Daniel Chapter 8: Alexander the Great, Time of the End-French Revolution

Jul 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Daniel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Daniel Chapter 8: Alexander the Great, Time of the End-French Revolution

Dan. 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.

In the third year of Belshazzar, Daniel had another vision. (Chapter 7 took place in the first year.) The mention of the years of Belshazzar at the beginning of each chapter suggests a co-relationship between the diverse animals. In Chapter 8 the symbolism starts with the second universal empire, Media-Persia, because the events of this chapter occurred at the end of the Babylonian Empire.

Dan. 8:2 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.

Shushan was in the province of Elam. Earlier in history Elam was a separate power, but at this time, when the Babylonian Empire still existed, it was a province of Babylon, although separate and distinct from the main culture. With the capital of the Babylonian Empire being the city of Babylon, we would not expect to find Daniel in Shushan in Elam.

The river Ulai could be part of the Euphrates, but it is probably one of the rivers feeding the Tigris River. It is interesting that other visions also took place near a river.

Dan. 8:3 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.

The two-horned ram (Media-Persia) corresponds with the two arms (and breast) of silver of the image and the implied two arms of the bear, which hugs its prey to death. Both horns were high, but the Persian horn was higher than the Media horn. Hence the vision was a prophecy of an event still future for Daniel. This vision shows that there was a time when the Medes, under Darius, were superior to the Persians. Then the Persians, under Cyrus, took the ascendancy.

Dan. 8:4 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.

Next Daniel saw the ram “pushing westward,” which was when Xerxes, the fourth king, tried to invade Greece, going down to Athens. Even though his army was defeated and he retreated back to his own capital, he was still the mighty power of that time. What caused his defeat? Nature—a storm destroyed his bridge of boats. After Xerxes’ reign, the Persian Empire expanded northward. (There were approximately nine kings before Alexander the Great of Greece.) Regarding the southward push, the Persian power went south to Egypt under Cambyses, for example.

Notice that the Media-Persia Empire is described as both a ram “pushing” and a bear, which is large and ponderous. A bear’s motion is very slow, but because of its size and loping gait, it actually moves faster than appears. The fact that a bear hugs its prey to death pictures the siege tactic of Media-Persia. With huge armies and a great amount of supplies, the Persian armies could take their time in subduing other peoples. They won by sheer numbers.

Dan. 8:5 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.

Verses 5–12 pertain to a “he [male] goat,” which pictures the universal empire of Greece. Alexander the Great established the Grecian Empire by coming from the west (Greece is west of Persia and Israel). He “touched not the ground”; that is, Alexander the Great moved very quickly, using the element of surprise. This trait was shown by the leopard earlier in Daniel. When a car accelerates rapidly, it has a tendency to become airborne if it hits even a small bump. And so Alexander’s forces moved so quickly that they seemed to be airborne.

His swift movements generally made it impossible to know where he would strike next. He even traveled at night to hasten the surprise element.

“The goat [Greece] had a notable horn [Alexander the Great] between his eyes.” The spots on the leopard (Dan. 7:6) signify the skill in language, philosophy, reasoning, and intelligence for which the Grecian Empire was noted. Here the “eyes” represent intelligence, although of course Alexander the Great’s military conquests (the horn power) were his prime achievement. In other words, in conjunction with the swiftness of the warfare, there was great intelligence and ingenuity in deciding where to strike.

Dan. 8:6 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.

The male goat (Greece) “came to the ram that had two horns” (Media-Persia) and “ran unto [into] him in the fury of his power.” What a dramatic motion-picture vision Daniel had!

Dan. 8:7 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.

Verse 7 describes the complete subjugation of the Media-Persia Empire with the breaking of the two horns of the ram.

Dan. 8:8 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.

When the he goat “was strong, the great horn was broken.” Alexander the Great died of a fever or plague in his youth, relatively speaking, and at the height of his success. In nine years he had established a world empire.

In place of the great horn that was broken “came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.” The four notable horns were four generals who came from the four “winds” (divisions) of the universal empire: Greece, Rome, Syria, and Egypt. In other words, it was the same Grecian Empire but with a different setup. Instead of being under a monarch, the empire was ruled by four generals with their satraps.

Dan. 8:9 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.

Out of one of the four horns (generals) there “came forth a little horn” (Papacy). The little horn developed out of Greece. Stated another way, out of Greece came the Roman division to the west. Papacy “waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land [Israel].”

Dan. 8:10 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.

The little horn “waxed great, even to [against] the host of heaven.” The word “even” is supplied, and the King James margin has the correct thought: “against.” Here the “host of heaven” is the true Church. The little horn magnified itself against the true heavens.

