August 18, 2001 – August 24, 2001
MEMORY VERSE: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Daniel 8:14.
STUDY HELP: Early Writings, 250–253.
Introduction: “Our people, who are expecting such great and important events soon to transpire, should know the reasons of their faith, that they may be able to give an answer to every man that shall ask them a reason for the hope which is in them with meekness and fear. In His word, God has revealed truths that will benefit His church. As a people, we should be earnest students of prophecy; we should not rest until we become intelligent in regard to the subject of the sanctuary, which is brought out in the visions of Daniel and John.” Review and Herald, November 27, 1883.
‘A Vision Appeared unto Me’
1 When and where was Daniel given a deeper insight into coming events? Daniel 8:1, 2.
NOTE: Two years have elapsed since Daniel’s previous vision.
“Daniel was now an old man. He had been in captivity from 605 to this year, or a total of about fifty-five years; and as he was probably around sixteen or eighteen years of age when brought to Babylon, he would now be well over seventy.” Price, The Greatest of the Prophets, 159. (See also 553, 554.)
2 What was Daniel first shown in his vision? Daniel 8:3, 4.
NOTE: “This is a clear and accurate statement of the relationship between these two peoples. The Persians became the dominant members of the union; but the Medes were never treated as inferiors or a subjugated people, but rather as confederates. The empire is always known as the Medo-Persian Empire.” Price, The Greatest of the Prophets, 161.
“Like a bully, the Medo-Persian ram charged ‘westward, northward and southward.’ In 547 BC Cyrus pushed west to conquer Lydia and take Babylon in 539. Driving south, Cambyses overran Egypt and Ethiopia in 525. Darius Hystaspes rushed northwards to overthrow the Scythians in 512.” Hardinge, Jesus Is My Judge, 164.
3 How was this part of his vision explained to Daniel? Daniel 8:20.
NOTE: “Gabriel explained that ‘the ram . . . having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.’ Now Daniel was on familiar territory. This fitted into the outline of history he had viewed from two perspectives. Like the bear’s hunched back, the ram’s lopsided horns—one higher than the other—pointed to Persian domination. The Medes were the older, and had been the stronger, and had co-operated with the Persians for years.” Hardinge, Jesus Is My Judge, 164.
‘And as I Was Considering . . .”
4 What was the next development in Daniel’s vision? Daniel 8:5–7.
NOTE: “It is significant that many of the Greeks used to speak of themselves as the goats’ people, using the goat as a national or tribal symbol. On the coins of Lysimachus, one of the generals and successors of Alexander, the latter is represented as deified, with a horn on his head and a diadem. No words are needed to point out how the picture of great swiftness given in the prophetic description of the he-goat . . . exactly fits the astonishing speed and completeness of Alexander’s conquests.” Price, The Greatest of the Prophets, 162.
5 What then happened to the he-goat? Daniel 8:8.
NOTE: “At the height of his powers and conquest, Alexander died in 323 BC. He had a son, but this son did not inherit the kingdom (see Daniel 11:4). Instead Alexander’s kingdom was divided among his generals. There was fighting among them for a period of about twenty years. But by 301 BC, four kingdoms had emerged from the political chaos that ensued after the death of Alexander. These were 1. Macedonia under Cassander; 2. Thrace and north-western Asia Minor under Lysimachus; 3. Syria and Babylonia under Seleucus; and 4. Egypt under Ptolemy.” Shea, Daniel 7-12, 93.
6 How was the aspect of the vision explained to Daniel? Daniel 8:21, 22.
NOTE: “The goat represented Grecia and its ‘notable horn’—pointed, aggressive, direct—its premier king, Alexander the Great. This remarkable young man, with a small and dedicated army of Macedonians, lunged from the west with such rapidity that he seemed hardly to touch the ground. This had already been signaled by the leopard made swifter with the addition of two pairs of wings. His contemporary Apian wrote: ‘The empire of Alexander was splendid in its magnitude, in its armies, in the success and rapidity of its conquests, and it wanted little of being boundless and unexampled, yet in its shortness of duration, it was like a brilliant flash of lightning.’” Hardinge, Jesus Is My Judge, 165.
