Berean Bible Corner

DANIEL CHAPTER 8

With the opening of the eighth chapter of Daniel’s book we follow the third prophetic line, historically the same but with additional information.

 

In Daniel 2 we followed history along the line of the metallic image dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Gold, silver, bronze/brass and iron finishing with an unsuccessful mixture of iron and clay.

 

Then in Daniel 7 we have Daniel’s vision of the history but the gold of Babylon becomes a lion, the silver of Medo-Persia a bear, the Grecian bronze/brass empire is illustrated by a four headed leopard and the fourth empire or kingdom of iron becomes an unnamed animal with ten horns sprouting a little horn.

 

We have established, and it is confirmed by history that these four empires are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and the fourth one Rome in two phases Pagan or Imperial Rome continued into Papal or Ecclesiastical Rome ending its long-time supremacy in 1798, the final year of the 1260 prophetic days/years.

 

In Daniel 7 we have found a major additional prophetic scenario of a judgment session in heaven with a verdict pronounced regarding the saints that the judgment will be in their favour, 7:22 (NKJV). The power which made war with the saints and spoke great words against the Most High, illustrated by the unsuccessful mixture of iron and clay (Ch.2) comes to its end in fire of burning flame, together with the beast from which it emerged (7:11). The last book of the Bible, the Revelation, gives more information regarding this issue, chapters 19 and 20.

 

In Daniel 8 we follow the same line of history, minus Babylon which is not mentioned. The illustration of the two empires following Babylon is portrayed by different animals which are related to the Jewish sanctuary system, ram and goat. These sanctuary animals feature in the Day of Atonement, in Hebrew ‘Yom Kippur’. We also meet a little horn similar to the one of Daniel 7, only some more information is added. Two things we notice in Daniel 8, first point is that Daniel is switching to the Hebrew language, not Aramaic as before and second, ten times the word “vision” is used which in English is the same but in the Hebrew there are two words. “Chazon” is used for the general overall vision and “Mareh” for a particular section of the overall vision (Chazon). Some scholars write “Hason” and others “Chazon”. The reason that Daniel is switching to the Hebrew language is most likely because the content is of special interest to the (Hebrew) sanctuary which will turn out to become the heavenly one when we get to the special items in Daniel 8. With this introduction we can start.

 

Daniel 8:1 and 2.

This reveals the time when and where Daniel receives this vision. It is the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar which is the year 551BC. Daniel 7 was in the first year of King Belshazzar, which is 553BC. A few years have passed. Daniel gives the precise location where he was when this vision was given to him, at Shushan, in the palace which is in the province of Elam and by the river of Ulai. Stating time and place so accurately must give the reader a sense of special importance of this vision of Daniel chapter 8.

 

Daniel 8:3-8.

Here we have a description of what the vision is all about. Two animals are seen and one coming up against the other. The nature of these animals is completely different from the ones used in Daniel 7. They are clean animals whereas the ones used in Daniel 7 are unclean, in Hebrew Biblical terms, read Leviticus 11 or Deuteronomy 14.Clean animals for food and also used in the sanctuary services, unclean animals forbidden to eat, and never used in sanctuary services. As written above the Ram and Goat are animals used for sacrificial purposes during the Day of Atonement, a judgment day in Hebrew understanding and near the end of the annual sanctuary cycle. (cf.Exod.23:16 The feast of ingathering “or tabernacles” in the end of the year symbolise the final harvest after judgment….both the Day of Atonement and tabernacles/ingathering came at the end of the religious year.[Credit to Dr.Eric Livingstone for the wording of this sentence])

 

Dr.Jacques Doukhan, Jewish Christian Hebrew scholar of Andrews University writes about these two animals as follows: “Their association becomes significant in the content of the greatest Jewish yearly festival Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Lev.16:5). Yom Kippur had as its traditional sacrifice the dual offering of a ram and a goat. Beyond their representation of Medo-Persian and Greek kingdoms, the two animals also evoked the Day of Atonement.” (Doukhan page 126)

 

For that reason, according to what Dr.Doukhan writes, Daniel 8 must be regarded and treated as a special Sanctuary chapter in Daniel’s book. In Doukhan’s book on Daniel he has named chapter 8 “The Kippur War”. Not only has it a reference to the Day of Atonement but to the daily services in the sanctuary as well. (The reader is referred to the study entitled “The Sanctuary Obscured and restored” for some special information in the Daniel section)

 

We go back to Daniel 8 and continue where we left off, and take it point by point and step by step. While dealing with these items we will refer also to the explanation given to Daniel in 8:20-22.

