Vision of a Ram and a Goat
In the third year of King Belshazzar of Babylonia,#8.1 third year … Babylonia: 552 b.c., two years after the first vision (see 7.1,2). I had a second vision 2in which I was in Susa, the chief city of Babylonia's Elam Province. I was beside the Ulai River,#8.2 River: Or “Gate.” 3when 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. 4The 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.
5I 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,#8.5 powerful horn: Hebrew “horn of vision.” 6and with tremendous anger the goat started toward the ram that I had seen beside the river.#8.6 river: See the note at 8.2. 7The goat was so fierce that its attack broke both horns of the ram, leaving him powerless. Then the goat trampled on the ram, and no one could do anything to help. 8After 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.
9A little horn came from one of these, and its power reached to the south, the east, and even to the holy land.#8.9 holy land: Hebrew “the lovely land.” 10#Rev 12.4 It became so strong that it attacked the stars in the sky, which were heaven's army.#8.10 heaven's army: In verses 10-13 the Hebrew word translated “heaven's army” may also mean “God's people.” Then it threw some of them down to the earth and trampled on them. 11-12It humiliated heaven's army and dishonored its leader#8.11,12 leader: Hebrew “prince.” 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.
13Then 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?”
14The other answered, “It will be 2,300 evenings and mornings before the temple is dedicated and in use again.”
Gabriel Interprets the Vision
I was trying to figure out the meaning of the vision, when someone suddenly appeared there beside me. 16#Lk 1.1926 And from beside the Ulai River,#8.16 River: See the note at 8.2. a voice like that of a human said, “Gabriel, help him understand the vision.”
17Gabriel 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.”
18While he was speaking, I fell facedown in a deep sleep. But he lifted me to my feet 19and said:
Listen, and I will tell you what will happen at the end of time, when God has chosen to show his anger. 20The two horns of the ram are the kings of Media and Persia, 21the goat is the kingdom of Greece, and the powerful horn between his eyes is the first of its kings. 22After this horn is broken, four other kingdoms will appear, but they won't be as strong.
23When 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. 24He 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. 25His 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!
26This 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.
27After 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.