Let us read Daniel 8:1-14. “In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king a vision appeared to me, Daniel, subsequent to the one which appeared to me previously. I looked in the vision, and while I was looking I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last. I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power, but he did as he pleased and magnified himself. While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6 He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, “How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?” He said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored” (NASB).

This vision is interpreted to Daniel in the rest of chapter 8 (verses 15-27). Verse 20 states that “The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia” (NASB). Verses 21 and 22 state that “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power” (NASB). The first king of the Greek Empire was Alexander the Great. He is the large horn. When the large horn broke with the death of Alexander, four horns arose in his place. That is, four of Alexander’s generals divided the Greek Empire into four kingdoms. General Ptolemy was king of Egypt, General Seleucas was king of Syria and Asia Minor (Seleucid Empire), General Lysimachus was king of Thrace, and General Cassander was king of Macedonia and Greece.

Out of one of those kingdoms a small horn or ruler would arise who would succeed militarily toward the south, the east, and the Beautiful Land of Israel (verse 9). Verse 10 describes his persecution of the Jews. Verses 11 and 12 describe how he would blaspheme the Lord, stop the sacrifices in Jerusalem, and desecrate the temple. We learn in verse 14 that his wicked behavior would last for 2,300 days. We know that these are 24-hour days because they are 2,300 EVENINGS AND MORNINGS. This is important because some people have incorrectly interpreted this as 2,300 years. Although not named, his profane behavior describes a king from the Seleucid Empire named Antiochus Epiphanes. We know from history that his 2,300 days of rampage in Israel took place from approximately 171 B.C. to 165 B.C.

In verses 23-25 we read that “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. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. 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.”

Many prophecies in the Old Testament have both a near and far fulfillment. The near fulfillment of these verses appears to be Antiochus Epiphanes. However, the far fulfillment may be another king from the land of Syria spoken of as “the king of the north” in Daniel 11:40-45. That is, he will be king of a region north of Israel (Syria). This will take place near the end of the Great Tribulation. The Lord promises in Isaiah 14:24-25 that “I will BREAK the Assyrian in my land” just as we learned in Daniel 8:25 that “he shall be BROKEN without hand.” No one’s hand will defeat the king of the north. We learn in Isaiah 30:31 how the Assyrian will be defeated. This verse says, “For through the VOICE OF THE LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.”

Since the interpretation of Daniel’s vision appears to reveal both a near and far fulfillment, it causes us to wonder if the 2,300 days mentioned in Daniel 8:14 will also have a far fulfillment that has not yet occurred. Some writers have conjectured about this, but I am not aware of any Scripture that mentions 2,300 days in the setting of a future time period. Those days appear to have been fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes, but it is possible that a future fulfillment of those 2,300 days will be revealed to us when we get to heaven. Thank you for your excellent question and I pray that you will be encouraged to continue to study the Scriptures.  (DJ)  (558.2)