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Old Testament:  Hosea 1-4

Hosea 1

 1  The LORD gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash [1]  was king of Israel.

Hosea's Wife and Children
 2  When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, "Go and marry a prostitute, [2]  so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods."
   3  So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son.  4  And the LORD said, "Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu's dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel's independence.  5  I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley."
   6  Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to Hosea, "Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—`Not loved'—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them.  7  But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the LORD their God."
   8  After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son.  9  And the LORD said, "Name him Lo-ammi—`Not my people'—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.
   10   [10] "Yet the time will come when Israel's people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, `You are not my people,' it will be said, `You are children of the living God.'  11  Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together. They will choose one leader for themselves, and they will return from exile together. What a day that will be—the day of Jezreel [11] —when God will again plant his people in his land.
   2:1   [2:1] "In that day you will call your brothers Ammi—`My people.' And you will call your sisters Ruhamah—`The ones I love.'

Hosea 2

Charges against an Unfaithful Wife
 2  "But now bring charges against Israel—your mother—
  for she is no longer my wife,
  and I am no longer her husband.
Tell her to remove the prostitute's makeup from her face
  and the clothing that exposes her breasts.
 3  Otherwise, I will strip her as naked
  as she was on the day she was born.
I will leave her to die of thirst,
  as in a dry and barren wilderness.
 4  And I will not love her children,
  for they were conceived in prostitution.
 5  Their mother is a shameless prostitute
  and became pregnant in a shameful way.
She said, `I'll run after other lovers
  and sell myself to them for food and water,
for clothing of wool and linen,
  and for olive oil and drinks.'

 6  "For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.
  I will block her path with a wall
  to make her lose her way.
 7  When she runs after her lovers,
  she won't be able to catch them.
She will search for them
  but not find them.
Then she will think,
`I might as well return to my husband,
  for I was better off with him than I am now.'
 8  She doesn't realize it was I who gave her everything she has—
  the grain, the new wine, the olive oil;
I even gave her silver and gold.
  But she gave all my gifts to Baal.

 9  "But now I will take back the ripened grain and new wine
  I generously provided each harvest season.
I will take away the wool and linen clothing
  I gave her to cover her nakedness.
 10  I will strip her naked in public,
  while all her lovers look on.
No one will be able
  to rescue her from my hands.
 11  I will put an end to her annual festivals,
  her new moon celebrations, and her Sabbath days—
  all her appointed festivals.
 12  I will destroy her grapevines and fig trees,
  things she claims her lovers gave her.
I will let them grow into tangled thickets,
  where only wild animals will eat the fruit.
 13  I will punish her for all those times
  when she burned incense to her images of Baal,
when she put on her earrings and jewels
  and went out to look for her lovers
but forgot all about me,"
  says the LORD.

The LORD's Love for Unfaithful Israel
 14  "But then I will win her back once again.
  I will lead her into the desert
  and speak tenderly to her there.
 15  I will return her vineyards to her
  and transform the Valley of Trouble [15]  into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
  as she did long ago when she was young,
  when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
 16  When that day comes," says the LORD,
  "you will call me `my husband'
  instead of `my master.' [16] 
 17  O Israel, I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips,
  and you will never mention them again.
 18  On that day I will make a covenant
  with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky
and the animals that scurry along the ground
  so they will not harm you.
I will remove all weapons of war from the land,
  all swords and bows,
so you can live unafraid
  in peace and safety.
 19  I will make you my wife forever,
  showing you righteousness and justice,
  unfailing love and compassion.
 20  I will be faithful to you and make you mine,
  and you will finally know me as the LORD.

 21  "In that day, I will answer,"
  says the LORD.
"I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds.
  And the sky will answer the earth with rain.
 22  Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries
  of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees.
And they in turn will answer,
  `Jezreel'—`God plants!'
 23  At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites
  and raise them for myself.
I will show love
  to those I called `Not loved.' [23] 
And to those I called `Not my people,' [23] 
  I will say, `Now you are my people.'
And they will reply, `You are our God!'"

Hosea 3

Hosea's Wife Is Redeemed
 1  Then the LORD said to me, "Go and love your wife again, even though she [1]  commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the LORD still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them. [1] "
   2  So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver [2]  and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine. [2]   3  Then I said to her, "You must live in my house for many days and stop your prostitution. During this time, you will not have sexual relations with anyone, not even with me. [3] "
   4  This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, [4]  or even idols!  5  But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the LORD their God and to David's descendant, their king. [5]  In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the LORD and of his goodness.

Hosea 4

The LORD's Case against Israel
 1  Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel!
  The LORD has brought charges against you, saying:
"There is no faithfulness, no kindness,
  no knowledge of God in your land.
 2  You make vows and break them;
  you kill and steal and commit adultery.
There is violence everywhere—
  one murder after another.
 3  That is why your land is in mourning,
  and everyone is wasting away.
Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky,
  and the fish of the sea are disappearing.