 

Verses 3 and 4 deal with the ram Daniel saw in vision. He saw this ram as standing before the river Ulai. The following identifications are given which we will list first.

  1. It had two horns

2.   One horn higher than the other

3.   The higher one came up last or “grew up later”, NIV

4.   The ram pushed to the west, the north and the south.

5.   No other power could stand in its way and it became great.

In 8:20 we read the direct and clear explanation, that the ram represents the empire of the Medes and Persians. Comparing the ram with what is said of the bear in Daniel 7:5 we discover clear similarities. The ram has two horns, one higher than the other. The bear has two sides and is leaning towards one side. The empire Medo-Persia is an association of two nations Media and Persia and Persia becoming bigger than Media and taking the lead in the Medo-Persian Empire or kingdom.

 

McCready Price writes as follows:” This is a clear and accurate statement of the relationship between these two peoples. The Persians became the dominant member of the union; but the Medes were never treated as inferior or a subjugated people, but rather as confederates. The empire is always known as the Medo-Persian Empire.”

(Price page 161).Persia came later in this union of nations but grew bigger.

 

Point 4 in our identification list gives information about the geographical extension of the empire into three different directions, west, north and south, like the bear who was told to, “arise, devour much flesh” (Dan.7:5)  When Esther was chosen to be queen in that empire it had 127 provinces, Esther 1:1. However the east is not mentioned and we let Dr.Doukhan speak about this item: “On the background of wealth and prosperity Daniel spots a ram charging towards the south – a colourful way to suggest the expanse of its conquests extending to the three corners of the earth and omitting the corner of its origin, the east. The voracious appetite for space and its one horn higher than the other, reminds us of the bear in chapter 7 with its craving for flesh and one side higher than the other. The ram thus represents the kingdom of the bear that is the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. The interpretation of the vision supports our conclusion. (Daniel 8:20)” (Doukhan page 122)

 

We like to mention that Daniel writes from Jerusalem point of view. The wind directions should be seen from Jerusalem. The Medes and Persians were operating east from Jerusalem, their origin. Also notice that the ram representing the Medes and Persians became great, this is important and why, we will learn later.

 

Daniel 8:5-8.

We find the description of the next clean animal, a goat. This is second of the only two animals mentioned in the vision of chapter 8. We will list the various identification items of this goat:

  1. It comes from the west.
  2. Touched not the ground is in high speed.
  3. Has one horn in between the eyes.
  4. It runs with great power into the ram
  5. Overpowers the ram successfully.
  6. The goat waxes very great
  7. The one horn breaks at its height of success.
  8. In the place of the one horn four horns come up.
  9. These four horns spread out to the four wind directions of heaven

Now let’s consider these points one by one and how they have been fulfilled in history. We will also make some comparisons with the four headed leopard of chapter seven.

 

  1. The goat comes up from the west that is west of Jerusalem where we find the nation of Greece or Macedonia. The leopard in chapter 7 represented the Grecian Empire and we are told in Daniel 8:21 that the goat is the kingdom of Grecia.
  2. The goat is in great speed not even touching the ground which compares favourable with the Leopard having four wings and how speedily the Grecian Empire was formed.
  3. The one horn in between the eyes points to the first king of the Grecian Empire (8:21) and without doubt this is Alexander the Great.
  4. History confirms and tells us that Alexander the Great as a military general developed great power and overcame the Medes and Persians in a very short span of time.
  5. The goat or the Grecian Empire succeeded in a complete and thorough victory illustrated by the stamping to the ground by the goat and that there was nothing that could deliver the ram out of its power. What Alexander the Great did was thorough, complete and final.
  6. The goat waxed very great in comparison to the ram which became great. Notice from great to very great, a definite increase of power and expansion.
  7. At the height of its success the one horn breaks. Alexander the Great died at young age, about 33 years of age when he was at the pinnacle of his career.
  8.  Four horns or kings take the place of Alexander the Great, because he had no natural successor in his family. In chapter 7 we have mentioned the names of these four kings or generals who divided the empire among themselves
  9. The division of the empire was made to the four winds of heaven. In other words four smaller kingdoms emerged out of the empire of Alexander the Great.

