December 20th, 2018

Katharina von Bora Luther

First Reading: Is. 40:18-41:10

18 To whom then will you liken God?
      Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
       19 The workman molds an image,
      The goldsmith overspreads it with gold,
      And the silversmith casts silver chains.
       20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution
      Chooses a tree that will not rot;
      He seeks for himself a skillful workman
      To prepare a carved image that will not totter.
       21 Have you not known?
      Have you not heard?
      Has it not been told you from the beginning?
      Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
       22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
      And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
      Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
      And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
       23 He brings the princes to nothing;
      He makes the judges of the earth useless.
       24 Scarcely shall they be planted,
      Scarcely shall they be sown,
      Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth,
      When He will also blow on them,
      And they will wither,
      And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
       25 “ To whom then will you liken Me,
      Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
       26 Lift up your eyes on high,
      And see who has created these things,
      Who brings out their host by number;
      He calls them all by name,
      By the greatness of His might
      And the strength of His power;
      Not one is missing.
       27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
      And speak, O Israel:
      “ My way is hidden from the LORD,
      And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
       28 Have you not known?
      Have you not heard?
      The everlasting God, the LORD,
      The Creator of the ends of the earth,
      Neither faints nor is weary.
      His understanding is unsearchable.
       29 He gives power to the weak,
      And to those who have no might He increases strength.
       30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
      And the young men shall utterly fall,
       31 But those who wait on the LORD
      Shall renew their strength;
      They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
      They shall run and not be weary,
      They shall walk and not faint.

Israel Assured of God’s Help
 1 “Keep silence before Me, O coastlands,
      And let the people renew their strength!
      Let them come near, then let them speak;
      Let us come near together for judgment.
       2 “ Who raised up one from the east?
      Who in righteousness called him to His feet?
      Who gave the nations before him,
      And made him rule over kings?
      Who gave them as the dust to his sword,
      As driven stubble to his bow?
       3 Who pursued them, and passed safely
      By the way that he had not gone with his feet?
       4 Who has performed and done it,
      Calling the generations from the beginning?
      ‘ I, the LORD, am the first;
      And with the last I am He.’”
       5 The coastlands saw it and feared,
      The ends of the earth were afraid;
      They drew near and came.
       6 Everyone helped his neighbor,
      And said to his brother,
      “ Be of good courage!”
       7 So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith;
      He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil,
      Saying, “It is ready for the soldering”;
      Then he fastened it with pegs,
      Thatit might not totter.
       8 “ But you, Israel, are My servant,
      Jacob whom I have chosen,
      The descendants of Abraham My friend.
       9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
      And called from its farthest regions,
      And said to you,
      ‘ You are My servant,
      I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
       10 Fear not, for I am with you;
      Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
      I will strengthen you,
      Yes, I will help you,
      I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Second Reading: Rev. 8:1-13

Seventh Seal: Prelude to the Seven Trumpets

 1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

First Trumpet: Vegetation Struck

    7 The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth.[a] And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

Second Trumpet: The Seas Struck

    8 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Third Trumpet: The Waters Struck

    10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.

Fourth Trumpet: The Heavens Struck

    12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. 13 And I looked, and I heard an angel[b] flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”

Footnotes:Revelation 8:7 NU-Text and M-Text add and a third of the earth was burned up. Revelation 8:13 NU-Text and M-Text read eagle.


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