Horns, Horns and More Horns
A Children's Story based on Daniel 8

(c) Copyright 2000 Rev. Bill Versteeg

Who remembers something about Daniel’s first dream that he had during the reign of King Belshazzar? (Beasts and Horns. Do you remember what the horns represented? = governments, authorities, powers and the spiritual powers)

Depending on the age of the children, you might choose to sing this song with them to the tune of Old MacDonald

Old Mac-Daniel had a dream, E-I-E-I-O
And in his dream he saw a horn, E-I-E-I-O
Here a horn, there a horn, everywhere another horn
Old Mac-Daniel had a dream, E-I-E-I-O

This dream happened two years after the dream we heard about last time. Daniel was old, still serving Belshazzar in Babylon. But in his dream he found himself in a far away place, in the future capital city of the Persian Empire, in a castle belonging to a king named Susa. Beside this castle there was a large Canal named the Ulai Canal. From the castle, he looked over the Canal to the flat grasslands on the other side of the Canal and this is what he saw in his dream.

There standing beside the water, Daniel saw a ram, a large muscular male sheep. Wouldn’t you guess, it had two long horns.  Except again, they were strange horns.  One grew first to its full size, the other grew slower, but then it caught up to the first one. This ram was in full rut, it snorted and it hoofed the dirt. Everywhere it turned it saw red and it charged, toward the west and the north and the south. It was more powerful than any other animal. If anyone dared try to defend his territory, the ram would knock him over, he would be defeated, no one could rescue them. The ram did what he wanted in his strength and power.

Daniel, in his dream was wondering what this ram with its horns and the way it behaved might mean, when suddenly he saw, coming from the west a large long haired goat. And sure enough, the goat had a large horn right between its two eyes, and it was charging wherever it wanted, even throughout the whole world, and it did it without its feet even touching the ground. When the goat saw the Ram, it also snorted and hoofed the ground with its sharp hooves. Both of them snorted, and pawed and bellowed, and then the charge was on. Both of them raced toward each other a great speed, one horn against two. The goat with one horn hit the ram with two horns so hard that both of the rams horns were shattered into little pieces. The rams power was broken. The goat came, knocked him to the ground and then with his sharp hooves, trampled him and the ram died. There was no one found who was strong enough to save the ram from the goat.

The goat ruled the land with its one horn. It grew stronger and stronger until one day, and Daniel did not see how, its giant horn was broken off. But then in the place of the giant horn, four new horns grew - one to the west, one to the east, one to the north and one to the south. And then out of one of those horns, another horn grew - toward the south and east and toward the Beautiful Land.
(What do you think Daniel meant by the words “Beautiful Land?” Daniel was in exile, away from the land flowing with milk and honey that God had promised to his people. Daniel remembered, sometimes he probably even cried when he remembered the beautiful country he had come from. So this one horn also pointed toward the promised land.)

This horn that grew even toward the Beautiful Land became greater and greater, in fact it grew so large that it reached into the sky, all the way to the heavens. It knocked stars out of the sky, down to the earth and then it trampled on them. But even as he saw the stars falling and being trampled on, Daniel saw that they were more than stars, they were spiritual beings with great power and authority, brought down by this powerful horn. And then the horn set itself up, made itself to be as great as the Prince of the host. Any worship, any daily worship that at one time went to the Prince of the host - the goat took that away. Even the places where the Prince of the host were worshiped, they were crushed and turned to rubble, and if the places of worship were not crushed, all the believers were kicked out. The goat insisted he himself be worshiped there. (Who is the Prince of the Host? - Jesus)

Daniel trembled as he watched. Now, not only was the worship that once went to the Prince of the Hosts stopped, this horn of the goat demanded that it be worshiped instead. And those who refused to bow before the great horn of the goat were killed. Those who lived holy lives, whose lives were filled with love and truth, they were taken captive, many were killed. No longer could the power of truth be found. Truth also was thrown to the ground and trampled on. Nations believed only lies as they worshiped the great horn of the goat.

Then Daniel heard a voice, powerful and true, a Holy One speaking. It said "How long will it take for the vision to come true--the vision concerning the daily worship and sacrifice, the rebellion that caused the surrender and destruction of the places of worship, and of the starry host that is trampled underfoot?”

Another Holy One answered: "2300 evenings and mornings - then the place of true worship will be returned to true worship." Daniel was figuring out what this all meant, he was figuring out how long 2300 evenings and mornings were in his head, he figured that each evening and morning was one day, about 6 years he thought. But his thoughts were interrupted. Now someone who looked like a man was standing in front of him, demanding his attention. From the other side of the Ulai Canal a voice called out: “Gabriel - tell this man the meaning of the vision.”

He looked like a man, but he was an angel, who had come to tell him what this all meant. Daniel was terrified. In fear he fell flat on his face and did not dare look up at the Angel Gabriel before him. Fear made Daniel’s mind turn off, he fell into a deep sleep at the feet of Gabriel. As Gabriel spoke, he touched Daniel, woke him up and helped him to stand up.  Then he told Daniel what this dream would mean concerning the end of time, the predetermined time of God’s anger against the rebellion in this world.

The two horns of the ram - they were the empires of the Medes and the Persians. The One horned shaggy Goat was the Greek Empire with its first very powerful king. But he fell from power and would be taken over by four other kingdoms, less powerful than the first one. Then out of those four kingdoms, when the cup of the sins of rebellious people was filled to overflowing, a new king would arise. He would trick people, use people, manipulate nations of people. He would become very very strong but his strength would not be human strength, it would be the strength of pure evil. For a time, he would succeed in everything he did. God’s people, even the very strong people of faith would suffer and die. The truth would be trampled on. Lies would confuse everyone’s mind. They would no longer know what was true, what was a lie, what was right, what was wrong. This king would think that there was no one stronger than he was. He would even take his stand and challenge the Prince of Princes (Jesus). Then, the angel told Daniel, he would be destroyed (but not by human power - What kind of power? - Divine power, the power of faith!)

Then Gabriel said: The vision about the 2300 days - they are true - but they refer to the distant future. Take this vision, put it away for now, it will take a long time before it all comes true.

Daniel had seen things that puzzled his old mind. The drama exhausted him. For days after this vision, he remained in bed, sick. He did not have the strength to get up. It was like this dream took all the strength out of him. It was beyond what he could interpret and understand, even though he was gifted at interpreting dreams. When he regained his strength, he returned to working for the king of Babylon, as a chief administrator.  Daniel learned one thing however.  Even though hard times were certainly coming for God's people, he knew in the end that the Prince of Princes, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings would win over all, and his name is Jesus.

Daniel chapter 8, on which this story is based:

"The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future."
I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.

In the third year of King Belshazzar's reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal.
I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power.
The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.
Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled--the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?" He said to me, "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated."
While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, "Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision."
As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end."
While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet. He said: "I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.
The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power.
"In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.


(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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