 

Regarding the death of Alexander the Great, McCready Price writes as follows: “One might expect that it would be when he had been weakened by old age, or when he had been worn out by overwhelming enemies; but the prophecy correctly describes the tragic end of Alexander, who died a few months before reaching the age of thirty three” (Price 164):

 

Dr.Shea writes as follows: At the height of his powers and conquest, Alexander died in 323BC. He had a son, but this son did not inherit the kingdom (Dan.11:4). Instead, Alexander’s kingdom was divided among his generals. There was fighting among them for a period of about twenty years. But by 301BC, four kingdoms emerged from the political chaos that ensued after the death of Alexander (8:8, 22) (Shea page 176)

 

Some readers may have noticed that Babylon is not mentioned in this vision of Daniel. In Daniel 2 we have all four mentioned by metal symbols and in Daniel 7 all four empires mentioned by way of animal symbols. One reason may be that Babylon was not far distanced from its downfall and taken over by the Medes and Persians. Another reason and may be more plausible is that the vision of Daniel is more focused on the Hebrew Jewish sanctuary issue and for that reason we have two sanctuary animals as symbols and as said before animals used on the Hebrew Day of Atonement. Daniel had a vested interest in the sanctuary. Having been deported from Jerusalem he was for obvious reason interested in what would happen to the sanctuary and its services. Would it remain in ruins or be restored again. In Daniel 2 and 7 we have found another empire following after the Grecian one. Can we expect something like that in Daniel 8? Let’s turn to the next section of Daniel 8.

 

Daniel 8:9-14.

From Daniel 8:8 we have learned that the goat’s one horn broke “and for it came up four notable ones” or “in its place”, toward the four winds of heaven. The four winds of heaven being North, South, East and West.

Verse 9 of Daniel 8 starts “and out of one of them came forth a little horn”. We have to establish if the little horn comes out of the four horns or out of the four wind directions. In original Hebrew language there is no punctuation. In that case the immediate antecedent of “them” is the four winds not the four horns as some modern translations and paraphrased Bibles try to portray it. Also modern Bible commentators do the same and then take Antiochus IV Epiphanes as the historical figure for the little horn in Daniel 8, not a continuation of the little horn of Daniel 7 with some more and additional information about the activities of this horn. (Read more about this issue in study SANCTUARY OBSCURED AND RESTORED in this Daniel section).

 

In addition to what you will read in that study mentioned, we like to quote from Dr.Doukhan, the Jewish-Christian Hebrew scholar of Andrews University Mi. USA. in his book ‘Secrets of Daniel’, “Grammatically, the Hebrew expression translated as ‘out of one of them’ (Dan.8:9) we should actually read ‘out of one (feminine) of them (masculine)’ suggesting a link with the preceding expression:’ the four winds(feminine) of heaven (masculine)’. In Hebrew poetry, this is known as a grammatical parallelism with the alterations of t and m.

Winds (F) of heaven (M): ruhot hashamaim.

      Out of one (F) of them (M): ahat mehem (verses 8, 9)

      Through the use of the four winds Daniel alluded to the four beasts. In mentioning that the horn comes from one of the winds, he is implying that it originates in one of the beasts. The prophet purposely makes no mention of the beasts to keep the attention of his readers solely on the ram and the goat.” (Doukhan page 125)

 

Before we start unveiling the historic nature and fulfilment of the little horn of Daniel 8 we will list all the given identification points:

  1. The horn comes out of one of the four winds
  2. It waxes exceeding great.
  3. Waxed great even to the host of heaven
  4. Casts down some of the host.
  5. Casts down some of the stars and stamped on them.
  6. Magnified himself to the Prince of the Host.
  7. The daily is taken away.
  8. The place of the sanctuary is cast down.
  9. Transgression against the daily
  10. The truth is cast down.

