Daniel 7-9 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts
7 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, 3 when suddenly four powerful beasts came out of the sea. Each beast was different. 4 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.
5 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.”
6 The third beast was like a leopard—except that it had four wings and four heads. It was given authority to rule.
7 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. 8 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.
9 Thrones were set up
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
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
25 “This king will speak evil
27 “Then the greatest kingdom of all
28 That was what I saw and heard. I turned pale with fear and kept it all to myself.
Vision of a Ram and a Goat
8 Daniel wrote:
In the third year of King Belshazzar of Babylonia,[l] I had a second vision 2 in which I was in Susa, the chief city of Babylonia’s Elam Province. I was beside the Ulai River,[m] 3 when I looked up and saw a ram standing there with two horns on its head—both of them were long, but the second one was longer than the first. 4 The ram went charging toward the west, the north, and the south. No other animals were strong enough to oppose him, and nothing could save them from his power. So he did as he pleased and became even more powerful.
5 I kept on watching and saw a goat come from the west and charge across the entire earth, without even touching the ground. Between his eyes was a powerful horn,[n] 6 and with tremendous anger the goat started toward the ram that I had seen beside the river.[o] 7 The goat was so fierce that its attack broke both horns of the ram, leaving him powerless. Then the goat stomped on the ram, and no one could do anything to help. 8 After this, the goat became even more powerful. But at the peak of his power, his mighty horn was broken, and four other mighty horns took its place—one pointing to the north and one to the east, one to the south and one to the west.
9 A little horn came from one of these, and its power reached to the south, the east, and even to the holy land.[p] 10 It became so strong that it attacked the stars in the sky, which were heaven’s army.[q] Then it threw some of them down to the earth and stomped on them. 11-12 It humiliated heaven’s army and dishonored its leader[r] by keeping him from offering the daily sacrifices. In fact, it was so terrible that it even disgraced the temple and wiped out true worship. It also did everything else it wanted to do.
13 Then one of the holy angels asked another, “When will the daily sacrifices be offered again? What about this horrible rebellion? When will the temple and heaven’s army no longer be trampled in the dust?”
14 The other answered, “It will be two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings before the temple is dedicated and in use again.”
Gabriel Interprets the Vision
15 Daniel wrote:
I was trying to figure out the meaning of the vision, when someone suddenly appeared there beside me. 16 And from beside the Ulai River,[s] a voice like that of a human said, “Gabriel, help him understand the vision.”
17 Gabriel came over, and I fell to the ground in fear. Then he said, “You are merely a human, but you need to understand that this vision is about the end of time.”
18 While he was speaking, I fell facedown in a deep sleep. But he lifted me to my feet 19 and said:
Listen, and I will tell you what will happen at the end of time, when God has chosen to show his anger. 20 The two horns of the ram are the kings of Media and Persia, 21 the goat is the kingdom of Greece, and the powerful horn between his eyes is the first of its kings. 22 After this horn is broken, four other kingdoms will appear, but they won’t be as strong.
23 When these rulers have become as evil as possible, their power will end, and then a king who is dangerous and cannot be trusted will appear. 24 He will gain strength, but not on his own, and he will cause terrible destruction. He will wipe out powerful leaders and God’s people as well. 25 His deceitful lies will make him so successful, that he will think he is really great. Suddenly he will kill many people, and he will even attack God, the Supreme Ruler. But God will crush him!
26 This vision about the evenings and mornings is true, but these things won’t happen for a long time, so don’t tell it to others.
27 After this, I was so worn out and weak that it was several days before I could get out of bed and go about my duties for the king. I was disturbed by this vision that made no sense to me.
Daniel Prays for the People
9 1-2 Daniel wrote:
Some years later, Darius the Mede,[t] who was the son of Xerxes,[u] had become king of Babylonia. And during his first year as king, I found out from studying the writings of the prophets that the Lord had said to Jeremiah, “Jerusalem will lie in ruins for seventy years.”[v] 3-4 Then, to show my sorrow, I went without eating and dressed in sackcloth[w] and sat in ashes. I confessed my sins and earnestly prayed to the Lord my God:
Our Lord, you are a great and fearsome God, and you faithfully keep your agreement with those who love and obey you. 5 But we have sinned terribly by rebelling against you and rejecting your laws and teachings. 6 We have ignored the message your servants the prophets spoke to our kings, our leaders, our ancestors, and everyone else.
7 Everything you do is right, our Lord. But still we suffer public disgrace because we have been unfaithful and have sinned against you. This includes all of us, both far and near—the people of Judah, Jerusalem, and Israel, as well as those you dragged away to foreign lands, 8 and even our kings, our officials, and our ancestors. 9 Lord God, you are merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against you 10 and rejected your teachings that came to us from your servants the prophets.
11 Everyone in Israel has stubbornly refused to obey your laws, and so those curses written by your servant Moses have fallen upon us. 12 You warned us and our leaders that Jerusalem would suffer the worst disaster in human history, and you did exactly as you had threatened. 13 We have not escaped any of the terrible curses written by Moses, and yet we have refused to beg you for mercy and to remind ourselves of how faithful you have always been. 14 And when you finally punished us with this horrible disaster, that was also the right thing to do, because we deserved it so much.
15 Our Lord God, with your own mighty arm you rescued us from Egypt and made yourself famous to this very day, but we have sinned terribly. 16 In the past, you treated us with such kindness, that we now beg you to stop being so terribly angry with Jerusalem. After all, it is your chosen city built on your holy mountain, even though it has suffered public disgrace because of our sins and those of our ancestors.
17 I am your servant, Lord God, and I beg you to answer my prayers and bring honor to yourself by having pity on your temple that lies in ruins. 18 Please show mercy to your chosen city, not because we deserve it, but because of your great kindness. 19 Forgive us! Hurry and do something, not only for your city and your chosen people, but to bring honor to yourself.
The Seventy Weeks
20 I was still confessing my sins and those of all Israel to the Lord my God, and I was praying for the good of his holy mountain,[x] 21 when Gabriel suddenly came flying in at the time of the evening sacrifice. This was the same Gabriel I had seen in my vision, 22 and he explained:
Daniel, I am here to help you understand the vision. 23 God thinks highly of you, and at the very moment you started praying, I was sent to give you the answer. 24 God has decided that for seventy weeks,[y] your people and your holy city must suffer as the price of their sins. Then evil will disappear, and justice will rule forever; the visions and words of the prophets will come true, and a most holy place will be dedicated.[z]
25 You need to realize that from the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Chosen Leader,[aa] it will be seven weeks and another sixty-two weeks.[ab] Streets will be built in Jerusalem, and a trench will be dug around the city for protection, but these will be difficult times.[ac] 26 At the end of the sixty-two weeks,[ad] the Chosen Leader[ae] will be killed and left with nothing.[af]
A foreign ruler and his army will sweep down like a mighty flood, leaving both the city and the temple in ruins, and war and destruction will continue until the end, just as God has decided. 27 For one week[ag] this foreigner[ah] will make a firm agreement with many people, and halfway through this week,[ai] he will end all sacrifices and offerings. Then the “Horrible Thing” that causes destruction will be put there. And it will stay there until the time God has decided to destroy this one who destroys.
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