Esdras, an ancient prophet, first received a detailed dream, and then he awoke with a troubled mind and fear, which caused him to talk with God, ask questions, and seek for divine comfort. Esdras spoke to God saying, “Comfort me then, and shew me thy servant the interpretation and plain difference of this fearful vision, that thou mayest perfectly comfort my soul” Esdras 12:8. Answering his request, God gave Esdras the interpretation of his dream. Here is his account as recorded in 2 Esdras chapters 11 and 12. The dream and interpretations are accompanied with my personal comments and questions.
1 Then saw I a dream, and, behold, there came up from the sea an eagle, which had twelve feathered wings, and three heads.
2 And I saw, and, behold, she spread her wings over all the earth, and all the winds of the air blew on her, and were gathered together.
3 And I beheld, and out of her feathers there grew other contrary feathers; and they became little feathers and small.
4 But her heads were at rest: the head in the midst was greater than the other, yet rested it with the residue.
5 Moreover I beheld, and, lo, the eagle flew with her feathers, and reigned upon earth, and over them that dwelt therein.
6 And I saw that all things under heaven were subject unto her, and no man spake against her, no, not one creature upon earth.
12 And I looked, and, behold, on the right side there arose one feather, and reigned over all the earth;
13 And so it was, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and the place thereof appeared no more: so the next following stood up. and reigned, and had a great time;
14 And it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came also, like as the first, so that it appeared no more.
16 Hear thou that hast borne rule over the earth so long: this I say unto thee, before thou beginnest to appear no more,
19 So went it with all the residue one after another, as that every one reigned, and then appeared no more.
20 Then I beheld, and, lo, in process of time the feathers that followed stood up upon the right side, that they might rule also; and some of them ruled, but within a while they appeared no more:
22 After this I looked, and, behold, the twelve feathers appeared no more, nor the two little feathers:
24 Then saw I also that two little feathers divided themselves from the six, and remained under the head that was upon the right side: for the four continued in their place.
25 And I beheld, and, lo, the feathers that were under the wing thought to set up themselves and to have the rule.
29 And when they so thought, behold, there awaked one of the heads that were at rest, namely, it that was in the midst; for that was greater than the two other heads.
31 And, behold, the head was turned with them that were with it, and did eat up the two feathers under the wing that would have reigned.
32 But this head put the whole earth in fear, and bare rule in it over all those that dwelt upon the earth with much oppression; and it had the governance of the world more than all the wings that had been.
33 And after this I beheld, and, lo, the head that was in the midst suddenly appeared no more, like as the wings.
34 But there remained the two heads, which also in like sort ruled upon the earth, and over those that dwelt therein.
36 Then I head a voice, which said unto me, Look before thee, and consider the thing that thou seest.
37 And I beheld, and lo, as it were a roaring lion chased out of the wood: and I saw that he sent out a man's voice unto the eagle, and said,
39 Art not thou it that remainest of the four beasts, whom I made to reign in my world, that the end of their times might come through them?
40 And the fourth came, and overcame all the beasts that were past, and had power over the world with great fearfulness, and over the whole compass of the earth with much wicked oppression; and so long time dwelt he upon the earth with deceit.
42 For thou hast afflicted the meek, thou hast hurt the peaceable, thou hast loved liars, and destroyed the dwellings of them that brought forth fruit, and hast cast down the walls of such as did thee no harm.
44 The Highest also hath looked upon the proud times, and, behold, they are ended, and his abominations are fulfilled.
45 And therefore appear no more, thou eagle, nor thy horrible wings, nor thy wicked feathers nor thy malicious heads, nor thy hurtful claws, nor all thy vain body:
46 That all the earth may be refreshed, and may return, being delivered from thy violence, and that she may hope for the judgment and mercy of him that made her.
Apocrypha: 2 Esdras Chapter 12
2 And, behold, the head that remained and the four wings appeared no more, and the two went unto it and set themselves up to reign, and their kingdom was small, and fill of uproar.