These are ten very impressive items practiced by this little horn which need to be analysed carefully. In Daniel 2 and 7 we have found that the empire or kingdom following the Grecian one is the Roman kingdom it sounds to us reasonable and logic to conclude that in Daniel 8 the Roman Empire or kingdom also has a place. We also have found that in Daniel 2 and 7 the Roman kingdom has two phases. In Daniel 2 the legs are of iron but the feet, part of the legs, is of iron and clay. The iron (Rome) continues in the feet. State and church fused together In Daniel 7 we have the unnamed beast, and out of its head a continuation comes up, the little horn. We understand that this is again a fusion of state and church, the ecclesiastical takes over from the secular or imperial and thus forms a new or another phase of Rome.

Daniel 8 follows a similar situation but under a different symbol, just one little horn,

but representing the two phases of Rome, secular and ecclesiastical.

 

We will now examine the ten identification points one by one.

1. The horn comes out of one of the four winds and we suggest this is the west wind from Daniel’s point of view is west of Jerusalem. Towards the end of the Grecian empire, which was divided into four kingdoms, we see armies coming up from Rome, Italy, invading and making war with the four kingdoms. History tells us they entered the South, Egypt, conquered the entire east and entered into the pleasant land, Palestine or Israel. The Battle of Pydna, June 22, 168 BC, marks the time when Alexander’s homeland fell before the Romans.

 

2. The second identification point is that it waxed exceeding great, a clear expression of increase in greatness. The ram representing the Medes and Persians became great.

(Dan.8:4) and the goat, representing the Grecian empire increased to very great, (8:8), but the little horn waxed exceeding great. It can’t be expressed in clearer terms than this.

The Roman Empire illustrated by the unnamed beast in Daniel 7 is strong exceedingly (7:9) and exceeding dreadful (7:19) and then in 7:23 shall devour the whole earth.

Those who believe that Antiochus IV Epiphanes is the little horn of Daniel, have a big unanswered problem, because Antiochus IV never reached exceeding greatness, never grew from great to very great into exceeding greatness. For that reason alone, and there are more, we can drop Antiochus IV as the little horn in Daniel right from here.

 

3. The little horn also waxed great against the host of heaven. (8:10, 11) No doubt we all agree who the host of heaven are, those who are loyal to God. The little horn also lifts itself against the Prince of the host. (See point 6) This description is in harmony with what   is said of the little horn in Daniel 7 who would “speak great words against the most high”, (7:25) that is against God. The Roman emperor let himself be worshipped as God; even a Roman king like Herod took that position, read Acts 12:20-23. The Lord judged him immediately. The successor to the Roman Empire, its continuation in a different phase from pagan to papal, the bishop of Rome who was later called pope also took the position of God on earth. Even today the pope is called and addressed as Holy Father. No human has ever the right to be called ‘Holy Father’. Read what the apostle Paul wrote about who would come in future and what that individual would do, as God sitting in the temple and showing himself that he is God,(2 Thess.2:4). Former president of the USA president George Bush jr, was once asked who do you see when you look pope Benedict XVI in his eyes. His answer was “I see God”

 

4. Then the Little Horn would also cast down some of the host, and stamp on them.(8:10) This is a clear reference to the persecution of Christians and true believers as we saw in 7:25 about wearing out the saints by the little horn. Read also 7:19 the beast (Pagan Rome) stamped with his feet. Both Pagan and Papal Rome are known in history to have martyred people for their beliefs and for being true Christians. The two phases of the Roman Empire, secular and ecclesiastical are clearly identified by this point, as well as by the other points.

 

5. In addition to casting down some of the host also stars are put to the ground and stamped upon. Pagan Rome killed Christian leaders. Stars often stand for leaders.

