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Tuesday, October 16 2012
The Prophet Daniel: The Ram and The He Goat
"The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia And the rough goat is the king of Grecia"
The book of Daniel is filled with history - some ancient, from Daniel's own time, and some yet-future in our own time (prophecy is actually history written in advance). Some of the prophecies given to Daniel by Jesus Christ (see Who Is The LORD?) were also dual. The famous "abomination of desolation" is one of them. The first occurred about four centuries after Daniel wrote about it; the second will occur in our future, just days before Christ's return (see the Fact Finder question below; also The Battle Of The End-Time Prophets).
Daniel was among the people of Judah who were taken into exile in Babylon (see The Prophet Daniel: A Child Of The Exile). While there, Daniel witnessed the fall of the Babylonian Empire itself to the Persian Empire (Persia is known today as Iran). Even while yet in the Babylonian era, Daniel was given to see the Greek Empire that would supersede the Persian Empire. There is no difficulty in "interpreting" the identity of the ram and the goat because the prophecy itself states who they represent: "the ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia and the rough goat is the king of Grecia."
"8:1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar [see also The Prophet Daniel: The Hand Writing On The Wall] a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel [see The Prophet Daniel: A Child Of The Exile], after that which appeared unto me at the first. 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. 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. 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." (Daniel 8:1-4 KJV)
Exactly has happened, the "he goat came from the west" (Greece is west of Persia) and conquered the empire of Persia. Thereafter, "the he goat waxed very great" but died at the peak of his power. Alexander the Great was that Greek king who died suddenly, in his thirties, without heirs. His empire was thereafter divided up by four of his generals (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids). Two of those dynasties were directly involved in the subsequent history of Jerusalem; the Ptolemies in Egypt, whose eventual fall enabled the rise of the Roman Empire (see The Cleopatra Connection and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) and the Seleucids in Syria. It was a Seleucid king, Antiochus IV, who committed the first "abomination of desolation" - from which the people of Judah, after they took back and cleansed the Temple, originated Hanukkah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Hanukkah and Israel In History and Prophecy: Hasmonean Judea).
"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. 8:6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 8:7 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. 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." (Daniel 8:5-8 KJV)
As recorded in history, the Seleucid king Antiochus IV was the original "little horn" of the prophecy.
"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. 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. 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. 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 practiced, and prospered." (Daniel 8:9-12 KJV)
The prophecy was dual (see the Fact Finder question below).
"8:13 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?
"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"
Notice carefully that Daniel was at first just given to write the prophecy - that particular prophecy applied to long after Daniel's time, so there was no need for him to understand it. The LORD nevertheless told the angel Gabriel to "make this man to understand the vision."
"8:15 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.
Unlike other prophecies that applied to Daniel's own time (e.g. the fall of Babylon to Persia; see The Prophet Daniel: The Hand Writing On The Wall), this prophecy was "for at the time of the end shall be the vision."
"8:17 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.
Persia and Greece were not yet empires in Daniel's Babylonian-era time. They existed as nations then, but like today, were not imperial powers. The LORD told Daniel that they would become so, in turn i.e. the "ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia" and "the rough goat is the king of Grecia," who would die early and that "four kingdoms" would divide his single kingdom. All of that happened exactly as the prophecies stated.
"8:19 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.
As stated, the latter part of the prophecy is for the latter days. Antiochus IV was merely a foreshadow of someone even more powerful and evil, who will commit the end-time "abomination of desolation."
"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. 8:24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 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." (Daniel 8:23-25 KJV)
Daniel wrote all that he was told - not for his time, but for the end-time.
"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.
Fact Finder: What does the Word of God tell us about the end-time "abomination of desolation, and who will commit it?
This Day In History, October 16
456: Magister militum Ricimer defeated Emperor Avitus at Piacenza and became the leader of the Western Roman Empire.
1555: During the reign of (Roman Catholic) Queen Mary I (known to history as "Bloody Mary" because of the religious persecution that she inflicted upon those who rejected papal rule of Britain), English Protestant reformers Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were burned at the stake at Oxford after being convicted of anti-Rome "heresy."
1594: William Allen died at age 62. The English cardinal supervised the preparation of the Roman Catholic Reims-Douai translation of the Bible. During his lifetime he was much involved in subversive activities against the Protestant government of Queen Elizabeth I. In a blatant act of high treason, he called upon the Catholic King Philip II of Spain to conquer England and assume the English throne. After Philip's invasion force, the Spanish Armada, was defeated by the British navy (and some very "miraculous" weather), Allen fled to Rome where he was made a cardinal.
1710: Port Royal, Acadia (now Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia) was captured from the French by the British. The Treaty of Utrecht, signed 3 years later, gave the mainland part of present-day Nova Scotia to Britain, but left Cape Breton Island and present-day New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island with France (until 1763 at the conclusion of the French and Indian War, when they too came under British rule). In 1755 many Acadians were deported for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to Britain. Many of them went to the French colony known today as Louisiana (named after French king Louis) where "acadian" became pronounced as "cajun."
1793: Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, wife of King Louis XVI, was beheaded during the French Revolution.
1813: Thee 3 day Battle of Leipzig began (also called the Battle of The Nations). It was a decisive victory of the allies over Napoleon. During the battle, most of Napoleon's German auxiliary forces went over to the allies. A large monument commemorates the battle which cost about 120,000 casualties.
1841: Queen's University was founded in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
1859: John Brown led his famous raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, and seized the armory to provide for his anti-slavery militia. He was later captured and hanged.
1934: The "Long March" of Chinese communists began under Mao Zedong.
1946: After being convicted of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trials, the major Nazi war criminals were executed the same day: Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Fritz Sauckel, Alfred Jodl. Hermann Goering escaped the gallows by committing suicide in his jail cell the day before.
1964: China exploded its first atomic bomb, at the Lop Nor test site in Sinkiang.
1973: U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissenger and North Vietnamese peace negotiator Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1978: Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland was elected pope, choosing the name John Paul II. He was the first non-Italian pope in 486 years.
1984: A baboon heart was transplanted into a human infant in California. After the transplant, "Baby Fae" lived 30 days.
1987: The Great Storm of 1987 in Britain. 20 people were killed when a devastating gale with gusts up to 115 mph struck southern Britain, the worst since records began. The storm flattened 15,000,000 trees and caused 1,000,000,000 pounds damage.
1998: Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London on a warrant from Spain that requested his extradition on murder charges.
2002: Bibliotheca Alexandrina was opened in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. It commemorates the great Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity.