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2 What I am going to tell you is certain to happen. Four kings will rule Persia, one after the other, but the fourth one will become much richer than the others. In fact, his wealth will make him so powerful that he will turn everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will come to power and will be able to do whatever he pleases. 4 But suddenly his kingdom will be crushed and scattered to the four corners of the earth, where four more kingdoms will rise. But these won’t be ruled by his descendants or be as powerful as his kingdom.
5 The king of the south will grow powerful. Then one of his generals will rebel and take over most of the kingdom. 6 Years later the southern kingdom and the northern kingdom will make a treaty, and the daughter of the king of the south will marry the king of the north. But she will lose her power. Then she, her husband, their child,[a] and the servants who came with her will all be killed.
After this, 7 one of her relatives will become the ruler of the southern kingdom. He will attack the army of the northern kingdom and capture its fortresses. 8 Then he will carry their idols to Egypt, together with their precious treasures of silver and gold, but it will be a long time before he attacks the northern kingdom again. Some years later 9 the king of the north will invade the southern kingdom, but he will be forced back to his own country.
10 The sons of the king of the north will gather a huge army that will sweep down like a roaring flood, reaching all the way to the fortress of the southern kingdom. 11 But this will make the king of the south angry, and he will defeat this large army from the north. 12 The king of the south will feel proud because of the many thousands he has killed. But his victories won’t last long, 13 because the king of the north will gather a larger and more powerful army than ever before. Then in a few years, he will start invading other countries.
14 At this time many of your own people will try to make this vision come true by rebelling against the king of the south, but their rebellion will fail. 15 Then the army from the north will surround and capture a fortress in the south, and not even the most experienced troops of the southern kingdom will be able to make them retreat. 16 The king who invaded from the north will do as he pleases, and he will even capture and destroy the holy land.[b] 17 In fact, he will decide to invade the south with his entire army. Then he will attempt to make peace by giving the king of the south a bride from the northern kingdom, but this won’t be successful.
18 Afterwards, this proud king of the north will invade and conquer many of the nations along the coast, but a military leader will defeat him and make him lose his pride. 19 He will retreat to his fortresses in his own country, but on the way he will be defeated and never again be seen.
20 The next king of the north will try to collect taxes for the glory of his kingdom. However, he will come to a sudden end in some mysterious way, instead of in battle or because of someone’s anger.
21 The successor of this king of the north will be a worthless nobody, who doesn’t come from a royal family. He will suddenly appear and gain control of the kingdom by treachery. 22 Then he will destroy armies and remove God’s chosen high priest. 23 He will make a treaty, but he will be deceitful and break it, even though he has only a few followers. 24 Without warning, he will successfully invade a wealthy province, which is something his ancestors never did. Then he will divide among his followers all of its treasures and property. But none of this will last very long.
25 He will gather a large and powerful army, and with great courage he will attack the king of the south. The king of the south will meet him with a much stronger army, but he will lose the battle, because he will be betrayed 26 by members of the royal court. He will be ruined, and most of his army will be slaughtered.
27 The two kings will meet around a table and tell evil lies to each other. But their plans will fail, because God has already decided what will happen. 28 Then the king of the north will return to his country with great treasures. But on the way, he will attack the religion of God’s people and do whatever else he pleases.
29 At the time God has decided, the king of the north will invade the southern kingdom again, but this time, things will be different. 30 Ships from the west will come to attack him, and he will be discouraged. Then he will start back to his own country and take out his anger on the religion of God’s faithful people, while showing kindness to those who are unfaithful. 31 He will send troops to pollute the temple and the fortress, and he will stop the daily sacrifices. Then he will set up that “Horrible Thing” that causes destruction. 32 The king will use deceit to win followers from those who are unfaithful to God, but those who remain faithful will do everything possible to oppose him.
33 Wise leaders will instruct many of the people. But for a while, some of these leaders will either be killed with swords or burned alive, or else robbed of their possessions and thrown into prison. 34 They will receive only a little help in their time of trouble, and many of their followers will be treacherous. 35 Some of those who are wise will suffer, so that God will make them pure and acceptable until the end, which will still come at the time he has decided.
17 If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God. 18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.
19 When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God. 20 But even if we don’t feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if we feel at ease in the presence of God, we will have the courage to come near him. 22 He will give us whatever we ask, because we obey him and do what pleases him. 23 God wants us to have faith in his Son Jesus Christ and to love each other. This is also what Jesus taught us to do. 24 If we obey God’s commandments, we will stay one in our hearts with him, and he will stay one with us. The Spirit that he has given us is proof that we are one with him.
122 It made me glad
to hear them say,
“Let’s go to the house
of the Lord!”
2 Jerusalem, we are standing
inside your gates.
3 Jerusalem, what a strong
and beautiful city you are!
4 Every tribe of the Lord
and comes to you
to praise his name.
5 David’s royal throne is here
where justice rules.
6 Jerusalem, we pray
that you will have peace,
and that all will go well
for those who love you.
7 May there be peace
inside your city walls
and in your palaces.
8 Because of my friends
and my relatives,
I will pray for peace.
9 And because of the house
of the Lord our God,
I will work for your good.
29 If you keep being stubborn
after many warnings,
you will suddenly discover
you have gone too far.