Daniel 8: The Goat and the Ram: Uncontrollable Forces


In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me at first. In the vision I was looking and saw myself in Susa the capital, in the province of Elam, and I was by the river Ulai. I looked up and saw a ram standing beside the river. It had two horns. Both horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer one came up second. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. All beasts were powerless to withstand it, and no one could rescue from its power; it did as it pleased and became strong.

  1. Daniel has yet another dream while serving King Belshazzr. Again we suspect that Daniel is deeply distressed about the future of the Jewish people in exile in Babylon. Perhaps the ram represents powers Daniel sees as impossible to fight or stop. It makes me think of the forces impacting our world today and vying for our attention. How would you prioritize the following, 1 is most and 5 is least? Environment______ presidency______ Covid 19______ racial equality______ economic stability______
  2. What are some of the powers offering answers? ____________

As I was watching, a male goat appeared from the west, coming across the face of the whole earth without touching the ground. The goat had a horn between its eyes. It came toward the ram with the two horns that I had seen standing beside the river, and it ran at it with savage force. I saw it approaching the ram. It was enraged against it and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram did not have power to withstand it; it threw the ram down to the ground and trampled upon it, and there was no one who could rescue the ram from its power. Then the male goat grew exceedingly great; but at the height of its power, the great horn was broken, and in its place there came up four prominent horns toward the four winds of heaven.

  1. Suddenly another force, the goat, appears that defeats the unbeatable ram.   Something totally unpredictable happens that impacts the direction of history. Can you think of historical times of great change e.g. the Beattles, the invention of the credit card or ________________________
  2. What were the characteristics of this change, what happened?______

Out of one of them came another horn, a little one, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beautiful land. 10 It grew as high as the host of heaven. It threw down to the earth some of the host and some of the stars, and trampled on them. 11 Even against the prince of the host it acted arrogantly; it took the regular burnt offering away from him and overthrew the place of his sanctuary. 12 Because of wickedness, the host was given over to it together with the regular burnt offering; it cast truth to the ground, and kept prospering in what it did. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one that spoke, “For how long is this vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled?” 14 And he answered him, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

  1. This phase of the dream is clarified. So go back to question four. Of the major world view changes in our lifetime, how did it specifically impact your life? ______________________________________

15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I tried to understand it. Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man, 16 and I heard a human voice by the Ulai, calling, “Gabriel, help this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I became frightened and fell prostrate. But he said to me, “Understand, O mortal, that the vision is for the time of the end.”

  1. Daniel lacks knowledge and perspective to understand the dream about the future. Often we are so emersed in the events of the day and all the interpretations offered by social media that we feel lost. Probably we have not been visited by the angel Gabriel but we might have turned to the Bible or church or friend to help us understand the situation we are struggling with. How did that help? __________________________________
  2. Ultimately prophecy deals with a future that has not unfolded. In Daniel’s case it was called “end of time.” There are many unknowns in our future and how the issues we pondered in question 1 will resolve. Global warming, will it destroy the world or will we be responsible? Pick one of those issues and spin a resolution you would like to see come about.




18 As he was speaking to me, I fell into a trance, face to the ground; then he touched me and set me on my feet. 19 He said, “Listen, and I will tell you what will take place later in the period of wrath; for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The male goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn between its eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.

23 At the end of their rule, when the transgressions have reached their full measure, a king of bold countenance shall arise, skilled in intrigue.
24 He shall grow strong in power, shall cause fearful destruction, and shall succeed in what he does. He shall destroy the powerful and the people of the holy ones.
25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall be great. Without warning he shall destroy many and shall even rise up against the Prince of princes. But he shall be broken, and not by human hands.

26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. As for you, seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”

27 So I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I arose and went about the king’s business. But I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it.

  1. Gabriel clarifies the vision for Daniel. Most of those names mean little to us but possibly for modern day people who live in that area of the world, it is their history. Gabriel affirms the truth of the revelation and tells Daniel to seal the vision because it is about the future. I suspect worrying about a future that is unknown to us is unproductive. We can chase many rabbit trails in our mind. But we can turn our worries over to God in prayer. Return to the issues of question 1 and perhaps list three things that might impact the direction of each issue and commit it to the Lord in prayer. Then seal it, arise and “go about the king’s business.”



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