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Bible Commentaries

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

Daniel 8

Verses 1-27

  1. Intro: Persian Vision
    1. All of us have that within our nature which desires to know something of the future. This sometimes has caused unwise speculation and even wild schemes.
      1. God has wisely concealed from us details concerning that which is yet to come, but he has given us certain assurances. He is in control of the future.
      2. We do not always know what the future holds but we know who holds our future. We can serve Him w/assurance that the victory will be ours in the end.
      3. An army does not have to win every battle to win the war.
      4. There will, at last, be an end to those who oppose God and His way of life.
        1. Those who rebel against God and set themselves against the divine will are doomed. Judgment has already been pronounced against them. The righteous will survive and be vindicated.
    2. In this next vision we have moved from wild beasts to domesticated beasts.
    3. Let’s look at a Lopsided Ram, a Hairy He-Goat, Little Horn Syndrome, a Famous Angel, an Infamous Antichrist, & a Disturbed Daniel.
  2. A LOPSIDED RAM (1-4) Medo-Persia
    1. (1) 2 years after the vision in ch.7.
    2. (2) A vision in Persia, yet during the reign of Babylon.
      1. Sushan/Susa is also where Esther would intercede for the lives of her people.
      2. This also is where Nehemiah would serve as cupbearer to king Artaxerxes Neh1:1
    3. (3) Persia arose after Media but eventually took over the superior role.
    4. (4) The Persian army was 2 million soldiers strong.
      1. They expanded west to Macedonia, north past the Caspian Sea, & south through Egypt.
      2. For about 200 years The Ram Ruled the World…until a deadly blow of a head-butt from the West.
  3. A HAIRY HE-GOAT (5-8) Greece
    1. ​​​​​​​(5-8) A notable horn between his eyes – Alexander the Great.
      1. Alex was told by his mother, that his father (Philip of Macedon) had descended from Hercules (I think he believed it).
      2. Alex conquered Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, & Mesopotamia w/unprecedented speed.
      3. W/in 3 years crushed all of Persia, converted the culture to Hellenism, & pushed to India.
      4. One foe he couldn’t defeat was alcoholism. He died at age 33 in 323 bc, from a fever brought on by Malaria & complications from alcoholism.
    2. Then, the large horn was broken (8) - Alex didn’t last long.
    3. (8) 4 notable ones – The 4 generals.
      1. Cassander (Ca-Sander) – took Macedonia & Greece. [green on map]
      2. Lysimachus (lie-SIM-a-chus) – Thrace, & parts of Asia Minor. [peach on map]
      3. Ptolemy (Tol-emy) – Egypt & parts of Asia Minor. [dark blue on map]
      4. Seleuces (Sel-EU-cis) – Syria, Israel & Mesopotamia. [yellow on map]
      5. These generals & their successors would battle for total control, but never rise to the level of power that Alexander had (22).
    4. We’re going to keep our eye on the Seleucid Dynasty for out if it would sprout the little horn.
  4. LITTLE HORN SYNDROME (5-8) Antiochus IV Epiphanes [ruled 175-163 bc]
    1. A little horn w/a severe case of little man syndrome.
    2. His name means Illustrious One (which explains the size of his ego)
      1. The Jews used a play on words & called him Epimandes, the Madman.
    3. (9) He invaded Palestine (The Glorious Land).
    4. (11,12) He defiled the Jewish temple & put the Jews under bondage.
      1. He is a picture of the world ruler to come, the Antichrist (23-25).
      2. W.A.Criswell talks about his terrible deeds: (read pg.100 Swindoll)
    5. (13,14) 2300 days, or better, evening & morning sacrifices.
      1. So 2300 sacrifices @ 2 a day = 1,150 days or for a little over 3 years he will shut down temple worship & terrorize the Jewish people.
      2. Which did last for 3 years, from 167bc (when Antiochus defiled the Temple) to Dec.14th 164bc (The Maccabean revolt).
    6. Lets run back the clock:
      1. Judea fell between the anvil & the hammer of Syria & Egypt (at this time many Jews were established in Egypt & so the Septuagint translation (LXX) of the OT was begun in 285bc)
      2. Antiochus on a raid to get Egypt was stopped, as the Roman Senate stepped in & forced them back.
