Many scholars say this is one of the most important chapters in the Bible in helping us to get ready for end time events (Gabriel tells Daniel this is a prophecy for the time of the “end” 8:17)We don’t want to study prophecy for simply the sake of knowledge. We study it in order to find truth, which we can then apply to our lives (2 Tim 2:15). Although most of the preceding chapters were written in Aramaic the author of Daniel reverted back to writing in Hebrew in this chapter.
v1 The #3 is a number used for the purpose of revelation/to reveal something. Daniel links/connects this prophecy to the one that we read about in chapter 7 – there is a relationship between the vision described in the 8th chapter and the one described in the 7th chapter.
v2: I saw… I was looking…and I saw: The purpose of redundancy is to inform us (the reader) that Daniel got a good look at this vision. It wasn’t something that just went by him quickly, but he was able to study it. He paid attention to it because he recognized that it was highly important.
· The places mentioned here all remind us that Daniel received this vision while he was in exile. One of the purposes of prophecy is to take G-d’s people, who are in exile, and bring them into a Kingdom perspective.
· The River – When Ezekiel had his vision of the heavens he was also by a river (Ez 1:1). In the NT when Paul was in a city that was given over to idolatry he departed that city and
went out to a river. Rivers were considered appropriate places for prayer or worship (Acts 16:13). G-dly worship leads to revelation.
v3 “I lifted my eyes” or “I looked up” are Hebrew idioms for prayer. It was while he was praying that G-d gave him revelation.
· The ram is a beast. We have already learned that a beast relates prophetically to an empire. This ram relates specifically to a Medo/Persian empire ie modern day Iran (see 8:20)
Note: 1 Thess 5:1 Paul reveals to us that he doesn’t need to tell us about the times or seasons that will be a sign of the end days. The prophets have already revealed this information to us. However, it is important to note that Paul does make a distinction between these two distinct (but related) periods of time. It is important to keep this in mind as we study the two visions Daniel speaks about in this chapter.
· The two horns represent two different leaders/kings (ie two different dispensations) of this empire (see 8:20).
v4: Pushing: This Ram (Iran) was getting ready to charge; to attack those empires west, north and south of it.
(Note: Usually Jerusalem is ground zero for direction pointers. Prophetically if we are told something comes from the north it means from the north of Israel etc) In this verse it is revealed to us that, in the last days, Iran is going to grow in its influence and in its power and is going to pose a threat to other nations in the world. Many of these nations are not going to be able to successfully stand against Iran.
v5 Daniel was trying to wrap his head around this ram empire when he saw another vision – a goat (another beast, empire) coming from the west (ie Europe, ancient Greece – 8:21). This is going to be the last empire, and it is the one that the antichrist (the “notable” horn) rises up within.
· ‘Without touching the ground’ means that this final empire is supernatural/demonic in origin.
v6 The goat/Europe rushes at the ram/Iran. Anger (8:7) gives the goat its strength, showing us that anger is one of this empire’s chief characteristics.
v7 The ram (Iran) is struck and its two horns (two leaders) are broken/going to be destroyed. No-one comes to the rescue of the ram. The measure the ram had used against others was measured against it. (Matt 7:2)