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Restoration, the Prophet Daniel. Found on Pinterest
The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is involved in a study of chapters 7-12 of the book of Daniel. In light of all the things that are going on in the Middle East today many Christians and others are wondering if these things are fulfillment of prophecy and a sign that the end is near. It is not my intent to prove or disprove what people are saying about whether these things are the fulfillment of prophecy or not. My goal is to equip you through study so you can make your own determinations.
God gave Daniel the unique opportunity of looking at the future. Last week Daniel’s vision was primarily about Gentile nations their character, relations, succession, and destiny. But in Daniel 8 that future gets very personal. In Daniel 8-12, the emphasis is on the destiny of Israel.
- If God offered to show you glimpses of our nation's future over the next two hundred years, would you want to see them? Explain.
I know that God is in control and that my seeing them won’t change anything, however it may help me to prepare for bad things and to not get too excited and overdo it if good things were going to happen especially if I knew that bad things were coming. If I had known when I was younger that certain things were going to happen I probably would have done some things differently. So after saying all that I guess I would want to see them.
When and where did Daniel’s vision occur? (8:1-2)
This dream was in Belshazzar’s third year, two years after the vision in Chapter 7 which we discussed last week.
- What was the description of the ram in Daniel’s dream? (8:3-4)
The ram had two horns meaning there were two allied kingdoms or empires Media and Persia. The ram was very powerful and conquered in all directions and nothing was able to defeat it. The ram by the way represented the Medo-Persian empire which in Nebuchadnezzar's dream was the chest and arms of silver on the statue in chapter 2, and in Daniel’s dream in chapter 7 was the second beast, the bear, The ram was the world's first superpower until the next animal of the dream, a goat, appeared
The goat defeated, killed and trampled the ram. The goat by the way had only one big horn. The goat was Greece, led by Alexander the Great, which in Nebuchadnezzar's dream was the belly and the thighs of bronze of the statue, and the leopard in Daniel’s earlier dream. A little about their conquest of the Medo-Persian empire and beyond from the Wycliffe Bible Commentary:
The clean sweep of Alexander's armies is predicted in the latter part of Dan 8:7. His small swift army, with its devastating phalanx formation, swept through Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and finally Mesopotamia (334-331 b.c.). After that his armies advanced eastward to India, then turned back again toward the west.
- What happened to the goat at the height of his power? (8:8)
At the height of his power the big horn was broken off and four other horns appeared. That kingdom was led by Alexander the Great, the big horn, who died young.
More from the Wycliffe Commentary
Alexander died in the thirty-third year of his age, of fever and alcohol, at Babylon. In the subsequent twenty years, his winnings were divided into four parts among four of his military successors. Two of the resultant divisions—Egypt under the Ptolemies (the last of whom was the famous Cleopatra) and Syria under the Seleucids, the historic kings of the South and the North, respectively—are of importance as neighbors of the Jews.
We will talk more about them in chapter 11.
The Empire split into four kingdoms, which would retain their sovereignty in order from least to longest: the Seleucids in Asia Minor and the Middle East, the Antigonids in Macedon (an area partly encompassing Greece), the Attalids in Pergamum (Asia Minor) and the Ptolemys in Egypt.
(Macedonia ruled Greece for 200 years.)
(Called Asia Minor today. It is modern day Turkey.)
(generally ruled western portion of Asia Minor in addition to Thrace in Europe.)
(in addition to portions of Asia.)
(The infamous Cleopatra was the last Ptolemy to rule Egypt.)
All four kingdoms were eventually incorporated into the Roman Republic.
- How did the little horn grow in importance? (8:9-12)
The little horn, or ruler, was focused on the Jews so it was very important to Daniel and as we will learn later would become very violent and cruel to them.
Daniel 8:9 (NKJV)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.
That’s why this horn was important in Daniel’s dream. He attacked the people and even made himself equal to the God of the Jews and he banned their religious practices including those of sacrifice.
- What did the angel—the "holy one"—reveal? (8:13-14)
There were actually two angels the one ask the question as to how long the atrocities against God's people would last and the second angel give the time frame.
From the EasyEnglish Commentary by by Robert Bryce
Then another little *horn grew. It was powerful in the south and the east. It was also powerful in the where the Jews lived. This is the country that God promised to his people, the *Jews. The little *horn became very proud. It even attacked the stars in the sky. This might mean *angels. It thought that it was as great as God is. And it ruined his house. It stopped people giving *sacrifices to God. The *horn encouraged people to be wicked. It did not like the truth and it tried to destroy it. God allowed this, but only for a certain time.