      3. With this near-conquest of Egypt, which led to a confrontation that became an origin of the metaphorical phrase, "line in the sand".
      4. On the return to Syria, while passing through Israel, he ordered his generals to destroy Jerusalem.
      5. Antiochus offers a sow upon the great altar & erected an altar to Zeus.
        1. He sprinkled its blood in the Holy of Holies, & poured its broth over the sacred scrolls before cutting them to pieces & burning them.
      6. The Syrian army went even farther erecting altars in different cities, having Jews sacrifice a pig & then command them to eat its flesh…until they ran into Mattathias.
        1. In the city of Modi’in (17m. NW of Jer) they asked the gray haired Mattathias to, he refused, an apostate Jewish priest asked to do it. Matt grabbed the soldiers sword killed him & the apostate, his 4 boys jump in killing the rest, & they and others flee to the Judean mountains. [read 1st Maccabee’s in your Catholic Bible]
        2. Slide#18 This faithful band grew, engaging in guerrilla warfare against the Syrian army outposts. Matt’s son Judah took over the campaign. He became known as the Maccabee (the hammer?)
        3. Imagine their horror seeing the Temple for the 1st time in 3 years. defiled, desecrated, a huge statute to Zeus in the middle.
        4. 3 years to the day when the Temple was defiled they were able to rededicate it. They found 1 small cruse of unpolluted oil (for the lampstand) in an unbroken seal of the high priest. It was only 1 day’s supply, but miraculously lasted for 8 days, hence the 8 day feast of lights or Hanukkah.
    7. He soon after this Antiochus died…A madman…he died insane.
    8. So these prophecies were fulfilled precisely & literally, should we expect the same for the future predictions then?
  5. A FAMOUS ANGEL (15-22) Gabriel
    1. ​​​​​​​The Interpretation (15-22)
      1. (16) First reference to Gabriel in the Bible. [Gabriel = champion of God]
      2. (17,19) The vision refers to the time of the end...the latter time - This vision had a double meaning, a double fulfillment.
        1. The near fulfillment of the prophecy foreshadows the far.
        2. Jesus Himself said it was also future, Mt.24:15 Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, whoever reads, let him understand.
  6. AN INFAMOUS ANTICHRIST (23-26) Antichrist’s Character
    1. ​​​​​​​David Jeremiah’s Study Bible says, Antichrist will be: Dramatic in appearance(23). Destined to do evil (23). Dynamic in leadership (23). Demonic in power (24). Destructive in his reign (24). Deceitful in his practice (25). He will Deify himself(25). He will Disguise his cruelty with peace promises (25). But will be destroyed supernaturally (25).
    2. (24) But not by his own power – See Rev.13:2.
    3. (25) w/o human means – Jesus takes care of him Himself. (Rev.19:19,20)
    4. What Antiochus was to the Jews, the Antichrist will be to the believers in the Tribulation…& more.
      1. Just because evil men seem to abound, we shouldn’t feel that God is absent or unconcerned.
  7. A DISTURBED DANIEL (27) Daniel’s Feelings
    1. ​​​​​​​Sealed (26) meaning conclude it, not keep it secret.
    2. Sick (27)
      1. Daniel overwhelmed by the vision that he became ill & couldn’t work.
      2. He could never be the same again, knowing what God had planned for his people in the future. If we could see into the future and witness the doom of the wicked, we too would be astonished and sick. How does prophecy affect you?
    3. Daniel was Confused looking into the future; but we looking back at it as history, become Confident with this precise fulfillment.
      1. However, if Antioch Epiphanies is only a shadow of what’s to come, what horror awaits the future?
      2. Application: If you knew a Tornado was coming, the best things to do would be: Slide#25 Keep informed, Stay prepared, & Warn your neighbors.
        1. Keep informed: read up on what is coming.
        2. Stay prepared: by fortifying your relationship with the Lord.
        3. Warn your neighbors: contrast how dark the skies are getting, in comparison to how beautiful the light of Jesus Christ.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Daniel 8". "Brian Bell Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/daniel-8.html. 2017.