Thoughts to Ponder: Chapter 20
Chapter 20: Daniel’s Vision of the Ram and the Goat ~ Daniel 8:1-14
Q1 – According to Jewish literature, Belshazzar reigned for two full years and was killed at the beginning of his third year, on that fateful night in which the hand appeared and wrote on the wall. His death also marked the end of the 70 years of Babylonian rule. Why do you suppose Daniel’s vision occurred right around this important historical juncture in time?
A1 – Daniels’ vision recorded in Chapter 7 occurred during the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, and this vision recorded in Chapter 8 during his third year. The Jewish people knew their exile in Babylonia was to last 70 years, and they had no doubt been counting every single year as it passed. They knew this time of punishment should be drawing to a close, yet they remained entrenched in Babylonian control. From other accounts, Belshazzar had been even more harsh toward the Jews than his predecessors.
For Daniel and the Jewish population, their anticipation had to have been great, and they were likely a bit anxious as well. Those who were still alive from the long trek into captivity had waited a lifetime for this occurrence. They were more than ready for this fateful chapter in Jewish history to come to a close. So it could be that Daniel’s visions served as God’s assurance that He had not forgotten His faithful, and that His plan for the future was much greater than they could have imagined.
Q2 – Why do you think God chose to reveal the future to Daniel?
A2 – Daniel was a prophet of God, someone who served as a mouthpiece for conveying God’s messages to others. He was also highly educated, both in the Old Testament scriptures and in the lore and wisdom of the Babylonians. So if anyone from that era in time could have been able to understand and also record what God revealed, certainly it would have been Daniel.
Just as importantly, Daniel had proven himself faithful to God from an early age. He had interpreted dreams for Nebuchadnezzar, revealing God’s messages to a king who had threatened his life along with those of all the wise men in the kingdom. He had defied King Darius’s decree and chose to potentially suffer a gruesome death in a den of lions rather than disavow his God. Daniel had always served God, no matter how high the stakes, so it stands to reason that God would trust him with these messages.
Q3 – What was the impact of this revelation on Daniel? What about its impact on future generations?
A3 – You have to think that this vision and the one in Daniel 7 were real eye-openers, so to speak, for Daniel and the Jewish people. Jeremiah and Ezekiel both lived during Daniel’s time, and these prophets foretold many things that would happen in the future, including the coming of the Messiah. However, Daniel’s visions went beyond foretelling the future and allowed Daniel, as well as us today, to glimpse into the spiritual realm. With their graphic descriptions, we can almost feel the struggles happening on behalf of God’s people. With our mind’s eye, we can visualize a small bit of the glory of eternity. These revelations were beyond comprehension for Daniel, and they remain so for us today.[This site, aboutbibleprophecy.com,provides a brief summary of the various Bible prophecies, including those of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.]