3 King Nebuchadnezzar had a gold idol made that was 60 cubits[a] high and 6 cubits[b] wide. Then he set the idol up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he called the satraps, prefects, governors, advisors, treasurers, judges, rulers, and all the other officials in his kingdom to come together. He wanted all of them to come to the dedication ceremony for the idol.
3 So all the men came and stood in front of the idol that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then the man who makes announcements for the king spoke in a loud voice, “All you people from many nations and language groups, listen to me. This is what you are commanded to do: 5 You must bow down as soon as you hear the sound of all the musical instruments. When you hear the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas,[c] harps, bagpipes,[d] and all the other musical instruments, you must worship the gold idol. King Nebuchadnezzar has set this idol up. 6 Whoever does not bow down and worship this gold idol will immediately be thrown into a very hot furnace.”
7 So as soon as they heard the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas, bagpipes, and all the other musical instruments, they bowed down and worshiped the gold idol. All the peoples, nations, and different language groups there worshiped the gold idol that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 Then some of the Chaldeans came up to the king and began speaking against the people from Judah. 9 They said, “King, may you live forever! 10 King, you gave a command. You said that everyone who hears the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas, harps, bagpipes, and all the other musical instruments must bow down and worship the gold idol. 11 And you also said that whoever does not bow down and worship the gold idol will be thrown into a very hot furnace. 12 There are some Judeans who you made important officials in the province of Babylon that ignored your order, King. Their names are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They don’t worship your gods, and they didn’t bow down to worship the gold idol you set up.”
13 Nebuchadnezzar became very angry. He called for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So they were brought to him. 14 And Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t worship my gods? And is it true that you didn’t bow down and worship the gold idol I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horns, flutes, lyres, sambucas, harps, bagpipes, and all the other musical instruments, you must bow down and worship the gold idol. If you are ready to worship the idol I have made, that is good. But if you don’t worship it, you will be thrown very quickly into the hot furnace. Then no god will be able to save you from my power!”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to explain these things to you. 17 If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, he can save us from your power. 18 But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol you have set up.”
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar became very angry with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave an order for the oven to be heated seven times hotter than it usually was. 20 Then he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He told the soldiers to throw them into the hot furnace.
21 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tied up and thrown into the hot furnace. They were wearing their robes, pants, cloth caps, and other clothes. 22 The king was very angry when he gave the command, so the soldiers quickly made the furnace very hot. The fire was so hot that the flames killed the strong soldiers. They were killed when they went close to the fire to throw in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell into the fire. They were tied up very tightly.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped to his feet. He was very surprised and he asked his advisors, “We tied only three men, and we threw only three men into the fire. Is that right?”
His advisors said, “Yes, King.”
25 The king said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire. They are not tied up and they are not burned. The fourth man looks like an angel.[e]”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went to the opening of the hot furnace. He shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out! Servants of the Most High God, come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. 27 When they came out, the satraps, prefects, governors, and royal advisors crowded around them. They could see that the fire had not burned Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their bodies were not burned at all. Their hair was not burned, and their robes were not burned. They didn’t even smell as if they had been near fire.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their God has sent his angel and saved his servants from the fire! These three men trusted their God and refused to obey my command. They were willing to die instead of serving or worshiping any other god. 29 So I now make this law: Anyone from any nation or language group who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be cut into pieces, and their house will be destroyed until it is a pile of dirt and ashes. No other god can save his people like this.” 30 Then the king gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego more important jobs in the province of Babylon.
4 King Nebuchadnezzar sent this letter to the many nations and language groups living around the world.
2 I am very happy to tell you about the miracles and wonderful things that the Most High God did for me.
3 God has done amazing miracles!
He has done powerful miracles!
His kingdom continues forever;
his rule will continue for all generations.
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at my palace. I was happy and successful. 5 I had a dream that made me afraid. I was lying on my bed, and I saw pictures and visions in my mind. These things made me very afraid. 6 So I gave an order that all the wise men of Babylon be brought to me to tell me what my dream meant. 7 When the men of magic and the Chaldeans came, I told them about the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant. 8 Finally, Daniel came to me. (I gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar to honor my god. The spirit of the holy gods is in him.) I told him about my dream. 9 I said, “Belteshazzar, you are the most important of all the men of magic. I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you. I know there is no secret that is too hard for you to understand. This was what I dreamed. Tell me what it means. 10 These are the visions I saw while I was lying in my bed: I looked, and there in front of me was a tree standing in the middle of the earth. The tree was very tall. 11 The tree grew large and strong. The top of the tree touched the sky.[f] It could be seen from anywhere on earth. 12 The leaves of the tree were beautiful. It had much good fruit on it. And on the tree was plenty of food for everyone. The wild animals found shelter under the tree, and the birds lived in its branches. Every animal ate from the tree.
13 “I was looking at those things in the vision while lying on my bed. And then I saw a holy angel coming down from heaven. 14 He spoke very loud and said, ‘Cut down the tree, and cut off its branches. Strip off its leaves. Scatter its fruit around. The animals that are under the tree will run away. The birds that are in its branches will fly away. 15 But let the stump and roots stay in the ground. Put a band of iron and bronze around it. The stump and roots will stay in the field with the grass all around it. It will live among the wild animals and plants in the fields. It will become wet with dew. 16 He will not think like a man any longer. He will have the mind of an animal. Seven seasons will pass while he is like this.’
