DANIEL 7 & 8 - JERUSALEM'S CONQUERORS
Daniel chapters 7 and 8 give us an overview of the Gentile powers that conquered and controlled Jerusalem, from the time of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar's defeat of the Jews, until the descendants of the Jews regained control of the city 2520 years later.
In Daniel 2, these same powers that governed Jerusalem are depicted in the form of the statue of a man, as shown to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream. These powers are almost always explained as depicting the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. Please see the page "DANIEL 2 - INTERPRETATION ERRORS" for a detailed explanation as to why this interpretation is only partially correct.
Let's look at Dan 7 and 8 and we will see that the Gentile powers described here are perfectly aligned with those of Dan 2. My comments are in gold:
7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
3 And four great beasts came up from the sea (the sea is symbolic of the nations, i.e. unbelieving Gentiles (Rev 17:15). The nations represented by the four beasts successively conquered the "earth", or land, of Israel (see verse 4), and specifically Jerusalem, as they conquered each other in warfare), diverse one from another.
4 The first (Babylon, which first captured Jerusalem) was like a lion, and had eagle's wings (was given great strength in warfare, through demonic influence): I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth (its power was taken away, and it was removed from occupying the "earth" or land of Israel and Jerusalem), and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it (its people became like ordinary people again, as they had been before. This same process applies to all ensuing "Beast" powers).
5 And behold another beast (Medo-Persia), a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side (its Persian component was stronger than its Median component), and it had three ribs (of the lion, i.e. Babylon) in the mouth of it between the teeth of it (the three ribs may well be referring to the concept of a threefold godhead, which is generally believed to have originated in Babylon. The Persian Zoroastrian religion also adopted a threefold godhead, and we see the same in most of the Gentile powers that subsequently ruled Jerusalem, none more obvious than the Trinity espoused by false Christianity, a religion called "Babylon the Great" in Rev 18): and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
6 After this I beheld, and lo another (Greco-Rome), like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads (Greece, the Ptolemaic Kingdom, the Seleucid Empire, and Rome); and dominion was given to it (over Jerusalem).
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast (Islam), dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth (Islam conquered and ruled with an iron sword - see "Daniel 2 - Interpretation Errors"): it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns (ten Islamic dynasties that ruled Jerusalem after the city's initial conquest by Caliph Omar. Omar was one of the immediate successors of Mohammed, whose religion emerged from the "holy" cities of Mecca and Medina in Arabia. The ten Islamic dynasties are listed by name on the page "The Two Witnesses". This Islamic fourth beast ruled Jerusalem over a period of almost 1300 years).
8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn (Roman Catholicism/Christianity, in many respects a continuation of the fourth head of the third beast, Rome), before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots (three of the Islamic dynasties ruling Jerusalem were conquered by "Christian" forces): and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man (the Papacy), and a mouth speaking great things (lies).
9 I beheld till thrones were cast down ("were put in place" - NKJV, "were set in place" - NIV), and the Ancient of days (God the Father) did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands (of angels) ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him (the myriad people of the final "Beast" powers): the judgment was set ("the court was seated" - NKJV, NIV), and the books were opened (the record of false Christianity was examined).
11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake (its last "great" words were those of a Satan inspired Adolf Hitler, who 1) replaced the Bible with "Mein Kampf" in German churches, 2) planned, and began, to destroy God's chosen people, the Jews, and replace them with his own chosen people, the Germans, and 3) sought to create a one thousand year "reich" under German rule, as a counterfeit of Christ's prophesied, imminent, one thousand year reign on Earth): I beheld even till the beast was slain (after its final abominable act, the Holocaust), and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they (also) had their dominion (over Jerusalem and the Jews) taken away (most Beast powers had long since lost control over Jerusalem, but still had many Jews living in their midst, who were therefore under their "dominion". In the aftermath of WW2, Jews from all nations, including the former Beast powers, were able to return to the Holy Land. For more on this see "The Two Witnesses"): yet their lives (the lives of the Beast powers) were prolonged for a season and time (from the end of WW2 until the return of Christ, which is why the peoples of the Western world still live by the heritage of the eighth head of the Beast, i.e. false Christianity, and why the peoples of the Islamic world still live by the heritage of the seventh head of the Beast, i.e. Islam).
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man (Christ) came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom (the Kingdom of God), that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him (at His return): his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
15 I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings (four kingdoms), which shall arise out of the earth ("on earth" - Complete Jewish Bible; "in the earth" - Jubilee Bible) (on the "earth", or land, of Israel).
