7
Daniel dreamed about four beasts
Previously, during the first year that Belshazzar was the king of Babylonia, I had a dream and a vision one night as I lay on my bed. The next morning I wrote down what I had dreamed. This is what I wrote:
I, Daniel, had a vision last night. In the vision I saw that strong winds were blowing from all four directions, stirring up the water in the ocean. Then I saw four beasts coming out of the ocean. All four of them were different.
The first one resembled a lion, but it had wings like an eagle has. But as I watched, something tore off its wings {its wings were pulled off}. The beast was left there, standing on its two hind/rear legs, like a human being stands. And it was given a mind like humans have.
The second beast resembled a bear. It was crouching, and it held between its teeth three ribs from another animal that it had killed and eaten. Someone said to it {It was told}, “Stand up and eat as much meat as you want!”
Then I saw in front of me the third of those beasts. It resembled a leopard, but it had four wings protruding from its back. The wings were like a bird's wings. It had four heads. It was given the power/authority to rule people.
In the vision I saw a fourth beast. It was stronger than the other beasts, and it was more terrifying. It crushed other creatures with its huge iron teeth and ate their flesh. The parts of animals that it did not grind with its teeth, it trampled on the ground. It was different from the other three beasts: It had ten horns on its head.
While I was looking at those horns, I saw a little horn appear on the head of that beast. It tore out three of the other horns. This little horn had eyes like humans have, and it had a mouth with which it spoke very boastfully.
Then while I watched,
thrones were put in the places where they belonged,
and God, the one who had been living forever, sat on one of the thrones.
His clothes were as white as snow,
and his hair was as white as pure/clean wool.
His throne had wheels that were blazing with fire,
and his throne was also blazing.
10 A fire was rushing out of in front of him like a stream.
Many thousands of people (OR, angels) were there serving him,
and millions of other people (OR, angels) were standing in front of him.
They started ◄the court session/judging people►,
and they opened the books in which they had written the record of all the good and bad things that people had done.
11 While I was watching, I could hear the little horn speaking very boastfully. As I continued to watch, the fourth beast was killed. Its corpse was thrown into a fire and completely burned. 12 The power/authority of the other three beasts was taken away from them, but they were allowed to continue to live for a while.
13 While I continued to see the vision that night, I saw someone who resembled a human being. He was coming closer to me, surrounded by clouds. Then he was taken to God, the one who had been living forever. 14 He was honored and given great authority to rule over all the nations in the world, in order that people from every people-group and every nation, people from all language groups, would worship/serve him. He will rule forever; he will never stop ruling. The kingdom that he rules will never be destroyed.
The explanation of the vision
15 As for me, Daniel, I was very terrified by what I had seen in that vision, and I did not know what to think about it. 16 I went to one of those who were standing in front of the throne of God, and I asked him to tell me what it meant. So he told me the meaning of it.
17  He said, “The four huge beasts represent four kingdoms/empires that will exist on the earth. 18 But the Supreme God will give power/authority to his people to rule, and they shall rule forever.”
19 Then I wanted to know what the fourth beast signified— the beast that was different from the other three, the beast that crushed those that it attacked with its bronze claws, and then ate their flesh with its iron teeth, and trampled on the parts of their bodies that it did not eat. 20  I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head, and about the horn that appeared later, which got rid of three of the other horns. I wanted to know what it meant that it had eyes and a mouth with which it spoke very boastfully. The beast that was represented by that horn was more terrifying than the other beasts. 21 While I was having the vision, I saw that this horn attacked God's people and was defeating them. 22 But then the Supreme God, the one who had been living forever, came and judged in favor of the people who belonged to him. And I knew that it was time for God's people to receive authority to rule.
23  Then the man who was standing there said to me, “The fourth beast represents an empire that will exist on the earth; that empire will be different from all other empires. The army of that empire will crush/kill people all over the world and trample on their bodies. 24 As for its ten horns, they represent ten kings who will rule that empire, one after the other. Then another king will appear. He will be different from the previous kings. He will defeat the three kings that were represented by the three horns that were pulled out. 25 He will revile the Supreme God, and he will oppress God's people. He will try to change the sacred festivals and their religious laws/regulations. He will control them for three and a half years.
26 But there will be a session/meeting of the court/judges in heaven, and that king's authority/power will be taken away, and he will be completely destroyed. 27 Then all the power and the greatness of all the kingdoms on the earth will be given to the people who belong to the Supreme God. The kingdom that he rules (OR, they rule) will endure forever. And the rulers of all the nations on the earth will serve and obey him (OR, them).”
28 That is what I saw in my vision/dream. I, Daniel, was terrified, with the result that my face became pale. But I did not tell anyone about the vision that I had seen.