These verses predict what happened to the Jews after they returned from exile in the second half of the second century b.c. Led by Antiochus IV, who was called Epiphanes ("Magnificent") by friends, Epimanes ("Madman") by enemies. He came from the Syrian kingdom the Seleucids, that we mentioned earlier.
A lot of people see a comparison between what happened with him and the Jews, to what is prophesied in Revelations as the actions of the Antichrist toward Christians.
Regarding the timing as reveled by the "holy one";
According to the Wycliffe Bible Commentary "The 2,300 days is literally, evening-mornings, i.e., evening and morning daily burnt sacrifices, and so refers to only 1, 150 days. It seems to refer to a period in 168-165 b.c. when the Temple was desecrated by pagan sacrifices."
More background from a Wikipedia posting;
While Antiochus was busy in Egypt, a rumor spread that he had been killed. The deposed High Priest Jason gathered a force of 1,000 soldiers and made a surprise attack on the city of Jerusalem. The High Priest appointed by Antiochus, Menelaus, was forced to flee Jerusalem during a riot. On the King's return from Egypt in 167 BC, enraged by his defeat, he attacked Jerusalem and restored Menelaus, then executed many Jews.
To consolidate his empire and strengthen his hold over the region, Antiochus decided to side with the Hellenized Jews by outlawing Jewish religious rites and traditions kept by observant Jews and by ordering the worship of Zeus as the supreme god (2 Maccabees 6:1–12). This was anathema to the Jews and when they refused, Antiochus sent an army to enforce his decree. Because of the resistance, the city was destroyed, many were slaughtered, and a military Greek citadel called the Acra was established.
Now the interpretation
- Why do you think God chose to communicate future events to Daniel in this way? Why not simply tell him the historical facts?
Use of the symbolism could make Daniel more aware and be more shocking so that he would take careful notice. The animals were so unusual they would demand some sort of explanation. Perhaps it illustrate how quickly and violently these times would be that’s why the violence of the attack on the ram, who appeared invincible by the goat who was fast moving and violent. Then the same kind of animal only stronger came and finished off the ram. The nature of the ram and goat would reflect the leaders and the kingdoms. The goat moved very quickly and was very powerful and from that kingdom would come somebody very very powerful and evil.
- What was Gabriel sent to do? (8:16)
To explain the Daniel what he had just seen in his dream (Gabriel means hero of God)
10. How did Daniel respond to the heavenly messenger? (8:17)
He passed out. His fear was not so much terror, I don’t think but reverence realizing that he (Daniel was just a man and Gabriel was from God in heaven.
Similar examples of reactions when seeing visions of or from heaven when you realize your own sinfulness in comparison:
Isaiah 6:5 (NKJV)5 So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts."
Ezekiel 1:28 (NKJV)28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.
or Exodus 3:6 (NKJV)6 Moreover He said, "I am the God of your father--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
Revelation 1:17 (NKJV) 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
- When would the events of the vision take place? (8:17-19)
Near the end of the time of the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV. We could also say that is perhaps a prophecy of what will happen in the for real end times. It’s common to find a near literal view combined with a for distant view within the scope of a particular prophecy.
- Who was represented in the fight between the two-horned ram and the goat? (8:20-22)
The ram was the Medo-Persian Empire. One of the horns was larger than the other and it came up last. That was Persia.
This from Got Questions?org
Within a short time,Daniel became a trusted advisor to the new Medo-Persian Empire. This kingdom of the Medes and the Persians was later ruled by Artaxerxes II, or Ahasuerus, who married Esther. Today, Persia is essentially synonymous with modern Iran, and this was not so different in ancient times. However, Persia as an ancient kingdom, especially when referenced along with Media, encompassed Egypt in the west to parts of India in the east, and included Asia Minor from the eastern border of Greece to Tajikistan.
The goat represented Greece.
- The goat with one large horn is a symbol of the Greek empire and their notable first king, Alexander the Great (Daniel 8:21). From the scene in Daniel 8:5-8, how would you describe the clash of these two empires?
Difficult battle because the sheep was powerful as described in verse 4 so the battle would have been a tough one but when the sheep was defeated he was humiliated because the goat walked all over him.
Gabriel explains that the ram represents Medo-Persia and the goat represents Greece and that there will be four kingdoms from Greece.
Here is the historic timing.
- Babylon Empire 605 to 536 BC
- Medo Persia 536 to 330
- Greece 330 to 30 BC (This includes the time of Alexander the Great and the the breakup into 4 kingdoms from that. This is all considered the Grecian Empire)
- Rome 30 BC which some say still exists but they are trying to include the Roman Catholic Church in that and other nations conquered by Rome. I disagree with that and I say that the Roman Empire ended 476 AD. The last Roman Emperor was Romulus, who was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer, who became the first Barbarian to rule in Rome.
