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End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)
Symbols: Daniel 8 (Part 1)
Prophetic Symbols: Introduction
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 2
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 7 (Part
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 7 (Part
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 8 (Part
Prophetic Symbols: Daniel 8 (Part
In the previous chapter, Daniel 7, Daniel is given a vision
of four beasts, which are said to represent both kings and
their kingdoms (chapter 7:17,23). Likewise, Daniel 7:24 tells
us that horns also represent kings. We have already listed
several reasons from the text of Daniel 7 why horns represent
contemporary kings, not a succession of kings, unless specified
otherwise by the text.
In Daniel 8, a similar vision is given, in which Daniel is
again shown a progression of earthly political power involving
both beasts and horns. In our discussion of chapter 7, we
stated that chapter 8 would do two things for us. First, it
would give us the much needed clues to help us identify what
kingdoms each of the four beasts from Daniel 7 represent.
And second, we stated that chapter 8 would provide more corroborating
evidence that, unless specified by the text, horns represent
contemporary kings rather than a line or succession of kings.
Here is the text of Daniel 8 and the vision beheld by Daniel.
Daniel 8:1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 5 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. 6 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;
and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds
of heaven. 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, and
prospered. 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another
saint said unto that certain saint which spake, 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.
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. 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 practise, and shall destroy the mighty 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
without hand. 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
There are two principle entities depicted in this vision.
The first is the two-horned ram initially described in verses
1-4. The second is the goat with one notable horn between
its eyes that is introduced in verse 5. Later in the vision,
Daniel is told directly and plainly who these two beasts represent.
Daniel 8:20 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.
The ram represents the joint kingdom of Media and Persia.
And the goat represents Greece. We should note that verse
4 describes the empire of Media-Persia saying that "no beasts
might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver
out of his hand." Because no beast could withstand him, verse
4 concludes by saying that the ram "became great." Likewise,
verse 7 tells us that the goat attacks the ram and that, "there
was no power in the ram to stand before him" and "there was
none that could deliver the ram out of his hand." Similarly,
verse 8 says of the goat, "the he goat waxed very great."
These descriptions of the ram and the goat are very similar
to Revelation 13's description of the beast whose head is
Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were
wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all
the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped
the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped
the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able
to make war with him?
In all three cases, (Media-Persia, Greece, and the revived
beast of Revelation 13) this description that no one can stand
against or make war against a beast refers to the rise of
that kingdom to possess imperial dominion, particularly their
military superiority at that given time over the other nations.
So, now that we know that Greece is the goat and Media-Persia
is the ram, this also tells us something about the horns,
particularly because we can now begin to make comparisons
to the actual history of those two countries in the centuries
that followed the book of Daniel.
Media-Persia is described as having two horns. And from verse
20 we know that one horn represents the kingship of Persia
and the other the kingship of Media. But the two horns are
not identical, for Daniel makes note in verse 3 that "one
was higher than the other, and the higher came up last."
Here again, when these horns are not contemporary, Daniel
tells us so directly ("and the higher came up last.") However,
the fact that one of the horns is said to be higher than the
other is a peculiar identifying detail that will become more
important a short while later in our study.
Another item worth noting about this depiction of the two-horned
ram is that in the case of Media and Persia, the two horns
represent two kingdoms that come together to form the empire.
Or in other words, the kingships of Media and Persia combine
to create the beast depicted as a ram in the vision, which
indicates that in this particular scenario, the horns actually
precede the existence of the empire since it is their joint
kingdom that becomes the powerful ram, which none can stand
against. Thus, horns can precede the empires or beasts, which
they are a part of.
And lastly, it is interesting to note that a single beast
(the ram) is here being used to depict two kingdoms collectively,
one which comes up in power after the other. This is similar
to the statue of Daniel 2, which again is a single symbol
representing a collection empires which arise in progression,
one after another. This will become important as we continue
to build a map legend using symbolic precedent.
