Wisdom and Poetical Books
What was Daniel’s second recorded dream?
As Daniel watched all of this, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient One took his throne. His “clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.” (NIV, Daniel 7:9) Tens of thousands served on God’s court. They took their seats and opened their books. The books are thought to hold the recorded deeds of the nations in question.
By and large, this dream is thought to be alike in meaning to the dream Nebuchadnezzar had about the statue made of different kinds of materials in that four kingdoms would arise but ultimately come to ruin by God’s hand.
In this dream, Daniel saw a ram standing beside a river. The ram had two long horns of uneven length. The ram charged west, then north, and then south. The ram was stronger than any other creature. As Daniel watched, a male goat appeared from the west. The goat had a horn between its eyes. It attacked the ram, and caused the ram’s horns to fall off. The goat trampled the ram. At the height of its power, the goat’s horn broke. Four smaller horns took the big horn’s place. Out of one of these horns, another horn grew. This horn grew to be very big and powerful. It grew so big that it reached the heavens and threw down some of the heavenly host and stars and trampled on them.
Daniel tried to understand the vision, but could not. Suddenly, a human-like figure appeared beside him. A voice called, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.” (NIV, Daniel 8:16) So Gabriel, an archangel and God’s messenger, got nearer to Daniel and said, “Understand, O mortal, that the vision is for the time of the end.” (NRSV, Daniel 8:17) Gabriel said that the ram with two horns represented the two kings of Media and Persia. The male goat represented the king of Greece. The first horn represented one very powerful Greek king, while the four smaller horns represent four weaker Greek kings. After the Greek kings have their reigns, a bold king will rise up. According to Gabriel, this king would be cunning. He would cause great destruction. Ultimately, this king would be broken by divine power. As in the earlier dream, the powerful Greek king might refer to Alexander the Great, and the four smaller horns might refer to Alexander’s four weaker successors.