Daniel Chapter 8

Daniel 8:1-27
Study Guide Type:
Verse by Verse Notes

NKJV Study Notes by Tom Velasco

Edited by Bob Caldwell

v. 1 First time - This is referring to the vision that he had in chapter 7 concerning the four beasts. The vision that follows will be an expansion of events described in the previous chapter.

v. 2 Shushan - Also known as Susa, this would ultimately become the capital of the Persian Empire.

Citadel - a fortified palace

Elam - One of the provinces of the Babylonian Empire and, as Daniel was a provincial governor, he may have served as governor there.

v. 3 ram which had two horns - As in the previous vision, each beast represents a kingdom. Unlike the previous one, however, the angel will specifically identify which kingdom is represented by which beast.

Two horns - As we will find out that this beast represents the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians, each of these horns represents the Medan and the Persian empires individually.

One was higher...and...came up last - The second horn that came up later represented the Persians which came to authority after the Medes. It stood higher, because the Persians were more powerful and possessed of more territory than the Medes did.

v. 4 Pushing northward...southward - This indicates that the ram will conquer lands in every direction. It is telling us that the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians will extend in every direction throughout the entire Middle East.

v. 5 A male goat - The angel will tell us in verse 21 that this goat represents the Kingdom of Greece, which would eventually conquer the Medes and the Persians and take control of the Middle East stretching from Greece all the way to India.

From the west - Greece was far to the west of the middle-eastern lands under the control of Persia.

Whole earth - An exaggeration emphasizing the great mass of land that Greece would come to control.

Without touching the ground - This is metaphoric and tells us that this kingdom will not be defeated. It is similar to the modern idiom: "he was brought back down to earth."

notable horn between his eyes - This is interpreted for us in verse 21, where we are told that this is the great king of Greece that would conquer the Persians. We know this to be Alexander the Great.

v. 6 ran at him - Alexander invaded the Persian Empire in the year 332 BC, over 200 years after this prophecy was given to Daniel.

v. 7 moved with rage - The Greeks would come to feel bitter hatred towards the Persians as, on several instances, the Persians tried to invade Greece, killing many of their people and destroying their land. Ultimately, the Persians were always repelled, but the Greeks hated the Persians for it, and Alexander would use that anger as an excuse for invading Persia.

Broke his two horns - Alexander, over the course of 10 years, would systematically take control of each Persian province, without losing one battle.

v. 8 When he became strong the large horn was broken - Alexander died of some sudden illness at the height of Greece's empire. He was not defeated in battle and his empire did not die out by foreign conquest.

In place of it our notable one - After Alexander died, his kingdom was divided up amongst his generals. Although several empires arose from the ashes of Alexander's, most think that the four nations mentioned here were the most powerful of the empires to arise and were to be found towards the four directions. Ptolemy ruled a kingdom in the south, comprised primarily of Egypt; the Seleucid Kingdom was to the East; Pergamum to the north; and the Antigonid kingdom to the West.

v. 9 Little horn...grew exceedingly great - This refers to Antiochus IV who called himself Epiphanies (bringer of light). He was a descendant of Alexander's general Seleucas and ruled over the Seleucid Empire. He is the subject of much of the book of Daniel.

Glorious Land - Israel

v. 10 Grew up to the host of heaven...cast down...stars - This speaks of the pride that would possess the little horn: Antiochus would persecute the people of God and blaspheme him.

Trampled - This speaks of the great disrespect he had for God and his people.

v. 11 Exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host - The "Prince of the host" is God, who is ruler over the armies of heaven. This is saying that Antiochus is going to proclaim himself to be god.

Daily sacrifices - At the time of this vision, there was no Temple in Israel and the Jews were still in captivity in Babylon, but the Persian king Cyrus would eventually allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. It would be finished and rededicated in the year 516 BC. Antiochus, who would not come for another 350 years, would take control of the Temple and order that the daily sacrifices to the God of Israel be ended and offered to himself instead.

His sanctuary - God's Temple

Cast down - Antiochus would ultimately erect a statue of himself in the Holy of Holies and would order the sacrifice of a pig on the altar. A pig was an unclean animal according to the Jews, and Antiochus' action was considered a great disgrace.

v. 11 Because of transgression - This is referring to the fact that many Jews would betray their God during this time and side with Antiochus. They would serve in his army and help him seize the Temple.

Oppose the daily sacrifices - This army of traitors would oppose the work of the Temple and force the people to stop offering the daily sacrifices.

Cast truth down to the ground - A metaphor symbolizing the fact that these men disregarded the truth of God and treated it shamefully.

Prospered - At the beginning, Antiochus prospered in his work and was successful in suppressing the truth of the God's people; his successes, however, would not last.

v. 13 Holy one - In this case, this term is used to speak of angelic and spiritual beings.

How long - Here, the angel is asking how long the Temple will be desecrated in this manner.

v. 14 Two thousand Three hundred days - This is referring to the period of time that Antiochus would have control of the Temple, and it would lie in desecration.

Sanctuary shall be cleansed - At the end of this period, the Jews will regain control of the Temple and rededicate it to the Lord. This is precisely what did happen as the Jews, under the authority of the Maccabee brothers, would defeat Antiochus's armies and regain control of the Temple. They would then go through the cleansing processes laid out in the Law (the first five books of the Old Testament) to rededicate the Temple to the Lord. This rededication which would happen in 165 BC would be celebrated from that time forward during the festival of Hanukah.

v. 15 Gabriel - One of two angelic beings mentioned by name in the Scriptures. His job is to explain the vision to Daniel.

v. 23 Latter time of their kingdom - This "little horn" would not arise immediately after Alexander death, but would come a while later. Antiochus would come to power about 150 years after Alexander died.

v. 24 Not by his own power - It is clear here that Antiochus will receive his power from a demonic source. The scriptures teach that a future Antichrist, who is Satan incarnate, will come to possess political authority and do many of the same kinds of things that Antiochus will do (2 Thess. 2). Thus, Antiochus' actions foreshadow those of the Antichrist that will also come to power, also under demonic auspices.

v. 25 Deceit - He would turn people against each other.

Rise against the Prince of Princes - The Prince of Princes refers to the Lord, and this section indicates that this man is fighting against God and is committing the ultimate blasphemy in thinking that he can defeat Him.

Without human means - It will take an act of God to overcome this man. We see this in the miraculous victories of the Maccabees against the Greek armies, which were far larger, better organized, and used more advanced weaponry.

v. 26 Seal up - This vision was not meant to be understood by those then living, because it regarded events in the distant future. Instead it was meant to be a message to the people that would live in the times of the end of the age.

v. 27 Astonished - amazed or shocked by the contents of the vision; in wonderment as to what it could all mean