Dan 8 Vision Interpretation

The Book of Daniel 8 offers an interesting combination of both a vision and an interpretation. From chapter 8 there can be gleaned some explanation of the prophetic meaning of stars falling (which shouldn't be confused with falling stars). This provision of an interpretation of the vision is rare in prophetic scriptures and may provide useful information to be used, for example, in Matthew 24. Indeed it appears that Matthew 24 largely represents a restatement of the events of Daniel 8.

The following verses show that the interpretation was being provided. And the verses are the transition to the interpretation.

Dan 8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
Dan 8:16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

Hence Dan 8:15-16 shows that the interpretation would now be provided. The purpose of this table is to match the vision verses to the interpretive verses with the goal of identifying or translating the meaning of the symbology of the vision. If the translation is sufficient, then the translations of the symbology can be used within the text of Matt 24 with some degree of help or success.

The main tasks in the Dan 8 Table are:

  1. Show interpretation verses paired up with the verses for the vision.
  2. Glean information on ideas interpreted and also explain some points not interpreted.
  3. Show some historic fulfillment from other commentaries. At the same time, the links to Calvin's commentary may be of interest to those studying Daniel. (The commentary doesn't really deal with controversial doctrines -- it seems.)
  4. Add some additional comments as may be useful.

The table itself may mainly help only as the raw data, as a place to talk from. Some of the commentary will be useful to get some orientation too. The historic information helps to show where some verses, for today's understanding, are connected in time and events. From the table an analysis should be possible to clarify some ideas that may not be readily discernible from the table.

Vs2 --And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace No Parallel Verse The Prophet does not say he dwelt in Shushan, or in the neighborhood, but he was there in the vision only
ccel calvin comm.
Vs 3 --there stood before the river a ram which had two horn V2 20 ...are the kings of Media and Persia. (559 to 529 BC for Cyrus) Cyrus, the first ruler of this empire, is here depicted for us under the form or image of a ram
ccel calvin comm.
Vs 4--I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward No Parallel Verse The Persian and Median territory lay to the east of Babylon and Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece. This, without doubt, is extended to all the successors of Cyrus, who are recorded as having convulsed the whole world.
...this passage treats not only of one king, but of all those of Persia."
ccel calvin comm.
vs 5 --And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground vs 21 -- And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Alexander's coming to the east and acquiring. for himself the mighty sway of the Persians,
"Not touching the ground" is described as "refers to his swiftness,"
ccel calvin comm.
Vs 6 --And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power For Darius continued in security, although he had collected a large army, but Alexander rushed forwards in the boldness of his strength, and surrounded the enemy by his celerity (330BC)
ccel calvin comm.
Vs 7 -- trampled 7429 the Ram Vs 21 -- And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. This applies to Alexander's furious assaults. We are well acquainted with the keenness of his talents and the superiority of his valor
Darius, indeed, was slain by his attendants, but Alexander trod down all his glory, and the dignity of the Persian Empire
ccel calvin comm.
Vs 8- Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven Vs 22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. This prophecy relates to the death of Alexander. For Cassander, the son of Antipater, obtained Macedon and some part of Thrace, together with the cities of Greece. Seleucus became master in Syria; Antigonus in Asia Minor, joining Phrygia, Paphlagonia, and all other Asiatic regions, after five or six generals were slain. Ptolemy became prefect of Egypt.
ccel calvin comm.
Vs 9 -- little horn toward south,east and pleasant land Vs 23 -- At latter time of their kingdom a king arises, Insolent,
the little horn seems to be Rome "Rome matches the prophetic specification since it was the ascendant power at the time of the crucifixion." http://www.bibleonly.org/proph/dan/AE.html
Calvin, less convincing said, "Antiochus Epiphanes is most distinctly pointed out. The title Epiphanes entails 'illustrious,'
ccel calvin comm.
Vs 10 -- up to host of heaven.cast down some of host and stars fell, stamped down 7429 Vs 24 -- destroy to great degree. Not his own power and destroy mighty ones and holy people Noted "stamped down" was also mentioned in Vs 7. So "stamped down" is possibly defined in vs 7. to help clarify the meaning in vs 10.
The mighty ones probably are soldiers or kings and, as such, are the host of heaven. The stars then are "the holy people" which may be the demise of the Jews or may be the attacks upon Christians in the first century.
"Not of his own power" seems actually to indicate it is God's power in connection with Dan 9:26 "people of the prince" -- are the Roman's acting under God's will
Note: Calvin's commentary seemed to mess up by thinking that the verse is forewarning Jews and on the interpretation of either the host of heaven or of the stars. Calvin didn't seem to go to Vs 24 to interpret the vision.
Vs 11 -- magnified self to prince of host,take away daily sacrifice, place of sanctuary cast down Vs 25 -- magnify self in his own heart, in their security destroy many, oppose Prince of princes. broken without human agency prince of host is Messiah the prince (Dan 9:25). The association was made based on the similar phrase in Revelation about the king of kings. Also, the hand of God stops the ruler during his self-exaltation.
Vs 12 --host given against daily sacrifice because of trangression (of holy people, or of rulers?) cast truth to the ground, perform and prosper Vs 24 -- prosper and perform The transgression here most likely was that of the Jews. This is hinted by the last verse wherein it is seen that Daniel is upset by what he saw. (Dan 8:27).
the host against the sacrifice is assuredly Luke 21:20 and Matt 24:15 and Dan 12:11
Vs 13 -- how long trampled?
Vs 14 -- 2300 evenings and mornings, holy place restored (or 1150 days) vs 25 -- Broken without human agency.
vs 26-- mentions vision of evenings and mornings
holy place may be the New Jerusalem of Rev 21-22. Matt 24:22 shows hand of God stopping it since " for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. "
the 1150 days is 3 years 2months -- related to 3.5 years of Dan 12:11-12
Vs 17 -- pertains to time of the end Vs 19-- period of indignation is the time of the end Matt 3:7 flee from wrath to come. Luke 17:22 these are the days of vengeance


One thing to be developed further is that the Matt 24 discourse parallels Daniel. This needs to be explored more in a different article.

Restatement of Interpreted Images

Some associations to countries may not be noted here if there is no reuse of the symbolism later in scriptures.

  1. Beasts are kingdoms. Horns are kings. (A bit speculative.) Though the horns and kingdoms seem interchangeable.
  2. Host of heaven is described as the Mighty Ones. Such description may refer to kings and soldiers of nations. The other allusion would be to angelic political forces except that the king only would conquer people.
  3. The numbering of days at 1150 days shows the hand of God upon the timing and there is a match with the idea that God would stop it at that point lest the elect were affected. This is the breaking without human agency.
  4. The holy people are the bloodline descendants of Israel. This is distinguished in Daniel from the saints of the most High (Dan 7:22)

Questions to Ask (Even about chapter 8)

  1. What ideas were sealed in the Book of Daniel (Dan 12:9)?
  2. If all the history was available at the time of Jesus, were there still ideas here that were sealed from Daniel (Dan 12:9)?
  3. What is known now that was sealed?

Sealed Knowledge

  1. The idea of Messiah as a title didn't appear to develop until the beginning of the first century. This may have been an unsealing.
  2. Maybe their blindness kept the Israel bloodline from checking into Daniel in detail to see that it was time of Messiah and to see how history matched with Daniel. (But of course it could have been harder to learn history at that time??)

Helpful and related Material

Title: Dan 8 Table

File: Dan8Table.htm

Author: Michael, Whitney

Created: Jan 29, 2008

Version: 1.00.02


Common Law Copyright 2008 by Michael, Whitney