3 And I saw, and, behold, they appeared no more, and the whole body of the eagle was burnt so that the earth was in great fear: then awaked I out of the trouble and trance of my mind, and from great fear, and said unto my spirit,
5 Lo, yet am I weary in my mind, and very weak in my spirit; and little strength is there in me, for the great fear wherewith I was afflicted this night.
7 And I said, Lord that bearest rule, if I have found grace before thy sight, and if I am justified with thee before many others, and if my prayer indeed be come up before thy face;
8 Comfort me then, and shew me thy servant the interpretation and plain difference of this fearful vision, that thou mayest perfectly comfort my soul.
11 The eagle, whom thou sawest come up from the sea, is the kingdom which was seen in the vision of thy brother Daniel.
Is the eagle shown in Esdras' dream the first of the four beasts described in Daniel's dream or vision by night? (Daniel 7:4) Does the eagle represent the United States of America?
13 Behold, the days will come, that there shall rise up a kingdom upon earth, and it shall be feared above all the kingdoms that were before it.
What kingdom or nation fits this description? “And I saw that all things under heaven were subject unto her, and no man spake against her, no, not one creature upon earth” 2 Esdras 11:6. A super-power nation? One with a very large circle of international influence? $$$, the dollar? Military dominance? Political power? Other?
Could this be twelve presidents that were elected, reigned for their term, and then left the scene one after another? “So went it with all the residue one after another, as that every one reigned, and then appeared no more.” Esdras 11:19
Which President of the United States was elected to the most terms and therefore reigned the longest? Esdras 11:13-17 reads, “And I looked, and, behold, on the right side there arose one feather, and reigned over all the earth; And so it was, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and the place thereof appeared no more: so the next following stood up, and reigned, and had a great time; And it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came also, like as the first, so that it appeared no more. Then came there a voice unto it, and said, Hear thou that hast borne rule over the earth so long: this I say unto thee, before thou beginnest to appear no more, there shall none after thee attain unto thy time, neither unto the half thereof.”
Could this mean that the 2nd president of the twelve “feathers”, who had a great time / much time / more time / a long reign, was in office when the voice came saying, “none after thee attain unto thy time, neither unto the half thereof.” Interestingly, during the four term of Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was determined that future US Presidents would be limited to serving for a maximum of two terms. If Franklin D. Roosevelt is the second feather/wing/king/president, who were the 1st, 3rd, …. 12th Presidents that Esdras saw in the dream on the right side of the eagle?
17 As for the voice which thou heardest speak, and that thou sawest not to go out from the heads but from the midst of the body thereof, this is the interpretation:
18 That after the time of that kingdom there shall arise great strivings, and it shall stand in peril of failing: nevertheless it shall not then fall, but shall be restored again to his beginning.
Could this mean that during “the time of that kingdom”, the voice of the people mattered and by vote individuals could actually make choices and powerfully influence the course of the nation, but after “the time of that kingdom”, things change and the peril of failure escalates?
19 And whereas thou sawest the eight small under feathers sticking to her wings, this is the interpretation:
20 That in him there shall arise eight kings, whose times shall be but small, and their years swift.
21 And two of them shall perish, the middle time approaching: four shall be kept until their end begin to approach: but two shall be kept unto the end.
Now this becomes interesting! On this eagle, we have 12 “normal” feathers and 8 small feathers. Two of the small feathers shall perish, the middle time approaching. Four of the small feathers shall be kept until their end begin to approach, but two shall be kept unto the end. Where do we see such a sequence as described in Esdras' vision?
Since the presidency of Herbert Hoover (1st Feather), there have been two Presidents who experienced a shortened, or out of the ordinary Presidential term. John F. Kennedy was killed, and Richard Nixon resigned. Could Kennedy and Nixon be the two small feathers and the other 12 presidents be the 12 “normal” feathers? If the unexpected end of John F. Kennedy's term represents “the middle time approaching”, and the end of Nixon's “small” perished term signifies the “middle time” was upon us (August 9, 1974), what does this mean? According to Esdras' dream, where do we now stand?
The point in time when President Obama's term concludes (January 2017) appears to be two years prior to the end of this timeline.
