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First Reading: Ezekiel Chapter 19 and 20
19:1 Israel Degraded
"Moreover take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, 2 and say:
'What is your mother? A lioness:She lay down among the lions;Among the young lions she nourished her cubs. 3 She brought up one of her cubs,And he became a young lion;He learned to catch prey,And he devoured men. 4 The nations also heard of him;He was trapped in their pit,And they brought him with chains to the land of Egypt.
5'When she saw that she waited, that her hope was lost,She took another of her cubs and made him a young lion. 6 He roved among the lions,And became a young lion;He learned to catch prey;He devoured men. 7 He knew their desolate places, And laid waste their cities;The land with its fullness was desolated By the noise of his roaring. 8 Then the nations set against him from the provinces on every side,And spread their net over him;He was trapped in their pit. 9 They put him in a cage with chains,And brought him to the king of Babylon;They brought him in nets,That his voice should no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel.
10'Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline, Planted by the waters,Fruitful and full of branches Because of many waters. 11 She had strong branches for scepters of rulers.She towered in stature above the thick branches,And was seen in her height amid the dense foliage. 12 But she was plucked up in fury,She was cast down to the ground,And the east wind dried her fruit.Her strong branches were broken and withered;The fire consumed them. 13 And now she is planted in the wilderness,In a dry and thirsty land. 14 Fire has come out from a rod of her branches And devoured her fruit,So that she has no strong branch a scepter for ruling.'"
This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation.
20:1 The Rebellions of Israel
It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of
the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD,
and sat before me. 2 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 3 "Son
of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord
GOD: "Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live," says the Lord GOD,"I
will not be inquired of by you."' 4 Will you judge them, son of man, will
you judge them? Then make known to them the abominations of their fathers.
5 "Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised My hand in an oath to them, saying,'I am the LORD your God.' 6 On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them,'flowing with milk and honey,' the glory of all lands. 7 Then I said to them, 'Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' 8 But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, 'I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.' 9 But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
10 "Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments,'which, if a man does, he shall live by them.' 12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments,'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. 14 But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 So I also raised My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, 'flowing with milk and honey,' the glory of all lands, 16 because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless My eye spared them from destruction. I did not make an end of them in the wilderness.
18 "But I said to their children in the wilderness, 'Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; 20 hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.'
21 "Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments,'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless I withdrew My hand and acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries, 24 because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers' idols.
25 "Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; 26 and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the LORD."'
27 "Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "In this too your fathers have blasphemed Me, by being unfaithful to Me. 28 When I brought them into the land concerning which I had raised My hand in an oath to give them, and they saw all the high hills and all the thick trees, there they offered their sacrifices and provoked Me with their offerings. There they also sent up their sweet aroma and poured out their drink offerings. 29 Then I said to them, 'What is this high place to which you go?' So its name is called Bamah to this day."' 30 Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations? 31 For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live," says the Lord GOD, "I will not be inquired of by you. 32 What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, 'We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.'
33 God Will Restore Israel
"As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand,
with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. 34
I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where
you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury
poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and
there I will plead My case with you face to face. 36 Just as I pleaded My case
with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My
case with you," says the Lord GOD.
37 "I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
39 "As for you, O house of Israel," thus says the Lord GOD:"Go, serve every one of you his idols and hereafter if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols. 40 For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel," says the Lord GOD, "there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things. 41 I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles. 42 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. 44 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name's sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel," says the Lord GOD.'"
45 Fire in the Forest
Furthermore the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 46 "Son of man, set
your face toward the south; preach against the south and prophesy against the
forest land, the South, 47 and say to the forest of the South, 'Hear the word
of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I will kindle a fire in you,
and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you; the blazing
flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall
be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I, the LORD, have kindled it;
it shall not be quenched."'"
49 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! They say of me, 'Does he not speak parables?'"
3:1 The Dead Church
"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
6 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
7 The Faithful Church
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens": 8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
14 The Lukewarm Church
"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say,'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says 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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