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it is recommended that you be comfortable with the bible version being used.
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Before we get started on Daniel 8, there are some things I should make clear.
Firstly, it should be made clear that when the bible was written, it was not written with chapters.
This is important, because the prophecy of Daniel 8 does not end with chapter 8. It continues right on into chapter 9.
Also, Daniel was a sealed book, Daniel 12:9 so the translators that devised the chapter breaks,
did not understand that Daniel 8 and 9 were parts of the same prophecy.
The second thing to get straight, is that all the prophecies in Daniel, are about the same topic, the same message.
The message of Daniel was so important, that God gave it four times, in different fashions and with increasing amounts of detail.
God first gives the message about the future of the world's kingdoms in about half a chapter in Daniel 2
He then takes the whole of chapter 7 to tell the same thing with increased detail.
Not satisfied with that, He takes the two chapters of Daniel 8 and 9 to tell it again with even more detail.
Finally, He takes the three chapters of Daniel 10, 11, and 12 to give it one last time in very fine detail.

So, if God thought it so important that He gave the message four times in increasing detail,
then just maybe we should study it till we understand it.

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me,  This dates the prophecy, based on history, at around 538BC.
The Bible, and in this case the book of Daniel, is always under fire from skeptics.
Daniel has long been under fire because history, (which, of course can NEVER be wrong) did not mention Belshazzar.
Nabonidus was listed as the last king of Babylon with no mention of Belshazzar.
Skeptics loved Belshazzar — he obviously didn’t exist. In 1850, Ferdinand Hitzig (Das Buch Daniel) called Belshazzar “a figment of the writer’s imagination.” The historians all agreed — the last king was Nabonidus, not Belshazzar. He was captured, not killed. Daniel was obviously all wrong, written centuries later and totally inaccurate.
Hitzig had found the Achilles Heel of the Bible, certainly Daniel.
However, never call God a liar. It will bite you.
It was just four years later, while the smirk on Hitzig's face was still fresh, when the first of the Nabonidus cylinders turned up, and Hitzig’s book became an “Epic Fail.” and it was no longer possible to see the smirk, because it was covered with egg, not to mention all the wasted hours writing that inaccurate piece of junk, and the money spent on publishing.
The inscription records a prayer of Nabonidus asking the gods to bless his son, the man who didn’t exist — Belshazzar. More cylinders were found in 1888.
Then the full story came out and they realised that Daniel was even more correct than the supporters had imagined.
When Daniel interpreted the "Death Knock" vision of Belshazzar, he was made the Third Ruler Daniel 5:29 of the kingdom.
Why was he not made the "second ruler".
The answer had now been found. Nabonidus was Belshazzar's father and was still officially the king, but was in exile, so the kingdom was run as a co-regency, and so Daniel could not be made "Second Ruler", because that is the place in which Belshazzar sat.
See the Wikipedia entry here.
Current score. Bible:100%
Skeptics 0%.
even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.  after that which appeared unto me at the first Daniel is saying that this vision is after the fashion or similar to The preceding prophecies that he was given.
The prophecy of Daniel 8 and 9 has the same message as chapters 2 and 7, but with more detail.
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.  This is interesting, because Babylon is still reigning, but not for long. This vision was in the final days of the reign of Belshazzar, King of Babylon.
However, Daniel sees himself in vision, standing in the palace of Shushan. That is the palace of the Persian king, who was about to attack and overthrow Babylon.
Because Babylon was in it's final days, this vision starts with Medo-Persia, not Babylon, as did Chapters 2 and 7.
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns:  Daniel is seeing the prophetic image of Medo-Persia.
We do not have to guess this, because this very chapter tells us so in Verse 20
and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.  The horn that was higher and came up last was the Persians, who eventually took over the whole kingdom.
This is a direct parallel to the bear that was raised on one side in Daniel 7:5
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.  Remember the Bear of Daniel 7? It had three ribs in it's mouth. We discovered that these represented the three kingdoms that Medo-Persia conquerered on it's way to rule.
We saw that these kingdoms were
Babylon:  539BC
Lydia:  546BD
Egypt:  525BC

