God Has Spoken by His Son (Cp Jn 1.1—4)Hebrews 1:1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
The Son Is Superior to Angels5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have begotten you”?
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”7 Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his servants flames of fire.”
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
“In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like clothing;
12 like a cloak you will roll them up,
and like clothing they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will never end.”
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
Warning to Pay AttentionHebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, 4 while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.
Exaltation through Abasement (Cp Ps 8.1—9)5 Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6 But someone has testified somewhere,
“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
or mortals, that you care for them?
7 You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honor,
8 subjecting all things under their feet.”
10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12 saying,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”And again,
“Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Moses a Servant, Christ a SonHebrews 3:1 Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also “was faithful in all God’s house.” 3 Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. 6 Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to
Warning against Unbelief (Ps 95.7b—11)7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
as on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors put me to the test,
though they had seen my works 10 for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
and I said, ‘They always go astray in their hearts,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 As in my anger I swore,
‘They will not enter my rest.’ ”
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
The Rest That God PromisedHebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“As in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ”
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
Jesus the Great High Priest14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.
But the Bible itself teaches that we are to understand it in terms of our own experience when it says that Paul, Barnabas and Elijah were human beings like us and that Jesus knows how we feel in our weaknesses because he himself “in every respect has been tested as we are” (Heb 4:15). It means that their experience was substantially like our own.
If we are to hear God’s voice ourselves and on an individual basis, we must, above all else, observe how his word came to those people described in the Scriptures. How did they experience God’s communication? What was it like for them to hear God? We must prayerfully but boldly use our God-given imaginations as we read the stories of people who encountered God. We must ask ourselves what it would be like if we were Moses standing by the bush (Ex 3:2), little Samuel lying in his darkened room (1 Sam 3:3-7), Elisha under inspiration from the minstrel (2 Kings 3:15), Ananias receiving his vision about Paul (Acts 9:11) or Peter on his rooftop (Acts 10:10). We must pray for the faith and for the experiences that would enable us to believe that such things could happen to us. Only then will we be able to recognize, accept and dwell in them when they come. Dallas Willard - Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God
16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 5:1 Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; 3 and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4 And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
6 as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Warning against Falling Away11 About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
The Peril of Falling AwayHebrews 6:1 Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, 2 instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And we will do this, if God permits. 4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt. 7 Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over.
... the New Testament believed in the centrality of the cross of Christ, and believed that their conviction was derived from the mind of the Master himself. The early post-apostolic church, therefore, had a firm double base – in the teaching of Christ and his apostles – for making a cross the sign and symbol of Christianity. Church tradition proved in this to be a faithful reflection of Scripture.
Moreover, we must not overlook their remarkable tenacity. They knew that those who had crucified the Son of God had subjected him to ‘public disgrace’ and that in order to endure the cross Jesus had had to humble himself to it and to ‘scorn its shame’. Heb. 6:6; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 12:2 Nevertheless, what was shameful, even odious, to the critics of Christ, was in the eyes of his followers most glorious. They had learnt that the servant was not greater than the master, and that for them as for him suffering was the means to glory. More than that, suffering was glory, and whenever they were ‘insulted because of the name of Christ’, then ‘the Spirit of glory’ rested upon them. Luke 24:26; John 12:23–24; 1 Pet. 1:11; 4:13; 5:1, 10; 4:14
Yet the enemies of the gospel neither did nor do share this perspective. There is no greater cleavage between faith and unbelief than in their respective attitudes to the cross. Where faith sees glory, unbelief sees only disgrace. What was foolishness to Greeks, and continues to be to modern intellectuals who trust in their own wisdom, is nevertheless the wisdom of God. And what remains a stumbling-block to those who trust in their own righteousness, like the Jews of the first century, proves to be the saving power of God (1 Cor. 1:18–25). The Cross of Christ
9 Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, 12 so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The Certainty of God’s Promise (Cp Gen 12.1—3)13 When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. 16 Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. 17 In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, 18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. 19 We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
God Placed You Where You Are for a Reason
By Amy K. Hall 11/4/16
Where has God placed you? How can you bring glory to God in that place? John Stonestreet’s book Restoring All Things: God’s Audacious Plan to Change the World through Everyday People closes with a good reminder to every Christian. Whatever your life situation, there is a way to apply the Christian worldview to what you do and how you interact with people. There is a way to bring redemptive life to the people you encounter, to your profession, and to those whom you serve through your work.
Over the course of a week, we find ourselves in all kinds of personal and social settings: at work, at home, at church, in our communities, at the voting booth, at the store, and around our neighborhoods. Once we identify the places we spend our time, we can identify the relationships we have in those spaces. Then we can begin to think through the needs of these places and what we might do to join God’s work there.