If Esdras' dream portrays the timetable of the USA as we've known it, then “... behold, the twelve feathers appeared no more, nor the two little feathers. And there was no more upon the eagle's body, but three heads that rested, and six little wings” Esdras 11:22-23. Therefore, it appears that when Obama's term concludes in January, there are about two more years left until the “time” expires.
How do you suppose it will all play out? What will occur, happen, change, or transpire before the “time” is over? What does it mean the “time” is over? Does it mean that all the feathers (12 regular and 2 small) on the right side of the eagle AND all six of the contrary, small feathers (four shall be kept until their end begin to approach: but two shall be kept unto the end.) have finished their time? Terms? Service as Presidents of the United States? Kings? Other?
Within the two year period following Obama's time as President, how will the remaining six small feathers come and go (four shall be kept until their end begin to approach: but two shall be kept unto the end.) and what will be experienced in the process? What do you think?
One possibility is currently being portrayed to the public through a new TV Series, “The Designated Survivor”. This TV show presents a realistic possible sequence of events that could terminate four of the feathers and get a new, unknown, un-elected individual (designated survivor/successor) as President of the United States all in a single day. Four small feathers (president, vice president, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the Senate) could go out of office in a single day. All of this is under certain circumstances, of course.
Prophecy is seldom fully understood until after it is accomplished. We don't know how it will play out, but it would be wise to be aware of and watch for the fulfillment of Esdras' vision.
Think about it; ponder it; comments, ideas, and opinions are welcome.
I may or may not return here on another day with another post to share some comments regarding the following 30 verses and other scriptures. For now, I want to study the scriptures and the Word of God delivered through His servants, the prophets (Daniel, John the Revelator, Isaiah, Nephi, Joseph Smith and living prophets today, just to mention a few). I desire to receive His words, ponder them, seek further light and understanding through prayer, and reject the traditions of men, false doctrines, and errors. For now, I need to “wrap my head around a few things” and allow you to do the same.
Here is the rest of the interpretation of Esdras' dream to consider as you wish:
23 In his last days shall the most High raise up three kingdoms, and renew many things therein, and they shall have the dominion of the earth,
24 And of those that dwell therein, with much oppression, above all those that were before them: therefore are they called the heads of the eagle.
26 And whereas thou sawest that the great head appeared no more, it signifieth that one of them shall die upon his bed, and yet with pain.
28 For the sword of the one shall devour the other: but at the last shall he fall through the sword himself.
29 And whereas thou sawest two feathers under the wings passing over the head that is on the right side;
30 It signifieth that these are they, whom the Highest hath kept unto their end: this is the small kingdom and full of trouble, as thou sawest.
31 And the lion, whom thou sawest rising up out of the wood, and roaring, and speaking to the eagle, and rebuking her for her unrighteousness with all the words which thou hast heard;
32 This is the anointed, which the Highest hath kept for them and for their wickedness unto the end: he shall reprove them, and shall upbraid them with their cruelty.
34 For the rest of my people shall he deliver with mercy, those that have been pressed upon my borders, and he shall make them joyful until the coming of the day of judgment, whereof I have spoken unto thee from the the beginning.
38 And teach them to the wise of the people, whose hearts thou knowest may comprehend and keep these secrets.
39 But wait thou here thyself yet seven days more, that it may be shewed thee, whatsoever it pleaseth the Highest to declare unto thee. And with that he went his way.
40 And it came to pass, when all the people saw that the seven days were past, and I not come again into the city, they gathered them all together, from the least unto the greatest, and came unto me, and said,
41 What have we offended thee? and what evil have we done against thee, that thou forsakest us, and sittest here in this place?
42 For of all the prophets thou only art left us, as a cluster of the vintage, and as a candle in a dark place, and as a haven or ship preserved from the tempest.
44 If thou shalt forsake us, how much better had it been for us, if we also had been burned in the midst of Sion?
45 For we are not better than they that died there. And they wept with a loud voice. Then answered I them, and said,
48 As for me, I have not forsaken you, neither am I departed from you: but am come into this place, to pray for the desolation of Sion, and that I might seek mercy for the low estate of your sanctuary.