Comment: Verse 10 is another way of stating the information in Daniel 7:21, “The same [little] horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.”

The casting down of “some of the host and of the stars to the ground” and stamping upon them took place during the Holy(?) Inquisition. The “stars” are Jesus, the apostles, and the Church. The word “host” includes the sun, the moon, and the stars. And so there are different levels of authority starting with Jesus.

In the Book of Revelation the dragon is purely civil power. The give the simple definition that the four beasts of Revelation represent four ecclesiastical governments, whereas in Daniel the four beasts picture four civil governments, but out of the civil came the little horn that predominated over the animals to such an extent that the Book of Revelation ascribes a separate beast to Papacy.

Dan. 8:11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

The “prince of the host” is Jesus. Again the King James margin has “against” for “even to.”

“Yea, he magnified himself against the prince of the host.” The pope assumes the office of Jesus as head of the Church, claiming to be Christ’s representative on earth. In fact, the blasphemous decretals of the Roman Catholic Church give the pope, a man down here, the authority to even judge angels in heaven.

Comment: The NIV reads, “It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host.” “By him the daily sacrifice was taken away.” How was this done? By the doctrine of Transubstantiation, the Mass, the abomination of desolation (Dan. 11:31).

“And the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” In casting down to the ground some of the stars of the host and stamping on them, the little horn subjugated the “place of his [Jesus’] sanctuary.”

Q: Young’s Analytical Concordance defines “place” as “base” or “fixed place.” Therefore, is the casting down of the place of the sanctuary the effect the doctrine of Transubstantiation has had on the foundation doctrine of the Ransom?

A: It is true that the doctrine of the Mass subverts or undercuts the Ransom. It subjugated not only the daily sacrifice, pictured by the offering of the bullock on the Brazen Altar in the Court, but the “place of his sanctuary” by giving it a minimal role. For instance, Jesus said, “Call no man your father,” but the pope is the father of fathers, and priests are called fathers (Matt. 23:9). Papacy has done directly what Jesus warned his followers against. Hence the pope subverted the role of Jesus and put himself in the forefront in popularity before the people.

Dan. 8:12 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.

“An host” (or multitude) was given to the pope “against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression.” This is also a doctrine of Roman Catholicism. The most devout worshippers are not even considered the Church but the children of the Church, a separate entity. The Church is considered to be the cardinals, etc.—the higher-ups. Thus the little horn had superiority over both the true host and the nominal (or false) host.

“It cast down the truth to the ground.” How true! “And it practised, and prospered.” In the vision Daniel saw a ram, a he goat, and then the little horn, which became so great that it filled the whole picture. Where is the beast that carried the horn? It was absorbed by the horn, which grew and grew, waxing greater and greater, to become center stage. For over 300 years the foreword to the King James Bible identified Papacy as the opposing power. Now that statement is omitted. The omission shows the compromising attitude of Protestants today. False love is the current standard.

Dan. 8:13 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?

Daniel saw this little horn grow and prosper more and more. Imagine his emotions! Now another scene starts. Daniel saw two people (“saints”) talking to one another. One was questioning the other, who seemed to be superior and have more understanding: “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?”

Comment: The King James margin supports the thought of the one who supplies the answer being the more important personage. Instead of saying “that certain saint which spake,” it says, “the numberer of secrets” or “the wonderful numberer.”

Reply: Yes, and Daniel had that role, that title, in the Babylonian Empire. He was the prince of the magi, the head of the wise men. Having the chief office, being next to the king, he was also over the province of Babylon.

Comment: Daniel saw many things in the visions, but the question pertained to the daily sacrifice.

Reply: Yes, because the word “sanctuary,” meaning “temple,” has a holy connotation to the Jew. Daniel understood that truth was being subjugated, crushed to the ground.

Q: In the expression “to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot,” the “sanctuary” is the true Church. Is the “host” the nominal Church?

A: The “host” would be the believers. If we think of the nominal Church as the professed Church, it includes both nominal and true Christians. Hence the truly consecrated are members of the professed Church as well as insincere believers or tares. From the true standpoint, the bread at the time of the Memorial represents Jesus and his Church. Both his human life rights and his blood are shared by the true Church.

Q: How would insincere believers be “trodden under foot”?

A: When the sanctuary was cleansed at the end of the 2,300 days, the division became apparent between true Christians and the merely professed Christians. The Evangelical Alliance was formed in 1846 to make this division very distinct. The church denominations wanted to separate out the so-called cults, but the separating had the effect of cleansing the sanctuary, of removing the true from their midst. Prior to the Evangelical Alliance, the host was a mixture. After the Evangelical Alliance, the host became the undesirable element.

