Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 30, 2020

Mal. 3

3:1 “I am about to send my messenger, who will clear the way before me. Indeed, the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his temple, and the messenger of the covenant, whom you long for, is certainly coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

2Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can keep standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like a launderer’s soap. 3He will act like a refiner and purifier of silver and will cleanse the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will offer the Lord a proper offering. 4The offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in former times and years past.

5“I will come to you in judgment. I will be quick to testify against those who practice divination; those who commit adultery; those who break promises; and those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans, who refuse to help the resident foreigner and in this way show they do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

6“Since, I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises, you, sons of Jacob, have not perished. 7From the days of your ancestors you have ignored my commandments and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But you say, ‘How should we return?’ 8Can a person rob God? You are indeed robbing me, but you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and contributions! 9You are bound for judgment because you are robbing me—this whole nation is guilty.

10“Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my temple. Test me in this matter,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “to see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out blessing for you until there is no room for it all. 11Then I will stop the plague from ruining your crops, and the vine will not lose its fruit before harvest,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12“All nations will call you blessed, for you indeed will live in a delightful land,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

13“You have criticized me sharply,” says the Lord, “but you ask, ‘How have we criticized you?’ 14You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. How have we been helped by keeping his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord of Heaven’s Armies? 15So now we consider the arrogant to be blessed; indeed, those who practice evil are successful. In fact, those who challenge God escape!’”

16Then those who respected the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord took notice. A scroll was prepared before him in which were recorded the names of those who respected the Lord and honored his name. 17“They will belong to me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “in the day when I prepare my own special property. I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18Then once more you will see that I make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not.

(NET Bible)

Ps. 149

149:1 Praise the Lord.

Sing to the Lord a new song.

Praise him in the assembly of the godly.

2Let Israel rejoice in their Creator.

Let the people of Zion delight in their King.

3Let them praise his name with dancing.

Let them sing praises to him to the accompaniment of the tambourine and harp.

4For the Lord takes delight in his people;

he exalts the oppressed by delivering them.

5Let the godly rejoice because of their vindication.

Let them shout for joy upon their beds.

6May the praises of God be in their mouths

and a two-edged sword in their hands,

7in order to take revenge on the nations

and punish foreigners.

8The godly bind their enemies’ kings in chains

and their nobles in iron shackles,

9and execute the judgment to which their enemies have been sentenced.

All his loyal followers will be vindicated.

Praise the Lord.

(NET Bible)

Rev. 21:9–22:5

21:9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb!” 10So he took me away in the Spirit to a huge, majestic mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. 11The city possesses the glory of God; its brilliance is like a precious jewel, like a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12It has a massive, high wall with twelve gates, with twelve angels at the gates, and the names of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel are written on the gates. 13There are three gates on the east side, three gates on the north side, three gates on the south side, and three gates on the west side. 14The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15The angel who spoke to me had a golden measuring rod with which to measure the city and its foundation stones and wall. 16Now the city is laid out as a square, its length and width the same. He measured the city with the measuring rod at 1,400 miles (its length and width and height are equal). 17He also measured its wall, 144 cubits according to human measurement, which is also the angel’s. 18The city’s wall is made of jasper and the city is pure gold, like transparent glass. 19The foundations of the city’s wall are decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation is jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21And the twelve gates are twelve pearls—each one of the gates is made from just one pearl! The main street of the city is pure gold, like transparent glass.

22Now I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God—the All-Powerful—and the Lamb are its temple. 23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their grandeur into it. 25Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). 26They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it, 27but nothing ritually unclean will ever enter into it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or practices falsehood, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life—water as clear as crystal—pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2flowing down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month of the year. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations. 3And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him, 4and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever.

(NET Bible)

[Luther writes]: “If I am to examine the spirit I must have the Word of God; this must be the rule, the touchstone, the lapis lydius, the light by means of which I can see what is black and what white.” … “ is is decisive; it does not matter what name he [the preacher] has, if he only teaches faithfully … has the Word of God as a plumb line.” … “What then, will you do? Will you condemn them? No, I do not want to condemn Benedictum and others, but I will take their books and go with them to Christ and his Word as the touchstone and compare the two.” … “If one says, the church or the bishops decided this, then answer: Come, let us go to the touchstone and let us measure with the right yard- stick and examine whether it agrees with the Pater Noster and with the Articles of Faith and whether he also preach forgiveness of sins. If it agrees with what Christ taught us, then let us accept it and do according to it.” (81)

Alternative:
[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.

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