These are the kingdoms represented here
Westward:   Babylon
Northward:   Lydia
Southward   Egypt

Also, take note here, that the Ram became Great. We will come back to that later.
And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth,  The he goat is Greece, and we are told so in Verse 21.
Greece was west of Persia and he is saying this nation came from the west.
Alexander was in the process of taking over the whole world when he came up against Persia.
and touched not the ground:  This is a reference to the speed at which Alexander the Great conquered the world.
This is also referred to in Daniel 7:6 which said the leopard had 4 wings (wings signify speed).
and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.  A horn represents a branch of power. Daniel 7:24; and this single notable horn is Alexander the Great, the king who conquered the world for Greece.
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.
And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler 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.
 Let's just say that there was ill feeling between the two nations and Alexander hit Persia pretty hard.
Therefore the he goat waxed very great:  The Grecian empire was more powerful than the Persian empire had been. Also note here that the ram (Medo-Persia) was Great but the goat (Greece) was Very Great. This is saying that Greece was a greater, more powerful nation that Medo-Persia. We shall come back to this.
and when he was strong, the great horn was broken;  At the height of the grecian empire, Alexander got so despondent that there was nothing else to conquer, he drank himself to death and died of alcohol poisoning.
and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven
 When Alexander died, he did not have a will, so they asked him on his deathbed who should take his place, referring to the four of his generals.
His answer was "The strongest".
So the kingdom was divided four ways between the four generals.
His four generals were Lysimachus, Cassander, Seleucus, and Ptolemy.
Lysimachus received Thrace and most of Asia Minor.
Cassander obtained Macedonia and Greece.
Ptolemy was given Egypt, Palestine, Cilicia, Petra, and Cyprus
Seleucus controlled the rest of Asia: Syria, Babylon, Persia, and India.
And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great,  Now remember that the Ram was Great, and the Goat was Very Great.
It now says that this horn growing was Exceeding Great.
This means it was a greater nation than either Greece or Medo-Persia.
This is important, because there a lot of so-called Bible Prophecy Experts that try to say that this horn is Antiochus Epiphanes. I won't bother explaining why they are so intent on saying that, but it is not for good reason.
Well, they have a problem right here. If this horn was greater and more powerful than either Greece or Persia, then that rules out Antiochus Epiphanes several times over.
This prophecy is a parallel to Daniel 7 and therefore is the equivalent of the Dragon Beast. This is another strike against the Antiochus Epiphanes theory, there were no kingdoms coming forth out of him, but there were ten (10) coming out of the head of the dragon beast. This horn is the Roman Empire.
toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
 This, at this point, is a little different to the little horn of Daniel 7.
At this stage, the horn is travelling parallel to the ground, in the directions of the compass.
Toward the pleasant land refers to Jerusalem, and this is in the west.
Notice it mentions south, east, implies west, compass directions.
This part of the horn, as we shall see later in the chapter, is the Roman Empire which grew out of one corner of the Grecian Empire.
It is travelling parallel to the ground because it's interests and conquests lie on the earth, earthly kingdoms.
And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven;  Now the horn changes direction. It is now attacking the heavenly kingdom, which is upward.
This now, is the equivalent of the little horn of Daniel 7. This is the morphing from the Roman Empire to the Roman Catholic Church.
Notice also, it says that it waxed Great. Just a few moments ago it said the horn was Exceeding Great. This is because the horizontal piece and the vertical piece are different entities. The horizontal piece is the Roman Empire, while the vertical piece is the Roman Catholic Church, which grew out of the Roman Empire.
and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground,  This is a parallel passage to the one in Revelation 12:4 which states And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.
A few verses later in Revelation 12:9 it explains that these stars cast to the earth are evil angels that were deceived by satan, and followed him.
satan, the Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church, are very closely related, because satan used pagan Rome to do his bidding, and later on he used the catholic church as his earthly medium.
and stamped upon them.  Without remorse, satan lied to the other angels and tricked them into following him, knowing full well it would cost them dearly.
This horn, that now has it's sights on heaven, is satan and his representative on earth, the pope.
Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host,  he magnified himself means the same as we would say he puffed himself up or he big-noted himself.
In any case, it means he made himself more important than he really was.
The Prince of the Host is Jesus Christ, the host being the Heavenly Host (some verses of the bible actually include God's faithful in this group) and the Prince therein, being Jesus.
This was not a common every day variety of excess pride.
This was the ultimate, in that he puffed himself up right up to the level of the prince of the host.
This is none other than the pope. He claims to be God on earth, in the place of Jesus Christ Himself, even to the point of claiming to forgive sins, something only God can do.
This is no surprise, because the pope is actually satan's representative on earth, and satan has long wanted to be God. Isaiah 14:12-14
and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away,  This is a very difficult and complicated passage, so I will spend quite some time on it.
Firstly, remembering that Daniel was a sealed book Daniel 12:4 the original translators had a problem understanding what this piece should translate to, because in fact, where the word sacrifice is placed, in fact, there is NO WORD THERE. The translators were looking for an IMPLIED word to put there. This is a common practice, and is acceptable, because of the differences in styles and implications between source and target languages. They settled on the word sacrifice but we now know the correct word was desolation.
Even if they had considered this word "desolation", given the limited understanding of the book of Daniel at that time due to it being sealed, it would have made no sense to them.
At this point I am going to use the words penned by two of the greatest theologians of the late 1800's, Uriah Smith and Ellen G. White (The latter I strongly believe to be inspired. If you do not believe me, read The Great Controversy and remember it was written 160 years ago.)

