Daniel 8: Which Powerful Kings are Depicted in a New Vision?

Daniel has another prophetic vision that wears the old guy out. This time it’s different animals representing different prophecies of a not-to-distant future for Israel. For Daniel, they were the future, for us, these already came true. Which proves that God’s prophecies can be believed. Let’s dig in…

Daniel 8 – Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and Goat

During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me. In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa, in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River.

As I looked up, I saw a ram with two long horns standing beside the river. One of the horns was longer than the other, even though it had grown later than the other one. The ram butted everything out of his way to the west, to the north, and to the south, and no one could stand against him or help his victims. He did as he pleased and became very great.

While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes, headed toward the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the river, rushing at him in a rage. The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power.

The goat became very powerful. But at the height of his power, his large horn was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four prominent horns pointing in the four directions of the earth. Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel. 10 Its power reached to the heavens, where it attacked the heavenly army, throwing some of the heavenly beings and some of the stars to the ground and trampling them. 11 It even challenged the Commander of heaven’s army by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple. 12 The army of heaven was restrained from responding to this rebellion. So the daily sacrifice was halted, and truth was overthrown. The horn succeeded in everything it did.

13 Then I heard two holy ones talking to each other. One of them asked, “How long will the events of this vision last? How long will the rebellion that causes desecration stop the daily sacrifices? How long will the Temple and heaven’s army be trampled on?”

14 The other replied, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again.”

Gabriel Explains the Vision

15 As I, Daniel, was trying to understand the meaning of this vision, someone who looked like a man stood in front of me. 16 And I heard a human voice calling out from the Ulai River, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of his vision.”

17 As Gabriel approached the place where I was standing, I became so terrified that I fell with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision relate to the time of the end.”

18 While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet.

19 Then he said, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time. 20 The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire. 22 The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first.

23 “At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. 25 He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power.

26 “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.”

27 Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.

Daniel 8 NLT

It’s 2 years later and Belshazzar’s days as king were numbered. Daniel is in Babylon, but in this vision he is transported to Susa. Susa is where Esther‘s story takes place.

Key Points

  • The ram is the Medes and Persians who attacked Babylon when Belshazzar was partying. The small horn represents the weaker Medes and the larger horn represents the Persians.
  • The goat represents Greece with its large horn being Alexander the Great. It breaks off and 4 horns appear. Those are the 4 kingdoms into which his empire was split when he died.
  • Then a smaller horn appears. At first, my thought was the Antichrist is coming from Greece? But, no. This is Antiochus the IV who comes from one of the 4 kingdoms. He raids Israel. This is the story of the Macabees and Hanukkah.
  • The angel Gabriel comes to decipher the vision for Daniel. The name Gabriel means “mighty one of God”. We see Gabriel again in Luke 1 for the birth announcements.

At the end, we do have a bit of a prophecy of the latter days yet to come. Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

Now verse 23… and in the context of Daniel’s earlier vision, you’d expect the next few verses to speak of Antiochus… They do in a sense. But there are reasons to believe another king is also in view, the king of which Antiochus is a type, the blasphemer, the Antichrist. And here’s the basis for this…

First, the tone of the text changes. The subject of theses verse is far more sinister than Antiochus. Second, Gabriel states several times what he’s about to tell Daniel is for “the time of the end.” The days of Antiochus ended nothing. And third, the point of the visions in Chapters 7 and 8 are the closing of Gentile world dominion. It would seem fitting that “the time of the end” would refer to the days of a revived Rome, when Messiah will return and establish God’s Kingdom… I believe these last few verses refer to “Mr. Big Mouth” himself, the Antichrist.

He says in verse 23, “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes.” (NKJV) This king is unusually imposing. He’s knowledgeable in the occult. “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.” Revelation 13 tells us that the Antichrist’s henchman, the false prophet will be given power to work miracles. Even call down fire from heaven. This Antichrist will be empowered by Satan – a New Age guru.

He’ll also “prosper and thrive” – he’ll have the Midas touch. For a season, whatever he attempts succeeds. Yet in the end, he’ll pick on “the holy people,” the Jews. “Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule…” He’ll be an expert in Machiavellian strategy. He’ll have no problem lying to gain an advantage. To him, the end justifies the means.

He’ll be shrewd and manipulating – politically savvy. “And he shall exalt himself in his heart.” In the end, he’ll claim to be God and demand the world’s worship. “He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.” Revelation 19 says he’ll gather the world’s armies to the Valley of Megiddo to fight against the Christ. But he’ll be defeated supernaturally – by one shimmer of the Lord’s glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 puts it, “the Lord will consume (the Antichrist) with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” No contest!

Sandy Adams

Bible prophecy is not meant to scare us. If you are a born-again believer, this should give you Confident Hope. Jesus wins in the end! That’s for sure! You get this Hope when you are saved by believing in Jesus Christ and knowing Him in your heart.

It’s Your Choice!

Where you spend eternity is a choice you need to make right now while you’re still alive and coherent.

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…


Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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  1. Pingback: 3.3.12: Daniel 10: Did He See Jesus, an Angel or Both in this Vision? - Seek the Gospel Truth

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