Daniel 8; Daniel 9; Daniel 10; 3 John 1

1 In the third year that Belshazzar was king, I saw a second vision. 2 In the vision I suddenly found myself in the walled city of Susa in the province of Elam. I was standing by the Ulai River, 3 and there beside the river I saw a ram that had two long horns, one of which was longer and newer than the other. 4 I watched the ram butting with his horns to the west, the north, and the south. No animal could stop him or escape his power. He did as he pleased and grew arrogant. 5 While I was wondering what this meant, a goat came rushing out of the west, moving so fast that his feet didn't touch the ground. He had one prominent horn between his eyes. 6 He came toward the ram, which I had seen standing beside the river, and rushed at him with all his force. 7 I watched him attack the ram. He was so angry that he smashed into him and broke the two horns. The ram had no strength to resist. He was thrown to the ground and trampled on, and there was no one who could save him. 8 The goat grew more and more arrogant, but at the height of his power his horn was broken. In its place four prominent horns came up, each pointing in a different direction. 9 Out of one of these four horns grew a little horn, whose power extended toward the south and the east and toward the Promised Land. 10 It grew strong enough to attack the army of heaven, the stars themselves, and it threw some of them to the ground and trampled on them. 11 It even defied the Prince of the heavenly army, stopped the daily sacrifices offered to him, and ruined the Temple. 12 People sinned there instead of offering the proper daily sacrifices, and true religion was thrown to the ground. The horn was successful in everything it did. 13 Then I heard one angel ask another, "How long will these things that were seen in the vision continue? How long will an awful sin replace the daily sacrifices? How long will the army of heaven and the Temple be trampled on?" 14 I heard the other angel answer, "It will continue for 2,300 evenings and mornings, during which sacrifices will not be offered. Then the Temple will be restored." 15 I was trying to understand what the vision meant, when suddenly someone was standing in front of me. 16 I heard a voice call out over the Ulai River, "Gabriel, explain to him the meaning of what he saw." 17 Gabriel came and stood beside me, and I was so terrified that I fell to the ground. He said to me, "Mortal man, understand the meaning. The vision has to do with the end of the world." 18 While he was talking, I fell to the ground unconscious. But he took hold of me, raised me to my feet, 19 and said, "I am showing you what the result of God's anger will be. The vision refers to the time of the end. 20 "The ram you saw that had two horns represents the kingdoms of Media and Persia. 21 The goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the prominent horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 The four horns that came up when the first horn was broken represent the four kingdoms into which that nation will be divided and which will not be as strong as the first kingdom. 23 "When the end of those kingdoms is near and they have become so wicked that they must be punished, there will be a stubborn, vicious, and deceitful king. 24 He will grow strong - but not by his own power. He will cause terrible destruction and be successful in everything he does. He will bring destruction on powerful men and on God's own people. 25 Because he is cunning, he will succeed in his deceitful ways. He will be proud of himself and destroy many people without warning. He will even defy the greatest King of all, but he will be destroyed without the use of any human power. 26 This vision about the evening and morning sacrifices which has been explained to you will come true. But keep it secret now, because it will be a long time before it does come true." 27 I was depressed and ill for several days. Then I got up and went back to the work that the king had assigned to me, but I was puzzled by the vision and could not understand it.
1 Darius the Mede, who was the son of Xerxes, ruled over the kingdom of Babylonia. 2 In the first year of his reign I was studying the sacred books and thinking about the seventy years that Jerusalem would be in ruins, according to what the Lord had told the prophet Jeremiah. 3 And I prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and sitting in ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed the sins of my people. I said, "Lord God, you are great, and we honor you. You are faithful to your covenant and show constant love to those who love you and do what you command. 5 "We have sinned, we have been evil, we have done wrong. We have rejected what you commanded us to do and have turned away from what you showed us was right. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our rulers, our ancestors, and our whole nation. 7 You, Lord, always do what is right, but we have always brought disgrace on ourselves. This is true of all of us who live in Judea and in Jerusalem and of all the Israelites whom you scattered in countries near and far because they were unfaithful to you. 8 Our kings, our rulers, and our ancestors have acted shamefully and sinned against you, Lord. 9 You are merciful and forgiving, although we have rebelled against you. 10 We did not listen to you, O Lord our God, when you told us to live according to the laws which you gave us through your servants the prophets. 11 All Israel broke your laws and refused to listen to what you said. We sinned against you, and so you brought on us the curses that are written in the Law of Moses, your servant. 12 You did what you said you would do to us and our rulers. You punished Jerusalem more severely than any other city on earth, 13 giving us all the punishment described in the Law of Moses. But even now, O Lord our God, we have not tried to please you by turning from our sins or by following your truth. 14 You, O Lord our God, were prepared to punish us, and you did, because you always do what is right, and we did not listen to you. 15 "O Lord our God, you showed your power by bringing your people out of Egypt, and your power is still remembered. We have sinned; we have done wrong. 16 You have defended us in the past, so do not be angry with Jerusalem any longer. It is your city, your sacred hill. All the people in the neighboring countries look down on Jerusalem and on your people because of our sins and the evil our ancestors did. 17 O God, hear my prayer and pleading. Restore your Temple, which has been destroyed; restore it so that everyone will know that you are God. 18 Listen to us, O God; look at us and see the trouble we are in and the suffering of the city that bears your name. We are praying to you because you are merciful, not because we have done right. 