Uriah Smith
[The word sacrifice] should be 'desolation.' The expression denotes a desolating power, of which the abomination of desolation is but the counterpart, and to which it succeeds in point of time. It seems clear therefore that the 'daily' desolation was paganism, and the 'abomination of desolation' is the Papacy…In the ninth chapter, Daniel speaks of desolations and abominations in the plural. More than one abomination, therefore, treads down the church; that is, as far as the church is concerned, both paganism and the Papacy are abominations. But as distinguished from each other, the language is restricted. One is the 'daily' desolation, and the other is pre-eminently the transgression or 'abomination' of desolation. "How was the 'daily', or paganism, taken away?

The conversion of Clovis [A.D. 496] is said to have been the occasion of bestowing upon the French monarch the titles 'Most Christian Majesty' and 'Eldest Son of the Church.' Between that time and A.D. 508, [the other horns of Europe] were brought into subjection.

From…A.D. 508, the Papacy was triumphant so far as paganism was concerned …When the prominent powers of Europe gave up their attachment to paganism, it was only to perpetuate its abominations in another form; for Christianity as exhibited in the Roman Catholic Church was, and is, only paganism baptized (Daniel and the Revelation, 270-272). i

Ellen G.White
Then I saw in relation to the 'daily' (Daniel 8:12) that the word 'sacrifice' was supplied by man's wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the 'daily,' but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion have followed (Early Writings, 74-75).

