Daniel 8-10Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Vision of a Ram and a Goat
8 Daniel wrote:
In the third year of King Belshazzar of Babylonia,[a] 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,[b] 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,[c] 6 and with tremendous anger the goat started toward the ram that I had seen beside the river.[d] 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.[e] 10 It became so strong that it attacked the stars in the sky, which were heaven’s army.[f] 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[g] 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,[h] 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,[i] who was the son of Xerxes,[j] 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.”[k] 3-4 Then, to show my sorrow, I went without eating and dressed in sackcloth[l] 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,[m] 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,[n] 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.[o]
25 You need to realize that from the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Chosen Leader,[p] it will be seven weeks and another sixty-two weeks.[q] Streets will be built in Jerusalem, and a trench will be dug around the city for protection, but these will be difficult times.[r] 26 At the end of the sixty-two weeks,[s] the Chosen Leader[t] will be killed and left with nothing.[u]
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[v] this foreigner[w] will make a firm agreement with many people, and halfway through this week,[x] 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.
Daniel’s Vision beside the Tigris River
For three weeks I was in sorrow. 3 I ate no fancy food or meat, I drank no wine, and I put no olive oil on my face or hair.[aa] 4 Then, on the twenty-fourth day of the first month,[ab] I was standing on the banks of the great Tigris River, 5 when I looked up and saw someone dressed in linen and wearing a solid gold belt.[ac] 6 His body was like a precious stone,[ad] his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming fires, his arms and legs like polished bronze, and his voice like the roar of a crowd. 7 Although the people who were with me did not see the vision, they became so frightened that they scattered and hid. 8 Only I saw this great vision. I became weak and pale, 9 and at the sound of his voice, I fell facedown in a deep sleep.
10 He raised me to my hands and knees 11 and then said, “Daniel, your God thinks highly of you, and he has sent me. So stand up and pay close attention.” I stood trembling, while the angel said:
12 Daniel, don’t be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the first day you humbly asked for understanding, and he has sent me here. 13 But the guardian angel[ae] of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, who is one of the strongest guardian angels,[af] came to rescue me from the kings of Persia.[ag] 14 Now I have come here to give you another vision about what will happen to your people in the future.
15 While this angel was speaking to me, I stared at the ground, speechless. 16 Then he appeared in human form and touched my lips. I said, “Sir, this vision has brought me great pain and has drained my strength. 17 I am merely your servant. How can I possibly speak with someone so powerful, when I am almost too weak to get my breath?”
18-19 The angel touched me a second time and said, “Don’t be frightened! God thinks highly of you, and he intends this for your good, so be brave and strong.”
At this, I regained my strength and replied, “Please speak! You have already made me feel much better.”
20 Then the angel said:
Now do you understand why I have come? Soon I must leave to fight against the guardian angel of Persia. Then after I have defeated him, the guardian angel of Greece will attack me. 21 I will tell you what is written in The Book of Truth. But first, you must realize that no one except Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, is on my side.
3 JohnContemporary English Version (CEV)
1 From the church leader.[a]
To my dear friend Gaius.
I love you because we follow the truth, 2 dear friend, and I pray that all goes well for you. I hope that you are as strong in body, as I know you are in spirit. 3 It makes me very happy when the Lord’s followers come by and speak openly of how you obey the truth. 4 Nothing brings me greater happiness than to hear that my children[b] are obeying the truth.
5 Dear friend, you have always been faithful in helping other followers of the Lord, even the ones you didn’t know before. 6 They have told the church about your love. They say you were good enough to welcome them and to send them on their mission in a way that God’s servants deserve. 7 When they left to tell others about the Lord, they decided not to accept help from anyone who wasn’t a follower. 8 We must support people like them, so that we can take part in what they are doing to spread the truth.
9 I wrote to the church. But Diotrephes likes to be the number-one leader, and he won’t pay any attention to us. 10 So if I come, I will remind him of how he has been attacking us with gossip. Not only has he been doing this, but he refuses to welcome any of the Lord’s followers who come by. And when other church members want to welcome them, he puts them out of the church.
11 Dear friend, don’t copy the evil deeds of others! Follow the example of people who do kind deeds. They are God’s children, but those who are always doing evil have never seen God.
12 Everyone speaks well of Demetrius, and so does the true message that he teaches. I also speak well of him, and you know what I say is true.
13 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and then we can talk in person.
15 I pray that God will bless you with peace!
Your friends send their greetings. Please give a personal greeting to each of our friends.
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