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Old Testament:  Daniel 3-4

Daniel 3

Nebuchadnezzar's Gold Statue
 1  King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide [1]  and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.  2  Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up.  3  So all these officials [3]  came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
   4  Then a herald shouted out, "People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king's command!  5  When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, [5]  bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue.  6  Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."
   7  So at the sound of the musical instruments, [7]  all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
   8  But some of the astrologers [8]  went to the king and informed on the Jews.  9  They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "Long live the king!  10  You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments.  11  That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace.  12  But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up."
   13  Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in,  14  Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up?  15  I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. [15]  But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?"
   16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  17  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.  18  But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."

The Blazing Furnace
 19  Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual.  20  Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.  21  So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments.  22  And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in.  23  So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
   24  But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, "Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?"
  "Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did," they replied.
   25  "Look!" Nebuchadnezzar shouted. "I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god [25] !"
   26  Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"
  So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire.  27  Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn't even smell of smoke!
   28  Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king's command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.  29  Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!"
   30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream about a Tree
 1   [1] King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:

"Peace and prosperity to you!
   2  "I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.

 3  How great are his signs,
  how powerful his wonders!
His kingdom will last forever,
  his rule through all generations.

   4   [4] "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity.  5  But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed.  6  So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon, so they could tell me what my dream meant.  7  When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, [7]  and fortune-tellers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant.  8  At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. (He was named Belteshazzar after my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
   9  "I said to him, `Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve. Now tell me what my dream means.
   10  "`While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth.  11  The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see.  12  It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree.
   13  "`Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger, [13]  a holy one, coming down from heaven.  14  The messenger shouted,

"Cut down the tree and lop off its branches!
  Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit!
Chase the wild animals from its shade
  and the birds from its branches.
 15  But leave the stump and the roots in the ground,
  bound with a band of iron and bronze
  and surrounded by tender grass.
Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven,
  and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field.
 16  For seven periods of time,
  let him have the mind of a wild animal
  instead of the mind of a human.
 17  For this has been decreed by the messengers [17] ;
  it is commanded by the holy ones,
so that everyone may know
  that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.
He gives them to anyone he chooses—
  even to the lowliest of people."

   18  "`Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.'

Daniel Explains the Dream
 19  "Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, `Belteshazzar, don't be alarmed by the dream and what it means.'
  "Belteshazzar replied, `I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you!  20  The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see.  21  It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches.  22  That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.
   23  "`Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, "Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time."
   24  "`This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king.  25  You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.  26  But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules.
   27  "`King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.'

The Dream's Fulfillment
 28  "But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar.  29  Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon.  30  As he looked out across the city, he said, `Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.'
   31  "While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, `O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom.  32  You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.'
   33  "That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles' feathers and his nails were like birds' claws.

Nebuchadnezzar Praises God
 34  "After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.

His rule is everlasting,
  and his kingdom is eternal.
 35  All the people of the earth
  are nothing compared to him.
He does as he pleases
  among the angels of heaven
  and among the people of the earth.
No one can stop him or say to him,
  `What do you mean by doing these things?'

   36  "When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.
   37  "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud."
<<  3:1 Aramaic 60 cubits [27 meters] tall and 6 cubits [2.7 meters] wide.
<<  3:3 Aramaic the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials.
<<  3:5 The identification of some of these musical instruments is uncertain.
<<  3:7 Aramaic the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, and other musical instruments.
<<  3:8 Aramaic Chaldeans.
<<  3:15 Aramaic the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments.
<<  3:25 Aramaic like a son of the gods.
<<  4:1 Verses 4:1-3 are numbered 3:31-33 in Aramaic text.
<<  4:4 Verses 4:4-37 are numbered 4:1-34 in Aramaic text.
<<  4:7 Or Chaldeans.
<<  4:13 Aramaic a watcher; also in 4:23.
<<  4:17 Aramaic the watchers.

New Testament:  1 John 5

1 John 5

Faith in the Son of God
 1  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ [1]  has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.  2  We know we love God's children if we love God and obey his commandments.  3  Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.  4  For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.  5  And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
   6  And Jesus Christ was revealed as God's Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross [6] —not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony.  7  So we have these three witnesses [7] —  8  the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree.  9  Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son.  10  All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don't believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don't believe what God has testified about his Son.
   11  And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  12  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life. Conclusion
 13  I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.  14  And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.  15  And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
   16  If you see a Christian brother or sister [16]  sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it.  17  All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.
   18  We know that God's children do not make a practice of sinning, for God's Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.  19  We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
   20  And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. [20]  And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
   21  Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts. [21] 
<<  5:1 Or the Messiah.
<<  5:6 Greek This is he who came by water and blood.
<<  5:7 A few very late manuscripts add in heaven—the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And we have three witnesses on earth.
<<  5:16 Greek a brother.
<<  5:20 Greek the one who is true.
<<  5:21 Greek keep yourselves from idols.

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