Dan 4-6; John 18
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you!
It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.
How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace.
I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me.
So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream.
Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation.
At last Daniel came in before me–he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods–and I told him the dream, saying,
‘O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation.
The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great.
The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.
Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.
‘I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven.
He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches.
But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth.
Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him.
The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, ”Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, ”My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies!
The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth,
whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived–
it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth.
And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’
this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king,
that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.
And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules.
Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”
All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.
At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,
and the king answered and said, ”Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”
While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, ”O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,
and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”
Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ”What have you done?”
At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me.
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand.
Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.
Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.
They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote.
Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.
The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, ”Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation.
Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.
The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, ”O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change.
There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father–your father the king–made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers,
because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”
Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, ”You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah.
I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.
Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter.
But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
Then Daniel answered and said before the king, ”Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation.
O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty.
And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled.
But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.
He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.
And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this,
but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.
‘Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed.
And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN.
This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end;
TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting;
PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed.
And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom;
and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.
Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.
Then these men said, ”We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, ”O King Darius, live forever!
All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.
Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”
Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.
Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, ”O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, ”The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”
Then they answered and said before the king, ”Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.
Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, ”Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, ”May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”
And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.
Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions.
As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, ”O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
Then Daniel said to the king, ”O king, live forever!
My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions–they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: ”Peace be multiplied to you.
I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.
He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples.
So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, ”Whom do you seek?”
They answered him, ”Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, ”I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
When Jesus said to them, ”I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
So he asked them again, ”Whom do you seek?” And they said, ”Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus answered, ”I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: ”Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”
Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
So Jesus said to Peter, ”Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.
First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,
but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.
The servant girl at the door said to Peter, ”You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, ”I am not.”
Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
Jesus answered him, ”I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.
Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”
When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, ”Is that how you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him, ”If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”
Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, ”You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, ”I am not.”
One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ”Did I not see you in the garden with him?”
Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.
So Pilate went outside to them and said, ”What accusation do you bring against this man?”
They answered him, ”If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.”
Pilate said to them, ”Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, ”It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”
This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, ”Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, ”Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
Pilate answered, ”Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus answered, ”My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Then Pilate said to him, ”So you are a king?” Jesus answered, ”You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, ”What is truth?”After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, ”I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again, ”Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
The reading plan I’ve chosen is from Bible Class Material and it’s a 5 day plan, with weekend days to catch up or get ahead or just take a break!