Thoughts to Ponder: Chapter 21

Chapter 21: Daniel’s Second Vision Explained ~ Daniel 8:15-27

Q1 – In what ways do the visions of Daniel affirm how special he was to God?

A1 – Think of the people in the Old Testament who were special to God. He gave His promise to Abraham and his descendants that He would make of them a great nation (Genesis 12:2). He chose Moses to lead His people out of Egypt and spoke with him as someone speaks with a friend (Exodus 33:11). There were priests who were special to God, such as Eli and Samuel. He chose David, a man after His own heart, to be king and promised him that his throne would be established forever (II Samuel 7:15-16). Then there were the many prophets who served as God’s mouthpieces, providing instruction and warnings to the people.

Through the centuries, God guarded and protected those He loved. Some He placed in positions of authority and leadership. He spoke to many and frequently revealed the coming events, including the coming of the Messiah. God did all of this with Daniel as well. Yet, Daniel is the only person from Old Testament times, at least that’s recorded in the scriptures, whom God allowed to glimpse into the spiritual realm, into things eternal.

Daniel lived during one of the saddest chapters in Jewish history, their exile into Babylonia. Through it all, he remained faithful to God and enjoyed a close relationship with God. Perhaps with the visions, God was showing Daniel the inside scoop, sharing with Daniel as one friend does with the other.

Q2 – Compare the portion of the previous vision in Daniel 7:23-27 with the portion of this vision in Daniel 8:23-25. What similarities do you notice?

A2 – Possibly God is trying to tell Daniel at least some of the same information in these two visions, just presenting it a little differently or extending to a different time period. In both, animals or beasts represent countries or ruling powers on earth. Life will be difficult for God’s people during much of the future time period depicted. In fact, the level of difficulty will increase to the point of devastation for God’s people. Relief will come about only after divine intervention occurs. Possibly for us today, the most important point of these visions is that ultimately good will win!

It’s interesting to line up the various entities in the visions with what occurred historically. This reference, “The Five Visions of Daniel,” succinctly states what their research has yielded (scroll down to Fifth Vision). You can find many other references by doing an online search.

Concerning the identities of the various entities, refer back to the answer to the 3rd Thought to Ponder in Lesson 18 for a discussion of the countries or powers represented by the four beasts in Daniel’s vision in Chapter 7. Fortunately, for Daniel’s vision in Chapter 8, the angel Gabriel actually named the identities of the two-horned ram as the kings of Media and Persia and the shaggy male goat as the king of Greece (see Daniel 8:20-22). Beyond what Gabriel revealed, the best anyone can do is make an educated guess based upon what has been borne out in history.

Q3 – After this vision, Daniel lay exhausted for several days. Why do you suppose he was so worn out?

A3 – The Jewish people wanted to go back to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Even though that would occur a few years hence, this longer view of the future given in Daniel’s vision revealed the devastating times that still lay ahead for God’s people. Learning that the faithful would suffer so dreadfully in the future, when they were just now looking forward to getting out of Babylonian captivity, had to have been quite a blow to Daniel.

Not only that, but he learned the temple which his people sought to rebuild would be destroyed yet again and the daily sacrifices halted. Essentially, the form of worship that the Jewish people had known for centuries would end. This had to be shocking for Daniel to learn. Couple all this information with his mind-blowing glimpse into the spiritual realm and communicating with the angel Gabriel, and you can understand why he lay sick and overcome for several days. He was emotionally tapped out.