Daniel 8 is similar to 7 in the fact that the interpretation is told to Daniel and recorded later in the chapter which makes things easier to understand.
Daniel 8:1-27 This is a vision of Daniel of two beasts. The first one is a ram that represents Media and Persia. The second beast is a hairy goat represents Greece with Rome which comes from one of it’s horns. It is the effects of this second beast that Jesus warned his disciples about in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. These effects were to last longer the beast itself!
The ram from Daniel chapter 8:
Daniel 8:3 The first beast is described as a ram with two horns of which one was taller then the other – This is interpreted as the kings of Media and Persia in chapter 8:20
Daniel 8:4 The next beast is a hairy he-goat with a great horn that is broken and four stand up instead of it and a small horn comes out of one of those horns. The goat is interpreted as the king of Greece in chapter 8:21 and notice verses 8 and 9.
Below are some notes taken from a different place in this site but pertain to these verses:
They help explain the identification of Rome from Greece as depicted as a hairy he-goat.
For the first century destruction of Jerusalem: This is based upon prophesy in Daniel 11:9-20 (Rome) and Daniel 8:4-12 (Greece and Rome). But notice Daniel 8:13 “How long will the vision be of the constant [feature] and of the transgression causing desolation, to make both [the] holy place and [the] army things to trample on?” Here Daniel was talking about a timeframe of this vision NOT the vision of King Nebuchadnezzar and the tree in Daniel 4. In Daniel 8, this time period apparently started with this beast’s (“male of the goats”) campaign (made up of Greece and Rome – For it was Rome who destroyed Jerusalem. But this started with the “male of the goats coming from the sunset upon the surface of the whole earth, and it was not touching the earth”) (Daniel 8:5) AND would have a definite end that is, with the end of the trampling of “[the] holy place and [the] army” (Daniel 8:13). This started with the year of 334 BCE. At 20 years of age, Alexander the Great claimed the throne in 336 BCE and it was in 334 BCE that he along with 30,000 infantry soldiers and 5,000 cavalry soldiers crossed the Hellespont into Asia and he never returned – dying in 323 BC. Then add the “2,300 evenings [and] mornings” (2,300 years) (Daniel 8:14) and the result is the recent year of June of 1967 when Israel firmly established it’s position (by showing by war it was not to be trampled on by the surrounding nations. And it captured the “old city” area of Jerusalem of which it had none of before since its destruction in 70 CE. Remember, “Jerusalem” today is larger then what it was in the first century. Also, when doing research, it is good to note that the term “East Jerusalem” has more then one definition and they are not entirely compatible.). This does not indicate that Jehovah accepts them as his holy ones today (See Daniel link). (A formula which is accurate and I use for time periods extending over the “zero year” is: ((full time period of years that extend over the “zero” year) minus (start year (BCE)) plus (one (to coincide with our calendar)))). This is one example of time periods that are represented by beasts. However, there is another very significant time period for the nations – See timeline.
Daniel 8:8 helps to identify this beast and it’s horns. The great horn was Alexander the Great. At the peak of his power he suddenly died. Greece was divided up with his four Generals of which one became Rome. Rome eventually laid siege to Jerusalem, massacred the Jews, and destroyed the Temple.
Daniel 8:9 speaks of Rome (the little horn getting bigger). This horn is the king of the north in his first time attacking Jerusalem. He is mentioned in Daniel 11:1-20. His end is different when he reappears as another king to strike against Jerusalem in our day. The first time the king of the north (as Rome in this instance) strikes at Jerusalem, he slowly fades away – Compare Daniel 11:15-20 which depicts the first century fall of Jerusalem along with Rome fading away. See also Luke 19:41-44. The second time the “little horn” appears, he is granted 3.5 years over God’s people. But his end is definite. He is defeated. This little horn is in a vision of a “fourth beast” in Daniel 7. Compare Revelation 17:11 (Rome – because Revelation was written decades after the fall of Jerusalem but the small horn will come back as a different king (not Rome) as the king of the north). Compare Daniel 7:24-27 with 11-12:3.
Daniel 8:10 Speaking about Rome; “And it kept getting greater all the way to the army of the heavens, so that it caused some of the army and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it went trampling them down.” Nineveh of old, in Jonah’s day, was considered “a city great to God.” (Jonah 1:2; 3:3) This term can also be rendered “extremely great” or “divinely great.” (Ref. bible footnote) This does not mean it did good things. It just meant it drew his attention. Same thing with Pharaoh depicted as a great tree “high in stature, so that it put its treetop even among the clouds..” (Ezekiel 31:10). The term “stars” can be similar to the “stars” mentioned in Revelation 1:20 namely, the older men or spiritual leaders of the congregations (Revelation 2:1).
Daniel 8:12 “And an army itself was gradually given over, together with the constant [feature], because of transgression; and it kept throwing truth to the earth, and it acted and had great success.” – See notes at the end of chapter 8 about the term “constant feature” or “continual sacrifice“
Daniel 8:13,14 “…’How long will the vision be of the constant [feature] and of the transgression causing desolation, to make both [the] holy place and [the] army things to trample on?’ So he said to me: ‘Until two thousand three hundred evenings [and] mornings; and [the] holy place will certainly be brought into its right condition.’ ”
Simply put, this “transgression causing desolation” was the hairy he-goat in this vision. It was a “horn” (Rome) of this beast that persecuted God’s people. This beast’s conquest had its beginning in 334 BCE and the effects of putting the holy place in the “wrong” condition ended in June 1967 at the end of the “6 day war” where Israel captured and controlled all of Jerusalem. See “1914” and the notes after Daniel 8:4 to help understand this timeline.
