Daniel Chapter Eight
Before pressing into Daniel 8 lets us again review what we have studied so far. Daniel is a prince of God from Israel who has been captured by the Babylonian armies and brought to Babylon as a hostage and as a potential worker for the Babylonian government. Daniel is also being used by God to display the principle that in any situation God’s people can stand pure and true for Him.
In Daniel 1 God displays His power through Daniel’s firm resolve that he would rather die than compromise his relationship with God. Daniel chooses to stay firm with God on the principle of appetite and refuses to eat the king’s food if it will put him in a position of disobeying God. Daniel stands firm and God creates an avenue of relief through the prince of the eunuchs. The prince of the eunuchs sends a man named Melzar and this man is open to Daniel’s suggestion that God’s dietary plan be put to the test. If after 10 days Daniel, and his friends, look worse as a result of obeying God then they would reevaluate the whole principle, on the other hand if Daniel looked as good as the others then the head of the prince of the eunuchs would be safe. As one would expect, obedience to God is a blessing and not a curse and Daniel is successful and does not have to eat the king’s food but can eat the King’s food. As a result of this act of obedience, and all of the issues following it, Daniel is proven to be ten times wiser than all of his fellows and King Nebuchadnezzar incorporates the four Hebrews into his work force.
In Daniel 2 God uses Daniel to interpret a dream that the wise men of Babylon are unable to interpret. As a result of this skill in dreams Daniel is able to save the wise men from a death decree and to outline the principles of the future through the mind of God.
In Daniel 3 Daniel’s friends are put to the test when Nebuchadnezzar passes a death decree against all who will not bow down and worship an idol that Nebuchadnezzar builds to attempt to alter God’s view of the future. God has stated that there will be four major empires in the future – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and Rome and the church. Nebuchadnezzar does not want his kingdom to end so he builds an image, like that of his dream, and the image is all of Gold, the symbol God used to describe the Babylonian empire. When the three Hebrews refuse to obey the death decree and violate the commandment of God to not worship idols and images, they are thrown into a burning furnace. While in the furnace they experience a recurring theme of the book of Daniel – the Son of God comes to join them in the experience and delivers them from death. As a result of this deliverance God is glorified before Babylon and the Son of God is revealed as the Primary Player in the drama of Daniel. All of the then known world is thus exposed to the God of the Hebrews – the One and Only True God.
In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar has his own personal experience with God. The King refuses to acknowledge God as the Provider of his kingdom and Nebuchadnezzar attempts to take glory to himself. As a result God removes Nebuchadnezzar for 7 years and then restores him to his kingdom when he is ready and willing to acknowledge to the world the power of God over the King’s power. Again God is revealed to the world and Nebuchadnezzar is a converted to the True God of heaven.
In Daniel 5 again God comes into direct conflict with the king of Babylon and again Daniel is brought into the picture to display the power of God which is above the knowledge of the wise men of Babylon. God pronounces judgment on Babylon and takes the kingdom away from Babylon and gives it to Medo-Persia.
In Daniel 6 another death decree is developed out of jealousy against Daniel by the rulers of the Medo-Persian Empire. They conspire to have the King pass a decree regarding the worship of God and whoever worships anybody or anything other than King Darius will be cast into a den of lions. Daniel recognizes the decree and chooses to worship God anyway. Darius ends up casting Daniel into the lion’s den and again Daniel is allowed to display Jesus in his life. Daniel is thrown into a stone place of death with the expectation that he will die. The stone place is sealed by the king’s seal and left there over night. Darius comes in the morning to see if Daniel’s God is stronger than the satanic symbol of a lion seeking to devour God’s people. When Darius asks if Daniel’s God, whom Daniel serves on a daily basis, has been able to deliver Daniel, in figure resurrected from the dead, reveals that indeed God is able to protect His people from the lions and from death itself. Darius then glorifies the God of Israel and presents Him to the world.
In Daniel 7 God reveals history again. Instead of metals he uses beasts to reveal the development of the future kingdoms. The metallic system was to show the effect of the gospel on the hearts of the kingdoms and Babylon is revealed as the golden wedge of Ophir because of the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar. In Daniel 7 Babylon is revealed as the lion – the king of beasts – and Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion is again a focus for the lion stands up as a man and is given the heart of a man. The other beasts are less sensitive to the gospel and the last kingdom – the dragon mixed with the church creates the Little Horn. This Little Horn power, attached to Rome, is an aggressive power against the things of God. This power is a descendent of Rome, persecutes God’s people, and alters God’s times, and laws, and is in existence for 1260 years. This power was the Roman Catholic Church. In Daniel 7 God tells us about the power of the Little Horn but then states that God, and His people will out in the various judgment scenes, and the Little Horn will receive its rightful punishment and Jesus and His people will receive the kingdom.
