1. In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.
2. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
3. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.
4. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
Note.-- Further on (verse 20) the angel explains that the ram is Medo-Persia. Strikingly the symbol pictures that empire. The two horns, the higher coming up last, represent the two nations, Medes and Persians, the Persian coming up last and rising to dominant power. It was an Eastern kingdom, and it pushed "westward, and northward, and southward," exactly as the prophecy had foretold long before.
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: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
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.
7. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler (anger) against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
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.
Note.-- In verse 21 the angel told Daniel that this goat symbolized Grecia, the great horn being "the first king" --Alexander the Great, leader of united Grecia. The Greeks "came from the west," and smote down the Persians with a dash and fury exactly pictured in the prophecy. Later the Grecian, or Macedonian, Empire was divided into four main divisions, east, west, north, and south, "toward the four winds of heaven."
NOTE: At this point in the chapter, it is important to understand the meaning of some of the words that have been translated into English. The Strong's Hebrew Concordance is an excellent tool to help in clarifying the exact meaning of unknown words. Daniel 8:26 shows that the angel told Daniel that this chapter would not be understood, but would be "shut up... for many days." Certain things in this chapter would not be understood until the end-time. As we live in the end-time this prophecy is for us to understand.
9. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
Note.-- By its conquest of Macedonia, one of the four divisions of Alexander's old empire, Rome came into the field of history as the successor to Grecia in world empire. The legions of Rome bore its standards to the south and east, and subdued "the pleasant land," or the Holy Land of the Jews.
10. And it waxed great, even to (or, against) the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.
NOTE: This "little horn" is the power or means that Satan is using at this period in history. The dual meaning is that of Satan (in Revelation 12:3,4, and 9 Satan causes angels to follow him out of heaven) and also means the power that Satan uses at this time in history to try to destroy God's Son, Jesus when he was born: the Roman power. The "kingdoms of this world" Satan claims as his (Matthew 4:8,9) and Jesus affirms that they are not His (John 18:36).
11. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
To understand this verse correctly, we need to break it down and inspect some of the Hebrew words.
11. Yea, he (Satan) magnified himself even to (or, against) the prince of the host (Jesus), and by (or, from) him the daily (perpetual) sacrifice (the word sacrifice was not in the original scroll, but was supplied by the translators) was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary (miqdash) was cast down.
DAILY= English word for the Hebrew word TAMIYD: its meanings are to stretch, continuance, constant, daily, ever, PERPETUAL.
The Sabbath was known to the Jews as the PERPETUAL covenant or sign. Exodus 31:16,17
NOTE: The word "sanctuary" in this verse is different than the word translated "sanctuary" just three verses later. This is the Hebrew word MIQDASH: meaning a consecrated thing or place, chapel, hallowed part, holy place or sanctuary. (A physical building or location.)
A proper translation of this verse would be: 11. Yea, Satan magnified himself even against the prince of the host: Jesus, and from the prince of the host the perpetual Sabbath was taken away and the place of his temple was cast down.
History shows that the Romans did both of these things. In 70 AD. Titus destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple; and Constantine, the pagan, Roman emperor turned "Christian", made a formal decree to take away the Sabbath in 321 AD.
12. And an host (the church) was given him against the daily (perpetual Sabbath) (sacrifice not in the original) by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced and prospered.
A proper translation of this verse would be: 12. And the church was given over for the transgression against the Sabbath...
The Roman Catholic Church, which developed from Rome, fits this prophecy as it is the power that changed God's laws by replacing the Holy Sabbath with another day, Sunday; and for over a thousand years it prospered as the only "authorized" Christian church.
13. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily (perpetual Sabbath) (sacrifice not in the original), and the transgression of desolation (or transgression making desolation), to give both the sanctuary (qodesh) and the host (or, church) to be trodden under foot?
QODESH: meaning a sacred place or thing; consecrated, dedicated, hallowed, HOLY DAY, portion, or thing, saint, sanctuary. This word comes from the word qadash: meaning to cause, make or pronounce or observe something as clean or holy, to appoint, to consecrate, to dedicate, to hallow, to keep holy, to proclaim as holy, to sanctify.
"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified (qadash) it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:3.
A proper translation of this verse would be: 13. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto the certain saint which spake, "How long shall be the vision concerning the PERPETUAL SABBATH and the transgression making desolation, to give both the most holy day and the church to be trodden under foot?
In Isaiah 58:13-14, God asked his people to "turn away thy foot from (stepping on) the Sabbath, ...and to call the Sabbath a delight."
A law must be in effect before it can be transgressed. "The earth also is defiled (morally corrupted) under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws (torah: God's statutes and especially the Ten Commandments), changed the ordinance (the set time= Sabbath), broken the everlasting covenant (perpetual covenant= Sabbath). Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate:" Isaiah 24:5,6
When a law is made against God's Sabbath and His Holy Law, desolation is sure to follow.
14. And he said unto me, Unto (after) two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary (most holy day) be cleansed (or, be made right).
CLEANSED is the English word for tsadaq: meaning to cause to make right, to cleanse, to clear, to justify, to turn to righteousness.
Note.-- As this persecuting power was seen treading the truth under foot, the question was asked, "How long?" When would these truths trodden under foot be lifted up, and when would God deal with the errors and the working of apostasy? The answer was, "Unto two thousand three hundred days" --literally years, a day standing for a year in prophecy. Then the turning to the Sabbath was to begin.
The Bible tells us that if a prophecy is fulfilled, we know that it was a true prophecy. The 2,300 years stretches to the year 1844 (see Daniel 9 for the starting point).
The Handbook of Denominations, pg. 23 states, "As early as 1844, a small group of these Adventists near Washington, New Hampshire had begun observing the Sabbath on the seventh day." The Adventists were a group of people from many different denominations who understood these verses in Daniel to mean the end of the world and Jesus' soon coming, hence the name Advent or coming. They believed the "sanctuary" that would be cleansed was the earth to be destroyed by fire when Jesus returned to take his people to heaven.
They read, "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:6,7. They compared these verses to the identical language in the "Sabbath" or fourth commandment. They felt that if the judgment was coming, they should be worshipping on and keeping the Sabbath commandment. They were disappointed when Jesus did not return to the earth in 1844, but many united in the Seventh-day commandment-keeping.
The Sabbath was taken away by the universal Christian church, the Catholic church; it was trodden upon during the "Dark Ages" and people were persecuted for keeping the 7th day holy; but a day was coming when God was going to restore that Sabbath day, so that people could worship Him in spirit and truth and understand the prophecies he would reveal.
The special gospel work is to be done on earth that is described in Revelation 14:6-14. The downtrodden truths of God are to be lifted up. The warning against the great apostasy is to be given. The message will again be proclaimed to all mankind, "Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come."
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.
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.
17. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.
18. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.
19. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.
20. The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
21. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
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.
Note.-- The first king of united Greece was Alexander. After his death his empire was divided into four main kingdoms, ruled by four of his generals.
Papal Rome (476 A.D. - to the end of time)
23. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
24. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
25. And through his policy also he shall cause craft (deceit) to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
NOTE: Satan, the father of lies, who wanted to be "lifted up" (Ezekiel 28:17) and be "like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14) will again stand in opposition to Jesus, but our Saviour shall prevail.
26. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
27. And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
Note.-- The chapter closed. The angel sent to make Daniel understand the vision has explained the order of world empires, -- Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, -- In the next chapter we shall find more about the time prophecy and when it was to begin counting.