Daniel 3-4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Nebuchadnezzar’s Gold Statue
3 King Nebuchadnezzar ordered a gold statue to be built ninety feet high and nine feet wide. He had it set up in Dura Valley near the city of Babylon, 2 and he commanded his governors, advisors, treasurers, judges, and his other officials to come from everywhere in his kingdom to the dedication of the statue. 3 So all of them came and stood in front of it.
4 Then an official stood up and announced:
People of every nation and race, now listen to the king’s command! 5 Trumpets, flutes, harps, and all other kinds of musical instruments will soon start playing. When you hear the music, you must bow down and worship the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Anyone who refuses will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace.
7 As soon as the people heard the music, they bowed down and worshiped the gold statue that the king had set up.
8 Some Babylonians used this as a chance to accuse the Jews to King Nebuchadnezzar. 9 They said, “Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! 10 You commanded everyone to bow down and worship the gold statue when the music played. 11 And you said that anyone who did not bow down and worship it would be thrown into a flaming furnace. 12 Sir, you appointed three men to high positions in Babylon Province, but they have disobeyed you. Those Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refuse to worship your gods and the statue you have set up.”
13 King Nebuchadnezzar was furious. So he sent for the three young men and said, 14 “I hear that you refuse to worship my gods and the gold statue I have set up. 15 Now I am going to give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue when you hear the music, everything will be all right. But if you don’t, you will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace. No god can save you from me.”
16 The three men replied, “Your Majesty, we don’t need to defend ourselves. 17 The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we still won’t worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up.”
19 Nebuchadnezzar’s face twisted with anger at the three men. And he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Next, he commanded some of his strongest soldiers to tie up the men and throw them into the flaming furnace. 21-23 The king wanted it done at that very moment. So the soldiers tied up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and threw them into the flaming furnace with all of their clothes still on, including their turbans. The fire was so hot that flames leaped out and killed the soldiers.
24 Suddenly the king jumped up and shouted, “Weren’t only three men tied up and thrown into the fire?”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” the people answered.
25 “But I see four men walking around in the fire,” the king replied. “None of them is tied up or harmed, and the fourth one looks like a god.”[a]
26 Nebuchadnezzar went closer to the flaming furnace and said to the three young men, “You servants of the Most High God, come out at once!”
They came out, 27 and the king’s high officials, governors, and advisors all crowded around them. The men were not burned, their hair wasn’t scorched, and their clothes didn’t even smell like smoke. 28 King Nebuchadnezzar said:
Praise their God for sending an angel to rescue his servants! They trusted their God and refused to obey my commands. Yes, they chose to die rather than to worship or serve any god except their own. 29 And I won’t allow people of any nation or race to say anything against their God. Anyone who does will be chopped up and their houses will be torn down, because no other god has such great power to save.
30 After this happened, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in Babylon Province.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s Letter about His Second Dream
4 King Nebuchadnezzar sent the following letter to the people of all nations and races on the earth:
Greetings to all of you!
4 I was enjoying a time of peace and prosperity, 5 when suddenly I had some horrifying dreams and visions. 6 Then I commanded every wise man in Babylonia to appear in my court, so they could explain the meaning of my dream. 7 After they arrived, I told them my dream, but they were not able to say what it meant. 8 Finally, a young man named Daniel came in, and I told him the dream. The holy gods had given him special powers, and I had renamed him Belteshazzar after my own god.
9 I said, “Belteshazzar, not only are you the wisest of all advisors and counselors, but the holy gods have given you special powers to solve the most difficult mysteries. So listen to what I dreamed and tell me what it means:
10 In my sleep I saw
13 “While I was in bed, having this vision, a holy angel[b] came down from heaven 14 and shouted:
‘Chop down the tree
‘Make sure that this ruler
18 “Daniel,[e] that was the dream that none of the wise men in my kingdom were able to understand. But I am sure that you will understand what it means, because the holy gods have given you some special powers.”
19 For a while, Daniel[f] was terribly confused and worried by what he was thinking. But I said, “Don’t be bothered either by the dream or by what it means.”
Your Majesty, I wish the dream had been against your enemies. 20 You saw a tree that grew so big and strong that it reached up to heaven and could be seen from anywhere on earth. 21 Its leaves were beautiful, and it produced enough fruit for all living creatures; animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. 22 Your Majesty, that tree is you. Your glorious reputation has reached heaven, and your kingdom covers the earth.
23 Then you saw a holy angel[g] come down from heaven and say, “Chop down the tree and destroy it! But leave its stump and roots in the ground, fastened there by a chain of iron and bronze. Let it stay for seven years[h] out in the field with the wild animals, unprotected from the dew.”
24 Your Majesty, God Most High has sent you this message, and it means 25 that you will be forced to live with the wild animals, far away from humans. You will eat grass like a wild animal and live outdoors for seven years,[i] until you learn that God Most High controls all earthly kingdoms and chooses their rulers. 26 But he gave orders not to disturb the stump and roots. This is to show that you will be king once again, after you learn that the God who rules from heaven is in control. 27 Your Majesty, please be willing to do what I say. Turn from your sins and start living right; have mercy on those who are mistreated. Then all will go well with you for a long time.
The Rest of Nebuchadnezzar’s Letter about His Second Dream
28-30 About twelve months later, I was walking on the flat roof of my royal palace and admiring the beautiful city of Babylon, when these things started happening to me. I was saying to myself, “Just look at this wonderful capital city that I have built by my own power and for my own glory!”
31 But before I could finish speaking, a voice from heaven interrupted:
King Nebuchadnezzar, this kingdom is no longer yours. 32 You will be forced to live with the wild animals, away from people. For seven years[j] you will eat grass, as though you were an ox, until you learn that God Most High is in control of all earthly kingdoms and that he is the one who chooses their rulers.
33 This was no sooner said than done—I was forced to live like a wild animal; I ate grass and was unprotected from the dew. As time went by, my hair grew longer than eagle feathers, and my fingernails looked like the claws of a bird.
34 Finally, I prayed to God in heaven, and my mind was healed. Then I said:
“I praise and honor
36 At that time my mind was healed, and once again I became the ruler of my glorious kingdom. My advisors and officials returned to me, and I had greater power than ever before. 37 That’s why I say:
“Praise and honor the King
1 John 5 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Victory over the World
5 If we believe that Jesus is truly Christ, we are God’s children. Everyone who loves the Father will also love his children. 2 If we love and obey God, we know that we will love his children. 3 We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.
4 Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory. 5 No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
Who Jesus Is
6 Water and blood came out from the side of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just water, but water and blood.[a] The Spirit tells about this, because the Spirit is truthful. 7 In fact, there are three who tell about it. 8 They are the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and they all agree.
9 We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about his Son. 10 If we have faith in God’s Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don’t believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. 11 God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. 12 And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life.
Knowing about Eternal Life
13 All of you have faith in the Son of God, and I have written to let you know that you have eternal life. 14 We are certain that God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him. 15 And if we know that God listens when we pray, we are sure that our prayers have already been answered.
16 Suppose you see one of our people commit a sin that isn’t a deadly sin. You can pray, and that person will be given eternal life. But the sin must not be one that is deadly. 17 Everything that is wrong is sin, but not all sins are deadly.
18 We are sure that God’s children do not keep on sinning. God’s own Son protects them, and the devil cannot harm them.
19 We are certain that we come from God and that the rest of the world is under the power of the devil.
20 We know that Jesus Christ the Son of God has come and has shown us the true God. And because of Jesus, we now belong to the true God who gives eternal life.
21 Children, you must stay away from idols.
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