Saturday 23 July 2016

Daniel 8 Commentary : What Everyone Ought To Know

After studying Daniel chapter 7 we have now come to another exciting vision in the prophetic book of Daniel. God gave Daniel this vision a few years before the fall the Babylon, twelve years to be exact.

Because Babylon is about to fall, this vision starts with Medo-Persia instead of Babylon is previous visions and prophecies. Another point to note that this vision also repeats chapter 7 but the emphasis is on the judgment.

How do we know for sure that that the vision starts with Medo Persia? The answer to that is found in the identification of the ram as Medo Persia in verse 20. The ram is said to have two horns and even a casual look on history will show us that represents the two parts of the empire with the Persians being the dominant power over the Medes.

The goat that comes to prominence after defeating the ram is said to represent Greece(see verses 21 and 22). The bible says the goat had a prominent horn between his eyes. This is definitely Alexander the Great who led the Greek empire and was the one who galvanised the Greeks for world domination and led them to defeat the Persians.

Unfortunately Alexander the Great later passed away without leaving an heir to take over his empire. This led to a civil war in his empire, with his generals fighting for control. Eventually only four were left and these are represented by the "four horns."

Before we go on there is another point that we need to emphasise here. The two animals used to represent Medo-Persia an Greece are some wild beasts but rather clean animals. You will also notice that the animals mentioned here are animals that were used for the sanctuary services. The Israelites used goats and rams in making sacrifices.

The sanctuary message is clear when you also consider that the next power, the horn power, does something against God's sanctuary, His people and His working of salvation.

While many scholars view the horn represents Antiochus Epiphanes, the truth of the matter is he was significant enough to meet the requirements found in this vision. In any case we know fronm the prophecies found in Daniel 2 and 7 that the Kingdom of Greece was followed by the Roman Empire.

As shown in Daniel 2 and 7 the Roman empire was in two phases, ie Pagan Rome followed by Divided Rome. We also saw in previous visions that eventually Papal Rome rose to fill the void.

The Cleansing of the Sanctuary.

Just as a real house needs cleansing after desecration the same applies to God's sanctuary. After the desecration by the horn power the temple is to be cleansed. THe bible in Daniel 8:13-14 says "unto two thousand three hundred years then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Since we are dealing with a symbolic prophecy here there is no reason not to see the 2300 days mentioned in this chapter as anything rather than symbolic. Luckily there is a key found in the bible for this.
In Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34 says a day is equal to a  year. Therefore the 2300 days should be interpreted as 2300 years
I is also clear from the fact that this prophecy encompasses four world powers from the Persians, Grecian, Roman and Papal Powers, that this time period is not literal days. Another important fact is that this vision extends to the very end of time. (see verses 17 and 19.

Even though the angel does not provide the actual starting point, it definitely starts during the reign of Medo-Persia (539 -331 BC) as it is the first kingdom in this vision. When we come to chapter 9 we will be told of the exact startind date of this prophecy.

The starting point is not given in Daniel chapter 8 because when the angel Gabriel who has been given divine command to make Daniel understand the vision comes Daniel faints. He faints before he is given the starting point of the 2300 days prophecy.

There a few pointers within this vision that reminds us of the previous prophecies and therefore the relationship of this prophecy with the prophecies of Daniel 2 and 7.

Is the fourth Beast with its little in Daniel chapter 7 the same as the little horn of chapter 8?

The answer is definitely yes. The following verses will provide the strong evidence supporting my answer.

Daniel 7:
In verse 21 th little horn makes war with the saints.
In verse 8 we find the little horn speaking great things.

In verse 19 the beast is said to be exceedingly dreadful.
In verse 11, the beast is slain...given to the burning.

Daniel 8:
In verse 24 the little horn destroys the mighty and the holy people.
In verse 11 it magnifies itself.
In verse 23 it is refered to as king of fierce countenance
And in verse 25 it is broken without hands.