The second night I had a dream. I saw an eagle coming up out of the sea. It had twelve wings and three heads. 2As I looked, it spread out its wings over the whole world. Winds blew on it from every direction, and clouds11.2 Some ancient translations clouds; Latin does not have this word. gathered over it. 3Then from its wings I saw rival wings begin to grow, but they were small and insignificant. 4All three heads of the eagle were asleep, even the middle one, which was larger than the others. 5While I was watching, the eagle flew up in the air and became ruler of the whole earth and all its people. 6I saw how everything on earth was brought under the eagle's control — no one on earth was able to oppose it. 7Then I saw the eagle stand up on its claws and say to its wings, 8“Not all of you are to wake up at the same time; you must sleep where you are and wake up when your turn comes, 9and the heads must wake up last.” 10I looked again and saw that the voice was not coming from any of the eagle's heads but from the middle of its body. 11I counted its rival wings, and there were eight of them.
12I saw one of the wings on the right side rise up and govern the whole world. 13After its rule came to an end, it vanished so completely that it left no trace. Then the next wing rose up and governed for a long time. 14When its rule was coming to an end and it was about to vanish like the first wing, 15a voice said to it, 16“Listen, you have ruled the world for a long time, and I want you to hear this message before you disappear: 17no one after you will rule as long as you did — not even half as long.” 18The third wing rose up and governed as the earlier ones had done; then it also vanished. 19The same thing happened to all the other wings: one after the other they rose to power and then vanished.
20I kept looking, and after a while the other small wings on the right side rose up to seize power. Some of them governed briefly and quickly disappeared, 21while others rose up but were never able to govern. 22Then I noticed that the twelve large wings and two of the small wings had disappeared. 23Nothing was left on the eagle's body except the three sleeping heads and the six small wings. 24I kept watching, and suddenly two of the six small wings left the others and moved under the head on the right side, while the other four remained where they were. 25Then I saw that these four small wings were plotting to rise up and seize power. 26One of them rose up, but it quickly disappeared. 27The second one also rose up, but it disappeared even more quickly than the first. 28I saw that the two remaining small wings were also plotting to seize control for themselves. 29While they were making their plans, one of the sleeping heads suddenly awoke. It was the one in the middle, the one that was larger than the other two. 30Then I saw that it was joined by the other heads, 31and when it turned to eat up the two little wings that were planning to seize power, the two other heads helped it. 32This head gained power over the whole world, established an oppressive rule over people everywhere, and exercised more power over the world than any of the other wings had done before. 33Then, as I watched, the middle head disappeared just as suddenly as the wings had done. 34Two heads were left, and they also gained power over the earth and its people; 35but while I was still watching, the head on the right ate up the head on the left.
36Then I heard a voice which said, “Ezra, look straight ahead and think about what you see.”
37I looked and saw what appeared to be an angry lion come roaring out of the forest. I heard it speak in human language to the eagle and say, 38“Listen, Eagle, to what I have to say to you; it is the message of God Most High: 39you are the only one left of the four animals that I appointed to govern my world and to bring the ages of this world to an end. 40You are the fourth animal and you have conquered all the animals that came before you. As long as you have been in this world, you have ruled it through terror, oppression, and deceit, 41with a total disregard for truth. 42You have viciously attacked harmless people, who were living in peace; you have hated those who spoke the truth, and you have loved liars. You have destroyed the homes of those who were prosperous and have torn down the walls of those who did you no harm. 43God Most High knows how proud and arrogant you are. The Almighty One 44has looked back over the world he established. The end has come; the final age is over. 45So, Eagle, the time has come for you to vanish, along with your big, terrible wings, your small, wicked wings, your evil heads, your awful claws, and your whole worthless body. 46The entire world will be set free from your violence and renewed as it sets its hope on the judgement and mercy of God, who created it.”
121While the lion was speaking in this way to the eagle, I looked 2and saw that the last head of the eagle was gone. Then the two small wings that had moved over to that head rose up to govern, but their rule was short and full of trouble. 3They disappeared before my eyes, and the whole body of the eagle burst into flames, and the world was terrified.
I was so disturbed and so afraid that I woke up. I said, 4“I have brought this on myself, because I have tried to study the ways of God Most High. 5I am mentally exhausted and completely worn out. The terrible fears I have experienced this night have taken my last bit of strength. 6All I can do now is pray to God Most High to give me strength until the end.” 7Then I prayed, “Master and Lord, if it is true that you consider me more righteous than many others, and if you hear my prayers, then I beg you, 8give me strength. Show me, Lord, the full meaning of this terrifying vision, and set my mind at ease. 9After all, you did consider me worthy to be shown the end of the age.”
