The Mighty Angels of Daniel 8: The Angel Gabriel Arrives
By Nathan Jones
Daniel in the Literal
Nathan Jones: Daniel 8 begins with a vision that God gave Daniel. God then sends the Angel Gabriel to interpret it. The interpretation foretells the fall of the Medo-Persian Empire and the rise of the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. Two centuries after Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire was birthed, a fierce featured king called the Little Horn would arise, and he and his life would become a type of the Antichrist. Antiochus Epiphanes was that king and he would persecute the Jewish people and set up an abomination of desolation in the Temple. He attempted to stop the Jews from following the Mosaic Law and worshiping God. Antiochus was a type, a foretaste, of the one-world ruler who will come in the last days and who will then be known as the Antichrist.
Vic Batista: What hermeneutics do you use to determine the interpretation of the Vision of a Ram and a Goat?
Nathan Jones: Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpreting the Bible. The method one chooses when reading the Bible will greatly affect how you will interpret it. But, it is very important that we interpret God’s Word correctly, and the correct way is to interpret it literally, meaning when we encounter a symbol, we allow the Bible to interpret it so that we can know what the symbol truly represents. Read a passage in context and then compare it to other similar verses in the Bible so you will better know what the Bible is trying to convey.
Vic Batista: Yes, compare Scripture with Scripture. And, when the Bible is silent on a topic, we stay silent. When there’s more light that is shed about a passage in other parts of Scripture, that is where we go to derive a more complete understanding.
Nathan Jones: Right, a literal interpretation is the only way to interpret the Bible. The method of spiritualizing scriptures and trying to find hidden meanings, or Bible codes, or other crazy stuff like that, will only lead you to a nonsensical interpretation very far removed from what God desires us to know concerning His will.
I once had conversations back and forth with a gentleman who had taken one verse out the Bible and made the Bible all about that one verse. He didn’t read the other verses that went along with his pet verse, and he never read his pet verse in its context. His ridiculous conclusions came about because he ignored reading the verse in context.
To practice what we preach, the context for Daniel’s vision in chapter 8 also involves the visions and dreams of Daniel 2 and 7. Other visions and dreams Daniel had already interpreted provide substantiation to the Daniel 8 vision. It would also be wise to read other books of the Bible, particularly Revelation, because Revelation is the New Testament counterpart to Daniel.
The Angel Gabriel Arrives
Vic Batista: Let’s look again at Gabriel’s interpretation of the Vision of a Ram and a Goat found in Daniel 8:15-27.
Nathan Jones: Remember that Daniel was given by God the spiritual gift of interpreting dreams and visions. Unfortunately for Daniel, he could not interpret this particular vision on his own. It just didn’t make any sense to him. It took a voice from heaven in the form of the messenger angel Gabriel who arrived and interpreted the vision. It was like God ordered, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision!”
Gabriel is one of those angels in the Bible who gets a lot of face time, along with Michael the Archangel. Gabriel at four different times is recorded in the Bible as being sent by God to announce His messages. Two of those times is to Daniel, both in chapters 8 and 9-12. Gabriel is the angel who received the blessing of being the angel to announce the birth of John the Baptist, and of Jesus to Mary and Joseph, such as found in Luke 1. Gabriel appears to be the head messenger for God. He gets all the juicy announcements, for he got to proclaim the Messiah! Before that, Gabriel got to explain to Daniel how the empires after Daniel’s time would rise and fall.
Daniel 8:15 describes Gabriel’s arrival. “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.”
Daniel 8:16-23 continues:
“And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai who called and said, ‘Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.’ So he came near where I stood and when I 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.’
Now as he was speaking to me I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground, but he touched me and stood me up right. He said, ‘Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the later time of the indignation, for at that appointed time the end shall be. The ram which you saw having two horns they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece, the large horn is between his eyes as the first king. 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 his power.’”
Gabriel in verse 15 changes the scope from empires to a man. “In the latter time of their kingdom when the transgressions have reached their fullness a king shall arise having fierce features who understands the sinister schemes.”
Vic Batista: The dreams of Daniel 2 and 7 also describe the prophetic scenario for the Medo-Persian Empire. Of course, when Daniel was writing it was the time of the Babylonian Empire, the empire that preceded the Medo-Persian Empire. These empires were going to fall according to all of Daniel’s previous visions, while it was revealed that other kingdoms would be rising in his future.
Nathan Jones: Right, in both Daniel 2 and 7, Daniel learned that the Medo-Persian Empire would conquer Babylon. Now, in Daniel 8, we are told this vision came at the very beginning — the third year — of King Belshazzar’s reign. Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson and the last of the kings of the Babylonian Empire.
Daniel will live long enough to see the Babylonian Empire fall. He will then end up serving the kings of Medo-Persia, so he lived through the Medo-Persian Empire conquering Babylon. What Daniel doesn’t live through is how eventually the Greek Empire would rise up and conquer the Medo-Persia Empire.
In the ninth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, we’ll cross-examine Daniel 8’s vision with those visions found in Daniel 2 and 7.