Daniel 3; Daniel 4; 1 John 5

1 King Nebuchadnezzar had a gold statue made, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and he had it set up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then the king gave orders for all his officials to come together - the princes, governors, lieutenant governors, commissioners, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the other officials of the provinces. They were to attend the dedication of the statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 3 When all these officials gathered for the dedication and stood in front of the statue, 4 a herald announced in a loud voice, "People of all nations, races, and languages! 5 You will hear the sound of the trumpets, followed by the playing of oboes, lyres, zithers, and harps; and then all the other instruments will join in. As soon as the music starts, you are to bow down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Anyone who does not bow down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." 7 And so, as soon as they heard the sound of the instruments, the people of all the nations, races, and languages bowed down and worshiped the gold statue which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 It was then that some Babylonians took the opportunity to denounce the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "May Your Majesty live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued an order that as soon as the music starts, everyone is to bow down and worship the gold statue, 11 and that anyone who does not bow down and worship it is to be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 There are some Jews whom you put in charge of the province of Babylon - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - who are disobeying Your Majesty's orders. They do not worship your god or bow down to the statue you set up." 13 At that, the king flew into a rage and ordered the three men to be brought before him. 14 He said to them, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you refuse to worship my god and to bow down to the gold statue I have set up? 15 Now then, as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, oboes, lyres, zithers, harps, and all the other instruments, bow down and worship the statue. If you do not, you will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace. Do you think there is any god who can save you?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered, "Your Majesty, we will not try to defend ourselves. 17 If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and from your power, then he will. 18 But even if he doesn't, Your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god, and we will not bow down to the gold statue that you have set up." 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar lost his temper, and his face turned red with anger at Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 And he commanded the strongest men in his army to tie the three men up and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up, fully dressed - shirts, robes, caps, and all - and threw them into the blazing furnace. 22 Now because the king had given strict orders for the furnace to be made extremely hot, the flames burned up the guards who took the men to the furnace. 23 Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, still tied up, fell into the heart of the blazing fire. 24 Suddenly Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement. He asked his officials, "Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the blazing furnace?" They answered, "Yes, we did, Your Majesty." 25 "Then why do I see four men walking around in the fire?" he asked. "They are not tied up, and they show no sign of being hurt - and the fourth one looks like an angel." 26 So Nebuchadnezzar went up to the door of the blazing furnace and called out, "Shadrach! Meshach! Abednego! Servants of the Supreme God! Come out!" And they came out at once. 27 All the princes, governors, lieutenant governors, and other officials of the king gathered to look at the three men, who had not been harmed by the fire. Their hair was not singed, their clothes were not burned, and there was no smell of smoke on them. 28 The king said, "Praise the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued these men who serve and trust him. They disobeyed my orders and risked their lives rather than bow down and worship any god except their own. 29 "And now I command that if anyone of any nation, race, or language speaks disrespectfully of the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, he is to be torn limb from limb, and his house is to be made a pile of ruins. There is no other god who can rescue like this." 30 And the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in the province of Babylon.
1 King Nebuchadnezzar sent the following message to the people of all nations, races, and languages in the world: "Greetings! 2 Listen to my account of the wonders and miracles which the Supreme God has shown me. 3 "How great are the wonders God shows us! How powerful are the miracles he performs! God is king forever; he will rule for all time. 4 "I was living comfortably in my palace, enjoying great prosperity. 5 But I had a frightening dream and saw terrifying visions while I was asleep. 6 I ordered all the royal advisers in Babylon to be brought to me so that they could tell me what the dream meant. 7 Then all the fortunetellers, magicians, wizards, and astrologers were brought in, and I told them my dream, but they could not explain it to me. 8 Then Daniel came in. (He is also called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god.) The spirit of the holy gods is in him, so I told him what I had dreamed. I said to him: 9 Belteshazzar, chief of the fortunetellers, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that you understand all mysteries. This is my dream. Tell me what it means. 10 "While I was asleep, I had a vision of a huge tree in the middle of the earth. 11 It grew bigger and bigger until it reached the sky and could be seen by everyone in the world. 12 Its leaves were beautiful, and it was loaded down with fruit - enough for the whole world to eat. Wild animals rested in its shade, birds built nests in its branches, and every kind of living being ate its fruit. 13 "While I was thinking about the vision, I saw coming down from heaven an angel, alert and watchful. 14 He proclaimed in a loud voice, "Cut the tree down and chop off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Drive the animals from under it and the birds out of its branches. 