Daniel’s Dream About Four Animals

Chapter 7 During the first year that Belshazzar[a] was king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream. He saw these visions while he was lying on his bed, and he wrote what he had dreamed. Daniel said, “I saw my vision at night. In the vision the wind was blowing from all four directions. These winds made the sea rough. I saw four big animals and each one was different from the others. These four animals came up out of the sea.

“The first animal looked like a lion, but it had wings like an eagle. As I watched, its wings were torn off. It was helped up from the ground, and it stood up on two feet like a human. Then it was given a human mind.

“Then I saw another animal there in front of me that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat all the meat you want!’

“After that I noticed another animal in front of me. It looked like a leopard, but it had four wings on its back. This animal had four heads. It was given authority to rule.

“After that, in my vision at night, I looked, and there in front of me was a fourth animal. It looked very cruel and terrifying. It looked very strong, with large iron teeth. This animal crushed and ate its victims and walked on whatever was left of them. This fourth animal was different from all the animals I saw before it. This animal had ten horns.

“While I was looking at the horns and thinking about them, another horn grew up among them. This was a little horn with eyes like a human. It also had a mouth that was bragging. Then the little horn pulled out three of the other horns.

Judgment of the Fourth Animal

        9 “As I was looking, thrones were put in their places,
    and the Ancient King[b] sat on his throne.
His clothes were as white as snow.
    His hair was as white as wool.
His throne was made from fire,[c]
    and its wheels were made from flames.
        10 A river of fire flowed out
    from in front of the Ancient King.
Millions of people were serving him.
    Hundreds of millions of people stood in front of him.
Court was ready to begin,
    and the books were opened.

11 “I kept on looking because the little horn was bragging. I kept watching until finally the fourth animal was killed. Its body was destroyed, and it was thrown into the burning fire. 12 The authority and rule of the other animals had been taken from them. But they were permitted to live for a certain period of time.

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there in front of me was someone who looked like a human being.[d] He was coming on the clouds in the sky. He came up to the Ancient King, and the King’s servants brought him before the King.

14 “The one who looked like a human being was given authority, glory, and complete ruling power. People from every nation and language group will serve him. His rule will last forever. His kingdom will continue forever. It will never be destroyed.

The Meaning of Daniel’s Dream

15 “I, Daniel, was confused and worried. The visions that went through my mind bothered me. 16 I went to someone who was standing there and asked him what all this meant. So he explained it to me. 17 He said, ‘The four great animals are four kingdoms that will come from the earth. 18 But God’s holy people will receive the kingdom, and they will have the kingdom forever and ever.’

19 “Then I wanted to know what the fourth animal was and what it meant. The fourth animal was different from all the other animals. It was very terrible and had iron teeth and bronze claws. It was the animal that crushed and ate its victims and walked on whatever was left. 20 I wanted to know about the ten horns that were on the fourth animal’s head and about the little horn that grew there. That little horn pulled out three of the other ten horns. That little horn had eyes and a mouth that kept on bragging, and it looked bigger than the other horns. 21 As I was watching, this little horn began attacking and making war against God’s holy people and killing them. 22 The little horn kept killing God’s holy people until the Ancient King came and judged him. The Ancient King announced his decision about the little horn. This judgment helped God’s holy people, and they received the kingdom.

23 “And he explained this to me: ‘The fourth animal is a fourth kingdom that will come on the earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms. That fourth kingdom will destroy people all around the world. It will walk on and crush nations all around the world. 24 The ten horns are ten kings that will come from this fourth kingdom. After those ten kings are gone, another king will come. He will be different from the kings who ruled before him. He will defeat three of the other kings. 25 This special king will say things against God Most High, and he will hurt and kill God’s special people. That king will try to change the times and laws that have already been set. God’s holy people will be under that king’s power for three and one-half years.[e]

26 “‘But the court will decide what should happen, and that king’s power will be taken away. His kingdom will end completely. 27 Then God’s holy people will rule over the kingdom and all the people from all the kingdoms of earth.[f] This kingdom will last forever, and people from all the other kingdoms will respect and serve them.’

28 “And that was the end of the dream. I, Daniel, was very afraid. My face became very white from fear, and I did not tell the other people what I saw and heard.”

Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat

Chapter 8 After that vision,[g] I, Daniel, saw another vision during the third year that Belshazzar[h] was king. In the vision I saw that I was in the city of Susa.[i] Susa was the capital city in the province of Elam. I was standing by the Ulai River. I looked up and saw a ram standing at the side of the river. The ram had two long horns. The horns were both long, but one horn was longer than the other horn. The long horn was farther back than the other horn. I watched the ram run into things with its horns. I watched the ram run to the west, to the north, and to the south. No animal could stop the ram, and no one could save the other animals. That ram did whatever it wanted, and it became very powerful.

I thought about the ram. While I was watching, I saw a male goat come from the west. It had one large horn that was easy to see. It ran so fast its feet barely touched the ground.

