My wife and I recently were having a conversation about the book of Daniel. She had been reading Daniel 8, and was wondering what it meant, especially about the part with the goat overthrowing the ram. After pondering the imagery for a while, I recalled a few points from your teaching on the subject of Daniel. What I remember you saying was that the goat in Daniel 8 was Alexander the Great, who rose to great power, and died during the height of his power, having his kingdom split into parts (mirroring Daniel 8:8). Then I remember Rome being the successor mentioned next in Daniel’s vision. This is supported by verse 25, which mentions how this power would fall, “…but not by human might”, heralded by the rise of Christianity in Rome.
However, I need to input for the following: Verse 26 “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been given to you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” How distant are we talking? The other question I have is about verse 17 (still chapter 8), where it says “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.” Does this mean the historical interpretation of Alexander the Great and Rome are before the time being referenced by the angel Gabriel?
About Daniel 8:17, the context determines the meaning of “the time of the end.” The end of what? From the text, the prophecy concerns the end, either of the Persian kingdom or the Greek kingdom. Because the prophecy describes the end of the Persian kingdom in verse 7-8, I believe it is more likely to be a prophecy concerning the end of the Greek kingdoms. This also makes sense because the vision of Daniel 8 concerns the persecution of God’s people by Antiochus Epiphanes. In fact, look at Daniel 8:25, which tells us about Antiochus, “He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they (the Jews) feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he (Antiochus Epiphanes) will be destroyed, but not by human power.”
About Daniel 8:26, the distance of the future to which it relates depends, obviously, on what is being prophesied. I believe that this is a reference to the same thing which is mentioned in Daniel 8:17. It is about the destruction of Antiochus Epiphanes, which came in 164 BC. The evenings and the mornings are the time of the abomination of desolation, which was the desolation of the temple under Antiochus Epiphanes in 167-164 BC. The rededication of the temple is what is commemorated in Hannukuh. This would be a little less than four hundred years after Daniel was given the vision.