Daily reading for Sunday, December 1, 2013
Daniel 8:1-27; 1 John 2:1-17; Psalms 120:1-7; Proverbs 28:25-26 (Good News Translation)
Daniel's Vision of a Ram and a Goat
8 In the third year that Belshazzar was king, I saw a second vision.[a] 2 In the vision I suddenly found myself in the walled city of Susa in the province of Elam. I was standing by the Ulai River, 3 and there beside the river I saw a ram that had two long horns, one of which was longer and newer than the other. 4 I watched the ram butting with his horns to the west, the north, and the south. No animal could stop him or escape his power. He did as he pleased and grew arrogant.
5 While I was wondering what this meant, a goat came rushing out of the west, moving so fast that his feet didn't touch the ground. He had one prominent horn between his eyes. 6 He came toward the ram, which I had seen standing beside the river, and rushed at him with all his force. 7 I watched him attack the ram. He was so angry that he smashed into him and broke the two horns. The ram had no strength to resist. He was thrown to the ground and trampled on, and there was no one who could save him.
8 The goat grew more and more arrogant, but at the height of his power his horn was broken. In its place four prominent horns came up, each pointing in a different direction. 9 Out of one of these four horns grew a little horn, whose power extended toward the south and the east and toward the Promised Land. 10 It grew strong enough to attack the army of heaven, the stars themselves, and it threw some of them to the ground and trampled on them. 11 It even defied the Prince of the heavenly army, stopped the daily sacrifices offered to him, and ruined the Temple. 12 People sinned there instead of offering the proper daily sacrifices,[b] and true religion was thrown to the ground. The horn was successful in everything it did.
13 Then I heard one angel ask another, “How long will these things that were seen in the vision continue? How long will an awful sin replace the daily sacrifices? How long will the army of heaven and the Temple be trampled on?”
14 I heard the other angel answer, “It will continue for 2,300 evenings and mornings, during which sacrifices will not be offered. Then the Temple will be restored.”
The Angel Gabriel Explains the Vision
15 I was trying to understand what the vision meant, when suddenly someone was standing in front of me. 16 I heard a voice call out over the Ulai River, “Gabriel, explain to him the meaning of what he saw.” 17 Gabriel came and stood beside me, and I was so terrified that I fell to the ground.
He said to me, “Mortal man, understand the meaning. The vision has to do with the end of the world.” 18 While he was talking, I fell to the ground unconscious. But he took hold of me, raised me to my feet, 19 and said, “I am showing you what the result of God's anger will be. The vision refers to the time of the end.
20 “The ram you saw that had two horns represents the kingdoms of Media and Persia. 21 The goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the prominent horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 The four horns that came up when the first horn was broken represent the four kingdoms into which that nation will be divided and which will not be as strong as the first kingdom.
23 “When the end of those kingdoms is near and they have become so wicked that they must be punished, there will be a stubborn, vicious, and deceitful king. 24 He will grow strong—but not by his own power. He will cause terrible destruction and be successful in everything he does. He will bring destruction on powerful men and on God's own people. 25 Because he is cunning, he will succeed in his deceitful ways. He will be proud of himself and destroy many people without warning. He will even defy the greatest King of all, but he will be destroyed without the use of any human power. 26 This vision about the evening and morning sacrifices which has been explained to you will come true. But keep it secret now, because it will be a long time before it does come true.”
27 I was depressed and ill for several days. Then I got up and went back to the work that the king had assigned to me, but I was puzzled by the vision and could not understand it.
1 John 2:1-17
Christ Our Helper
2 I am writing this to you, my children, so that you will not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have someone who pleads with the Father on our behalf—Jesus Christ, the righteous one. 2 And Christ himself is the means by which our sins are forgiven, and not our sins only, but also the sins of everyone.
3 If we obey God's commands, then we are sure that we know him. 4 If we say that we know him, but do not obey his commands, we are liars and there is no truth in us. 5 But if we obey his word, we are the ones whose love for God has really been made perfect. This is how we can be sure that we are in union with God: 6 if we say that we remain in union with God, we should live just as Jesus Christ did.
The New Command
7 My dear friends, this command I am writing you is not new; it is the old command, the one you have had from the very beginning. The old command is the message you have already heard. 8 However, the command I now write you is new, because its truth is seen in Christ and also in you. For the darkness is passing away, and the real light is already shining.
9 If we say that we are in the light, yet hate others, we are in the darkness to this very hour. 10 If we love others, we live in the light, and so there is nothing in us that will cause someone else[a] to sin. 11 But if we hate others, we are in the darkness; we walk in it and do not know where we are going, because the darkness has made us blind.
12 I write to you, my children, because your sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you have defeated the Evil One.
14 I write to you, my children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One.
15 Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father. 16 Everything that belongs to the world—what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of—none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world. 17 The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever.
- 1 John 2:10 someone else; or us.
A Prayer for Help
120 When I was in trouble, I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
2 Save me, Lord,
from liars and deceivers.
3 You liars, what will God do to you?
How will he punish you?
4 With a soldier's sharp arrows,
with red-hot coals!
5 Living among you is as bad as living in Meshech
or among the people of Kedar.[a]
6 I have lived too long
with people who hate peace!
7 When I speak of peace,
they are for war.
- Psalm 120:5 Two distant regions, whose people were regarded as savages.
25 Selfishness only causes trouble. You are much better off to trust the Lord.
26 It is foolish to follow your own opinions. Be safe, and follow the teachings of wiser people.