In the third year that Belshazzar was king, I saw a second vision.
In the vision I suddenly found myself in the walled city of Susa in the province of Elam. I was standing by the Ulai River,
and there beside the river I saw a ram that had two long horns, one of which was longer and newer than the other.
I watched the ram butting with his horns to the west, the north, and the south. No animal could stop him or escape his power. He did as he pleased and grew arrogant.
While I was wondering what this meant, a goat came rushing out of the west, moving so fast that his feet didn't touch the ground. He had one prominent horn between his eyes.
He came toward the ram, which I had seen standing beside the river, and rushed at him with all his force.
I watched him attack the ram. He was so angry that he smashed into him and broke the two horns. The ram had no strength to resist. He was thrown to the ground and trampled on, and there was no one who could save him.
The goat grew more and more arrogant, but at the height of his power his horn was broken. In its place four prominent horns came up, each pointing in a different direction.
Out of one of these four horns grew a little horn, whose power extended toward the south and the east and toward the Promised Land.
It grew strong enough to attack the army of heaven, the stars themselves, and it threw some of them to the ground and trampled on them. 1
It even defied the Prince of the heavenly army, stopped the daily sacrifices offered to him, and ruined the Temple.
People sinned there instead of offering the proper daily sacrifices, and true religion was thrown to the ground. The horn was successful in everything it did.
Then I heard one angel ask another, "How long will these things that were seen in the vision continue? How long will an awful sin replace the daily sacrifices? How long will the army of heaven and the Temple be trampled on?"
I heard the other angel answer, "It will continue for 2,300 evenings and mornings, during which sacrifices will not be offered. Then the Temple will be restored."
I was trying to understand what the vision meant, when suddenly someone was standing in front of me.
I heard a voice call out over the Ulai River, "Gabriel, explain to him the meaning of what he saw." 2
Gabriel came and stood beside me, and I was so terrified that I fell to the ground. He said to me, "Mortal man, understand the meaning. The vision has to do with the end of the world."
While he was talking, I fell to the ground unconscious. But he took hold of me, raised me to my feet,
and said, "I am showing you what the result of God's anger will be. The vision refers to the time of the end.
"The ram you saw that had two horns represents the kingdoms of Media and Persia.
The goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the prominent horn between his eyes is the first king.
The four horns that came up when the first horn was broken represent the four kingdoms into which that nation will be divided and which will not be as strong as the first kingdom.
"When the end of those kingdoms is near and they have become so wicked that they must be punished, there will be a stubborn, vicious, and deceitful king.
He will grow strong - but not by his own power. He will cause terrible destruction and be successful in everything he does. He will bring destruction on powerful men and on God's own people.
Because he is cunning, he will succeed in his deceitful ways. He will be proud of himself and destroy many people without warning. He will even defy the greatest King of all, but he will be destroyed without the use of any human power.
This vision about the evening and morning sacrifices which has been explained to you will come true. But keep it secret now, because it will be a long time before it does come true."
I was depressed and ill for several days. Then I got up and went back to the work that the king had assigned to me, but I was puzzled by the vision and could not understand it.