Dan. 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Previously Daniel heard 1,260 years (Dan. 7:25). Now he got an even more astounding answer: 2,300 years until the sanctuary would be cleansed or honored, i.e., until truth would rise again. The time period was getting longer and worse. The answer did not calm his spirit.

Q: In Hebrew the word “days” is “evenings and mornings.” Is there any significance?

A: An “evening and morning” is a whole day, a 24-hour day. The Creation days were “evening and morning.” In the morning the more obvious workings of the Lord were visible.

Comment: In an earlier Daniel study the following answer was given. Based on the Creative Days of Genesis, which are reckoned as “evening and morning,” the expression here in Daniel 8 indicates that the troublesome message contains an element of hope in that the sanctuary will be cleansed. The message thus ends with the thought of “morning.”

Reply: It can be approached that way with Psalms in mind (Psalm 30:5), “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Dan. 8:15 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.

Daniel courageously inquired as to the meaning of the vision.

Dan. 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

The “man’s voice between the banks of [the] Ulai” reminds us of Daniel 12:6, “And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was [standing] upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” We are also reminded of Revelation 10:1,2, which reads, “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth.”

Daniel continued to have a series of visions. He was particularly concerned about the persecuting power that kept humbling the saints. Even though the visions end with good news, such as the Kingdom being given to the saints of the most High, he was disturbed by what would take place previously, especially at the hands of the fourth beast and the strange power, the little horn, that would magnify itself and trample down the saints.

Q: Why is the river Ulai suddenly mentioned?

A: A river splits something. There is a bank on one side of the river and a bank on the other side. With the vision pertaining to the “time of the end,” the river was a strict dividing line between the French Revolution and the Time of the End (Dan. 12:4,9). Thus, in fulfillment, the river appeared at a critical juncture of time. Of course the time setting of Daniel’s vision was only in the initial future prophetic phase.

Comment: In both Revelation 10:1,2 and Revelation 12:15,16, “water” is related to the French Revolution.

Comment: With the man’s voice being heard “between the banks” of the Ulai, the individual had to be standing on the water.

Reply: Yes, that is correct. Daniel 8:16 is related to Revelation 10:1,2 in principle—that of a flood or body of water overflowing its banks. The voice (Jesus) above the river kept things under control. In other words, Jesus is the “man’s voice” telling Gabriel to inform Daniel about the vision.

Dan. 8:17 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.

Daniel “was afraid, and fell upon … [his] face”; that is, he fell forward. It is interesting that the effect of occult power is to cause a person to fall backward, whereas the effect of beneficial supernatural power is a falling forward.

Comment: As a result of disobedience, the high priest Eli fell backward (1 Sam. 4:16–18). It was on Daniel’s heart to learn the meaning of the vision, and now the angel Gabriel came to give him understanding. Gabriel said to Daniel, “Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” The 1,260 days mark the end of the French Revolution, that is, the year 1799. Then the 1,290, 1,335, and 2,300 days all pertain to events subsequent to the French Revolution. Of course the 2,300 days started much earlier, but in fulfillment they mark the year 1846. The “time of the end” is a period of time.

Dan. 8:18 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.

Dan. 8:19 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.

The “indignation” concerns the end of the Gospel Age.

Dan. 8:20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

Dan. 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

Notice how hundreds of years are covered in just a few words. The Media-Persia Empire began in 536 BC, when Cyrus issued the decree for Jews to go back to Israel. Alexander the Great of Greece was on the scene around 330 BC. The “rough goat” is Greece, and its “great horn” is Alexander the Great.

Dan. 8:22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

This verse shows the fragmentation of the Grecian Empire into four divisions with a separate general over each division. “But not in his power” should be “but not with his [Alexander the Great’s] power.” Alexander the Great was so remarkable that he conquered the world in nine years. When he died, the four generals did not have the same degree of power. A note in the Companion Bible says, “Not with Alexander’s vigor of action and endurance.”

Dan. 8:23 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.

Dan. 8:24 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.

The power or “king of fierce countenance” is Papacy, which understands “dark sentences” or mysteries. Papacy claimed to have the power to control one’s destiny even after death.

Therefore, to oppose that system was a fearsome thing to do.

Papacy’s mighty power was “not by his own power.” In other words, the system was backed up by Satanic power. After Satan was not successful during the Smyrna period of the Church in openly opposing Christianity through pagan Roman power, he then joined Christianity, as it were, using Papacy as his front organization. Hence Papacy’s mighty power came through Satanic power and mystique, such as the pope’s claiming to be the Vicar of Christ. Papacy was an awesome power for the ignorant, unenlightened masses to confront.

