Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read in Revelation the story of the harlot and the beast. This is describing something that has happened. It is important to remember that Christians are undergoing persecution by the Roman emperors. This persecution will not last forever.
In Hebrews, we read that Jesus has a priesthood that does not pass away. Unlike the Old Testament priests, he does not need to offer up a sacrifice for himself. Jesus is the priest of the order of the Melchizedek.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 And I saw in heaven another sign, great and wonderful: seven angels were bringing the seven plagues that are the last of all, because they exhaust the anger of God.
2 I seemed to be looking at a sea of crystal suffused with fire, and standing by the lake of glass, those who had fought against the beast and won, and against his statue and the number which is his name. They all had harps from God,
3 and they were singing the hymn of Moses, the servant of God, and the hymn of the Lamb: How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God Almighty; upright and true are all your ways, King of nations.
4 Who does not revere and glorify your name, O Lord? For you alone are holy, and all nations will come and adore you for the many actsof saving justice you have shown.
5 After this, in my vision, the sanctuary, the tent of the Testimony, opened in heaven,
6 and out came the seven angels with the seven plagues, wearing pure white linen, fastened round their waists with belts of gold.
7 One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the anger of God who lives for ever and ever.
8 The smoke from the glory and the power of God filled the temple so that no one could go into it until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
1 Then I heard a loud voice from the sanctuary calling to the seven angels, ‘Go, and empty the seven bowls of God’s anger over the earth.’
2 The first angel went and emptied his bowl over the earth; at once, on all the people who had been branded with the mark of the beast and had worshipped its statue, there came disgusting and virulent sores.
3 The second angel emptied his bowl over the sea, and it turned to blood, like the blood of a corpse, and every living creature in the sea died.
4 The third angel emptied his bowl into the rivers and springs of water and they turned into blood.
5 Then I heard the angel of water say, ‘You are the Upright One, He who is, He who was, the Holy One, for giving this verdict:
6 they spilt the blood of the saints and the prophets, and blood is what you have given them to drink; it is what they deserve.’
7 And I heard the altar itself say, ‘Truly, Lord God Almighty, the punishments you give are true and just.’
8 The fourth angel emptied his bowl over the sun and it was made to scorch people with its flames;
9 but though people were scorched by the fierce heat of it, they cursed the name of God who had the power to cause such plagues, and they would not repent and glorify him.
10 The fifth angel emptied his bowl over the throne of the beast and its whole empire was plunged into darkness. People were biting their tongues for pain,
11 but instead of repenting for what they had done, they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores.
12 The sixth angel emptied his bowl over the great river Euphrates; all the water dried up so that a way was made for the kings of the East to come in.
13 Then from the jaws of dragon and beast and false prophet I saw three foul spirits come; they looked like frogs
14 and in fact were demon spirits, able to work miracles, going out to all the kings of the world to call them together for the war of the Great Day of God the Almighty.-
15 Look, I shall come like a thief. Blessed is anyone who has kept watch, and has kept his clothes on, so that he does not go out naked and expose his shame.-
16 They called the kings together at the place called, in Hebrew, Armageddon.
17 The seventh angel emptied his bowl into the air, and a great voice boomed out from the sanctuary, ‘The end has come.’
18 Then there were flashes of lightning and peals of thunder and a violent earthquake, unparalleled since humanity first came into existence.
19 The Great City was split into three parts and the cities of the world collapsed; Babylon the Great was not forgotten: God made her drink the full winecup of his retribution.
20 Every island vanished and the mountains disappeared;
21 and hail, with great hailstones weighing a talent each, fell from the sky on the people. They cursed God for sending a plague of hail; it was the most terrible plague.
1 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came to speak to me, and said, ‘Come here and I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute who is enthroned beside abundant waters,
2 with whom all the kings of the earth have prostituted themselves, and who has made all the population of the world drunk with the wine of her adultery.’
3 He took me in spirit to a desert, and there I saw a woman riding a scarlet beast which had seven heads and ten horns and had blasphemous titles written all over it.
4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with gold and jewels and pearls, and she was holding a gold winecup filled with the disgusting filth of her prostitution;
5 on her forehead was written a name, a cryptic name: ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of all the prostitutes and all the filthy practices on the earth.’
6 I saw that she was drunk, drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; and when I saw her, I was completely mystified.
7 The angel said to me, ‘Do you not understand? I will tell you the meaning of this woman, and of the beast she is riding, with the seven heads and the ten horns.
