I stepped forward to help him and keep him safe. It was the first year that Darius, the Mede, was king.
"Now then, what I'm about to tell you is true. Three more kings will appear in Persia. Then a fourth one will rule. He will be much richer than all of the others. He will use his wealth to gain power. And he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.
"After him, a mighty king will appear. He will rule with great power. He will do as he pleases.
Not long after his rule ends, his kingdom will be broken up. It will be divided up into four parts. His children will not receive it when he dies. And it will not be as strong as his kingdom. It will be pulled up by the roots. And it will be given to others.
"The king of Egypt will become strong. But one of his commanders will become even stronger. He will rule over his own kingdom with great power.
After many years, the two kingdoms will join forces. The daughter of the next king of Egypt will go to the king of Syria. She will join forces with him. But she will not hold on to her power. And he and his power will not last either. In those days she and her attendants will be put to death. Her father will die. So will the one who helped her.
"Someone from her family line will take her place. He will attack the army of the next king of Syria. Then he will enter his fort. He will fight against that army and win.
He will take the metal statues of their gods. He will also take away their priceless articles of silver and gold. He will carry everything off to Egypt. For many years he will leave the king of Syria alone.
"That king will march into territory that was controlled by Egypt. Then he will return to his own country.
His sons will prepare for war. They will gather a huge army. It will sweep along like a mighty flood. It will fight its way as far as one of the Egyptian forts.
"Another king of Egypt will march out with mighty force. He will fight against the next king of Syria. That king will gather a huge army. But it will lose the battle.
His soldiers will be carried off. Then the king of Egypt will be filled with pride. He will kill many thousands of soldiers. But his success will not last.
"The king of Syria will bring another army together. It will be larger than the first one. After several years, he will march out with a huge army. It will have everything it needs for battle.
"In those times many people will rise up against the next king of Egypt. Lawless men in your own nation will refuse to obey him. That is what you saw in your vision. But they will not succeed.
"Then the king of Syria will go to a certain city that has high walls around it. He will build ramps against them. And he will capture that city. The forces of Egypt will not have the power to stop him. Even their best troops will not be strong enough to stand up against him.
He will do anything he wants to. No one will be able to stand up against him. He will take over the beautiful land of Israel. And he will have the power to destroy it.
"He will decide to come with the might of his entire kingdom. He will join forces with the king of Egypt. And he will give him his daughter to become his wife. He will do it in order to take control of Egypt. But his plans will not succeed. They will not help him.
"Then he will turn his attention to the lands along the Mediterranean coast. He will take over many of them. But a commander will put an end to his proud actions. He will turn his pride back on him.
"After that, the king of Syria will return to the forts in his own country. But he will trip and fall. And he will never be seen again.
"The next king after him will send someone out to collect taxes. The taxes will help maintain the glory of his kingdom. But in a few years the king will be destroyed. It will not happen because someone becomes angry with him or kills him in battle.
"Another king will take his place. Many people will hate him. He will not be honored as a king should be. He will lead an army into the kingdom when its people feel secure. He will make clever plans to capture it.
Then he will sweep away a huge army. The army and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed.
"The king of Syria will make an agreement with that prince. But then he will not keep his word. He will rise to power with the help of only a few people.
When the people in the richest areas feel secure, he will attack them. He will do what the kings before him could not do. And he will reward his followers with the goods and wealth he takes. He will make clever plans to take over the forts. But that will last for only a short time.
"He will stir up his strength and courage. With a large army he will go to war against the next king of Egypt. That king will fight against him with a huge and very powerful army. But he will not be able to stand up against him. So the plans of the king of Syria will succeed.
The trusted advisers of the king of Egypt will try to destroy him. His army will be swept away. Many of his soldiers will be wounded or killed.
"The kings of Syria and Egypt will sit at the same table. But in their hearts they will plan to do what is evil. And they will tell lies to each other. But it will not do them any good. God will put an end to their plans at his appointed time.
"The king of Syria will return to his own country. He will go back there with great wealth. But he will make evil plans against the holy temple in Jerusalem. He will do a lot of harm to the temple and the people who worship there. Then he will return to his own country.
"At God's appointed time, the king of Syria will march south again. But this time things will turn out differently.
Roman ships will oppose him. He will lose hope. Then he will turn back. He will take out his anger against the holy temple. And he will show favor to the Jews who desert it.
"His army will come and make the temple area 'unclean.' They will put a stop to the daily sacrifices. Then they will set up a hated thing that destroys.
He will pretend to praise those who have broken the covenant. He will lead them to do what is evil. But the people who know their God will firmly oppose him.
"Those who are wise will teach many others. But for a while, some of the wise will be killed with swords. Others will be burned to death. Still others will be made prisoners. Or they will be robbed of everything they have.
When that happens, they will receive a little help. Many who are not honest will join them.
"So some of the wise people will suffer. They will be made pure in the fire. They will be made spotless until the time of the end. It will still come at God's appointed time.
"A certain king will do as he pleases. He will honor himself. He will put himself above every god. He will say things that have never been heard before against the greatest God of all. He will have success until God is not angry anymore. What God has decided to do must take place.
"The king will not show any respect for the gods his people have always worshiped. He will not respect the one women long for. He will not have respect for any god. Instead, he will put himself above all of them.
In place of them, he will worship a god of war. He will honor a god his people have not had anything to do with before. He will give gold and silver to that god. He will bring jewels and expensive gifts to it.
"He will attack the strongest forts. A new god will help him do it. He will greatly honor those who recognize him as their leader. He will make them rulers over many people. And he will give them land as a reward.
"A king in the south will go to war against him. It will happen at the time of the end. The king who will honor himself will rush out against him. He will come with chariots and horsemen. He will attack with a lot of ships. He will lead his army into many countries. He will sweep through them like a flood.
"He will also march into the beautiful land of Israel. Many countries will fall. But Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be saved from his mighty hand.
His power will reach out into many countries. Even Egypt will not escape.
He will gain control of all of Egypt's riches. He will take their gold and silver treasures. The people of Libya and Cush will be under his control.
"But reports from the east and the north will terrify him. He will burn with anger and march out to destroy many people and wipe them out.
He will set up his royal tents. He will put them between the Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful holy mountain of Zion. But his end will come. And no one will help him.