During Cyrus' third year as king of Persia, Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, received a vision about a great war. It was a true message that Daniel understood.
At that time I, Daniel, had been very sad for three weeks.
I did not eat any fancy food or meat, or drink any wine, or use any perfumed oil for three weeks.
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, I was standing beside the great Tigris River.
While standing there, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothes with a belt of fine gold wrapped around his waist.
His body was like shiny yellow quartz. His face was bright like lightning, and his eyes were like fire. His arms and legs were shiny like polished bronze, and his voice sounded like the roar of a crowd.
I, Daniel, was the only person who saw the vision. The men with me did not see it, because they were so frightened that they ran away and hid.
So I was left alone, watching this great vision. I lost my strength, my face turned white like a dead person, and I was helpless.
Then I heard the man in the vision speaking. As I listened, I fell into a deep sleep with my face on the ground.
Then a hand touched me and set me on my hands and knees. I was so afraid that I was shaking.
The man in the vision said to me, "Daniel, God loves you very much. Think carefully about the words I will speak to you, and stand up, because I have been sent to you." When he said this, I stood up, but I was still shaking.
Then the man said to me, "Daniel, do not be afraid. Some time ago you decided to get understanding and to humble yourself before your God. Since that time God has listened to you, and I have come because of your prayers.
But the prince of Persia has been fighting against me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the most important angels, came to help me, because I had been left there with the king of Persia.
Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people, because the vision is about a time in the future."
While he was speaking to me, I bowed facedown and could not speak.
Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, so I opened my mouth and started to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, "Master, I am upset and afraid because of what I saw in the vision. I feel helpless.
Master, how can I, your servant, talk with you? My strength is gone, and it is hard for me to breathe."
The one who looked like a man touched me again and gave me strength.
He said, "Daniel, don't be afraid. God loves you very much. Peace be with you. Be strong now; be courageous." When he spoke to me, I became stronger and said, "Master, speak, since you have given me strength."
Then he said, "Daniel, do you know why I have come to you? Soon I must go back to fight against the prince of Persia. When I go, the prince of Greece will come,
but I must first tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. No one stands with me against these enemies except Michael, the angel ruling over your people.
In the first year that Darius the Mede was king, I stood up to support Michael in his fight against the prince of Persia.
"Now then, Daniel, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will rule in Persia, and then a fourth king will come. He will be much richer than all the kings of Persia before him and will use his riches to get power. He will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.
Then a mighty king will come, who will rule with great power and will do anything he wants.
After that king has come, his kingdom will be broken up and divided out toward the four parts of the world. His kingdom will not go to his descendants, and it will not have the power that he had, because his kingdom will be pulled up and given to other people.
"The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger. He will begin to rule his own kingdom with great power.
Then after a few years, a new friendship will develop. The daughter of the king of the South will marry the king of the North in order to bring peace. But she will not keep her power, and his family will not last. She, her husband, her child, and those who brought her to that country will be killed.
"But a person from her family will become king of the South and will attack the armies of the king of the North. He will go into that king's strong, walled city and will fight and win.
He will take their gods, their metal idols, and their valuable things made of silver and gold back to Egypt. Then he will not bother the king of the North for a few years.
Next, the king of the North will attack the king of the South, but he will be beaten back to his own country.
"The sons of the king of the North will prepare for war. They will get a large army together that will move through the land very quickly, like a powerful flood. Later, that army will come back and fight all the way to the strong, walled city of the king of the South.
Then the king of the South will become very angry and will march out to fight against the king of the North. The king of the North will have a large army, but he will lose the battle,
and the soldiers will be carried away. The king of the South will then be very proud and will kill thousands of soldiers from the northern army, but he will not continue to be successful.
The king of the North will gather another army, larger than the first one. After several years he will attack with a large army and many weapons.
"In those times many people will be against the king of the South. Some of your own people who love to fight will turn against the king of the South, thinking it is time for God's promises to come true. But they will fail.
Then the king of the North will come. He will build ramps to the tops of the city walls and will capture a strong, walled city. The southern army will not have the power to fight back; even their best soldiers will not be strong enough to stop the northern army.
So the king of the North will do whatever he wants; no one will be able to stand against him. He will gain power and control in the beautiful land of Israel and will have the power to destroy it.
The king of the North will decide to use all his power to fight against the king of the South, but he will make a peace agreement with the king of the South. The king of the North will give one of his daughters as a wife to the king of the South so that he can defeat him. But those plans will not succeed or help him.
Then the king of the North will turn his attention to cities along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and will capture them. But a commander will put an end to the pride of the king of the North, turning his pride back on him.
After that happens the king of the North will go back to the strong, walled cities of his own country, but he will lose his power. That will be the end of him.
"The next king of the North will send out a tax collector so he will have plenty of money. In a few years that ruler will be killed, although he will not die in anger or in a battle.