Underneath this exercise is the classic Christian understanding of vocation. Vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call.” Today, vocation is often confused with occupation, or what we do to make a living. The Protestant Reformers understood vocation differently. They understood anywhere and everywhere we go as our “stations,” situations and relationships ordained by God for us.
This idea of “station” is key. If we see the various situations and relationships in our lives as accidental, we will never have a proper understanding of vocation. Instead, we should see our various stations as places and people to which God has called us. A calling, after all, requires a “caller.” As Paul told the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers during his famous “Mars Hill” sermon, “[God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17: 26).
So God determines when and where we live. It is no accident where we find ourselves, whether in Budapest or Boston, in Singapore or Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. And it is no accident if we are brothers, daughters, employees, neighbors, and citizens. God is writing our stories into His Grand Narrative of the Story of All Things….
Book Review: One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd
By Chad 11/7/16
One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot's Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview is Jason B. Ladd's story. Ladd's story begins at a moment of tragedy in his life. It is at this moment that he realizes that while he may be prepared to defend his country, he is ill-equipped to lead his wife and children. So begins his greatest mission of all: a mission to find the truth.
Layout of the Book | One of the Few's 297 pages are separated into 3 parts. As Ladd explains, "Part I offers a look into my childhood as a military dependent, and chronicles my journey as a spiritual seeker...Part II explains the importance of having a worldview capable of filtering out false teachings, harmful doctrines, and all the trappings of a sinful world...Part III uses my background in peace, war, and defense to help you prepare for spiritual warfare as I discuss searching for peace and struggling with doubt before, during, and after my decision to follow Christ."
Strengths of the Book | This reader greatly appreciated how the author not only offered rational reasons and evidence for the Christian worldview, but he also dealt with how to live as a Christian after deciding to follow Jesus Christ. Not only will the Christian be better equipped to defend their faith after reading this work, but they will also be furnished with some of the tools they will need to live a life pleasing to God. Ladd covers topics such as marriage, parenting, and addiction from the perspective of someone who has seen firsthand the harmful effects that false beliefs and self-destructive lifestyles can have on one's life. Furthermore, he is not afraid to address topics that some in the church today shy away from including homosexuality, drunkenness, and pornography.
Ladd also does a great job weaving his arguments and points throughout his own personal story. His journey is an intimate one that admirably conveys the struggles a soldier, husband, father, and follower of Christ faces.
The author also effectively uses questions to challenge the reader to consider the ramifications of their own worldview. For example, when discussing the power of pre-suppositions, he writes:
Only A Street Fighter Can Take Down Clinton’s Anti-America Machine
By Stella Morabito 11/4/16
I cherish the right to keep my vote secret, and I believe we are beginning to see challenges to the right to secret ballot. I wrote about this concern in The Federalist after seeing the angry reaction to the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. The shocked Remain camp behaved as though Brexit voters had no right whatsoever to prevail at the ballot box.
In the meantime, I’ve watched how people at Donald Trump rallies—basically folks who have felt kicked under the bus by fat-cat elites and their bureaucrats—have been beaten and collectively smeared as right-wing-white-nationalist-KKK-every-slur-in-the-book deplorables. It’s not pretty. No, neither is Trump what you’d call “pretty.” But we don’t live in pretty times now, do we?
The handwriting is on the wall, and Hillary “laws-are-for-little-people” Clinton has all but promised to finally destroy the checks and balances on power our Constitution guarantees. Project Veritas’ undercover interviews with her campaign operative Robert Creamer show in grisly detail that Creamer brazenly instigated the violence and riots at Trump rallies with the apparent consent of the Clinton campaign itself.
There can be no doubt that a Hillary Clinton administration would put into hyperdrive the political correctness that has metastasized under the Obama administration. Political correctness has sickened our nation to the point that we can’t even name our symptoms anymore without fear of being socially tortured by the political establishment. The First Amendment is coming apart at the seams, thanks to policies that punish any expressions of conscience that don’t align with this new order.
The Suffocating National High School | Watching Clinton’s craven behavior reminds me a bit of the power structure in the proverbial high school cafeteria. At the center of power are the “mean girls,” the queen bees who dictate the identities—and therefore the relationships—of everybody in the whole school. The queen bee and her cohort of fellow divas and wannabes decide who may sit with whom. With an air of superiority, they pigeon-hole people, identifying them as nerds or whatever.
Why I Won’t Apologize For Loving Chicago
By Dominic Lynch 11/5/16
Maybe you’ve seen the headlines. “Chicago Hits 500 Homicides for 2016 After Deadly Labor Day Weekend,” reported USA Today. The Chicago Tribune followed up shortly after: “Chicago Passes Another Grim Milestone: More Than 3000 Shot This Year.” Then the bombshell: “Chicago Has Had More Murders Than New York and L.A. Combined This Year.” That was only by October.
