7 Earlier, during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon,[a] Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream, and this is what he saw.
2 In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction.3 Then four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others.
4 The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind.
5 Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!”
6 Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast.
7 Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns.
8 As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.
9 I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One[b] sat down to judge. His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like purest wool. He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, 10 and a river of fire was pouring out, flowing from his presence. Millions of angels ministered to him; many millions stood to attend him. Then the court began its session, and the books were opened.
11 I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire.12 The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer.[c]
13 As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man[d] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence.14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
The Vision Is Explained
15 I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me.16 So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this:17 “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth.18 But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.”
7:1The first year of Belshazzar’s reign (who was co-regent with his father, Nabonidus) was 556 B.c. (or perhaps as late as 553 B.c.).
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