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Daniel 7 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts

1-2 Daniel wrote:

In the first year of King Belshazzar[a] of Babylonia, I had some dreams and visions while I was asleep one night, and I wrote them down.

The four winds were stirring up the mighty sea, when suddenly four powerful beasts came out of the sea. Each beast was different. The first was like a lion with the wings of an eagle. As I watched, its wings were pulled off. Then it was lifted to an upright position and made to stand on two feet, just like a human, and it was given a human mind.

The second beast looked like a bear standing on its hind legs.[b] It held three ribs in its teeth, and it was told, “Attack! Eat all the flesh you want.”

The third beast was like a leopard—except that it had four wings and four heads. It was given authority to rule.

The fourth beast was stronger and more terrifying than the others. Its huge teeth were made of iron, and what it didn’t grind with its teeth, it smashed with its feet. It was different from the others, and it had horns on its head—ten of them. Just as I was thinking about these horns, a smaller horn appeared, and three of the other horns were pulled up by the roots to make room for it. This horn had the eyes of a human and a mouth that spoke with great pride.

Judgment

Daniel wrote:

Thrones were set up
    while I was watching,
and the Eternal God[c]
    took his place.
His clothing and his hair
    were white as snow.
His throne was a blazing fire
    with fiery wheels,
10 and flames were dashing out
    from all around him.
Countless thousands
were standing there
    to serve him.
The time of judgment began,
    and the books[d] were opened.

11 I watched closely to see what would happen to this smaller horn because of the arrogant things it was saying. Then before my very eyes, the fourth beast was killed and its body destroyed by fire. 12 The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer.[e] 13 As I continued to watch the vision that night,

I saw what looked like
    a son of man[f]
coming with the clouds of heaven,
and he was presented
    to the Eternal God.[g]
14 He was crowned king
    and given power and glory,
so that all people
of every nation and race
    would serve him.
He will rule forever,
and his kingdom is eternal,
    never to be destroyed.

The Meaning of Daniel’s Vision

15 Daniel wrote:

I was terrified by these visions, and I didn’t know what to think. 16 So I asked one of those standing there,[h] and he explained, 17 “The four beasts are four earthly kingdoms. 18 But God Most High will give his kingdom to his chosen ones, and it will be theirs forever and ever.”

19 I wanted to know more about the fourth beast,[i] because it was so different and much more terrifying than the others. What was the meaning of its iron teeth and bronze claws and of its feet that smashed what the teeth and claws had not ground and crushed? 20 I also wanted to know more about all ten of those horns on its head. I especially wanted to know more about the one that took the place of three of the others—the horn that had eyes and spoke with arrogance and seemed greater than the others. 21 While I was looking, this horn attacked God’s chosen ones and was winning the battle. 22 Then God Most High, the Eternal God,[j] came and judged in favor of his chosen ones, because the time had arrived for them to be given the kingdom.

23 Then I was told
    by the one standing there:
“The fourth beast
will be a fourth kingdom
    to appear on earth.
It will be different
    from all the others—
it will trample the earth
    and crush it to pieces.
24 All ten of those horns are kings
who will come from this kingdom,
    and one more will follow.
This horn will be different
    from the others,
and it will conquer
    three other kings.

25 “This king will speak evil
    of God Most High,
and he will be cruel
    to God’s chosen ones.
He will try to change God’s Law
    and the sacred seasons.
And he will be able to do this
for a time, two times,
    and half a time.[k]
26 But he will finally be judged,
and his kingdom
    completely destroyed.

27 “Then the greatest kingdom of all
will be given
to the chosen ones
    of God Most High.
His kingdom will be eternal,
and all others will serve
    and obey him.”

28 That was what I saw and heard. I turned pale with fear and kept it all to myself.

Footnotes:

  1. 7.1,2 first year of King Belshazzar: 554 B.C.
  2. 7.5 standing on its hind legs: Or “higher on one side than the other” or “with a paw lifted up.”
  3. 7.9 Eternal God: Aramaic “Ancient of Days.”
  4. 7.10 books: Containing the record of the good and evil that each person has done.
  5. 7.12 a while longer: Aramaic “for a time and a season.”
  6. 7.13 son of man: Or “human.” In Aramaic “son of man” may mean a human or even “oneself” (“I” or “me”). Jesus often used the phrase “the Son of Man” when referring to himself.
  7. 7.13 Eternal God: See the note at 7.9.
  8. 7.16 one of those standing there: Possibly an angel sent to interpret the visions or one of those thousands mentioned in verse 10.
  9. 7.19 fourth beast: See verses 7,8.
  10. 7.22 Eternal God: See the note at 7.9.
  11. 7.25 for. . . time: Or “for a year, two years, and half a year.”

Daniel 7 New International Version (NIV)

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

“The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

“And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

“While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

“As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,
    and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
    the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
    and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
    coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
    ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
    and the books were opened.

11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

The Interpretation of the Dream

15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.

“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.[b]

26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’

28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

Footnotes:

  1. Daniel 7:13 The Aramaic phrase bar enash means human being. The phrase son of man is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.
  2. Daniel 7:25 Or for a year, two years and half a year
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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