Study Guide

Book of Daniel Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Billy Goats Get Gruff

  • Daniel records that this is his second vision, also coming during the reign of King Belshazzar. He sees himself in the city of Susa (which will be the Persian capital), in the province of Elam, by the river Ulai.
  • Suddenly, a ram shows up. But not just any ram. This ram has two horns. (Actually, that might sound like pretty ordinary ram stuff—but they're pretty long horns.) The one horn is a lot longer than the other, though. The ram starts charging around, beating down all the beasts in sight and ruling over everything. He's getting stronger, improving his mad ram skills in the process.
  • But lo! Another male goat shows up. This goat has one horn, right between its eyes. He charges the first ram "with savage force." He smashes the ram's two horns, knocks it over, and gives it a good trampling. Triumphant, the male goat gets super-buff. But at the height of its power, its big single horn gets broken and is replaced by four smaller horns.
  • Out of one of these four horns comes a little horn. The little horn grows in power over the east, the south, and "the beautiful land."
  • Now, the goat's rampage gets cosmic. He attacks the heavenly host and knocks some of the stars and angels out of the sky and tramples on them.
  • The angry angel-attacking goat continues his blasphemous outrages by taking away the burnt-offering from the prince of the heavenly host and overthrowing his sanctuary. The goat throws truth on the ground and keeps growing in power and wealth.
  • Daniel sees one "holy one" asking another how long this is going to be allowed to happen. The other "holy one" says that the sanctuary will get restored after two thousand three hundred days.

Just Ask Gabe

  • After seeing this part of the vision, Daniel has trouble trying to understand it. Suddenly, someone appears before him, and a voice calls out from the river Ulai, revealing that the person who has just appeared is none other than the Angel Gabriel. The voice urges Gabriel to help Daniel understand the vision.
  • Daniel bows down and falls prostrate in front of Gabriel. Helpfully, Gabriel explains that the vision is of the end times.
  • Daniel falls into a trance and then Gabriel sets him back on his feet. Gabe says that the first two-horned ram represents Persia and Media with their two kings (who defeat Babylon and conquer a huge kingdom). The male goat with one horn is Greece. The horn is Alexander the Great (which the text doesn't mention by name).

The Baddest King on the Block

  • When Alexander dies, his kingdom is split four ways by four different kings (here are the four horns that sprout out of the male goat's head, replacing the first horn).
  • Gabriel says that at the end of the rule of these four kings, when the Greek rulers have reached the peak of their evil deeds, a king will come who will outdo them all in wickedness. He will be skilled in intrigue and destructive, launching attacks on and destroying the holy ones and other people of power. He will be deceitful and really arrogant, even trying to attack the "Prince of princes."
  • But he'll be defeated eventually—though not by human beings.
  • Gabriel tells Daniel to seal up the vision and not tell anyone about it.
  • Afterward, Daniel says he fell sick and was stuck in bed for a number of days. Then he arose and went back to his job working for Belshazzar, but the vision still puzzled him.

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