17 “Holy angels announced this punishment so that all the people on earth may know that God Most High rules over human kingdoms. God gives those kingdoms to whoever he wants, and he chooses humble people to rule them.
18 “That is what I, King Nebuchadnezzar, dreamed. Now, Belteshazzar,[g] tell me what it means. None of the wise men in my kingdom can tell me what that dream means. But Belteshazzar, you can interpret the dream because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
19 Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) became very quiet for a while. What he was thinking bothered him. So the king said, “Belteshazzar, don’t let the dream or its meaning make you afraid.”
Then Belteshazzar answered the king, “My lord, I wish the dream were about your enemies, and I wish the meaning of the dream were about those against you. 20-21 You saw a tree in your dream. The tree grew large and strong. Its top touched the sky, and it could be seen from all over the earth. Its leaves were beautiful, and it had plenty of fruit. The fruit gave plenty of food for everyone. It was a home for the wild animals, and its branches were nesting places for the birds. You saw that tree. 22 King, you are that tree! You have become great and powerful. You are like the tall tree that touched the sky—your power reaches to the far parts of the earth.
23 “King, you saw a holy angel coming down from heaven. He said, ‘Cut the tree down and destroy it. Put a band of iron and bronze around the stump and leave the stump and its roots in the ground. Leave it in the grass in the field. It will become wet with dew. He will live like a wild animal. Seven seasons will pass while he is like this.’
24 “King, this is the meaning of the dream. God Most High has commanded these things to happen to my lord the king: 25 King Nebuchadnezzar, you will be forced to go away from people. You will live among the wild animals. You will eat grass like cattle, and you will become wet with dew. Seven seasons will pass, and then you will learn this lesson. You will learn God Most High rules over human kingdoms and gives them to whoever he wants.
26 “The command to leave the stump of the tree and its roots in the ground means this: Your kingdom will be given back to you. This will happen when you learn that Most High God rules your kingdom. 27 So, King, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Stop doing bad things and be kind to poor people. Then you might continue to be successful.”
28 All these things happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29-30 Twelve months after the dream, King Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof[h] of his palace in Babylon. While on the roof, the king said, “Look at Babylon! I built this great city. It is my palace. I built this great place by my power. I built this place to show how great I am.”
31 The words were still in his mouth when a voice came from heaven. The voice said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, these things will happen to you: Your power as king has been taken away from you. 32 You will be forced to go away from people. You will live with the wild animals and eat grass like an ox. Seven seasons will pass before you learn your lesson. Then you will learn that God Most High rules over human kingdoms and gives them to whoever he wants.”
33 These things happened immediately. Nebuchadnezzar was forced to go away from people. He began eating grass like an ox. He became wet from dew. His hair grew long like the feathers of an eagle, and his nails grew long like the claws of a bird.
34 Then at the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up toward heaven, and I was in my right mind again. Then I gave praise to God Most High. I gave honor and glory to him who lives forever.
God rules forever!
His kingdom continues for all generations.
35 People on earth
are not really important.
God does what he wants
with the powers of heaven
and the people on earth.
No one can stop his powerful hand
or question what he does.
36 At that time God gave me my right mind again, and he gave back my great honor and power as king. My advisors and the royal people began to ask my advice again. I became the king again—even greater and more powerful than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, give praise, honor, and glory to the King of Heaven. Everything he does is right. He is always fair, and he is able to make proud people humble!
5 The people who believe that Jesus is the Messiah are God’s children. Anyone who loves the Father also loves the Father’s children. 2 How do we know that we love God’s children? We know because we love God and we obey his commands. 3 Loving God means obeying his commands. And God’s commands are not too hard for us, 4 because everyone who is a child of God has the power to win against the world. 5 It is our faith that has won the victory against the world. So who wins against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
6 Jesus Christ is the one who came. He came with water and with blood.[a] He did not come by water only. No, Jesus came by both water and blood. And the Spirit tells us that this is true. The Spirit is the truth. 7 So there are three witnesses that tell us about Jesus: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood. These three witnesses agree.
9 We believe people when they say something is true. But what God says is more important. And this is what God told us: He told us the truth about his own Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the truth that God told us. But people who do not believe God make God a liar, because they do not believe what God told us about his Son. 11 This is what God told us: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write this letter to you who believe in the Son of God. I write so that you will know that you have eternal life now. 14 We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. 15 He listens to us every time we ask him. So we know that he gives us whatever we ask from him.
16 Suppose you see your fellow believer sinning (sin that does not lead to eternal death). You should pray for them. Then God will give them life. I am talking about people whose sin does not lead to eternal death. There is sin that leads to death. I don’t mean that you should pray about that kind of sin. 17 Doing wrong is always sin. But there is sin that does not lead to eternal death.
18 We know that those who have been made God’s children do not continue to sin. The Son of God keeps them safe.[b] The Evil One cannot hurt them. 19 We know that we belong to God, but the Evil One controls the whole world. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding. So now we can know the one who is true, and we live in that true God. We are in his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and he is eternal life. 21 So, dear children, keep yourselves away from false gods.