vision refers to the time of the ” (verse 17).
c. “The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of and ” (verse 20).
d. “And the male goat is the kingdom of . The large horn that is between its eyes is the first . As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four shall arise out of that nation” (verses 21, 22).
Gabriel is instructed to make Daniel understand. He explains this vision spans thousands of years leading to ‘the end of time’. Then he begins filling in the details starting with Medo-Persia—the kingdom to soon overthrow Babylon. In fact, Gabriel supports the very same conclusions we reached by using Daniel 7 to explain chapter 8. This is exciting, because it also validates the method we’ve been using to let the Bible interpret itself.
9. Who is the little horn? Daniel 8:23-25 NKJV
“A shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes.”
Gabriel explains the little horn represents the kingdom that follows Greece. While he doesn’t give the nation’s name, we know from history and the Bible that it is Rome in both its phases—the ancient Roman Empire and the medieval Roman Church. Gabriel likely omitted the name due to the centuries long influence Rome had over the Word of God. If Rome had seen its name recorded here it would further risk trampling God’s truth.
10. What did Gabriel say the Roman little horn would do?
a. “He shall the mighty, and also the holy people” (Daniel 8:24 NKJV).
It is well documented that the ancient Roman Empire killed thousands of Christians because they would not renounce their faith. It, too, is an embarrassing fact of history that the medieval church also persecuted Christians who objected to what they considered to be unbiblical teachings and abuses of power. On March 12, 2000, Pope John Paul II “asked for forgiveness for many of his church’s past sins, including its treatment of Jews, heretics, women and native peoples.” (CNN.com, March 12, 2000).
Persecution of fellow Christians is not limited to the Roman Empire or the medieval Roman Church. Protestants have killed Protestants over doctrinal disagreements; Christians have slaughtered Jews and Muslims; and even today there is religious persecution and war. The prophecy is a warning to all who would persecute others for their faith. God is watching and recording it all in heaven’s record.
b. “Through his cunning he shall cause to prosper under his rule” (Daniel 8:25 NKJV).
The Roman emperors first tried to wipe out Christianity by persecution. But the more Christians they killed; the more converts were made. Finally, Emperor Constantine hit on an effective plan of deceit. He “converted” to Christianity (while continuing to function as Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of the official Roman pagan religion) and ceased persecuting. Then he set out to blend the two religions of paganism and Christianity into one by giving Christian names and meaning to pagan gods, statues, and rituals. This made Christianity more socially acceptable to the pagans and filled the church with a flood of unconverted members. Some early church leaders welcomed these compromises in order to be free of persecution. The many unbiblical doctrines that began to enter the church at this time later caused numerous members to call for the church to return to the Bible.
c. “He shall even rise against the of princes.” Daniel 8:25 NKJV
The Prince of princes is Jesus. Ancient Rome stood against Jesus when Pilate, the Roman governor, sent Christ to His death to be crucified by Roman soldiers. The unbiblical doctrines that arose in the church tended to point sinners to man instead of Christ for forgiveness. This diminished the truth that salvation is found in Jesus and not meritorious works or penance (1 Timothy 2:5).
11. How does Gabriel interpret the 2,300 days prophecy of Daniel 8:14? Daniel 8:26, 27 NKJV
” ‘And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true. Therefore up the vision, for it refers to days in the future.’ 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 it.”
Gabriel tells Daniel the vision of the evenings and mornings is true and will be fulfilled very far in the future. (Scripture calls the “evening and morning” a day. See Genesis 1:5.) Told to shut up the book, Daniel faints from the horrible thought that God’s truth and sanctuary will be attacked. When he awakens, Daniel comments he doesn’t understand the vision. What part doesn’t he understand? Gabriel described the meaning of the ram, goat, and horns. The only part left unexplained was the 2,300 days. And that’s where we are, too, with one piece of the puzzle unplaced. In our next lesson we will study Daniel 9 to see how Gabriel returns to fulfill the command to “make this man understand” the mysterious 2,300 day prophecy that happens to be the most important prophecy in the Bible.
This prophecy shows to what bold lengths the devil will go to attack Jesus. He used the ancient Roman Empire to kill Christ and His followers. Then he tricked God’s own church into distorting Bible teachings. Yet in spite of these bold attacks, God’s truth survived! We can be thankful that we live in an age when we can freely study the Bible, learn its truths, and obey its teachings. But even today, the devil uses these same centuries old tactics. The good news is that Satan cannot succeed when we surrender our lives to Christ! Jesus has promised, “When He, the Spirit of truth; has come, He will guide you into all truth” John 16:13. God’s people and truth will triumph!
12. Is it your desire to accept and serve Jesus as the Prince of Peace?
This response will be awarded full points automatically, but it will be reviewed and possibly adjusted after submission.