Day 15

The Vision of a Ram and a Goat

from the Daniel reading plan

Daniel 8:1-27, Isaiah 6:1-7, Romans 8:31-39

BY Rebecca Faires

I’m always looking for a way to get out of work. Lately, a global pandemic has proven an excellent excuse for me to close up shop by noon to put my feet up while I indulge in existential worry and consider rearranging my indoor plants. Maybe you like to give up a little on your kingdom work, too, when the future looks bleak. But let’s consider that our callings remain vitally important in spite of whatever germs, climates, powers, or terrifying bugs may be buzzing around us.

Biblical prophecy usually has at least two applications: one specific interpretation and one related, general, big-picture meaning. Sometimes the specific meaning of the prophecy is revealed soon after the prophecy, and sometimes thousands of years elapse before the meaning is clear. Looking back, some of these prophecies look really obvious, like: “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). But at the time of Isaiah’s prophecy, an immaculate conception didn’t make any earthly sense. The prophet often doesn’t get to enjoy an understanding of the prophecy. Here, Daniel is given a very specific vision and an interpretation. But he still could not understand it. 

Daniel sees a vision of judgment for sin. He sees an angry ram and a violent goat and absurdly large horns. He sees the result of sin running rampant in a civilization. And he asks, just as we might ask, “How long?” (Daniel 8:13). How long will this last? And the “holy one” answers with a finite number. In this case it is 2,300 days (v.14), but notice the number is a real, countable number. The big picture is that sin is sometimes allowed to flourish—but not forever.

The whole ordeal appalls and overwhelms Daniel. Understandably. But here’s the part we should really notice in particular: He “got up and went about the king’s business” (Daniel 8:27). The scary news didn’t make Daniel give up. The confusing and difficult revelations did not prevent him from holding on to what he did know, what he did understand. He took a minute, and then he went back to work. He got on his feet and did the good work the Lord had called him to. He engaged in the culture and continued doing his faithful work.

Even when we feel afraid, even when we look to the future and dread wells up in our hearts, we know the most essential truth: God is on the throne. This is His creation and we, the Church, are His Bride. The angel tells Daniel, “Son of man… understand that the vision refers to the time of the end” (Daniel 8:17). The “end” will come. The suffering in the world is limited and finite. But we never need to fear the end. Remember how Christ spoke to His disciples of the end times, saying, “Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).

Though we may, like Daniel, be “overcome and lay sick for days” (v.27) when we look at the state of the world, and wonder how it can all possibly come to good, we are called to remember that God is busy at work. Therefore, we can rise like Daniel, and go about the business that God has set before us. We can be of good courage, knowing that the end of the story is not the triumph of wickedness, but the victory of Christ. Truly, we are more than conquerors in Christ who rules and reigns forever. So take heart, and go about your kingdom work.

Post Comments (43)

43 thoughts on "The Vision of a Ram and a Goat"

  1. Janice says:

    I needed this reminder today, that when things look bad all around us, that God is in His Heaven and is in control. Amen

  2. Makenzie Benish says:

    Really great reading today. I am loving this study! Yes, listening to the podcast has helped tremendously. I like to listen on fridays and Saturday’s so I’ve read everything for the week. Even Daniel, who was a prophet, didn’t understand the vision and was terrified. I often get weary of reading revelation and see it as a “scary” book of the Bible. But I’ve never looked at it in the light of me being a conqueror through Christ through all of that too! “Even when we feel afraid, even when we look to the future and dread wells up in our hearts, we know the most essential truth: God is on the throne.”

  3. Autumn Johnson says:

    This one was tough for me! I can’t wait to listen to the podcast on my way home from work!

  4. CeeGee says:

    Re: TIMELINE – Another note in my NLT STUDY BIBLE says, “Darius the Mede is distinct from later Persian kings named Darius. Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC, and there is no mention of a Darius the Mede in other sources. Two solutions are possible: (1) Cyrus the Great might have appointed Darius the Mede to rule as “King of Babylon” in his place for a little over a year(cp 6:28; 9:1, 11:1); or (2) Darius and Cyrus might have been the same man bearing two throne names – one name from the Medes, the other from the Persians. … The portrayal of Darius in ch 6 suggests that he was in fact Cyrus, the ruler of all Media, Persia, and Babyonia. “

  5. Bridget Rackley says:

    Praise God!!! Today’s study is so timely. Oh, how I needed the reminder that evil does not win but the victory is in Christ!!!!

  6. CeeGee says:

    My NLT STUDY BIBLE gives a lot of info on timeline, etc. (more than my brain can process without divine help!) One of the notes says, “King Belshazzar’s reign was around 554-551 BC. It was about 2 years after the vision of ch 7 and over a decade before the fall of Babylon.”
    Have a blessed week ladies!

  7. Lindsey says:

    This was really deep today. Thanks Michelle for the suggestion of listening to the podcast to tie it together.

  8. Michelle says:

    Angie – if you are able to, listen to SRT Podcast for this week. The guest this week is Dr. J. Daniel Hays and they discuss this week’s readings and also the timeline of Daniel and speaks to the question that you have regarding the timeline. That the events are not in chronological order. Their podcast really helps me understand, along with the daily study and the SRT sisters thoughts and comments. Have a blessed day everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *