Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Daniel 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-27

Chapter 8

Now two years later:

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even as unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first ( Daniel 8:1 ).

A similar type of a vision.

But in this vision; it came to pass, and I saw, that I was in 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. And then I lifted up my eyes, and I saw, behold, there stood before a river a ram that had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last ( Daniel 8:2-3 ).

The Medo-Persian Empire represented by the two horns. The Persian Empire being the higher coming up last and was more powerful than the Median Empire.

And I saw the ram [that is, the Medo-Persian Empire], as it was pushing westward, and northward, southward; so that no beast might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; and he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, a he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes ( Daniel 8:4-5 ).

So he was watching this ram, the Medo-Persian Empire, as it was conquering, but suddenly there comes this goat out of the west, Greece, with a notable horn, Alexander the Great. And conquering so rapidly that the feet weren't touching the ground. You read of the conquests of Alexander the Great, and it's amazing how rapidly he was able to conquer the known world at that time.

And he came to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and he ran unto to him with a fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and he smote the ram, and broke his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stomped on him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and was strong, and the great horn was broken; and from it there came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven ( Daniel 8:6-8 ).

A graphic prophecy, fabulous, interesting prophecy. How could Daniel know this except by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that the great horn, Alexander would be broken in his youth. Thirty-two years old when he died. And the Grecian Empire passed on to the four generals, Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes, and then of course out of Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece.

And out of one of them came forth a little horn [Antiochus Epiphanes], who waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land ( Daniel 8:9 ).

Antiochus Epiphanes who moved against Egypt down toward the south and, of course, in passing from Syria into Egypt, he had to go through the land of Israel.

And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host ( Daniel 8:10 )

Now we go from Antiochus Epiphanes to what he has a type of the antichrist and we go on now right to the antichrist. "And it waxed great even to the Host of Heaven,"

and it cast down some of the host of the stars to the ground, and stomped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking to another saint and said unto that certain saint which spake, 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? And he said unto me, Two thousand three hundred days; and then shall the sanctuary be cleansed ( Daniel 8:10-14 ).

Now this, of course, is a prophecy concerning Antiochus Epiphanes. It does have a dual aspect in the fulfillment. But he's talking about this profaning of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes. When he came to Jerusalem to show his utter disregard for God and for their beliefs, he sacrificed a pig upon the holy altar there in Jerusalem. And he sought to turn the temple into a pagan temple. This created such a feeling of incense in the Jewish zealots, that Judas Maccabaeus gathered together a group of men and against insurmountable odds came to Jerusalem and defeated the Syrian army that was there.

Now this is where the Feast of Dedication comes from, Hanukkah. They wanted to re-establish the true worship, and interestingly enough, it was 2,300 days after Antiochus Epiphanes had profaned the temple, exactly as Daniel said. Twenty-three hundred days later, Judas Maccabaeus and these faithful zealots had come and they were wanting to re-institute the proper sacrifices and the temple worship again. But it was found that they had, of course, only enough holy anointing oil to last for one day, there in the candle set. And it took a period of about seven days to prepare this oil, or eight days, whatever it is. And so by divine miracle the one-day supply lasted until they were able to get the new supply of oil compounded and made for the lights there in the temple, and hence the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, and even to the present day the lighting of the nine candles to symbolize the miraculous preservation of the oil in the lamps during the period that they were preparing new oil for them.

Jesus was in Jerusalem for Hanukkah, in John, chapter 10. It was, notice, in the middle of the winter. Hanukkah corresponds, of course... Hanukkah is tomorrow. In the celebration, Hanukkah comes this year on the twenty-first, that's tomorrow, and so the Jews will be celebrating Hanukkah at the time that we are celebrating Christmas. The Feast of Dedication it was called. And it relates to, actually, the period of history of Judas Maccabaeus, but it is prophesied and predicted here the profaning of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes and the resultant cleansing 2,300 days later by Judas Maccabaeus. And so the sanctuary was trodden down for the 2,300 days.

Now, there was a fellow by the name of Miller. He was a minister in the United States back in the 1800's and he took and said, 2,300 days is actually 2,300 years. And he took the day that the temple was profaned and he added to that 2,300 years and he said Jesus is coming in the 2,300 years after the profaning of the temple and so he picked a date in 1844 that he had determined Christ was coming. And they got white robes and they went out in the hills there in Illinois and waited for Jesus to come. After a couple of weeks, they had sold everything, sold their houses, farms, everything else, so certain the Lord would come. And, of course, when the Lord didn't come, the group that were known as the Millerites sort of disbanded. But then a lady came along, Ellen G. White, and said, "Oh Jesus at this point cleansed the sanctuary in the heavens. He entered into the sanctuary and cleansed it in the heavens." And so she developed the Seventh Day Adventists and they follow her writings and so forth, which it turns out aren't necessarily her writing. She was a plagiarist and has copied from other books and so forth, which some of their own scholars are discovering nowadays and exposing and getting kicked out of the Seventh Day Adventist. It's quite a stir that's going on in that particular denomination right now. But at any rate, they took the prophecy from here in Daniel, but there is no basis whatsoever to make the 2,300 days 2,300 years. That's not good Biblical interpretation or exegesis, or whatever.