10God's angel said to me, “Here is the interpretation of the vision you saw. 11
The eagle you saw coming up out of the sea represents the fourth kingdom in the vision that your brother Daniel saw. 12But he was not given the same interpretation of it that I am giving you. 13The time is coming when an empire will be established on earth that is more terrible than any before it. 14Twelve kings will rule over it, one after the other. 15The second king will rule longer than any of the others. 16That is the meaning of the twelve wings that you saw.
17“You heard the voice speaking from the middle of the eagle's body, instead of from its heads. 18That means that after the rule of the second king, a great struggle for power will take place, and the empire will be in danger of breaking up. But that will not happen, and the empire will regain its earlier power.
19“You saw the eight small wings growing out of the eagle's big wings. That means 20that eight kings will rise up in the empire, but their rule will be brief and unimportant. 21Two of them will appear briefly near the middle of the period, four of them will not appear until near the end, and two will be left until the very end.
22“You saw the three heads that were asleep. That means 23that in the last days of the empire, God Most High will raise up three kings; they12.23 Some ancient translations they; Latin a he. will restore much of the empire and rule over the world 24and its people with more harshness than any before them. The reason they are called the eagle's heads 25is that these three kings will bring to a head and complete the godless work of the eagle. 26You saw the largest head disappear. This means that one of the kings will die in his bed, in great agony. 27The other two will die in battle. 28One of them will kill the other; then he also will be killed in battle at the end of time.
29“You saw the two small wings moving under the head on the right side. 30That means that God Most High has kept them until the end, but their rule was short and full of trouble, as you saw.
31“You saw the angry lion come roaring out of the forest, and you heard it speak to the eagle and rebuke it for the evil that it had done and for all that it had said. 32
The lion represents the Messiah, whom God Most High has held back until the end. He will be a descendant of David and will come and speak12.32 Some ancient translations he will… speak; Latin does not have these words. to the rulers. He will rebuke them for their wickedness, their sinfulness, and their contempt for God's ways. 33While they are still living, he will bring them to judgement, condemn them for their sin, and destroy them. 34But he will have mercy on the rest of my people, those who are left in my land; he will set them free and make them happy until the end comes, the Judgement Day about which I told you at the beginning.
35“That is the dream you had, and that is its interpretation. 36But you are the only one that God Most High has considered worthy to reveal this secret to. 37So write in a book everything you saw, and put it in a safe hiding place. 38Then teach these secrets to those who are wise among your people, those who will be able to understand them and keep them secret. 39But you must stay here seven more days, so that God Most High may reveal to you whatever he wishes.” Then the angel left me.
40When the seven days had passed and all the people heard that I had not yet returned to the city, all of them, rich and poor, came and asked me, 41“What wrong have we done to you? How have we ill-treated you? Why have you abandoned us and settled down in this place? 42You are the only one of all our prophets who is left. You are like the last bunch of grapes in a vineyard, like a lantern in a dark place, like a safe harbour for a ship in a storm. 43Haven't we suffered enough already? 44If you abandon us, it would have been better if we had died like the others in the fire that destroyed Jerusalem. 45We are no better than those who died.” Then they all started crying loudly.
I answered, 46“Be brave, Israel, put away your sorrow. 47God Most High will keep you in mind; the Almighty One has not forgotten you in all your troubles. 48And I haven't left you or abandoned you. I came here to pray for Jerusalem in her time of trouble and to ask mercy for her and for your Temple, now in disgrace. 49Please return to your homes, all of you. I will come back to you in a few days.” 50So they left me and went back to the city.
51I stayed in the field for seven days, as the angel had commanded me. I ate nothing but wild flowers; I was a vegetarian in those days.
131The seven days passed, and the following night I had a dream. 2In my dream I saw a wind coming up out of the sea and stirring up great waves. 3
As I watched, the wind brought with it out of the sea what looked like a man,13.3 Some ancient translations the wind… man; Latin does not have these words. and he was flying13.3 Some ancient translations flying; Latin a growing strong. on the clouds. When he turned his face, everything he looked at began to tremble, 4and when he spoke, everyone who heard his voice melted like wax in a fire.
