Through The Bible Friday 11-23-18 Devotions
Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and Goat
8 [a]During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me. 2 In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa, in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River.[b]
3 As I looked up, I saw a ram with two long horns standing beside the river.[c] One of the horns was longer than the other, even though it had grown later than the other one. 4 The ram butted everything out of his way to the west, to the north, and to the south, and no one could stand against him or help his victims. He did as he pleased and became very great.
5 While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes, 6 headed toward the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the river, rushing at him in a rage. 7 The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power.
8 The goat became very powerful. But at the height of his power, his large horn was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four prominent horns pointing in the four directions of the earth. 9 Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel. 10 Its power reached to the heavens, where it attacked the heavenly army, throwing some of the heavenly beings and some of the stars to the ground and trampling them. 11 It even challenged the Commander of heaven’s army by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple. 12 The army of heaven was restrained from responding to this rebellion. So the daily sacrifice was halted, and truth was overthrown. The horn succeeded in everything it did.[d]
13 Then I heard two holy ones talking to each other. One of them asked, “How long will the events of this vision last? How long will the rebellion that causes desecration stop the daily sacrifices? How long will the Temple and heaven’s army be trampled on?”
14 The other replied, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Temple will be made right again.”
Gabriel Explains the Vision
15 As I, Daniel, was trying to understand the meaning of this vision, someone who looked like a man stood in front of me. 16 And I heard a human voice calling out from the Ulai River, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of his vision.”
17 As Gabriel approached the place where I was standing, I became so terrified that I fell with my face to the ground. “Son of man,” he said, “you must understand that the events you have seen in your vision relate to the time of the end.”
18 While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet.
19 Then he said, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time. 20 The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece,[e] and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire. 22 The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first.
23 “At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height, a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. 25 He will be a master of deception and will become arrogant; he will destroy many without warning. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power.
26 “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings[f] is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.”
27 Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it.
Daniel’s Prayer for His People
9 It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians.[g] 2 During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.[h] 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. 5 But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. 6 We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. 8 O Lord, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9 But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. 10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to your voice.
“So now the solemn curses and judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured down on us because of our sin. 12 You have kept your word and done to us and our rulers exactly as you warned. Never has there been such a disaster as happened in Jerusalem. 13 Every curse written against us in the Law of Moses has come true. Yet we have refused to seek mercy from the Lord our God by turning from our sins and recognizing his truth. 14 Therefore, the Lord has brought upon us the disaster he prepared. The Lord our God was right to do all of these things, for we did not obey him.
15 “O Lord our God, you brought lasting honor to your name by rescuing your people from Egypt in a great display of power. But we have sinned and are full of wickedness. 16 In view of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn your furious anger away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. All the neighboring nations mock Jerusalem and your people because of our sins and the sins of our ancestors.
17 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.
18 “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.
19 “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
Gabriel’s Message about the Anointed One
20 I went on praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people, pleading with the Lord my God for Jerusalem, his holy mountain. 21 As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. 23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.
24 “A period of seventy sets of seven[i] has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.[j] 25 Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven[k] will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One[l]—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses,[m] despite the perilous times.
26 “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven,[n] the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. 27 The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven,[o] but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds,he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration,[q] until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.”
Daniel’s Vision of a Messenger
10 In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia,[r] Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship.
2 When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. 3 All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.
4 On April 23,[s] as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, 5 I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. 6 His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.
7 Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide. 8 So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. 9 Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground.
10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit prince[t] of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels,[u] came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.[v] 14 Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”
15 While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. 16 Then the one who looked like a man[w] touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. 17 How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.”
18 Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. 19 “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!”
As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”
20 He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece[x] will come. 21 Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince.[y]
8:1 The original text from this point through chapter 12 is in Hebrew. See note at 2:4.
8:2 Or the Ulai Gate; also in 8:16.
8:3 Or the gate; also in 8:6.
8:11-12 The meaning of the Hebrew for these verses is uncertain.
8:21 Hebrew of Javan.
8:26 Hebrew about the evenings and mornings; compare 8:14.
9:1 Or the Chaldeans.
9:2 See Jer 25:11-12; 29:10.
9:24a Hebrew seventy sevens.
9:24b Or the Most Holy One.
9:25a Hebrew Seven sevens plus sixty-two sevens.
9:25b Or an anointed one; similarly in 9:26. Hebrew reads a messiah.
9:25c Or and a moat, or and trenches.
9:26 Hebrew After sixty-two sevens.
9:27a Hebrew for one seven.
9:27b Hebrew And on the wing; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
9:27c Hebrew an abomination of desolation.
10:1 The third year of Cyrus’s reign was 536 B.c.
10:4 Hebrew On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This date in the book of Daniel can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and can be related accurately to our modern calendar. This event occurred on April 23, 536 B.c.
10:13a Hebrew the prince; also in 10:13c, 20.
10:13b Hebrew the chief princes.
10:13c As in one Greek version; Hebrew reads and I was left there with the kings of Persia. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
10:16 As in most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text; one manuscript of the Masoretic Text and one Greek version read Then something that looked like a human hand.
10:20 Hebrew of Javan.
10:21 Hebrew against these except Michael, your prince.
11 Whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech
will have the king as a friend.
12 The Lord preserves those with knowledge,
but he ruins the plans of the treacherous.
13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there!
If I go outside, I might be killed!”
14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a dangerous trap;
those who make the Lord angry will fall into it.
15 A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness,
but physical discipline will drive it far away.
16 A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor
or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.
Sayings of the Wise
17 Listen to the words of the wise;
apply your heart to my instruction.
18 For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart
and always ready on your lips.
19 I am teaching you today—yes, you—
so you will trust in the Lord.
20 I have written thirty sayings[a] for you,
filled with advice and knowledge.
21 In this way, you may know the truth
and take an accurate report to those who sent you.
22:20 Or excellent sayings; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
Faith in the Son of God
5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ[a] has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross[b]—not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. 7 So we have these three witnesses[c]— 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. 9 Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. 10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.
11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
16 If you see a fellow believer[d] sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.
18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.[e] And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.[f]
5:1 Or the Messiah.
5:6 Greek This is he who came by water and blood.
5:7 A few very late manuscripts add in heaven—the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And we have three witnesses on earth.
5:16 Greek a brother.
5:20 Greek the one who is true.
5:21 Greek keep yourselves from idols.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
1 Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion;
they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
2 Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.
3 The wicked will not rule the land of the godly,
for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong.
4 O Lord, do good to those who are good,
whose hearts are in tune with you.
5 But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O Lord.
Take them away with those who do evil.
May Israel have peace!
Monday, November 26, 2018