It’s all true. My city — the city I love — is crime-infested. From the outside it looks like the Wild West, and from the inside it’s not always better. The South and West Sides, where most of the crime hotspots are, can be a living Hell. What kind of city is so out of control that a nine-year-old can be targeted for a revenge killing? What kind of city lets its poorest residents rot in food deserts, job deserts, and dire poverty? Chicago, of course.
I know what non-Chicagoans think: what a hellhole. The mental imagery the press has painted leads one to think of Chicago as a giant, dilapidated, falling-apart city on the verge of imploding. Guns must be everywhere, and if you aren’t careful you’ll wind up dead. But let me make it clear: that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Chicago’s crime doesn’t define the city, and the city isn’t in the shape outsiders assume it is.
You’ve Not Heard the Whole Story about Chicago
Let me tell you about Chicago. We have the most beautiful cityscape in the country. Lake Michigan is to the east, suburbia is to the west, and everything in between is urban, with one of the most recognizable and beautiful skylines in the country. The Sears (now Willis) Tower, John Hancock, CNA Building, Aon Center, and others make Chicago instantly recognizable to anyone even marginally acquainted with the city.
Europe’s Show Trials Are Where America’s Anti-Speech Regime Is Going
By Alex Grass 11/6/16
Progressives are prosecuting conservative dissenters for 'hate crimes.' Criminalizing politics not only crushes diversity—it's just plain wrong.
American politics has taken a bad turn. We see this in an increase in politically motivated criminal charges. At universities, students’ due process protections are being eliminated in favor of a politically modish star chamber. One presidential candidate even promised to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the other.
Absent a serious reexamination of these practices, injustice will become a fixed custom. To see where we’re headed, we need only look to Europe, where prosecution for one’s politics has already become the norm.
During a 2014 election rally, Geert Wilders, Dutch parliamentarian and head of the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom (PVV), asked the crowd if they wanted fewer or more Moroccans in the country. Supporters chanted “fewer, fewer,” and Wilders replied, “We’ll take care of that.”
The Hague Public Prosecutors subsequently decided Mr. Wilders had committed a hate crime.
4 Ways To Stop Arguing About Abortion And Start Preventing It
By Cara Valle 11/8/16
If you’re tired of arguing until you’re blue in the face and want to make a difference, here are four constructive, non-rabid channels where you can direct your energies.
I’m a conservative, and most of my Facebook friends are conservative, too. Thus, my news feed is reliably peppered with memes like this one:
The intention behind memes like this is to use logic for a good cause. “If I expose the holes in pro-abortion arguments,” thought the sweet elderly lady who posted this, “then maybe people will change their minds about abortion, vote for pro-life candidates who will appoint conservative justices, and progressively outlaw abortion in America.” In the very simplest sense, this is a worthy goal. A widespread and reprehensible practice is something we should all work to prevent.
The problem with the sweet old lady’s strategy is that it is galactically ineffective. It will get “likes” and vigorous head-nods from her fellow pro-life conservatives. It may provoke an argument with a pro-abortion Facebook friend, if she has one. But it will almost certainly not change anyone’s mind about abortion, much less deter a woman from seeking abortion.
Why? Because the sweet old lady doesn’t know what an abortion-seeker looks like, thinks, or needs. She’s been sucked into the ping-pong game of political arguments and forgotten about the people who matter: the women considering abortion.
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Righteous anger (2)
(Nov 9) Bob Gass
‘Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.’
(Is 5:20) 20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! ESV
Did you know that God Himself gets angry? The Bible says, ‘The LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice’ (1 Kings 11:9 NKJV). Often change begins with righteous anger. Aristotle once said: ‘Anybody can become angry; that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person…to the right degree…at the right time…for the right purpose, and in the right way …that’s not easy.’ But it is possible! A person who always gets angry is a fool, but a person who never gets angry is lacking in moral courage. Henry Ward Beecher said: ‘A man who doesn’t know how to be angry, doesn’t know how to be good. A man who doesn’t know how to be shaken to his heart’s core with indignation over things evil, is either a fungus or a wicked man.’ Here are four things that we ought to get angry over: 1) A sex-crazed, profanity-filled movie and a television industry that’s polluting the minds of young and old alike. 2) Cowardly politicians who do what’s politically expedient instead of what’s morally right. 3) Injustice done to others because of the colour of their skin or their economic status. 4) Your children when they openly defy you. However, a word of warning: ‘Don’t go to bed angry’ (Ephesians 4:26 CEV). So, clearly explain the rules of the house, consistently enforce those rules, but make sure that your child knows you love them and have only their best interest at heart. They may not understand it at the time, but they will appreciate it later.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
On this day, November 9, 1954, President Eisenhower spoke at the National Conference on the Spiritual Foundation of American Democracy. He stated: “Now Dr. Lowry said something about my having certain convictions as to a God in Heaven and an Almighty power. Well, I don’t think anyone needs a great deal of credit for believing in what seems to me to be obvious.” Eisenhower concluded: “And no matter what Democracy tries to do in terms of individual liberty… when you come back to it, there is just one thing… man is worthwhile because he was born in the image of God.”
by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God
What, then, are we really doing? Our whole conception of, so to call it, the prayer-situation depends on the answer.
