Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
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.CHAPTER 8 The Ram and the He-Goat
1. The vision (Daniel 8:1-14)
2. The interpretation of the vision (Daniel 8:15-27)
Daniel 8:1-14. Beginning with this chapter to the end of the book prophecy will lead us mostly upon Jewish ground. While some of these prophecies were fulfilled in the past, most of them are related to the future when the great end fulfillment takes place before the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven to receive the kingdom. The phrases “the latter times,” “the time of the end,” “in the last end of the indignation,” appear several times in these chapters. These phrases describe the same period of time mentioned in the seventh chapter, “a time, times and dividing of times; “ the 1,260 days or 42 months in the book of Revelation. It is the great tribulation which is recorded in the last chapter of this book.
The time and place of the vision in this chapter are given in the beginning. The ram, according to divine interpretation (Daniel 8:15, etc.), is the Medo-Persian monarchy--the silver kingdom, the kingdom also typified by the bear. The he-goat with a notable horn is the Graeco- Macedonian monarchy and the notable horn is Alexander the Great. In 334 B. C., Alexander leaped like a swift he-goat across the Hellespont and fought his successful battles, then pushed on to the banks of the Indus and the Nile and then onward to Shushan. The great battles of the Granicus, Issus and Arbella were fought, and he stamped the power of Persia and its King, Darius Codomannus, to the ground. He conquered rapidly Syria, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Tyre, Gaza, Egypt, Babylonia, Persia. In 329 he conquered Bactria, crossed the Oxus and Jaxaitis and defeated the Scythians. And thus he stamped upon the ram after having broken its horns. But when the he goat had waxed very great, the great horn was broken. This predicted the early and sudden death of Alexander the Great. He died after a reign of 12 years and eight months, after a career of drunkenness and debauchery in 323 B.C. He died when he was but 32 years old. Then four notable ones sprang up in the place of the broken horn. This too has been fulfilled, for the empire of Alexander was divided into four parts. Four of the great generals of Alexander made the division namely, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Ptolemy. The four great divisions were, Syria, Egypt, Macedonia and Asia Minor.
Then a little horn appeared out of one of these divisions; it sprung up out of Syria. This little horn is of course not the little horn mentioned in the previous chapter, for the little horn in Daniel 7:1-28 has its place in connection with the fourth beast (Rome), while this one comes from a division of the third beast, the Graeco-Macedonian monarchy.
History does not leave us in doubt of how and when this great prophetic vision was fulfilled. This little horn is the eighth king of the Seleucid dynasty. He is known by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes; after his wild and wicked deeds he was called Epiphanes, the madman. Long before he invaded the pleasant land (Israel’s land), Daniel saw what he would do. He conquered Jerusalem. He took away the daily sacrifice in the temple and offered a swine and swine’s blood upon the altar. He introduced idol worship, devastated the whole land and killed some 100,000 Jews.
In Daniel 8:13-14 is an angelic conversation. The 2,300 days (literal days) cover just about the period of time during which Antiochus did his wicked deeds. When they were ended Judas Maccabaeus cleansed the sanctuary about December 25, 165 B.C.
We believe these 2,300 days are therefore literal days and have found their literal fulfillment in the dreadful days of this wicked king from the north. There is no other meaning attached to these days and the foolish speculations that these days are years, etc., lacks scriptural foundation altogether. Such views and fanciful interpretations bring the study of prophecy into disrepute. We have special reference to the Seventh Day Adventist delusion. They teach the abominable falsehood that the Lord Jesus Christ did not enter into the Holiest till the year 1844 had been reached, because this is according to their reckoning 2,300 years after Cyrus had issued the command to build the temple. That this is a denial of the gospel itself and satanic is self-evident.
Daniel 8:15-27. Gabriel is the interpreter of the whole vision. It should be carefully studied. It points to a future fulfillment.
Gabriel told Daniel that the vision has a special meaning for the time of the end. Four different expressions are used to denote the time of the final fulfillment of the vision: (1) “The time of the end” (Daniel 8:17); (2) “The last end of the indignation” (Daniel 8:19); (3) “The latter time of their kingdom” (Daniel 8:23); (4) “When the transgressors are come to the full” (Daniel 8:23).
Once more, at the close of the age, before the Lord comes in visible glory, in the days of the great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble, an invasion from the north takes place. Israel’s land will once more undergo the horrors of a devastation, foreshadowed by Antiochus Epiphanes. The king of the north, as he is also called in Isaiah’s prophecy, “the Assyrian,” will do this work. For details and other prophecies relating to this coming event see our exposition of Daniel, pages 102-118.