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Saturday, December 19 2015
Daniel 8: The Ram And He Goat Of Persia And Greece
"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 writings of the prophet Daniel are rich in historic detail - some ancient, from Daniel's own time, and some yet-future in our own time. Prophecy is moreover history written in advance. Some of the prophecies given to Daniel by the LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour) were also dual in their origin and coming fulfillment.
The famous "abomination of desolation" (see the Fact Finder question below) is one such history-written-in-advance prophecy. The first occurred about four centuries after Daniel wrote about it; the second will occur in the yet-future, just days before the Messiah's return (see also The Battle Of The End-Time Prophets).
Daniel was among those 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 (see The Hand Writing On The Wall). Further, Daniel was given to see the Greek Empire that would supersede the Persian Empire as the "leader" of the world. There is no need to interpret the identity of the prophetic 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" (see also The Medes And Chaldees Prophecies).
"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 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) 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)
But the prophecy was dual - it isn't finished yet (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"
Daniel was at first just given to write the prophecy - that 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), 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 (see Nebuchadnezzar's Dream Of The World To Come). 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 do the Holy Scriptures actually say about the end-time "abomination of desolation?
This Day In History, December 19
211: Publius Septimius Geta, then co-emperor of Rome, was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard (see The Politics Of Rome and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars; also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).
1154: Henry II was crowned king of England.
1490: Anne, the Duchess of Brittany, was married to Holy Roman Emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) Maximilian I by proxy.
1562: The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots (French Protestants) and the Catholics began at the Battle of Dreux.
1606: Three ships, the Susan Constant (or Sarah Constant), the Godspeed and the Discovery sailed from England to establish English colonies for the King and the Virginia Company of London.
1741: Vitus Bering, Danish navigator and explorer, died at age 60. The Bering Strait and the Bering Sea (located between Russia and Alaska - Alaska was then Russian territory) are named after him.
1793: French forces recaptured Toulon from the British.
1915: German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer died at age 51 of rheumatic fever and kidney failure brought on by a common cold or influenza infection. "Alzheimer's disease" was named after Alzheimer, from his professional studies of "presenile dementia" (i.e. dementia with onset before the age of 65).
1917: The first National Hockey League game was played on artificial ice, in Toronto.
1932: The BBC World Service began broadcasting overseas as the BBC Empire Service.
1941: Adolf Hitler (whose military experience consisted of his having been a corporal in the German Army during the First World War) became Supreme Commander-in-chief of the German Army (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1941: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Japanese forces invaded British-held Hong Kong.
1946: War broke out in Indochina when Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh attacked French colonial forces in Hanoi. The French left in the 1960s (after dividing Vietnam into North and South, which resulted in the Vietnam civil war) and were replaced by the U.S. who remained until the 1970s.
1972: Apollo 17, the last manned lunar flight returned to Earth.
1986: Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, considered the father of the Soviet atomic bomb, was released from exile. He had been seized in January 1980 and sent to the closed city of Gorky, 400 kilometers east of Moscow where he was kept in isolation.
1998: During the Lewinsky scandal, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached ("Charge with a crime or misdemeanor") President Bill Clinton on 2 counts - perjury and obstruction of justice.
2001: A record-high barometric pressure occurred at Tosontsengel, Khovsgol, Mongolia.