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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 8

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Dan 8:1

Daniel 8:1 In the thirdH7969 yearH8141 of the reignH4438 of kingH4428 BelshazzarH1112 a visionH2377 appearedH7200 untoH413 me, even unto meH589 Daniel,H1840 after thatH310 which appearedH7200 untoH413 me at the first.H8462

The Ram and the He Goat (Daniel Chapter 8)

Daniel’s last vision two years earlier dealt with the four great world empires ending with the coming of Christ under the Roman Empire. Starting with the Babylonian Empire, then moving forward until Daniel saw a great many disturbing details about the fourth beast in his dream.

The earlier revelation was in the form of a dream while this one was a vision he had while wide awake. It is important to note that Daniel was an elderly man at this point in his life. Assuming he was 13 years old at the time of his deportation from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, he was at this time about 69 to 70 years of age.

Daniel lived through, to date, one of the most turbulent periods in Israelite history. Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed Jerusalem because her kings kept rebelling against his authority. The temple was utterly destroyed and burned in order to retrieve the gold from its stonework. The vessels of worship were all carried away with many of them destroyed. Daniel personally saw his home city of Jerusalem besieged and overthrown. He then saw the Babylonian Empire conqyered and taken into the Medo-Persian Empire. How frightening and unsettling it must be to have one’s country overthrown. Even if it is a wicked and cruel one, there is no guarantee that the next one will be any better. Add to that experience having one’s place of worship for centuries utterly destroyed. We must keep in mind here that we today are blessed beyond measure. The death of Jesus Christ made it possible for Christians today to worship God anywhere. His great sacrifice on behalf of man replaced the sacrifices under the Levitical system of worship. The Israelites had to sacrifice in the temple. Without the temple, there could be no animal sacrifices.

And if that were not enough, it is almost certain that Daniel lived the lonely life of a eunuch under the royal service of whatever king reigned over the land at the time. His faithfulness to God is all the more notable in consideration of the conditions under which he lived his whole life.

Daniel’s lifelong ambition was to see his people recommit themselves to God and to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple and resume the worship of the one true and living God. Daniel was chosen by God to prophecy of the coming of the one kingdom which would never fall and to prophecy of the coming king who would reign forever, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Before the coming of the Messiah, Daniel’s people had more hardship to endure. The turmoil of falling nations and rise of cruel leaders was not over. While Daniel was blessed to see the prophecies of the coming Messiah and His kingdom, he also had to bear the burden of the prophecies of the afflictions of his countrymen at the hands of evil and cruel tyrants yet to come. Daniel knew these prophecies were real. He knew the things he saw in these visions would come to pass. He had seen the visions of the things that would befall the kings of Babylon, interpreted them and saw them come to pass. Daniel was not living under any allusion that his people would avert the disasters that awaited them in this next vision.

Before going to the text we should pause to reflect on the power of divine prophecy in the validation of our faith. Man cannot see into the future. At best, man can only predict future happenings based on the observation of circumstances and conditions visible at the time. But only God can look down the road of time and reveal with 100% accuracy events that will happen centuries in the future. Only God can name the names of future kingdoms and leaders such as Cyrus. And those then, and today, who would deny the existence of God must explain how someone like Daniel could prophecy with such startling accuracy the rise of men like Alexander the Great and Antiochus IV who, centuries later, would rise to power and perform exactly as revealed, those things written of by the prophets. These visions of Daniel are called prophecy, but that word suggests a prediction of sorts. Prophecy is more than that. Prophecy, first and foremost is a divine and irrefutable demonstration of the power of God, and secondly is quite simply the foretelling of events which are certain. Prophecy is not in any way a prediction of future events, it is the revelation of events that are sure and that will come to pass.

Daniel 8:1

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.

About two years after the first revelation that appeared to Daniel, he received another one. This happened in the third year of king Belshazzar who was the son and co-regent of his father Nabonidus. Daniel had this vision in about 550 BC. History records that Cyrus the great established the Persian Empire and began reigning in 550 BC. Belshazzar was made co-regent of the Babylonian Empire in 553 BC, just three years after Cyrus came to power. The Lydian and the Babylonian Empires were overthrown and fell to the Medo-Persian Empire in about 539 BC. Egypt fell to the Medo-Persian Empire under the rule of the son of Cyrus, Cambyses, in 525 BC.

Verses 1-27

Dan 8:1-27

Commentary on Daniel Chapter 8 by Mark Dunagan

In this chapter we will read of the success of the Medo-Persian Empire and a picture of the power of Greece will follow this brief sketch. We will be told that of the successors of Alexander, a little horn will arise and will cause harm to God’s people and yet he will be destroyed. In this chapter, as in most of the others, the purpose is to reveal to God’s people what will happen in the future, and to assure them that God’s enemies will not prevail.

Daniel 8:1-2 The third year of the reign of Belshazzar would have been 550 B.C. This vision comes two years after the vision in chapter seven (Daniel 7:1). In addition, the events of chapters seven and eight both happen prior to the events recorded in chapter five. No longer in Babylon, Daniel at this time is in the city of Susa, which was located 200 miles east of Babylon. It appears that Daniel was in Susa in the vision and not there in body. A century later the Persian king Xerxes built a magnificent place in Susa, which was where the events recorded in the Book of Esther took place (Esther 1:2). Nehemiah, the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes, served in this city (Nehemiah 1:1). “And I myself was beside the Ulai (YOU lie) Canal”: This was a wide, artificial irrigation canal some 900 feet wide, the classical Greek writers called it Eulaeus, and it is known today as Karun. The province of Elam was located east of Babylon. It was bounded on the north by Media and Assyria, on the east and southeast by Persia, and on the south by the Persian Gulf.

Daniel 8:3 The ram represents the Medo-Persian Empire that would conquer Babylon in 539 B.C. (Daniel 8:20). “The higher horn speaks of the supremacy of the Persian element. The Medes and the Persians had been associated for a long time. The Medes were the much more prominent kingdom until Cyrus the Great came along at which time the Persian star arose” (McGuiggan p. 132).

Daniel 8:4 The Persian kingdom, coming from the east, pushes west, north and then (using the fertile crescent) south. The Persian kingdom over-ran everything where it went, including Egypt and Asia Minor.

Daniel 8:5-7 The he-goat is a fitting symbol for the empire of Greece (which came from the west as far as Palestine is concerned) (Daniel 8:21)for it represents ruggedness and power. “Without touching the ground”: These words indicate the rapidity of the conquests. “A quick survey of Alexander’s career will make it clear that he was just that, fast moving!” (McGuiggan p. 132). “And the goat had a conspicuous horn”: This horn represents Alexander the Great. The “mighty wrath” points to the cry for vengeance from the Greek city states after years of assaults across the Aegean Sea by the Persian armies between 490-480 B.C.

Daniel 8:8 It is also true that it was while Alexander was young and strong, that he was broken (died) at the age of 33. Following his death his kingdom was divided among his successors. Initially thirteen men fought to carve out for themselves a piece of the Greek empire. Four of them were left standing when the smoke cleared. Lysimachus obtained Thracia, Cassander ruled Macedonia, Seleucus gained Babylon, Syria and Asia Minor and Ptolemy held on to Egypt and Palestine. These four kingdoms correspond to the “four winds of heaven”, that is, to the four points of a compass. “Thus, the vast empire, founded by Alexander, was dispersed to the four winds” (Young p. 170).

