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First Reading: Ezekiel Chapter 19 and 20
1 Moreover, take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
2 and say, What was thy mother? A lioness: she couched among lions, in the midst of the young lions she nourished her whelps.
3 And she brought up one of her whelps: he became a young lion, and he learned to catch the prey; he devoured men.
4 The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit; and they brought him with hooks unto the land of Egypt.
5 Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion.
6 And he went up and down among the lions; he became a young lion, and he learned to catch the prey; he devoured men.
7 And he knew their palaces, and laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, because of the noise of his roaring.
8 Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces; and they spread their net over him; he was taken in their pit.
9 And they put him in a cage with hooks, and brought him to the king of Babylon; they brought him into strongholds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel.
10 Thy mother was like a vine, in thy blood, planted by the waters: it was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.
11 And it had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and their stature was exalted among the thick boughs, and they were seen in their height with the multitude of their branches.
12 But it was plucked up in fury, it was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up its fruit: its strong rods were broken off and withered; the fire consumed them.
13 And now it is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land.
14 And fire is gone out of the rods of its branches, it hath devoured its fruit, so that there is in it no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
1 And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth `month', the tenth `day' of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of Jehovah, and sat before me.
2 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,
3 Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Is it to inquire of me that ye are come? As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I will not be inquired of by you.
4 Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? Cause them to know the abominations of their fathers;
5 and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In the day when I chose Israel, and sware unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I sware unto them, saying, I am Jehovah your God;
6 in that day I sware unto them, to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.
7 And I said unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am Jehovah your God.
8 But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me; they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
9 But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, among which they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
10 So I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
11 And I gave them my statutes, and showed them mine ordinances, which if a man do, he shall live in them.
12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am Jehovah that sanctifieth them.
13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they rejected mine ordinances, which if a man keep, he shall live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.
14 But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them out.
15 Moreover also I sware unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands;
16 because they rejected mine ordinances, and walked not in my statutes, and profaned my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.
17 Nevertheless mine eye spared them, and I destroyed them not, neither did I make a full end of them in the wilderness.
18 And I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols.
19 I am Jehovah your God: walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them;
20 and hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am Jehovah your God.
21 But the children rebelled against me; they walked not in my statutes, neither kept mine ordinances to do them, which if a man do, he shall live in them; they profaned my sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.
22 Nevertheless I withdrew my hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I brought them forth.
23 Moreover I sware unto them in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the nations, and disperse them through the countries;
24 because they had not executed mine ordinances, but had rejected my statutes, and had profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols.
25 Moreover also I gave them statutes that were not good, and ordinances wherein they should not live;
26 and I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through `the fire' all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am Jehovah.
27 Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In this moreover have your fathers blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
28 For when I had brought them into the land, which I sware to give unto them, then they saw every high hill, and every thick tree, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering; there also they made their sweet savor, and they poured out there their drink-offerings.
29 Then I said unto them, What meaneth the high place whereunto ye go? So the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day.
30 Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Do ye pollute yourselves after the manner of your fathers? and play ye the harlot after their abominations?
31 and when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, do ye pollute yourselves with all your idols unto this day? and shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I will not be inquired of by you;
32 and that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, in that ye say, We will be as the nations, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.
33 As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, will I be king over you:
34 and I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out;
35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I enter into judgment with you face to face.
36 Like as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment with you, saith the Lord Jehovah.
37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;
38 and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me; I will bring them forth out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah.
39 As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Go ye, serve every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me; but my holy name shall ye no more profane with your gifts, and with your idols.
40 For in my holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord Jehovah, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them, serve me in the land: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first-fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
41 As a sweet savor will I accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you in the sight of the nations.
42 And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country which I sware to give unto your fathers.
43 And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have polluted yourselves; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.
44 And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have dealt with you for my name's sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord Jehovah.
45 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,
46 Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop `thy word' toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the field in the South;
47 and say to the forest of the South, Hear the word of Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burnt thereby.
48 And all flesh shall see that I, Jehovah, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.
49 Then said I, Ah Lord Jehovah! they say of me, Is he not a speaker of parables?
Second Reading: Revelation Chapter 3
1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead.
2 Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die: for I have found no works of thine perfected before my God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and didst hear; and keep `it', and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 But thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth:
8 I know thy works (behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name.
9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
10 Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that `hour' which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.
12 He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and `that' the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 2 of 4
The next sections of Revelation are highly symbolic and interpreted by many in different ways. Some believe that the book is understood only in the context of the first century or shortly thereafter. Others interpret it as prophecy of world events starting at the time of its writing until the return of Jesus. Others interpret it as a prophecy primarily concerned with the end times. Whichever view, the fact remains that these are human interpretations. Any understanding of Revelation must be consistent with the rest of the Biblical message since God is not the author of confusion.
The following sections are covered in chapters 4 through 7
1) The Throne, the Scroll and the Lamb, Ch 4-5
2) The opening of the Seven Seals, Ch 7-8
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