- How did Gabriel describe the role of the little horn? (8:23-25)
Remember we said that the little horn may represent Antiochus Epiphanes and his role was to put himself up as equal to God. He hated God’s people the Jews. He stopped the sacrifices and desecrated the temple by pagan sacrifices.
Finally, the Jews were able to drive Antiochus out of Israel and to reclaim the Temple.
Finally, the Jews were able to drive Antiochus out of Israel and to reclaim the Temple.
The Maccabees, also spelled Machabees , were the leaders of a Jewish rebel army that took control of Judea, which at the time had been a province of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 164 BCE to 63 BCE. They reasserted the Jewish religion, partly by forced conversion, expanded the boundaries of Judea by conquest and reduced the influence of Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism.
In the narrative of I Maccabees, after Antiochus issued his decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice, a rural Jewish priest from Modiin,Mattathias the Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods. Mattathias killed a Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias' place. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judah. After Mattathias' death about one year later in 166 BCE, his son Judas Maccabee led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty in guerrilla warfare, which at first was directed against Hellenizing Jews, of whom there were many. The Maccabees destroyed pagan altars in the villages, circumcised boys and forced Jews into outlawry. The term Maccabees as used to describe the Jewish army is taken from the Hebrew word for "hammer".
The revolt involved many battles, in which the Maccabean forces gained notoriety among the Seleucid army for their use of guerrilla tactics. After the victory, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem in triumph and ritually cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there and installing Jonathan Maccabee as high priest. A large Seleucid army was sent to quash the revolt, but returned to Syria on the death of Antiochus IV. Its commander Lysias, preoccupied with internal Seleucid affairs, agreed to a political compromise that restored religious freedom.
The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple following Judah Maccabee's victory over the Seleucids. According to Rabbinic tradition, the victorious Maccabees could only find a small jug of oil that had remained uncontaminated by virtue of a seal, and although it only contained enough oil to sustain the Menorah for one day, it miraculously lasted for eight days, by which time further oil could be procured.
Now Here’s Where Many Believe an another king, or leader is meant for the end of days.
Daniel 8:23-26 (HCSB)23 Near the end of their kingdoms, when the rebels have reached the full measure of their sin, an insolent king, skilled in intrigue, will come to the throne.24 His power will be great, but it will not be his own. He will cause terrible destruction and succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the powerful along with the holy people.25 He will cause deceit to prosper through his cunning and by his influence, and in his own mind he will make himself great. He will destroy many in a time of peace; he will even stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be shattered—not by human hands.26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. Now you must seal up the vision because it refers to many days ⌊in the future⌋.”
From EasyEnglish Commentary by by Robert Bryce
This was also a king. He will come from one of those four horns in the break up of the Grecian Empire, Rome some say. This will be the Antichrist of the end times. He will come at the end of the world. He too will hate God’s people. Then God will kill him. Then God will give the kingdom to his own people.
- If you had been a Jew living under the tyranny of Antiochus, how would it have made you feel to read Daniel's prophetic prediction of the very events you were experiencing?
You would have known that it would be coming to an end and you would have been strengthened in that.
- Daniel's predictions were fulfilled precisely and literally. Should we expect biblical predictions about our future to be fulfilled in the same way? Explain.
Absolutely. Every prophecy that has been fulfilled has been fulfilled precisely and literally and proven with historical evidence. There is no reason to believe that those that haven't been fulfilled yet will be otherwise. Here's an example other than the ones in Daniel.
Luke 4:17-21 (NKJV) 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
17. What was Daniel told to do? (8:26)
He’s told to seal it up because it is for a future time. We have seen here today that there are times in history of the fulfilment of it but the last of the vision may also point to a still future time.
18. How was Daniel affected by the interpretation of the vision? (8:27)
Daniel still did not understand the dream. He was sick for many days. Then he went back to work for the king.
- When you next feel powerless or inadequate, how can you entrust yourself to the Lord?
- *In your prayers today, what specific national sins do you want to ask God to correct?
Chapter 9 next week
For more study resources on the book of Daniel click these links:
The Handwriting on the Wall: Secrets From The Prophecies of Daniel by Dr. David Jeremiah (Author) C. C. Carlson (Contributor)
I also recommend the Wycliffe Bible Commentary by Charles F. Pfieffer and Everettt F. Harrison (Editors) for a powerful handbook that walks you, phrase by phrase, through the entire text of the Old and New Testaments