In the first year of Belshatzar king of Bavel, Dani'el had a dream and visions in his head, as he was lying on his bed. He wrote the dream down, and this is his account:
"I had a vision at night; I saw there before me the four winds of the sky breaking out over the great sea,
and four huge animals came up out of the sea, each different from the others.
The first was like a lion, but it had eagle's wings. As I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted off the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a human heart was given to it.
Then there was another animal, a second one, like a bear. It raised itself up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, 'Get up, and gorge yourself with flesh!'
After this, I looked; and there was another one, like a leopard with four bird's wings on its sides. The animal also had four heads, and it was given power to rule.
After this, I looked in the night visions; and there before me was a fourth animal, dreadful, horrible, extremely strong, and with great iron teeth. It devoured, crushed and stamped its feet on what was left. It was different from all the animals that had gone before it, and it had ten horns.
"While I was considering the horns, another horn sprang up among them, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. In this horn were eyes like human eyes and a mouth speaking arrogantly.
"As I watched, thrones were set in place; and the Ancient One took his seat. His clothing was white as snow, the hair on his head was like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, with wheels of burning fire.
A stream of fire flowed from his presence; thousands and thousands ministered to him, millions and millions stood before him. Then the court was convened, and the books were opened.
"I kept watching. Then, because of the arrogant words which the horn was speaking, I watched as the animal was killed; its body was destroyed; and it was given over to be burned up completely.
As for the other animals, their rulership was taken away; but their lives were prolonged for a time and a season.
"I kept watching the night visions, when I saw, coming with the clouds of heaven, someone like a son of man. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence.
To him was given rulership, glory and a kingdom, so that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His rulership is an eternal rulership that will not pass away; and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
"As for me, Dani'el, my spirit deep within me was troubled; the visions in my head frightened me.
I approached one of those standing by and asked him what all this really meant. He said that he would make me understand how to interpret these things.
'These four huge animals are four kingdoms that will arise on earth.
But the holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, yes, forever and ever.'
"Then I wanted to know what the fourth beast meant, the one that was different from all the others, so very terrifying, with iron teeth and bronze nails, which devoured, crushed and stamped its feet on what was left;
and what the ten horns on its head meant; and the other horn which sprang up and before which three fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth speaking arrogantly and seemed greater than the others.
I watched, and that horn made war with the holy ones and was winning,
until the Ancient One came, judgment was given in favor of the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came for the holy ones to take over the kingdom.
This is what he said: 'The fourth animal will be a fourth kingdom on earth. It will be different from the other kingdoms; it will devour the whole earth, trample it down and crush it.
As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and yet another will arise after them. Now he will be different from the earlier ones, and he will put down three kings.
He will speak words against the Most High and try to exhaust the holy ones of the Most High. He will attempt to alter the seasons and the law; and [the holy ones] will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
But when the court goes into session, he will be stripped of his rulership, which will be consumed and completely destroyed.
Then the kingdom, the rulership and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. Their kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will serve and obey them.'"
This is the end of the account. As for me, Dani'el, my thoughts frightened me so much that I turned pale; but I kept the matter to myself.