One of the strongest defenses of the Bible’s integrity is the way it holds up prophetically. Daniel 8 is an amazing example of this. I decided to take a portion out of the article, “Harold Camping Week: Day 5 / Painting By Numbers,” in which I took apart Daniel chapter 8 verse by verse. I basically copy and pasted the section into this separate post so that it wouldn’t be as difficult to find. Some additional information has been added. It’s important to note that Daniel was given this vision from God. He wasn’t a witch, he didn’t press a seer stone to his head, or stare into a top hat. This wasn’t like some prophecy you’d see in a movie, that could be frustrated unless the characters allowed it to happen. God showed Daniel exactly what would happen, and nothing could change it. “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” [Isaiah 14:27]
VERSE 1: “In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first.
Daniel receives a vision from God approximately B.C. 553.
VERSE 2: And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the capital, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal.
VERSE 3: I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
This two-horned ram represents the Medo-Persian (the Medes and the Persians) empire. At the time of this vision, Babylon was in power under King Belshazzar. But this would change as the Babylonians are overtaken by the Medo Persian empire in B.C. 539 – about 14 years from when Daniel received this prophecy.
VERSE 4: I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
VERSE 5: As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes.
This male goat represents Greece. The Greeks later overpower the Medo Persians. The fact that this male goat didn’t touch the ground is descriptive of how swiftly (as though flying) the Greeks would conquer. The conspicuous horn on this goat’s head represents Alexander the Great.
VERSE 6: He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath.
VERSE 7: I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power.
Just as the male goat destroyed the ram, Alexander the Great destroyed the Medo-Persian empire.
VERSE 8: Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
This great horn is broken while the goat is strong, and hour other horns arise. While Alexander the Great was still young, and after having conquered all that he had – he died. After him came four men who split the empire amongst themselves. They were Seleucus, Antigonus, Philip and Ptolemy.
VERSE 9: Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land.
This little horn that came forth refers to Antiochus Epiphanes. He conquered Egypt in 170 B.C. (south), Persia and other eastern countries (East), and Jerusalem in 167 B.C. (the glorious land).
VERSE 10: It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them.
VERSE 11: It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown.
VERSE 12: And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression,c and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper.
Antiochus removed Temple furniture, and in 165 B.C. he even slaughtered a pig in the Holy place. This defiled the temple, as pigs were unclean to the Jewish people.
VERSE 13: Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?”
VERSE 14: And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”
This would occur over a period of 2,300 days or 6 years and 3 and one half months. This was the exact time that Antiochus Epiphanes occupied the city of Jerusalem. The last three years of the six years, unclean sacrifices were made in the temple. Then, through the Maccabean revolt led by Judah Maccabeus, the temple was rededicated and restored. This event is still celebrated by Jewish people today. You know it as Hanukkah.
VERSE 15: When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
VERSE 16: And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”
VERSE 17: So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”
VERSE 18: And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up.
VERSE 19: He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end.
So, now everything that had been described will be interpreted by Gabriel to Daniel. So far it has probably been sounding like I was just making bare assertions. Perhaps I am wrong, and Gabriel will disclose something similar to what Camping would say? Let’s see what Gabriel says.
VERSE 20: As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.
VERSE 21: And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king.
VERSE 22: As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.
VERSE 23: And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise.
VERSE 24: His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints.
VERSE 25: By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.
Check – this out. Antiochus Epiphanes wasn’t murdered. After all he had done, he actually became depressed and apparently died from it. He attributed this depression to his mistreatment of the Jews and Jerusalem. From the Apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees (which isn’t inspired, but still has historical value), Antiochus is recorded as saying:
“This, I am convinced, is why these misfortunes have overtaken me, and why I am dying of melancholy in a foreign land” (1 Maccabees 6:13 NJB)”
VERSE 26: The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”
VERSE 27: And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.”