<< THE VISION OF THE RAM AND THE HE-GOAT. >>
I was in Shushan, in the palace, which is in the province of Elam : and I saw in the vision. and I was by the river Ulai. Then ‘I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and behold, there stood before the river, a ram, which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other; and the higher came up last.
I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward and southward; and no beasts could stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to “his will, and magnified himself. And, as I was considering, behold, a he-goat came from the West, over the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he carne to the ram that had the two horns, which I saw standing before the river, and ran upon him in the fury of his power.
And I saw him come close unto the ram ;. and he was moved with anger against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him; but he cast him down to the ground and trampled upon him : and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
And the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly: and, when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and, instead of it, there came up four notable horns, toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceedingly great, toward the South, and toward the East, and toward the glorious land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and some of the host, and of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled upon them. Yea it magnified itself, even to the Prince of the host; and it took away from Him the continual burnt-offering, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. And the host was given over to it, together with the continual burnt-offering through transgression; and it cast down truth to the ground; and it did its pleasure, and prospered.
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said unto that certain one who spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the continual burnt-offering, and the transgression that maketh desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. And it came to pass, when I, even I, Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Urai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was affrighted, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man; for the vision belongeth to the time of the end. Now, as he was speaking with me, I fell into a deep sleep, with my face toward the ground; but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the latter time of the indignation; for it belongeth to the appointed time of the end.
The ram which thou sawest, that had the two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough he-goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes, is the first king. And as for that which was broken, in the place whereof four stood up, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not with his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his. power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and do his pleasure; and he shall destroy the mighty ones and the holy people. And through his policy, he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart; and in their security shall he destroy many : he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evenings and mornings which hath been told is true: but shut thou up the vision; for it belongeth to many days to come.-DANIEL viii. 2-26.
CHARITY, which is the love of the neighbor, brings life and prosperity to the church among men. But faith, when separated from charity, becomes perverted and false; and, by false reasonings, it obscures and corrupts the truth in men’s minds, and destroys the spirit of worship, in the church, until a spiritual church can no longer exist in such minds.
The principal features of the text are a ram and a he-goat, and the contention between them. The ram, as a sheep, corresponds to charity, or love of the neighbor, which is the spiritual principle of the church, and the distinguishing characteristic of the spiritual degree of human life.
In the Scriptures, those persons who are principled in charity, are often called sheep, and the Lord’s flock; and the Lord is called their Shepherd. This ram had two horns. A horn, as a weapon, represents power, by which the animal acts. And here, as the horns of a ram, or sheep, the horns represent the power of both charity and faith, because, in the regenerate man, charity and faith are united, and they co-operate, as do the will and the understanding. And thus the horns represent, in another aspect, the power of truth, in the church, when loved in the will, and known in the understanding; and thus when both internal and external. The horns were “high,” to represent their elevation to the high places of the mind, One was higher than the other, because charity is more exalted than faith. And the higher one came up last, or later, because interior charity is formed later, by means of a clear faith in known truths.
Remembering that, spiritually, the text treats of conditions in the minds of men, the ram pushing in different directions, represents the true and loving principle of charity, opposing all evil and false influences, which come from the different quarters of the natural mind.
But a he-goat came out of the West, and opposed the ram. A goat corresponds to faith. In a good sense, the goat is true faith, in union with charity; but, in the opposite sense, as when opposed to the sheep, the goat corresponds to faith separated from charity, “faith alone,” which is a merely external faith, an intellectual belief, but not joined with a regenerate love, nor with a righteous life. The sheep and the goats are used, in the sense of those who are in charity, and those who are in faith, alone, without charity, in the Lord’s parable, in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew; as well as in the Old Testament, as in Ezekiel xxxiv. 17, 18, 22.
This goat came from the West. The West, opposite the sun-rising, represents the condition of mind in which a man sees goodness and truth in the most remote degree, the most external plane, the natural-minded state. And, in a bad sense, this external state of mind is in natural evil. And the spirit of false faith, faith alone, without charity, comes from evils in men’s hearts. That this goat came over the whole earth, means that this mental condition of a false faith pervaded the whole church. And that the goat came over the earth without touching the ground, means that this faith was theoretical, and not connected with a good, practical daily life.
THE GOAT’S NOTABLE HORN.
The goat’s notable horn represents the power of a false faith, in destroying goodness and truth, in the minds of men who adopt it. That the horn was located between the goat’s eyes, means that the power of a false faith was due to its appearance of intelligence, which attracted attention to its arguments. But this apparent intelligence was self-derived intelligence, which does not see truths, but sees such arguments as favor the self-love, because it looks out upon the universe from the standpoint of self-love, and, therefore, of self-derived intelligence. And thus the notable horn of the goat means self-derived intelligence, which felt great anger against the principle of charity, and which attacked charity, with great fury, to expel it from the minds of the men of the church, by means of cunning false reasonings.
The goat broke the two horns of the ram, to represent that, in the minds yielding to the spirit of “faith alone” this false principle broke the power of charity and true faith, and destroyed their character, and perverted them into their opposites, by reducing the mind to a sensuous condition, in which it could no longer see truth in its higher phases. And then this spirit of “faith alone” dominated the church, and corrupted the life of the church.
THE GOAT’S HORN BROKEN.
And even when the goat’s single horn was broken, there came up four new horns, in its place; which means that, even when the principal argument of “faith alone” was apparently refuted, the same spirit of self-intelligence would come up again, in falsifying the letter of the Scriptures, in all ways, and thus inducing the conjunction of falsity with evil, in the heart and in the conduct.