15 But leave the stump in the ground with a band of iron and bronze around it. Leave it there in the field with the grass. " "Now let the dew fall on this man, and let him live with the animals and the plants. 16 For seven years he will not have a human mind, but the mind of an animal. 17 This is the decision of the alert and watchful angels. So then, let all people everywhere know that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses - even to those who are least important.' 18 "This is the dream I had," said King Nebuchadnezzar. "Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means. None of my royal advisers could tell me, but you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you." 19 At this, Daniel, who is also called Belteshazzar, was so alarmed that he could not say anything. The king said to him, "Belteshazzar, don't let the dream and its message alarm you." Belteshazzar replied, "Your Majesty, I wish that the dream and its explanation applied to your enemies and not to you. 20 The tree, so tall that it reached the sky, could be seen by everyone in the world. 21 Its leaves were beautiful, and it had enough fruit on it to feed the whole world. Wild animals rested under it, and birds made their nests in its branches. 22 "Your Majesty, you are the tree, tall and strong. You have grown so great that you reach the sky, and your power extends over the whole world. 23 While Your Majesty was watching, an angel came down from heaven and said, "Cut the tree down and destroy it, but leave the stump in the ground. Wrap a band of iron and bronze around it, and leave it there in the field with the grass. Let the dew fall on this man, and let him live there with the animals for seven years.' 24 "This, then, is what it means, Your Majesty, and this is what the Supreme God has declared will happen to you. 25 You will be driven away from human society and will live with wild animals. For seven years you will eat grass like an ox and sleep in the open air, where the dew will fall on you. Then you will admit that the Supreme God controls all human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses. 26 The angel ordered the stump to be left in the ground. This means that you will become king again when you acknowledge that God rules all the world. 27 So then, Your Majesty, follow my advice. Stop sinning, do what is right, and be merciful to the poor. Then you will continue to be prosperous." 28 All this did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 Only twelve months later, while he was walking around on the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, 30 he said, "Look how great Babylon is! I built it as my capital city to display my power and might, my glory and majesty." 31 Before the words were out of his mouth, a voice spoke from heaven, "King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to what I say! Your royal power is now taken away from you. 32 You will be driven away from human society, live with wild animals, and eat grass like an ox for seven years. Then you will acknowledge that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses." 33 The words came true immediately. Nebuchadnezzar was driven out of human society and ate grass like an ox. The dew fell on his body, and his hair grew as long as eagle feathers and his nails as long as bird claws. 34 "When the seven years had passed," said the king, "I looked up at the sky, and my sanity returned. I praised the Supreme God and gave honor and glory to the one who lives forever. "He will rule forever, and his kingdom will last for all time. 35 He looks on the people of the earth as nothing; angels in heaven and people on earth are under his control. No one can oppose his will or question what he does. 36 "When my sanity returned, my honor, my majesty, and the glory of my kingdom were given back to me. My officials and my noblemen welcomed me, and I was given back my royal power with even greater honor than before. 37 "And now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, honor, and glorify the King of Heaven. Everything he does is right and just, and he can humble anyone who acts proudly."
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is a child of God; and whoever loves a father loves his child also. 2 This is how we know that we love God's children: it is by loving God and obeying his commands. 3 For our love for God means that we obey his commands. And his commands are not too hard for us, 4 because every child of God is able to defeat the world. And we win the victory over the world by means of our faith. 5 Who can defeat the world? Only the person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 6 Jesus Christ is the one who came with the water of his baptism and the blood of his death. He came not only with the water, but with both the water and the blood. And the Spirit himself testifies that this is true, because the Spirit is truth. 7 There are three witnesses: 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and all three give the same testimony. 9 We believe human testimony; but God's testimony is much stronger, and he has given this testimony about his Son. 10 So those who believe in the Son of God have this testimony in their own heart; but those who do not believe God, have made a liar of him, because they have not believed what God has said about his Son. 11 The testimony is this: God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has this life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I am writing this to you so that you may know that you have eternal life - you that believe in the Son of God. 14 We have courage in God's presence, because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. 15 He hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him. 16 If you see a believer commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray to God, who will give that person life. This applies to those whose sins do not lead to death. But there is sin which leads to death, and I do not say that you should pray to God about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which does not lead to death. 18 We know that no children of God keep on sinning, for the Son of God keeps them safe, and the Evil One cannot harm them. 19 We know that we belong to God even though the whole world is under the rule of the Evil One. 20 We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we know the true God. We live in union with the true God - in union with his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and this is eternal life. 21 My children, keep yourselves safe from false gods!
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