Comment: Papacy “shall destroy [corrupt] the mighty and the holy people” in the sense of Revelation 17:2, “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

Reply: Usually with ease, luxury, and indolence comes vice. Stated another way, ease and luxury breed vice.

Comment: The word “destroy” (or “corrupt”) applies to the “holy people,” showing that some of the consecrated fell under the influence of Papacy.

Reply: The Reformation become corrupt. Today the protest has essentially gone out of Protestantism. Christians who recognize the blasphemy of Papacy should want nothing to do with it.

Dan. 8:25 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.

“He shall magnify himself in his heart, and by [its] peace [prosperity] shall destroy many.”

Papacy claims to be the true Church, pointing out the number of communicants and its universality. Down through the Gospel Age, the false Church prospered, while the true Church, few in numbers, went unrecognized. There is a saying “money is power.”

Prosperity and influence are also power. The more power a person or system has, the more it seems to keep increasing. “He [Papacy] shall also stand up against the Prince of princes [Jesus].”

The NIV states: “He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior.

When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.

Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.”

The RSV reads: “By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall magnify himself. Without warning he shall destroy many; and he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes; but, by no human hand, he shall be broken.”

The reference to feeling secure and “without warning” applies to the power and the terror of the Holy(?) Inquisition when Papacy was at the zenith of its power in Pope Innocent’s day.

Eventually, at the end of the age, “he shall be broken without [human] hand”; that is, Papacy will be broken when the stone from beyond the veil smites the image.

Q: Is the expression that Papacy “shall also stand up against the Prince of princes [Jesus]” a direct way of bringing in the thought of Antichrist?

A: Yes, in both senses. Antichrist—the false, pseudo, imitation Christ—is “against” and “instead of” the true Christ. The honor and reverence that belong to Jesus have been usurped by Papacy. Thus Papacy is “anti” in the sense of both counterfeit and opposition.

Dan. 8:26 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.

“The vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true.” Why was the verse worded this way? It is a Hebrew expression based on the Creative Days, which are spoken of as “evening and morning.” During the evening period of the Creative Days when God said, “Let there be such-and-such,” it did not look at first as if anything was happening.

However, the creative process was proceeding according to the divine plan and working and overruling. Not until the closing feature of each day was God’s purpose made manifest. When each day began with a dark evening, only superhuman intelligence and insight could have discerned what was happening. Eventually, with the dawn, God’s purpose became apparent.

The angel was saying, in effect, that this vision contains nothing but trouble but that it will have a happy ending. The trouble is disciplinary, and without the discipline there would be no Church, no tried people. When we ourselves are being affected, it is hard to see that the discipline is essential. To see the hand of God in our experiences requires a lot of faith and character. While circumstances may appear to be destruct, destruct, destruct (until victory finally comes), God’s will is being performed in that destructive period, even though Satan seems to be the one in power. Shakespeare said that in spite of the Adversary, God’s will is being performed, but it is not seen in its proper light until later. Then, looking back on history, we will be able to see clearly.

Thus “the evening and the morning” pertain to this prophecy here in Daniel. Following the same principle as in Genesis, the angel was saying, “It does look dark. The saints will be crushed and suffer persecution, but eventually these oppressed ones will inherit the Kingdom.” Of course Daniel was thinking more from the literal standpoint of the saintly Jews rather than of the Gospel Age saints.

“Wherefore shut thou up the vision.” In other words, “Keep quiet now. Do not inquire further. You have all the information you will get.”

“For it shall be for many days.” The vision would cover a long, long period of time, and this troubled Daniel, as shown in verse 27.

Dan. 8:27 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.

Leeser’s reads: “And I Daniel grieved, and was sick several days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was depressed because of the appearance, and no one observed it.” Daniel hid the matter. He could not tell the vision to anyone. Probably the three Hebrew children had died by this time, and therefore, Daniel had no one to confide in.

Comment: How lonely the faithful ones were in many cases! Moreover, Daniel was actually sick for several days.

This vision occurred in the third year of Belshazzar, who did not reign very long. It was during the feast in Belshazzar’s reign that Daniel was called in to interpret the handwriting on the wall. After the other wise men failed to give an interpretation, the queen mother reminded the king about Daniel, who in King  Nebuchadnezzar’s day had understood mysteries. The point is that Daniel was not in high esteem at that time but was still holding office. It is interesting that in spite of his old age, he was still involved in the business administration of the Babylonian Empire.

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