2 Now I am here to reveal to you the truth: Three more kings will rule in Persia. After them, a fourth will arise who will be much richer than all the others. He will use his wealth to build his power and extend his influence; then he will incite the nations to fight against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Meanwhile in Greece, a warrior king will come to power.
The Greek warrior king is Alexander the Great in the late fourth century b.c.
With great authority he will rule his lands and do as he desires. 4 But no sooner than he rises, his kingdom will be broken up and divided to the four winds of heaven. None of his own offspring will receive any portion, nor will these kingdoms exercise the great authority he once did, for his empire will be ripped from its foundation and given to others.
A series of powerful Persian kings arises after Cyrus. Over the next century, Persian power wanes until Alexander the Great brings down the Persian Empire.
5 The king of the south will then grow in power and prosper. Yet in time one of his own officers will become more powerful than he and rule over an even greater empire. 6 Several years later, the king of the north and the king of the south will form an alliance. That alliance will be established by the marriage of the daughter of the king of the south to the king of the north; however, this union will not last. The princess will not hold onto power, and the king, too, will lose his throne. She will be given up along with her royal court, her father, and those who backed her. 7 In response, one of her relatives, a branch from her roots, will rise to take his place and become king in the south. He will take up the sword and lead an army into the fortress of the northern king. He will fight against them and in the end be victorious. 8 He will sack their temples and carry back to Egypt their gods, cast in metal images, and take their precious vessels crafted of fine gold and silver; for several years the king of the south will resist going to war against the king of the north. 9 But then, in later times, the king of the north will invade the provinces of the king of the south, but soon will be forced to withdraw to his own northern lands. 10 His sons will commit to war and assemble a powerful army, a force that will flood over the land, pass through the territories, and take the battle as far as the southern king’s fortress. 11 At this provocation, the enraged king of the south will rally a large force to repel the northern invaders. And though the king of the north had assembled a powerful army, it will go down in defeat. 12 When the invading army is repelled, the heart of the king of the south will be caught up in pride, and so he will execute tens of thousands of his enemies; still he will not prove to be strong. 13 For the king of the north will return after a few years, having raised a fighting force far larger and better equipped than before. 14 When this happens many people will rebel against the king of the south. Violent people from your own people, Daniel, will join the fray in order to fulfill the vision, but none will succeed. All will fall. 15 Then the king of the north will come and build a siege ramp against a fortified city and eventually take it; for the south, even with their very best warriors, will have no strength left to fight. 16 The king of the north will go where he pleases, and his army will march on unmatched and undeterred. None can resist him. One day he will stand in the beautiful lands of promise with the power to destroy it or let it be. 17 Using the might of his kingdom, the king of the north will decide to force an alliance. He will give the king of the south his daughter for a wife with the hope that she might help conquer the kingdom from within; but his plans will not succeed. 18 Afterward, the king of the north will turn his attention to the coastlands, attacking the cities there, claiming many. Eventually a commander will put a stop to the violent attacks and turn the aggression back on the invader and his army. 19 The king of the north will flee to his own land and seek the protection of his own strongholds, but he will trip and fall, never to be seen or heard of again.
After his death Alexander’s kingdom is partitioned among his four generals, two of whom figure prominently in Daniel’s prophecy. Alexander’s generals continue to fight over Israel and its citizens. Seleucus Nicator rules in the north (Syria). Ptolemy Soter rules in the south (Egypt).
Messenger: 20 Another northern king will rise to take his place. He will send out an official to exact taxes from the most glorious jewel of the kingdom, namely Jerusalem, but his tyranny will not last long. He will be cut down, though not in the heat of battle or in an angry loss of control.
21 Yet another will rise to take his place: a truly despicable person. Though royal honors were not his by right, he will come in quietly and take over with cunning and clever promises. 22 Armies will be overwhelmed and crushed before him, and the prince of the covenant will be cut down as well. 23 Though his supporters are few in number, he will grow strong by deceiving those who have made alliances with him. 24 In a time of ease and great wealth he will quietly invade the wealthiest parts of the region and do what none of his royal predecessors had ever done before; instead of hoarding the treasure, he will distribute the plunder, possessions, and property among those loyal to him. And though he will make plans to attack fortresses, these plans will not last for long.
