Thursday, May 7, 2015

Daniel, Day 4 Readings

A Vision of Four Awful Beasts and the End of the Jewish Exile in Babylon 

Today's first reading is a terrible vision for the future.  While the vision promises God's ultimate salvation for the faithful, it also warns of a terrible period to be endured until that time.  In this vision, the terrible kingdoms are represented by four beasts that destroy and devour until the last is ultimately subdued by God.  This is a warning to those in exile that life will get worse for people of faith -- much worse and much more chaotic -- before they finally get better.  At the end of this chaos, though, God will establish a new, peaceful kingdom.

Read Daniel 7:1-28  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading tells of a great prayer by Daniel, acknowledging the history of Jewish sins and asking God's mercy on the people in exile -- not because they deserve mercy, but because God is merciful.  At the end of this prayer, the prophet sees a vision, which foretells the end of the exile and the opportunity to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.  However, the vision also tells of a time when the new Temple will be desecrated and the Jews will again be at the mercy of a godless government.  Like other prophecies in Daniel, this timeline has been used by many to argue for how close the endtimes are (in the phrases of Daniel, which "week" we are in).

Read Daniel 9:1-27  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Daniel 7-9 today.