8 ‘The beast you have seen was once alive and is alive no longer; it is yet to come up from the Abyss, but only to go to its destruction. And the people of the world, whose names have not been written since the beginning of the world in the book of life, will be astonished when they see how the beast was once alive and is alive no longer, and is still to come.
9 ‘This calls for shrewdness. The seven heads are the seven hills, on which the woman is sitting.
10 The seven heads are also seven emperors. Five of them have already gone, one is here now, and one is yet to come; once here, he must stay for a short while.
11 The beast, who was alive and is alive no longer, is at the same time the eighth and one of the seven, and he is going to his destruction.
12 ‘The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet been given their royal power but will have royal authority only for a single hour and in association with the beast.
13 They are all of one mind in putting their strength and their powers at the beast’s disposal,
14 and they will go to war against the Lamb; but because the Lamb is Lord of lords and King of kings, he will defeat them, he and his followers, the called, the chosen, the trustworthy.’
15 The angel continued, ‘The waters you saw, beside which the prostitute was sitting, are all the peoples, the populations, the nations and the languages.
16 But the ten horns and the beast will turn against the prostitute, and tear off her clothes and leave her stark naked; then they will eat her flesh and burn the remains in the fire.
17 In fact, God has influenced their minds to do what he intends, to agree together to put their royal powers at the beast’s disposal until the time when God’s words shall be fulfilled.
18 The woman you saw is the great city which has authority over all the rulers on earth.’
1 Every high priest is taken from among human beings and is appointed to act on their behalf in relationships with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins;
2 he can sympathise with those who are ignorant or who have gone astray, because he too is subject to the limitations of weakness.
3 That is why he has to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people.
4 No one takes this honour on himself; it needs a call from God, as in Aaron’s case.
5 And so it was not Christ who gave himself the glory of becoming high priest, but the one who said to him: You are my Son, today I have fathered you,
6 and in another text: You are a priest for ever, of the order of Melchizedek.
7 During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, with loud cries and with tears, to the one who had the power to save him from death, and, winning a hearing by his reverence,
8 he learnt obedience, Son though he was, through his sufferings;
9 when he had been perfected, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation
10 and was acclaimed by God with the title of high priest of the order of Melchizedek.
11 On this subject we have many things to say, and they are difficult to explain because you have grown so slow at understanding.
12 Indeed, when you should by this time have become masters, you need someone to teach you all over again the elements of the principles of God’s sayings; you have gone back to needing milk, and not solid food.
13 Truly, no one who is still living on milk can digest the doctrine of saving justice, being still a baby.
14 Solid food is for adults with minds trained by practice to distinguish between good and bad.
1 Let us leave behind us then all the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to its completion, without going over the fundamental doctrines again: the turning away from dead actions, faith in God,
2 the teaching about baptisms and the laying — on of hands, about the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement.
3 This, God willing, is what we propose to do.
4 As for those people who were once brought into the light, and tasted the gift from heaven, and received a share of the Holy Spirit,
5 and tasted the goodness of God’s message and the powers of the world to come
6 and yet in spite of this have fallen away — it is impossible for them to be brought to the freshness of repentance a second time, since they are crucifying the Son of God again for themselves, and making a public exhibition of him.
7 A field that drinks up the rain that has fallen frequently on it, and yields the crops that are wanted by the owners who grew them, receives God’s blessing;
8 but one that grows brambles and thistles is worthless, and near to being cursed. It will end by being burnt.
9 But you, my dear friends — in spite of what we have just said, we are sure you are in a better state and on the way to salvation.
10 God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love that you have for his name or the services you have done, and are still doing, for the holy people of God.
11 Our desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same enthusiasm till the ultimate fulfilment of your hope,
12 never growing careless, but taking as your model those who by their faith and perseverance are heirs of the promises.
13 When God made the promise to Abraham, he swore by his own self, since there was no one greater he could swear by:
14 I will shower blessings on you and give you many descendants.
15 Because of that, Abraham persevered and received fulfilment of the promise.
16 Human beings, of course, swear an oath by something greater than themselves, and between them, confirmation by an oath puts an end to all dispute.
17 In the same way, when God wanted to show the heirs of the promise even more clearly how unalterable his plan was, he conveyed it by an oath
18 so that through two unalterable factors in which God could not be lying, we who have fled to him might have a vigorous encouragement to grasp the hope held out to us.
