The Bible is the most remarkable collection ever written.
Over a period of two thousand years; in times of war and peace. Written by kings, physicians, tax collectors, farmers, fishermen, singers, and shepherds. Written in three languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Such a diverse group of writers, yet this cohesive unity is inspired and perfected by the Holy Spirit Himself. Jesus Christ is the grand subject, our good is its design, and the glory of God is its end.
- Sun, 21 Dec 2014 05:00:00 +0000: The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Sunday December 21, 2014 (NLT) - Bible Gateway The Daily Audio Bible Reading Plan (NLT)
A Call to Return to the Lord
1 In November[a] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave this message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo:
2 “I, the Lord, was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’ 4 Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.’
5 “Where are your ancestors now? They and the prophets are long dead. 6 But everything I said through my servants the prophets happened to your ancestors, just as I said. As a result, they repented and said, ‘We have received what we deserved from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He has done what he said he would do.’”
A Man among the Myrtle Trees
7 Three months later, on February 15,[b] the Lord sent another message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo.
8 In a vision during the night, I saw a man sitting on a red horse that was standing among some myrtle trees in a small valley. Behind him were riders on red, brown, and white horses. 9 I asked the angel who was talking with me, “My lord, what do these horses mean?”
“I will show you,” the angel replied.
10 The rider standing among the myrtle trees then explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent out to patrol the earth.”
11 Then the other riders reported to the angel of the Lord, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been patrolling the earth, and the whole earth is at peace.”
12 Upon hearing this, the angel of the Lord prayed this prayer: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for seventy years now you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. How long until you again show mercy to them?” 13 And the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.
14 Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong. 15 But I am very angry with the other nations that are now enjoying peace and security. I was only a little angry with my people, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond my intentions.
16 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I have returned to show mercy to Jerusalem. My Temple will be rebuilt, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and measurements will be taken for the reconstruction of Jerusalem.[c]’
17 “Say this also: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The towns of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem as his own.’”
Four Horns and Four Blacksmiths
18 [d]Then I looked up and saw four animal horns. 19 “What are these?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.
He replied, “These horns represent the nations that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
20 Then the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. 21 “What are these men coming to do?” I asked.
The angel replied, “These four horns—these nations—scattered and humbled Judah. Now these blacksmiths have come to terrify those nations and throw them down and destroy them.”
- 1:1 Hebrew In the eighth month. A number of dates in Zechariah can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of October and November 520 B.c.
- 1:7 Hebrew On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius. This event occurred on February 15, 519 B.c.; also see note on 1:1.
- 1:16 Hebrew and the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.
- 1:18 Verses 1:18-21 are numbered 2:1-4 in Hebrew text.
The Woman and the Dragon
12 Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth.
3 Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.
5 She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.
7 Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. 8 And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. 9 This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.
10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.[a]
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters[b]
has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.
12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.”
13 When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon[c] for a time, times, and half a time.
15 Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. 16 But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. 17 And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 O Lord, rescue me from evil people.
Protect me from those who are violent,
2 those who plot evil in their hearts
and stir up trouble all day long.
3 Their tongues sting like a snake;
the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude
4 O Lord, keep me out of the hands of the wicked.
Protect me from those who are violent,
for they are plotting against me.
5 The proud have set a trap to catch me;
they have stretched out a net;
they have placed traps all along the way. Interlude
6 I said to the Lord, “You are my God!”
Listen, O Lord, to my cries for mercy!
7 O Sovereign Lord, the strong one who rescued me,
you protected me on the day of battle.
8 Lord, do not let evil people have their way.
Do not let their evil schemes succeed,
or they will become proud. Interlude
9 Let my enemies be destroyed
by the very evil they have planned for me.
10 Let burning coals fall down on their heads.
Let them be thrown into the fire
or into watery pits from which they can’t escape.
11 Don’t let liars prosper here in our land.
Cause great disasters to fall on the violent.
12 But I know the Lord will help those they persecute;
he will give justice to the poor.
13 Surely righteous people are praising your name;
the godly will live in your presence.
17 The eye that mocks a father
and despises a mother’s instructions
will be plucked out by ravens of the valley
and eaten by vultures.