Daniel's Vision of the Four Beasts
In the first year of King Belshazzar#7.1,2 first year of King Belshazzar: 554 b.c. 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#Rev 13.1; 17.8. when suddenly four powerful beasts came out of the sea. Each beast was different. 4#Rev 13.2. 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.
5The second beast looked like a bear standing on its hind legs.#7.5 standing on its hind legs: Or “higher on one side than the other” or “with a paw lifted up.” It held three ribs in its teeth, and it was told, “Attack! Eat all the flesh you want.”
6The third beast was like a leopard—except that it had four wings and four heads. It was given authority to rule.
7 # Rev 12.3; 13.1. 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#Rev 13.5,6. 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 arrogance.
9 # Rev 20.4; Rev 1.14. Thrones were set up
while I was watching,
and the Eternal God#7.9 Eternal God: Aramaic “Ancient of Days.”
took his place.
His clothing and his hair
were white as snow.
His throne was a blazing fire
with fiery wheels,
10 # Rev 5.11; Rev 20.12. and flames were dashing out
from all around him.
were standing there
to serve him.
The time of judgment began,
and the books#7.10 books: Containing the record of the good and evil that each person has done. were opened.
11I 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. 12The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer.#7.12 a while longer: Aramaic “for a time and a season.” 13#Mt 24.30; 26.64; Mk 13.26; 14.62; Lk 21.27; Rev 1.7,13; 14.14. As I continued to watch the vision that night,
I saw what looked like
a son of man#7.13 son of man: Or “human.” In Aramaic “son of man” may mean a human or even “oneself” (“I” or “me”). Jesus often used the phrase “the Son of Man” when referring to himself.
coming with the clouds of heaven,
and he was presented
to the Eternal God.#7.13 Eternal God: See the note at 7.9.
14 # Rev 11.15. He was crowned king
and given power and glory,
so that all people
of every nation and race
would serve him.
He will rule forever,
and his kingdom is eternal,
never to be destroyed.
The Meaning of Daniel's Vision
I was terrified by these visions, and I didn't know what to think. 16So I asked one of those standing there,#7.16 one of those standing there: Possibly an angel sent to interpret the visions or one of those thousands mentioned in verse 10. and he explained, 17“The four beasts are four earthly kingdoms. 18#Rev 22.5. But God Most High will give his kingdom to his chosen ones, and it will be theirs forever and ever.”
19I wanted to know more about the fourth beast,#7.19 fourth beast: See verses 7,8. 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? 20I 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#Rev 13.7. While I was looking, this horn attacked God's chosen ones and was winning the battle. 22#Rev 20.4. Then God Most High, the Eternal God,#7.22 Eternal God: See the note at 7.9. came and judged in favor of his chosen ones, because the time had arrived for them to be given the kingdom.
23Then I was told
by the one standing there:
“The fourth beast
will be a fourth kingdom
to appear on earth.
It will be different
from all the others—
it will trample the earth
and crush it to pieces.
24 # Rev 17.12. All ten of those horns are kings
who will come from this kingdom,
and one more will follow.
This horn will be different
from the others,
and it will conquer
three other kings.
25 # Rev 12.14; 13.5,6. “This king will speak evil
of God Most High,
and he will be cruel
to God's chosen ones.
He will try to change God's Law
and the sacred seasons.
And he will be able to do this
for a time, two times,
and half a time.#7.25 for … time: Or “for a year, two years, and half a year.”
26But he will finally be judged,
and his kingdom
27 # Rev 20.4; Rev 22.5. “Then the greatest kingdom of all
will be given to the chosen ones
of God Most High.
His kingdom will be eternal,
and all others will serve
and obey him.”
28That was what I saw and heard. I turned pale with fear and kept it all to myself.