We are always completely, and therefore equally, known to God. That is our destiny whether we like it or not. But though this knowledge never varies, the quality of our being known can. A school of thought holds that "freedom is willed necessity." Never mind if they are right or not. I want this idea only as an analogy. Ordinarily, to be known by God is to be, for this purpose, in the category of things. We are like earthworms, cabbages, and nebulae, objects of divine knowledge. But when we (a) become aware of the fact-the present fact, not the generalization-and (b) assent with all our will to be so known, then we treat ourselves, in relation to God, not as things but as persons. We have unveiled. Not that any veil could have baffled this sight. The change is in us. The passive changes to the active. Instead of merely being known, we show, we tell, we offer ourselves to view.
To put ourselves thus on a personal footing with God could, in itself and without warrant, be nothing but presumption and illusion. But we are taught that it is not; that it is God who gives us that footing. For it is by the Holy Spirit that we cry "Father." By unveiling, by confessing our sins and "making known" our requests, we assume the high rank of persons before Him. And He, descending, becomes a Person to us.
But I should not have said "becomes." In Him there is no becoming. He reveals Himself as Person: or reveals that in Him which is Person. For-dare one say it? in a book it would need pages of qualification and insurance-God is in some measure to a man as that man is to God. The door in God that opens is the door he knocks at. (At least, I think so, usually.) The person in Him-He is more than a person-meets those who can welcome or at least face it. He speaks as “I” when we truly call Him “Thou.” (How good Buber is!)
This talk of "meeting" is, no doubt, anthropomorphic; as if God and I could be face to face, like two fellow-creatures, when in reality He is above me and within me and below me and all about me. That is why it must be balanced by all manner of metaphysical and theological abstractions. But never, here or anywhere else, let us think that while anthropomorphic images are a concession to our weakness, the abstractions are the literal truth. Both are equally concessions; each singly misleading, and the two together mutually corrective. Unless you sit to it very tightly, continually murmuring "Not thus, not thus, neither is this Thou," the abstraction is fatal. It will make the life of lives inanimate and the love of loves impersonal. The naif image is mischievous chiefly in so far as it holds unbelievers back from conversion. It does believers, even at its crudest, no harm. What soul ever perished for believing that God the Father really has a beard?
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Thanks to Meir Yona
That Many Of The Sicarii Fled To Alexandria Also And What Dangers They Were In There; On Which Account That Temple Which Had Formerly Been Built By Onias The High Priest Was Destroyed.
1. When Masada was thus taken, the general left a garrison in the fortress to keep it, and he himself went away to Cesarea; for there were now no enemies left in the country, but it was all overthrown by so long a war. Yet did this war afford disturbances and dangerous disorders even in places very far remote from Judea; for still it came to pass that many Jews were slain at Alexandria in Egypt; for as many of the Sicarii as were able to fly thither, out of the seditious wars in Judea, were not content to have saved themselves, but must needs be undertaking to make new disturbances, and persuaded many of those that entertained them to assert their liberty, to esteem the Romans to be no better than themselves, and to look upon God as their only Lord and Master. But when part of the Jews of reputation opposed them, they slew some of them, and with the others they were very pressing in their exhortations to revolt from the Romans; but when the principal men of the senate saw what madness they were come to, they thought it no longer safe for themselves to overlook them. So they got all the Jews together to an assembly, and accused the madness of the Sicarii, and demonstrated that they had been the authors of all the evils that had come upon them. They said also that "these men, now they were run away from Judea, having no sure hope of escaping, because as soon as ever they shall be known, they will be soon destroyed by the Romans, they come hither and fill us full of those calamities which belong to them, while we have not been partakers with them in any of their sins." Accordingly, they exhorted the multitude to have a care, lest they should be brought to destruction by their means, and to make their apology to the Romans for what had been done, by delivering these men up to them; who being thus apprized of the greatness of the danger they were in, complied with what was proposed, and ran with great violence upon the Sicarii, and seized upon them; and indeed six hundred of them were caught immediately: but as to all those that fled into Egypt 18 and to the Egyptian Thebes, it was not long ere they were caught also, and brought back, whose courage, or whether we ought to call it madness, or hardiness in their opinions, every body was amazed at. For when all sorts of torments and vexations of their bodies that could be devised were made use of to them, they could not get any one of them to comply so far as to confess, or seem to confess, that Caesar was their lord; but they preserved their own opinion, in spite of all the distress they were brought to, as if they received these torments and the fire itself with bodies insensible of pain, and with a soul that in a manner rejoiced under them. But what was most of all astonishing to the beholders was the courage of the children; for not one of these children was so far overcome by these torments, as to name Caesar for their lord. So far does the strength of the courage [of the soul] prevail over the weakness of the body.
