Vision of the four empires
1 In the first year of the reign of King Belshazzar of Baby lon, Daniel had a dream and visions in his mind as he was sleeping. When he woke up, he wrote down the dream. This is how the narrative began:
2 Daniel said, “I saw the following in my vision: the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea, 3 and four great beasts, each one different from the other, came out of the sea.
4 The first was like a lion with eagle’s wings. As I looked at it, its wings were torn off. It was lifted up from the ground, stood up on its feet like a man, and was given a human heart. 5 The second was a beast like a bear; it was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told: Go and devour much flesh. 6 I went on looking and saw another beast like a leopard with four wings on its back; it had four heads and dominion was given to it.
7 I continued seeing my visions of the night and saw a terrible fourth beast. It was fear ful and extraordinarily strong; it had great iron teeth; it ate, tore into pieces, and crushed underfoot whatever remained. It was different from the previous beasts and had ten horns. 8 I was looking at the horns, when another small horn sprang among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots to make way for the new. It had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that ut tered insolent words.
The son of man
9 I looked and saw the following:
9 Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took his seat. His robe was white as snow, his hair white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. 10 A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before him. Thousands upon thousands served him and a countless multitude stood before him.
10 Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. 11 But as I remem bered the haughty words of the horn with human eyes and mouth which I had seen before, this animal was killed before my eyes, and its body de stroyed and cast into the fire. 12 Dominion was taken from the other animals, though they were allowed to stay alive for a time, until the fixed time.
13 I continued watching the nocturnal vision:
13 One like a son of man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into his presence.
14 Dominion, honor and kingship were given him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; his kingdom will never be destroyed.
15 I, Daniel, was deeply troubled, since these visions terrified me. 16 I approached one of those who were standing there, and asked him to tell me what all this meant. He answered me and gave me the interpretation of these things:
17 ‘These four beasts are four kings who will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom to possess it eternally, forever and ever.’
19 Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, different from the others, extraordinarily terrifying, with iron teeth and bronze claws, that ate, tore into pieces and crushed underfoot whatever re mained. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns it had on its head, and about the other horn which had sprung up, and the three first horns that fell, and about this horn with eyes and a mouth that spoke with arrogance, and that looked greater than the other horns.
21 As I looked, this horn waged war against the holy ones and was subduing them 22 until the One of Great Age came to do justice for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came for the holy ones to take possession of the kingdom.
23 Then I was told:
23 ‘The fourth animal shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the kingdoms. It will devour the earth, crush it and destroy it.
24 The ten horns are ten kings who shall rise from this kingdom. Another one will rise up after them and destroy three kings.
25 This king shall insult the Most High and persecute the holy ones of the Most High. He shall try to change the feasts and the laws. The holy ones shall be handed over to his power for a time, two times, and half a time.
26 But judgment will come and dominion will be taken from him; he shall be destroyed and utterly wiped out. 27 The kingship, dominion and leadership of all the kingdoms of the world shall be given to the people of the holy ones of God Most High: his kingdom will be without end. All the kingdoms shall serve him and be subject to him.’
28 Here ends the narrative. I, Daniel, was greatly disturbed in my thoughts, I grew pale and I kept these things in my heart.”