Daniel 8:9-12 This is not a description of some supposed future Anti-Christ yet to come, but rather, is a very accurate description of Antiochus Epiphanes (ca.175-165 B.C.). The Jewish historian Josephus noted, “And there would arise from their number a certain king who would make war on the Jewish nation and their laws, deprive them of the form of government based on these laws, spoil the temple, and prevent the sacrifices from being offered for three years. And these misfortunes our nation did in fact come to experience under Antiochus Epiphanes, just as Daniel many years before saw and wrote that they would happen”(Antiq. X:11:7). This is not the same little horn of chapter seven which grew out of the fourth empire (Daniel 7:7-8). This little horn definitely grew out of the Grecian empire. Antiochus Epiphanes was one of the Seleucids, that is, rulers who ruled the kingdom established by Seleucus I Nicator in 312 B.C. “Which grew exceedingly great toward the south”: This is what he did. He robbed the temples in Persia, over-ran Egypt in 170 B.C. and fiercely persecuted the Jews, “toward the Beautiful Land”.

Daniel 8:10 “Grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth”: I believe here the “stars” refer to the faithful among God’s people (see Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43).

Daniel 8:11 “It even magnified itself to be equal to the Commander of the host”: Antiochus blasphemed God again and again. He actually considered himself equal to God and commanded that likenesses of himself to be placed in the temple of the Jews and worshiped as God. “And it removed the regular sacrifice from Him”: That Antiochus actually forbade the Jews to offer their regular sacrifices is confirmed by 1 Maccabees 1:44-47. “And the place of His sanctuary was thrown down”: That is, he desecrated the temple, even commanding that a pig be slain on the temple altar. “The story of Antiochus’ desecration of the temple and his persecution of the people is told to us in detail in Josephus and the Books of Maccabees. On December 168-7 B.C. the temple was desecrated and an idol set up in the sanctuary. The altars were laden with all kinds of abominations. The grossest kinds of immorality were carried out in the holy places and the drunken god, Dionysius, was given pride of place” (McGuiggan p. 133).

Daniel 8:12 “And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice”: Here is the reason why God will allow this to happen. God did not lack power, but rather His professed people had become evil. In Daniel 8:23 we specifically learn that Antiochus does not come to power until “transgressors have run their course”. Here is a warning: Wicked rulers are given to wicked people! “It will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper”: Every copy of the Old Testament that could be found was burned, and many faithful Jews were slain, yet at the same time many unfaithful Jews consorted with him and compromised. Objective truth was cast to the ground, does that sound familiar?

Daniel 8:13 God here sends two angels into Daniel’s presence to discuss the matter of time, “How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply”: The idea seems to be, “How long will the daily sacrifices be prevented? How long will transgression reign, and how long will the temple and the faithful be trampled underfoot?”

Daniel 8:14 “For 2300 evenings and mornings”: The reign of Antiochus began in 171 B.C. and terminated at his death in 164 B.C.. The above number might be symbolic, yet it is very close to the length of time between 171 and 164 B.C., that is, six years and about 4 months. The end of the vision is said to be when the holy place is properly restored, that is, cleansed. This took place on December 25th, 165-4 B.C. The reason for the language “evenings and mornings” is probably because the defiling of the temple included the removal of the evening and morning sacrifices.

Daniel 8:15-16 Daniel seeks to understand the vision, but he does not address an angel, rather he ponders the vision in his own mind and God knows what he is thinking. Suddenly there stood before him an angel in the likeness of a man. “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision”: Just as we would be, Daniel was terrified as the angel approached him.

Daniel 8:17 Understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end”: The expression, “time of the end” does not mean “the end of the world”, for the empire that produced the little horn of Daniel 8 would be in turn replaced by a fourth kingdom in Daniel 7. It would not be until the fourth kingdom arrived and had various kings that the kingdom of Heaven would be established (Daniel 2:44). Compare this expression with Daniel 8:19 “What will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end”: That is, this part of the vision applies to the final period of God’s wrath upon the rebellious nation of Israel. God had punished Israel through Babylon, and He would continue to chastise them with the Medes and the Persians, Antiochus being the last major persecutor before the Messiah arrived. In other words, when the abominations of Antiochus occur, it will be evidence to the Jewish people that the last period of wrath has appeared.

Daniel 8:18-22 Here is the interpretation of the vision. We need to be impressed that Daniel is given information about events that will happen between 539 and 160 B.C. How many of us would like to know what will happen between 2050 and 2500 A.D.?

Daniel 8:23 “In the latter period of their rule”: The four kings that succeeded Alexander while enjoying a measure of success in no way succeeded as did Alexander (Daniel 8:22 “although not with his power”). The kingdom of the Seleucids lasted until 64 B.C. and that of the Ptolemies until 31 B.C. When Antiochus arose to power the kingdom of the Seleucids was already in decline. “When the transgressors have run their course”: That is, sinners and apostates among God’s own people. “A king will arise insolent and skilled in intrigue”: Antiochus was devious and crafty. In one raid he caused 40,000 to be slain by the hand of one whom he sent in peace. The term “insolent” means “hard, unyielding, adamant”, and “skilled in intrigue” means he was a master of dissimulation, able to conceal his meaning under ambiguous words and so disguising his real purpose. Note, neither are these compliments from God, but rather words of condemnation.

Daniel 8:24 “But not by his own power”: “Indicates plainly that only because God providentially allowed it did he become so great”(Butler p. 314). “He will destroy to an extraordinary degree”: He will be allowed to destroy other armies, his political rivals, and many of God’s own people.

Daniel 8:25 It would seem as if evil and deceit are about to take over the whole world when this king reigns. “He will be so crafty in destroying anyone who opposes him that while opponents think they are perfectly safe, he is plotting their destruction” (Butler p. 315). This king will become so proud and so self-confident that he will even attack the things, which represent God. “But he will be broken without human agency”: That is, God will personally deal with him through His providential workings. If God can deal with such a devious and powerful individual, than God can also deal with modern mad men and terrorists. Note, because of the sins among God’s own people, God will allow them to be humbled and punished, and God will allow evil to triumph for a season.

Daniel 8:26 The vision applied to many days in the future. Note, the vision was given in the year 550 B.C. and began to be fulfilled in 539 B.C. Antiochus will come to power in 171 B.C., and the vision was finished in 164 B.C. That is less than 400 years in the future, yet the Lord described it as many days to come. Now compare this with Revelation 22:10 where the command is “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near”. Obviously, the events described in the book of Revelation cannot be things still yet future, but applied to events which would happen shortly after the book was written. It does not make any sense for the many days of Daniel to be less than 400 years and the time is near of Revelation to be 2000 years.

Daniel 8:27 Daniel is probably sick because he has heard of the evil times that were ahead for his people. Do we have such empathy for God’s people? Does unfaithfulness among God’s people make us sick? “But I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it”: Even though Daniel was given some interpretation, he still does not have all the facts (see 1 Peter 1:10-12). This stands as proof that Daniel did not invent or make-up the visions which he recorded.

Verse 2

Dan 8:2

Daniel 8:2 And I sawH7200 in a vision;H2377 and it came to pass,H1961 when I saw,H7200 that IH589 was at ShushanH7800 in the palace,H1002 whichH834 is in the provinceH4082 of Elam;H5867 and I sawH7200 in a vision,H2377 and IH589 wasH1961 byH5921 the riverH180 of Ulai.H195

Daniel 8:2

And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at 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.

