Daniel 8 – a verse-by-verse commentary (verses 10 – 18)

Dr. David Guzik states per this verse:

1. Israel’s land was fought over between the dynasties of Seleucid and Ptolemy, but the Seleucids gained power over the region in the days of Antiochus III (198 B.C.).

2. Antiochus IV gained the throne by murdering his brother, the former king Seleucus Philopator. The son of Philopator was the rightful heir to the throne, but Antiochus IV had him held hostage in Rome. Antiochus IV legitimized his rule mainly through flattery and bribery.” The prophesied antichrist will do the same things. Originally named Mithradates.

Daniel 8:10 And it grew up to the host of heaven, and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground and trampled them.

This verse can be as complex as one wishes to make it. It is describing some of the previous couple of verses…

  1. Grew up to the host(armies) of heaven;
  2. cast down some of the host (armies);
  3. threw some of the stars (pronces) to the ground;
  4. trampled (on) them.

The Geneva Bible comes close to the meaning of this verse 10. It says: Antiochus raged against the elect of God, and tread his precious stars underfoot, who are so called because they are separated from the world.

Now read Exodus 12:14…(Young’s Literal Interpretation) “…and it cometh to pass, at the end of four hundred and thirty years — yea, it cometh to pass in this self-same day — all the hosts of Jehovah have gone out from the land of Egypt”. Some translations substitute “hosts” with “armies”. We know that the fleeing Israelites had their own military personnel, of sorts, but the best take on this is the word HOSTS. These are the people of God called Israelites. Oxford Reference defines host: Derived from the Latin hostis, the term “host” evolved, designating originally an armed expedition against an enemy, then the army itself, and finally, by extension, the obligation to serve in arms.” This is why some translations use the word “armies” instead of the word “host”.

Antiochus Epiphanies raged against God’s people for the same reason the Antichrist will during End Time. They refused to abandon their “religion”, bow to, and give fidelity to him. This will also be true during the time of the Antichrist. Satan wants to be worshiped, so much so that it got him cast out of Heaven. All will not bend knee to the antichrist (Satan).

Daniel 8:11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.

This verse can also be a bit of a challenge to the common reader.

  1. Exalted…Prince of the host
  2. He removed the daily sacrifices
  3. Place of HIS sanctuary is cast down

BUG AHAMOMENT: He exalted himself, not others exalted him. This means he saw what he wanted to be and acted out the part on his own. This verse, in context with Daniel 10:1, the truth is cast down, a time is set (permitted by God), and the Book of Laws by Moses (the possibly deemed Prince of the hosts of Israel) is replaced by Satan…in this current Daniel situation, the Law of Antiochus replaces the Laws penned by Moses.

The sanctuary that was cast down, being the Temple of God, loses its purification through Epiphanies pig sacrifices at the Temple alter and his setting himself up to be worshiped in the Temple (via an idol).

Daniel 8:12 Because of transgression, an army [host] was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.

This is a repeat (verification) of the past few verses. TRUTH was cast down to the ground and trampled upon by Antiochus Epiphanes IV; just as the antichrist will do. This will also be what happens when the antichrist sets himself up to be worshiped in the rebuilt (3rd) Temple in Jerusalem. Temple #1 was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Temple #2 was destroyed by the Romans about 30 years after they crucified Jesus (70 A.D.).

Because of transgression…the determined disobedience of Jews to cow-tail to Antiochus and a future antichrist. Some Jews did give in to a more Hellenistic life. Keep it in mind that these Israelites (Ju-deans) did not have a standing army to challenge Antiochus the IV. Neither the Kingdom of Israel nor the Kingdom of Judah was any longer a sovereign nation or kingdom. (soon the Jewish Maccabees eliminate Antiochus)

The following two verse go together…

Daniel 8:13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”

Daniel 8:14 And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” (2,300 days)

Verse 13 is the question and verse 14 is the answer. Here we have two heavenly voices speaking to each other. Judah (Judaism) had dissolved to the leadership and High Priesthood was now given to the highest bidder. They were subject to Syrian overlords. It was their option to appoint and remove leadership in the former Judah. High Priest Onias III is replaced by his brother (Jason) by bribery; then another brother (Menelaus) via bribery replaces him. Each man outbid the previous for the title of High Priest. The bribery moneys usually came from the Temple gold. Menelaus needed to sell off the golden utensils of the Temple to fulfill his bribery promise (bid for his appointed title as High Priest) to Epiphanes IV.

One must wonder how faithful the Jewish congregants and leadership were at this time. The role of the high priest, according to God, was a religious responsibility, not a governorship. It is obvious religious title assignments were bought, not earned. Onia III, the displaced High Priest, did condemn Menelaus for selling Temple’s gold artifacts …brother Jason had him murdered. Not for his love of God and the Temple, but for greed and a hope to regain the title of high priest.

The temple sanctuary had become a bloody, Godless, and murderous place. The first holy one asked how long it would be that way. The second holy one said 2,300 days, i.e., just shy of 7 years. Dr. David Guzik says: The date when the temple was cleansed is well established as December 25, 165 B.C. If we count back 2,300 days from then, we come to the year when Antiochus Epiphanes began his persecution in earnest (171 B.C.). 165 B.C. is when the Maccabees cleansed the Temple and through off their overlords in Syria by military force.

Daniel 8:15 Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.

Then! Suddenly! Daniel must have been taken aback to use these words of startle in one verse. What is startling to us today is that this event and the vision/prophecy of Daniel were about 350 years before Antiochus IV Epiphanes even appears in the history books.

Daniel 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”

The angel Gabriel is assigned to this moment in Daniel 8. Gabriel is the angel (although never identified in the Bible as an angel) who brought news to others. In this chapter, Gabriel is told to help Daniel understand the news of the future. Gabriel also announced to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. The third time he appears in scripture is when Gabriel informs the priest Zechariah to foretell and announce the miraculous birth of John the Baptist to him and Elizabeth (Luke 1:18-19).

The river Ulai is very close to Shoshan, Elam. Daniel spent a great deal of time there in his aging years. For additional knowledge and understanding, click HERE.

Daniel 8:17 So he [Gabriel] came near where I stood, and when he came, I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”

Gabriel was instructed to help Daniel understand but as he came near to him, Daniel panicked.

This Vision refers to the time of the end; the Tribulation! This leaves little to the imagination. Daniel is seeing the end of this world setting the stage for the 2nd Advent of Jesus Christ. Gabriel affirms it. It is a telling of what the time of the end will have for the Jews (Israelites). A good question to ask at this point is…Did Daniel fear seeing Gabriel? He has or should be familiar with such events of his lifetime. OR…did he fear the understanding of the meaning and the outcome of all of this?

Daniel 8:18 Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright.

A deep sleep? Wasn’t Daniel awake but a few minutes ago when Gabriel approached him? In case one misses it, go back to verse 15… I, Daniel, had seen the vision. Daniel goes from deep sleep to a conscious awareness of Gabriel. he touched me and stood me upright. Gabriel spells it out for Daniel. Here Gabriel gives names and identities to places and nations that have still to appear in history.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2013 (revised 2023)

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