In Belshazzar's first year as king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream. He saw a vision while he was asleep. He wrote down the main parts of the dream.
In my visions at night I, Daniel, saw the four winds of heaven stirring up the Mediterranean Sea.
Four large animals, each one different from the others, came out of the sea.
The first animal was like a lion, but it had wings like an eagle. I watched until its wings were plucked off and it was lifted off the ground. It was made to stand on two feet like a human and was given a human mind.
I saw a second animal. It looked like a bear. It was raised on one side and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, "Get up, and eat as much meat as you want."
After this, I saw another animal. It looked like a leopard. On its back it had four wings, like the wings of a bird. The animal also had four heads. It was given power to rule.
After this, I saw a fourth animal in my vision during the night. It was terrifying, dreadful, extraordinarily strong, and had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed its victims and trampled whatever was left. It acted differently from all the other animals that I had seen before. It had ten horns.
While I was thinking about the horns, another horn, a little horn, came up among them. It uprooted three of the other horns. This horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that spoke impressive things.
I watched until thrones were set up and the Ancient One, who has lived for endless years, sat down. His clothes were as white as snow and the hair on his head was like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire.
A river of fire flowed. It came from him. Thousands and thousands served him. Ten thousand times ten thousand were stationed in front of him. The court convened, and the books were opened.
I continued to watch because of the impressive words that the horn was speaking. I watched until the animal was killed. Its body was destroyed and put into a raging fire.
The power of the rest of the animals was taken away, but they were allowed to live for a period of time.
In my visions during the night, I saw among the clouds in heaven someone like the Son of Man. He came to the Ancient One, who has lived for endless years, and was presented to him.
He was given power, honor, and a kingdom. People from every province, nation, and language were to serve him. His power is an eternal power that will not be taken away. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
I, Daniel, was deeply troubled, and my visions frightened me.
I went to someone who was standing there and asked him to tell me the truth about all this. So he told me what all this meant.
He said, "These four large animals are four kingdoms that will rise to power on the earth.
But the holy people of the Most High will take possession of the kingdom and keep it forever and ever."
Then I wanted to know the truth about the fourth animal, which was so different from all the others. It was very terrifying and had iron teeth and bronze claws. It devoured and crushed its victims, and trampled whatever was left.
I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that had come up and made three of the horns fall out. That horn had eyes and a mouth that spoke impressive things. It appeared to be bigger than the others.
I saw that horn making war against the holy people and defeating them.
It did this until the Ancient One, who has lived for endless years, came and judged in favor of the holy people of the Most High. The time came when the holy people took possession of the kingdom.
He said, "The fourth animal will be the fourth of these kingdoms on earth. It will be different from all other kingdoms. It will devour, trample, and crush the whole world.
The ten horns are ten kings that will rise to power from that kingdom. Another king will rise to power after them. He will be different from the kings who came before him, and he will humble three kings.
He will speak against the Most High God, oppress the holy people of the Most High, and plan to change the appointed times and laws. The holy people will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half of a time.
But judgment will be handed down, his power will be taken away, and he will be completely and permanently destroyed.
The kingdom, along with the power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven, will be given to the holy people of the Most High. Their kingdom is eternal. All other powers will serve and obey them."
Here is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was terrified by my thoughts, and I turned pale. I kept this to myself.