3 December 2017 Bible Reading
In today’s reading from Daniel 11, we read of three kings arising in Persia, followed by a fourth who shall be richer than them all, and fight against Greece. A mighty king’s empire, referring to Alexander’s, will be divided into four parts at his death. The southern part, Ptolemy’s, shall become the strongest. Joined by a marriage, the kings of the North and South will be allies for a while, but the arrangement will not last. This is the marriage between Antiochus II of the Seleucids and Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II. There was peace for a time because of this marriage, but it was upset when Ptolemy II died: Antiochus II put away Berenice and took back his former wife, Laodice. She poisons her husband and has Berenice killed. From the South, an army will defeat the kingdom of the North, which is Ptolemy III, avenging the murder of Berenice his sister, invaded Syria and humbled Seleucus II. The sons of the kings of the North will continue the battle. One of the sons will conquer the Holy Land which stood as a buffer between the kings of the South and the kings of the North. The king of the South will gain an upper hand over the king of the North, who will occupy the Holy Land. Antiochus III was defeated at the battle of Raphia, and forced to give back dominion over the Holy Land to Ptolemy IV. The king of the North will then occupy the Glorious Land. Antiochus III invaded Egypt again, gaining final control over the armies of Ptolemy V and over the Holy Land. The king of the South will give his daughter to the king of the North. Antiochus III giving his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy V of Egypt. The king of the North shall stumble and fall. Antiochus III tried to pillage a Babylonian temple and was killed by enraged local citizens. The reign of the succeeding king of the North, Seleucus III, will be brief. In his place shall arise a vile person, Antiochus IV, who will use flattery and intrigue, and fail to conquer the king of the South. He will take away daily sacrifices, and place the abomination of desolation in the temple. He will exalt himself and speak blasphemies, worshiping a god of fortresses. The king of the North and the king of the South shall form an alliance to attack him. Many countries will be overthrown, but news from the east and the north shall trouble him. When he comes to his end, no one will help him.
2 Now will I show you the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and when he has grown strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. 3 A mighty king shall stand up, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 When he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of the sky, but not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others besides these. 5 The king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. 6 At the end of years they shall join themselves together; and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the strength of her arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm; but she shall be given up, and those who brought her, and he who became the father of her, and he who strengthened her in those times. 7 But out of a shoot from her roots shall one stand up in his place, who shall come to the army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail. 8 Also their gods, with their molten images, and with their goodly vessels of silver and of gold, shall he carry captive into Egypt; and he shall refrain some years from the king of the north. 9 He shall come into the realm of the king of the south, but he shall return into his own land. 10 His sons shall war, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall come on, and overflow, and pass through; and they shall return and war, even to his fortress. 11 The king of the south shall be moved with anger, and shall come out and fight with him, even with the king of the north; and he shall send out a great multitude, and the multitude shall be given into his hand. 12 The multitude shall be lifted up, and his heart shall be exalted; and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail. 13 The king of the north shall return, and shall send out a multitude greater than the former; and he shall come on at the end of the times, even of years, with a great army and with much substance. 14 In those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the children of the violent among your people shall lift themselves up to establish the vision; but they shall fall. 15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mound, and take a well-fortified city: and the forces of the south shall not stand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to stand. 16 But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand before him; and he shall stand in the glorious land, and in his hand shall be destruction. 17 He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and with him equitable conditions; and he shall perform them: and he shall give him the daughter of women, to corrupt her; but she shall not stand, neither be for him. 18 After this shall he turn his face to the islands, and shall take many: but a prince shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; yes, moreover, he shall cause his reproach to turn on him. 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found. 20 Then shall stand up in his place one who shall cause a tax collector to pass through the kingdom to maintain its glory; but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. 21 In his place shall stand up a contemptible person, to whom they had not given the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in time of security, and shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22 The overwhelming forces shall be overwhelmed from before him, and shall be broken; yes, also the prince of the covenant. 23 After the treaty made with him he shall work deceitfully; for he shall come up, and shall become strong, with a small people. 24 In time of security shall he come even on the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them prey, and plunder, and substance: yes, he shall devise his devices against the strongholds, even for a time. 25 He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall war in battle with an exceeding great and mighty army; but he shall not stand; for they shall devise devices against him. 26 Yes, they who eat of his dainties shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow; and many shall fall down slain. 27 As for both these kings, their hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table: but it shall not prosper; for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. 28 Then he will return into his land with great substance; and his heart will be against the holy covenant; and he will take action, and return to his own land. 29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come into the south; but it shall not be in the latter time as it was in the former. 30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and shall return, and have indignation against the holy covenant, and shall take action: he shall even return, and have regard to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces shall stand on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary, even the fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt offering, and they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32 Such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he pervert by flatteries; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and take action. 33 Those who are wise among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder, many days. 34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help; but many shall join themselves to them with flatteries. 35 Some of those who are wise shall fall, to refine them, and to purify, and to make them white, even to the time of the end; because it is yet for the time appointed.
1 John 3:7-24
7 Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed: that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever is born of God doesn’t commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can’t sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn’t do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn’t love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 unlike Cain, who was of the evil one, and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Don’t be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who doesn’t love his brother remains in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him? 18 My little children, let’s not love in word only, or with the tongue only, but in deed and truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him, 20 because if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have boldness toward God; 22 and whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded. 24 He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us.
A Song of Ascents. By David.
122 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let’s go to Yahweh’s house!”
2 Our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem;
3 Jerusalem, that is built as a city that is compact together;
4 where the tribes go up, even Yah’s tribes,
according to an ordinance for Israel,
to give thanks to Yahweh’s name.
5 For there are set thrones for judgment,
the thrones of David’s house.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Those who love you will prosper.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and prosperity within your palaces.
8 For my brothers’ and companions’ sakes,
I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of Yahweh our God,
I will seek your good.
29 He who is often rebuked and stiffens his neck
will be destroyed suddenly, with no remedy.