There are other points that I could bring on this point to show that the "daily" is referring to desolation and paganism but it would serve only to make this a longer tedious section.
I shall leave it with this text 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8.
he who now letteth is paganism, which allowed (letteth) the principles of the catholic church.
and the place of his sanctuary was cast down  Earthly priests substitute their authority for that of Jesus, our heavenly High Priest.
Any system which rivets our attention on earthly priests in ornate, elaborate, human temples is directing our attention in the wrong direction.
Heaven’s invitation is to direct our attention above to the true sanctuary where our real High Priest lives for us.
The little-horn power cast to the ground the truth about Jesus as our real High Priest in heaven’s sanctuary.
And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground;  The Old Testament Sanctuary was a system of worship that God gave to Moses to follow.
This was before Jesus came, lived and died, and it pointed forward to that event. Look at the components of the sanctuary.
Only one gate
There is only one entrance to heaven. Jesus Christ
The catholic church teaches that Mary is a co-redeemer and you can also pray to "saints" for help.
John 10:9 John 14:6
The Bronze Altar
Represents the sacrifice of Jesus. He was sacrificed ONCE for all.
The catholic church teaches that the body of Jesus is sacrificed at EVERY mass. They teach that the eucharist becomes the body of Christ and is sacrificed over and over again.
Hebrews 10:10,12,14,18
The Laver (Basin)
Represents the cleansing by Christ.
The catholic church has a whole myriad of things here, penance, trinkets, beads etc.
Ephesians 5:25-27 Hebrews 10:22
The Menorah (Lampstand)
Jesus is the Light of the world
The catholic church makes a mockery of the sanctuary candles by burning candles for whosoever they will.
John 8:12 John 12:46
The Table of Shewbread
This represents the body of Christ.
The catholic church suppressed the bread of life (The Bible) for over a thousand years. It was illegal to own a bible, and it was kept in latin, a language never associated with the word of God. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. The New Testament was written in Greek. So why was the only allowed bible written in Latin, the language of the pagan Romans?
John 6:35,50
The Golden Altar of Incense
This, via the smoke of the rising incense, represents our prayers rising to heaven.
The catholic church says you can pray to saints, but Jesus said pray to the Father.
The same church has books of repetitive prayers, which is also against Jesus request. Matthew 6:6-9
Psalm 141:2 Revelation 8:3-4
Holy of Holies was the "Most Holy Place" and this represents the dwelling place of God.
God was considered to be ever-present there.
The Veil The veil was the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place
This veil represents Jesus who is God veiled by human flesh. Hebrews 10:20
This is why the veil of the temple was mysteriously torn in two when Jesus was crucified. His body was symbolically torn. Matthew 27:51
The Ark of the Covenant
This is symbolic of the throne of God.
Inside the Ark of the Covenant were kept the two stone tables of the 10 commandments, which are the character of God. The catholic church has both changed and watered down the law of God.
They removed the second commandment Thou shalt not bow down to graven images. Exodus 20:4-6
They have split the last one into two to make up the ten. Thou shalt not covet now occupies two places in their set.
They have also moved the fourth commandment from God's sabbath, saturday to the day of the sun god, sunday.
2 Samuel 6:2 Isaiah 37:16