2. Now Lupus did then govern Alexandria, who presently sent Caesar word of this commotion; who having in suspicion the restless temper of the Jews for innovation, and being afraid lest they should get together again, and persuade some others to join with them, gave orders to Lupus to demolish that Jewish temple which was in the region called Onion, 19 and was in Egypt, which was built and had its denomination from the occasion following: Onias, the son of Simon, one of the Jewish high priests fled from Antiochus the king of Syria, when he made war with the Jews, and came to Alexandria; and as Ptolemy received him very kindly, on account of hatred to Antiochus, he assured him, that if he would comply with his proposal, he would bring all the Jews to his assistance; and when the king agreed to do it so far as he was able, he desired him to give him leave to build a temple some where in Egypt, and to worship God according to the customs of his own country; for that the Jews would then be so much readier to fight against Antiochus who had laid waste the temple at Jerusalem, and that they would then come to him with greater good-will; and that, by granting them liberty of conscience, very many of them would come over to him.
3. So Ptolemy complied with his proposals, and gave him a place one hundred and eighty furlongs distant from Memphis. 20 That Nomos was called the Nomos of Hellopolis, where Onias built a fortress and a temple, not like to that at Jerusalem, but such as resembled a tower. He built it of large stones to the height of sixty cubits; he made the structure of the altar in imitation of that in our own country, and in like manner adorned with gifts, excepting the make of the candlestick, for he did not make a candlestick, but had a [single] lamp hammered out of a piece of gold, which illuminated the place with its rays, and which he hung by a chain of gold; but the entire temple was encompassed with a wall of burnt brick, though it had gates of stone. The king also gave him a large country for a revenue in money, that both the priests might have a plentiful provision made for them, and that God might have great abundance of what things were necessary for his worship. Yet did not Onias do this out of a sober disposition, but he had a mind to contend with the Jews at Jerusalem, and could not forget the indignation he had for being banished thence. Accordingly, he thought that by building this temple he should draw away a great number from them to himself. There had been also a certain ancient prediction made by [a prophet] whose name was Isaiah, about six hundred years before, that this temple should be built by a man that was a Jew in Egypt. And this is the history of the building of that temple.
4. And now Lupus, the governor of Alexandria, upon the receipt of Caesar's letter, came to the temple, and carried out of it some of the donations dedicated thereto, and shut up the temple itself. And as Lupus died a little afterward, Paulinus succeeded him. This man left none of those donations there, and threatened the priests severely if they did not bring them all out; nor did he permit any who were desirous of worshipping God there so much as to come near the whole sacred place; but when he had shut up the gates, he made it entirely inaccessible, insomuch that there remained no longer the least footsteps of any Divine worship that had been in that place. Now the duration of the time from the building of this temple till it was shut up again was three hundred and forty-three years.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Justice is the insurance
which we have on our lives and property.
Obedience is the premium which we pay for it.
--- William Penn Principles of Social Reconstruction
There is nothing that wastes the body like worry,
and one who has any faith in God
should be ashamed to worry
about anything whatsoever.
--- Mohandas Gandhi Visionaries: The 20th Century's 100 Most Inspirational Leaders
The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.
--- Sir Richard Francis Burton The tangled web: a life of Sir Richard Burton
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Who now rejoice in My sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.… --- Col. 1:24.
The Christian worker has to be a sacramental ‘go-between,’ to be so identified with his Lord and the reality of His Redemption that He can continually bring His creating life through him. It is not the strength of one man’s personality being superimposed on another, but the real presence of Christ coming through the elements of the worker’s life. When we preach the historic facts of the life and death of Our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words are made sacramental; God uses them on the ground of His Redemption to create in those who listen that which is not created otherwise. If we preach the effects of Redemption in human life instead of the revelation regarding Jesus, the result in those who listen is not new birth, but refined spiritual culture, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in another domain. We have to see that we are in such living sympathy with God that as we proclaim His truth He can create in souls the things which He alone can do.
'What a wonderful personality!’ ‘What a fascinating man!’ ‘Such marvellous insight!’ What chance has the Gospel of God through all that? It cannot get through, because the line of attraction is always the line of appeal. If a man attracts by his personality, his appeal is along that line; if he is identified with his Lord’s personality, then the appeal is along the line of what Jesus Christ can do. The danger is to glory in men; Jesus says we are to lift Him up.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Face to face? Ah, no
God; such language falsifies
the relation. Nor side by side,
nor near you, nor anywhere
in time and space.
