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The Ram and Goat
07/04/2010
Scripture: Daniel 8:1-25; Matthew 24:1-3; 15-22
Track 9 of 12 in the Daniel: A Life Without Compromise series
Running time: 1 hour, 05 minutes, 42 seconds.
My approach to chapter 8 will be from an historical approach. I truly believe that God gave this set of visions to warn the nation of Israel of what was coming in the future so they would be ready and not taken by surprise. God did not want the nation of Israel to miss the most important event in all of historynot his return, but his death, burial and resurrection and their entering into the NEW covenant (The 5th kingdom that is to come according to Chapter 2). Think about this a minute, without that event taking place, his return would be meaningless to God and to us because we would be lost with no way of salvation.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


The Ram and Goat

So far, up to this point, we have seen two visions in the first 7 chapters of Daniel. The vision of Nebuchadnezzar in Chapter 2 of the multi-layered metal image predicted the rise of four powerful kingdoms that would have great influence over the world and Israel. All of these kingdoms, in all their greatness would give way to a fifth kingdom which will be the Kingdom of God. As I taught last week, the first vision is given from the viewpoint and perspective of the world and how it sees these kingdoms. They are seen as varying values of metals; one having power over the other. Nebuchadnezzar was pleased that he and his kingdom was the head of gold.

The second vision was given to Daniel. It is a repeat of the first vision but from a very different perspective. It is from God’s perspective and he viewed these kingdoms as beasts, because that is what they were. Even today, as we look back in history, we see these kingdoms and leaders as great moments in the world’s history. Our kids are made to learn about them. Their names are familiar to us. But the evil they did and great loss of life they caused is not felt by us today. Today we have our evil men, men like Hitler, Stalin and others. But they pale in comparison to what these kingdoms did to the human race. But Daniel 7 follows Daniel 2 and describes God’s perspective.

Chapter 8 again will follow the same line. But there will be added features. Christians today are fascinated by the return of Christ, and we should be. I look forward to the day when Jesus will return. From the time Jesus, Paul, Peter and the rest of the leaders in that first century began to teach about the 2nd coming of Christ, the church was charged up with the idea. There were many who were mistaking what Paul was talking about concerning this subject and Paul had to deal with those misunderstandings in letters like 1 Thes.

All through the history of the church, there have been many explanations about Daniel, Revelation and other prophetic scriptures. What does all of this mean and can we actually know what will happen and when? Unfortunately, there are vital facts left out of scripture in order for us to piece together the exact way all of this will be done. I think God did it on purpose because he doesn’t want us to focus on his return, but to focus on our ministry and winning others to Him until he returns.

My approach to chapter 8 will be from an historical approach. I truly believe that God gave this set of visions to warn the nation of Israel of what was coming in the future so they would be ready and not taken by surprise. God did not want the nation of Israel to miss the most important event in all of history…not his return, but his death, burial and resurrection and their entering into the NEW covenant (The 5th kingdom that is to come according to Chapter 2). Think about this a minute, without that event taking place, his return would be meaningless to God and to us because we would be lost with no way of salvation.

When I look at all the theories concerning the meaning of Daniel, Revelation and the other prophetic scriptures, I can see the many different points they are making. But I have no way of knowing for sure which one is correct. So I will be happy with what ever pans out just as long as I am ready. But I truly believe that God did not intend for it to be hard to understand. At the time the vision was given, it was hard to comprehend because it dealt with future events. He wanted Daniel to know what was going to happen. And when the time comes, it will all make sense because we have read and heard the prophecies and we will know what to do at the time.

Two years had elapsed between Daniel’s vision in chapter 7 and the one recorded in chapter 8. I find it interesting that these visions take place during the reign of Belshazzar. We are in chapter 8 of Daniel and the fall of Babylon is recorded in chapter 5. When the handwriting came on the wall for Belshazzar, Daniel had already had these two visions and at least two years to think on them. When Daniel came to interpret what the handwriting meant, he already knew the fate of Babylon and the other 3 kingdoms to come. Later when Daniel deals with Darius, Daniel will already know what will happen to his empire as well.

Daniel 8:1-2 In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. 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.

There is another prophetic detail that is found in these first two verses, the exact geographic location in the vision is said to be at the Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam by the river of Ulai.

Shushan is the capital of Persia. Persia was the nation that overthrew Babylon. It is interesting to note that Shushan was the city where Nehemiah and Esther lived. Its modern name is Susa, a city in southwestern Iran. It is the traditional site where Daniel is buried and there is a large tomb there in his honor. In his dream vision, Daniel is being transported into the next empire to succeed Babylon. This vision is coming to Daniel while Babylon is still in power. Rewind all of this back to Chapter 5 and what Daniel must have been thinking when he was talking with Belshazzar when interpreting the divine handwriting?