So the sanctuary represents Jesus in all his attributes. This then gives the meaning of His sanctuary was cast down.
The sanctuary is synonomous with Jesus. By making a mockery of the sanctuary and casting it down they are belittling Jesus.
and it practised, and prospered.  The catholic church is the richest corporation in the world. Need I say more?
In case you have not worked it out, the little horn that attacks the principles of God is the papacy.
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 sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?  The question being asked here, is how long will each of these desolations be in play. Remember, that word sacrifice should be desolation. Also being asked is "how long will the truth of God be trampled on?"
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days;  Remember, a day in symbolic prophecy represents a literal year.
Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34
So, this prophecy is for a period of 2300 years, but from WHEN? There is no start date given yet.
then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.  That phrase then shall the sanctuary be cleansed refers to the sanctuary system that we have just been discussing.
All through the year, sacrifices were made on the brazen altar, and blood was sprinkled before the veil leading to the Most Holy Place.
Leviticus 4:5-7 This represented the blood of Jesus spilt to atone for our sins. The sacrifice, of course, represented the slaying of Jesus.
Once a year, the sanctuary was cleansed from this blood that had been spilt there all year.
This day was called The Day of Atonement. I am not going to cover all that happened that day in the space I have here, but it was the day that all those sins that had been confessed to God over the sacrificial lambs during the year were taken away, and those sins were no more.
This represented the judgment at the end of time, when all the sins of God's faithful will be written off and all the sins of those not safely in God's faithful are called to be paid for.
Those sins of God's people were paid for at the cross, but those who have not accepted Jesus have to pay for them themselves.
That payment is death (eternal). Romans 6:23
So, this text is saying that there is about to be a 2300 year period from Daniel's time, leading up to the judgment.
This prophecy was given in 538BC, so add 2300 years, and you come up to approxiamately about 1800AD.
I say approxiamately because, as at verse 14, no start date for that period has been given.
And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning,  Daniel has been given the vision, but as yet he has not been told what it means.
then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.  Now there is an angel standing in front of him, presumably to explain it to him.
And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision  Someone, presumably either God or Jesus, because, after the fall of Lucifer, Gabriel became the most powerful and highest ranking angel in heaven, so who would be giving him orders other than God Himself?
So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face:  Looking the most powerful angel from heaven in the eye would be daunting.
but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision  Gabriel has just told Daniel that this 2300 year prophecy reaches to the time of the end.
Note, that in Bible terminology, there is a difference between The time of the end and The end of time.
The End of Time is the point at which time is no more and the history of the earth terminates.
The Time of the end is that period leading up to the End of time.
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.  Daniel has been seeing all this in a vision, so, it would appear that he is now being woken to talk directly to Gabriel.
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.  He is telling Daniel that this vision encompasses the period right up to the end, and there is a time allocated (or appointed) for that end.
The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.  No guessing games here, Gabriel tells Daniel that the Ram represents Medo-Persia.
And the rough goat is the king of Grecia:  And tells him that the Goat is Greece.
and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.  The first king was Alexander the Great, certainly a great king. He was probably the greatest warrior the world has ever seen.
Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.  As we said earlier, the kingdom of Greece divided into four parts led by Lysimachus, Cassander, Seleucus, and Ptolemy.
But these were not in his power because they were not as great or as powerful as Alexander had been.
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full,  God sets up kings and takes down kings Daniel 2:21
When their transgressions get too high, he removes them and puts in another kingdom.
a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.  Note the fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences. Does this sound like the dragon beast of daniel 7? Well, it is.
This is the kingdom of Rome, but remember that that little horn had two phases. One parallel to the ground, and one that attacked heaven.
Rome is the first phase of that horn, the one parallel to the earth.
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power:  Rome was a mighty empire, but it had help from satan (not by his own power) as Rome was a pagan empire and had the full backing of satan.
and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.  We are now entering the phase where the horn changes direction from horizontal to vertical
There is a cross-over period from the horizontal to the vertical.
Both pagan Rome and the papacy took part in destroying the mighty and the holy people.
Rome occupied the holy land prior to the birth of Jesus and went on to slaughter large numbers of Christians. Many were killed by the sword, by being used as human torches and fed to lions.
As the papacy took over, it went right on killing, torturing, maiming, by whatever means was available to it, the people of God.
It continued right on up to 1798, when General Berthier at the order of Napoleon removed the pope from power.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand;  The catholic church has been involved in every low down form of vice and deception and greed to squirm it's way to power and riches.
It has also encouraged others to do the same, so it may share in THEIR riches. The vatican has a strong tie into the mafia and other evils.
and he shall magnify himself in his heart,  The pope has raised himself to be (in his own mind) equal to God.
He claims to Hold on earth the place of God Almighty. Well, I have news for him, and it's all BAD.
and by peace shall destroy many:  Many souls have followed the catholic church willingly, and their road leads to eternal ruin.
he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;  The Prince of princes is the title of Jesus Christ.
The pope is the antiChrist. We have not studied enough here to come to that conclusion, but keep studying with me in future studies and you will have absolutely no doubt. It is not my opinion. It is what God plainly says in His word.
but he shall be broken without hand.  Do you remember the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands that we saw in Daniel 2? Daniel 2:45
Well that is what is happening here. Jesus is coming back to terminate this disgusting power.
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.  The prophecies of Daniel were sealed until our time, because they have their fulfillment in our lifetime.
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.  Even Daniel did not understand this vision at this point in time, as you will see in chapter 9.
This explanation of this vision was cut short because Daniel fainted, so it carries on into the next chapter, therefore we have more to study yet.
Daniel said he was sick certain days. I think, knowing what is in chapter 9 of Daniel, that he saw some of the things that you will come to realise when you study chapter 9, and these are very sobering things that are brought forward in that chapter.

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