Daniel here states that he was in the palace at Shushan when he saw this vision. Commentators are divided on whether Daniel’s presence in Shushan was only within his vision or if he was literally in Shushan when he received the vision. It is unlikely that the location of where Daniel found himself in the vision would be worthy of the level of detail recorded. There can hardly be any apocalyptic significance regarding Daniel’s location within the vision itself. It is much more likely that Daniel was in Shushan when he received the vision. This is a possible explanation of why Belshazzar did not know Daniel personally when he wanted to know the meaning of the hand writing on the wall. Daniel may have been posted in Shushan by Nabonidus before Belshazzar became co-regent and Belshazzar merely never availed himself of any opportunity to acquaint himself with all of his servants. In either event, whether Daniel served in Babylon or Shushan, it is a testament to Belshazzar’s poor leadership that he did not even know who Daniel was. Verse 27 reveals that Daniel was in the service of the king. Belshazzar obviously did not know who all his chief servants were.

Shushan (Susa), was located some two hundred and forty miles to the east of Babylon in present day southwestern Iran. It was the ancient capital of Elam. During Daniel’s time it was a holding of the Babylonian Empire but afterwards it became a royal residence and the capital of the Persian Empire (Nehemiah 1:1). The site is present-day Shush, about 150 miles north of the Persian Gulf.

Shushan was an ancient city and long before the time of Abraham, Shushan was the center of Elamite civilization. Some scholars believe it was a cult city centering around worship of one of the chief Elamite gods. The city had frequent contacts with Mesopotamia.

The Assyrian King Ashurbanipal, or Asnapper in Ezra 4:10, led a military campaign against Shushan about 642 - 639 BC. In about 640 BC. he sacked the city and carried some of its inhabitants (Susanchites, Ezra 4:9, KJV) into exile in Samaria (V 10).

When Cyrus the Great who reigned from 550 to 529 BC., and established the Persian Empire, he made Shushan its capital. At Shushan, Darius the Great who ruled from about 521 to 486 BC., built his royal palace. This same palace was occupied by Artaxerxes II, also known as Ahasuerus (404- 359 BC.), who was the king of Medo-Persia and husband to Esther. Most of the events recorded in the Book of Esther took place in Shushan (Esther 1:2-5; Esther 2:3-8; Esther 3:15; Esther 4:8-16; Esther 8:14-15; Esther 9:6-18).

Verse 3

Dan 8:3

Daniel 8:3 Then I lifted upH5375 mine eyes,H5869 and saw,H7200 and, behold,H2009 there stoodH5975 beforeH6440 the riverH180 aH259 ramH352 which had two horns:H7161 and the two hornsH7161 were high;H1364 but oneH259 was higherH1364 thanH4480 the other,H8145 and the higherH1364 came upH5927 last.H314

Daniel 8:3

Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

Very helpful in this vision is the fact that Gabriel explained it to Daniel (Daniel 8:17). There can be no mistaking who the ram with the two horns are, "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia" (Daniel 8:20).

The term "Horn" in the East is the symbol of power, strength and royalty.

"One was higher than the other ... the higher came up last." Persia, which was of little note until Cyrus’ time, became then ascendant over Media, the more ancient kingdom. Darius was 62 years old (Daniel 5:31) when he began to reign; during his short reign of 2 years, being a weak king (Daniel 6:7; Daniel 6:14; Daniel 6:17), the government was almost entirely in Cyrus’ hands. Hence, Herodotus does not mention Darius, but Xenophon does, under the name of Cyaxares II. The "ram" here corresponds to the "Breast and his arms of silver" in Daniel 2:32, and the "bear" in Daniel 7:5, symbolizing bravery, overwhelming strength and force. Cyrus then was the horn which rose higher and came up last after Darius.

As a point of historical interest, the king of Persia wore a jeweled ram’s head of gold instead of a diadem, such as are seen on the pillars at Persepolis which means ’The city of the Persians’. Also the Hebrew word for ram, which means strong and brave, springs from the same root as "Elam," or Persia. The "one horn higher than the other" answers to the bear "raising itself on one side" as seen in Daniel 7:5.

Verse 4

Dan 8:4

Daniel 8:4 I sawH7200 (H853) the ramH352 pushingH5055 westward,H3220 and northward,H6828 and southward;H5045 so that noH3808 H3605 beastsH2416 might standH5975 beforeH6440 him, neitherH369 was there any that could deliverH5337 out of his hand;H4480 H3027 but he didH6213 according to his will,H7522 and became great.H1431

Daniel 8:4

I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.

The ram pushing in three different directions, westward, northward, and southward corresponds with The bear’s having three ribs in his mouth as seen in Daniel 7:5. The directions which the Medo-Persian Empire advanced are:

Westward conquering Babylon, Mesopotamia, Syria and Asia Minor including Lydia.

Northward conquering Colchis, Armenia, Iberia and the dwellers on the Caspian sea.

Southward conquering Judea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya and also India, under Darius.

The vision did not show any eastward advancement of the Medo-Persian Empire and well it wouldn’t. They themselves came from the east. In Isaiah 46:11, referencing the Medo-Persians, they are portrayed as "a ravenous bird from the east".

And this world empire did indeed become great in that they were quite powerful, amassing vast territory and wealth. The Medo-Persian Empire extended from the Indus River to the east to Thrace on the Northwest bordering Macedonia. It encompassed all the territory bordered by and between the Caspian Sea, the Red Sea, the Arabian sea, the Persian Gulf, The Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In sheer land mass it was far bigger than the Babylonian Empire, encompassing all of it as well as Egypt and Lydia (Asia Minor).

Verse 5

Dan 8:5

Daniel 8:5 And as IH589 wasH1961 considering,H995 behold,H2009 an he goatH6842 H5795 cameH935 fromH4480 the westH4628 onH5921 the faceH6440 of the wholeH3605 earth,H776 and touchedH5060 notH369 the ground:H776 and the goatH6842 had a notableH2380 hornH7161 betweenH996 his eyes.H5869

Daniel 8:5

And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

As with the ram with the two horns, we are not left with any doubt as to the identity of the "he goat". It is positively identified by Gabriel in Verse 21, "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king". The first king of Greece as a world empire was Alexander the Great otherwise known as Alexander III of Macedon.

Alexander assumed the kingship of Macedon following the death of his father Philip II, who had unified most of the city-states of mainland Greece under Macedonian supremacy in a federation called the League of Corinth. The decisive battle of Philip’s conquest of Greece occurred in 338 BC at Chaeronea in Boeotia, when Philip beat the Athenians and their allies. The military feat that won the battle that day was a cavalry charge by his son, Alexander, who was only eighteen years old at the time. When Alexander’s father died in 336 BC at an assassin’s hand, Alexander quickly consolidated his power and set out to conquer the world at the age of twenty-one.

In 334 BC, Alexander crossed over into Asia Minor to begin a conquest of Persia. The Persian Empire covered most of the known world: Asia Minor, the Middle East, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Iran. Alexander’s army numbered about thirty thousand infantry and only five thousand cavalry. He had no navy and he had no money.

Alexander moved quickly to gain a few sure victories, so he could gain money and supplies. He first focused on the coastal cities so that he could gain control of the ports. By doing that, the Persian navy had no place to make landfall. After cutting off the Persian navy, he took his conquest into the mainland of Asia Minor. Alexander was a ferocious warrior and accompanied his soldiers into the thickest parts of the battles. His troops grew intensely loyal to him as a result of his personal involvement in the hand to hand combat.

