CHAPTER 8 - verses 1-7

This is possibly one of the most important chapters in the Bible for preparing us for last day events. The author of Daniel switches back to writing in Hebrew (for the most part chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were written in Aramaic). Some of the rabbi’s point out this change in language points to a renewal – the Jewish people going back to their origin, back to the purposes of God.
This Hebrew language, revealed to the people of God in the past, ceased, but will be (and is even now being) renewed for the people of God in the last days.

Note: Too often people miss out on the hermeneutical indicators in a book or text of the Bible (hermeneutics is a big word, but it is simply the methodology – rules and laws – that helps us to rightly divide the word of God so that we can arrive at Biblical truth – 2 Timothy 2:15). In so many places in this book of Daniel we are told that his visions and dreams relate to the end times. This
does not mean that what we are studying could not have had earlier fulfilment or relevance.

However, any earlier fulfilment of these dreams or visions give us a paradigm for understanding what will be restated in the last days. Oftentimes, prophetically, there is a repetition. Something may be established, to serve as an example or paradigm (framework) and then at a later date it is revisited. This repetition helps us to understand what will be, based on what has been.

Verse 1: “In the third year of the kingdom of Belshazzar, the king, a vision appeared to me – I Daniel- after the vision which was to me at the beginning.”

Third: The number 3 is a number used for the purpose of revelation – revealing or documenting something. This is a hermeneutical indicator that something is going to be revealed in this 8th chapter.

After the vision which was to me: Daniel had had other visions. This was not his first one. Although this is a new vision for him, this Scripture links it to his previous visions (i.e. the vision recorded in chapter 7 – in the first year of Belshazzar’s reign).

Verse 2: “And I looked at this vision, and it came about when I saw it that I was in Shushan, the capital, which is in the province of Elam; I looked at this vision and I was at the River Ulai.”

Looked…saw: In many places in this chapter, we see what appears to be a redundancy of these words – looking and seeing. The purpose of redundancy informs us that Daniel got a good look at this vision. It was not something that just went by him quickly. He was able to study it, look at it, pay attention to it. Daniel recognized that it was a highly significant and important vision.

In Shushan: This location confirms to us that Daniel is still in exile. This is an important truth. It gives us a framework – informing us that this prophecy has a purpose – to take God’s people, who are in exile, and bring them into the kingdom. In one sense all of humanity is in exile. We need redemption to take place, the final work of redemption being the establishment of the Kingdom
of God on earth.

The River: The river is a very significant place. When Ezekiel had his vision of God (Ezekiel 1:1) he was by a river. In Acts 16:13 we find that Paul, staying in the idolatrous city of Philippi, left the city on the Sabbath day and went down to the river to pray and worship. All of these men (when in idolatrous places) went out of the cities and to the rivers in order to worship God. Daniel and
Ezekiel received visions (revelation) from God in the midst of worship. G-dly worship, proper worship, leads to God’s revelation – His illumination/insight.

Verse 3: “And I lifted up my eyes and I saw. Behold! A ram standing by the river. And to him were two horns and one was higher than the other. And the highest one came up at the end.”

Lifted up my eyes: This is a Hebrew idiom for prayer. As Daniel was by the river worshipping God he began to pray. 

A ram: We have already learnt that a beast (the ram in this case) represents an empire. In Daniel 8:20 we learn that the empire being referred to here is that of the Medes and Persians (modern day Iran). This empire, although it was the fourth of the seven empires, is going to briefly reappear again in the last days. 

The purpose of its reappearance is to bring about greater instability in the world – to aid in causing end time birth pangs – “wars and rumours of war”

(Matthew 24:6). These birth pangs are going to cause political, economic, and social instability.

Two horns: These two horns represent two different leaders of this empire (Daniel 8:20) – they represent two different dispensations in this empire.


Verse 4: “I was looking at the ram and he was charging to the west, to the north and to the south. None of the other beasts were able to stand before him, and there was not any saviour from his hand. He did according to his desire, and he became great.”

Charging: When a bull is angry and getting ready to charge he tosses his head about forcefully. He widens his stance slightly and lowers his head, which is then followed by pawing the dirt. The bull may even move to position himself in such a way that he shows off how big he is on side view. This is the kind of behavior this ram is displaying.

West…north…south: The ram empire (Iran) is an empire out of the east. Usually, when we are dealing with directions, ground zero or the base point is Jerusalem. Biblical prophecy is truth. Therefore, we can expect Iran to grow in its influence and power in the last days. It is going to become an empire that expands its boundaries to the west (Europe), north (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon) and south (Egypt, Yemen etc). Initially nothing is going to be done to stop this expansion.

Other beasts: All other empires, kingdoms, or governments.

None…were able to stand: Other countries will try to stand against Iran, but they will not be successful.
There was not any saviour: No one was able to help.

Verse 5: “I was trying to understand, and behold a goat came from the west, upon the face of the earth, without touching the ground. And this goat had a horn in the centre, between the eyes.”

Trying to understand …a goat: Daniel was trying to understand this first vision of the ram when he was given a second vision – one of a goat.

Note: These two visions deal with two related, but distinct, periods of time – which are going to overlap, or come together, at a certain point of time. A verse that is important in helping us understand this prophecy is 1 Thessalonians 5:1. Paul makes a distinction between the words ‘times’ and ‘seasons’. 

Paul does not feel the need to write to the believers about these two (distinct, but related) time periods, as this distinction has already been explained to us by the prophets. Paul did not use these two terms to speak about the same period of time, but he used them to make a distinction between two different allotments of time. These two allotments of time correspond with this first and second vision that Daniel saw. In the first allotment of time the ram grows powerful and expands.

Behold: When this word is used it should cause us to pay attention. What follows it is always important.

Goat: A goat is another beast, another (and final) empire. Based upon Scripture we are going to see, undeniably, that the goat empire is the empire that the antichrist is going to come from.

Came from the west: With Jerusalem as ground zero, “coming from the west” would mean that this empire came out of Europe.

Without touching the ground: He is flying. This empire moved over the surface of the earth in a supernatural way. This empire is going to be marked by the supernatural, by the demonic. There is a satanic aspect to it.


Verse 6: “He came to the ram that had horns, which I saw standing before the river. And he ran at him with wrathful power.”

Wrathful power: Anger, one of the key characteristics of this goat empire (Europe), gave them greater power/strength.


Verse 7: “And I saw it approaching the ram: and with rage unto him he struck the ram and broke its two horns. There was no longer power for the ram to stand before him, and he cast it to the ground and trampled it. And there was no one to save the ram from his hand.”

Note: The measure that the ram had used (barbaric cruelty) will be measured back to it (Luke 6:38)

Broke its two horns: The ram’s two leaders are going to be destroyed.

Trampled it: The ram is going to be trampled upon and will be no more.


HOW can WE help you?