1 In the first year of Belshazzar's reign as king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream in which visions passed through his mind as he lay in bed. Afterwards he wrote down the dream, describing it in summary form.
2 In my vision that I had that night I saw a tremendous storm, blowing from every direction, stirring up a great sea. 3 Four very large beasts were coming up from the sea, every one of them different.
4 The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. As I watched, its wings were torn off and it was pulled upright so it was standing with its hind legs on the ground and it was given the mind of a human being.
5 A second beast appeared, looking like a bear, hunched up on one side and holding three ribs in its mouth with its teeth. It was told, “Get up and eat all the flesh you can.”
6 After this I saw a third beast. It looked like a leopard with four wings like those of a bird on its back, and it had four heads. It was given power to impose its rule.
7 Then in my vision that I had that night a fourth beast appeared. It was terrifying, frightening, and extremely powerful, with great iron teeth. It tore apart and ate up its victims, and then trampled on what was left. This beast was different to those that came before it, and it had ten horns.
8 As I was wondering about the horns, another horn, a little one, came up between them and three of the earlier horns were pulled out before it. It had human-looking eyes and a mouth that made arrogant boasts.
9 While I was watching, thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days took his seat.* “Took his seat”: in other words, to begin judgment. His clothes were white as snow and his hair looked like the purest wool. His throne blazed like flames; its wheels like burning fire. 10 A stream of fire poured out, flowing from before him. A thousand thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court sat to begin its judgment, and the books were opened.
11 I was watching because of the boasts the little horn was making. I went on watching until that beast was killed and its body destroyed by burning. 12 The rest of the beasts were allowed to go on living for a season and a time, but their power to rule had been taken away.
13 As I continued watching in my vision that I had that night I saw one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory, and the power to rule over all people, the different nations and languages, so they would all worship him. His rule is everlasting—it will never cease, and his kingdom will never be destroyed.
15 I, Daniel, was deeply disturbed—the visions that had passed through my mind frightened me. 16 I went up to one of the attendants† Referencing those mentioned in verse 10. and asked him to explain what all this meant. He said he would explain it so I could understand. 17 “These four large beasts symbolize four kingdoms‡ “Kingdoms”: literally, “kings.” that will rise to power on the earth. 18 But those dedicated to the Most High will eventually receive the kingdom. They will possess the kingdom forever, for ever and ever.”
19 Then I wanted to know what the fourth beast stood for—the one that was different to the rest and so terrifying. It had iron teeth and bronze claws, and it tore apart and ate up its victims, trampling on what was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head, and the other one that came up later, causing three of the other horns to fall. This horn looked more impressive than the others and had eyes and a mouth that made arrogant boasts. 21 I watched as this horn attacked God's dedicated people and was conquering them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and gave judgment in favor of§ “Gave judgment in favor of”: or “Gave the right to judge to.” the dedicated people of the Most High, and at that time they took possession of the kingdom.
23 Then he told me, “The fourth beast stands for the fourth kingdom to rule the earth. It will be different to all the rest of the kingdoms. The beast will eat up the whole world, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings that will come to power from this kingdom. The one who comes later is different from them, and will defeat three of them. 25 He will speak words of defiance against the Most High and oppress the dedicated people of the Most High, and attempt to change times and laws, and they will be placed under his power for a time, two times, and half a time.
26 Then the court will execute judgment and take away his power, destroying it forever. 27 Then the right to rule, the power, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to those dedicated to the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all who rule will serve and obey him.”
28 This is the end of the summary. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts really disturbed me and my face turned pale, but I kept it all to myself.
*7:9 “Took his seat”: in other words, to begin judgment.
†7:16 Referencing those mentioned in verse 10.
‡7:17 “Kingdoms”: literally, “kings.”
§7:22 “Gave judgment in favor of”: or “Gave the right to judge to.”