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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 5: Daniel 8 *
Introduction: Daniel dreams he is strolling by the water when
suddenly he is face to face with a powerful sheep with two big horns
- and no one is there to rescue him. It turns out his dream is not so
much about danger, or adventure, but rather about the future. Let's
jump into Daniel's dream and see what we can learn about the future!
- The Ram
- Read Daniel 8:1-3. How would you react if you had this
dream? Would you be frightened?
- Has Daniel had enough frightening animals in last
week's dream that he is probably not frightened?
- Read Daniel 8:4. Given the context of the past dreams
which Daniel either interpreted or had, what are your
thoughts about this ram? (It clearly seems to be a world
power. An empire that rules other nations.)
- The Goat
- Read Daniel 8:5-8. What do you think about this goat with
the broken horn? (This seems to be another world power
that defeats the "ram" empire.)
- Gabriel on the Ram and Goat
- Let's skip down a bit in this chapter. Read Daniel 8:15-16. Why would Daniel write that someone "looked like a
man?" Why not just say, "A man stood in front of me?"
(Daniel is telling us that this was not a man. He only
looked like one.)
- Who is standing in front of Daniel? (Gabriel.)
- Who is Gabriel? (Read Luke 1:19. He stands in
- Other than speaking to Daniel, who what other
important mission has Gabriel handled? (Read
Luke 1:26-28. Gabriel brought the message of
Jesus coming to Mary!)
- Daniel 8:16 reports that a "man's voice" was
giving Gabriel directions. Who gets to give
Gabriel directions? (God!)
- What does this suggest to you about Gabriel's
message to Daniel? (When God has an important
message, He sends Gabriel. God sent him now to
- Read Daniel 8:17. How does Daniel react to Gabriel?
- Why? Why is Daniel not afraid of these wild animals,
but is afraid of Gabriel? (Either he knew who Gabriel
was, or Gabriel must have looked not simply like a
man, but like someone from heaven.)
- How should we react to Gabriel's message? Should we
put great faith in it? (It comes straight from the
throne of God!)
- What does Gabriel say this dream concerns? (The time
of the end.)
- Read Daniel 8:18. What is happening here? Is Daniel still
dreaming? (Either this is a dream within a dream, or
Daniel is coming out of his dream state to listen to
- Read Daniel 8:19-22. What are these two beasts? (Medo-Persia and Greece.)
- Have we seen this before? (You bet! We saw these two
empires symbolized in Nebuchadnezzar's dream of
Daniel 2 and we saw them in Daniel's dream in Daniel
- Why does God keep repeating the same prophecy?
(Have you heard that you need to repeat
something three times for your listener to
understand? God apparently wants us to
understand this. In addition, with each new
dream we seem to have more information. God may
well be repeating the old information to help us
get a better grasp on the new information.)
- The Horn
- Now let's go back and pick up the rest of the dream. Read
Daniel 8:9-12. Have we seen a "horn" power before? (Our
study of Daniel 7 revealed the "little horn"( Daniel 7:8).)
- Do you think the horn of Daniel 8 is the same as the
little horn of Daniel 7?(This puts us in the middle
of a great debate. Many commentators believe that the
horn of Daniel 7 and 8 are the same, and that they
represent Antiochus Epiphanes, a Seleucid king who we
previously learned reigned for 11 years (175-164
B.C.). When we studied Daniel 7 last week we found
that the timing was all wrong for the little horn to
be Antiochus. Not only was Antiochus 500 years too
early (coming after the Greek, not the Roman empire),
but his reign did not stretch to the end of time.)
- Is the timing wrong for Antiochus to be the horn of
Daniel 8:9? (The timing of Antiochus fits a lot
better in Daniel 8. He came out of the fragmented
Grecian Empire (which was the reason he could not be
the "little horn" of Daniel 7 - it came out of the
fragmented Roman Empire). While I am hardly an expert
on this, it seems to me that most commentators who
understand the horn of Daniel 8 to be Antiochus, read
their interpretation back into Daniel 7 - where
Antiochus does not fit - and understand him to be the
"little horn" of Daniel 7).
