2 Esdras 11

1 The second night I had a dream. I saw an eagle coming up out of the sea. It had twelve wings and three heads. 1
2 As I looked, it spread out its wings over the whole world. Winds blew on it from every direction, and clouds gathered over it.
3 Then from its wings I saw rival wings begin to grow, but they were small and insignificant.
4 All three heads of the eagle were asleep, even the middle one, which was larger than the others.
5 While I was watching, the eagle flew up in the air and became ruler of the whole earth and all its people.
6 I saw how everything on earth was brought under the eagle's control - no one on earth was able to oppose it.
7 Then I saw the eagle stand up on its claws and say to its wings,
8 "Not all of you are to wake up at the same time; you must sleep where you are and wake up when your turn comes,
9 and the heads must wake up last."
10 I looked again and saw that the voice was not coming from any of the eagle's heads but from the middle of its body.
11 I counted its rival wings, and there were eight of them.
12 I saw one of the wings on the right side rise up and govern the whole world.
13 After its rule came to an end, it vanished so completely that it left no trace. Then the next wing rose up and governed for a long time.
14 When its rule was coming to an end and it was about to vanish like the first wing,
15 a voice said to it,
16 "Listen, you have ruled the world for a long time, and I want you to hear this message before you disappear:
17 No one after you will rule as long as you did - not even half as long."
18 The third wing rose up and governed as the earlier ones had done; then it also vanished.
19 The same thing happened to all the other wings: one after the other they rose to power and then vanished.
20 I kept looking, and after a while the other small wings on the right side rose up to seize power. Some of them governed briefly and quickly disappeared,
21 while others rose up but were never able to govern.
22 Then I noticed that the twelve large wings and two of the small wings had disappeared.
23 Nothing was left on the eagle's body except the three sleeping heads and the six small wings.
24 I kept watching, and suddenly two of the six small wings left the others and moved under the head on the right side, while the other four remained where they were.
25 Then I saw that these four small wings were plotting to rise up and seize power.
26 One of them rose up, but it quickly disappeared.
27 The second one also rose up, but it disappeared even more quickly than the first.
28 I saw that the two remaining small wings were also plotting to seize control for themselves.
29 While they were making their plans, one of the sleeping heads suddenly awoke. It was the one in the middle, the one that was larger than the other two.
30 Then I saw that it was joined by the other heads,
31 and when it turned to eat up the two little wings that were planning to seize power, the other two heads helped it.
32 This head gained power over the whole world, established an oppressive rule over people everywhere, and exercised more power over the world than any of the other wings had done before.
33 Then, as I watched, the middle head disappeared just as suddenly as the wings had done.
34 Two heads were left, and they also gained power over the earth and its people;
35 but while I was still watching, the head on the right ate up the head on the left.
36 Then I heard a voice which said, "Ezra, look straight ahead and think about what you see."
37 I looked and saw what appeared to be an angry lion come roaring out of the forest. I heard it speak in human language to the eagle and say,
38 "Listen, Eagle, to what I have to say to you; it is the message of God Most High:
39 You are the only one left of the four animals that I appointed to govern my world and to bring the ages of this world to an end.
40 You are the fourth animal and you have conquered all the animals that came before you. As long as you have been in this world, you have ruled it through terror, oppression, and deceit,
41 with a total disregard for truth.
42 You have viciously attacked harmless people who were living in peace; you have hated those who spoke the truth, and you have loved liars. You have destroyed the homes of those who were prosperous and have torn down the walls of those who did you no harm.
43 God Most High knows how proud and arrogant you are. The Almighty One
44 has looked back over the world he established. The end has come; the final age is over.
45 So, Eagle, the time has come for you to vanish, along with your big, terrible wings, your small, wicked wings, your evil heads, your awful claws, and your whole worthless body.
46 The entire world will be set free from your violence and renewed as it sets its hope on the judgment and mercy of God, who created it."
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