THE RAM AND HE GOAT OF DANIEL 8You are welcome to another edition of Insights from God's Word, a Bible Study Programme that is committed to sharing God's Word by allowing the Bible to speak for itself.
In this edition, we continue with our series on The Final Events of Bible Prophecy. The topic for this study is: The Ram and He Goat of Daniel 8. We glean the following points from our Bible study reference of Daniel 8:1-27 .
1. The vision concerning the Ram and He Goat of Daniel 8 was given by God to the prophet Daniel during the third year of king Belshazzar (Daniel 8:1). Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, Belshazzar, was the last king to reign over the affairs of the ancient Empire of Babylon (see Daniel 5:1-31). Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar's reign was very brief. Thus, on God's prophetic calendar, the final hours of the Empire of Babylon had come. And as a result, in this new vision the Lord gives to His prophet Daniel, we find no symbolic detail in regard to Babylon.
2. After Daniel had chronicled the time he had this vision, he went on to give us the place he saw the vision and the details of the vision in the following manner: "2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. 3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great" (Daniel 8:2-4).3. Before we proceed to the other details of Daniel's vision, we need to find out who this ram represent. Even though these prophecies are in symbols, the Bible also provides us with the keys to unlock these symbols so we do not attempt to come up with our own private interpretation of the prophecies ( 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Friends, the Ram that the Prophet Daniel described in vision is the combined kingdom of the Medes and Persians. The two horns represent the kings of Media and Persia. We are told by Daniel that even though the two horns were high, one of the horns was higher than the other (Daniel 8:3). This basically means that one of the kingdoms was stronger than the other. History records the fact that the Persian Empire was stronger than the Medes. This description in relation to one of the horns of the Ram being higher than the other is also captured in Daniel 7 in the symbol of a bear which limped on one side.
Beloved, as Daniel considered the ram in vision, he saw that the ram pushed westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts (that is, kingdoms or nations as depicted in Daniel 7:17, 23) might stand before him. Moreover, Daniel records that there was no power that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great (Daniel 8:4 ).
Beloved, to understand and appreciate the fourth verse of Daniel 8, one will have to know the fact that the Medes and Persians were geographically located on the east. Thus, from the East, the combined forces of the Medes and Persians fought and conquered all the nations that stood in their way to becoming the superpowers of the world. By 539 B. C., the Medo-Persian Empire has risen to world dominance after successfully defeating the ancient nations of Babylon, Lydia and Egypt.
4. Friends, after the ram, the Prophet Daniel also saw in vision a he goat. The Prophet records the following concerning the he goat:"5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven" (Daniel 8:5-8).5. Friends, our God is an amazing God. And the Scripture says concerning Him that He knows the end from the beginning, and declares from ancient times the things that are not yet done (Isaiah 42:9). As I have already stated in some of our previous lessons, the Lord unravels Bible prophecy to His children by using the effective principle of teaching students from the known to the unknown. This principle, also known as the repeat and enlarge principle can easily be identified when we compare the prophetic studies of Daniel Chapters 2, 7 and then 8.
6. Beloved, through the symbol of a furious he goat, the Lord described in Daniel Chapter 8, the amazing manner through which the Empire of the Medes and Persians will fall to the military genius of Greece. Greece was situated to the WEST of Persia. Thus, in a symbolic code, the Prophet Daniel described how the Grecian army will come from the WEST (Daniel 8:5) to defeat the combined kingdom of the Medes and Persians.
Moreover, the symbol of the he goat attacking from the sky (that is, not touching the ground as found in Daniel 8:5) describes the great speed with which Greece conquered the then civilized world. The notable horn between the eyes of the he goat was a symbol of the Grecian King and war genius, Alexander the Great. History records the fact that the army of Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, conquered the nations of the then known world at a speed that was unparalleled at the time. This symbol of speed at war, symbolized by the flying he goat in Daniel 8 parallels the four wings of a fowl at the back of the four - headed leopard in Daniel 7 .
7. After the he goat defeated the ram, Daniel saw in vision that the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven ( Daniel 8:8).
As the Bible predicted, the Greeks became very great after they defeated the combined powers of the Medes and Persians. In fact, they became the third superpower of the ancient world. However, the prophecy records that: "when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven" (Daniel 8:8).
From the records of history, we learn how when the Grecian empire reached her peak, the great horn (Alexander the Great) was broken. History records that at the young age of 33 years, Alexander had the world at his feet. "There are no more worlds to conquer" was his bitter cry. However, this valiant war genius could not conquer himself. He died of a fever which was brought on by an excessive intake of alcohol. Now, without a heir to take over the kingdom of Greece, Alexander desired on his deathbed that his kingdom would go to the strongest. This statement plunged Greece into a fierce civil war as the generals of Alexander tested their strength against each other. It was not until the battle of Ipsus in 301 B. C. that four of Alexander's generals divided the empire amongst themselves towards the four winds of heaven. These generals were Cassander, who received Greece and its area; Lysimachus, who received Asia-minor; Ptolemy, who received Egypt; and Seleucus, who received Syria and Babylon.
How true was verified the words of Scripture which said: "when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven" (Daniel 8:8).
8. Friends, after the he goat, the next thing Daniel saw in vision at river Ulai was a little horn. However, I am not going to expound on that in this study as the subject of this little horn is going to be the focus of our next study. But I cannot end this presentation without bringing to your view the clear statements of fact from Daniel 8 in regard to the identity of the ram and he goat.
Beloved, all along in our study from Daniel 2 and 7, we have been comparing the prophetic symbols in Scripture with secular history in order to make reasonable deductions as to which ancient world powers fitted into the prophetic symbols of the Bible. We have utilized this same approach in this study as well. But friends, as we move on to read the latter verses of Daniel 8, we realize that amazingly the Lord affirms our historicist approach to studying the prophecies by intentionally mentioning by name the world powers that are symbolized as ram and he goat in the chapter.
9. We read from Daniel 8:15-22 the following confirmation from the Lord concerning what we have studied so far: "8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
8:16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
8:17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
8:18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.
8:19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
8:20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power."
(Daniel 8:15-22)Wow! How interesting is the study of Bible prophecy. And I hope you caught the astonishing details from angel Gabriel himself? What a proof to the reliability of the Bible!
Exhortation: "9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isaiah 46:9-10 ).
"8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. 9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them" (Isaiah 42:8-9).
How amazing is the God we serve. If this God is able to tell what will be in the future even hundreds of years before they come to pass, then I want to trust my life, plans and future into His sovereign hands. If this is also your wish, if this is your prayer, why don't you commit your life, plans and future into His hands right now?
In our next study, we will consider the topic: The Little Horn of Daniel 8. The Bible study reference for this study is Daniel 8:1-27. Please find time to go through this Bible study reference before the next study is released.
Stay blessed and keep shining for King Jesus.
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