Daniel 8:1-27  History in Advance


One of the reasons that I love studying prophecy is because in it God gives us  history in advance

A) We see an incredible example of that here in D8 – History in advance with remarkable detail.


B) Before we get into the chapter we need to be aware of a notable change that takes place in this chapter

1) Writing style goes back to Hebrew


C) The writing has been in Aramaic from ch.2v4 thru chpt 7 –

1) The reason is we have been looking at gentile world powers – so the language is gentile – Aramaic


D) As we come to ch.8 we are still talking about gentile nations –

1) But we start to talk about their influence and affect on Israel – so the language shifts back to Hebrew


Time period and location: Daniel 8:1

In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me – to me Daniel


A) The third year puts us at 551 BC – 12years before the fall of Babylon we studied in Daniel 5

1)  So we are going backwards in time here.


after the one that appeared to me the first time. {Refering to the vision in Ch.7

2 I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai.


Location: Daniel is carried in this vision to Shushan which would be the capital city of Elam – Iran or ancient Persian by the canal Ulai


Notice he says the province of Elam – because Persia was not an Empire of  Kingdom yet –


River Ulai was a 900ft wide canal that the Persians would build.  3 football fields wide – Massive


So Daniel is transported in this vision about 250 miles from Babylon and a significant # of yrs into the future – he is  seeing things that haven’t happened yet in history.


Side note Shushan is where the story of Esther will take place – later on in History


RD v. 3-8


This is a remarkable detailed prophecy! What is this all about?  We are given answers – no need for speculation v. 20-21


In v.15-19 God tells the angel Gabriel to give Daniel understanding of this vision – pick up reading v.20 

Daniel 8:20-21

The ram which you saw, having the two horns — they are the kings of Media and Persia. {The ram is Medo-Persian empire}

21 And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. {Alexander the great.}


That is very clear there is no need for any speculation on this.

A) Amazing thing is:  this is 12 yrs before the Babylonian empire is going to fall.


B) This is 180yrs before Alexander the great is even born.


C) Consider some details: v.3 the Ram with the 2 horns represents 2 kingdoms {Media and Persia

1) 2nd horn larger – Persia more powerful


History tells us that when the Persians went into battle their kings didn’t wear crowns but golden rams horns – seen in movies

A) Coins – Ram with two horns


B) Interesting that Babylon divided up their territories according to the Zodiac

1) They gave the territory of Elam or Persia to Aries which was the Ram


C) And Macedonia the area later developed by Greece they put under the sign of the Capricorn

Capri= goat and corna = single horn [ so the sign of the Capricorn was a goat with a single horn

A) That becomes the national symbol of Greece – but Daniel sees it many yrs before it happened


B) Many yrs before these two empires actually become empires and come into power.


V.4 is remarkable: He says I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, southward.

A)Study history of the Persian empire and here is what you will discover this is exactly the way the empire spread


B) First they went west conquered territories west of them – then they went – north and then south


C) The Persians fielded an army of 2.25 -2.5 million men – { think how hard logistically }

1) family reunion – imagine this – cooks – horses etc


D) They did it well they came with force and brutality to the point that the people in the province west of them namely Greece – never forgave them


In v. 5 it speaks of the goat Greece with this one dominant horn – 1st King – Alexander

A) Daniel is seeing 200yrs into the future here


B) Alexander was born in 356 BC and by 336 he is the King of the Grecian forces – he is only 20 yrs old

C) He is 20yrs old and leading an army of only 35,000 soldiers against an army of 2.5 million Persians


D) So he is going up against incredible odds!


But In 3 battles he breaks the back of the Medo Persian empire.

A) The first one was in May 334BC / 2nd Nov 333BC and the 3rd was in October 331 BC


B) If you study history of these battles especially the last one –you will find that he took an interesting position in the battle.


C) The Persians loved to go into battle attacking from the east – they would line themselves up in the morning as the sun was coming up

1) They would march into battle from the east so the sun would be in the eyes of their enemies


D) Alexander knew this but he still lined up his army in the west so the sun was in their eyes


But the Grecian armor was made of bronze – So Alexander had his men shine their shields –

A) Polished them to the point that they were like mirrors started their march – the sun reflected off those shields – was blinding to the Persians


B) Alexander and the Grecian forces had an incredible miraculous victory.

V.6,7 Says he moved west with furious power – he hated the Persians for what they did to his people.


V.5 says he moved across the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground – speaks of the swiftness of his conquest – he basically conquered the whole known world in 12 years.


He would come to a city or a village and when pp heard it was Alexander who was coming – they would open the gates and surrender – make a meal


So at 32yrs of age there are no more kingdoms to conquer – He is arguing with his generals – because he wants to fight someone else

A) Their telling him – Alexander – there isn’t anyone else


B) He so likes war – the fact that there is no one else to fight depresses him – gets drunk

1) spends the night in cold and rain – catches Pneumonia


C) He dies at the age of 32 in a secluded Palace in Babylon – So sad


V.8 says the large horn was broken.

