The male sheep and the male goat
1 In the third year that King Belshazzar ruled Babylon, I, Daniel, had another dream. 2 In my dream, I saw myself in the king's strong house in the city called Susa. Susa is in the part of the country called Elam. I was standing by the stream called Ulai. 3 I looked up and I saw a male sheep by the stream. He had two long horns. But the longer horn grew up after the other horn. 4 I watched the male sheep while he was running to the west, and to the north, and to the south. He was more powerful than all other animals. Nobody could save any of them from him. He did whatever he wanted to do. And he became great.
8:4Verses 1-4 This happened about two years after the dream that we read about in chapter 7. It was the third year of the rule of King Belshazzar.
5 While I was thinking about this, immediately a male goat came from the west. He went across the whole earth so quickly that his feet did not even touch the ground. The goat had a very big horn between his eyes. 6 He came towards the sheep that I had seen. The sheep had two horns and he was standing by the stream. But the goat was very angry and he ran at the sheep. 7 I saw him attack the sheep because he was so angry with the sheep. He hit the sheep and he broke the sheep's two horns. The sheep had no power against the goat, so the goat knocked the sheep down. And the goat walked over him and killed him. And nobody could save the sheep from the goat.
The little horn
8 The male goat became very great. But when he was greatest, his big horn broke. Instead, 4 other large horns grew up in its place. Each one pointed in a different direction. 9 Out of one of these horns another little horn grew. It became powerful towards the south, and towards the east and towards the Beautiful Country. 10 It became so great that it attacked the stars in the sky. They are the army of heaven. It threw some of the stars to the ground and it walked over them. 11 It thought that it was as great as God, the leader of heaven's army. It took away the gifts that the people offered to God each day. And it destroyed the honour of God's house. 12 Because of the bad things that the people had done, the horn received power over God's people. So God's people did not give gifts to God each day. They gave them to the horn. The horn did not let people worship God any longer. It was able to do all that it wanted to do.
13 Then I heard two angels talking. One angel asked, ‘How long will the things in the dream go on? How long will the horn stop people giving the gifts to God each day? How long will God let the horn rule his house? How long will he let the horn walk on his people. How long before they can worship God again?’ 14 The other angel answered, ‘It will go on for 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then they will make God's house holy again.’
An angel called Gabriel explains the dream
15 When I, Daniel, had seen the dream, I tried to understand it. Then someone who seemed like a man appeared in front of me. 16 I heard a man's voice. It was coming from the stream Ulai. ‘Gabriel, tell this man what the dream means,’ the voice said. 17 So Gabriel came near to me. I was very afraid, so I fell down in front of him. But he spoke to me. ‘You are only a man, but you must understand the dream. It is about the end of time.’ 18 While he was speaking to me I was really asleep. So he touched me and he caused me to stand up. 19 Then he spoke to me again. ‘I will tell you what will happen at the end of time. It will happen because God is angry. The end will be at the time that God has decided.’
20 The angel continued to speak. ‘You saw a male sheep with two horns. These horns mean the kingdoms of Media and Persia. 21 The male goat means the kingdom of Greece. The big horn between his eyes means the first king. 22 Four horns grew to take the place of the broken big horn. They will make the Greek people into four kingdoms. But they will not be as powerful as the first Greek kingdom.’
23 The angel continued to speak. He said, ‘Near the end of the time when they rule, people will do many bad things. God will have to punish them. A very cruel king will appear. He will say things that are not true. And he will be very clever. 24 He will become very powerful, but this will not be his own power. He will destroy many things. And he will be clever. So he will be able to do anything that he wants to do. He will kill strong leaders and he will even kill God's people. 25 He will kill people for no good reason. People will think that they are safe. But then he will kill them. He will think that he is very important. He will fight against the greatest of all kings. Then he will fail, but no human hand will do this to him.’
26 The angel continued to speak. He said, ‘This is the dream about the evenings and the mornings. And I have told you what it means. It is true, but keep the dream as a secret now. It will be a long time before all this happens.’ 27 After this dream, I, Daniel, was weak. I was sick for many days. Then I got up and I returned to my work for the king. The dream caused great trouble in my mind and I could not understand it.