The goat came to the ram with the two horns. (This was the ram I had seen standing by the Ulai River.) The goat was very angry and ran at the ram. As I watched, the goat ran at the ram and broke both of the ram’s horns. The ram could not stop the goat. The goat knocked it to the ground and walked all over it. There was no one to save the ram from the goat.

So the goat became very powerful. But after he became strong, his big horn broke off. Then four horns grew in place of the one big horn. Those four horns were easy to see. They pointed in four different directions.

Then a little horn grew from one of those four horns. It grew and became very big. It grew toward the southeast, toward the Beautiful Land. 10 The little horn became very big. It grew until it reached the sky. It even threw some of heaven’s army[j] to the ground and trampled them. 11 That little horn became very strong, and it turned against God, the Ruler of heaven’s army. It stopped the daily sacrifices that were offered to the Ruler. And the holy place where people worshiped the Ruler was pulled down. 12 Because of this sin, the daily sacrifices were stopped. Truth was thrown down to the ground. The little horn did these things and was very successful.

13 Then I heard two holy ones[k] talking with each other. One of them asked the other one, who had been speaking, “How long will the things in this vision last—the stopping of the daily sacrifices, the sin that destroys, and the trampling down of the holy place and heaven’s army?”

14 The other holy one said, “This will last for 2300 days. Then the holy place will be repaired.”

The Vision Is Explained to Daniel

15 I, Daniel, saw this vision and tried to understand what it meant. While I was thinking about the vision, someone who looked like a man suddenly stood in front of me. 16 Then I heard a man’s voice. This voice came from above the Ulai River. The voice called out, “Gabriel, explain the vision to this man.”

17 So Gabriel, the angel who looked like a man, came to me. I was very afraid and fell down to the ground. But Gabriel said to me, “Human,[l] understand that this vision is about the time of the end.”

18 While Gabriel was speaking, I fell to the ground and went to sleep. It was a very deep sleep. Then Gabriel touched me and lifted me to my feet. 19 He said, “Now, I will explain the vision to you. I will tell you what will happen in the future. Your vision was about the end times.

20 “You saw a ram with two horns. The horns are the countries of Media and Persia. 21 The goat is the king of Greece. The big horn between its eyes is the first king. 22 That horn broke off and four horns grew in its place. The four horns are four kingdoms. Those four kingdoms will come from the nation of the first king, but they will not be as strong as the first king.

23 “When the end is near for those kingdoms, there will be a very bold and cruel king who will be very tricky. This will happen when many people have turned against God. 24 This king will be very powerful, but his power does not come from himself.[m] This king will cause terrible destruction. He will be successful in everything he does. He will destroy powerful people—even God’s holy people.

25 “This king will be very smart and tricky. He will use his wisdom and lies to be successful. He will think that he is very important. He will destroy many people, when they least expect it. He will try to fight even the Prince of Princes. But that cruel king’s power will be destroyed, and it will not be a human hand that destroys him.

26 “What I said and the vision about those times are true. But seal up the vision, because those things will not happen for a long, long time.”

27 I, Daniel, became very weak. I was sick for several days after that vision. Then I got up and went back to work for the king, but I was very upset about the vision. I did not understand what it meant.

Daniel’s Prayer

Chapter 9 These things happened during the first year that Darius son of Ahasuerus[n] was king. Darius was a Mede by birth, but he was appointed to be the king of Babylon. During his first year as king, I was studying the Scriptures[o] and noticed in the Lord’s message to Jeremiah that 70 years would pass before Jerusalem would be rebuilt.

Then I turned to the Lord God. I prayed to him and asked him for help. I did not eat any food. I put ashes on my head and put on the clothes that showed I was sad. I prayed to the Lord my God and told him about all my sins. I said,

“Lord, you are a great and awesome God. You keep your agreement of love and kindness with people who love you. You keep your agreement with the people who obey your commands.

“But we have sinned. We have done wrong. We have done evil things. We turned against you. We turned away from your commands and good decisions. The prophets were your servants. They spoke for you to our kings, to our leaders, to our fathers, and to the common people in our country. But we did not listen to them.

“Lord, you are innocent, and the shame belongs to us, even now. Shame belongs to the people from Judah and Jerusalem, and to all the people of Israel, to those who are near and to those you scattered among many nations. They should be ashamed of all the evil things they did against you.

Lord, we should all be ashamed. All our kings and leaders should be ashamed. Our ancestors should be ashamed, because we sinned against you.

“But, Lord our God, you are kind and forgiving, even though we rebelled against you. 10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God. He used his servants, the prophets, and gave us laws, but we have not obeyed his laws. 11 All the people of Israel disobeyed your teachings and turned away from you. They did not listen to you. We sinned, so you did what you promised to do. All the curses and promises[p] in the Law of Moses, your servant, happened to us.

