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Lesson # Dan. 8:2-4
Study Material - Dan. 8:2-4
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2 And I looked in the vision, and it came about while I was looking, that I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision, and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. 3 Then I lifted my gaze and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last. 4 I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him, nor was there anyone to rescue from his power; but he did as he pleased and magnified himself.
Daniel looked and in his vision he was no longer in Babylon (in his vision), but to the east in Persia, in a royal palace or fortress as it were and looking back in the direction of Babylon to the west. The book of Esther took place in Susa, the capital of Persia, Est. 1:2, and Nehemiah served in Susa before he returned home.
Babylon is now history. Belshazzar had his chance from the time of the first dream two years prior, and now the power is to be shifted to Persia.
Now Daniel sees a ram. He does not see a lion or eagle, or some other noble animal, but a simple ram. And an animal which itself is generally prey to other stronger animals, is now a predator and a powerful one at that.
The two horns are described later on as the Mede Empire and the Persian Empire. The Persians being the second and greater of the two horns, but the two combined conquered the entire Middle Eastern region and then some.
That empire pushed westward (towards Babylon, Syria, Greece), northward (towards the Lydians, Armenians, and Scythians), and southward (towards Arabia, Ethiopia, and Egypt). It conquered all these lands and peoples. When a ram can be the predator, then all other predators are weak or lacking in courage.
No one could stand before it and there was no one to come to the defeated territories defense. This means that there was no spiritual awakening or strength in any other part of the world, neither in Africa, nor Europe, nor Russia or China, nor the Americas. The bulk of humanity was in this Middle East region.
The Persia-Mede Empire was weaker than the Babylonian Empire and not as kind to its citizens. As the value diminished (from gold to silver), so also did the leadership and spiritual strength of the Empire. Each succeeding empire will be worse than its predecessor when it comes to the treatment of peoples and their oppression, until the last and final empire of the tribulation. You say that things are not so bad here in the USA, and that is true, but the bulk of the worlds population does not live here and their oppression is real even in our current time. Their oppression may be caused by bad regimes, or induced upon themselves because of their negative attitude toward God and their embracement of other gods, but the oppression remains all the same regardless of the cause or source. And as time moves forward it will only get worse.
What was the motive of the Mede-Persian empire? To please themselves, not God. The last verse in our passage, verse 4, 'he did as he pleased and magnified himself.'
Adam was our first world leader. He was placed here to do the will of God. But he along with Eve, took off in a different direction and sought to please themselves. You recall the forbidden fruit episode. Since then every person or persons placed in leadership positions have sought to benefit themselves at the expense of those they were given responsibility over - the citizens of each respective country. All authorities came into their positions of power by the will or apathy of their citizenry as well. So citizens are without excuse too. An oppressed people often times bring the oppression on themselves by letting others run over them. Only a spiritually strong people will rise up in courage and faith and regain their freedom.
But this empire will rise and eventually fall in a blink of the eternal eye, as its reference here is only mentioned in a couple of verses. As an empire it is too, rendered useless and insignificant. The ram is not the noblest of creatures. Silver is not the most prized of metals. And the motivations of its leadership reflect the motivations of the peoples - both self centered and arrogant. Thus exit empire number two, Mede-Persian Empire.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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