THE LITTLE HORN.
From one of the four horns came forth a little horn, representing the insinuating fallacy of “FAITH ALONE.” For instance, it was argued that, as a man cannot do good from himself, he must not exert his will to restrain his evil tendencies, because, then, he would be depending on his own power; but that he must let his evils alone, and the Lord will take them away. And thus, by a subtle fallacy, a man would be left to the mercy of the hells, and failing to exert his own power to control his own conduct, as well as his feelings and thoughts, according to the Lord’s commandments; in which work the man should act as of himself, but trusting in the Lord to sustain his strength and his intelligence: and this is trusting in the Lord, and not in self.
This horn is called ” little,” because it does not appear to have the great power which it exerts. But it became “exceedingly great, toward the South, and toward the East, and toward the pleasant land,” or glorious land; i.e., it exerted great power against goodness, and against spiritual intelligence, and against the life of the church, and against the brightness of truth, which reveals the Lord.
And this little horn dragged down, and trampled upon, some of the host (or army ) of heaven, and of the stars; i.e., this spirit of “faith alone” opposed the good and true principles of the church, and somewhat destroyed their influence, by falsifying the knowledges of truth in the church.
And the horn magnified itself against “the Prince of the host;” i.e., against the Lord, as the Divine Truth; and it took away the continued burnt-offering, which was the daily sacrifice; and it cast down the Lord’s sanctuary, and the truth, itself; i.e., the spirit of “faith alone” destroyed the life and spirit of worship, in the minds of men, by falsifying the whole truth as to the Divine Humanity; because men were led to look to the Divine Humanity merely as a scheme of salvation, by ” faith alone;” whereas men should look to the Lord, in His Divine Humanity, as the God of Love, reaching down to fallen men, in order to give them power to resist their own evil tendencies, and to do good, as of themselves, but looking to the Lord for direction and power.
THE TIME OF THE GOAT’S POWER.
Holy ones, or angels, spoke as to the duration of the power of the goat; and they declared that such power would extend two thousand and three hundred days, and that, then, the sanctuary would be cleansed. The number, two, relates to goodness; and three relates to truth. The addition or multiplication by hundreds, or thousands, merely extends and intensifies the meaning of the first number. That the goat’s power should continue two thousand and three hundred days, means that the spirit of ” faith alone” would continue, in many minds, until it destroyed all the goodness and all the truth; and until the end of that dispensation in the church; and that then, the Lord’s sanctuary would be cleansed; i.e. a new church would be raised up, to worship the Lord in love, in wisdom, and in righteousness.
GABRIEL, AND HIS INSTRUCTIONS.
Gabriel was sent to Daniel, to explain the vision. The same angelic messenger was sent to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and to Zacharias, to instruct them, The word Gabriel means, “God is mighty.” In the literal sense of the Scriptures, the name seems to be applied to an individual angel; but, in fact, it is the name of a society of angels, in heaven, whose special use is to enlighten men’s minds as to the Divine character of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Gabriel instructing Daniel, represents spiritual truth revealing itself in the letter of the, Old Testament, which letter seems obscure, as if asleep, until it is touched and awakened, by the inward, spiritual sense, as Gabriel awoke Daniel.
In our text, Gabriel’s interpretation of the vision is but a further use of representative and symbolic language, corresponding with the same spiritual principles. But Gabriel’s words need explanation, to bring out their spiritual meaning. It is said that the two horns of the ram represent the kings of Media and Persia, and that the goat represents the king of Greece; and that the goat’s horns are different kings. ·But a king, as a ruler, represents a ruling principle in the human mind. The kings of Media and Persia here represent the principle of charity, or love to the neighbor; and the king of Greece here represents ” faith alone,” without charity.
“When the transgressors are come to the full;” i.e., when evil has filled up its measure of power, and has brought that dispensation of the church to its end, there will arise “a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences;” i.e., the false principle which springs from evil, and not merely from ignorance. This evil falsity is fierce, because it has no gentle love for the neighbor. Those who love evil, and who are not willing to resist their own evil inclinations, convince themselves that ” faith alone” is sufficient for salvation, without a good life. And they soon come to regard righteousness as unnecessary. And then they exalt themselves, and their self-will, above goodness and the will of God. And finally, they exalt themselves above the Lord, in their own estimation, These are spiritually insane. And it is observed that many who are intellectually insane proclaim themselves to be the Lord.
THE REPEATED STORY.
Thus, we see that the vision of our text graphically and symbolically describes the combat between faith and charity, when separated. It is the same old story, often repeated in the Bible, from Genesis to the Revelation. It comes to us, first, in the apparent history of the first human family, when Cain kills his brother Abel. And it repeats itself, in every age of man’s history, and in every dispensation of the general church, which comes to an end, and is succeeded by another church.
But the same coming of the Lord, which brings a new church, also brings to an end the old church, in a general spiritual judgment, in the spiritual world. In this judgment, the power of the goat shall be broken; and a new dispensation shall begin its career, in the new light of spiritual truth, and in the warmth of spiritual love.
Salvation is not by “faith alone,” nor by works alone; nor by any thing else, alone. It is in the union of love, faith and righteousness. God saves men from themselves, from their own evils of heart and of life, in the measure and degree in which they are willing to give up their evils, and to keep the Lord’s commandments. A man’s place in the spiritual world is a direct result of his actual character, the quality of his love and his thought, as practically embodied in his conduct. When a young man asked our Lord the direct question, how to attain everlasting life, Jesus replied, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Author: Edward Craig Mitchell 1903