A)He gains everything this world says will make someone happy – he is miserable – wants more


B) Dies alone and a Drunk

Here is what we need to understand about Alexander

A) The reason he was so powerful was not because he was a superman or empowered by the gods


B) He was a vessel in the hands of the Almighty God – History is HIS –STORY!


C) See Alexander Hellenized the Mediterranean world.

1. Changed the language from Aramaic to Greek.

2.The Septuagint is written in Greek and eventually the New Testament.

3. He created tens of thousands of paved roads throughout the middle east – roads that would help in the spreading of the gospel.

4.The Grecians invented crucifixion.


But understand that Alexander wasn’t a pawn in the hands of God. – Like Neb God was after his heart…

A) Josephus the Jewish historian tells us that Alexander took the city of Tyre in 7 months


B) Neb tried and failed for 12yrs


C) After his victory at Tyre – Alexander headed south toward Jerusalem – He had a dream men in white robes – another man purple robe w/ gold head piece


D) The dream troubled him – he had no idea what it meant


When he arrived at Jerusalem – the priest of Israel were coming out to meet him dressed in white robes

A) The high priest was dressed in a purple robe with a golden miter on his head


B) The High priest came out to talk with Alexander and it was the same man he saw in his dream


C) The high priest showed him Daniel ch.2 – about the Leopard – and Daniel 8 passages written 200 yrs before Alexander was even born


D) Alexander was stunned – bowed before the Priest

1) Really surprised his generals who asked him why he fell on his knees before that man


E) Alexander said I did not fall on my knees before that man – I fell on my knees before his God


God is always after the soul of an man – concerned about the heart – every leader

A) Unfortunately in Alexander’s life this seems to be an isolated occasion – that didn’t go any further


B) So V.8 tells us the horn was broken – and the Grecian empire was divided into 4 sections

1) History tells us that is exactly what happened – it was divided between his 4 generals


Ptolemy, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus

C) Took him 12yrs to conquer the known world /took them 22yrs to divide  it


Here is how the Division of the Grecian empire ended up.

Cassander: Macedonia and Greece
Lysimachus: Thrace and western Asia Minor
Ptolemy: Egypt, northern Africa, Palestine
Seleucus: Middle East to India

Although eventually the Seleucid empire over took Israel and Palestine.


There is a leader that came out of the Seleucid empire that – Daniel 8 talks about next

9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.


Stop note: please do not get this mixed up with the little horn in D7 – that was the little horn that comes up out of the 10

A) That 10 nation confederacy that is going to rise up in the last days – Ch.7 is way in the future – last days


B) That little horn is the Anti-Christ –


C) Here the terminology is the same – Little horn – seems to be God’s way of describing a coming leader


D) This little horn comes into history about 220yrs from the time of Daniel’s vision and clearly comes from out on the 4 generals who take over the Grecian empire after the death of Alexander


The time line is very clear here: v.8 The male goat the Grecian empire grows great

A) The large horn Alexander it’s first king is broken and in it’s place 4 notable ones come up – 4 generals


B) v.9 Out of one of them came a little horn and a new leader- who moved toward the Glorious land

Reference to the land of Israel


C) The Little horn of Ch.8 is Antiochus Epiphanes

1) City of Antioch named after him


D) He was a ruthless tyrant especially against the pp of Israel

1) in one day he will slaughter 85-100,000 Jews


E) Notice what he says about this little horn.


10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.

Antiochus Epiphanies came from the line of Seleucus, which means that his kingdom was centered in the area of modern-day Syria.

A) He reigned over the Seleucid dynasty 175-164 BC.


B) Epiphanies means divine! Antiochus the Magnificent" or "Antiochus the Glorious."


C) The Jews nicknamed him Antiochus Epimanes, a play on words meaning Antiochus the Madman.


Daniel tells what he is going to do. Sure enough in 171 BC he kills the high Priest and makes an end of Sacrifices


Then in 167BC he desecrates the temple and slaughters a pig in there.


Now if you have a catholic bible at home – contains – Apocrypha not inspired not a part of the original text – but it is good history, especially 1st and 2nd Maccabeus


Gives us insight into the history of Israel from the time of Malachi – end of OT – to Matthew beginning of the New. 


It fills in the blanks of some of the things happening in Israel during that time!


1st Maccabees 1:44-49 – tells us about Antiochus Epiphanies

“And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane Sabbaths and feasts, to defile the sanctuary and the priests, to build altars in sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals, and to leave their sons uncircumcised.


