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Daniel’s Dream About Four Animals

In Belshazzar’s first year as king of Babylon [C perhaps 550 bc], Daniel had a dream. He saw visions [L in his head] as he was lying on his bed, and he wrote ·down what he had dreamed [L the beginning of the words/matter].

Daniel said: “I saw my vision at night. In the vision the ·wind was blowing from all four directions, which made the sea very rough [L four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea; C a picture of chaos]. I saw four huge ·animals [beasts] come up from the sea, and each ·animal [beast] was different from the others.

“The first ·animal [beast] looked like a lion, but had wings like an eagle. I watched this ·animal [beast] until its wings were torn off. It was lifted from the ground so that it stood up on two feet like a human, and it was given the ·mind [heart] of a human [C perhaps representing Babylon].

“Then I saw a ·second [L another] ·animal [beast] before me that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides and had three ·ribs [or tusks] in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat ·all the meat you want [much flesh; many bodies; C perhaps representing the Medes or the Medes and Persians]!’

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another ·animal [beast]. This ·animal [beast] looked like a leopard with four wings on its back that looked like a bird’s wings. This ·animal [beast] had four heads and was given ·power to rule [authority; C perhaps representing the Persians or the Greeks].

“After that, in my vision at night I saw in front of me a fourth ·animal [beast] that was ·cruel [fearsome], ·terrible [terrifying], and very strong [C perhaps the Greeks or Romans]. It had large iron teeth. It crushed and ate what it killed, and then it ·walked on [L stamped with its feet] whatever was left. This fourth ·animal [beast] was different from any ·animal [beast] I had seen before, and it had ten horns [C representing strength and power].

“While I was ·thinking about [reflecting on] the horns, another horn grew up among them. It was a little horn with eyes like a human’s eyes. It also had a mouth, and the mouth was bragging. The little horn ·pulled out [uprooted] three of the other horns.

“As I looked,
thrones were put in their places,
    and ·God, the Eternal One, [L the Ancient of Days] sat on his throne.
His clothes were white like snow,
    and the hair on his head was like wool [C white].
His throne was made from fire,
    and the wheels of his throne were blazing with fire.
10 A river of fire was flowing
    from in front of him.
·Many [L A thousand] thousands of angels were serving him,
    and ·millions [L ten thousand times ten thousand; C angels] stood before him.
Court ·was ready to begin [sat in judgment],
    and the books were opened.

11 “I kept on looking because the horn [C the little one] was bragging. I kept watching until finally the ·animal [beast; C the fourth] was killed. Its body was destroyed, and it was ·thrown [given over] into the burning fire. 12 (The ·power and rule [authority; dominion; sovereignty] of the ·other animals [rest of the beasts] had been taken from them, but they were permitted to live for a ·certain period of time [L season and a time].)

13 “In my vision at night I saw in front of me someone ·who looked like a human being [L like a son of man] coming on the clouds in the ·sky [heavens; C God’s heavenly chariot; Ps. 18:10–19; 68:4; 104:3; Is. 19:1; Luke 21:27; Rev. 1:7]. He came near ·God, who has been alive forever [L the Ancient of Days], and he was ·led to God [presented to him]. 14 He was given ·authority [dominion; sovereignty], glory, and ·the strength of a king [kingship]. People of every tribe, nation, and ·language [L tongue] will ·serve [fear; Prov. 1:7] him. His ·rule will last forever [dominion/sovereignty is an everlasting dominion/sovereignty], and his ·kingdom [kingship] will never be destroyed.

The Meaning of the Dream

15 “I, Daniel, was ·worried [troubled/disturbed in spirit]. The visions that went through my ·mind [L head] ·frightened [terrified] me. 16 I came near one of those standing there [C an angel, perhaps Gabriel who interprets visions; 8:16; 9:21] and asked ·what all this meant [the truth of all this].

“So he told me and explained to me ·what these things meant [L the interpretation of the matter]: 17 ‘The four great ·animals [beasts] are four ·kingdoms [or kings] that will come from the earth [vv. 4–7]. 18 But the holy ·people [L ones; C either the saints or angels or both] who belong to the Most High God will receive the ·power to rule [kingdom] and will have the ·power to rule [kingdom] forever, from now on.’

19 “Then I wanted to know what the fourth ·animal [beast] meant, because it was different from all the others. It was very ·terrible [fearsome] and had iron teeth and bronze claws. It was the ·animal [beast] that crushed and ate what it killed and then ·walked on [stamped with its feet] whatever was left [v. 7]. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn [C the little one] that grew there. It had ·pulled out [uprooted] three of the other ten horns and looked greater than the others. It had eyes and a mouth that kept bragging. 21 As I watched, the horn [C the little one] began making war against ·God’s holy people [L the holy ones; v. 18] and was defeating them 22 until ·God, who has been alive forever, [L the Ancient of Days; v. 9] came. He judged in favor of the holy ·people [ones; v. 18] who belong to the Most High God; then the time came for them to receive the ·power to rule [L kingdom].

23 “And he explained this to me: ‘The fourth ·animal [beast] is a fourth kingdom that will come on the earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will ·destroy [consume] ·people all over the world [L the whole earth]. It will ·walk on [trample] and crush the whole earth. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will ·come [arise] from this fourth kingdom. After ·those ten kings are gone [L them], another king will ·come [arise]. He will be different from the ·kings who ruled before him [L former ones], and he will ·defeat [cause to fall] three of the other kings. 25 This king will speak against the Most High God, and he will ·hurt and kill [L wear out] ·God’s holy people [L the holy ones of Most High God; v. 18]. He will try to change ·times [holy times] and laws that have already been set. ·The holy people that belong to God will be in that king’s [L They will be given into his] power for ·three and one-half years [L a time, times, and half a time; C he will seem to grow but then be cut back].

26 “‘But the court will ·decide what should happen [L sit in judgment]. ·The power of the king [L His dominion/sovereignty] will be taken away, and his kingdom will be completely destroyed. 27 Then the holy ·people [ones] who belong to the Most High God [v. 18] will have the power to rule. They will rule over all the kingdoms under heaven with power and greatness, and their power to rule will last forever. People from all the other kingdoms will ·respect [fear] and ·serve [obey] them.’

28 “That was the end of the ·dream [L matter]. I, Daniel, was ·very afraid [terrified]. My face became ·white from fear [pale], but I kept everything ·to myself [L in my own heart/mind].”