12 “God said those things would happen to us and our leaders, and he made them happen. He made terrible things happen to us. No other city suffered the way Jerusalem suffered. 13 All those terrible things happened to us. This happened just as it is written in the Law of Moses, but we still have not asked the Lord our God for help. We still have not stopped sinning. We still do not pay attention to your truth, Lord. 14 The Lord kept the terrible things ready for us—he made them happen to us. The Lord our God did this because he is fair in everything he does. But we still have not listened to him.

15 “Lord our God, you used your power and brought us out of Egypt. We are your people. You are famous because of that, even today. We have sinned and done terrible things. 16 Lord, we and our ancestors sinned against you, so your people and your city became a disgrace to everyone around us. You do so many good things, so stop being angry at Jerusalem, your city, your holy mountain.

17 “Now, our God, hear your servant’s prayer. Listen to my prayer for mercy. For your own sake, do good things for your holy place.[q] 18 My God, listen to me! Open your eyes and see all the terrible things that have happened to us. See what has happened to the city that is called by your name. I am not saying we are good people. That is not why I am asking these things. I am asking these things because I know you are kind. 19 Lord, listen to me! Forgive us! Lord, pay attention, and then do something! Don’t wait! Do something now! Do it for your own good! My God, do something now, for your city and your people who are called by your name.”

The Vision About the 70 Weeks

20 I was praying to the Lord my God about his holy mountain and telling about my sins and the sins of the people of Israel. 21 That was the time of the evening sacrifices. While I was still praying, Gabriel, the one I saw in the first vision, flew quickly to me and touched me. He came at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 Gabriel helped me understand the things I wanted to know. He said, “Daniel, I have come to give you wisdom and to help you understand. 23 When you first started praying, the command was given to come speak to you. God loves you very much! You will understand this command, and you will understand the vision.

24 “God has allowed 70 weeks[r] for your people and your holy city, Daniel. The 70 weeks are ordered for these reasons: to stop doing bad things, to stop sinning, to make people pure, to bring the goodness that continues forever, to put a seal on visions and prophets, and to dedicate a very holy place.

25 “Learn and understand these things, Daniel. From the time that the message went out to go back and rebuild Jerusalem until the time for the chosen king[s] to come will be seven weeks. Then Jerusalem will be rebuilt. There will again be places for people to meet together in Jerusalem, and there will be a ditch around the city to protect it. Jerusalem will be built for 62 weeks, but there will be many troubles during that time. 26 After the 62 weeks, the chosen one will be killed.[t] He will be gone.[u] Then the people of the future leader will destroy the city and the holy place. That end will come like a flood. War will continue until the end. God has ordered that place to be completely destroyed.

27 “Then the future ruler will make an agreement with many people. That agreement will continue for one week. The offerings and sacrifices will stop for a half of a week. And a destroyer will come. He will do terrible, destructive things,[v] but God has ordered that destroyer to be completely destroyed.”


  1. Daniel 7:1 the first year … Belshazzar This was about 553 B.C.
  2. Daniel 7:9 Ancient King Literally, “Ancient of Days.” This name pictures God as a great king who has ruled since ancient times. Also in verses 10, 13, 22.
  3. Daniel 7:9 fire Or “light.”
  4. Daniel 7:13 someone … human being Or “a person, a real human being.” Literally, “like a son of man.” This means he looked like a normal person, not an angel or an animal.
  5. Daniel 7:25 three and one-half years Literally, “time, times and half time.”
  6. Daniel 7:27 God’s holy people … earth Literally, “The rule and kingdom and greatness of the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the saints.”
  7. Daniel 8:1 After that vision Here, the original language changes from Aramaic (see “Aramaic” in the Word List) back to Hebrew.
  8. Daniel 8:1 the third year … Belshazzar This was about 551 B.C.
  9. Daniel 8:2 Susa The capital city of Persia.
  10. Daniel 8:10 heaven’s army Or “the stars.” Also in verses 11, 13.
  11. Daniel 8:13 holy ones Here, these are probably angels.
  12. Daniel 8:17 Human Literally, “Son of man.”
  13. Daniel 8:24 but his power … himself Some ancient versions don’t have these words, so they may have been accidentally copied from verse 22.
  14. Daniel 9:1 Ahasuerus Or “Xerxes.”
  15. Daniel 9:2 Scriptures Literally, “scrolls.”
  16. Daniel 9:11 curses and promises Part of the agreement that God made with the people of Israel. See, for example, Deut. 27-30.
  17. Daniel 9:17 do … holy place Literally, “let your face shine on your holy place.”
  18. Daniel 9:24 week Or “unit of seven.” The Hebrew word could mean “week” or “a period of seven years.” Also in verses 25, 27.
  19. Daniel 9:25 chosen king Literally, “anointed one.”
  20. Daniel 9:26 killed Literally, “cut off.”
  21. Daniel 9:26 He will be gone Or “He will have nothing.”
  22. Daniel 9:27 He will do … things Or “He will come on the wings of terrible destruction.”