Regarding Jerusalem today: The borders are larger then what they were in the first century. Actually, the walls of Jerusalem from the first century seem to have resided entirely in what is known as “East Jerusalem” today and was captured by Israel in the 1967 “six day” war. Although it is good to note that the term “East Jerusalem” has different definitions. So, if one was to just view the geographical location of the original city from the first century, one could say that Israel did not have any of it since 70 CE. along with their army – with both being “trampled on” until 1967 with the advent of the “6 day war.”.
The time between the end of this vision in 1967 and the next conquering of Jerusalem is not made evident. However, with the current situation in the Middle East and the possibility that ISIS is the symbolic “small horn” to take Jerusalem away from Israel….. these could be exciting yet troublesome times indeed – See notes in chapter 7 of Daniel about the “small horn” conquering Jerusalem again.
Daniel 8:17b “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”
The Emphasized Bible: “that < to the time of the end > belongeth the vision”.
NIV Interlinear: “that the vision concerns the time of the end”.
King James Version: “for at the time of the end shall be the vision”
Daniel 8:20-22 Helps identify Rome as described in verses 23 – 25 . Notice how this king of the north has a different end then for the one in our day (Daniel 11:21-45). Verse25 states: “but it will be without hand that he will be broken.” This is where Rome is the king of the north described in Daniel 11:9-20. Notice how it describes his downfall in the end of verse 20: “he will be broken, but not in anger nor in warfare.” Rome is not the king of the north for our day – Compare Daniel 7:23-26 and 11:44,45 where the small horn then is decisively defeated.
Daniel 8:23-25 Rome (as part of the he-goat) acts and prevails against God’s people and destroys Jerusalem that contained the temple, the “continual sacrifice“.
Notice “but it will be without hand that he will be broken” – this represents the fading away of the “horn” and its beast that it was a part of. Rome basically “faded away”.
Further notes concerning the “constant feature” or “continual sacrifice”:
- Daniel 8:11,12,13 all use the term “the constant [feature]“. The ref. footnote for this term in verse 11 states: “Or, ‘the continual [sacrifice],’ ..” // This helps to identify this “feature” as Jerusalem when one compares 1 Chronicles 23:31 where it is talking about Levite duties in Jerusalem; “and for every offering up of the burnt sacrifices to Jehovah at the Sabbaths, at the new moons and at the festival seasons, by number according to the rule concerning them, constantly before Jehovah.” Compare also where worship is continuous at Numbers 4:16; 29:6 (below); Zechariah 14:7-9; Revelation 21:22-27; 22:1-5; Jeremiah 33:18 “…render sacrifice always“; and Hebrews 10:1 where “sacrifices…they offer continually.” Keep in mind that the brackets “[ ]” include a word that has been interjected by the translator to “assist” in clarity of thought.
- The Hebrew word translated as “constant” is “tamiyd” (#8548) by the Abingdon’s Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and it is defined as: “from an unused root mean. to stretch; prop. continuance (as indef. extension); but used only (attributively as adj.) constant (or adv. constantly); ellipt. the regular (daily) sacrifice:- away (-s), continual (employment, -ly), daily, ([n]) ever (-more), perpetual.”
- There are only 7 places where this word is used in the bible:
- Daniel 8:11 “And all the way to the Prince of the army it put on great airs, and from him the constant [feature] was taken away, and the established place of his sanctuary was thrown down.”
- Daniel 8:12 “And an army itself was gradually given over, together with the constant [feature], because of transgression; and it kept throwing truth to the earth, and it acted and had success.”
- Daniel 8:13 “And I got to hear a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one proceeded to say to the particular one who was speaking: “How long will the vision be of the constant [feature] and of the transgression causing desolation, to make both [the] holy place and [the] army things to trample on?”
- Daniel 11:31 “And there will be arms that will stand up, proceeding from him; and they will actually profane the sanctuary, the fortress, and remove the constant [feature].”
- Daniel 12:11 “And from the time that the constant [feature] has been removed and there has been a placing of the disgusting thing that is causing desolation, there will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
- Numbers 4:16 “And the oversight of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest is over the oil of the luminary and the perfumed incense and the constant grain offering and the anointing oil, the oversight of all the tabernacle and all that is in it, namely, the holy place and its utensils.”
- Numbers 29:6 “aside from the monthly burnt offering and its grain offering and the constant burnt offering and its grain offering, together with their drink offerings, according to the regular procedure for them, as a restful odor, an offering made by fire to Jehovah.”
- The Interlinear Bible translates the word as “continual” in Numbers 4:16; 29:6; “daily” in Daniel 8:11,12; “regular” in Daniel 8:13; 11:31; 12:11
- When comparing all the information above including 1 Chronicles 23:31; Zechariah 14:7-9; Revelation 21:22-27; 22:1-5, “the constant [feature]” or “the continual [sacrifice]” are referring to Jerusalem – Literal or Spiritual. In these cases, the term “the continual [feature]”; “the continual [sacrifice]”; “the regular [sacrifice]”; “the daily [sacrifice]” refer to a location that can be identified throughout the centuries. It does not matter if the people in Jerusalem are “God’s people” at the time. This idea is also used in Daniel 11:31; 12:11.