Introduction: Our study of Daniel is beginning to look more and more
like a barnyard and a band with all of these animals and horns
running around! What do these visions of animals have to teach us
today? Is there anything relevant to us? Anything that inspires
confidence in God? Or, is this just old, boring stuff? Let’s dig in
and find out!

  1. The Ram and the Goat

    1. Read Daniel 8:1-2. Was Daniel standing by the water in the
      province of Elam? (No. He was there in vision.)

      1. Do you like to stand beside water? If so, why? (It is
        peaceful to look at water.)

      2. We are told this is the third year of the reign of
        Belshazzar. Do you have any idea how long he reigned
        as King of Babylon? (Matthew Henry tells us this was
        this last year! Babylon was about to fall to the

    2. Read Daniel 8:3-4. You are Daniel, in your dream you are
      having a peaceful stroll by the waterside, and you look up
      and see this ram with “long horns.” Is this dream turning
      into a nightmare? How would you like to see a ram like
      this staring you in the face?

      1. The text says the ram “did as he pleased.” Does this
        sound like your children?

        1. What do you think this means? (The text says
          that no one could stand against him or rescue
          from his power. This was a dangerous animal.)

      2. Let’s skip ahead and read Daniel 8:20. What is this
        ram? (The interpretation of the dream is made clear
        in this chapter. This is the Medo-Persian empire.
        This refers to a time when it ruled the world.)

      3. Let’s skip ahead a little more. Read Daniel 8:27. The
        vision makes Daniel sick. Why do you think he got
        sick over it? Is that because he is scared by his
        dream of this dangerous ram? (Remember that Daniel
        was one of the top administrators of the Babylonian
        empire. He had just been told in this vision that the
        Medo-Persian empire will take control ( Daniel 8:4)
        from the Babylonians. This means turmoil and upheaval
        in his life.)

    3. Let’s go back to Daniel’s waterside stroll. Read Daniel
      8:5-7. That takes care of the ram problem. What do you
      think is meant by this goat with the big horn entering
      Daniel’s vision? (Since the two-horned ram represented
      Medo-Persia, this goat with the big horn must represent a
      world power that took over by defeating Medo-Persia.)

      1. Read Daniel 8:21. What do we learn about then
        identity of the “Goat” power? (It is Greece. The “big
        horn” no doubt refers to Alexander the Great and the
        reference in v.5 to the goat moving so fast he did
        not touch the earth refers to the lightening speed of
        Alexander’s conquests.)

      2. What parallel do you see between these texts and what
        we learned in the prior lessons about Daniel 2 and 7?
        (This reaffirms part of the king’s dream about the
        statute (Daniel 2) and Daniel’s dream about the
        beasts (Daniel 7). It reveals the political future of
        Daniel’s world.)

      3. Why would God give Daniel the same information three
        times? (It must have been important.)

        1. What importance do you see in it?

        2. Put yourself in Daniel’s place. You are a
          captive – and you have been a captive for most
          of your adult life. You worship what you claim
          to be the most powerful (and only) God of the
          universe. How would you explain the apparent
          powerlessness of your God? Why are “God’s
          people” in captivity? (Worshiping the most
          powerful God has not resulted in you or your
          fellow Jews being released from captivity. This
          could cause doubt about whether God is in
          control. God gives Daniel three messages that,
          at their center, say God is in charge of kings
          and kingdoms.)

          1. Is this a relevant message for today? Is
            it encouraging to you?

  2. The Horn

    1. Read Daniel 8:8-9, 22-23. What are these four horns – and
      the one that grows into a “stern-faced king?” (Verse 22
      clearly tells us that the four horns are four kingdoms
      that arise from the Greek Empire. Since we have already
      seen in Daniel 2 and 7 that the Roman Empire arises after
      Greece, this growing “stern-faced” horn appears to be the
      beginning of the Roman empire.)

    2. Let’s read on: Daniel 8:10-11, 24-25. When you read
      (v.10) about the horn throwing down the “starry host” what
      other Bible text comes to mind? ( Revelation 12:4. It says
      the “red dragon” “swept a third of the stars out of the
      sky and flung them to the earth.”)

      1. What do you make of this similarity between these
        texts? (That the horn is related to Satan. The power
        of Satan must be behind it.)

      2. Did the Roman empire (v.11)stop the daily sacrifice
        of the temple? Did it (v.25) take a stand against the
        “Prince of princes?” Did it (v.11) bring low “the
        place of his sanctuary?” (Yes! Rome destroyed the
        temple in 70 A.D.. By its authority, it killed Jesus
        – the Prince of princes. Obviously, destroying the
        temple stopped the “daily sacrifice.”)