He quickly overran Asian Minor after defeating the Persian forces that controlled the territory, and after seizing all the coastal cities, he turned inland towards Syria in 333 BC. There he engaged the main Persian army under the leadership of king Darius. Alexander personally led a cavalry charge against him at a city called Issus. The Persians were a much larger force but were defeated anyway and they retreated towards Mesopotamia and left Alexander free to continue south. Alexander then seized the coastal towns along the Phoenician and Palestinian coasts. After that, he continued south and conquered Egypt.

Alexander then moved down the Phoenican coast and conquered the city of Tyre, which was the central headquarters of the Persian navy. When Tyre fell, Darius realized he would be unable to defeat Alexander and offered to give him all of the Persian Empire west of the Euphrates River, hoping to keep Mesopotamia, Persia and the northern territories.

Alexander refused the offer and in 331 BC, he crossed the Euphrates river into Mesopotamia. Darius met him near the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, the city that had been destroyed by the Chaldeans only three centuries earlier and was defeated by Alexander’s smaller force. In January of 330 BC, Alexander conquered Babylon which was the wealthiest city of the Persian Empire. Alexander, who had started with almost no resources had at his disposal the royal treasury of the Persian Empire. The fall of Babylon marked the end of the power of the Persian Empire. After that, Alexander moved through the rest of the territory with relative ease.

Having conquered what was then the known world, Alexander had pushed his army to the very limits of civilization as he knew it. But he saw that the world extended further and he wanted to go onward and everything he saw. Alexander and his army pushed east, through Scythia (northern Iran), and all the way to what is today known as Pakistan and India. He had conquered Bactria at the foot of the western Himalayas, gained a huge Bactrian army, and married a Bactrian princess named Roxane. But when he tried to push on past Pakistan, his army grew tired, and he abandoned the eastward conquest in 327 BC.

In 324 BC, Alexander returned to Babylon. He was at that time, literally, king of the known world, and began to lay down his strategies for consolidating his new empire. But his plans were never carried out because in 323 BC, at the age of thirty-three, he contracted a fever and died. Upon his death, the Greek Empire fell into a civil war while his most powerful generals fought over the territories and it was divided up into four distinct kingdoms.

Alexander had dominated the face of the whole earth" so rapidly that his feet seemed to never touch the ground. The term, "the whole earth" is an apocalyptic figure for all of the known world to those who would first read Daniel’s account. In their perception, it was the whole earth. Alexander and his armies moved so fast that he conquered the greater part of that world of antiquity which skirted the Mediterranean Sea by 327 BC. Alexander began his reign in Macedonia in 336 BC. Nine years later, he had successfully conquered all of the Medo-Persian Empire and brought it under Grecian rule. This Grecian Empire, is the same as the brass of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter two and the “leopard” of Daniel’s dream-vision of chapter seven.

Verses 6-7

Dan 8:6-7

Daniel 8:6 And he cameH935 toH5704 the ramH352 that hadH1167 two horns,H7161 whichH834 I had seenH7200 standingH5975 beforeH6440 the river,H180 and ranH7323 untoH413 him in the furyH2534 of his power.H3581

Daniel 8:7 And I sawH7200 him come closeH5060 untoH681 the ram,H352 and he was moved with cholerH4843 againstH413 him, and smoteH5221 (H853) the ram,H352 and brakeH7665 (H853) his twoH8147 horns:H7161 and there wasH1961 noH3808 powerH3581 in the ramH352 to standH5975 beforeH6440 him, but he cast him downH7993 to the ground,H776 and stamped uponH7429 him: and there wasH1961 noneH3808 that could deliverH5337 the ramH352 out of his hand.H4480 H3027

Daniel 8:6-7

And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had there seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

When Alexander came up against the Medo-Persian Empire, the horns of strength and power on the ram were broken. The Ram was defeated, thrown to the ground and the figure is that Alexander stomped on him with his feet. The picture here is one of Alexander’s overwhelming defeat and overthrow of the Medo-Persian Empire. None of the Medes nor the Persians could produce someone who could stop Alexander. He defeated them all and in just 9 years he had swept across the face of the entire Medo-Persian Empire and it became the Grecian Empire identified by Gabriel in Daniel 8:21.

Alexander’s conquest of his empire was marked with a distinct strategy that was more prominent with his policies than with others before him. Alexander instituted a policy of assimilating his empire into the Greek culture. This was called Hellenism. The word Hellenism is derived from the word, Hellene, which was the Greek word for the Greeks. The Hellenistic age was the age of the Greeks. During this time, Greek culture, language and power extended itself across the known world. While the classical age of Greece produced great literature, poetry, philosophy, drama, and art, the conquering of the known world resulted in this culture being propagated throughout their territories. Alexander actively exported Greek culture and language into the territories he conquered. This was a new idea and this exporting of culture deeply influenced the civilizations that arose afterwards. One notable difference was that most of the known world adopted the Greek language as their own. The Hebrew old testament scriptures were eventually translated into Greek because the children of the old Israelites were raised speaking the Greek language. They needed scriptures in a language they could read and understand. This translation of the old testament Hebrew into Greek was known as the Septuagint.

Verse 8

Dan 8:8

Daniel 8:8 Therefore the he goatH6842 H5795 waxed very great:H1431 H5704 H3966 and when he was strong,H6105 the greatH1419 hornH7161 was broken;H7665 and forH8478 it came upH5927 fourH702 notable onesH2380 toward the fourH702 windsH7307 of heaven.H8064

Daniel 8:8

Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

Alexander "waxed very great", hence the title, ’Alexander the Great’. History records that Alexander contracted a deadly fever and died in the city of Babylon in 323 BC in the height of his power. Alexander’s heir was, as yet unborn, and Alexander failed to set in place a regency to assure the ascension of his heir in the event of his death. Alexander was quite young at this time and obviously had no idea he would take sick and die.

Upon Alexander’s death, there was almost immediately a dispute among his generals as to who his successor should be. General Meleager and the infantry supported the candidacy of Alexander’s illegitimate half-brother named Arrhidaeus. General Perdiccas, the leading cavalry commander, supported waiting until the birth of Alexander’s child by Roxana. A dispute arose over whether the child would be a male or not. A compromise was arranged - Arrhidaeus (as Philip III) would become a figurehead king while Perdiccas would rule the empire as regent. Alexander’s direct heir would assume the throne if it was a boy. And he was and was named Alexander IV, born in August of 323 BC.

Perdiccas was assassinated by his senior officers in May or June of 321 or 320 BC. Antipater was then named as the new regent over the empire. He brought with him Roxana to Macedon and gave up trying to rule supremely over the Empire and left it under the control of the diadochi. Antipater died in 319 and he named Polyperchon, a Macedonian general who had served under both Alexander and his father, as his successor. This move enraged Antipater’s son, Cassender, and he allied himself with Ptolemy Soter, Antigonus and Eurydice who was the ambitious wife of king Philip Arrhidaeus, and declared war upon the regency under Polyperchon. The Civil war that erupted went back and forth with both Cassender and Polyperchon defeating and being defeated by each other. In 316, Cassender took Macedon again, and a peace treaty was signed which recognized Alexander IV as Alexander’s rightful heir to the throne. Cassender would rule as regent until his death when Alexander would then be old enough to assume the throne.