25 But the king of the north is not finished. Once again he inspires courage and gathers a large and powerful fighting force to attack the south; but the king of the south takes notice and gathers his own large, powerful army to wage war. But he will not be able to resist the northern invader because treacherous plans will be devised against him. 26 His closest advisors, those who eat from the royal table, will betray him and bring about his downfall even as his army is swept away. Many will die in battle. 27 Both kings will sit at the same table and lie to each other, their only interest in deceiving and harming the other. But none of this will matter, for the end is yet to come at the appointed time. 28 The king of the north will eventually return to his own land with riches won from conquered peoples. With his heart set against the holy covenant, he will do whatever his evil will desires and then return to his own land.
29 At the chosen time, he will once again attempt to invade the south, but this time will be different from any time before. 30 For warships will arrive from the west[a] and confront him. Fearful of their power, he will withdraw. On his way north, he will unleash his violent fury against the holy covenant and those loyal to it. At the same time he will look with favor on those who turn their backs on it. 31 The king will command his forces to take over the city and pollute the temple fortress. After they outlaw the daily sacrifices to the one True God, they will set up the disgusting idol that will desecrate the most holy place.[b] 32 With smooth talk, he will entice people who act wickedly and break the covenant. But those who truly know their God will remain strong and work against him. 33 The truly wise among God’s people will help the many understand the need to resist; yet for quite some time they will be killed by sword and fire, or they will be imprisoned and their property taken. 34 Those who fall victim to this persecution will receive only a little help, and many will join their cause out of smooth, deceptive speech. 35 Some of the wise will fall victim and be martyred in order to be refined, purified, and made clean until the end, for the appointed time is still to come.
1 John 3:7-24
7 Children, don’t let anyone pull one over on you. The one doing the right thing is just imitating Jesus, the Righteous One.
If you are wondering if your faith is authentic, take a look at your life. Are you doing what is right?
8 The one persisting in sin belongs to the diabolical one, who has been all about sin from the beginning. That is why the Son of God came into our world: to destroy the plague of destruction inflicted on the world by the diabolical one.
9 Everyone who has been born into God’s family avoids sin as a lifestyle because the genes of God’s children come from God Himself. Therefore, a child of God can’t live a life of persistent sin. 10 So it is not hard to figure out who are the children of God and who are the children of the diabolical one: those who lack right standing and those who don’t show love for one another do not belong to God.
11 The central truth—the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith—is that we must love one another. 12 Please do not act like Cain, who was of the evil one. He brutally murdered his own brother.[a] Why would he do something so despicable? Because his life was devoted to evil and selfishness, and his brother chose to do what is right.
13 Brothers and sisters, don’t be shocked if the corrupt world despises you. 14 We know that we have crossed over from death to real life because we are devoted to true love for our brothers and sisters. Anyone who does not love lives among corpses.
Do you ever wonder if you are just silently sleeping through days, months, and years? There is one indicator of real life: true love for others.
15 Everyone who hates other members of God’s family is a murderer. Does a murderer possess the beautiful life that never ends? No. 16 We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.
17 If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? 18 My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.
19-20 There is a sure way for us to know that we belong to the truth. Even though our inner thoughts may condemn us with storms of guilt and constant reminders of our failures, we can know in our hearts that in His presence God Himself is greater than any accusation. He knows all things. 21 My loved ones, if our hearts cannot condemn us, then we can stand with confidence before God. 22 Whatever we may ask, we receive it from Him because we follow His commands and take the path that pleases Him. 23 His command is clear: believe in the name of His Son, Jesus the Anointed, and love one another as He commanded. 24 The one who follows His teaching and walks this path lives in an intimate relationship with God. How do we know that He lives in us? By the gift of His Spirit.
A song [of David][a] for those journeying to worship.
This is a Davidic psalm celebrating the grandeur and significance of Jerusalem and its temple. It is ironic that Jerusalem means “city of peace” since more battles have been fought over it than over any other city.
1 I was so happy when my fellow pilgrims said,
“Let’s go to the house of the Eternal!”
2 We have made the journey, and now we are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem! What a magnificent city!
Buildings so close together, so compact.
4 God’s people belong here. Every tribe of the Eternal
makes its way to Jerusalem—
Just as God decreed for Israel
to come together and give thanks to the Eternal.
5 In Jerusalem, justice is the order of the day because there sit the judges
and kings, the descendants of David.
6 Ask heaven to grant peace to Jerusalem:
“May those who love you prosper.
7 O Jerusalem, may His peace fill this entire city!
May this citadel be quiet and at ease!”
8 It’s because of people—my family, friends, and acquaintances—
that I say, “May peace permeate you.”
9 And because the house of Eternal One, our God, is here, know this:
I will always seek your good!
- 122:title Some manuscripts omit this portion.
29 The one who remains defiant after repeated reprimands
will suddenly be shattered, and there will be no remedy for him.