Now, the story with Greece is even more informative. The Grecian
goat is said to strike down the Media-Persian kingdom with
the single notable horn between its eyes. Then, verse 8 says
that at the very height of the goat's strength, the notable
horn is broken off and four horns grow up toward the four
winds of heaven to replace it. Verse 9 tells us that out of
one of those four horns, a little horn will eventually grow.
The activities of this little horn are described in verses
10-14, 23-25. The similarities between this "little horn"
along with the "little horn" from the fourth beast of Daniel
7 and the king of the North in chapter 11 all indicate that
this is the same figure being depicted in each case, namely
But verses 21-22 are where we want to turn our attention.
Verse 21 tells us that the notable horn represents the first
king of Greece. Verse 22 tells us that the four horns that
arise to replace it are four kingdoms that shall come "out
of the nation," out of the Greek empire. But, as verse 22
also tells us, none of those four kingdoms will have the power
held by Greece during the reign of that first king.
Daniel 11 says very similarly.
Daniel 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the
Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2 And
now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand
up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far
richer than they all: and by his strength through his
riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule
with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And
when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall
be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not
to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which
he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others
Now we can use these details and start making a comparison
to known world history.
According to encyclopedia.com, Alexander waged war against
Persia in 334 BC. By 333 BC he had entered Northern Syria
and had routed Persian ruler Darius III who fled from the
battle. He was in full command of Syria by 332 BC and then
entered Egypt. After founding Alexandria in 331 BC, encyclopedia.com
states that "He marched [south] to Babylon, then went to Susa
and on to Persepolis, where he burned the palaces of the Persians
and looted the city." Encyclopedia.com goes on to say, "He
was now the visible ruler of the Persian Empire, pursuing
the fugitive Darius to Ecbatana, which submitted in 330, and
on to Bactria." However, in 323, Alexander became ill with
a fever and died at 33 years of age. Encyclopedia.com describes
what followed: "After his death his generals fell to quarreling
about dividing the rule."
So, in less than four years, Alexander of Greece had conquered
all of the Persian Empire, but then died before he even reached
the age of 35. In the wake of his death, his empire was divided
up among his generals, each ruling from different power bases
within his former empire. This is identical to the vision
in Daniel 8, which predicted that a powerful Greek king would
quickly defeat the Media-Persian empire and then that king
would be broken off in the height of his power and his kingdom
would be divided into four nations, none of which would have
his power. Alexander, then, is the first king of Greece.
Just as the Bible describes, when Alexander died, his empire
was divided "to the four winds." Alexander's generals are
known as the "diadochi," which is a Greek word meaning "successors."
Originally there were several diadochi, but the 5 key players
in the history after Alexander's death were: Antigonus, Ptolemy,
Seleucus, Cassander, and Lysimachus.
Of these 5, the 3 greatest were Antigonus (who controlled
Asia Minor, Syria, and Mesopotamia), Ptolemy (who controlled
Egypt), and Seleucus (who controlled Babylonia). Then there
was also Lysimachus who controlled Thrace, which included
Byzantium, the later capital of Eastern Rome. And lastly,
there was Cassander who was not one of the original diadochi,
but was the son of Antipater who was. Cassander was king of
Macedon and Greece, but was relatively weak compared to Antigonus,
Ptolemy, and Seleucus.
Antigonus had the best chance of reforming Alexander's empire,
but Ptolemy, Seleucus, Lysimachus, and Cassander formed a
league and defeated him at Ipsus in 301 BC. The result was
that in 300 BC, less than 25 years after Alexander's death,
all that remained of Alexander's empire were four regions
under the reign of Seleucus, Ptolemy, Cassander, and Lysimachus.
Eventually, Lysimachus was himself defeated by Seleucus at
Corupedion in Lydia in 281 BC after which the empire was effectively
divided between what became the Seleucid dynasty (from Babylon
and Syria) and the Ptolemaic dynasty (from Egypt).
