Daniel's Prophecy Explained by the Angel - Part 2
This page will continue through Daniel's prophecy of Daniel chapter eight. The first 14 verses have been covered in Part 1.
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. 16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
Some understand "between the banks of Ulai" to be a reference to the widening of the Ulai which is what happens at the Shatt al-Arab waterway which is formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and forms part of the border between the southern portions of Iran and Iraq.
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.
Here is the first of three verses in Daniel 8 that suggest an end-of-time context for the events of the vision. "At the time of the end shall be the vision" does not sound like a reference to events in Daniel's day. Daniel is told by Gabriel to understand the vision. More details to reveal its meaning follow.
18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. 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.
Verse 19 presents the second reference to the end. Now we get the details of the interpretation.
20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
The area of the ancient kingdoms of Media and Persia included the area of the modern nations of Iran and Iraq and more. Some have understood Media and Persia to be specific references to Iran and Iraq. In this understanding, the first or lower horn is Iraq and Saddam Hussein and the second, higher horn is Iran and Ayatollah Khomieni. This would be a fulfillment of the description in verse three of the ram "which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last". The "higher" and "last" is thought to be Iran. It may also be that the two horns represent the modern nations of Iran and its close ally, Syria.
It is also interesting that the name for the modern country of Iran, not that long ago, was Persia. The Shah of Iran was known as the little Persian and Persian rugs come from Iran.
The connection between a ram and Islam, the religion held by the majority of people in that part of the world, is interesting. We can identify several connections but I would not want to draw any strong conclusions based on them.
21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
Grecia, in Bible usage, is not a reference to the nation of Greece but rather to Gentiles or non-Jews. In the following verse, each pair of classes of people includes all people:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:28)
Mark refers to a woman as "a Greek" yet says she is from the nation of Syrophencia:
"The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter." (Mark 7:26)
Mark was really pointing out that she was a Gentile, not a Jew. This was obviously the important point as shown by the context.
22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
What is broken is the great horn of the goat, seemingly designating the power that is leading the western coalition - the United States. The horn is identified as a nation in this verse. The four that replace it perhaps do not wield power to the extent that the first horn does.
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.
Towards the end of the period of dominance of the four powers that replace the broken great horn another power appears.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
This suggests a period of persecution and destruction which is consistent with Bible prophecy of the last days.
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.
The "Prince of princes" is a reference to Jesus Himself. It is a term like those used of Him in Revelation 19:
"And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Rev 19:16)
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.
Some versions read "many days hence." Again this is another (the third in the chapter) reference to the fulfillment of the prophecy far beyond Daniel's day.
27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
Why shouldn't modern nations be mentioned in Bible prophecy? After all we are nearing the climax of this world's history.
Summary of Daniel's Prophecy
As the confrontation is currently building in the Middle East, it is not hard to see that this scenario could indeed occur. It seems to be triggered by some action of the ram (Islam, lead by Iran and Iraq or Syria) against the he goat (western powers, lead by the United States). In the resulting confrontation, the he goat furiously attacks the ram and defeats him. The goat then becomes more prominent in the world and during this time the great horn (U.S.) is broken and replaced by four others. From one of them the notorious little horn of Bible prophecy arises. The important point is that these events of Daniel's prophecy happen at a time far in the future from the days of Daniel - in our day.A later study will show how the four winds, mentioned in verse eight, line up with the vision of Daniel chapter seven. It will then be evident that Daniel's prophecy of chapter eight (this soon-coming Middle east war) begins the series of end-time events.
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