Think about the first ones James, (Acts 12:2), Paul, Peter and all the apostles suffered martyrdom under Pagan Rome. John escaped by divine intervention from being killed but suffered severely. Papal Rome did not do much better. Many leaders in the pre- and final reformation have been killed by papal Rome

 

6. Under point six we find that the little horn would magnify itself against the Prince

of the Host. It may be good to review different translations. NEB reads: It aspired to be as great as the Prince of the host; NASB reads: It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host. Host can refer to God’s people on earth or to the angels in heaven. Jesus Christ is both head of His church on earth, Eph.5:25, but also Commander of the host of angels, (read Matt.26:53). The head of the Church of Rome carries the title “Vicar of Christ”; that is an attempt to be equal with Christ. The medieval title was Vicarius Filii Dei, in the place of the son of God on earth.  But Pagan Rome, the first phase of the Roman Empire, also magnified itself against Christ. The Roman Pontius Pilate in spite of being warned by his wife (Matt.27:19) and knowing that Jesus was innocent, (27:24) still ordered that Jesus should be crucified, 27:28. Again both phases of Rome do qualify for this identification point.

 

7. This point takes us into another direction it becomes more religious and touches on worship and the sanctuary. Remember Daniel has different animals to symbolise two empires, Medes and Persians, and the Grecian Empire. The purpose as we have mentioned is because in this chapter the focus is on the sanctuary the attack on it and its restoration. Which sanctuary, earthly or heavenly will be clarified under this point?

The daily was taken away by the little horn. In the Hebrew language used by Daniel in this chapter and beyond, daily is TAMID. To read it properly we must read that the TAMID was taken away. TAMID is in direct relationship with the sanctuary. And that is both earthly and heavenly sanctuary. About the meaning of TAMID in regard to the earthly sanctuary we refer the reader to the TAMID subject in this Daniel section of this website. It stands for all the work of the priest (High priest) in their daily work, from morning till evening in regard to the sanctuary, from the work around the altar of sacrifice to the work in the Holy place inside the tabernacle. Not the yearly one day ministry in the most holy place by the high priest. Christ is the fulfilment of that service and ministry. He is now our High Priest in heaven, (Hebr.8:1-3). The whole content of the epistle to the Hebrews is a clarification of Christ fulfilling every detail of the earthly sanctuary. When Christ died on the cross the veil in between the holy and the most holy place was rent in twain from top to bottom, indicating that the earthly work in the sanctuary (temple) had terminated. What was holy and most holy was not any more.Matt.27:51.But the Jews not understanding this event repaired the veil and carried on as usual. This was done till AD70 and Jerusalem was overpowered by the Romans and the temple destroyed completely. The earthly daily was taken away for ever. That was done by the first phase of the Roman Empire, and how was it done by the next phase Papal Rome?

 

As mentioned before the Church of Rome started to take the place of Christ on earth, establishing in the Christian church priesthood with priestly responsibilities. Having an altar in the church, making the priest a mediator between the people and God, while 1Timothy.2:5 teach there is only One Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus. Earthly priests were also given authority to forgive people’s sins while Christ is the One who forgives and cleanses us from sin, 1John. 1:9. Dr.Pfandl in his book on Daniel gives a very clear statement regarding the taking away of the Daily/Tamid: “How did the Papacy remove the daily sacrifice and cast down the place of His sanctuary? By placing human intercession into the hands of priests, the use of the confessional and by sacrificing Christ anew in every mass, the Papacy has eclipsed Christ’s heavenly ministry in the minds of true worshippers. Believers no longer approach Christ directly; instead they go to the priest, to the saints, or to Mary.” (Pfandl page 80)

 

8. Another point in relation to the sanctuary is that the little horn would cast down the place of the sanctuary. Under point seven we have learned that there are two sanctuaries, an earthly one and a heavenly one. The earthly one ended with the death of Christ and the heavenly one started when Christ ascended into the heavens, returning to the place from where He had come down to earth. In what the Church of Rome has done in its liturgy and priestly ministry; it cast down the heavenly sanctuary. We will learn more about this under the next point.