19 Lord, hear us. Lord, forgive us. Lord, listen to us, and act! In order that everyone will know that you are God, do not delay! This city and these people are yours." 20 I went on praying, confessing my sins and the sins of my people Israel and pleading with the Lord my God to restore his holy Temple. 21 While I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came flying down to where I was. It was the time for the evening sacrifice to be offered. 22 He explained, "Daniel, I have come here to help you understand the prophecy. 23 When you began to plead with God, he answered you. He loves you, and so I have come to tell you the answer. Now pay attention while I explain the vision. 24 "Seven times seventy years is the length of time God has set for freeing your people and your holy city from sin and evil. Sin will be forgiven and eternal justice established, so that the vision and the prophecy will come true, and the holy Temple will be rededicated. 25 Note this and understand it: From the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until God's chosen leader comes, seven times seven years will pass. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, and will stand for seven times sixty-two years, but this will be a time of troubles. 26 And at the end of that time God's chosen leader will be killed unjustly. The city and the Temple will be destroyed by the invading army of a powerful ruler. The end will come like a flood, bringing the war and destruction which God has prepared. 27 That ruler will have a firm agreement with many people for seven years, and when half this time is past, he will put an end to sacrifices and offerings. The Awful Horror will be placed on the highest point of the Temple and will remain there until the one who put it there meets the end which God has prepared for him."
1 In the third year that Cyrus was emperor of Persia, a message was revealed to Daniel, who is also called Belteshazzar. The message was true but extremely hard to understand. It was explained to him in a vision. 2 At that time I was mourning for three weeks. 3 I did not eat any rich food or any meat, drink any wine, or comb my hair until the three weeks were past. 4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month of the year I was standing on the bank of the mighty Tigris River. 5 I looked up and saw someone who was wearing linen clothes and a belt of fine gold. 6 His body shone like a jewel. His face was as bright as a flash of lightning, and his eyes blazed like fire. His arms and legs shone like polished bronze, and his voice sounded like the roar of a great crowd. 7 I was the only one who saw the vision. Those who were with me did not see anything, but they were terrified and ran and hid. 8 I was left there alone, watching this amazing vision. I had no strength left, and my face was so changed that no one could have recognized me. 9 When I heard his voice, I fell to the ground unconscious and lay there face downward. 10 Then a hand took hold of me and raised me to my hands and knees; I was still trembling. 11 The angel said to me, "Daniel, God loves you. Stand up and listen carefully to what I am going to say. I have been sent to you." When he had said this, I stood up, still trembling. 12 Then he said, "Daniel, don't be afraid. God has heard your prayers ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself in order to gain understanding. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 The angel prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief angels, came to help me, because I had been left there alone in Persia. 14 I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the future. This is a vision about the future." 15 When he said this, I stared at the ground, speechless. 16 Then the angel, who looked like a human being, reached out and touched my lips. I said to him, "Sir, this vision makes me so weak that I can't stop trembling. 17 I am like a slave standing before his master. How can I talk to you? I have no strength or breath left in me." 18 Once more he took hold of me, and I felt stronger. 19 He said, "God loves you, so don't let anything worry you or frighten you." When he had said this, I felt even stronger and said, "Sir, tell me what you have to say. You have made me feel better." 20 He said, "Do you know why I came to you? It is to reveal to you what is written in the Book of Truth. Now I have to go back and fight the guardian angel of Persia. After that the guardian angel of Greece will appear. There is no one to help me except Michael, Israel's guardian angel.
1 From the Elder - To my dear Gaius, whom I truly love. 2 My dear friend, I pray that everything may go well with you and that you may be in good health - as I know you are well in spirit. 3 I was so happy when some Christians arrived and told me how faithful you are to the truth - just as you always live in the truth. 4 Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children live in the truth. 5 My dear friend, you are so faithful in the work you do for other Christians, even when they are strangers. 6 They have spoken to the church here about your love. Please help them to continue their trip in a way that will please God. 7 For they set out on their trip in the service of Christ without accepting any help from unbelievers. 8 We Christians, then, must help these people, so that we may share in their work for the truth. 9 I wrote a short letter to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to be their leader, will not pay any attention to what I say. 10 When I come, then, I will bring up everything he has done: the terrible things he says about us and the lies he tells! But that is not enough for him; he will not receive the Christians when they come, and even stops those who want to receive them and tries to drive them out of the church! 11 My dear friend, do not imitate what is bad, but imitate what is good. Whoever does good belongs to God; whoever does what is bad has not seen God. 12 Everyone speaks well of Demetrius; truth itself speaks well of him. And we add our testimony, and you know that what we say is true. 13 I have so much to tell you, but I do not want to do it with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk personally. 15 Peace be with you. All your friends send greetings. Greet all our friends personally.
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