Say you were,
when I came, your name
vouching for you, ubiquitous
in its explanations. The
earth bore and they reaped
God, they said, looking
in your direction. The wind
changed; over the drowned
body it was you
they spat at.
I pronounced you. Older
I still do, but seldomer
now, leaning far out
over an immense depth, letting
your name go and waiting,
somewhere between faith and doubt,
for the echoes of its arrival.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
The biblical promise of redemption does not refer to God’s miraculous intervention in history, but is based upon the conviction that a change in man’s moral life will ultimately affect a change in man’s political conditions. Just as God answers man’s prayer for guidance by providing him with an intellect, so too does He answer man’s longing for redemption by giving the community a Torah which implants in the believing Jew the conviction that his historical condition is affected by his moral actions. Both intellect and Torah can be perceived by religious man as immediate divine response to his longing for divine guidance. Torah and creation can be perceived by the religious Jew as continuous manifestations of divine activity and love. The “promise” in the Torah that Israel will ultimately repent is based upon the fact that Torah creates the impetus for a permanent need for teshuvah:
In the same way the commandment given to us to call upon Him, may He be exalted, in every calamity—I mean its dictum, “You shall sound short blasts on the trumpets”—likewise belongs to this class. For it is an action through which the correct opinion is firmly established that He, may He be exalted, apprehends our situations and that it depends upon Him to improve them, if we obey, and to make them ruinous, if we disobey; we should not believe that such things are fortuitous and happen by chance. This is the meaning of its dictum, “But if, despite this, you disobey Me and remain hostile to Me,” by which it means: If you consider that the calamities with which I cause you to be stricken are to be borne as a mere chance, I shall add for you unto this supposed chance its most grievous and cruel portion. This is the meaning of its dictum: “[But if, despite this,] you disobey Me and remain hostile to Me, I will act against you in wrathful hostility …” For their belief that this is chance contributes to necessitating their persistence in their corrupt opinions and unrighteous actions, so that they do not turn away from them; thus it says: “You have stricken them, but they were not affected.” For this reason we have been commanded to invoke Him, may He be exalted, and to turn rapidly toward Him, and call out to Him in every misfortune.
Torah trains the believing Jew to recognize the power of teshuvah to alter his political and economic condition by constantly reminding him that his political and material life is determined by his relationship to God. It is this training which can explain the prophet’s certainty that Israel will repent.
Maimonides knew of those who maintained that grace and redemption imply acts of God which are independent of human action.32 His rejection of the preoccupation with miracles expresses itself in his making knowledge of God a necessary—and perhaps sufficient—condition for historical redemption:
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.
--- Jeremiah 23:6.
If we deny this doctrine of salvation by grace, we turn the truth—the Word of God—into a lie. Classic Sermons on The Names of God (Kregel Classic Sermons Series) (Classic Sermons) We subvert all Scripture that says we have been saved by grace, not by works, so that no one can boast—that salvation is God’s free gift. For if the whole personal righteousness of Jesus Christ is not the sole cause of my acceptance with God, if any work done by me was in the least looked on by God as a cause for acquitting my soul from guilt, then I have something for which I may boast. Now boasting is excluded in the great work of our redemption. But that cannot be if we are enemies to the doctrine of an imputed righteousness. It would be endless to enumerate how many texts of Scripture must be false if this doctrine is not true. Let it suffice to affirm that if we deny imputed righteousness, we may as well deny divine revelation.
Can you say, The Lord our righteousness? For entertaining this doctrine in your heads, without receiving the Lord Jesus Christ by a living faith into your hearts, will only increase your damnation. An unapplied Christ is no Christ at all.
Is Christ your sanctification as well as your outward righteousness? For the word “righteousness” in the text not only implies Christ’s personal righteousness imputed to us, but also holiness of heart worked in us. These two God has joined together. He never will separate them. If you are justified by the blood, you are also sanctified by the Spirit of the Lord. Were you ever made to detest yourselves for your actual and original sins and to loathe your own righteous acts as filthy rags? Were you ever made to see and admire the all-sufficiency of Christ’s righteousness and excited by the Spirit of God to be thirsty for the righteousness of Christ?
And after these inward conflicts, were you ever enabled to reach out the arm of faith and embrace Jesus in your souls, so that you could say, My lover is mine and I am his? If so, fear not. The Lord Christ, the everlasting God, is your righteousness. Christ has justified you.
Think on the love of Christ in dying for you! If the Lord is your righteousness, let the righteousness of your Lordbe continually in your mouth. Talk of and recommend the righteousness of Christ. Think of the greatness of the gift as well as the giver.
--- George Whitefield
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Cost of Discipleship
Berlin’s leading psychiatrist and neurologist, Karl Bonhoeffer expected his son to take up a “respectable” profession such as science or the law. Instead, young Dietrich declared he wanted to be a theologian. When his family pointed out flaws in the German church, he replied, “In that case, I’ll reform it.”
