Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Daniel 8:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

In the third year of the reign of - Belshazzar - We now come once more to the Hebrew, the Chaldee part of the book being finished. As the Chaldeans had a particular interest both in the history and prophecies from Daniel 2:4; to the end of chap. 7, the whole is written in Chaldee, but as the prophecies which remain concern times posterior to the Chaldean monarchy, and principally relate to the Church and people of God generally, they are written in the Hebrew language, this being the tongue in which God chose to reveal all his counsels given under the Old Testament relative to the New.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar - In regard to Belshazzar, see Intro. to Daniel 7:1. Compare Daniel 8:17-18, where the prophet represents himself as overpowered, and as falling down to the earth on account of the vision. The representation would seem to have been made to pass before his mind in open day, and when he was fully awake. Compare the case of Balaam, Numbers 24:4: “Which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open.”

After what appeared unto me at the first - That occurred in the first year of Belshazzar, Daniel 7:1.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 145

Verse 1

One prominent characteristic of the sacred writings, and one which should forever shield them from the charge of being works of fiction, is the frankness and freedom with which the writers state all the circumstances connected with that which they record. This verse states the time when the vision recorded in this chapter was given to Daniel. The first year of Belshazzar was B. C. 540. His third year, in which this vision was given, would consequently be 538. If Daniel, as is supposed, was about twenty years of age when he was carried to Babylon in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, B. C. 606, he was at this time about eighty-eight years of age. The vision he speaks of as the one “which appeared unto him at the first,” is doubtless the vision of the seventh chapter, which he had in the first year of Belshazzar.DAR 145.3

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
God gives Daniel a foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms, which in their day were as powerful as that of Babylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be when we are gone, we should be less affected with changes in our own day. The ram with two horns was the second empire, that of Media and Persia. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. This was Alexander the Great. Alexander, when about thirty-three years of age, and in his full strength, died, and showed the vanity of worldly pomp and power, and that they cannot make a man happy. While men dispute, as in the case of Alexander, respecting the death of some prosperous warrior, it is plain that the great First Cause of all had no more of his plan for him to execute, and therefore cut him off. Instead of that one great horn, there came up four notable ones, Alexander's four chief captains. A little horn became a great persecutor of the church and people of God. It seems that the Mohammedan delusion is here pointed out. It prospered, and at one time nearly destroyed the holy religion God's right hand had planted. It is just with God to deprive those of the privileges of his house who despise and profane them; and to make those know the worth of ordinances by the want of them, who would not know it by the enjoyment of them. Daniel heard the time of this calamity limited and determined; but not the time when it should come. If we would know the mind of God, we must apply to Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not hid from us, but hid for us. There is much difficulty as to the precise time here stated, but the end of it cannot be very distant. God will, for his own glory, see to the cleansing of the church in due time. Christ died to cleanse his church; and he will so cleanse it as to present it blameless to himself.
Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 105

None need to be ignorant unless they choose to be thus. Knowledge is to be constantly acquired; it is the food for the mind. With us who look for Christ's coming should be the resolve that we will not live this life constantly on the losing side of the question but in understanding in spiritual attainments. Be men of God, on the gaining side. 1MCP 105.1

Knowledge is within the reach of all who desire it. God designs that the mind shall become strong, thinking deeper, fuller, clearer. Walk with God as did Enoch; make God your Counselor and you cannot but make improvement.—Letter 26d, 1887 1MCP 105.2

Take Hold of God and Move Forward—God has given man intellect, and endowed him with capacities for improvement. Then let there be a strong taking hold upon God, a putting away of frivolity, amusement, and all uncleanness. Overcome all defects of character. 1MCP 105.3

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 547

Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1

As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2

From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1

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