 

9. According to Daniel 8:12 something strong would be done against the daily by reason of transgression. Here again we will take some other translations to get the clear picture: NEB: it raised impiously against the regular offering. Berkeley: It was granted power in opposition to the daily sacrifice. In the OT sanctuary service a daily sacrifice were ministered. This was a clean animal, often a lamb, like for the Passover at the Exodus in Ex.12. We know from the scriptures that these animals in particular a lamb pointed to Christ’s sacrifice, Read Isa.53 and John 1:29, 36. We also know from Hebr.9:28 that Christ was sacrificed only once, not daily, see Hebr.7:27. In the daily mass service of the Church of Rome we have a daily repeat of the sacrifice of Christ. According to William Doyle a Jesuit priest in his booklet “Shall I be Priest”

the priest in the Church of Rome has power to bring Christ down from heaven to be sacrificed on the altar in the church. A study of the meaning of the Mass as celebrated in the Church of Rome will confirm this clearly.  This is opposite of what the scriptures are teaching us regarding the sacrifice of Christ. The new Dutch translation of 1952 brings it out clearly by stating that the little horn would institute “a worship service in transgression and in opposition to the daily sacrifice”. What the daily stood for in the earthly sanctuary is now Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. Clearly the mass (worship) in the Church of Rome is in opposition to the true worship the scriptures teach us.

 

10. Finally the last point of our identification list inform us that the little horn would cast down the truth to the ground and do it well. First there is Christ Who declared of Himself to be the Truth in John 14:6. The previous points have made clear what the little horn has done to Christ, His priesthood, his sacrifice and sanctuary. Another point of truth is from the word of truth, John 17:17, is that Christ as only mediator has been replaced by the Church of Rome and by more than one mediator. Mary is a mediator and so are the many unscriptural and so declared by the church saints, as mediators. In the heavenly Holy Temple of God, where God is on the throne, Ps.48:1, 2 there we found the ark of His testament, in that ark is the holy law of God, (Rom.7:12) that law is called the truth, Ps.119:142. In the law of God we find also the Holy Sabbath, to be remembered to be kept Holy. What has the little Horn, the church of Rome done? It has changed the law of God, by dropping the second command, changing the fourth command from the Seventh day Sabbath to the first day Sunday observance and splitting the tenth commandment in two in order to maintain Ten Commandments. For sure the truth has been cast to the ground. In medieval times even the Bible itself was a strictly forbidden book and having a Bible, the Truth of God, could be punished by death. This also is in harmony of what is told of the little horn in Daniel 7:25. The two little horns of Daniel 7 and 8 do show clear identical information that without doubt points to the same power. The only difference is, that in Daniel 7 we have the two phases of Rome represented by an unnamed beast with a little horn coming up out of its head in the midst of ten horns. In Daniel 8 the two phases fused into one little horn coming from one of the four winds of heaven, the west wind from Italy, the city of Rome. The only thing missing is the time span of the little horn or the Church of Rome, the 1260 days/years or time, times and the dividing of a time as mentioned in Daniel 7:25. Reason for this is, and we repeat again, Daniel 8 is focusing on the sanctuary, mainly the heavenly and what the little horn, Papal Rome phase has done against the sanctuary. Before we end this part of Daniel, some may say, but the Church of Rome has changed so much since recent years even regretting what it has done in the past. This may be true, but are these changes real? Has the Church of Rome recanted the council of Trent and its decisive statements? Has the Church of Rome returned to the Biblical institution of the communion service? Has the Church of Rome given up on its belief in the mediating ministry of Mary and the saints? Is the Church of Rome returning from Sunday observance to proper Biblical Seventh-day Sabbath observance? The answer is clear, it has not happened. Before we close this section of Daniel and go to the next we like to quote from Ellen G.White what she wrote over 100 years ago: “Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years”…”Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness’….”But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history”……”A day of great intellectual darkness has been shown to be favourable to the success of the papacy. It will yet be demonstrated that a day of great intellectual light is equally favourable for its success.”  (E.G. White in her book “Great Controversy” chapter 35 “Aims of the Papacy” pp.563; 565 and 572/3). These words can be taken prophetic, because in the days when this was written the attitude of Protestantism towards the Church of Rome was not favourable, compared with the present relationship of protestant churches towards the Church of Rome even of the so-called protestant nation of the USA.

