Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat (Daniel 8)

Scripture Text:

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Daniel 8

1. When you think of people butting heads like two rams, what sport comes to mind? What do you like, and not like, about contact sports?

2. What does it matter when (before the events of chapter 5) and where (in the mind of Daniel) this vision actually takes place?

3. What about this vision makes you wince and rub your forehead?

4. What does the two-horned ram represent (verses 3 and 20)? The goat and its prominent horn (verses 5 and 21)? What do the charging animals, the shattering of the two horns and the breaking off of the large horn represent (verses 7 and 8)?

5. What other “little horn” does the emerging horn in verse 9 bring to mind (see chapter 7:8 and 11)? How is this one different in origin, nature and destiny? How is it similar in its overwhelming pride?

6. What do you make of Daniel’s specifying the time frame for the fulfillment of his vision (verses 13 and 26)? Why do you think God allows the transgression of His moral law for such a long time?

7. Verses 20 – 25 (also Daniel 7; Revelation 12; Revelation 13) are the background for the Christian belief in an Antichrist, the last days and God’s doing battle for us. What do you see here? How will “he” be destroyed?

8. What impact does all this have on Daniel (verses 15, 17 and 27)?

9. Does Daniel’s prophecy strike you as history written beforehand or after the fact? Why?

10. If the horn that “started small” but “grew in power” toward the “Beautiful Land” of Israel (verse 9) was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who set up a pagan altar in the temple in 168 BC, then the rededication of the temple was three years later by Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC. If this horn also prefigures the world-wide ecumenical movement or a merger of East-West religions (as some say), then when will verse 13 take place? What do such multiple fulfillment say about the nature of biblical prophecy?

11. When have you been dismayed over something God revealed to you? Some triumph of evil or good?

12. The study of Daniel’s prophecies often produces more heat than light. How do you relate to other Christians who favor an interpretation that differs from yours?

13. How might one reach for the stars, desecrate the temple, or trample underfoot, as in verses 10 – 12?

  • “play God”?
  • deny Jesus as God?
  • disregard Biblical truth?
  • other?

How long can your society get away with that?

14. Where have you seen God active in violent world affairs?

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