Online Bible Commentary
The Awesome Power
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. 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." 17 So he 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." 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. 19 And he said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be. 20 The ram which you saw, having the two horns--they are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. 22 As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power. (NKJV)
The time is 548 B.C., two years after the events written of in chapter seven. Daniel is now about 72 years old. Daniel is still living in Babylon, having been brought there during the Babylonian attack on Israel in 605 B.C.
In this chapter Daniel is telling of a vision given to him by God. Chapters seven through twelve of the book of Daniel are prophetic, thus this is a prophetic vision. The vision represents a prophecy of events that would take place during the four hundred years leading up to the coming of Christ. It also is a prophecy of the end times, at the second coming of Christ.
In this passage, the vision is being interpreted for Daniel. Daniel was “seeking the meaning”, trying to understand the vision (v. 15a). All of a sudden there was standing before him “one having the appearance of a man” (v. 15b).
This “man” was the angel Gabriel. Only two angels are named in scripture, Gabriel and Michael. Gabriel appeared before Daniel a second time, giving the message of the “70 weeks” (9:24-27). He also announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias (Luke 1:19) and the birth of Jesus to Mary (Luke 1:26).
Next, Daniel “heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai” (v. 16a). Daniel is not in Babylon when he has this vision, which was located in Iraq on the Euphrates River not too far from where the Garden of Eden was thought to have been.
Daniel is in the city of Shushan, or Susa, which is located about two hundred miles due east of Babylon. Shushan is the present day city of Shush, Iran. Susa was an administrative center in Persia that was captured by Alexander the Great just after he conquered Babylon during his campaign of 331-323 B.C. The city was situated between the modern rivers Karkheh and Dez (the rivers Choaspes and Eulaeus, or Ulai).
The voice commanded Gabriel to “make this man understand the vision” (v. 16b). Angels are messengers from God. Therefore it is logical to think that the One commanding Gabriel was God, Himself.
When the angel came near to Daniel he “was afraid” and fell on his face (v. 17a). He was overwhelmed by the presence of God, in the voice and in the messenger from God. Gabriel tells Daniel that the vision belongs to the end times (v. 17b).
Daniel was in a “deep sleep” face down on the ground, but when Gabriel touched him he stood him up (v. 18). He made it clear to Daniel that he was telling him what “the end shall be” (v. 19).
Gabriel then begins interpreting Daniel’s vision of the ram and the goat. The “ram” with two horns represented “the kings of Media and Persia” (v. 20). The “male goat” was Greece and the “broken horn” was Alexander the Great (vv. 21-22a). The four horns that rose “in its place” represented the four generals that divided Alexander’s territories upon his death (v. 22b). These “four kingdoms” were not as powerful as they had been under Alexander’s reign (v. 23).
So Gabriel tells Daniel that his vision was of the end times, but then he describes events which occurred in the 300’s B.C. At first glance this would seem to be odd. However, there is more to come. In the next passage, Gabriel continues the interpretation and describes a type of the Anti-Christ that comes on the scene. Stay tuned for my next commentary.
Daniel was overwhelmed by the power of God. He fell to the ground, face down, and fell into a deep sleep. The power of God is awesome. It is described throughout the Bible as a power that we are unable to withstand.
Imagine if we had this kind of power working for us every day. Wait, we do! Every Christian has this power working in them through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let us be bold! The awesome power of God will see us through anything we may encounter in this life!