After the peace treaty was signed, those opposed to Cassender started declaring that Alexander IV should assume the throne and that the regency was no longer necessary. Cassender had both Roxana and the thirteen year old Alexander IV assasinated by poisoning. Thus ended any hope of the Grecian Empire being ruled by any heir of Alexander the Great.

There were more-or-less forty years of constant war between Alexander’s generals, known as the Wars of the Diadochi, for the rule of his vast Empire. By about 281 BC the situation had stabilized, resulting in four major domains. Gabriel made it clear to Daniel in verse 22 that the Grecian Empire would then be ruled by four kings, explaining the four notable horns. Geographically, the four land-mass territories would eventually come to be:

1) Macedon and central Greece, on mainland Europe, under the rule of Cassender, the son of Antipater, the founder of the short-lived Antipatrid dynasty. The Antigonid dynasty succeeded the Antipatrid headed by one of Alexander’s generals, Antigonus I Monophthalmus. He was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. During his early life he served under Alexander’s father, Philip II, and he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi (Generals), after Alexander’s death, declaring himself king in 306 BC and establishing the Antigonid dynasty.

2) Asia Minor, then called Anatolia ruled by the Attalid dynasty which ruled from the city of Pergamon after the death of Lysimachus who was one of Alexander’s generals. The Attalid kingdom was the remnant of the Lysimachian Empire. One of Lysimachus’ officers, Philetaerus, took control of the city in 282 BC. The later Attalids were descended from his father, and they expanded the city into a kingdom. Attalus I proclaimed himself King in the 230s BC, following his victories over the Galatians. The Attalids ruled Pergamon until Attalus III bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic in 133 BC.

3) Babylonia and Syria under the rule of Seleucus I who established himself in Babylon in 312 BC. After the death of Alexander, Seleucus was appointed as the satrap of Babylon in 323 BCE. Antigonus attacked Seleucus and forced him to flee from Babylon, but, supported by Ptolemy, he was able to return victorious in 312 BCE. Seleucus later went on to conquer the Persian and the Median territories. He formed an alliance with the Indian King Chandragupta Maurya. Seleucus defeated Antigonus in the battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE and Lysimachus in the battle of Corupedium in 281 BCE. He was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus during the same year. Seleucus’ successor was his son Antiochus I, ancester of Antiochus IV Epiphanes who played prominently in this vision of Daniel. Seleucus I was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great and one of his Diadochi (Generals). In the Wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander’s death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire.

4) Egypt under the rule of Ptolemy who was the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty and declared himself King Ptolemy I in 305 BC. He was accepted by the Egyptians as the successor to the Pharoahs and his Dynasty lasted until the Roman conquest of 30 BC. Alexandria was the capitol city. His kingdom was the last holdout of Alexander’s former empire to Roman conquest.

Verse 9

Dan 8:9

Daniel 8:9 And out ofH4480 oneH259 ofH4480 them came forthH3318 aH259 littleH4480 H4704 horn,H7161 which waxed exceeding great,H1431 H3499 towardH413 the south,H5045 and towardH413 the east,H4217 and towardH413 the pleasantH6643 land.

Daniel 8:9

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

Out of the lineage of Seleucus who’s son was named Antiochus I, arose a man by the name of Antiochus IV, son of Antiochus III and Laodice III. An interesting historical fact here is that the ancient city of Laodicea, where within was a church addressed by Jesus in Revelation, was named after the wife of Antiochus II whose name was also Laodice. Earlier the city had been named Diospolis which meant ’city of Zeus’. The worship of Zeus figured prominently in the actions of Antiochus IV.

Antiochus IV’s father had taken Palestine from Ptolemy-Egypt but in later conflicts with the expanding interests of Rome which was coming to power, he was forced to surrender his minor footholds in Greece/Macedonia as well as in Asia Minor. Furthermore, under a treaty drawn up by Rome in 188 BC at his request, he was required by the treaty to surrender to the Roman republic all his possessions west of Tarsus, pay for the expenses of the war, keep no more than 12 ships and deliver twelve hostages, including one if his own sons to secure his performance of the peace terms. The son he delivered was none other than Antiochus IV. He spent 12 years as a hostage in Rome before he was exchanged for his nephew Demetrius I Soter who was the son and heir of King Seleucus. Seleucus was later assasinated by a usurper named Heliodorus. Antiochus IV in turn ousted Heliodorus and seized the throne from the true heir, Demetrius I Soter, who earlier replaced him as a hostage in Rome. He then proclaimed himself co-regent for another son of Seleucus who was an infant also named Antiochus, whom he then murdered a few years later.

Antiochus IV had visions and ambitions of restoring the kingdom of Seleucid-Syria to its former glory and power. He sought to unify the multi-cultured population, including the Jews, under a vigorous program of Hellenization which would include common laws, common cultural practices and a common religion, especially for the supremacy of the Olympian pagan god named Zeus. The Israelites had learned their lesson about the worship of false gods under their Babylonian captivity and as a whole would refuse to accept that aspect of Antiochus’ Hellenization policy.

In Jerusalem, two priestly brothers were in public political dispute. Onias III who was strictly Orthodox and the hereditary high priest, favored the more lenient Ptolemy-Egyptian policy to Antiochus’ policy of imposed Hellenization while Joshua, also known by the Greek name Jason, favored the policies of Antiochus. Antiochus chose to try and settle this dispute by appointing Jason as high priest and then arresting his brother, Onias III and taking him to Antioch as a prisoner in 174 BC.

As high priest in Jerusalem, Jason favored Antiochus who increased his authority beyond that of religious matters into more civil power. In return, Jason agreed to pay more financial tribute, which Antiochus needed, and to also promote a stepped-up Hellenization program, which the king wanted. As a result of this, the Jewish priesthood and Sanhedrin were replaced by a Greek city state form of constitutional government, known as the "polis", which in other places had been the Key to forced Hellenization.

Jason’s plan was going along nicely until his aid, and brother, Menelaus, went to Antiochus with the finances promising more tribute money and reinforced Hellenization programs if he were appointed high priest in Jerusalem. By this time, there was also an increasing number of Jewish nobility who favored Hellenism for political and economic reasons. This was exactly what Antiochus wanted so Menelaus was appointed as the high priest in Jerusalem in 171 BC. Jason fled Jerusalem and Menelaus took temple vessels and treasury money to pay the increased tribute money to Antiochus. Faithful Jews were outraged and Onias III protested. Menelaus then arranged to have Onias slain to silence his protests. Jason however survived and did not forget the treachery of Menelaus.

Despite the resistance of the faithful Jews, Antiochus was growing in power. He learned of a pending invasion effort from Ptolemy-Egypt. As a defensive move, he therefore marched on Egypt, defeated and divided it into rival territories He then appointed Ptolemy VI in Memphis and Ptolemy VIII in Alexandria as his client kings. Leaving them behind to deal with each other, he returned to Syria with the money he was able to plunder from them. After this conquest he started having visions of being another Alexander and taking Egypt completely under Syrian rule and then going on from there to conquer the rest of Alexander’s old empire. In 169 BC, Antiochus assumed the designation of “Epiphany” which meant “god manifest", and issued propaganda coins reflecting himself in the form of the god Zeus.

