The Vision of Daniel chapter 8
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
In Daniel chapter 8, the account tells us that during the reign of BelShazzar the king of Babylon, DaniEl had a vision of a two-horned ram. It was then explained to him that this animal represented the empire of the Medes and Persians. Of course, the second (larger) of the two horns obviously represented the kingdom of the Persians, which thereafter became dominant.
Also, as the prophecy explains, the male goat that destroys the kingdom of Persia is the Greeks (gr. Hellenes, or People of the Sun). And after its large horn (Alexander the Great, who died young) was broken, his empire was to be divided among the four horns that arose (his four generals). Then from this same animal, another, greater horn arises, which is the Greek-influenced Empire of Rome, probably starting with Julius Caesar.
Thereafter, the rest of this prophecy has to do with the coming of Jesus (the commander-in-chief), his mistreatment and death, and the ‘last days’ leading up to the destruction of JeruSalem.
Notice that we have deviated from the words of most common Septuagint translations in verse 11 and used what another version of the Septuagint has to say. Why? It more closely reflects the prophecy in Daniel that Jesus appears to have been quoting in Matthew chapter 24.
As for the 2,300 evenings and mornings that are spoken of there and what they signify, this seems to refer to how long the Temple and the City of JeruSalem would lie desolate after their destruction.
So, what does this mean? Well, there have been a lot of theories.
· One religious group says that the period is speaking of just 1,150 days (1,150 mornings plus 1,150 evenings of the same days, so half as many days). Then they count 1,150 years (using the Bible rule of ‘a day for a year’) from the year of the Temple’s first destruction, which they say ended in 544 CE, when they claim the last vestiges of true Christianity were wiped from the earth.
· Another religious group teaches that the prophecy was talking about literal days and a modern fulfillment. For they say that it was a period of six-and-a-third years that led to and through World War II.
What’s wrong with these theories?
Well, it seems strange that God would give DaniEl prophecies that could only be understood by small groups of religious elites, and which were so vague in their interpretation that they could only be understood long after they happened. For, isn’t the purpose of prophecies to explain to the people that are affected why God has allowed or brought such events? And shouldn’t Bible prophecies be more important than that?
So, what could this prophecy have actually been foretelling? If we can assume this to be a period of 2,300 years (not days) that started with JeruSalem’s destruction in 70 CE (which is what the prophecy seems to be foretelling); It would have to end in the year 2370 CE with the rebuilding of a new Temple (either literal or spiritual).
But then, who knows? We’ll leave the speculations to religions.