- What if we reverse this, can we read our "little
horn" understanding of Daniel 7 (that the horn is the
Papal phase of the Roman Empire) into Daniel 8? Could
the timing fit for Papal Rome?
- Re-read Daniel 8:8-9. Does the horn come up out
of one of the four winds or one of the four
horns? (It is not clear. The SDA Bible
Commentary on this text points out that the
gender identification in the Hebrew fits better
with the winds, not the horns. If the horn
arises out of the winds, then this dream looks
just like the dreams of Daniel 2 & 7 - that the
horn is the Roman Empire which follows Medo-Persia and Greece.)
- Let's review again Daniel 8:9-12. Consider the rest of the
description of this horn. Does it better match Pagan and
Papal Rome or Antiochus? (The description of the power of
this horn meets or exceeds the description of the power of
the ram and the goat. (For example, the ram is called
(v.4) "great" and the goat is called (v.8) "very great."
Most translations (but not the NIV) translate the
description of the horn (v.9) to be "exceedingly great"
(NAS, KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV). Since the horn is described as
being greater than Medo-Persia and Greece, it hardly seems
appropriate to conclude the 11 year rule of Antiochus, a
minor Seleucid king, is comparable to the Persian and the
Greek empires! On the other hand, the Roman empire (in
both its pagan and Papal phase, is clearly comparable to
the Persian and Greek empires.)
- Did Rome ( Daniel 8:11) bring low the sanctuary? (The
Romans destroyed God's temple in 70 A.D.. Psalms 79:1
refers to the first destruction of Jerusalem and the
temple as "defiling" the temple.)
- Did Rome ( Daniel 8:10) reach to heaven, throw part of
heaven's citizens to the ground and trample on them?
- Gabriel on the Horn
- Read Daniel 8:23-25. We now turn to Gabriel's further
explanation of the horn part of the dream for Daniel. Who
is the Prince of princes referred to in verse 25? (It must
- Did Rome take a stand against Jesus?
- How does this fit the reference in Daniel 8:10 to the
horn reaching to heaven and trampling part of the
starry hosts? (Rome crucified Jesus. I think this
fits both the description of trampling heaven's
citizens and standing against the Prince of Princes.)
- How does the horn end? ( Daniel 8:25 tells us it is
destroyed by something other than human power.)
- What do you think that means? (The logical conclusion
is that it is destroyed by God.)
- I understand the argument of those who conclude that the
horn power of Daniel 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes, based on
the timing (when Greece was fragmenting) and the fact that
he sacrificed a pig on the altar of the sanctuary. On the
other hand, I believe Rome (in both its pagan and Papal
phases) fits the prophecy better. First, the horn of
Daniel 7 clearly fits Papal Rome. The parallels between
the grand sweep of history in Daniel 2, 7 and 8 make the
horn of Daniel 8 the parallel of Rome in Daniel 2 and 7.
That, coupled with the description of the horn in Daniel 8
as being as great, or greater than Medo-Persia and Greece,
make the Antiochus Epiphanes identification most doubtful.
How can a minor king, who ruled for 11 years, be
considered a world power or compared to the great empires
of Persia and Rome? Antiochus Epiphanes just does not fit
the description in the way Rome fits.
- The Time
- Read Daniel 8:13-14 & 26. How long will this horn have
power? (2,300 days.)
- What time markers do we have in Daniel 8 to better
understand this time period? For example, when does
the power of the horn begin and when does it end?
(Clearly, it begins after the goat (Greek empire) and
it continues ( Daniel 8:17)until the time of the end.)
- Would a literal 2,300 days, or a prophetic 2,300 days
(a day = a year, see Ezekiel 4:6) better fit this
time span? (To stretch from the fall of Greece to the
time of the end would have to be 2,300 years and not
- What happens at the end of this 2,300 years? What does it
mean for the sanctuary to be reconsecrated? Is it the end
of the world? Daniel 8:26 tells Daniel it concerns the
distant future - but we will work on solving this mystery
in the next studies!
- Friend, God wants His followers to know that He controls
kings and kingdoms and he is willing to share this
knowledge with you. Are you willing to take the time to
listen and learn?
- Next week: Daniel 9.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.