He tried, but he came of age during the days of Adolf Hitler, who duped most German churchmen. “It is because of Hitler that Christ has become effective among us,” said one minister. “National Socialism is positive Christianity in action.” Bonhoeffer, opposing the Nazis with all his might, called the church to repentance. His outspokenness put him at risk; every day, every year, the crisis grew, the tension deepened.
On Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night”), November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed their full fury against Jewish communities in Germany. Windows were shattered, houses stormed, synagogues burned, families brutalized, Jews imprisoned. Bonhoeffer, away from Berlin, raced back to the capital and stood like an intrepid prophet against the violence. He was furious with Christians who justified the violence by saying the Jews were reaping only what they deserved as the crucifiers of Christ. He marked the calamitous date alongside Psalm 74:7,8, which he underlined in his Bible.
He was eventually incarcerated at Telgel Prison outside Berlin. His six-by-nine-foot cell contained cot, shelf, stool, and bucket. Here he lived 18 months, writing letters and poems. Some of them were addressed to Maria von Wedemeyer, his fiancée. They never married, and the letters he wrote her are now at Harvard University, sealed at her request until the year 2002.
Eventually Bonhoeffer was taken to Flossenburg Concentration Camp. As he led a small worship service on April 8, 1945, the Gestapo burst in and dragged him away. He cried, “This is the end—for me, the beginning of life.” Shortly after five o’clock the next Morning, he was taken to an execution site in a grove of trees and forced to strip. He knelt naked and prayed, then ascended the gallows to God.
They burned down your temple and badly disgraced it.
They said to themselves, “We’ll crush them!”
Then they burned every one of your meeting places
All over the country.
--- Psalm 74:7,8.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - November 9
“So walk ye in him.” --- Colossians 2:6.
If we have received Christ himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will manifest its intimate acquaintance with him by a walk of faith in him. Walking implies action. Our religion is not to be confined to our closet; we must carry out into practical effect that which we believe. If a man walks in Christ, then he so acts as Christ would act; for Christ being in him, his hope, his love, his joy, his life, he is the reflex of the image of Jesus; and men say of that man, “He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ.” Walking signifies progress. “So walk ye in him”; proceed from grace to grace, run forward until you reach the uttermost degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning our Beloved. Walking implies continuance. There must be a perpetual abiding in Christ. How many Christians think that in the Morning and Evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, and may then give their hearts to the world all the day: but this is poor living; we should always be with him, treading in his steps and doing his will. Walking also implies habit. When we speak of a man’s walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant tenor of his life. Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ, and then forget him; sometimes call him ours, and anon lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in him. We must keep to him, cling to him, never let him go, but live and have our being in him. “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”; persevere in the same way in which ye have begun, and, as at the first Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let him be the same till life’s end; the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and enter into the joy and the rest which remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept.
Evening - November 9
“His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” --- Isaiah 33:16.
Do you doubt, O Christian, do you doubt as to whether God will fulfil his promise? Shall the munitions of rock be carried by storm? Shall the storehouses of heaven fail? Do you think that your heavenly Father, though he knoweth that you have need of food and raiment, will yet forget you? When not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered, will you mistrust and doubt him? Perhaps your affliction will continue upon you till you dare to trust your God, and then it shall end. Full many there be who have been tried and sore vexed till at last they have been driven in sheer desperation to exercise faith in God, and the moment of their faith has been the instant of their deliverance; they have seen whether God would keep his promise or not. Oh, I pray you, doubt him no longer! Please not Satan, and vex not yourself by indulging any more those hard thoughts of God. Think it not a light matter to doubt Jehovah. Remember, it is a sin; and not a little sin either, but in the highest degree criminal. The angels never doubted him, nor the devils either: we alone, out of all the beings that God has fashioned, dishonour him by unbelief, and tarnish his honour by mistrust. Shame upon us for this! Our God does not deserve to be so basely suspected; in our past life we have proved him to be true and faithful to his word, and with so many instances of his love and of his kindness as we have received, and are daily receiving, at his hands, it is base and inexcusable that we suffer a doubt to sojourn within our heart. May we henceforth wage constant war against doubts of our God—enemies to our peace and to his honour; and with an unstaggering faith believe that what he has promised he will also perform. “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
PRAISE THE SAVIOR
Thomas Kelly, 1769–1854
In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11, 12)
God’s people have always been and will always be a “praising people.” God created and chose us in order that we “might be for the praise of His glory,” the sum of all that God is and does. The song of praise began at creation when “the Morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). It was furthered during the Old Testament period by the Israelites, who were widely known for their “singing faith.” The song of praise was echoed by the angelic chorus announcing Christ’s birth. It has been proclaimed and published by pastors, hymn writers, and singers throughout the centuries. And it is rehearsed each week by worshiping believers everywhere as they prepare for the new song of praise and worship that will continue throughout eternity.