“It Waxed Exceeding Great”
7 What next appeared in Daniel’s vision? Daniel 8:9.
NOTE: The phrase ‘out of one of them’ could refer to either “the four notable ones” or “the four winds of heaven.” Both Dr William Shea and Dr Gerhard Hasel have shown that the Hebrew grammar requires the little horn to come from one of the four winds of heaven, rather than from one of the four horns, a division of Alexander’s empire. Those requiring more detail may consult: Shea: Selected Studies On Prophetic Interpretation,41–43 and the article by Hasel in Holbrook ed., Symposium on Daniel, 387—394. Those who teach that the little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, an obscure and largely unsuccessful king of the Syrian portion of Alexander’s empire, teach that the little horn came from one of the four horns.
The sequence in the visions of Daniel 2 and 7 has Rome following Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. This is what we should expect here. The sequence of ram = Medo-Persia, described as “great” (verse 4); he-goat = Greece, described as “very great” (verse 8) prepares us for the little horn = Rome, described as “exceeding great” (verse 9).
8 How did Gabriel describe the little horn? Daniel 8:23–24. Compare Deuteronomy 28:49–53.
NOTE: “By the Spirit of Inspiration, looking far down the ages, Moses pictured the terrible scenes of Israel’s final overthrow as a nation, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Rome: ‘The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young.’ The utter wasting of the land and the horrible suffering of the people during the siege of Jerusalem under Titus, centuries later, were vividly portrayed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 467.
“He Magnified Himself Against the Prince of the Host”
9 What was Daniel told about Rome’s military conquests? Daniel 8:9, 24. (For “the pleasant land” see Zechariah 7:14, Psalm 106:24.)
NOTE: “The little horn waxed great toward the south. . . . Egypt was made a province of the Roman empire BC 30, and continued such for some centuries. The little horn waxed great toward the east. This also was true of Rome. Rome conquered Syria BC 65 and made it a province. The Little horn waxed great toward the pleasant land. Judea is called the pleasant land in many scriptures. The Romans made it a province of their empire BC 63.” Smith, Daniel and the Revelation,1918 ed., 176.
10 How is the next phase of Rome’s activity described? Daniel 8:10–13, 25.
NOTE: “I saw in relation to the ‘daily’ (Daniel 8:12) that the word ‘sacrifice’ was supplied by man’s wisdom, and does not belong to the text.” Early Writings, 74.
“We see that there are two rebellions mentioned: a. the continuance in rebellion (Daniel 8:12); (often called the ‘daily’) and b. the desolating rebellion (Daniel 8:13). These two rebellions (revolts) involve not only the earth, but also the forces of heaven, even the ruler of the forces of heaven (Daniel 8:10, 11). These two rebellions are two successive stages of the great spiritual war being described: First, that which is the ‘continuance in rebellion’, and then the prophet sees an army given to the little horn power against the ‘continuance in rebellion’ (Daniel 8:12).” Grosboll, God Predicts Your Future, 40.
In each portrayal of Rome in the visions of Daniel, two successive phases are described. In Daniel 2, the legs of iron are succeeded by the feet, partly clay and partly iron. In Daniel 7, the emphasis shifts from the fourth beast itself to the horns growing from its head and in particular the little horn. Here in Daniel 8:13 we are shown the “daily” or continuance in rebellion, followed by the desolating rebellion.
