So in the previous post we looked at the essential first questions when reading any piece of literature, when was it written, who was it written for, who wrote it and what style of writing they were using and now we are going to peel off that layer and look underneath at what else the author was saying in metaphor, symbolism and suggestion. So now we look at the second layer which is relates to the spiritual understanding for that time,and after that in the following post, we explore the third layer which takes the vision through time into all times for all Peoples, regardless of when they are reading it.
We are told of a vision which Daniel had. This word vision means the opening of his spiritual sight, it is not a dream. A similar use of this term can be found in the Bible where Jesus says ” The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6: 22-23. We are talking about the light of spiritual sight. This spiritual sight is known as the inner eye and the eye of wisdom.
The vision itself of the ram and the he-goat are representative forms, seen with the spiritual eye in the spiritual world. It was like that of the beasts rising up out of the sea. The subject of the vision is depicting the state of the Church in the future. Obviously here Daniel is Jewish and is thus discussing the future of the Jewish faith, the faith of the chosen people to whom he belongs, but again as we shall see in the next post-he is also seeing a lot further than that!, and God is speaking to us in the present day as much as then.
Here in this vision of the ram and the he-goat, we have a representation of the great conflict between true faith and misguided faith. The former is represented by the ram and the later by the he-goat, [on one level]. The ram, the male of the sheep corresponds in this vision to the principle of faith united with charity [Love] springing from a state of innocence and it represents the Church in this state; while the horns denote the power of truth derived from good. Sheep and lambs are always representative of charity [Love] and innocence, and goats are the symbols of the opposite to this true faith, they represent faith connected with pride and self-conceit. The he-goat represents the Church in its fallen condition-when its members are in the belief that salvation depends on faith separated from love, thus a faith that sees itself as right and others as being wrong; a faith which excludes others as dammed, infidels etc as opposed to a faith that is pure, loving and respectful of all people being the children of God. The pride and haughtiness of those who claim to be the sole possessors of the power of God by virtue of their retaining a knowledge, however perverted, of the revealed word of God and who deny the existence of a church outside of their own establishment is one form of falsity, symbolised by the he-goat. The spirit of this falseness is destructive of religion’s purpose and shelter and manifests a determined hostility towards those who oppose it. Daniel sees that the fall of a Church/Religion is always due to its loss of Love; its preference of power over, its construction of form which strangles the life out of itself and status and wealth, seeing itself as separate to and better than the body of people who it serves; in other words the religion ultimately grows to see itself as bigger than God and hides the truth from its people’s, its body.
The ram is a solar creature of the day, whereas the goat is seen as a lunar creature of the night in symbolism. The two horns of the ram represent two aspects of faithful life. The passive aspect of faith is obedience and living righteously, [e.g. we have been taught to do this and we obey, often unquestioningly] and the active spiritual principle, when awakened by grace or continual striving is the realisation and extension of Love to all, in God’s name and for His sake. Thus one horn is “higher” than the other. So both horns are necessary; but one has grown [realised] more than the other. However the weakness of the ram is that it is obstinate to the point of blindness; it represents a force that is animating, fire which both creates and destroys, for a power which is both blind and rebellious, profuse and disorderly, generous and sublime and which radiates outwards from a central point in every direction. The spiral shapes of the rams horns represent the notion of development and emphasise the initiatory aspects of itself. The Church’s role is to awaken and develop not put to sleep and suppress.
But when the falsity becomes deep-rooted and powerful within the body of the Church/Religion/State/Nation, then comes an opportunity for it to be broken. Much like a life threatening virus can only enter an immune system which is less than healthy and then destroy the body, so too can darkness only enter the heart of a church/religion/state/nation/individual when it has made itself vulnerable through its own arrogance by seeing itself as the only true faith, defending dogma over the root reality of God and His Love of all creation in all its diversity. It is this weakness in devotion to form rather than content; which destroys the structure and brings it tumbling down. We will explore this further in the next post and see why this is that a Divinely Inspired piece of work such as Daniel’s vision is as relevant today as it was then.
So now the ram is attacked by the goat: “ And I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with choler against him and smote the ram, and brake its 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.” There is no power in man to overcome falsity when it becomes deep-routed and powerful. Faith alone without Love cannot overcome. There is a big big hint in this which will open up in the next post to the position we globally find ourselves in right now!
And the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly, and when he was strong the great horn was broken; and instead of it came up four notable horns, towards 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 it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground and trampled upon them.”
The four horns represent the concentration of the earthy base nature to the exclusion of the spiritual force within us all. The base from which pornography, sexual abuse, consumerism, lust, jealousy, hatred, fundamentalism in religious belief, fear, terrorism, war, all spread from. Four is the number of man; and this is used here to describe man with no spiritual awareness-man has fallen asleep and is destroying all around him, as opposed to being a creator on this earth, and working his physical and spiritual natures in balance. But it is also inherent in this that the reason man is acting this way is that he has forgotten who he really is-because it has been hidden from him by the very structures of religious belief that were supposed to teach and elevate him rather than keep in the darkness and shut down his spiritual eye. ” The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Thus the he-goat is faith alone that divides, especially when its advocates claim to be righteous or holy above others. Its constant tendency is to destroy the influence of the Word Itself and the truths which teach men to love God and each other. The stars represent these truths which the he-goat casts down to the ground and tramples on. The he-goat is born out of the ram when it became divided against itself by not being All Love and all Loving. To diminish Love weakens, limits and destroys us. It is what weakened the ram. Hatred may appear to be strong and appear to overcome…from north, to south and east to west but it will destroy itself, implode, as will anything that is divided against itself…and not living in perfect balanced Love, which is how all was created to be.
Here however is another level hidden within the first given above…Because the goat also symbolises a symbol of the fire of procreation, the sacrificial fire from which a new and holy life is born. Syrians and some Romans wore a garment woven from goat hair when they offered prayer, as a symbol of their union with the Godhead. The Christian use of the hair shirt carries the same overtones, the aim being to mortify the flesh through penance and thus to free the living soul intent upon surrendering wholly to God. So the goat acts as the destroyer of that which has become corrupted, and also enables the new to emerge through it. Almost a phoenix rising from the ashes. Destruction carries within it creation and creation also holds destruction within it. Birth both gives life and holds approaching death within it; death is but the promise of new life. The circle that constantly revolves, containing all within it.
The daily sacrifice was taken away when men ceased to include their awareness of God in all their everyday activity, and man ceased to walk with God in the Garden of Eden [represents purity of the spiritual/physical state in balance as intended; – One-ness with God everyday, this is what the banishment of the Garden of Eden describes-that state when man sees himself as separated from God; remember the posts earlier about the Celtic immanent embracing of all life, the prayers that are said for all activities, the thanksgiving for all life, and seeing all as equal and as One? Thus this profanity that man experiences in his imbalance continues until it comes to the full state and a judgement is executed. This is described in random large numbers indicating that no period of natural time can express the duration on earth of this dysfunctional state of things in the Church.
The morning however indicates the new emerging out of the old…and judgement is represented by the cleansing of the sanctuary. As Daniel stands by the river Ulai, he represents those who are capable of being taught and instructed by GOD…NB…by GOD. Daniel as a prophet represents those to whom God reveals himself and His revelation [ reminder and further teaching] of the spiritual meaning of the Word; and thus having received the light himself becomes the means of communicating it with others.