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Daniel 8 - The Ram, He Goat & Sanctuary
By Brian Pepper
As we come to chapter 8 of the Book of Daniel there is a change in language. Up to now, the language used has been Aramaic but now Daniel changes to Hebrew. Why two languages are used has puzzled many Bible scholars. Perhaps it was because the Chaldeans were very interested in the part of the Book that concerned them. However from chapter 7 the prophecies mainly concern the Church and God's people. So Daniel uses Hebrew.
Verse 1 says, "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.”
You will notice that this vision came in the third year of Belshazzar, 551 B.C. It was two years after the vision of chapter 7. The Babylonian Empire still had a dozen years left.
In this first verse Daniel points out that this vision is an enlargement of the prophecy of chapter 7. If we really want to understand these prophecies we need to compare and study them closely.
chapter 7 we studied the rise and fall of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome and the Little Horn or Papal Rome.
Daniel indicates that he was not actually present in the body but rather that this was a vision.
"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. 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.”
In chapter 7 we noticed that the BIBLE uses animal figures to describe nations such as a lion, a bear, and a leopard. Another clue is that the ram and the he goat were engaged in battle. They fought each other.
Fortunately the Bible explains these strange symbols.
verses 20,21, "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.”
In describing the two horns of the ram it says the higher one came up last. The Media-Persian Empire reigned co-jointly, the Persians becoming the stronger.
chapter 7 this same power is symbolized by a bear which lifted itself up on one side.
Verses 6,7,8 say, "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 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.”
Now you may be wondering why that Babylon is not represented. The answer is simple. As you noticed in the first verse, this vision came in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign and Babylon was on the way out.
Verses 9,10 say, "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. 10. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.”
It is interesting to notice that the Ram or Medo-Persia became great. The He Goat or Alexander’s empire waxed very great, while this Little Horn waxed exceedingly great.
In the prophecy of Daniel chapter 2 Rome is represented as the legs of iron. Only a political aspect of the Empire was presented in that prophecy. However in chapter 7 the Little Horn is shown as an apostate religious power which arose from the ruins of the old Roman Empire.
There was (a Man) at the head with (Eyes) fixed on power, and a (Mouth) speaking (Great Things or Great Words) against God. The Book of Revelation tells us that those (Great Things or Great Words) are blasphemy.
We are also told that this power has perverted the truth of God and led people away from the Holy Scriptures.
You will notice that it says "it waxed great even to the host of heaven.” It is quite obvious that this power is in opposition to heaven. On a first reading one would suppose that the host of heaven suggests angels, but seeing that it is an earthly power there just isn’t any chance of it coming in conflict with angels. So the host of heaven must be symbolic.
Verse 24 clarifies the matter by telling us that this power would destroy God’s people.
He shall destroy wonderfully; a better rendering is cause ‘frightful destruction’. The terrible destructive nature of this power has not been equaled in history.
“and shall prosper, and practice”
It is almost incredible the way that Papal Rome has prospered despite the barbarous cruelty she has shown to those who disagreed with her.
“and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people”.
By both persecution and by false doctrine Rome has destroyed God’s people and will continue to do so until the end.
All these terms refer to Jesus the Son of God who was crucified under the authority of the Romans.
verse 11 it says that "he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host.”
The “daily” refers to the continual mediation and intercession of Jesus Christ in the heavenly Sanctuary. And in its place was substituted the intercession or mediation of Mary, and Popes, and earthly priests. People were taught to look to the Church for forgiveness of sin.
And how has the Papacy done that? By setting up (a rival sanctuary) here on earth with a priesthood claiming divine powers.
Notice the statement, “…Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his creator, since by saying the words of consecration, he creates as it were, Jesus in the sacrament, by giving Him a sacramental existence, and produces Him as a victim to be offered to the eternal Father. As in creating the world it was sufficient for God to have said, Let it be made, and it was created, He spoke, and they were made, so it is sufficient for the priest to say, “Hoc est corpus meum,” and behold, the bread is no longer bread, but the body of Jesus Christ.”
Statements such as this come as a shock and surprise to a person who is not familiar with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
So that you may be able to understand the full significance of the above statement, I will quote from a description of the Mass, "The solemn moment is here. Christ, as the eternal High Priest, will renew in a bloodless manner His death upon the Cross. The Lord of Hosts will descend from His heavenly throne to be sacrificed. Christ will come to us with His Flesh and Blood, but under the appearances of bread and wine. The divine victim will be sacrificed…. Christ mystically renews His death on the altar…. Christ, the victim, is now really and truly present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine, and His life has been re-offered and sacrificed to God…"
So coming back to
verse 11 where it says “he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host.” You can see how this prophecy has been fulfilled to the very letter but it does not stop there. For in
verse 12 something more is added, “And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.”
The word “sacrifice” is a supplied word.
The word “daily” means “continual.”
