In another vision that Daniel dreamt almost two years later into Belshazzar’s reign, he saw a great struggle between a ram and a goat. While there are countless theories on the meaning of these dreams that Daniel writes down, this one has a clear consensus, simply due to the fact that the angel of the Lord gave us the interpretation of the vision of the ram and the goat.
The ram from Daniel’s dream had two horns, one greater than the other and represented the Medo-Persian Empire. The varying lengths of its horns could be symbolizing the fact that the Persians were more powerful than the Medes.
I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power. It did as it pleased and became great.Daniel 8:4
Daniel had no time to even process this weird imagery when suddenly, with great swiftness a goat with a single prominent horn right between its eyes, came and attacked the ram, shattering both its horns.
The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power.Daniel 8:7
Rams are bighorn animals that often settle disputes by slamming their head into others while goats are usually non-confrontational in nature. The Medo-Persian kings were brash in their approach when it came to toppling other empires while the Greeks moved swiftly but tactfully and amassed the largest unified kingdom in the entire ancient world.
Many believe that the large central horn of the goat was Alexander III of Macedon (Alexander the Great), who is widely regarded as the greatest king that ever lived. He hailed from Greece, which was westward of both Babylon and Persia and coincides with the direction of the appearance of the goat. But even this great king vanished suddenly from the face of the earth as he died within a week of contracting an illness at the young age of thirty-two.
At the height of the goat’s power, its large horn was broken off and in its place, four new horns propped up. After the death of Alexander the great, four of his generals divided his kingdom for themselves. And out of these four horns, another king grew in power conquering countries towards the east and the south of the ‘Beautiful Land’, formerly known as Israel.
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.Daniel 8:10
Antiochus IV (175–164 B.C.) banned the circumcision ceremonies of the Jews, ended the practice of sacrificing at the temple in Jerusalem and intentionally defiled the temple and the Most Holy Place. His brash hostility towards the people of God leads many to believe that he was the little horn that even took down several prophets and men of God in his pursuit for Greek nationalism.
However, the verse “threw starry host down to the earth” could also imply that this was not a physical warfare between kings of the earth but a spiritual one between God’s army of angels and the forces of evil and during their battle many starry hosts fell down.
Sacrificing Everything but your Heart
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled …He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”Daniel 8:13-14
The twenty-three hundred evenings and mornings that will be required to reconsecrate the sanctuary could be the actual time of three years (1115 days) it would take to sanctify the altar of God after the mess left behind by Antiochus IV. However, it can also be that this number doesn’t represent a period of time at all. It could simply be referring to Jesus’s death on the cross that sanctifies us and reconnects us with God.
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!Isaiah 1:13
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations —
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
It is true that God doesn’t delight in our meaningless worship that we go through only as a formality and that too to please our earthly parents, rather He wants to truly commune with us. The reconsecration mentioned here could not be about Antiochus at all but about all of us. For all the corruption we have gone through by adopting the pagan traditions around us, it would take the blood of Jesus to cleanse and make us worthy to be ‘a living sacrifice’ for God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Romans 12:1
Daniel again is not able to make heads or tails of what this all meant when a voice called out to Gabriel and asked the angel of the Lord to explain the dream to Daniel. Even when revealing the great mysteries to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel proclaimed that God was the one who reveals mysteries and he was just a vessel in God’s hands. This can now be clearly seen as he is struggling to discern even the meaning of his dreams.
Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?Luke 6:39
We tend to get influenced by mere mortals rather than the Immortal One. People like Daniel, Joseph and our present-day evangelists are only able to do as per God’s leading in their lives. They are all useless clay in the hands of the Potter and it is God who chooses to use them as He desires. Still, we base our faith on blind humans and end up falling into a ditch every time our leader falls in one.
Gabriel identifies Daniel as a son of man and reveals the meaning of the dream to Daniel in great detail, highlighting the kings that the horns and animals represented and how they would subdue the people of God.
There is no point in worrying about something that will happen in the future and is not under our control. We need to completely depend on God and trust His decisions for our lives.
Gabriel knew that Daniel was perturbed by these visions and wanted him to know that these events won’t occur during his lifetime and he would not have to witness such great atrocities that will happen against the people of God.
Even though Daniel will not be alive to witness these events, his writings will encourage the people of God, when they will be going through the conditions that Gabriel so vividly describes for us.
These days all our photos and documents are stored in the cloud. Imagine if that connection was disrupted, what a nightmarish scenario that would be. We will not be able to find rest till the connection to the cloud is restored and we can retrieve our photos and personal data.
Anytime we are not allowed to commune with God, it would be hell on earth for us. Our soul cannot find rest till the connection to our maker is restored. Imagine our evenings and mornings when we are not able to commune with God, that should be our nightmarish scenario. Let us rejoice that God sent His Son to restore that broken connection and put an end to our nightmare.