At the end of Daniel 7, in verse 28, Daniel is troubled by all of the chaos and confusion caused for God and His people. It appears that Daniel did not grasp all of Daniel 7 and if he did he was so troubled about it that God chose to give him another explanatory chapter. Daniel refers to this in Daniel 8:1 he receives a vision about the material presented to him at the first, or in Daniel 7. In the vision Daniel does not see a regular beast as he had seen in Daniel 7. In Daniel 8 he sees aggressive Sanctuary beasts. He sees a Ram with two horns, which symbolizes the Medo-Persian Empire, see verse 20. This beast is able to conquer all around him and is perceived as being great.
After the Ram, comes up a he Goat that has a great horn and this Goat attacks the Ram and is able to conquer him. The Goat is now perceived as very great and is identified by God as the Grecian empire in verse 21. After the successful attack against the Ram the great horn is broken and four horns come up and are spread toward the four winds.
Out of one of the winds, see Daniel 11:4, comes the nation of Rome as symbolized by the Little Horn of Daniel 7. In this rendition of the Little Horn God does not spend much time on the pagan beginning but on the church/state phase of this kingdom. We must remember that God has given us the list of the kingdoms in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. In Daniel 2 the Little Horn is symbolized by the church and state combination of clay and iron. In Daniel 7 the Little Horn is identified as coming up after the breakup of the pagan phase of Rome and spends its 1260 years of Bible history attacking various facets of God’s kingdom, His people, His laws, and His times.
In Daniel 8 the Little Horn attacks additional facets of God’s kingdom. In Daniel 8 the Little Horn attacks God’s host, and His leaders, and even attacks the Prince of the Host – Jesus of Nazareth. The Little Horn also attacks Jesus’ intercessory ministry by substituting a false system of mediatorial activities. The Little Horn does this by pointing to the Roman priesthood as the Christian’s only way of getting to God. They would need to go to confession, and to seek the blessing of the Pope as the avenue of receiving the blessings of God. The Little Horn also attacked the place of God’s sanctuary by pointing again to the Rome as the avenue of receiving spiritual help. Then the Little Horn received an army through which to enforce its decrees and destroyed God’s people if they did not agree with the interpretations of the Little Horn. Finally the Little Horn cast all truth to the ground, and especially those truths attached to the Heavenly Sanctuary System and the True Mediator there – Jesus of Nazareth.
In Daniel 8:13-14 the question is asked of the Mighty Numberer how long would these conditions continue and when would God get this thing straightened out. The Mighty Numberer – Christ – answers that when 2300 prophetic days are completed then He would restore the sanctuary and cleanse it. Daniel 9 gives a more detailed process of when God would start these 2300 days and gives more information as to the process as well.
After this part of the vision Daniel was struggling with an understanding of what had been said. He looked up and he saw a man and he heard another Man’s voice from between the banks of the Ulai River. This is the same Man that is presented in Daniel 12:5-6, and the Angel of Revelation 10:1-11. These symbols are of the Prince of Daniel’s people – Jesus of Nazareth.
When Daniel saw Jesus he was afraid and fell on his face. Jesus instructed Gabriel to help Daniel to understand what the vision meant. So Gabriel touched Daniel and strengthened him to be able to understand the vision. Gabriel told Daniel that the vision would be fulfilled at the time of the end. Then Gabriel starts to interpret the vision. He goes back and identifies the Ram as Medo-Persia and the Goat as Greece. He states that when the four kingdoms of Greece are about to end a fierce king who understands dark sentences will stand up and take control of the world. This fierce king is the same as that described in Daniel 7:7. Gabriel states that this king will be mighty but will not be mighty by its own power. His goal will be to destroy the mighty and holy people of God. Not only will he attempt to destroy God’s people but he will attack the Prince of Princes – Jesus of Nazareth directly through pagan Rome and by instituting his false system of worship and diverting the thoughts of people away from God as their Intercessor and King. This was accomplished by Papal Rome through the aid of the armies of France and then through the armies of the other kings of the world. The Little Horn of Daniel 8 is the same as the Little Horn of Daniel 7 – it is the Roman Catholic Church.
All during the reign of the Roman Catholic Church during the dark ages, dark due to hiding of Jesus and His light, it chose to use craft and deceit to accomplish its purposes and used the state armies to accomplish the tasks of persecution. The Roman Catholic Church has always used the principle of being a dragon in sheep’s clothing. She will hold this principle to the very end, and then the God of Scripture says she will be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the Prince of Princes Himself. II Thessalonians 2:1-8
When Daniel heard all of these things he fainted was sick for awhile after the vision. Daniel did not understand all of what God had just revealed to him. We find in Daniel 9 that Daniel began to study out the prophetic books available to him and did all that he could to find the answers to his question through Bible study and prayer. But God had special plans for him and would bring more clarity in the next part of the vision in Daniel chapter 9