2:1 “Now, you priests, this commandment is for you. 2If you do not listen and take seriously the need to honor my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will send judgment on you and turn your blessings into curses—indeed, I have already done so because you are not taking it to heart. 3I am about to discipline your children and will spread offal on your faces, the very offal produced at your festivals, and you will be carried away along with it. 4Then you will know that I sent this commandment to you so that my covenant may continue to be with Levi,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5“My covenant with him was designed to bring life and peace. I gave its statutes to him to fill him with awe, and he indeed revered me and stood in awe before me. 6He taught what was true; sinful words were not found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and integrity, and he turned many people away from sin. 7For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge of sacred things, and people should seek instruction from him because he is the messenger of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 8You, however, have turned from the way. You have caused many to violate the law; you have corrupted the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 9“Therefore, I have caused you to be ignored and belittled before all people to the extent that you are not following after me and are showing partiality in your instruction.”
10Do we not all have one father? Did not one God create us? Why do we betray one another, thus making light of the covenant of our ancestors? 11Judah has become disloyal, and unspeakable sins have been committed in Israel and Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the holy things that the Lord loves and has turned to a foreign god! 12May the Lord cut off from the community of Jacob every last person who does this, as well as the person who presents improper offerings to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
13You also do this: You cover the altar of the Lord with tears as you weep and groan, because he no longer pays any attention to the offering nor accepts it favorably from you. 14Yet you ask, “Why?” The Lord is testifying against you on behalf of the wife you married when you were young, to whom you have become unfaithful even though she is your companion and wife by law. 15No one who has even a small portion of the Spirit in him does this. What did our ancestor do when seeking a child from God? Be attentive, then, to your own spirit, for one should not be disloyal to the wife he took in his youth. 16“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and the one who is guilty of violence,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Pay attention to your conscience, and do not be unfaithful.”
17You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” Because you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the Lord’s opinion, and he delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?” (NET Bible)
148:1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the sky.
Praise him in the heavens.
2Praise him, all his angels.
Praise him, all his heavenly assembly.
3Praise him, O sun and moon.
Praise him, all you shiny stars.
4Praise him, O highest heaven
and you waters above the sky.
5Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he gave the command and they came into existence.
6He established them so they would endure;
he issued a decree that will not be revoked.
7Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea creatures and all you ocean depths,
8O fire and hail, snow and clouds,
O stormy wind that carries out his orders,
9you mountains and all you hills,
you fruit trees and all you cedars,
10you animals and all you cattle,
you creeping things and birds,
11you kings of the earth and all you nations,
you princes and all you leaders on the earth,
12you young men and young women,
you elderly, along with you children.
13Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty extends over the earth and sky.
14He has made his people victorious
and given all his loyal followers reason to praise—
the Israelites, the people who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!(NET Bible)
20:11 Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened—the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. 15If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.
21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. 2And I saw the holy city—the new Jerusalem—descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more—or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.”
5And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then he said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.” 6He also said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. 7The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But as for the cowards, unbelievers, detestable persons, murderers, the sexually immoral, and those who practice magic spells, idol worshipers, and all those who lie, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. That is the second death.”(NET Bible)
[Luther writes:] “Paul takes them all together, himself, an angel from heaven, teachers upon earth, and masters of all kinds, and subjects them to the holy Scripture. Scripture must reign as queen (haec regina debet dominari), her all must obey and be subject to. Not teachers, judges, or arbiters over her, but they must be simple witnesses, pupils and confessors of it, whether they may be the Pope or Luther or Augustine or Paul or an angel from heaven” … —“I let you cry in your hostility that Scripture contradicts itself, ascribing righteousness now to faith and then to works. It is impossible that Scripture contradict itself; it only seems so to foolish, coarse, and hardened hypocrites” … — “We abandon the talk of the Jews and stick to St. Paul’s understanding which, not without cause, emphasizes the little word ‘seed’ and thereby indicates that Holy Scripture in Gen. 12:3 and 22:18 speaks of a single seed not of many, and says plainly that Christ is such seed. Paul does so out of a genuine apostolic spirit and understanding. We Christians do not care if such interpretation does not please the Jews. Paul’s interpretation weighs more with us than all glosses of the rabbis” … — “One letter, even a single tittle of Scripture means more to us than heaven and earth. Therefore we cannot permit even the most minute change.” (82–83)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.