Alexander the Great – Daniel 8

Alexander the Great was a young military genius who defeated the Medo-Persian empire in 333 BC.  He is the biblical king of Greece mentioned in the prophecies of Daniel, written almost two hundred years before Alexander lived. 

Alexander’s armies moved swiftly like a leopard against the lumbering “bear” of Medo-Persia, two analogies used in Daniel’s second prophecy, found in Daniel 7.  In Daniel 8, Daniel’s third prophetic vision uses imagery of a two-horned ram for Medo-Persia and a goat for Alexander’s Greece.  Greece will defeat Medo-Persia to become the next great world empire in its place.

Daniel described in his vision what was to happen to the two-horned ram, Medo-Persia.

“While I was contemplating this, behold, a male goat came from the west crossing the face of the whole earth without touching the ground! Now the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came up to the two-horn ram that I had seen standing beside the canal, and charged it with raging strength. I saw him attacking the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. Now the ram was not strong enough to stand against him, so he knocked the ram to the ground and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from his power.

“The male goat became exceedingly great, but as soon as he became mighty, the large horn was broken, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.  Daniel 8:5-8 (TEV)

We do not need to speculate about the correct interpretation for the beasts in this prophecy.  The answer is clearly spelled out to Daniel by a heavenly being, the angel Gabriel.

15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end.”

18 And when he had spoken to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. But he touched me and made me stand up. 19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.   Daniel 8:15-22 (TEV)

Gabriel would return on the scene five hundred years after Daniel and three hundred years after Alexander the Great to appear before Mary, the mother of Jesus.  This visitation would lead to the appearance of Jesus on earth, who would be born both fully God and fully human.  Jesus’ mission for His first visit to earth would be to spread the good news of His coming kingdom of heaven, attested to by His great miracles, and to atone for the sins of all believers worldwide through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. 

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:26-33 (ESV)

35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.  Matthew 9:35 (ESV)

Even at the height of its glory. Alexander’s empire would be nothing in comparison to the glory of Jesus’ eternal kingdom which will one day replace all earthly governments.  We have the privilege of being invited into that kingdom through the gift of faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for us.  The purification of faith allows us to spend eternity in the presence of a holy God, something we could never possibly achieve through our own effort.

As the apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament:

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  Romans 5:1-2 (NLT)

As Daniel shows, earthly kingdoms will come and go, but the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ will stand forever.  May we all choose to be with Him there.


What is one worry in my life that I can place in the loving hands of a sovereign God?  May He lift it from us to remove that burden today.

Lord, we worship You and glorify You.  Forgive my sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus and help me to forgive others through Your divine love.  Bless and protect my loved ones and even my enemies.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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