They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, so that they should forget the law and change all the ordinances. And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die”


Antiochus Epiphanies captured Jerusalem, and, determining to make the people of his kingdom one people with one language and one religion, committed terrible atrocities against the Jews and the temple.


He had an image of Zeus put in the temple, and then sacrificed a pig on the altar. The blood of the pig was then smeared all over the inside walls of the temple.

Antiochus very dark character

Two women circumcising 8th day – took babies gutted them and hung their dead bodies around their mothers neck and made them run off the wall of Jerusalem – splattered on rocks below!

Burned Jews in a giant skillet!

One day killed 85 – 100,000 Jews!


Now because of his desecration of the temple some pp particularly in the preterits camp or Amill camp – say -
Antiochus Epiphanes is the anti Christ and what happened there in 167BC is the abomination of Desolation that Daniel spoke about in Daniel 9


The reason that makes no sense at all is that Jesus spoke about the abomination of desolation as an event that was going to happen in the future not as something that happened in the past

Matthew 24:15-16 15

"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”


Jesus wants us to be sure and understand that this is a future event.

A) So Antiochus Epiphanes was just a preview of coming attractions. Hitler was a preview of coming attractions


B) In 165BC – Judas Maccabeus led a revolt in Jerusalem – recaptured the Temple


C) the temple was cleansed and rededicated. What the holiday Hannukah is about


The Bible refers to it as the "Feast of Dedication."
It is interesting to note that Jesus Himself celebrated this holiday.


The gospel of John tells us,
John 10:22-23 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;

Antiochus Epiphanies was on his way to Elam to Persia in 165 BC when he heard about the revolt of the Maccabees – cleanse and rededicated the temple


He was so infuriated that he raised his hand to the sky – and cursed God – When I get back to Jerusalem I am gong to make the largest Jewish cemetery on earth –


I am gong to kill more Jews than have ever been killed – as he was screaming at God he started choking and coughing

He fell to the ground – swelled up – stomach burst open and he was being eaten alive by worms!  Wow

He stunk so bad his own men didn’t want to pick him up – it took about a week for him to die!


He hated himself – in 2 Maccabees we are told he apologized saying the God of the Jews is the True God and if he would heal me and raise me up – I will honor him – of course he died!  God doesn’t make deals.

Herod the Great – slaughtered babies in Jerusalem – fell down eaten of worms


Herod Agrippa – the 1st standing in book of Acts 12 – giving a great speech – he is like a god – accepted the glory – fell down there – eaten of worms!


Pharatema – Queen of Cyrene – persecuted the church – fell down – eaten of worms


Hermanetus Roman Governor – persecuted the church – swelled … worms


Galarius Roman Emporer – persecuted the church – blasphemed God … worms

Phillip of Spain ……..


Lesson: Dangerous to persecute God’s people and blaspheme God!


RD V.15-19


Gabriel 1st time in scripture we have God’s holy Angels named – Gabriel is named 4 times in scripture – seems to be the messenger Angle named here – chapter 9 – N.T. Luke -  Zaccharias;  Mary and Joseph


Michael also named – Michael the Archangel


Lucifer – cherub – different order of heavenly being


RD V20-26



RD v.27 – Daniel is honest – the vision drained him physically – 80 years old – made him sick physically – none understood it


As we step back from Daniel 8 THREE important lessons become obvious.

1. The sure fulfillment of prophecy.

This chapter records a remarkably detailed outline of ancient history that was meticulously fulfilled.


It demonstrates once again that the Word of God is true. Reading this chapter ought to increase our confidence in a God who knows the future because he ordained the future.

2. The ultimate possibilities of the depraved heart.

The world likes to believe that "every day in every way things are getting better and better."


While it is true that the last century has seen enormous technological progress, it is also true that more people died in more wars in the 20th century than in any other century known to mankind.


Yes, we live daily with machines and gadgets that Daniel couldn’t even dream about. But we haven’t really made any moral progress at all.


The human heart is still desperately wicked and in need of God’s grace.


We have perfected the art of killing and made it easier than ever before.


The future reign of the Antichrist will show us how evil man can become when he is completely cut off from the grace of God.

3. The sovereignty of God even over evil rulers.

The book of Daniel makes this point in many ways. When Nebuchadnezzar got too big for his britches, God made him eat grass like a cow for seven years.


When Belshazzar arrogantly drank from the sacred vessels, he was struck down by God that same night.


And across history we see the hand of God again and again as God says to evil men, "This far and no farther."


He said it to Antiochus Epiphanes and the day is coming when he will say it once again.



When the Antichrist has reached the zenith of his power, the heavens will open and Jesus Christ will descend in power and great glory. With "one little word" the Lord will defeat the Antichrist once and for all.

Let the saints of God be encouraged. Though evil men rise to power, they still must serve God’s purposes. When their time is up, they will be brought low by God.