5I looked again and saw a crowd too large to count. They were people gathered together from all parts of the world to fight against the man who had come up out of the sea. 6
Then I watched the man carve out a high mountain and fly up onto it. 7I tried to see the place or the region from which the mountain was carved, but I couldn't. 8Then I saw that all the people who had come together to make war against him were terrified, but they still prepared to fight him. 9When the man saw the great crowd advancing to attack him, he did not take up any weapons. 10The only thing I saw was what looked like a stream of fire coming out of his mouth. He sent a flaming wind from his lips and a storm of sparks from his tongue. The stream of fire, the flaming wind, and the great storm combined 11and swept down on the crowd that was coming to attack him, and burnt them all up. In a single moment, that crowd too large to count vanished, and there was nothing left but powdery ashes and the smell of smoke. I was shocked when I saw what had happened.
12Then I saw the man come down from the mountain and call another large crowd to come to him — this was a peace-loving crowd. 13
All sorts of people came: some were happy, some were sad, some had their hands and feet tied, and some brought others as a gift to the Lord.
I was so frightened that I woke up. I prayed to God Most High and said, 14“Lord, you have been showing me all these marvellous things. You have considered me worthy and have heard my prayers. 15Now please show me the meaning of this dream also. 16I have been thinking how terrible it will be for the people who will be living in those days, but how much worse for those who do not survive. 17They will be in great sorrow 18because they will not enjoy any of the pleasures reserved for the last days. 19But how terrible also for those who do survive; they will have to face great dangers and many troubles, as these dreams have shown. 20Nevertheless, it is better to pass through these dangers and reach the end than to disappear like a cloud from this world and never see what takes place in the last days.”
He answered, 21“I will explain to you the meaning of the vision and answer the questions you have asked. 22You have raised questions about those who will survive until the end. The answer is that 23the one who brings the dangers in those days will also protect from danger the people who have stored up good works and faithfulness with God the Almighty One. 24You may be certain that those who survive are far more fortunate than those who die.
25“This is the meaning of the vision. The man you saw coming up out of the sea 26represents the one whom God Most High has kept ready for many ages. He will free the world he created and establish the new order for those who survive. 27You saw the wind, fire, and storm going out of the man's mouth, 28and you saw that without the use of a spear or any other weapon he destroyed the great crowd that was advancing to attack him. This means that 29the time is near when God Most High will begin to free the people on earth. 30At that time everyone will be close to panic. 31
They will begin to make war against one another, city against city, region against region, nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 32When that happens, the signs I told you about earlier will take place, and then I will reveal my son, whom you saw as a man coming up out of the sea. 33When they hear his voice, all the nations will leave their own territory, forget their wars with one another, 34and come together in one great crowd too large to count, as you saw in your dream. The nations will unite with the single purpose of making war on my son. 35He will take his stand on the top of Mount Zion, 36
and the new Jerusalem will be seen by everyone. It will be completed and fully built, just as in your dream you saw the mountain carved out, but not by human hands. 37Then my son will condemn the assembled nations for their godlessness. That is what the storm meant. 38He will confront them with the wicked plans they have made and also with the torments they must endure. That is what the flames meant. Then he will easily destroy them by means of13.38 One ancient translation by means of; Latin a and. the Law. That is what the fire meant.
39“You saw him gather another great crowd of peace-loving people. 40
These are the ten tribes of Israel who were taken away into captivity in the time of King Hoshea. King Shalmaneser of Assyria captured them and deported them to a foreign land east of the River Euphrates. 41But the ten tribes decided not to stay in that land among the many Gentiles, so they moved farther east to a country where no human beings had ever lived before. 42There they hoped to keep their laws, which they had failed to keep in their own country. 43When they had to make the difficult passage across the Euphrates, 44God Most High performed miracles for them and blocked the channels of the river until they had crossed over. 45Their long journey through that region, which is named Arzareth, took a year and a half, 46and they have lived there ever since. Now in these last days they are coming back home, 47and once again God Most High will block the channels of the river, so that they may cross over. That is the meaning of the great crowd of peace-loving people you saw. 48But they will also have with them all your own people who are left and who are found within the borders of my holy land. 49When the time comes for my son to destroy the crowd that has gathered from every nation, he will protect his people who are left 50and perform many great miracles for them.”
51Then I said, “Lord and Master, please tell me why the man came up out of the sea.”
52He answered, “No one can explore the bottom of the sea to find out what is there. In the same way, no human being can see my son or those who come with him until the day that has been fixed. 53That is the meaning of your dream. You alone have been given this information, 54because you have given up your own interests to devote yourself to mine and to the study of my Law. 55You have dedicated your life to wisdom, and understanding has been like a mother to you. 56That is why God Most High has rewarded you by showing you these things. After three days, I will come back and tell you about other profound wonders.”
57I went for a walk in the field, worshipping and praising God Most High for the miracles he performs in his own good time. 58For he controls the ages and what happens in them. I remained there for three days.