Bible Ballistics: Walking By Faith Not By Sight!!! Vol. 6#21
Coming to Daniel chapter 8, we need to consider the context of this chapter. As we mentioned last week, Daniel is an older man at this point in the Book, and he tells us clearly that this vision is subsequent to the first dream/vision that he received in chapter 7.
“In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.” Daniel 8:1
This took place some two years after the vision of chapter 7, and we know from chapter 5 that during the reign of Belshazzar, Daniel was no longer in a leadership roll in the kingdom, but he was still in the palace service. And we lift him deeply grieved over the vision last week.
“Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” Daniel 7:28
I don’t think we can fully understand the concern that Daniel had over the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2, and now the confirmation of that same dream from a different perspective, yet still the same picture of the four major nations of history and their relationship to God and Israel. In the dream that God gave to Nebuchadnezzar was from an earthly perspective in the spectacular statue of gold, silver, bronze and iron. Fascinating to the degree that King Nebuchadnezzar was taken away in pride with its splendor and the fact that Daniel had declared him to be the “head of gold”. Daniel, on the other hand was given a vision of the future from God’s perspective—as he saw the beastly nature of the world. But if you’ll remember in both visions of the future, the focus was on the fourth kingdom and in particular the ten toes of chapter 2, and the ten horns of chapter 7, and the latter days of those kings who will be in concert with a “little horn”. While we have the benefit of the intervening years of history, Daniel was receiving this picture in total faith in his God. He didn’t demand full understanding, he just accepted the truths that God had entrusted to him and recorded them for posterity—you and me, and I’m so glad he did. As we dig into chapter 8 we’ll see more confirmation of these events. Let’s go—
“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.” Verse 2
Daniel is physically still in Babylon, but sees himself in the Medo-Persian capital (remember chapter 5).
“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. 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.” Verses 3-4
Daniel saw a ram:
with two horns—
one higher than the other—
the higher came up last—
pushing west, north, south—
no beasts stood before him—
none could deliver out of his hand—
he did according to his will—
“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.” Verse 5
As Daniel is watching the ram he sees a male goat coming from the west. He was moving so fast that he didn’t even touch the ground, and this goat had one ‘notable’ horn.
“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. 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 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken;” Verses 6-8a
Daniel sees this male goat who:
comes to the two-horned ram—
comes in the “fury of his power” to the ram—
is angry at the ram—
and smote him—
broke his two horns—
the ram couldn’t stand against him—
the male goat overcame—
with no one to deliver the ram out of his hand—
and the male goat became very strong—
but when he was very strong—
the great horn was broken.
Hold on to your hats—we’re about to uncover truth. God’s truth!
“….. and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” Verse 8b
In the male goat’s place four notable horns arise, which have some relation to the four winds—the directions of north, east, south and west. But remember where the directions are from as we continue (keep your mind in the middle east).
“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.
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.
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 the sanctuary
was cast down.
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 practised,
13 Then I heard one saint speaking,
and another saint said unto that certain saint
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?
14 And he said unto me,
Unto two thousand and three hundred days;
then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”Dan. 8:2-14
Here we have a unique parallel, a ‘little horn’ that parallels the other “little horn” from Daniel 7:8. We must note the parallels in behavior and character but also the unique differences for they cannot—I repeat—they cannot be the same. Let’s see the interpretation, which Daniel receives and then we’ll dig into the prophecy.
“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. 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.
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.
20 The ram which thou sawest
having two horns
are the kings of Media and Persia.
21 And the rough goat
is the king of Grecia:
and the great horn that is between his eyes
is the first king.
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.
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.
24 And his power shall be mighty,
but not by his own power:
and he shall destroy wonderfully,
and shall prosper,
and shall destroy
and the holy people.
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
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.
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.” Daniel 8:15-27
Daniel once again is concerned and grieved over the visions that God sees fit to reveal to him. Although he didn’t have full understanding of what he saw, he did have full faith in his God who revealed these things to him. Let’s just lay out the things that are clear and plain in this revelation and see what we can come away with for our lives.
Simply put, the ram was the Medo-Persian kingdom. A two-horned kingdom, but one in which the Persians became dominant in the latter times of the kingdom, and while they were a fierce kingdom, they over-stepped in the end of their glory and incurred the anger of the newly rising Grecian Empire, whose first might king we know as Alexander the Great. Many deny the veracity of Daniel’s prophecies here and in chapters 9-11 because they are so historically accurate that the critics insist that they had to have been written after the fact and not before! Our God is the author of “history”…. In fact someone has said that not only does He know the end from the beginning, but also that history is simply—Hi/s/tory! He began it and He knows the end that HE will accomplish!! Yet He has given us great insight to His work and plans. We just need to apply our hearts and minds to know HIM through HIS Word!
The difficulty that some have with this chapter, involves the “little horn” and whether or not it is the same as the “another little horn” of Daniel 7? We must simply put it out as the text gives us the pictures.
In chapter 7 the “another little horn” comes out of the fourth kingdom. Here the “little horn” comes out of the third kingdom. In fact, out of one of the four kingdoms that arise out of the Greek Empire after the death of Alexander the Great (with no heirs). After several decades of debate the kingdom is divided into four parts by and to four of Alexander’s Generals. The kingdom was divided into: Egypt, Syria, Asia and Macedonia (Greece). But the two main kingdoms that are dealt with in chapters 10-12 deal mainly with the conflicts that ensue between Egypt and Syria—and their import comes from the land that lies between the two–that precious land is Israel! So Daniel is told that out of one of these 4 nations will arise a wicked king who will be fierce and will fight against the people of God—Daniel’s people–and the God of Daniel’s people. While this ‘horn’ is not the ‘anti-Christ”, he is a fore-runner, and a picture of the ‘little horn’ that will arise out of the fourth kingdom in the days of the “ten toes” of the statue in Daniel 2, and the “ten horns” of the fourth beast in Daniel 7. I hope this will give some insight to help us understand this chapter in the context of the whole book of Daniel.
While Daniel is given more information that grieves his heart for his people’s failure to follow God and His Word, he still trusts to the faithfulness of his God, not his own ability to fully understand. He kept on keeping on, even though this burden was so heavy that he fainted under the weight of it, he was also physically ill from the burden for a time, yet he got up and carried on with his job in the kingdom and for his God! (Remember chapter 5 and 6)
What about us? Have we so much confidence in God that we can carry on when we don’t understand? When the grief and confusion makes us physically sick? When times are so hard that we feel like giving up? I think Daniel knew and treasured Proverbs 3:5-7, and we can join him there:
“Trust in the Lord
with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes:
fear the Lord,
and depart from evil.”
Daniel knew HIS God!!! Even as he mentions later in chapter 11:
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32
Do you know your God that well? Are we walking with the God who delivers us from sin? Is His life seen in us? The only way to do that is to walk in the power of the cross! Are we living in such a way that we can continually genuinely and sincerely pray with Jesus?
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42
Who is living IN ME? Am I crucified with Christ or still living for ME?
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith
of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
I’d like to close with a favorite passage of mine, if you would, a recipe for walking with God by faith? May God bless you to walk with Him in faith this week, no matter what you ‘see’!
“Trust in the Lord,
and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land,
and verily thou shalt be fed.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord:
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord;
trust also in him;
and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness
as the light,
and thy judgment
as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord,
and wait patiently for him:
fret not thyself because of him
who prospereth in his way,
because of the man
who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger,
and forsake wrath:
fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off:
but those that wait upon the Lord,
they shall inherit the earth.” Psalm 37:3-9