- Lesson 9 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Faith Under Fire” focuses on Daniel 8:1-27.
With chapter 8, the book of Daniel reverts back to the Hebrew language that was found in the prologue. Daniel begins in Hebrew (chapters 1-2:3), switches to Aramaic (chapters 2:4-7:28), then ends by returning to Hebrew (chapters 8-12). While we cannot be certain why the language changes back and forth, some have supposed that the cosmic scale (dealing with many nations and “end time” issues) of chapters 2:4- 7:28 accounts for the switch to Aramaic from Hebrew, the language of the Jews.
Chapter 8 moves just two years ahead of the timetable set by the previous chapter. In chapter 7, the vision occurs in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, and in chapter 8 the vision occurs during the third year of his reign. The third year of Belshazzar’s reign would be around 550 B.C. The prophesied action of the vision, however, involves the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.), who conquered Darius III of Persia to replace the Persian rule of Asia with Hellenism (culture of Greece). Alexander died prematurely in 323 B.C., leaving his empire to four generals competing for power. The villain of the vision (“small horn” of verse 9), Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.), arises from one of the four factions (Seleucid) and persecutes the Jews in Judea.
Daniel’s first apocalyptic vision (chapter 7) was primarily focused on the end of world history, especially the evil activities of the Antichrist. God’s people, however, are now (chapter 8) warned of another crisis that would come about 400 years after Daniel’s lifetime, the persecutions of a mad ruler by the name of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In both chapter 7 and chapter 8, the actors in the prophetic vision are animals. Clearly, these animals represent kings and kingdoms, political entities of the pagan world. Additionally, both chapters 7 and 8 ultimately focus on a particular horn that emanates from an animal within the vision. The horn in chapter 7 most likely represents ultimate evil (the Antichrist), while the horn in chapter 8 represents one who comes in the spirit of the Antichrist, the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
Based on commentary written by Howard Batson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo, as condensed by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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