Prophecy can be tough to interpret! Thankfully some of what was prophesied in the first half of the chapter is interpreted in the latter half!
Daniel received this prophecy during Belshazzar's third year of reign. In his vision he saw himself in Shushan the palace (think "Queen Esther" here). Part of this vision was fulfilled when Belshazzar of Babylon was killed. (See chapter 5.) That is where the Medes and the Persians entered the picture. (Remember that this vision predates the events of chapter 5!)
The Ram with 2 horns represented the united force of the Medes and the Persians. They would be the ones to conquer the Babylonian Empire then ruled by Belshazzar. The rough goat, the king of Greece, was Alexander the Great who defeated Darius III in 331 BC. When Alexander died in 323 he left no heir that was of an age to ascend his throne. Therefore civil war ensued and his kingdom was divided. The Bible tells us that it divided into 4 kingdoms. History does also.
Shushan (or Susa) is significant to us because we read about it in the book of Esther. It is significant in this prophecy - which is now history to us - because it was significant during Alexander's conquest of Persia.
The "end of the indignation" and "latter times" referred to by Gabriel in this passage (see verses 19 and 23) seems to refer to the end of the Old Testament era but Jesus also referred to a parallel time to come at the end of the New Testament era (a time that is yet to come!). Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Jewish Temple during the inter-testament years as a punishment for what he perceived as a Jewish revolt.
Does God issue any commands?
- God commanded that Daniel be told the meaning of the vision and end time events.
Does God make any promises?
- The evening and morning sacrifices would end for the transgression of desolation while the temple was trodden underfoot which would be 2,300 by God's reckoning. Then the sanctuary would be cleansed. (This was fulfilled during the time of the Maccabees. It would explain why Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. See John 10:22-23. It was called The Feast of Dedication.)
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- There was a voice that told Gabriel to interpret the vision for Daniel. This was probably Jesus that spoke.
- Jesus is the Prince of princes.
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- Jesus warned His followers that there would be another Abomination of Desolation such as was spoken of by Daniel and it is noted "whoso readeth, let him understand" in Matthew 24:15. So just as many times there are dual meanings to prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the New Testament also, such would be the case here. The horn that arose from the Greek period was Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled by Satanic influence (we know this from the scriptures in this chapter of Daniel) as a means of taking vengeance against the Jews in the hopes of keeping Jesus from coming in His first advent. There will be another "horn" to arise, probably the one we call the Antichrist, that will again lead an event that Matthew 24 calls the Abomination of Desolation which is Satan taking vengeance against the Jews, the people of God, in the hopes of keeping Jesus from coming to earth in His second advent. (Remember that the first and second advent both have stages. Jesus does not come to the earth when He first calls believers home in the resurrection. He will meet them in the clouds. The first advent had stages also before it was totally fulfilled.)