18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom (first the physical saints, i.e. the Jews, and later, upon Christ's return, the spiritual saints), and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast (Islam), which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass (see "Daniel 2 - Interpretation Errors" for an explanation of these "nails of brass"); which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
20 And of the ten horns (the ten Islamic dynasties) that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn (the little horn) that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great (greatly offensive) things (the Papacy, and by extension, its "Christian" daughter churches and "Christian" political leaders), whose look was more stout than his fellows.
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints (Jews and true Christians), and prevailed against them;
22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High (in 1945); and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom (from 1948 onward - see the page "The Two Witnesses" to understand the significance of these years).
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth (the fourth Gentile power to conquer Israel, including Jerusalem), which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth (of Israel), and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings (kingdoms, i.e. Islamic dynasties, the first of the ten, the Umayyad dynasty, beginning to rule Jerusalem in 661AD) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them (the Papacy, gaining independence in 686AD, and conquering Jerusalem in 1099AD for the first of three times); and he shall be diverse from the first (the ten are Islamic; he is "Christian"), and he shall subdue three kings (by conquering three separate Islamic dynasties that ruled Jerusalem, in 1099, 1229 and 1917 respectively, discussed more fully on the page "The Two Witnesses", and listed on the chart on the "Home" page).
25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High (first and foremost here meaning the Jews, but also true Christians), and think to change times and laws (the Papacy has long tampered with God's commandments, hiding the second commandment, changing the fourth commandment from Sabbath to Sunday, and splitting the tenth commandment into two, to retain a list of ten, among many other changes and perversions of the truth): and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (1260 inclusive years, from 686, when the Papacy became a "horn", i.e. an independent power, when it was permitted by the emperor in Constantinople from that point on to independently install its Popes, until 1945, when it lost control over the Jews and, subsequently, Jerusalem).
26 But the judgment shall sit (as described in verses 9 and 10), and they shall take away his dominion (the Papacy/false Christianity is called "Babylon the Great" in Rev 18. Since 1945 it has been in a state described as "fallen" - see the page "Babylon is Fallen"), to consume and to destroy it unto the end (the Beast powers will fully cease to exist at Christ's return).
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High (first the Jews, as we see today, and then the resurrected firstfruits at Christ's return), whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
28 Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.
8.1 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.
2 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 (in Persia); and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns (Media and Persia): and the two horns were high (raised in battle); but one was higher (stronger) than the other, and the higher (Persia) came up last (Persian king Cyrus conquered Media, and the two merged into one empire).
4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him (no other Gentile nations could withstand him), neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great (the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire and, thereby, the entire Middle East, including Israel and Jerusalem. Conquering Jerusalem made Medo-Persia the second head of the Beast, Babylon having been the first head. Esther 1:1 states that the Persian Empire stretched from India to Ethiopia).
5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat (Greece) came from the west on the face of the whole earth (Greece conquered Medo-Persia's western territories including Israel and Jerusalem, in 333-332BC, following the Battle of Issus in southern Anatolia, in modern day Turkey. Conquering Jerusalem made Greece the third head of the Beast), and touched not the ground (lit. earth - the same Hebrew word "eretz" as used earlier in this verse) (the Greek leader, Alexander the Great, conquered the "earth", or land, of Israel without any battles on its territory; he did however touch "heaven", i.e. God's dwelling place on Earth, Jerusalem. Josephus states that Alexander personally offered sacrifice in the Temple, which only priests of God were allowed to do (Ant. 11.8.5). This symbolic act initiated a long period of Hellenist religious and cultural defilement of the Holy Land and its people): and the goat had a notable horn (Alexander) between his eyes.
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 (the 331BC Battle of Gaugamela in modern day northern Iraq, saw the complete defeat of Medo-Persia by the Greeks).
8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great (Alexander, having already conquered Egypt, subjugated all of Persia, and continued to make conquests as far as India): and when he was strong, the great horn was broken (Alexander died at a young age in 323BC, from an unknown illness, while in Babylon); and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven (after Alexander's death, the Greek Empire was divided into many different parts, but over the course of a few decades, four major or "notable" divisions had been established, in the West, North, South and East of the original territory. These were:
1) Macedonia, ruled originally by Cassander and subsequently by the Antigonid dynasty
2) Thrace and Asia Minor, ruled initially by Lysimachus, and later by the Attalid dynasty, over subsequent decades becoming known as the Kingdom of Pergamon, covering Western Asia Minor, with Thrace becoming part of the Macedonian territory
3) The Ptolemaic Kingdom, initially under Ptolemy I Soter, based in Egypt, which captured Jerusalem in 301BC, making the Ptolemaic Kingdom the fourth head of the Beast
4) The Seleucid Empire, initially under Seleucus I Nicator, covering Anatolia, Syria, Babylon, Persia and beyond, which captured Jerusalem in 200BC, making the Seleucid Empire the fifth head of the Beast).
