Daniel 1-2Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Daniel and His Friends
1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah,[a] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem. 2 The Lord let Nebuchadnezzar capture Jehoiakim and take away some of the things used in God’s temple. And when the king returned to Babylonia,[b] he put these things in the temple of his own god.
3 One day the king ordered Ashpenaz, his highest palace official, to choose some young men from the royal family of Judah and from other leading Jewish families. 4 The king said, “They must be healthy, handsome, smart, wise, educated, and fit to serve in the royal palace. Teach them how to speak and write our language 5 and give them the same food and wine that I am served. Train them for three years, and then they can become court officials.”
6 Four of the young Jews chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 But the king’s chief official gave them Babylonian names: Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego.
8 Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king’s chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace. 9 God had made the official friendly and kind to Daniel. 10 But the man still told him, “The king has decided what you must eat and drink. And I am afraid he will kill me, if you eat something else and end up looking worse than the other young men.”
11 The king’s official had put a guard in charge of Daniel and his three friends. So Daniel said to the guard, 12 “For the next ten days, let us have only vegetables and water at mealtime. 13 When the ten days are up, compare how we look with the other young men, and decide what to do with us.” 14 The guard agreed to do what Daniel had asked.
15 Ten days later, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better than the young men who had been served food from the royal palace. 16 After this, the guard let them eat vegetables instead of the rich food and wine.
17 God made the four young men smart and wise. They read a lot of books and became well educated. Daniel could also tell the meaning of dreams and visions.
18 At the end of the three-year period set by King Nebuchadnezzar, his chief palace official brought all the young men to him. 19 The king interviewed them and discovered that none of the others were as outstanding as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they were given positions in the royal court. 20 From then on, whenever the king asked for advice, he found their wisdom was ten times better than that of any of his other advisors and magicians. 21 Daniel served there until the first year of King Cyrus.[c]
2 During the second year that Nebuchadnezzar was king, he had such horrible nightmares that he could not sleep. 2 So he called in his counselors, advisors, magicians, and wise men, 3 and said, “I am disturbed by a dream that I don’t understand, and I want you to explain it.”
4 They answered in Aramaic,[d] “Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! We are your servants. Please tell us your dream, and we will explain what it means.”
5 But the king replied, “No! I have made up my mind. If you don’t tell me both the dream and its meaning, you will be chopped to pieces and your houses will be torn down. 6 However, if you do tell me both the dream and its meaning, you will be greatly rewarded and highly honored. Now tell me the dream and explain what it means.”
7 “Your Majesty,” they said, “if you will only tell us your dream, we will interpret it for you.”
8 The king replied, “You’re just stalling for time, 9 because you know what’s going to happen if you don’t come up with the answer. You’ve decided to make up a bunch of lies, hoping I might change my mind. Now tell me the dream, and that will prove that you can interpret it.”
10 His advisors explained, “Your Majesty, you are demanding the impossible! No king, not even the most famous and powerful, has ever ordered his advisors, magicians, or wise men to do such a thing. 11 It can’t be done, except by the gods, and they don’t live here on earth.”
12-13 This made the king so angry that he gave orders for every wise man in Babylonia to be put to death, including Daniel and his three friends.
God Tells Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream to Daniel
14 Arioch was the king’s official in charge of putting the wise men to death. He was on his way to have it done, when Daniel very wisely went to him 15 and asked, “Why did the king give such cruel[e] orders?” After Arioch explained what had happened, 16 Daniel rushed off and said to the king, “If you will just give me some time, I’ll explain your dream.”
17 Daniel returned home and told his three friends. 18 Then he said, “Pray that the God who rules from heaven will be merciful and explain this mystery, so that we and the others won’t be put to death.” 19 In a vision one night, Daniel was shown the dream and its meaning. Then he praised the God who rules from heaven:
20 “Our God, your name
22 “You explain deep mysteries,
Daniel Interprets the Dream
24 Daniel went back to Arioch, the official in charge of executing the wise men. Daniel said, “Don’t kill those men! Take me to the king, and I will explain the meaning of his dream.”
25 Arioch rushed Daniel to the king and announced, “Your Majesty, I have found out that one of the men brought here from Judah can explain your dream.”
26 The king asked Daniel,[f] “Can you tell me my dream and what it means?”
27 Daniel answered:
Your Majesty, not even the smartest person in all the world can do what you are demanding. 28-29 But the God who rules from heaven can explain mysteries. And while you were sleeping, he showed you what will happen in the future. 30 However, you must realize that these mysteries weren’t explained to me because I am smarter than everyone else. Instead, it was done so that you would understand what you have seen.
31 Your Majesty, what you saw standing in front of you was a huge and terrifying statue, shining brightly. 32 Its head was made of gold, its chest and arms were silver, and from its waist down to its knees, it was bronze. 33 From there to its ankles it was iron, and its feet were a mixture of iron and clay.
34 As you watched, a stone was cut from a mountain—but not by human hands. The stone struck the feet, completely shattering the iron and clay. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed and blown away without a trace, like husks of wheat at threshing time. But the stone became a tremendous mountain that covered the entire earth.
36 That was the dream, and now I’ll tell you what it means. 37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings, and God has highly honored you with power 38 over all humans, animals, and birds. You are the head of gold. 39 After you are gone, another kingdom will rule, but it won’t be as strong. Then it will be followed by a kingdom of bronze that will rule the whole world. 40 Next, a kingdom of iron will come to power, crushing and shattering everything.[g]
41-42 This fourth kingdom will be divided—it will be both strong and brittle, just as you saw that the feet and toes were a mixture of iron and clay. 43 This kingdom will be the result of a marriage between kingdoms, but it will crumble, just as iron and clay don’t stick together.
44-45 During the time of those kings, the God who rules from heaven will set up an eternal kingdom that will never fall. It will be like the stone that was cut from the mountain, but not by human hands—the stone that crushed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. Your Majesty, in your dream the great God has told you what is going to happen, and you can trust this interpretation.
Daniel Is Promoted
46 King Nebuchadnezzar bowed low to the ground and worshiped Daniel. Then he gave orders for incense to be burned and a sacrifice of grain to be offered in honor of Daniel. 47 The king said, “Now I know that your God is above all other gods and kings, because he gave you the power to explain this mystery.” 48 The king then presented Daniel with a lot of gifts; he promoted him to governor of Babylon Province and put him in charge of the other wise men. 49 At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to high positions in Babylon Province, and he let Daniel stay on as a palace official.
1 John 4Contemporary English Version (CEV)
God Is Love
4 Dear friends, don’t believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world, 2 and you can know which ones come from God. His Spirit says that Jesus Christ had a truly human body. 3 But when someone doesn’t say this about Jesus, you know that person has a spirit that doesn’t come from God and is the enemy of Christ. You knew that this enemy was coming into the world and now is already here.
4 Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God’s Spirit[a] is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world. 5 These enemies belong to this world, and the world listens to them, because they speak its language. 6 We belong to God, and everyone who knows God will listen to us. But the people who don’t know God won’t listen to us. That is how we can tell the Spirit that speaks the truth from the one that tells lies.
7 My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him. 8 God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him. 9 God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. 10 Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.
12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.
13 God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us. 14 God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. 15 God stays one with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That’s how we stay one with God 16 and are sure that God loves us.
God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us. 17 If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won’t be worried about the day of judgment. 18 A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love.
19 We love because God loved us first. 20 But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see? 21 The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!”
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