 

Daniel 8:13, 14

In this section we notice a dialogue between two saints, holy ones, most likely heavenly ones. In Daniel’s presence the question is raised: How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?  According to Strong’s Concordance and a referral to the Hebrew Word Book the word “vision” used in this question is the Hebrew word Chazon, the whole vision not part of it. We quote again from Dr.Pfandl: But the question applies to the whole vision, which began in the time of the Persians, symbolized by the ram at its beginning (verse 3). Literally the question begins with the words “until when the vision”. Although the question lists some of the terrible activities of the little horn, things that obviously shocked the prophet, “the question is not about how long the little horn is going to profane the sanctuary but about when the content of the whole vision will be fulfilled. The answer indicates that the fulfilment of the whole vision will take 2300 days/years. At the end of this period the little horn’s usurpation of the priestly work of the Messiah will come to an end through the eschatological day of atonement.”  (Pfandl page 87/8)

This statement from Dr.Pfandl provides also the answer to the question why Babylon as an empire is not mentioned in Daniel, as in Daniel 2 and 7. The time span of 2300 days/years starts during the Medo-Persian Empire and not in Babylon’s time.

 

In the answer given to the question is embedded “judgement”, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”. We turn to Dr.Doukhan, our Jewish Christian Hebrew scholar and let him explain. “According to parallelism between the two chapters, the event described in chapter 8 as the cleansing (or reconsecration) of the sanctuary would then correspond to the Day of Judgment in chapter 7. Significantly, the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament, JTK) translates this term with the Greek word ‘katharisai’ (to purify), a technical word used to refer to Kippur. The great Jewish commentator Rashi also suggests that we should read this passage in the context of the Day of Atonement. What chapter 7 calls the Day of Judgment chapter 8 labels as the Day of Atonement. They are in fact the same event. Israel experienced the Day of Atonement as the actualization of the last judgment. Leviticus 16 introduces the ceremony of Kippur by an illusion to the judgment” (Doukhan page 127)

 

Daniel 8:15-26

In what Daniel has described so far as seen and heard in this vision of chapter 8 here we reach now the point where Daniel hears a man’s voice giving instruction to the angel Gabriel to give Daniel understanding regarding this vision, that is the whole vision not part of it, but the total as described in 8:2-14. We have no information who this man is whose voice is heard by Daniel and thus we will not speculate. From what is stated in 8:17 and 19 it should be clear to the reader that the vision refers to the time of the end, or it will reach to the time of the end. The KJV text reads: I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.”  The NIV reads: I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.” We take from the RSV: Behold I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.”

It is clear that these various translations indicate that the vision has an end time message.

 

McCready Price comments as follows regarding the expression “In the latter end of the indignation”:Primarily this wrath or indignation had already been incurred by Judah and Israel; and they were now in captivity because of it. Yet as this prophecy extends nearly two thousand years forward after the time when the Jewish people were finally destroyed as a nation, this term, “ the latter time of indignation”, must refer to the final judgments upon the entire world.” (Price page 207)  When Price writes about the Jewish people are destroyed as a nation, he means what Jesus said in Matth.23:38 “your house is left unto you desolate”. It was not longer God’s house but

their house, this was because of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. They lost their positionbeing the covenant people of God, individual salvation still open for them, but not as a nation, as a people. As in Daniel 7 we are introduced in Daniel 8 also to end time judgment. We will see later what that means when we deal more in detail with the 2300 days/years prophecy and will do so in our study of Daniel 9.

 

Daniel 8:20-22

This deals with the ram and the goat and what they represent, the two empires, Medo-Persia and Greece, and the division of the Grecian one in four kingdoms. We have dealt with that here before.

