Read Daniel 8:1-27. What is this vision all about and how does it parallel what we have seen in Daniel chapters 2 and 7?
As in Daniel chapters 2 and 7, we are given here another vision of the rise and fall of world empires, though with a different kind of symbolism. This symbolism is directly related to God’s sanctuary.
In this case, the symbols of a ram and a goat are used because of their connection with the Day of Atonement sanctuary ritual, a time of judgment for ancient Israel. Rams and goats were used as sacrificial offerings in the sanctuary service. But only on the Day of Atonement are the two mentioned together. Hence, these two animals are intentionally chosen here to evoke the Day of Atonement, which is a major focus of the vision.
As the vision unfolds, Daniel sees a ram pushing in three different directions: westward, northward, and southward (Dan. 8:4). This triple movement indicates the expansion of this power: “so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great” (Dan. 8:4, NKJV). As the angel explains, the ram with two horns represents the Medo-Persian Empire (Dan. 8:20), and the three directions most likely literally pointed to the three major conquests of this world power.
Next, a goat emerges with a big horn, which represents the Greek Empire under the command of Alexander the Great (Dan. 8:21). That the goat moves “without touching the ground” (Dan. 8:5, NKJV) signifies that it is moving quickly. This symbolism conveys the rapidity of Alexander’s conquest, which Daniel 7 presents as a winged leopard. But, as the prophecy indicates, when the goat “became strong, the large horn is broken” (Dan. 8:8, NKJV) and gives way to four horns, which extend to the four quadrants of the compass. This is fulfilled when Alexander dies in Babylon in June of 323 B.C., and his kingdom is divided among his four generals.
|Between Daniel 2:38 and Daniel 8:20-21, three of the four empires revealed in the visions have been named for us. How should this amazing fact help confirm the correctness of our interpretation of these prophecies?|