Now the Lord interprets the whole thing for Daniel.

And it came to pass when I, Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he [that is, Gabriel] came near to where I was standing ( Daniel 8:15-17 ):

Gabriel is an interesting angel. He's going to be a fun one to meet too. We'll talk more about him next week as we meet him again in chapter 9. We meet him during the Christmas season. He's the one that came to Mary and told her that she was to have a child. He came to Zacharias the priest and let him know that his wife Elizabeth would have the child, John the Baptist. He said, "How can I know this?" He said, "I'm Gabriel, I stand in the presence of God. Think I'd lie to you man?" And so he is a very interesting angel. And here he's commanded, "Explain to the fellow what it's all about."

So he came near where I was standing: and I was afraid, and I fell on my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for the time of the end shall be the vision ( Daniel 8:17 ).

Now this vision is gonna to take you out to the time of the end.

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. And he said, Behold, I will make you to know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. Now the ram which you saw having two horns ( Daniel 8:18-20 ),

We don't need to question what is the ram, for he tells us.

they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Greece ( Daniel 8:20-21 ):

And, of course, this is when Greece was nothing.

and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king ( Daniel 8:21 ).

Or Alexander the Great. That is the first king during the time of its conquering. Philip, Alexander's father did not conquer or begin any kind of a world conquest. That would be the first king in its conquering efforts.

Now that being broken ( Daniel 8:22 ),

Alexander dying at thirty-two years,

whereas four stood up, there will be four kingdoms that will come out of the nation, but not in the power ( Daniel 8:22 ).

Of Alexander the Great, which was true, and did happen.

And the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressions are come to a full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty ( Daniel 8:23-24 ),

And this, of course, is referring now to the antichrist.

but not by his own power ( Daniel 8:24 ):

We read in Revelation 13:0 that this beast that rises out of the sea that Satan gives unto him his authority and his power. So this man of sin is going to arise; he's going to be tremendously powerful, but not his own power. It will be Satan's power that will be vested in him. All of the power of Satan will be given unto man, this man. "His power will be mighty, but not by his own power."

and he shall destroy awesomely, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people ( Daniel 8:24 ).

He's gonna make war against Israel, ultimately.

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace will he destroy many ( Daniel 8:25 ):

He's gonna come on with a program of peace. And be hailed, really, as the savior of the world.

he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without a hand ( Daniel 8:25 ).

The brightness of the coming of Jesus Christ with the word that goes forth out of the mouth of Christ, the antichrist will be broken and destroyed without a hand touching him.

And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days ( Daniel 8:26 ).

Just close it because it isn't pronounced for the future.

And I Daniel fainted, and I was sick for certain days, and afterward I rose up, and I did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it ( Daniel 8:27 ).

It was all before the fact. No one understood it, he just wrote it. And, of course, that's an interesting thing. "Man, I don't understand it. This is weird you know, but this is what it was, you know." Now we look at it, we say, "Wow, that's so clear! Man, that's interesting how he could write with such clarity things that had not happened, you know." But that's because we're looking at it from this standpoint and we can see where it was fulfilled. Whereas Daniel, "Who, Grecia? Man, that little area of Grecia? Well, it's over there, you know. How can they ever destroy the Persian Empire?" And yet, in time it all was fulfilled.

As we get into the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, I think that it does posses, really, the key to the understanding of all of prophecy. If you understand the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, the whole subject of prophecy will become very clear to you. If you're garbled on the ninth chapter of the book of prophecy, your whole prophetic picture will be garbled. The ninth chapter is the key to the understanding of the subject of prophecy. And so we'll be spending a lot of time next Sunday night in the ninth chapter because I want you to get the key. Because if you can get this chapter then prophecy shouldn't be a problem for you ever. Everything will fit together perfectly if you get this ninth chapter. So, next week we'll finish the book of Daniel, Lord willing. But paying a special attention, special attention to the ninth chapter of this prophecy of Daniel.

May the Lord be with you in this hectic week. One of my little granddaughters was in a little ballet today at South Coast Plaza. She was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Naturally, grandpa had to go up and see her do her little bit. But oh my, South Coast Plaza on the Sunday before Christmas, what a zoo. Was I ever glad I wasn't there to buy anything, just to observe. And this week before Christmas is so oftentimes hectic. They're out of what you were planning to get, you know. And now it throws a whole new dilemma on this problem of giving the gift. And may the Lord see you through the whole malaise. And may the giving of the gifts to each other become secondary as our relationship with God is enriched and becomes more meaningful. As we remember that God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son. And thus, through it all, may the Lord be magnified and may you be drawn close to Him. And thus, may your Christmas be a very meaningful day of sharing God's love, receiving God's joy, and experiencing the peace of God which passes human understanding. May indeed you know the joy that He came to bring to this world. The peace on earth and the good will. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Daniel 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/daniel-8.html. 2014.
Ads FreeProfile