Chapter Eight

Rams vs. Goats


"Are we ready to move onto chapter eight?" Darryl asked.

"Sure, Dad. I can't wait to hear what happens next! How about you, Brian?"

"Yeah, let's get started."

"Chapter eight contains another vision that G-d gave to Daniel. This vision deals with two of the empires, the Media-Persian Empire and the Greek Empire. Daniel received the vision in the third year of King Belshazzar's reign."

"The visions told about events in Daniel's future," Jamie remarked.

"That's right! Let me read a portion of the vision and then we can discuss it."

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In the third year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, I had a second vision in which I was in Susa, the chief city of Babylon's Elam Province. I was beside the Ulai River, when I looked up and saw a ram standing there with two horns on its head -- both of them were long, but the second one was longer than the first. The ram went charging toward the west, the north, and the south. No other animals were strong enough to oppose him, and nothing could save them from his power. So he did as he pleased and became even more powerful.1

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"Why is Daniel transported to Susa in his vision?" Jamie asked.

"Susa became the capital of the Medo-Persian Empire. I believe G-d placed the vision there to change the focus from the Babylonian Empire to the next two empires. Susa was two hundred miles east of the city of Babylon."2

"I would like to take a guess at something before you explain it to us," Brian announced.

"Sure, Brian, go ahead! I want you to be able to understand the Bible on your own."

"This ram had two horns, which must be the same as the two arms of Nebuchadnezzar's statue. The one horn is longer than the other; that must symbolize the Persians being stronger than the Medes."

"Great work! Allow me to explain the rest. The Medes and the Persians conquered lands to the north, west, and south, which is symbolized by the ram charging in these three directions. They were unopposed and became very powerful. The Persians believed the guardian spirit of the Persian kingdom appeared as a ram with clean feet and sharp pointed horns. Also, whenever the Persians went into battle, the Persian king stood at the head of his army wearing the head of a ram on his head instead of a crown."3

"Yuck, who would want to wear a smelly old sheep's head?" Jamie was shocked.

"Nobody I know!" Brian said laughing.

"I agree, a crown would be my choice, too," Elizabeth added.

"All right you guys," Darryl said with a smile. "Let's read about the animal that represents the Greeks."

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I kept on watching and saw a goat come from the west and charge across the entire earth, without even touching the ground. Between his eyes was a powerful horn and with tremendous anger, the goat started toward the ram that I had seen beside the river. The goat was so fierce that its attack broke both horns of the ram, leaving him powerless. Then the goat stomped on the ram, and no one could do anything to help. After this, the goat became even more powerful. But at the peak of his power, his mighty horn was broken, and four other mighty horns took its place -- one pointing to the north and one to the east, one to the south and one to the west.4

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"My turn," Jamie cried, "I want to take a shot at it!"

Her father chuckled. "Go right ahead young lady. Don't let me stop you."

"Well, the goat represents the Greek Empire. He came out of the west, where Greece is in relationship to the Medo-Persian capital of Susa. Charging across the earth without touching the ground, shows the great speed with which the Greeks conquered the world, just like the winged leopard. I think that the horns on the ram breaking and the ram being stomped must symbolized the fall of the Media-Persian Empire."

"My goodness, Jamie, you really are beginning to link these prophecies together. Both you and Brian are doing a wonderful job," Elizabeth praised her.

Jamie grinned from ear to ear. "I'm not quite finished, but before I continue I need to ask Dad a question."

"Sure, what is it?"

"Does the powerful horn represent Alexander the Great?" Jamie asked softly, half afraid she was going to be wrong.

"Yes, yes it does," her father said, full of pride.

"Daniel said the horn was broken. This must mean he died. The four horns that replaced it must represent the four generals who divided his kingdom. I can't remember their names but they are the same four guys who where represented by the four heads of the leopard." Jamie finished and waited to see what her father thought of her explanation.

"Great job, Jamie!" Brian was impressed.

"Perfect analysis, Jamie. You covered almost everything. I'm not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but Alexander the Great was only thirty-two years old when he died. That is what Daniel is referring to when he said that the mighty horn was broken at the peak of his power. Greece was represented by a goat in those days. The word Aegean means "goat" so the Aegean Sea means the 'Goat Sea.'5 This is the sea between Greece and Turkey. Years ago, different lands were assigned to the signs of the zodiac according to astronomical geography. Aries the ram represents Persia. Capricorn the goat represents Greece. The word 'Caper' means goat and 'cornu' means horn. So you have Greece represented in the heavens as a horned-goat."6

"Amazing!" Brian was astounded.

"May I add something?" Elizabeth asked.

"Sure, Mom."

"Two important things came into being as a result of the Greek Empire. The first was a road system built to link the conquered countries together. The second was the Greek language, which became the common language throughout the empire. Having a common language and a good road system was a major help to the missionaries in spreading the gospel."7

Her husband thanked her, "Good point, I almost forgot about that. Now let's continue with the rest of the vision."