Passage: Daniel 7, 8 (RSV)

Daniel 7

1In the first year of Belshaz'zar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, and told the sum of the matter.
2Daniel said, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.
3And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.
4The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand upon two feet like a man; and the mind of a man was given to it.
5And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side; it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, `Arise, devour much flesh.'
6After this I looked, and lo, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back; and the beast had four heads; and dominion was given to it.
7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrible and dreadful and exceedingly strong; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
8I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.
9As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire.
10A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
11I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.
12As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
13I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
14And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
15"As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious and the visions of my head alarmed me.
16I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me, and made known to me the interpretation of the things.
17`These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth.
18But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, for ever and ever.'
19"Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrible, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze; and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet;
20and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up and before which three of them fell, the horn which had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and which seemed greater than its fellows.
21As I looked, this horn made war with the saints, and prevailed over them,
22until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints received the kingdom.
23"Thus he said: `As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.
25He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time.
26But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.'
28"Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed; but I kept the matter in my mind."

Daniel 8

1In the third year of the reign of King Belshaz'zar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first.
2And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the capital, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision, and I was at the river U'lai.
3I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the river. It had two horns; and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
4I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward; no beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power; he did as he pleased and magnified himself.
5As I was considering, behold, a he-goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes.
6He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the river, and he ran at him in his mighty wrath.
7I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns; and the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled upon him; and there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power.
8Then the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly; but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
9Out of one of them came forth a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land.
10It grew great, even to the host of heaven; and some of the host of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled upon them.
11It magnified itself, even up to the Prince of the host; and the continual burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown.
12And the host was given over to it together with the continual burnt offering through transgression; and truth was cast down to the ground, and the horn acted and prospered.
13Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to the one that spoke, "For how long is the vision concerning the continual burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled under foot?"
14And he said to him, "For two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state."
15When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
16And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the U'lai, and it called, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision."
17So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was frightened and fell upon my face. But he said to me, "Understand, O son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end."
18As he was speaking to me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and set me on my feet.
19He said, "Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation; for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.
20As for the ram which you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.
21And the he-goat is the king of Greece; and the great horn between his eyes is the first king.
22As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.
23And at the latter end of their rule, when the transgressors have reached their full measure, a king of bold countenance, one who understands riddles, shall arise.
24His power shall be great, and he shall cause fearful destruction, and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people of the saints.
25By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall magnify himself. Without warning he shall destroy many; and he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes; but, by no human hand, he shall be broken.
26The vision of the evenings and the mornings which has been told is true; but seal up the vision, for it pertains to many days hence."
27And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I rose and went about the king's business; but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.

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