19 This is the anchor our souls have, reaching right through inside the curtain
20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever, of the order of Melchizedek.
1 Melchizedek, king of Salem, a priest of God Most High, came to meet Abraham when he returned from defeating the kings, and blessed him;
2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. By the interpretation of his name, he is, first, ‘king of saving justice’ and also king of Salem, that is, ‘king of peace’;
3 he has no father, mother or ancestry, and his life has no beginning or ending; he is like the Son of God. He remains a priest for ever.
4 Now think how great this man must have been, if the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the finest plunder.
5 We know that any of the descendants of Levi who are admitted to the priesthood are obliged by the Law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their own brothers although they too are descended from Abraham.
6 But this man, who was not of the same descent, took his tithe from Abraham, and he gave his blessing to the holder of the promises.
7 Now it is indisputable that a blessing is given by a superior to an inferior.
8 Further, in the normal case it is ordinary mortal men who receive the tithes, whereas in that case it was one who is attested as being alive.
9 It could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, actually paid tithes, in the person of Abraham,
10 because he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek came to meet him.
11 Now if perfection had been reached through the levitical priesthood — and this was the basis of the Law given to the people — why was it necessary for a different kind of priest to arise, spoken of as being of the order of Melchizedek rather than of the order of Aaron?
12 Any change in the priesthood must mean a change in the Law as well.
13 So our Lord, of whom these things were said, belonged to a different tribe, the members of which have never done service at the altar;
14 everyone knows he came from Judah, a tribe which Moses did not mention at all when dealing with priests.
15 This becomes even more clearly evident if another priest, of the type of Melchizedek, arises who is a priest
16 not in virtue of a law of physical descent, but in virtue of the power of an indestructible life.
17 For he is attested by the prophecy: You are a priest for ever of the order of Melchizedek.
18 The earlier commandment is thus abolished, because of its weakness and ineffectiveness
19 since the Law could not make anything perfect; but now this commandment is replaced by something better-the hope that brings us close to God.
20 Now the former priests became priests without any oath being sworn,
21 but this one with the swearing of an oath by him who said to him, The Lord has sworn an oath he will never retract: you are a priest for ever;
22 the very fact that it occurred with the swearing of an oath makes the covenant of which Jesus is the guarantee all the greater.
23 Further, the former priests were many in number, because death put an end to each one of them;
24 but this one, because he remains for ever, has a perpetual priesthood.
25 It follows, then, that his power to save those who come to God through him is absolute, since he lives for ever to intercede for them.
26 Such is the high priest that met our need, holy, innocent and uncontaminated, set apart from sinners, and raised up above the heavens;
27 he has no need to offer sacrifices every day, as the high priests do, first for their own sins and only then for those of the people; this he did once and for all by offering himself.
28 The Law appoints high priests who are men subject to weakness; but the promise on oath, which came after the Law, appointed the Son who is made perfect for ever.
1 The principal point of all that we have said is that we have a high priest of exactly this kind. He has taken his seat at the right of the throne of divine Majesty in the heavens,
2 and he is the minister of the sanctuary and of the true Tent which the Lord, and not any man, set up.
3 Every high priest is constituted to offer gifts and sacrifices, and so this one too must have something to offer.
4 In fact, if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are others who make the offerings laid down by the Law,
5 though these maintain the service only of a model or a reflection of the heavenly realities; just as Moses, when he had the Tent to build, was warned by God who said: See that you work to the design that was shown you on the mountain.
6 As it is, he has been given a ministry as far superior as is the covenant of which he is the mediator, which is founded on better promises.
7 If that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no room for a second one to replace it.
8 And in fact God does find fault with them; he says: Look, the days are coming, the Lord declares, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah,
9 but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors, the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, which covenant of mine they broke, and I too abandoned them, the Lord declares.
10 No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel, when those days have come, the Lord declares: In their minds I shall plant my laws writing them on their hearts. Then I shall be their God, and they shall be my people.
11 There will be no further need for each to teach his neighbour, and each his brother, saying ‘Learn to know the Lord!’ No, they will all know me, from the least to the greatest,
12 since I shall forgive their guilt and never more call their sins to mind.
13 By speaking of a new covenant, he implies that the first one is old. And anything old and ageing is ready to disappear.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She weaves materials and sells them, she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 She is clothed in strength and dignity, she can laugh at the day to come.