Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Daniel 8 - Vision of a Ram and Goat

LINK: Daniel 8

BACKGROUND
The Chronological Order of the Book of Daniel 
Daniel 1–4: Captivity and interpretation of dreams and visions (Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar) 
Daniel 7: Vision of the four beasts (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 8: Vision of the ram and he-goat (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 5: Belshazzar’s feast—conquest of Babylon (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 9: Vision of the seventy weeks (Persia, Darius) 
Daniel 6: Daniel in the lions’ den (Persia, Darius) 
Daniel 10–12: Daniel’s prayer and visions (Persia, Cyrus)  
(Wiersbe, W. W. (2000). Be resolute (9). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Victor.)
Map of Elam {{GFDL}} by en:User:Dbachmann,
 based on [http://www.zoroastriankids.com/map_elam.gif], [http://home.columbus.rr.com/malyan/Resources/mesoiranmap.gif].
This prophecy occurred in 551 B.C. when Daniel was about 70 years old. Susa was one of the capitals of the Babylonian empire which is in modern day Iran (Elam). It was the winter capital of the Persian Empire. It had a mighty fortress (citadel). The earliest known code of law, the Code of Hammurabi, was found at Susa. Susa was a very sophisticated city. The events in the book of Esther that occurred about 100 years later took place in Susa. 

Daniel's vision of a ram and goat (8:1-14) are interpreted by Gabriel (8:15-27). Here is a recap:


Ram with two horns (8:3-7; 20) - kings of Media and Persia with Persia having the longer horn, representing its growing dominance as a world power (8:20) by 559 B.C., centuries after Media. Persia had a mass empire and army of over 2 million soldiers.
Shaggy Goat with large horn (8:5-8; 21-22) - This was Greece and Alexander the Great (11:3). This prediction is astounding because Greece was not a world power at the time. He conquered quickly like a goat. He shattered both horns of the Medo-Persian Empire. At height of Alexander the Great's power, he died in 323 B.C. at the age of 32 (there is much speculation about the cause of his death from assassination to typhoid fever). His kingdom was split into four parts under four generals (8:8). 
The four generals and regions they governed were:
1) Ptolemy I - Egypt and Palestine 
2) Seleucus - Babylonia and Syria 
3) Lysimachus - Asia Minor 
4) Antipater - Macedon and Greece 
Little horn (8:9-12; 23-25) - Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid empire (Babylonia and Syria) came to power in 175 B.C. after murdering his brother. In 170 B.C., he invaded the "power to the south" (Egypt, 8:9), and subdued the "Beautiful Land" of Israel. He replaced the worship of God with worship of Greek gods. He was "broken without a human hand" means that no one murdered him, but he died of insanity in 163 B.C. Many commentators believe that Antiochus is a foreshadowing of the Antichrist. He will "oppose the Prince of princes" (8:25) who is the Lord Jesus Christ. He will achieve great power and will be controlled by another (8:24) who is Satan.  
2,300 evenings and mornings (8:14; 26) - This means evening and morning sacrifices from the time of the desecration of the altar in the temple by Anitiochus IV Ephiphanes on December 16, 167 B.C. to full restoration of temple worship under Judas Maccabeus in late 164 and into 163 B.C.165 B.C.
This story surrounds the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, and you will hear more about that when you read the background post for Daniel 11. Stay tuned! 

Gabriel stated that this would be the "time of wrath/period of indignation" (8:19). Many commentators believe this is also the "time of the Gentiles" from Nebuchadnezzar's reign to the second coming of Christ. This same angel also announced the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11) and Jesus (Luke 1:26). 

At the conclusion of this, Daniel was completely exhausted and so am I!

No REFLECTION or APPLICATION today!

PRAYER

Lord, it is amazing how You gave Daniel these visions that would come much later in history. I know that You are God of gods because of that!!!! Amen. 
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