9 And out of one of them (Macedonia had territories on the Italian peninsula) came forth a little horn (Rome), which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east (between 146BC and 30BC, Rome captured all four divisions of the Greek Empire), and toward the pleasant land (Rome captured the land of Israel, including Jerusalem, in 63BC, making Rome the sixth head of the Beast).
10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven (the inhabitants of Jerusalem); and it cast down some of the host (Jews) and of the stars (true people of God) to the ground, and stamped upon them.
11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host (Christ), and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and (when) the place of the sanctuary was cast down (the Jerusalem Temple, along with the entire city, was destroyed in 70AD).
12 And an host (another occupying power, i.e the seventh head of the Beast, which was Islam) was given him (him is in italics, and so is not part of the text) against the daily sacrifice (against the true religion) by reason of transgression (because of the Jews' transgression against God), and it cast down the truth to the ground (it introduced its own false religion, and built a counterfeit temple, i.e. the "Dome of the Rock", in the place where God's Temple had stood); and it practised, and prospered (it captured Jerusalem in 638, and ruled the city until 1917, interrupted only for a total of about 100 years by two Crusades. In 1917 the third period of "Christian" rule of Jerusalem began when the British captured the city. Concluding the period of Islamic domination, Jordanian Muslims ruled about 10% of Jerusalem from 1948 until 1967, after the War of Independence).
13 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 (the Temple and the Temple Mount) and the host (the Jews) to be trodden under foot?
14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days (2300 years); then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (from Alexander's 333BC conquest of the Persians at the Battle of Issus, until the 1967 Six Day War, when the last Islamic forces were driven out, there were 2300 inclusive years of defilement of God's dwelling place in the Holy City, at the hand of Gentile powers).
15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.
17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at (until) the time of the end shall be the vision.
18 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.
19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed (after 2300 years) the end (of the prophecy) shall be.
20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings (the kingdom) of Media and Persia.
21 And the rough goat is the king (the kingdom) of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king (Alexander the Great).
22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation (listed in verse 8), but not in his power (none as large or powerful as Alexander's empire).
23 And in the latter time of their kingdom (the time of the Greek powers that continued to rule and defile the City of God after Alexander's time, i.e. the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Seleucid Empire), when the (these) transgressors are come to the full ("have finished" - Green's Interlinear) (at the time when the semi-autonomous Hasmonean Kingdom holds sway in Jerusalem), a king (a kingdom) of fierce countenance (Rome), and understanding dark sentences ("skilled in intrigue" - NASB, "proficient at deception" - ISV) (possessing ingenious skills of warfare), shall stand up.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power (rather by Satan's power): and he shall destroy wonderfully (totally destroy God's City and Temple), and shall prosper, and practise (create a vast empire by conquering many nations, ruling these for many centuries), and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people (in the 67-73AD and 132-136AD wars with Israel).
25 And through his (subsequent) policy (of accepting "Christianity") also he shall cause craft (deceit) to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart (think himself righteous by practising "Christianity"), and by peace (by seeking to establish a united "Christian" empire) shall destroy many (many who have different beliefs, including true Christians): he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes (by establishing the Papacy, in direct opposition to Christ, and through the introduction and enforcement of false Christian teachings); but he shall be broken without hand (when the "times of the Gentiles" came to an end in 1945 this power was "broken" by Christ, as also referred to in Dan 2:34).
26 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 (a period of 2300 years).
27 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.
We see that, from where we stand in history, almost all of the events prophesied in Daniel 7 and 8 have already come to pass, and are able to be understood when we study the history of God's Holy City, Jerusalem.
We also see that "the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation" (Dan 8:13) concerns a 2300 year period of religious desecration, at the hand of Gentile forces, that begins with Greek defilement of God's Temple, progresses to Roman destruction of God's Temple, and concludes with an Islamic counterfeit of God's Temple built in the place were the true Temple once stood.
For an explanation of how the 2300 year period fits in with other time related prophecies, especially those of Daniel 12, please see the page "KINGS OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH", and the latter part of the page "BIBLE CHRONOLOGY".
What remains now is the return of Christ, and the passing of the Kingdom into His hands.