Thomas Kelly is considered to be one of the most distinguished spiritual poets of the 19th century. After his dismissal from the Anglican church for his zealous evangelical preaching, especially on the subject of “justification by faith”—a doctrinal taboo by the High Church, he associated himself with the dissenting Congregationalists, becoming known as a magnetic preacher throughout his ministry.
These inspiring two-line verses by Thomas Kelly, based on Psalm 88:1, were published in 1809. The melody of this hymn is of unknown German origin.
Praise the Savior, ye who know Him! Who can tell how much we owe Him? Gladly let us render to Him all we are and have.
Jesus is the name that charms us; He for conflict fits and arms us. Nothing moves and nothing harms us while we trust in Him.
Trust in Him, ye saints, forever—He is faithful, changing never. Neither force nor guile can sever those He loves from Him.
Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving to Thyself, and still believing, till the hour of our receiving promised joys with Thee.
Then we shall be where we would be; then we shall be what we should be. Things that are not now, nor could be, soon shall be our own.
For Today: Psalm 66:2; 88:1; 96:7, 8; 100:4; Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 4:11
The psalmist declared that he praised God seven times a day for His righteous laws (Psalm 119:164). Determine to spend some time throughout this day in offering your voice of praise to the Lord. Use this hymn to help ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Thursday, November 9, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 26, Thursday
Psalms (Morning) (Psalm 70) 71
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 74
Old Testament (Ezra 7:1–10) 11–26
New Testament Revelation 14:1–13
Gospel Matthew 14:1–12
Index of Readings
(Psalm 70) 71
[ To the leader. Of David, for the memorial offering.
1 Be pleased, O God, to deliver me.
O LORD, make haste to help me!
2 Let those be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life.
Let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who desire to hurt me.
3 Let those who say, “Aha, Aha!”
turn back because of their shame.
4 Let all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you.
Let those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
5 But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay! ]
1 In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
3 Be to me a rock of refuge,
a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
5 For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
6 Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.
7 I have been like a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all day long.
9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
10 For my enemies speak concerning me,
and those who watch for my life consult together.
11 They say, “Pursue and seize that person
whom God has forsaken,
for there is no one to deliver.”
12 O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
13 Let my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
let those who seek to hurt me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 But I will hope continually,
and will praise you yet more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all day long,
though their number is past my knowledge.
16 I will come praising the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD,
I will praise your righteousness, yours alone.
s 17 O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
18 So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might
to all the generations to come.
Your power 19 and your righteousness, O God,
reach the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
20 You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
21 You will increase my honor,
and comfort me once again.
22 I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have rescued.
24 All day long my tongue will talk of your righteous help,
for those who tried to do me harm
have been put to shame, and disgraced.
A Maskil of Asaph.
1 O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,
which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
3 Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.
4 Your foes have roared within your holy place;
they set up their emblems there.
5 At the upper entrance they hacked
the wooden trellis with axes.
6 And then, with hatchets and hammers,
they smashed all its carved work.
7 They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrated the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it to the ground.
8 They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9 We do not see our emblems;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how long.
10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand;
why do you keep your hand in your bosom?
12 Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the earth.
13 You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15 You cut openings for springs and torrents;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16 Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you established the luminaries and the sun.
17 You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
you made summer and winter.
18 Remember this, O LORD, how the enemy scoffs,
and an impious people reviles your name.
19 Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
21 Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
23 Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.
(Ezra 7:1–10) 11–26
[ 7 After this, in the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2 son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3 son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4 son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5 son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of the chief priest Aaron— 6 this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the LORD the God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was upon him.
7 Some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants also went up to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8 They came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was begun, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the gracious hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel. ]
11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to the priest Ezra, the scribe, a scholar of the text of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel: 12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven: Peace. And now 13 I decree that any of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom who freely offers to go to Jerusalem may go with you. 14 For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the law of your God, which is in your hand, 15 and also to convey the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16 with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, given willingly for the house of their God in Jerusalem. 17 With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, and their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever seems good to you and your colleagues to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19 The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which you are responsible for providing, you may provide out of the king’s treasury.
21 “I, King Artaxerxes, decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22 up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred cors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and unlimited salt. 23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal for the house of the God of heaven, or wrath will come upon the realm of the king and his heirs. 24 We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on any of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
25 “And you, Ezra, according to the God-given wisdom you possess, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River who know the laws of your God; and you shall teach those who do not know them. 26 All who will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on them, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of their goods or for imprisonment.”
14 Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the one hundred forty-four thousand who have been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from humankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found; they are blameless.
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
8 Then another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
9 Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, “Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, 10 they will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image and for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”
14 At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; 2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod 7 so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 9 The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; 10 he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. 12 His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church