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Bible Reading Plan

Daily Bible Reading

December 23 - Old & New Testament


Esther 9,10

1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar,(a) the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand(b) over those who hated them.(c) 2 The Jews assembled in their cities(d) in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them,(e) because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. 3 And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king's administrators helped the Jews,(f) because fear of Mordecai had seized them.(g) 4 Mordecai(h) was prominent(i) in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.(j)

5 The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them,(k) and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. 6 In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. 7 They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, 8 Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, 9 Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, 10 the ten sons(l) of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews.(m) But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.(n)

11 The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. 12 The king said to Queen Esther, "The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted."(o)

13 "If it pleases the king," Esther answered, "give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day's edict tomorrow also, and let Haman's ten sons(p) be impaled(q) on poles."

14 So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled(r) the ten sons of Haman. 15 The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.(s)

16 Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief(t) from their enemies.(u) They killed seventy-five thousand of them(v) but did not lay their hands on the plunder.(w) 17 This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting(x) and joy.

18 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar(y) as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.(z)

Purim Established

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief(aa) from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.(ab) He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food(ac) to one another and gifts to the poor.(ad)

23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite,(ae) the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur(af) (that is, the lot(ag)) for their ruin and destruction.(ah) 25 But when the plot came to the king's attention,[a] he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head,(ai) and that he and his sons should be impaled(aj) on poles.(ak) 26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.(al)) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

29 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail,(am) along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces(an) of Xerxes' kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance— 31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting(ao) and lamentation.(ap) 32 Esther's decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.

The Greatness of Mordecai

1 King Xerxes imposed tribute throughout the empire, to its distant shores.(a) 2 And all his acts of power and might, together with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai,(b) whom the king had promoted,(c) are they not written in the book of the annals(d) of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 Mordecai the Jew was second(e) in rank(f) to King Xerxes,(g) preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.(h)

Revelation 14

Chapter 14

The Lamb and the 144,000

1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb,(a) standing on Mount Zion,(b) and with him 144,000(c) who had his name and his Father's name(d) written on their foreheads.(e) 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters(f) and like a loud peal of thunder.(g) The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.(h) 3 And they sang a new song(i) before the throne and before the four living creatures(j) and the elders.(k) No one could learn the song except the 144,000(l) who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins.(m) They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.(n) They were purchased from among mankind(o) and offered as firstfruits(p) to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths;(q) they are blameless.(r)

The Three Angels

6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair,(s) and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth(t)—to every nation, tribe, language and people.(u) 7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God(v) and give him glory,(w) because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made(x) the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."(y)

8 A second angel followed and said, "‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,'[a](z) which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."(aa)

9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast(ab) and its image(ac) and receives its mark on their forehead(ad) or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God's fury,(ae) which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.(af) They will be tormented with burning sulfur(ag) in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever.(ah) There will be no rest day or night(ai) for those who worship the beast and its image,(aj) or for anyone who receives the mark of its name."(ak) 12 This calls for patient endurance(al) on the part of the people of God(am) who keep his commands(an) and remain faithful to Jesus.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord(ao) from now on."

"Yes," says the Spirit,(ap) "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

Harvesting the Earth and Trampling the Winepress

14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud,(aq) and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man[b](ar) with a crown(as) of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple(at) and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle(au) and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest(av) of the earth is ripe." 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.(aw) 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar(ax) and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle(ay) and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath.(az) 20 They were trampled in the winepress(ba) outside the city,(bb) and blood(bc) flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.[c]

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