 

Daniel 8:23-25

Here we have some more information about the king (little horn) who will come up after the division in four of the Grecian empire. It reads: when the transgressors are come to the full. Or according to the margin are accomplished. The NEB reads: In the last days of those kingdoms, when their sin is at its height.” JB “And at the end of their reign, when the measure of their sins is full” This is another example how after all God is in control of people and nations, Daniel 2:21.The OT prophets not only had messages of warnings to Judah and Israel but other nations as well. The books Ezekiel and Amos are full of messages from the Lord for different nations. So it may be that here in Daniel 8:23 we have the same about the four kings/generals who took each a part of the Grecian Empire, the Lord watched them and when their cup of sin was full they were removed by the next kingdom or empire which was Rome as we have seen from Daniel, 2, 7 and here in 8 by way of the two phases of the Roman Empire. First Pagan Rome continued by Papal Rome but described in different terms as before about the little horn which is the same power Here it is described as having a fierce countenance, or according the NEB: “Harsh and grim”. Both phases of Rome have given evidence of this character description, in particular how they killed people not obeying to their dictates. Moses spoke to Israel about such a power in the future if they would not remain faithful to God, Deut.28:49-55. The Jews have suffered much under the Romans from their pogroms against the Jews Then it says in the KJV understanding dark sentences or as in the NASB Insolent and skilled in intrigue, we may say good politicians. In particular Papal Rome through its Holy See in the Vatican is a master in intrigues or politics. Shall come to great power but not by his own power, particularly Papal Rome again have been a master in history to get nations and people on its side to reach its aims. In history Spain and France have been close allies of the Papacy It can also refer to what we read in Revelation 13:2 that the sea beast, the equivalent of the little horn, received power from the dragon, and who the dragon is, read Rev.12:9.In the last part of Dan.8:24 we read again about the war against the people of God, the holy ones, persecution as we have noticed before in Daniel 7 and earlier in Daniel 8. For Daniel 8:25 we like to use the NASB reading. And through its shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence, another reference to its politics in dealing with nations and people. He will also magnify himself in his heart. We have discussed this before how the Roman emperors let themselves be worshipped as God and how the papacy has given itself titles being the equivalent with God, like God on earth, and Vicar of Christ. Again think about 2Thhess.2:4. Then follows in the KJV by peace shall destroy many or as the NASB reads: and he will destroy many while they are at ease. Many Christians have been dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night; think about the night of Bartholomew and other instances. This power shall also stand up against the Prince of princes. It was the Roman power which crucified Christ, and the Papal power which pretended to be in the place of Christ on earth and still does even today. The final part of 8:25 is God’s verdict in the judgment he shall be broken without hand. No one will come to its rescue when it will be in trouble in its final stage. Compare with Dan.11:45; Job.34:20 and the last part of Revelation 17.16-18.

 

Daniel 8:26, 27.

So far we have noticed that everything and all details of the vision of Daniel 8, what Daniel saw and heard has been carefully explained to Daniel, except, and that is a very important part, the vision or what was said in 8:14 about the 2300 evenings and mornings, days/years. We have not talked about it either when we passed that verse, but will do later in Daniel 9 study. The angel even adds that which was told is true in regard to this time span of 2300. Other translation read it is true and reliable. If that is so why ask of Daniel to shut it up?  Daniel being a Hebrew is very closely connected with Jerusalem and its sanctuary, he prayed three times per day with his face towards Jerusalem, Dan.6:10 He may have hoped that this would give him a clue when Jerusalem would be rebuilt and the sanctuary restored. Some commentators write that Daniel may have thought about 2300 days in terms of a day for a year and that would have been a long time for Daniel beyond his life span to see Jerusalem and the sanctuary rebuilt and restored. Whatever his thinking may have been he fainted and got sick over it, astonished, perplexed and found nobody to explain it to him. But after a few days he stood up and carried on with his usual business for the king. We also will leave it here till we come to the point in Daniel’s book where we can pick up again the vision of the 2300 days/years.

 

June 2010

Pastor Jan T.Knopper

Edited October 2010

Revisited August 2013

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