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First Reading: Jeremiah Chapter 49 and 50
1 Of the children of Ammon. Thus saith Jehovah: Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth Malcam possess Gad, and his people well in the cities thereof?
2 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard against Rabbah of the children of Ammon; and it shall become a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel possess them that did possess him, saith Jehovah.
3 Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste; cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth: lament, and run to and fro among the fences; for Malcam shall go into captivity, his priests and his princes together.
4 Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, `saying', Who shall come unto me?
5 Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, from all that are round about thee; and ye shall be driven out every man right forth, and there shall be none to gather together the fugitives.
6 But afterward I will bring back the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith Jehovah.
7 Of Edom. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?
8 Flee ye, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I shall visit him.
9 If grape-gatherers came to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, would they not destroy till they had enough?
10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is destroyed, and his brethren, and his neighbors; and he is not.
11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.
12 For thus saith Jehovah: Behold, they to whom it pertained not to drink of the cup shall assuredly drink; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink.
13 For I have sworn by myself, saith Jehovah, that Bozrah shall become an astonishment, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes.
14 I have heard tidings from Jehovah, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, `saying', Gather yourselves together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle.
15 For, behold, I have made thee small among the nations, and despised among men.
16 As for thy terribleness, the pride of thy heart hath deceived thee, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith Jehovah.
17 And Edom shall become an astonishment: every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith Jehovah, no man shall dwell there, neither shall any son of man sojourn therein.
19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the pride of the Jordan against the strong habitation: for I will suddenly make them run away from it; and whoso is chosen, him will I appoint over it: for who is like me? and who will appoint me a time? and who is the shepherd that will stand before me?
20 Therefore hear ye the counsel of Jehovah, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely they shall drag them away, `even' the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them.
21 The earth trembleth at the noise of their fall; there is a cry, the noise whereof is heard in the Red Sea.
22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread out his wings against Bozrah: and the heart of the mighty men of Edom at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
23 Of Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad; for they have heard evil tidings, they are melted away: there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus is waxed feeble, she turneth herself to flee, and trembling hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken hold of her, as of a woman in travail.
25 How is the city of praise not forsaken, the city of my joy?
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be brought to silence in that day, saith Jehovah of hosts.
27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad.
28 Of Kedar, and of the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote. Thus saith Jehovah: Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and destroy the children of the east.
29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take; they shall carry away for themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Terror on every side!
30 Flee ye, wander far off, dwell in the depths, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith Jehovah; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you.
31 Arise, get you up unto a nation that is at ease, that dwelleth without care, saith Jehovah; that have neither gates nor bars, that dwell alone.
32 And their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their cattle a spoil: and I will scatter unto all winds them that have the corners `of their hair' cut off; and I will bring their calamity from every side of them, saith Jehovah.
33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling-place of jackals, a desolation for ever: no man shall dwell there, neither shall any son of man sojourn therein.
34 The word of Jehovah that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying,
35 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might.
36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.
37 And I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life; and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith Jehovah; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them;
38 and I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence king and princes, saith Jehovah.
39 But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring back the captivity of Elam, saith Jehovah.
1 The word that Jehovah spake concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet.
2 Declare ye among the nations and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed; her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed.
3 For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they are fled, they are gone, both man and beast.
4 In those days, and in that time, saith Jehovah, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; they shall go on their way weeping, and shall seek Jehovah their God.
5 They shall inquire concerning Zion with their faces thitherward, `saying', Come ye, and join yourselves to Jehovah in an everlasting covenant that shall not be forgotten.
6 My people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting-place.
7 All that found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, We are not guilty, because they have sinned against Jehovah, the habitation of righteousness, even Jehovah, the hope of their fathers.
8 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he-goats before the flocks.
9 For, lo, I will stir up and cause to come up against Babylon a company of great nations from the north country; and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of an expert mighty man; none shall return in vain.
