In this chapter Daniel was given a vision of a “ram and a goat” in verses 1-14 and the angel Gabriel gave him the interpretation of the vision in verses 15-28. Due to limited space, we will simply quote some key verses which highlight the main features and nations/persons involved in the prophecy.

In verses 3-4 Daniel saw “a RAM which had TWO HORNS, and the two horns were high; but ONE WAS HIGHER THAN THE OTHER…I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him.” At the time Daniel wrote he was a captive in the city of Babylon, the capital of the Babylonian Empire. In this vision the RAM represents PERSIA and the TWO HORNS the kings of MEDIA and PERSIA, with Persia being the stronger of the two. Gabriel made this clear in his interpretation in verse 20. They were seeking to conquer the world and eventually they defeated the Babylonians and became the world ruler.

In verses 5-8 Daniel saw “a MALE GOAT came from the WEST, across the surface of the whole earth…the goat had a NOTABLE HORN between his eyes. Then he came to the ram…and ran at him with furious power…and broke his two horns…The male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the LARGE HORN WAS BROKEN, and in place of it FOUR NOTABLE ONES came up toward the FOUR WINDS OF HEAVEN.” The MALE GOAT pictures “the kingdom of GREECE” (see verse 21) which conquers the MEDES and PERSIANS. The NOTABLE HORN represents “Alexander the Great” who eventually died and his kingdom, which was divided between his FOUR GENERALS, then became “four kingdoms” (verse 22).

In verses 9-14 Daniel says “And out of one of them came a LITTLE HORN which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And It grew up to the HOST OF HEAVEN; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and TRAMPLE THEM. He even exalted himself as high as the PRINCE OF THE HOST; and by him THE DAILY SACRIFICES WERE TAKEN AWAY, and the place of His SANCTUARY WAS CAST DOWN. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to OPPOSE THE DAILY SACRIFICES; and he CAST TRUTH TO THE GROUND. He did all this and prospered. Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, ‘How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the TRANSGRESSION OF DESOLATION, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?’ And he said to me, ‘For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

I quoted this whole section because of its significance. Why is this so important? Because the LITTLE HORN, which pictures one who came to power in the Grecian Empire, invaded Israel (the “Glorious Land”) and persecuted God’s earthly people (the “host of heaven”). He then set himself up as their king (the “Prince of the host”), took away their “daily sacrifices,” and desecrated God’s temple (“His sanctuary was cast down”). Historians have informed us that this man was Antiochus Epiphanes (who came from the “northern kingdom” of the empire) and that he offered a swine upon the altar in the temple. We learn from verses 13-14 (in an “angelic conversation”) that the desecration of the sanctuary lasted 2,300 days (between 171 B.C. and 165 B.C.). This abominable act foreshadows the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel in Daniel 9:27 and 12:11, along with the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:15. That will occur during the coming seven year Tribulation Period.

In closing, I will quote verses 23-25: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a KING SHALL ARISE, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. HIS POWER SHALL BE MIGHTY, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; HE SHALL DESTROY the mighty, and also THE HOLY PEOPLE. Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and HE SHALL EXALT HIMSELF in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. HE SHALL EVEN RISE AGAINST THE PRINCE OF PRINCES, but HE SHALL BE BROKEN WITHOUT HUMAN MEANS.” Here we see another mighty king who will arise from this kingdom in “the latter time” (the Tribulation Period). If you compare these verses with Daniel 11:40-45 you will see that he is referred to as the “king of the north” (for like Antiochus Epiphanes he arises from the “northern part” of the kingdom). He too has his sights set on Israel and through him “the glorious land…shall be overthrown”—verse 24 with 11:41). But as we see in verse 25 and 11:45 he shall defy the “Prince of princes” (the Lord Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah) and be destroyed by the Lord Himself.  (418.1)  (DO)