“Against the Prince of Princes”
11 Who are the host of heaven? Daniel 8:10. Compare Daniel 8:24, Exodus 12:41.
NOTE: “When the angel explained the vision in Daniel 8:17–26, he explained that the mighty and holy people were to be destroyed by this power. The people of God are spoken of in the Bible as the Lord’s army. (See Exodus 12:41, Joshua 5:14, 15.)” Grosboll, God Predicts Your Future, 42
12 Who is ‘the Prince of the host’? Daniel 8:11. Compare Daniel 8:25, last part.
Note: The Prince of the host is called “the Prince of princes” in verse 25. The term “Prince” is applied to Christ in many places in the Scriptures, for example, Isaiah 9:6, “The Prince of peace,” Daniel 9:25, “Messiah the Prince,” Daniel 10:13, marginal reading, “Michael, the first of the princes,” Daniel 10:21, “Michael, your Prince,” Daniel 11:22, “the Prince of the covenant,” Daniel 12:1, “Michael, that great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people,” Acts 3:15, “the Prince of life,” Acts 5:31, “A Prince and a Saviour,” Revelation 1:5, “the Prince of the kings of the earth.” Only Jesus Christ can be regarded as “the Prince of the host.”
13 What was to be the ultimate fate of the little horn power? Daniel 8:25. Compare Daniel 2:45.
NOTE: The phrase “without hand” clearly refers to God’s final intervention on behalf of His people.
14 What question is asked concerning this vision? Daniel 8:13. Compare Daniel 12:6, 8, Revelation 6:10 and Genesis 4:10.
NOTE: “Daniel, if time had been given, might perhaps have asked this question himself, but God is ever ready to anticipate our wants, and sometimes to answer even before we ask.” Smith, Daniel and the Revelation,1918 ed., 178.
“The questioner was identified as Gabriel [verse 16]. The Other, designated as ‘One holy Palmoni’ [Daniel 8:13, margin] ordered, ‘Gabriel, make Daniel understand. . . . This name is formed from two words, pele and mene. Pele indicates things that are extraordinary or miraculous, including God’s ‘wonderful’ dealings with His people. It is a name of God. [Isaiah 9:6]… The mysterious hand twice wrote mene on the wall of Belshazzar’s banquet hall to record how thoroughly ‘numbered’ and sealed up was Babylon’s fate. The meticulous accuracy of the seventy weeks of years and the cleansing of the sanctuary day 2300 and other time lines in Daniel display the precision of the Divine Chronologer. He is the Scorekeeper, judge and Timekeeper of Eternity.” Hardinge, Jesus Is My Judge, 173.
15 How is the question answered? Daniel 8:14.
NOTE: Previous visions ended with divine intervention. Daniel 2 concluded with the Stone, which destroys all earthly kingdoms before filling the whole earth as God’s eternal kingdom. Daniel 7 concluded with the judgment in heaven, which pronounced in favor of God’s people and against the powers that had oppressed them. These powers lose their kingdom and the saints possess it instead. It is to be expected then that this vision will relate to the same events. Here, however, this divine intervention is described using sanctuary symbolism, which would be familiar to the prophet.
“Erev boqer, ‘evening-morning,’ are singular nouns which when used together mean ‘day.’ Jesus answered Gabriel that on ‘day 2300,’ or the ‘2300th day’ the sanctuary would be cleansed. Since this service occurred once a year, the phrase measures anniversaries of Yom Kippur. The 2300th Day of Atonement would therefore fall 2300 years after some starting point. In their next encounter, the Wonderful Numberer (Palmoni, Daniel 8:13, margin) sent Gabriel to tell Daniel to begin numbering these anniversaries of Yom Kippur from the year 457 BC.” Hardinge, Jesus Is My Judge, 175.
16 Why was this part of the vision not explained to Daniel by Gabriel at this time? Daniel 8:26, 27.
NOTE: “He was now an old man. He had been serving as a virtual slave nearly all his life, even though he was considered a trusted official in high position: and he had grown old with the confident hope that the seventy years of the predicted captivity (Jeremiah 25:11) were soon to expire, and that a restoration to Jerusalem was then to take place. . . . Now this legitimate hope seemed rudely dashed to the ground. No wonder he fainted. Also no wonder, considering the kind of man he was, that we find him, as soon as he could get around again, and could find some relief from pressing official duties, entering upon a definite program of prayer and seeking God to learn the plain truth about it all.” Price, The Greatest of the Prophets, 214, 215.