"That ruler will be followed by a very cruel and hated man, who will not have the honor of being from a king's family. He will attack the kingdom when the people feel safe, and he will take power by lying to the people.
He will sweep away in defeat large and powerful armies and even a prince who made an agreement.
Many nations will make agreements with that cruel and hated ruler, but he will lie to them. He will gain much power, but only a few people will support him.
The richest areas will feel safe, but that cruel and hated ruler will attack them. He will succeed where his ancestors did not. He will rob the countries he defeats and will give those things to his followers. He will plan to defeat and destroy strong cities, but he will be successful for only a short time.
"That very cruel and hated ruler will have a large army that he will use to stir up his strength and courage. He will attack the king of the South. The king of the South will gather a large and very powerful army and prepare for war. But the people who are against him will make secret plans, and the king of the South will be defeated.
People who were supposed to be his good friends will try to destroy him. His army will be swept away in defeat; many of his soldiers will be killed in battle.
Those two kings will want to hurt each other. They will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but it will not do either one any good, because God has set a time for their end to come.
The king of the North will go back to his own country with much wealth. Then he will decide to go against the holy agreement. He will take action and then return to his own country.
"At the right time the king of the North will attack the king of the South again, but this time he will not be successful as he was before.
Ships from the west will come and fight against the king of the North, so he will be afraid. Then he will return and show his anger against the holy agreement. He will be good to those who have stopped obeying the holy agreement.
"The king of the North will send his army to make the Temple in Jerusalem unclean. They will stop the people from offering the daily sacrifice, and then they will set up the destroying terror.
The king of the North will tell lies and cause those who have not obeyed God to be ruined. But those who know God and obey him will be strong and fight back.
"Those who are wise will help the others understand what is happening. But they will be killed with swords, or burned, or taken captive, or robbed of their homes and possessions. These things will continue for many days.
When the wise ones are suffering, they will get a little help, but many who join the wise ones will not help them in their time of need.
Some of the wise ones will be killed. But the hard times must come so they can be made stronger and purer and without faults until the time of the end comes. Then, at the right time, the end will come.
"The king of the North will do whatever he wants. He will brag about himself and praise himself and think he is even better than a god. He will say things against the God of gods that no one has ever heard. And he will be successful until all the bad things have happened. Then what God has planned to happen will happen.
The king of the North will not care about the gods his ancestors worshiped or the god that women worship. He won't care about any god. Instead, he will make himself more important than any god.
The king of the North will worship power and strength, which his ancestors did not worship. He will honor the god of power with gold and silver, expensive jewels and gifts.
That king will attack strong, walled cities with the help of a foreign god. He will give much honor to the people who join him, making them rulers in charge of many other people. And he will make them pay him for the land they rule.
"At the time of the end, the king of the South will fight a battle against the king of the North. The king of the North will attack with chariots, soldiers on horses, and many large ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through their lands like a flood.
The king of the North will attack the beautiful land of Judah. He will defeat many countries, but Edom, Moab, and the leaders of Ammon will be saved from him.
The king of the North will show his power in many countries; Egypt will not escape.
The king will get treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt. The Libyan and Nubian people will obey him.
But the king of the North will hear news from the east and the north that will make him afraid and angry. He will go to destroy completely many nations.
He will set up his royal tents between the sea and the beautiful mountain where the holy Temple is built. But, finally, his end will come, and no one will help him.
"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will stand up. There will be a time of much trouble, the worst time since nations have been on earth, but your people will be saved. Everyone whose name is written in God's book will be saved.
Many people who have already died will live again. Some of them will wake up to have life forever, but some will wake up to find shame and disgrace forever.
The wise people will shine like the brightness of the sky. Those who teach others to live right will shine like stars forever and ever.
"But you, Daniel, close up the book and seal it. These things will happen at the time of the end. Many people will go here and there to find true knowledge."
Then I, Daniel, looked, and saw two other men. One was standing on my side of the river, and the other was standing on the far side.
The man who was dressed in linen was standing over the water in the river. One of the two men spoke to him and asked, "How long will it be before these amazing things come true?"
The man dressed in linen, who stood over the water, raised his hands toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the name of God who lives forever, "It will be for three and one-half years. The power of the holy people will finally be broken, and then all these things will come true."
I heard the answer, but I did not really understand, so I asked, "Master, what will happen after all these things come true?"
He answered, "Go your way, Daniel. The message is closed up and sealed until the time of the end.
Many people will be made clean, pure, and spotless, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. Those wicked people will not understand these things, but the wise will understand them.
"The daily sacrifice will be stopped. Then, after 1,290 days from that time, the destroying terror will be set up.
Those who wait for the end of the 1,335 days will be happy.
"As for you, Daniel, go your way until the end. You will get your rest, and at the end you will rise to receive your reward."