While Antiochus was planning world conquest elsewhere, matters were again heating up in Jerusalem! An internal eruption arose between the Jewish factions over Menelaus’ plundering the temple, causing a revolt from the faithful Jews. Jason, seeing an opportunity to regain his seat as the Jewish high priest, came out of hiding, gathered his own supporters, and attacked Menelaus. This resulted in Menelaus fleeing and taking refuge in the Syrian stronghold of Acra in Jerusalem. Jason then massacred followers of Menelaus as well as the faithful Jews, but this backfired on him and he was forced to retreat once again.

Antiochus saw this Jewish uproar as an insurrection against his own authority. He sought out Menelaus, and with military force he moved upon Jerusalem, slaughtering hundreds, desecrating the temple, and reinstated Menelaus as his appointed high priest for the Jews. The faithful Jews were on the verge of revolt but were unable to overcome Antiochus superior military might.

Antiochus had distractions from another source. Ptolemy VI and VIII had made an alliance with Egypt. But before they became a threat and attempted an attack on Syria, Antiochus again invaded Egypt with the intent of bringing them under absolute Syrian rule. However, the Ptolemies had appealed to the steadily rising powers of Rome for intervention. Egypt had a rich grain supply which the Romans could use so they were interested in helping the Ptolemies out for a price.

In 168 BC Antiochus led a second attack on Egypt and also sent a fleet to capture Cyprus. Before reaching Alexandria, his path was blocked by a single, old Roman ambassador named Gaius Popillius Laenas, who delivered a message from the Roman Senate ordering Antiochus to withdraw his armies from Egypt and Cyprus, or consider themselves in a state of war with the Roman Republic. Antiochus said he would discuss it with his council, whereupon the Roman envoy drew a line in the sand around him and said, "Before you cross this circle I want you to give me a reply for the Roman Senate" - implying that Rome would declare war if the King stepped out of the circle without committing to leave Egypt immediately. Weighing his options, Antiochus wisely decided to withdraw and returned to Syria in defeat and humiliation. This is where the proverbial line drawn in the sand that cannot be crossed originated.

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem a rumor spread that Antiochus was dead and a Jerusalem civil war broke out to cast off Hellenism. Having just been humiliated by the Romans and angry, Antiochus marched on Jerusalem while on his return to Syria. In Palestine, and especially in Jerusalem, the Jews were about to experience his military fury. He was mad and intended to take it out on the rebellious Jews who resisted Hellenization and remained faithful to God.

Upon arriving at Jerusalem, he presented himself as the manifestation of the supreme god Zeus, and calling himself by the title “Epiphanies”. He and his army arrived under the guise of peace but suddenly attacked Jerusalem on a Sabbath, slaughtered thousands, took women and children to be sold as slaves and then plundered the city, pulling down portions of its walls. His own fortress of Acra, within the city, was reinforced.

In 167 BC he moved to suppress Judaism by destroying the synagogues and issuing the order that all scripture be destroyed. He also forbade circumcision, Sabbath observance, scripture possession, Jewish sacrifices and the observances of their festivals. Altars to Zeus were then set up and Jews were ordered to sacrifice swine upon them and to eat the meat as well. All resistance carried the threat of the penalty of death. The date was December 16, 167 BC. The Jewish temple was then formally dedicated to the Olympian god Zeus, An idol was erected therein with an altar over the top of the temple alter and swine were offered on it to Zeus. Furthermore, monthly offerings were to be made on the 25th, the birthday of Antiochus. All this was viewed by Daniel as the transgression of desolation" in Daniel 8:13 and the "abomination that maketh desolate" in Daniel 11:31.

Jews who refused were butchered while others fled from the city. A priest by the name of Mattathias, refused to be a part of the pagan sacrifices and killed a fellow Jew who did. He also killed the Syrian officer of the altar and took his family and fled to the surrounding hills outside Jerusalem. These matters were what sparked the Maccabean wars of 167-164 BC. This Jewish nationalism and Orthodox resistance was in response to Antiochus’ demands to offer swine to Zeus and for what he did to the temple. Mattathias was a major organizer of the Jewish revolt against Antiochus.

Mattathias’ son Judas, succeeded him in 166 BC. He was the leader of groups who attacked Antiochus’ troops with guerilla warfare type tactics. Against unbelievable odds, his strategy and tactics were masterful and very successful. The family surname, also assumed by the Jewish forces, was ’Maccabee’, meaning ’the hammer’. Although there were many secular Jewish factions that favored Hellenism, there were legions of Jewish nationalist and faithful God fearing people who supported the Maccabean resistance.

In 165 BC, Antiochus suffered additional resistance to the east with Parthia and other revolts in Armenia and Persia. Financial tributes were being withheld which presented a major drain on vital resources needed to wage war. Antiochus, being distracted by these new developments, ordered Lysias to exterminate the Jews while he concentrated on the revolts in the east. A large army was dispatched to do deal with the Jews but was defeated by a significantly smaller force of the Maccabeans under the lead of Judas. The surviving Syrian army was forced to retreat and then Lysias personally led a larger force against Judas and was defeated again.

While Lysias was getting defeated by the Jews, Antiochus himself led the main Seleucid army against the Parthians. He successfully subjugated them and reoccupied Armenia as well. His success was short lived. Judas overthrew Acra, then led the cleansing of the temple and its rededication to God. Three years after its being intensely desecrated, the sacrifices were resumed on December 14, 164 BC. Hence the annual “feast of dedication” (John 10:22). Enraged and needing funds, Antiochus attempted to plunder the temple of “Nanaea” (“Artemis”) in Elymais. Unsuccessful and barely escaping with his life, he soon became withdrawn. Insane, he retreated to Persia in the late spring or early summer of 163 BC. Having contracted a disease of his bowels, he died an agonizing, painful death.

His only heir was an infant son named Antiochus V Eupator. The result was a series of civil wars between rival claimants to the throne, similar to the civil wars after the death of Alexander. These civil wars crippled the Seleucid Empire during a critical phase in their wars against Parthia. The empire continued its downward spiral in power and was finally made into a Roman province in 63 BC by the Roman republic military leader, Pompey who executed the remaining Seleucid princes thus ending the dynasty.

Verse 10

Dan 8:10

Daniel 8:10 And it waxed great,H1431 even toH5704 the hostH6635 of heaven;H8064 and it cast downH5307 some ofH4480 the hostH6635 and ofH4480 the starsH3556 to the ground,H776 and stamped uponH7429 them.

Daniel 8:10

And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

As seen earlier, Antiochus grew in power. The "host" is in reference to the Israelites. Stars represented a major ruler or authority. In this context, the stars which are cast down and stamped upon are probably in reference to the Jewish high priests and the Sanhedrin which were replaced as a result of the Hellenism of Jerusalem under Antiochus.

Verse 11

Dan 8:11

Daniel 8:11 Yea, he magnifiedH1431 himself even toH5704 the princeH8269 of the host,H6635 and byH4480 him the dailyH8548 sacrifice was taken away,H7311 and the placeH4349 of his sanctuaryH4720 was cast down.H7993

Daniel 8:11

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.

He stood up against God Himself. Daniel 8:25, "he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes" and "against the God of gods" (Daniel 11:36). Antiochus not only opposed God’s people, the host, but also God Himself. The "daily sacrifice" that "was taken away" is a key element in the identification of Antiochus with the little horn that came up from among the other four. Jerusalem, being in the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus was the only historical figure that can be matched up with the little horn. None of the other three empires had the opportunity to produce a suitable candidate. History positively identifies Antiochus IV as the Seleucid king who did indeed take away the daily sacrifice by forbidding the Jews to worship God in the temple, later desecrating the temple by building an alter to Zeus and sacrificing swine on the alter.