The question arises, was Daniel transported in body or in spirit. Most scholars believe and use other situations in scripture similar to this to come to the conclusion that it was in spirit, not in body. When Paul visited the third heaven, he was not sure if it was in spirit or body, but it was real…so real that he couldn’t tell.

It is important to note that the events recorded in this vision were fulfilled with in 200 years. Because of its accuracy, many historians want to place the writing of Daniel several centuries later. They can’t buy the fact that God can give facts to man before they actually happen. But God gave these facts to the Jews for a reason. These kingdoms are a benchmark pointing to a great event that was going to take place, the coming of the 5th kingdom, the Kingdom of God. The nation Israel could have set their calendars by it to mark the coming of the Messiah. But they missed it.

Daniel 8:3-12 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. As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

The Ram with Two Horns:

If this vision is to parallel the first two, then the ram is Persia.

Daniel sees two horns on the ram. One is longer than the other and it came later. What do the horns on the ram represent? There were two parts to the breast and arms of silver in the first vision and the bear with three ribs in its mouth in the 2nd vision. The second kingdom consisted of the Medes and the Persians, which resulted in the Persians becoming the dominant force in the end. The two horns represent the parts. The longer horn represents Persia and its length of rule plus its dominance came later.

Why is a ram used to depict Persia in this dream? The ram was the national emblem of Persia. A ram was stamped on Persian coins and many royal objects. The ram is sturdy and thrust itself at its enemies. But, the ram will give way to a stronger foe.

In this vision, God gives more detail about the kingdoms. The horns of the ram went three directions depicting the direction of Persian conquests. The same is true with the next kingdom.

The He Goat:

From the west a he goat will suddenly appear.

Give me the details of this next kingdom?

• He goat
• Appears suddenly
• Had 1 horn between his eyes
• Came from the west
• He came swiftly that he moved as though he didn’t touch the earth as it went
• It attacked the two-horned ram and broke both horns.
• At its peak, the one horn broke off and 4 other horns grew.
• The four horns grew to the 4 winds of heaven

This goat is Greece. The description of its swiftness matches the description in the 2nd vision. The horn is Alexander the great. It was broken off at its peak. Alexander died unexpectedly and prematurely at the age of 33. Following his death, four of his generals divided up the kingdom and ruled. These four generals correspond to the four heads of the leopard to whom dominion was given. During Daniels time, Greece was a group of small and insignificant states. No one but God could have known what would happen a few hundred years later.

The Little Horn:

The question now before us is, who is the little horn? Many good scholars and teachers believe that the little horn is the same as the one described in Daniel 7. But the description of the little horn in Chapter 8 is described differently. The little horn in Chapter 7 comes from the 4th kingdom, the Roman Empire. The little horn in chapter 8 comes from the 3rd kingdom (see 8:9) this horn comes from one of the 4 rulers from Greece.

In 175 BC there arose a man from the dynasty in Syria named Antiochus Epiphanies. He ruled from Antioch from 175 BC until 164 BC. This man was an avowed foe of Jehovah and his people. He forbade the Jews to practice circumcision, ordered sacred Jewish writings to be destroyed, mocked the Levitical offerings and he himself actually offered a sow upon the altar and scattered the broth in the holy sanctuary. Once, he had over 100,000 Jews killed. Some of his diabolical actions are recorded in the book of the Maccabees. Many years before he was born, Daniel saw in his vision this man and his wicked work.

When Jesus comes to the earth and begins to teach about a new kingdom, he warns about the spirit of anti-Christ. Antiochus Epiphanies could have been the poster child of that spirit. He might have been the person many used to envision that evil person. But in the 2nd vision, another little horn is to come and it will come from the 4th kingdom.

If this vision is given to the people of Israel to tell them of what is to come, how can they use it to their benefit? How will it help them?

Daniel 8:15-25 While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.” As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.” While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet. He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power. “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

I want to concentrate on verse 17 for a minute. Notice the angel said the vision was about the time of the end. Well, the time of what end ? Is he talking about the time of the end of the world or the end time of the present age? If Daniel 2, 7 and 8 are visions about coming kingdoms, I think the end of that present age is what God is talking about.

I have taught before that when you look at the Old Testament from Genesis 3 on, the whole scheme and direction of the OT writings is pointing to the greatest event in the worlds history, the coming of Jesus for our salvation. There are three ages in history according to the Bible:

The age of time prior to the law
The age of time under the law given to Moses (Old Covenant)
The age of time after Jesus established the kingdom of God (New Covenant)

Once the church was established, the teachings of the apostles were, we are in the last days or the last dispensation of time. There is no other age to come after this one. The end of time is what’s next.

Matthew 24:1-3; 15-22 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.