10 And Chaldea shall be a prey: all that prey upon her shall be satisfied, saith Jehovah.
11 Because ye are glad, because ye rejoice, O ye that plunder my heritage, because ye are wanton as a heifer that treadeth out `the grain', and neigh as strong horses;
12 your mother shall be utterly put to shame; she that bare you shall be confounded: behold, she shall be the hindermost of the nations, a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.
13 Because of the wrath of Jehovah she shall not be inhabited, but she shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.
14 Set yourselves in array against Babylon round about, all ye that bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against Jehovah.
15 Shout against her round about: she hath submitted herself; her bulwarks are fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of Jehovah: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.
16 Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
17 Israel is a hunted sheep; the lions have driven him away: first, the king of Assyria devoured him; and now at last Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
18 Therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.
19 And I will bring Israel again to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead.
20 In those days, and in that time, saith Jehovah, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I leave as a remnant.
21 Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: slay and utterly destroy after them, saith Jehovah, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.
22 A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.
23 How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against Jehovah.
25 Jehovah hath opened his armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation; for the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, hath a work `to do' in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come against her from the utmost border; open her store-houses; cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly; let nothing of her be left.
27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.
28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of Jehovah our God, the vengeance of his temple.
29 Call together the archers against Babylon, all them that bend the bow; encamp against her round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her; for she hath been proud against Jehovah, against the Holy One of Israel.
30 Therefore shall her young men fall in her streets, and all her men of war shall be brought to silence in that day, saith Jehovah.
31 Behold, I am against thee, O thou proud one, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts; for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.
32 And the proud one shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up; and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all that are round about him.
33 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: The children of Israel and the children of Judah are oppressed together; and all that took them captive hold them fast; they refuse to let them go.
34 Their Redeemer is strong; Jehovah of hosts is his name: he will thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the earth, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith Jehovah, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.
36 A sword is upon the boasters, and they shall become fools; a sword is upon her mighty men, and they shall be dismayed.
37 A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women: a sword is upon her treasures, and they shall be robbed.
38 A drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up; for it is a land of graven images, and they are mad over idols.
39 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wolves shall dwell there, and the ostriches shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.
40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith Jehovah, so shall no man dwell there, neither shall any son of man sojourn therein.
41 Behold, a people cometh from the north; and a great nation and many kings shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth.
42 They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, every one set in array, as a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon hath heard the tidings of them, and his hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of him, `and' pangs as of a woman in travail.
44 Behold, `the enemy' shall come up like a lion from the pride of the Jordan against the strong habitation: for I will suddenly make them run away from it; and whoso is chosen, him will I appoint over it: for who is like me? and who will appoint me a time? and who is the shepherd that can stand before me?
45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of Jehovah, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely they shall drag them away, `even' the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them.
46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth trembleth, and the cry is heard among the nations.
Second Reading: 2 Peter Chapter 2
2 Peter 2
1 But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And in covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose sentence now from of old lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not.
4 For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5 and spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, having made them an example unto those that should live ungodly;
7 and delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked
8 (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed `his' righteous soul from day to day with `their' lawless deeds):
9 the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the day of judgment;
10 but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise dominion. Daring, self-willed, they tremble not to rail at dignities:
11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, bring not a railing judgment against them before the Lord.
12 But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed,
13 suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing; `men' that count it pleasure to revel in the day-time, spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceivings while they feast with you;
14 having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; enticing unstedfast souls; having a heart exercised in covetousness; children of cursing;
15 forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the `son' of Beor, who loved the hire of wrong-doing;
16 but he was rebuked for his own transgression: a dumb ass spake with man's voice and stayed the madness of the prophet.
17 These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved.
18 For, uttering great swelling `words' of vanity, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness, those who are just escaping from them that live in error;
19 promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage.
20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first.
21 For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire.
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Peter wrote his second letter to the early churches in 66 A.D. The theme of the letter is true knowledge. The newly formed church was threatened by false teachers and, therefore, Peter exhorts the Christians to be aware of this danger. Peter explains that false teachers had crept in and were secretly subverting the true doctrine of the Gospel:
"Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." II Peter 3:17-18 (NIV)
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