Verse 12

Dan 8:12

Daniel 8:12 And an hostH6635 was givenH5414 him againstH5921 the dailyH8548 sacrifice by reason of transgression,H6588 and it cast downH7993 the truthH571 to the ground;H776 and it practised,H6213 and prospered.H6743

Daniel 8:12

And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

The Jews were given over to Antiochus because of their transgressions against God. Some of the Jews were acquiescing to the Hellenization of their culture. They were accepting the change and even welcoming them into their culture. They built a place of exercise and a gymnasium where they were reported to compete in the Greek games naked. Moreover they forsook the holy covenant and the covenant of circumcision, becoming more and more like the Greeks. The high priest Onias III was administering the law in godliness until his brother, Jason, who was pro-Antiochus was instated as high priest. Onias III was imprisoned and Jason, his brother and successor, was betrayed by his aid who was appointed as high priest in exchange for a vigorous program of Hellenization. The result was that many of the Jews went along with this and thus their transgression in this matter was the reason for the calamities that befell them as a result of Antiochus’ cruelty.

Verses 13-14

Dan 8:13-14

Daniel 8:13 Then I heardH8085 oneH259 saintH6918 speaking,H1696 and anotherH259 saintH6918 saidH559 unto that certainH6422 saint which spake,H1696 How longH5704 H4970 shall be the visionH2377 concerning the dailyH8548 sacrifice, and the transgressionH6588 of desolation,H8074 to giveH5414 both the sanctuaryH6944 and the hostH6635 to be trodden under foot?H4823

Daniel 8:14 And he saidH559 untoH413 me, UntoH5704 two thousandH505 and threeH7969 hundredH3967 days;H6153 H1242 then shall the sanctuaryH6944 be cleansed.H6663

Daniel 8:13-14

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint 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, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

In the vision, Daniel saw two saints, "holy ones" in the NKJV and ASV, discussing how long the transgression of desolation would go on. How long would the sanctuary, which was one of the innermost sacred chambers in the temple, be trodden under the feet of the gentiles? The answer was given directly to Daniel as if he had asked it.

"two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." A better translation of this verse would be from the ASV, "Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings (and) mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed". This translation which is a more accurate rendering of the original Greek is much easier to harmonize with the historical facts. Two thousand three hundred days is about 6 years, 3 months and 20 days. Antiochus was in Jerusalem, on and off for a period of about 6 years. But he did not desecrate the temple until 3 - 4 years before his death and the temple worship was reinstated before he died.

Each evening and morning was a day. It was that way in the creation account. Here and evening and a morning is one day, therefore twenty three hundred evenings and mornings would equal one thousand, one hundred and fifty days, or 3 years, 1 month and 25 days.

When Antiochus was sent home from Egypt by the old Roman ambassador named Gaius Popillius Laenas in humiliation and shame, he sent 22,000 men under the command of Apollonius to Jerusalem with orders to destroy it. According to Josephus the following took place:

1. Antiochus took possession of the city of Jerusalem.

2. He vandalized the temple and left it bare.

3. He forbade the Jews to offer their daily sacrifices.

4. He burnt down many of their buildings.

5. He built a citadel (Acra), in the lower part of the city, wherein the Hellenized Jews lived.

6. He built an idol of Zeus on the alter.

7. He slew swine and offered them to Zeus on the alter in the temple.

8. He compelled the Jews to forsake the order of worship.

9. He compelled the Jews to raise idol alters in every city and village and to offer swine on them every day.

10. He forbade circumcision

11. He caused those who refused to adhere to his instructions to be whipped with rods and then torn apart.

12. He caused women caught with circumcised babies to be strangled with their sons hung around their necks.

13. he had every copy of the Law of Moses destroyed that could be found.

All of this happened in 167 BC. According to Josephus, "on the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu, they [the Jews], lighted the lamps that were on the candlestick, and offered incense upon the alter [of incense], and laid loaves upon the table [of the shewbread], and offered burnt offerings upon the new alter [of burnt offering]. Now it so fell out, that these things were done on the very same day on which their divine worship had fallen off, and was reduced to a profane and common use, after three years time, for so it was, that the temple was made desolate by Antiochus, and so continued for three years". Josephus records three years, history records a time of between 3 and 4 years, Inspiration says 3 years, 1 month and 25 days, or more precisely, Two thousand, three hundred evenings and mornings.

The cleansing and rededication of the temple was a feat in itself. The altar of the Olympian Zeus was destroyed. The alter being desecrated with the blood of swine was rebuilt with new stones. The damage to the temple was repaired. It was meticulously cleaned. A priest was selected who had remained faithful to God throughout the period of the abomination of desolations. Thus on December 14, 164 BC., exactly three years after its desecration, the temple was rededicated and the daily sacrifices were restored. This event marked the beginning of the Jewish Feast of Dedication or Lights (Hanukkah). This feast was referenced in the New Testament in John 10:22:23 where Jesus was in attendance at the feast of dedication in Jerusalem.

Verses 15-16

Dan 8:15-16

Daniel 8:15 And it came to pass,H1961 when I, even IH589 Daniel,H1840 had seenH7200 (H853) the vision,H2377 and soughtH1245 for the meaning,H998 then, behold,H2009 there stoodH5975 beforeH5048 me as the appearanceH4758 of a man.H1397

Daniel 8:16 And I heardH8085 a man’sH120 voiceH6963 betweenH996 the banks of Ulai,H195 which called,H7121 and said,H559 Gabriel,H1403 make thisH1975 man to understandH995 (H853) the vision.H4758

Daniel 8:15-16

And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

It was important for Daniel to understand this vision. Without this, its meaning would be shrouded from those yet to live who desperately needed to know this information. Many Jews succumbed to the Hellenization of their culture and paid a heavy price for it. Antiochus declared himself as god manifest, Zeus in particular, and tried to force the children of God to worship idols of this false Olympian Deity. Antiochus IV would have a 1st century counterpart who would do the same thing for the same reasons. Both leaders sought forced loyalty. The Jews under Antiochus needed to know what was coming and why, and the Christians living under Emperor Domitian of Imperial Rome needed to be able to look back and see what the consequences were for allowing themselves to be naturalized to a pagan culture.

God never did, won’t and never will tolerate pagan worship no matter what the circumstances may be. Even to the point of death are the children of God expected to remain faithful. And those who would live through this type of persecution were warned over and over. The application for us today is no different. There are no circumstances under which it would be acceptable to God for his children today to cleave to another culture and seek to fit in, and to accept false worship under any circumstances up to and including their deaths. God was serious when He said "whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4).

Verses 17-19

Dan 8:17-19

Daniel 8:17 So he cameH935 nearH681 where I stood:H5977 and when he came,H935 I was afraid,H1204 and fellH5307 uponH5921 my face:H6440 but he saidH559 untoH413 me, Understand,H995 O sonH1121 of man:H120 forH3588 at the timeH6256 of the endH7093 shall be the vision.H2377

Daniel 8:18 Now as he was speakingH1696 withH5973 me, I was in a deep sleepH7290 onH5921 my faceH6440 toward the ground:H776 but he touchedH5060 me, and setH5975 me upright.H5921 H5977

Daniel 8:19 And he said,H559 Behold,H2009 I will make thee knowH3045 (H853) whatH834 shall beH1961 in the last endH319 of the indignation:H2195 forH3588 at the time appointedH4150 the endH7093 shall be.