 4  "Don't point your finger at someone else
  and try to pass the blame!
My complaint, you priests,
  is with you. [4] 
 5  So you will stumble in broad daylight,
  and your false prophets will fall with you in the night.
  And I will destroy Israel, your mother.
 6  My people are being destroyed
  because they don't know me.
Since you priests refuse to know me,
  I refuse to recognize you as my priests.
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
  I will forget to bless your children.
 7  The more priests there are,
  the more they sin against me.
They have exchanged the glory of God
  for the shame of idols. [7] 

 8  "When the people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed.
  So the priests are glad when the people sin!
 9  `And what the priests do, the people also do.'
  So now I will punish both priests and people
  for their wicked deeds.
 10  They will eat and still be hungry.
  They will play the prostitute and gain nothing from it,
for they have deserted the LORD
 11    to worship other gods.

"Wine has robbed my people
  of their understanding.
 12  They ask a piece of wood for advice!
  They think a stick can tell them the future!
Longing after idols
  has made them foolish.
They have played the prostitute,
  serving other gods and deserting their God.
 13  They offer sacrifices to idols on the mountaintops.
  They go up into the hills to burn incense
  in the pleasant shade of oaks, poplars, and terebinth trees.

"That is why your daughters turn to prostitution,
  and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
 14  But why should I punish them
  for their prostitution and adultery?
For your men are doing the same thing,
  sinning with whores and shrine prostitutes.
O foolish people! You refuse to understand,
  so you will be destroyed.

 15  "Though you, Israel, are a prostitute,
  may Judah avoid such guilt.
Do not join the false worship at Gilgal or Beth-aven, [15] 
  even though they take oaths there in the LORD's name.
 16  Israel is stubborn,
  like a stubborn heifer.
So should the LORD feed her
  like a lamb in a lush pasture?
 17  Leave Israel [17]  alone,
  because she is married to idolatry.
 18  When the rulers of Israel finish their drinking,
  off they go to find some prostitutes.
  They love shame more than honor. [18] 
 19  So a mighty wind will sweep them away.
  Their sacrifices to idols will bring them shame.
<<  1:1 Hebrew Joash, a variant spelling of Jehoash.
<<  1:2 Or a promiscuous woman.
<<  1:10 Verses 1:10-11 are numbered 2:1-2 in Hebrew text.
<<  1:11 Jezreel means "God plants."
<<  2:1 Verses 2:1-23 are numbered 2:3-25 in Hebrew text.
<<  2:15 Hebrew valley of Achor.
<<  2:16 Hebrew `my baal.'
<<  2:23a Hebrew Lo-ruhamah; see 1:6. 2:23b Hebrew Lo-ammi; see 1:9.
<<  3:1a Or Go and love a woman who. 3:1b Hebrew love their raisin cakes.
<<  3:2a Hebrew 15 shekels of silver, about 6 ounces or 171 grams in weight. 3:2b As in Greek version, which reads a homer of barley and a wineskin full of of wine; Hebrew reads a homer [5 bushels or 182 liters] of barley and a lethech [2.5 bushels or 91 liters] of barley.
<<  3:3 Or and I will live with you.
<<  3:4 Hebrew ephod, the vest worn by the priest.
<<  3:5 Hebrew to David their king.
<<  4:4 Hebrew Your people are like those with a complaint against the priests.
<<  4:7 As in Syriac version and an ancient Hebrew tradition; Masoretic Text reads I will turn their glory into shame.
<<  4:15 Beth-aven means "house of wickedness"; it is being used as another name for Bethel, which means "house of God."
<<  4:17 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel.
<<  4:18 As in Greek version; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

New Testament:  Revelation 1

Revelation 1

Prologue
 1  This is a revelation from [1]  Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon [1]  take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John,  2  who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
   3  God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near. John's Greeting to the Seven Churches
 4  This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. [4] 
  Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit [4]  before his throne;  5  and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.
  All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.  6  He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

 7  Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
  And everyone will see him—
  even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
  will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen!

   8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end," [8]  says the Lord God. "I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One."

Vision of the Son of Man
 9  I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God's Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.  10  It was the Lord's Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. [10]  Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast.  11  It said, "Write in a book [11]  everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea."
   12  When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands.  13  And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. [13]  He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.  14  His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire.  15  His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves.  16  He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.
   17  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last.  18  I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. [18] 
   19  "Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. [19]   20  This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels [20]  of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
<<  1:1a Or of. 1:1b Or suddenly, or quickly.
<<  1:4a Asia was a Roman province in what is now western Turkey. 1:4b Greek the seven spirits.
<<  1:8 Greek I am the Alpha and the Omega, referring to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
<<  1:10 Or in spirit.
<<  1:11 Or on a scroll.
<<  1:13 Or like a son of man. See Dan 7:13. "Son of Man" is a title Jesus used for himself.
<<  1:18 Greek and Hades.
<<  1:19 Or what you have seen and what they mean—the things that have already begun to happen.
<<  1:20 Or the messengers.

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