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Daniel 8

Vision of a Ram and a Goat

Daniel wrote:

In the third year of King Belshazzar of Babylonia, I had a second vision in which I was in Susa, the chief city of Babylonia’s Elam Province. I was beside the Ulai River, when I looked up and saw a ram standing there with two horns on its head—both of them were long, but the second one was longer than the first. The ram went charging toward the west, the north, and the south. No other animals were strong enough to oppose him, and nothing could save them from his power. So he did as he pleased and became even more powerful.

I kept on watching and saw a goat come from the west and charge across the entire earth, without even touching the ground. Between his eyes was a powerful horn, and with tremendous anger the goat started toward the ram that I had seen beside the river. The goat was so fierce that its attack broke both horns of the ram, leaving him powerless. Then the goat stomped on the ram, and no one could do anything to help. After this, the goat became even more powerful. But at the peak of his power, his mighty horn was broken, and four other mighty horns took its place—one pointing to the north and one to the east, one to the south and one to the west.

A little horn came from one of these, and its power reached to the south, the east, and even to the holy land. 10 It became so strong that it attacked the stars in the sky, which were heaven’s army. Then it threw some of them down to the earth and stomped on them. 11-12 It humiliated heaven’s army and dishonored its leader by keeping him from offering the daily sacrifices. In fact, it was so terrible that it even disgraced the temple and wiped out true worship. It also did everything else it wanted to do.

13 Then one of the holy angels asked another, “When will the daily sacrifices be offered again? What about this horrible rebellion? When will the temple and heaven’s army no longer be trampled in the dust?”

14 The other answered, “It will be two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings before the temple is dedicated and in use again.”

Gabriel Interprets the Vision

15 Daniel wrote:

I was trying to figure out the meaning of the vision, when someone suddenly appeared there beside me. 16 And from beside the Ulai River, a voice like that of a human said, “Gabriel, help him understand the vision.”

17 Gabriel came over, and I fell to the ground in fear. Then he said, “You are merely a human, but you need to understand that this vision is about the end of time.”

18 While he was speaking, I fell facedown in a deep sleep. But he lifted me to my feet 19 and said:

Listen, and I will tell you what will happen at the end of time, when God has chosen to show his anger. 20 The two horns of the ram are the kings of Media and Persia, 21 the goat is the kingdom of Greece, and the powerful horn between his eyes is the first of its kings. 22 After this horn is broken, four other kingdoms will appear, but they won’t be as strong.

23 When these rulers have become as evil as possible, their power will end, and then a king who is dangerous and cannot be trusted will appear. 24 He will gain strength, but not on his own, and he will cause terrible destruction. He will wipe out powerful leaders and God’s people as well. 25 His deceitful lies will make him so successful, that he will think he is really great. Suddenly he will kill many people, and he will even attack God, the Supreme Ruler. But God will crush him!

26 This vision about the evenings and mornings is true, but these things won’t happen for a long time, so don’t tell it to others.

27 After this, I was so worn out and weak that it was several days before I could get out of bed and go about my duties for the king. I was disturbed by this vision that made no sense to me.

1 John 2:1-17

Christ Helps Us

My children, I am writing this so that you won’t sin. But if you do sin, Jesus Christ always does the right thing, and he will speak to the Father for us. Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world’s people.

When we obey God, we are sure that we know him. But if we claim to know him and don’t obey him, we are lying and the truth isn’t in our hearts. We truly love God only when we obey him as we should, and then we know that we belong to him. If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ.

The New Commandment

My dear friends, I am not writing to give you a new commandment. It is the same one that you were first given, and it is the message you heard. But it really is a new commandment, and you know its true meaning, just as Christ does. You can see the darkness fading away and the true light already shining.

If we claim to be in the light and hate someone, we are still in the dark. 10 But if we love others, we are in the light, and we don’t cause problems for them. 11 If we hate others, we are living and walking in the dark. We don’t know where we are going, because we can’t see in the dark.

12 Children, I am writing you,
because your sins
have been forgiven
in the name of Christ.
13 Parents, I am writing you,
because you have known
the one who was there
from the beginning.
Young people, I am writing you,
because you have defeated
the evil one.
14 Children, I am writing you,
because you have known
the Father.
Parents, I am writing you,
because you have known
the one who was there
from the beginning.
Young people, I am writing you,
because you are strong.
God’s message is firm
in your hearts,
and you have defeated
the evil one.

15 Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. 16 Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father. 17 The world and the desires it causes are disappearing. But if we obey God, we will live forever.

Psalm 120

(A song for worship.)

A Prayer for the Lord’s Help

120 When I am in trouble, I pray,
“Come and save me, Lord,
from deceitful liars!”

What punishment is fitting
for you deceitful liars?
Your reward should be
sharp and flaming arrows!

But I must live as a foreigner
among the people of Meshech
and in the tents of Kedar.
I have spent too much time
living among people
who hate peace.
I am in favor of peace,
but when I speak of it,
all they want is war.

Proverbs 28:25-26

25 Selfish people cause trouble,
but you will live a full life
if you trust the Lord.
26 Only fools would trust
what they alone think,
but if you live by wisdom,
you will do all right.

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