Summary: Part 6 in a series on the prophecies found in the book of Daniel. Discusses Daniel’s prophecy of the ram and the goat in chapter 8.
The Prophecies of Daniel
Part 6: The Ram and the Goat (Daniel 8)
Well, if you’ve been keeping track we’ve reached the sixth week of our study of the prophecies found in the Old Testament book of Daniel. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the teachings so far, or at the very least can say that you’ve learned something new.
Up to this point we’ve studied the first two prophecies of Daniel. The first one was the dream given to the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar concerning the great metal statue. And the second one was the vision of the four wild beasts coming out of the sea given to the prophet Daniel himself. Both visions foretold the panorama of Gentile power in the Middle East from Babylon to the Revelation of Christ and the Millennium to follow.
I. The Third Vision
Today we are going to start the third vision given to Daniel of the ram and the goat. I hope you had a chance to read chapter eight of Daniel this week and familiarize yourself with the vision.
A. Timing of Third Vision
Let’s begin by reading verse 1 of Daniel 8. “In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.”
This third vision is taking place about two years after the one Daniel received about the four wild beasts. Babylon is still in power, and Daniel and his people are still being held captive there. The third year of Belshazzar’s reign is an interesting one. For this is the year in which the Babylonian Empire fell.
So, only months before the night of the infamous feast and the handwriting on the wall, God gives Daniel this vision of the ram and the goat. For the first time, God is going to put names to the future world empires, which up to this point He has not.
You see, we’ve been studying these empires as part of history, except of course for the last one. So we’ve been able to interpret some of the details that Daniel could not, because he was living in the time of the first empire. While Daniel knew from the “Dream Image” of Nebuchadnezzar that there were to be four world empires that were to succeed each other, he was not told their names, except for the first, Babylon. Bot even in his vision of the four wild beasts were the names of the kingdoms that were to succeed Babylon given. But in this vision of the ram and the goat the Medo-Persian Empire and the Grecian Empire are named, and Daniel will start to be able to make some connections between these three visions that we have already been able to make.
B. Purpose of Vision
So the purpose of this third vision is twofold. The first purpose of this vision is to inform Daniel what empires, by name, were going to follow Babylon, since Babylon would fall within a couple months of this vision being given. And another purpose of this vision is to further trace the Little Horn or the Antichrist.
It’s interesting to realize that while the Old Testament book of Isaiah relates mainly to the revealing of Christ the Messiah, the visions of Daniel are for the purpose of unveiling the Antichrist. Perhaps no other book with the possible exception of Revelation tells us more about who the Antichrist will be, what he will do, and where he will come from than the book of Daniel. And this third vision is going to give us more information as to his place of origin.
Now let’s continue with verse two, “In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal.”
This verse gives us a sense of place so that when we start talking about directions in further verses, we have a starting pointing already. Daniel is physically in Babylon when he receives this vision. But in the vision, he finds himself in the city of Susa in the province of Elam. Susa is the capital city of the Persian Empire. [The city is still in existence today in Iran called Shush. It is also believed that Daniel is buried in this ancient city.] I believe the significance of where this vision took place is that God was telling Daniel where the next world power would be coming from - Persia.
II. The Ram
Okay, so let’s look at the vision and start by examining the ram. Daniel 8:3-4,”I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later.  I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.”