    3. Let’s just stop a minute here. Put yourself in Daniel’s
      shoes. Did a temple in Jerusalem exist at the time he was
      strolling by the water? (No. It had been destroyed by the
      people who took him captive.)

      1. What would Daniel have to conclude about the
        reference in the future to stopping the daily
        sacrifice and (v.11) bringing low the place of the
        sanctuary? (The temple in Jerusalem had not yet been
        rebuilt. Remember this vision took place ( Daniel 8:1)
        in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar.

        This was sometime between 536 B.C. and 551 B.C. The
        temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and it is not
        rebuilt until about 516 B.C. However, it seems likely
        that work had begun on the rebuilding of the temple
        at this point. Another thing that would made Daniel
        sick ( Daniel 8:27) was the obvious conclusion that
        the temple that was being (or about to be) rebuilt
        would be destroyed for a second time!)

  3. 2300 Days

    1. Read Daniel 8:13-14. Is this good news for Daniel? (Yes.
      This paints a picture of a time when the temple will be

    2. At this point we get into controversy among Christians.
      Some suggest that the end of the temple sacrifice is the
      work of Antiochus Epiphanes at a time before Jesus was
      born. Does this seem logical to you? (Attributing this to
      Antiochus is a common belief, but the time frame is not
      correct. Antiochus desecrated the sanctuary in 168 B.C..
      Daniel is looking at the destruction of the temple by Rome
      in 70 A.D.. Jesus, referring to Daniel’s vision in Matthew
      24:15, also speaks of the future destruction of the temple
      in Jerusalem. The suggestion that this horn/stern-faced
      king is Antiochus has serious time problems.

      1. Other Christians believe that this horn is the head
        of the Roman Church. Does this seem logical to you?
        (If this text does refer to the destruction of the
        temple (and that seems plain), then the suggestion
        that the horn is the Roman Church also seems to have
        time-frame problems. The temple was destroyed long
        before the Roman Church became powerful.)

    3. What do you think Daniel concluded from this 2300 day
      prophecy? (It was, at bottom, good news. It meant that the
      temple would be back in operation at some time in the

      1. Why would it be important for the temple to be in
        operation with its sacrifices? (This was the method
        used by the Jews to obtain forgiveness of sins.)

    4. The “teacher comments” in the “Teachers Edition” of the
      lesson states that “questioning voices regarding the
      interpretation of Daniel 8:14 … strike at almost every
      major [church] doctrine.” Do you agree or do you think
      that the lesson writers need to get out more?

      1. Those who think this refers to Antiochus Epiphanes,
        and who, based on Daniel 8:11, believe this is 2300
        literal days, set the end of this time as 165 or 142
        B.C.. The “Millerite movement,” believing this
        referred 2300 literal years, set the end of this time
        period at 1844. Adam Clarke, a famous Bible
        commentator, wrote in 1825 (in his commentary on this
        text) that the end of the time period was 1966. If
        the time period is years, and it starts with the time
        of the destruction of the temple, then the end would
        be 2370 (about 368 years in the future). Is the
        timing of this important? (The SDA Bible commentary
        on Daniel 8:11 discusses the Antiochus theory, the
        Roman Church theory and the Roman Empire theory. It
        discounts the Antiochus theory and concludes, “as
        with other difficult passages of Scripture, our
        salvation is not dependent upon our understanding
        fully the meaning of Daniel 8:11.)

      2. What do you understand to be the major doctrines of
        the church? Do ANY of them turn on time prophecies?
        (No. The major doctrines of true Christians deal with
        the Deity, atonement and mediation of Christ,
        righteousness by faith and the sanctifying work of
        the Holy Spirit, the proper worship of God here on
        earth, the resurrection and the promise of a sin-free
        new world to come. Not even the belief in Christ’s
        work in heaven as our mediator in the judgment, which
        is clearly taught in Hebrews 8 (and elsewhere in
        Hebrews), is dependent on a time prophecy.)

    1. Friend, why did God give Daniel these visions? (Other than
      to make a difficult and challenging study?) God gave
      Daniel (and us) these visions so that when our world seems
      to be going awry, when life is not going as we hoped, we
      can have confidence that God is in charge. He will win the
      battle against evil. Since God is in charge, will you
      choose to serve Him today?

  1. Next Week: Daniel 9: The Coming of the Messiah.