23 December 2017 Bible Reading
John sees the Lamb standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000. The 144,000 symbolize the servants of God killed for the name of Christ. The inhabitants of the earth are worshiping the beast, they have the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast is symbolic of their allegiance to the Roman Empire and their worship of their emperors. The 144,000 do not have the mark of the beast. The 144,000 have the name of the Lamb and the name of God on their foreheads, symbolic of their allegiance to God.
4 The angel who talked with me came again, and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. 2 He said to me, “What do you see?”
I said, “I have seen, and behold, a lamp stand all of gold, with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it; there are seven pipes to each of the lamps, which are on the top of it; 3 and two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl, and the other on the left side of it.”
4 I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?”
5 Then the angel who talked with me answered me, “Don’t you know what these are?”
I said, “No, my lord.”
6 Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, “This is Yahweh’s word to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says Yahweh of Armies. 7 Who are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you are a plain; and he will bring out the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace, to it!’”
8 Moreover Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house. His hands shall also finish it; and you will know that Yahweh of Armies has sent me to you. 10 Indeed, who despises the day of small things? For these seven shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. These are Yahweh’s eyes, which run back and forth through the whole earth.”
11 Then I asked him, “What are these two olive trees on the right side of the lamp stand and on the left side of it?”
12 I asked him the second time, “What are these two olive branches, which are beside the two golden spouts, that pour the golden oil out of themselves?”
13 He answered me, “Don’t you know what these are?”
I said, “No, my lord.”
14 Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
5 Then again I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold, a flying scroll. 2 He said to me, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits.”
3 Then he said to me, “This is the curse that goes out over the surface of the whole land; for everyone who steals shall be cut off according to it on the one side; and everyone who swears falsely shall be cut off according to it on the other side. 4 I will cause it to go out,” says Yahweh of Armies, “and it will enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him who swears falsely by my name; and it will remain in the middle of his house, and will destroy it with its timber and its stones.”
5 Then the angel who talked with me came forward, and said to me, “Lift up now your eyes, and see what is this that is appearing.”
6 I said, “What is it?”
He said, “This is the ephah basket that is appearing.” He said moreover, “This is their appearance in all the land 7 (and behold, a talent of lead was lifted up); and this is a woman sitting in the middle of the ephah basket.” 8 He said, “This is Wickedness”; and he threw her down into the middle of the ephah basket; and he threw the weight of lead on its mouth.
9 Then lifted I up my eyes, and saw, and behold, there were two women, and the wind was in their wings. Now they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah basket between earth and the sky. 10 Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are these carrying the ephah basket?”
11 He said to me, “To build her a house in the land of Shinar. When it is prepared, she will be set there in her own place.”
14 I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a number, one hundred forty-four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. 2 I heard a sound from heaven, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of a great thunder. The sound which I heard was like that of harpists playing on their harps. 3 They sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand, those who had been redeemed out of the earth. 4 These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed by Jesus from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 In their mouth was found no lie, for they are blameless.
6 I saw an angel flying in mid heaven, having an eternal Good News to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 He said with a loud voice, “Fear the Lord, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and the springs of waters!”
8 Another, a second angel, followed, saying, “Babylon the great has fallen, which has made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality.”
9 Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
13 I heard the voice from heaven saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.”
14 I looked, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man,[b] having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!” 16 He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
17 Another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle. 18 Another angel came out from the altar, he who has power over fire, and he called with a great voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Send your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for the earth’s grapes are fully ripe!” 19 The angel thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 The wine press was trodden outside of the city, and blood came out of the wine press, even to the bridles of the horses, as far as one thousand six hundred stadia.
A contemplation by David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.
142 I cry with my voice to Yahweh.
With my voice, I ask Yahweh for mercy.
2 I pour out my complaint before him.
I tell him my troubles.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
you knew my route.
On the path in which I walk,
they have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look on my right, and see;
for there is no one who is concerned for me.
Refuge has fled from me.
No one cares for my soul.
5 I cried to you, Yahweh.
I said, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need.
deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than me.
7 Bring my soul out of prison,
that I may give thanks to your name.
The righteous will surround me,
for you will be good to me.
21 “For three things the earth tremble,
and under four, it can’t bear up:
22 For a servant when he is king;
a fool when he is filled with food;
23 for an unloved woman when she is married;
and a servant who is heir to her mistress.