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7.29 Daniel -- Ram and Goat

Chapter 8 contains a different vision of animal symbols, which  is dated to Belshazzar’s third year (Dan 8:1), "a significant year in which Cyrus broke free from his allegiance to Astyages the Mede and established the joint state of the Medes and Persians" (Baldwin, p. 155).


In this vision, the earth is dominated first by a ram and then by a goat -- these are interpreted for us as Medo-Persia and Greece (Dan 8:20-21).  The goat’s prominent horn is usually identified as Alexander the Great, a little more than 200 years after the vision, and the rebellious horn of Dan 8:9-12 as Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who lived 150 years after Alexander.  But we are also told that "the vision concerns the time of the end" (Dan 8:17-19).


Themes of this vision include rebellion and arrogance, destruction of the Temple (Dan 8:11) -- which had not yet been rebuilt by order of Cyrus, and war on the saints (Dan 8:24).  It appears the evil king will even make war against the son of man, here called the Prince (Dan 8:11Dan 8:25).  Finally, he will be destroyed "by no human hand."


Daniel, not unreasonably, was "appalled by the vision" (Dan 8:27).  This chapter stresses far more the power of evil than the redemption of God.

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