The King James translators supplied the word “sacrifice”.
Because this word “daily” or “continual” is used in connection with the Sanctuary. And in the context of these verses featuring the activity of the Little Horn, it is very clear that “continual” in this setting refers to the continual priestly ministry of Jesus Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary. And the taking away of the “daily” is the obscuring of the ministry of Jesus. And we noticed how that this was done in our discussion of
verse 11, where an earthly priest claims to forgive sins, and more than that boldly states that he is able to create Christ in the form of a wafer.
And it has done this by burning at the stake people who have tried to make the Bible available to everyone; by failing to preach the Word of God, by encouraging church members not to study the Bible, by teaching that the priest is the only one qualified to explain the Holy Scriptures, by inventing such mythical places as Purgatory, Limbo and Hell. One could go on and on, but time does not allow it.
One angel asks a question and another answers it for Daniel’s benefit. “How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice?”
When Daniel wrote this prophecy, Babylon was still the ruler of the world. The temple or sanctuary at Jerusalem was in ruins, and had been for more than half a century. The prophet was confident that the 70 years of captivity was coming to an end.
“and the transgression of desolation.”
This term covers both Pagan and Church oppression throughout the long centuries. For not only have God’s people been wiped out, but the Truth of God has been desolated and distorted.
“To give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot.”
The Sanctuary or the Church has been relentlessly attacked by its enemies. So has the Host or God’s people, and will continue to be till the end of time.
Verse 14 says, “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
St Paul devotes a lot of time to this subject in the Book of Hebrews. And St John in Revelation gives us an insight into what it means to the believer. He presents Jesus as our great High Priest ministering in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
Notice what it says in Hebrews 8:1, 2, "1. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2. A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
It is wonderful to know that Jesus is up there in heaven acting on our behalf covering our sins with His righteousness, offering each one of us a place in His Kingdom.
Two things are mentioned here, a time period and an event. The time period we will give full coverage in another study. The event we will look at right now because it is vital in understanding what the Angel has told Daniel about the cleansing of the Sanctuary.
In Exodus 25:8 it says, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”
God wanted to be close to His people. He wanted them to realize what His presence meant. He wanted them to understand Him better.
In Exodus 25:40 it says, “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.”
It was to be made as close to the original as possible. They were to make it according to a pattern.
Now in that 14th verse of Daniel it talks about cleansing. This was not done with soap and water but by blood.
There were two services in the earthly sanctuary; one was daily or continual, the other was yearly. And at this time what was called the cleansing of the sanctuary took place.
The earthly Sanctuary was divided into three parts: a courtyard which contained an Altar of Burnt Offering and a Laver which was a bowl for washing. Then as you moved into the actual Sanctuary itself there was the First Apartment or Holy Place with three articles of furniture: a table which had on it showbread, an Altar of Incense, and a seven branched lamp stand. Then in the Most Holy Place there was only one article of furniture, the Ark of the Testament which contained the 10 Commandments.
A person has sinned, he has murdered someone. He is burdened with guilt. He knows that as a sinner he deserves to die, for the Bible says “the wages of sin is death”. So what does he do? He comes to the courtyard with a lamb. He is familiar with the instruction God gave to Moses in Leviticus 1:3. “If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.”
Why is the sacrifice to be without blemish? Because it represents Jesus Christ the spotless Lamb of God the sinless One, our Saviour and Redeemer.
You will notice that no one is forced to bring a sacrifice, he is to do it voluntary.
You may ask "why does he do this? It is because that Lamb is his substitute and the Lamb dies in his place.
You can see how this pictures what Jesus Christ does for us. He is our substitute, the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. The sinner knows that his lamb is not his Saviour, but without that lamb he would be lost.
The priest takes the blood of the lamb in a basin and enters the Holy Place. Then he sprinkles it before the veil and on the altar of incense.
So what has happened? That man's sins have been transferred from himself to the Sanctuary, and that is good news for you and for me. For it tells us that guilt can be removed, that the burden can be lifted. That is, if you accept Jesus as your substitute.
It was John the Baptist who said "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." Jesus the Lamb lived the perfect life here on earth, and He died a death that he did not deserve to die. He is my Lamb, my substitute.
Now as we noticed, the sin was transferred from the sinner to the lamb, then to the Sanctuary.
There were special seasons of prayer; there was fasting, then on that very solemn day two goats were chosen. One was called the Lord's goat and the other Azazel.
The Lord's goat was slain by the high priest. The blood was taken into the Sanctuary, into The Most Holy Place, and sprinkled over the Mercy Seat; where once again we have a picture of Jesus, this time in His mercy to the repentant sinner.
Now isn’t that good news to the one who has a burden of guilt weighing him down; to the one who feels the load is too heavy. Your sins can be forgiven.
Yes Jesus says, "I died for you, My blood will cleanse you from all sin." So do as St Paul advises you in
Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."