Daniel 8:17-19

So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. 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 thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

Daniel was not a young man when he had this vision. The emotional stress coupled with his age had to leave him exhausted and distraught. Daniel may not at this time fully understand the vision, but he knew enough to realize that his countrymen were going to suffer horribly sometime in the future. One could only imagine the anxiety and stress associated with seeing such a vision and having one such as Gabriel in their presence. Gabriel touched Daniel and set him upright and informed him that the vision he had just had would be further explained.

Verse 20

Dan 8:20

Daniel 8:20 The ramH352 whichH834 thou sawestH7200 havingH1167 two hornsH7161 are the kingsH4428 of MediaH4074 and Persia.H6539

Daniel 8:20

The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

Cyrus, the Persian and Darius the Mede.

Verse 21

Dan 8:21

Daniel 8:21 And the roughH8163 goatH6842 is the kingH4428 of Grecia:H3120 and the greatH1419 hornH7161 thatH834 is betweenH996 his eyesH5869 is the firstH7223 king.H4428

Daniel 8:21

And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

Alexander the Great

Verse 22

Dan 8:22

Daniel 8:22 Now that being broken,H7665 whereas fourH702 stood upH5975 forH8478 it, fourH702 kingdomsH4438 shall stand upH5975 out of the nation,H4480 H1471 but notH3808 in his power.H3581

Daniel 8:22

Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

Alexander died suddenly with no heir and no regent appointed for his unborn child. The generals of Alexander fought over the empire and it ended up split into four main kingdoms. "Not in his power" means they would never be as powerful as Alexander was.

Verse 23

Dan 8:23

Daniel 8:23 And in the latter timeH319 of their kingdom,H4438 when the transgressorsH6586 are come to the full,H8552 a kingH4428 of fierceH5794 countenance,H6440 and understandingH995 dark sentences,H2420 shall stand up.H5975

Daniel 8:23

And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

And in the years approaching the final downfall of the Grecian Empire, when the transgressions of the Jews and the Gentiles who were Hellenizing them became more than God would endure, a king, Antiochus IV, arose to power. And he was ruthless and cruel, and he was skilled in intrigue and treachery. Such was the character of Antiochus IV who came to power due to his deceitfulness and betrayal of his own family. The throne rightly belonged to Demetrius Soter, a son of Seleucus IV Philopator, but Antiochus IV Epiphanes seized the throne and had himself proclaimed king. Thus he did not come to the throne by rightful succession; he seized it through intrigue.

Verse 24

Dan 8:24

Daniel 8:24 And his powerH3581 shall be mighty,H6105 but notH3808 by his own power:H3581 and he shall destroyH7843 wonderfully,H6381 and shall prosper,H6743 and practise,H6213 and shall destroyH7843 the mightyH6099 and the holyH6918 people.H5971

Daniel 8:24

And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

Antiochus would be very powerful, but not by his own doing. God granted him that power for a divine purpose. He would destroy people to an extraordinary degree and thereby prosper from the plunder of his victims. And he did indeed destroy the mighty and the holy people. History records that when he descended on Jerusalem after his humiliation in Egypt that he destroyed over 80,000 Israelites and took that many more into slavery. Those who refused his religious demands were executed in a most horrible fashion. Antiochus IV was truly a ruthless individual. After studying this man, it is impossible not to see him in these apocalyptic lines. These descriptions paint a picture of a horrible man, bent on the annihilation of God’s people.

Verse 25

Dan 8:25

Daniel 8:25 And throughH5921 his policyH7922 also he shall cause craftH4820 to prosperH6743 in his hand;H3027 and he shall magnifyH1431 himself in his heart,H3824 and by peaceH7962 shall destroyH7843 many:H7227 he shall also stand upH5975 againstH5921 the PrinceH8269 of princes;H8269 but he shall be brokenH7665 withoutH657 hand.H3027

Daniel 8:25

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

And through his policy of Hellenization he will cause deceit and treachery to succeed. As evidenced in his participation with the treacherous high priests, he demonstrated that he would promote evil men who were deceitful if he thought it would serve his purpose. He magnified himself in his heart to the degree that he pronounced himself "God Manifest".

"and by peace shall destroy many", Declaring peace and then destroying many is exactly what he did to the Jews when he came to destroy them. He approached Jerusalem under the guise of peace and attacked them on the sabbath day and laid Jerusalem waste in a slaughterhouse of carnage.

"he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes", He indeed opposed the Prince of princes when he built an idol of Zeus over the alter in the temple and sacrificed a pig on it to show his contempt for the Jews and for God.

"but he shall be broken without hand", God will break (or destroy) him without the help of any human being. Antiochus contracted some kind of disease which consumed him from within his bowels. The disease was said to be so awful that it caused him to smell badly and nobody could bear to carry him on his litter. He died in agony, insane, defeated in Babylon and with the knowledge that God’s people, the Israelites, had been raised again to a position of power. When Antiochus died, his opposition to the Jews ceased, and their land again had peace and rest.

Verse 26

Dan 8:26

Daniel 8:26 And the visionH4758 of the eveningH6153 and the morningH1242 whichH834 was toldH559 is true:H571 wherefore shut thou upH859 H5640 the vision;H2377 forH3588 it shall be for manyH7227 days.H3117

Daniel 8:26

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 proclaims that the vision he received was true. He was then told to Keep a record of it, that it may be preserved and that the fulfillment of it might be noted at a later date in the future. This is significant thing that was told to Daniel here. He was told to seal up the vision because it would not be realized for many days. The year of this vision was about 550 BC. Antiochus died in 164 or 163 BC. Different sources give different years for his death. This prophecy of Daniel would see its fulfillment almost four centuries later. In Revelation, John was told not to seal up the prophecy because the time was "at hand" (Revelation 22:10). Proponents of millennialism based on the prophecies of Revelation should take note of this fact and reconsider their beliefs.

Verse 27

Dan 8:27

Daniel 8:27 And IH589 DanielH1840 fainted,H1961 and was sickH2470 certain days;H3117 afterward I rose up,H6965 and didH6213 (H853) the king’sH4428 business;H4399 and I was astonishedH8074 atH5921 the vision,H4758 but noneH369 understoodH995 it.

Daniel 8:27

And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

The aged prophet has just seen a vision that spanned four centuries of time. The plight of his countrymen was dire indeed. At the time of this vision, he and most of his nation were in captivity in Babylon, living under the rule of a cruel despot. The temple lay in ruins back in what was left of Jerusalem. And in this vision, Daniel sees that the temple will again be defiled and the worship of the Jews forbidden. While the vision foretold the fall of Antiochus and cleansing of the temple, the road that had to be traveled in order to reach that point was hard. This was not a happy vision for the aged prophet to have to see, consider and record. It is entirely understandable that he was sick for a few days. Daniel loved his people and he loved God and he wanted more than anything to see his people at rest and at peace within Jerusalem, worshipping and serving God faithfully and prospering.

But like a true man of God, Daniel recovered himself and returned to his duties for the king. Daniel was astonished at the vision but did not completely understand it. But he comprehended what God wanted him to know and he understood that God wanted him to record it and this Daniel did faithfully.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Daniel 8". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/daniel-8.html.
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