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Daniel’s Vision of Four Beasts and the Son of Man

In the first year of Belshazzar the king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions[a] of his head as he lay on his bed; then he wrote down the dream and the summary[b] of the words as follows:[c] Daniel explained[d] and said, “I was looking in my vision in the night, and look, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, differing from one another.[e] The first was like a lion and had[f] the wings of an eagle. I was watching until its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the earth and it was raised on its feet like a human, and a human heart was given to it. And look, another beast, a second one, looking like a bear. And it was raised up on one side and three tusks[g] were in its mouth between its teeth, and so it was told,[h] “Arise, eat much flesh!” After this I was watching and look, another beast like a leopard; it had four wings[i] of a bird on its back, and the beast had[j] four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this in the visions of the night I was looking and there was a fourth beast, terrifying and frightful and exceedingly strong, and it had[k] great iron teeth,[l] and it was devouring and crushing, and it stamped the remainder[m] with its feet; and it was different from all the other beasts that preceded it[n] and it had ten horns.[o] I was considering the horns, and look, another little horn came up among[p] them, and three of the earlier horns were rooted out[q] from before it, and there were eyes like the eyes of a human[r] in this horn and also a mouth that was speaking boastfully.

I continued watching[s] until thrones were placed and an Ancient of Days sat; his clothing was like white snow and the hair of his head was like pure wool and his throne was a flame[t] of fire and its wheels[u] were burning fire. 10 A stream of fire issued forth and flowed from his presence;[v] thousands upon thousands served him and ten thousand upon ten thousand stood before him. The judge sat, and the books were opened.

11 I continued watching[w] then[x] because of the noise of the boastful words of the horn who was speaking; I continued watching[y] until the beast was slain and its body was destroyed, and it was given over to burning with fire. 12 And as for the remainder of the beasts, their dominion was taken away,[z] but a prolongation of their life[aa] was given to them for a season and a time.

13 I continued watching[ab] in the visions of the night, and look, with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man[ac] was coming, and he came to the Ancient of Days, and was presented[ad] before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingship that[ae] all the peoples, the nations, and languages would serve him; his dominion is a dominion without end[af] that will not cease, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.

Daniel Explains and Interprets the Vision

15 As for me, Daniel,[ag] my spirit was troubled within me,[ah] and the visions of my head terrified me. 16 So I approached one of the attendants and I asked him[ai] about the truth concerning all this; and he told me[aj] that he would make known to me the explanation of the matter. 17 ‘These great beasts which are four in number are four kings who will arise from the earth. 18 But the holy ones[ak] of the Most High will receive the kingdom, and they will take possession of the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’[al]

19 “Then I desired to make certain concerning the fourth beast that was different from all the others[am]—exceedingly terrifying, with its iron teeth and its claws of bronze; it devoured and crushed and stamped the remainder with its feet— 20 and concerning the horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn that came up and before which three horns fell,[an] and this horn had eyes[ao] and a mouth speaking boastfully,[ap] and its appearance was larger than its companions. 21 I continued watching,[aq] and this horn made war with the holy ones[ar] and it prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and gave judgment to the holy ones[as] of the Most High; and the time arrived and the holy ones[at] took possession of the kingdom.

23 “And he said, ‘The fourth beast is the fourth kingdom that will be on the earth that will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and it will trample it and it will crush it. 24 And as for the ten horns coming from it, from this kingdom[au] ten kings will arise, and another will arise after them. And he will be different from the earlier ones, and he will subdue three kings. 25 And he will speak words against the Most High, and he will wear out the holy ones[av] of the Most High, and he will attempt to change times and law, and they will be given into his hand for a time and two times and half a time. 26 Then the court will sit, and his dominion will be removed,[aw] to be eradicated and to be destroyed totally.[ax] 27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the nation of the holy ones[ay] of the Most High; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,[az] and all the dominions will serve and obey him.’

28 This is the end of the account.[ba] As for me, Daniel[bb]—my thoughts terrified me greatly and my face changed over me, but I kept the matter in my heart.”[bc]


  1. Daniel 7:1 Or “the visions”
  2. Daniel 7:1 Literally “head”
  3. Daniel 7:1 Literally “saying”
  4. Daniel 7:2 Literally “answered”
  5. Daniel 7:3 Literally “this from this”
  6. Daniel 7:4 Literally “for him/it”
  7. Daniel 7:5 Or “ribs”
  8. Daniel 7:5 Literally “they were saying”
  9. Daniel 7:6 Literally “and there were to it four wings”
  10. Daniel 7:6 Literally “to the beast”
  11. Daniel 7:7 Literally “were to it”
  12. Daniel 7:7 Literally “teeth of iron for it great”
  13. Daniel 7:7 Or “residue”
  14. Daniel 7:7 Literally “that preceding her/it”
  15. Daniel 7:7 Literally “and ten horns for her/it”
  16. Daniel 7:8 Literally “between”
  17. Daniel 7:8 Literally “dehorned”
  18. Daniel 7:8 Or “humankind”
  19. Daniel 7:9 Literally “I was watching”
  20. Daniel 7:9 Or “ablaze with”
  21. Daniel 7:9 Aramaic “wheel”
  22. Daniel 7:10 Literally “from before him”
  23. Daniel 7:11 Literally “I was watching”
  24. Daniel 7:11 Aramaic “in then”
  25. Daniel 7:11 Literally “I was watching”
  26. Daniel 7:12 Literally “they took away their dominion”
  27. Daniel 7:12 Literally “in life”
  28. Daniel 7:13 Literally “I was watching”
  29. Daniel 7:13 Or “mortal,” or “son of humankind”
  30. Daniel 7:13 Literally “they presented him”
  31. Daniel 7:14 Aramaic “and”
  32. Daniel 7:14 Literally “of eternity”
  33. Daniel 7:15 Literally “I Daniel”
  34. Daniel 7:15 Literally “in the midst of sheath”
  35. Daniel 7:16 Aramaic “from him”
  36. Daniel 7:16 Aramaic “to me”
  37. Daniel 7:18 Or “saints”
  38. Daniel 7:18 Literally “forever and to forever”
  39. Daniel 7:19 Literally “all of them”
  40. Daniel 7:20 Literally “and fell from before it three”
  41. Daniel 7:20 Literally “and eyes to it”
  42. Daniel 7:20 Literally “abundantly”
  43. Daniel 7:21 Literally “I was watching”
  44. Daniel 7:21 Or “saints”
  45. Daniel 7:22 Or “saints”
  46. Daniel 7:22 Or “saints”
  47. Daniel 7:24 Or “the kingdom”
  48. Daniel 7:25 Or “saints”
  49. Daniel 7:26 Or “taken away”
  50. Daniel 7:26 Literally “until the end”
  51. Daniel 7:27 Or “saints”
  52. Daniel 7:27 Literally “is a kingdom of eternity”
  53. Daniel 7:28 Literally “Up to here is the end of the account”
  54. Daniel 7:28 Literally “I Daniel”
  55. Daniel 7:28 Or “to myself”