This, of course, corresponds to Daniel 8's depiction that
the Greek king's empire would be divided to four horns or
rulers that would replace the first king, but not retain his
strength. And, as far as our symbolic map legend is concerned,
these historic details further corroborate that unless specifically
stated in the text, horns represent contemporary kings and
not a line or succession. In the case of Daniel 8, the four
replacement horns represent the division of Alexander's empire
to his generals, in particular Seleucus, Ptolemy, Lysimachus,
and Cassander, who had formed a league against Antigonus to
prevent the reforming of the empire and who by 300 BC had
carved up the empire between the four of them. Furthermore,
this is just as was stated in Daniel 11:4 that Alexander's
kingdom will be divided but "not to his posterity."
Now, we also said that Daniel 8 would help us identify which
empires the four beasts of Daniel 7 represent. First we should
note that Daniel 5 actually tells us that the Medes were the
ones who succeeded the Babylonians as the rulers of the empire.
Daniel 5:30 In that night was Belshazzar the king
of the Chaldeans slain. 31 And Darius the Median took
the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
According to chapter 5:11, Belshazzar was descended from Nebuchadnezzar.
Belshazzar was the last of the Babylonian kings. After his
death, the kingdom passed to the Medes under the rule of Darius
the Mede. In Daniel 6:11, we see that Daniel served in the
kingdom of not only Darius the Mede, but his successor, Cyrus
the Persian. (Daniel 8 then links the Medes and the Persians
as a single beast or empire created by the joint power of
the Mede and Persian kingships.) And Daniel 8 also tells us
that Media-Persian empire would be defeated by Greece.
So, if we go back to Daniel 2, we see that in verse 38, Daniel
declares that the head of gold corresponds to the time of
the Babylonian kingdom (at that time under Nebuchadnezzar.)
Then verse 39 of that same chapter speaks of the chest and
arms representing the kingdom that would follow Babylon and
the belly and thighs representing yet a third kingdom that
would follow. Thanks to Daniel 5, Daniel 8, and a comparison
of chapter 8 to history, we can now identify those two kingdoms.
The chest and arms of silver represent the Media-Persian kingdom,
which followed Babylon when the last Babylonian king (Belshazzar)
died and his kingdom passed to Darius the Mede. The belly
and thighs of brass represent Greece, which defeated the Persians
under the leadership of Alexander the Great in 334-331 BC.
Now, Daniel 8 describes the strength of Media-Persia and the
strength of Greece similarly, stating that when they rose
to power "none could stand before them," "none could deliver
out of their hands," and so, "they became great." But, Daniel
8:22 tells us that the immediate successors of the Greek empire
did not have the strength of Alexander. So, we should not
look to those four successors as the legs of iron, for they
lacked the level of imperial strength that is indicative of
the inheritors of the imperial dominion as ascribed by these
phrases to Media-Persia and Greece in Daniel 8 and similarly
to the revived head in Revelation 13. For this reason, most
if not all Bible students identify Rome as the legs of iron.
And, on this point, we agree.
Therefore, the order of the first four kingdoms is as follows:
Babylon, Media-Persian, Greece, and Rome. This covers all
but the feet of the statue in Daniel 2, which as something
of the Roman iron legs left over as well as a new national
entity represented by clay.
As we move on to identify the beasts of Daniel 7 using the
details of Daniel 8, we should note that the vision in Daniel
7 occurs during the reign of the Babylonians, under king Belshazzar,
before the kingdom passed to Darius the Mede.
Daniel 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of
Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his
bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
This is significant because it means that, as in Daniel 2
where the first portion of the statue represented Babylon,
the current reigning power, during Daniel 7, Babylon was still
the current reigning power. If we were to overlook this fact,
thinking from Daniel 5 that during Daniel 7 the Medes controlled
the kingdom, we might misinterpret some of the groups represented
in the vision by ruling out the possibility that Babylon is
among those being depicted.
Historic Map Series
7 Heads of the