Three dudes showed up in Jerusalem and went before King Herod and was all, So where’s the crown prince that was born recently? We saw this star that totally meant that the future King of the Jews was born and we have traveled for months to bring him these awesome presents.
This freaked Herod out–he was barely hanging on to power with the Roman war machine demanding tribute and obedience. The last thing he needed was some sort of magic competitor. So he put the visitors off with something noncommittal and started asking around. Everyone told him that the prophets promised that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Then he summoned the wise men and was all, The baby you’re looking for is in Bethlehem. When you find him, let me know so I can go worship him too! Continue reading “Matthew 2: The wise men”
One day there was this girl named Mary and she was engaged to this man named Joseph. But even though Joseph had never gotten so much as a cuddle, Mary’s tummy started protruding through her smock. She was clearly pregnant. Since Joseph was a decent dude, and he didn’t want her stoned to death for adultery, he decided he’d break up with her all quiet-like. The night before he was going to end things, however, he dreamed of an angel that said it was God that had knocked Mary up, so he needed to go ahead and marry her to make an honest woman of her and to raise God’s kid, who was the savior of the world all those prophets promised. The angel told Joseph to name the kid Jesus, which is cooler version of Joshua, after all the other Joshuas God had favored.
Because Isaiah and the other prophets said that the messiah would be of the lineage of David, it’s important that Joseph, Jesus’s step-dad, was the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandkid of David.
Zechariah dreamed of four chariots, one drawn by red horses, one drawn by black horses, one drawn by dappled horses. His angel told him they represented the four winds patrolling the earth.
When some exiles returned from Babylon, God told Zechariah to take three of them–Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah–to Zephaniah’s house and there to take their gold and silver to make a crown for the high priest Joshua because God loved him so much because he was making sure the Temple got rebuilt.
Zechariah had more dreams he thought were important visions. In the first he saw a gigantic scroll flying around and the angel that was his spirit guide told him it was a curse on all thieves and anyone who swore to God but didn’t mean it. In the second, Zechariah saw a woman sitting in a basket. The angel shoved her down in it and put a lead cover on then some women with stork wings flew down, picked it up and carried it off. The angel looked at a confused Zechariah and said, The broad is Wickedness and the basket is Iniquity. The stork-girls will take her to Babylon to live from now on.
Zechariah had another vision. He saw a giant, super elaborate, golden floor lamp standing between two olive trees. An angel was there beside him, and was all, Do you know what this lamp means?
And Zechariah was all, No.
And the angel was all, It symbolizes Zerubbabel, with whom God is super pleased because he finally started rebuilding the Temple.
Zechariah nodded sagely, and the angel went on, Do you know what the trees stand for?
The trees stand for the two guardians of the earth, the once and future kings, who will be back when needed!
Also during the time written about in Ezra, and when Haggai was writing instructions about the Temple, God started talking to Zechariah ben Berechiah ben Iddo and sending him visions.
God told Zechariah to remind everyone not to be losers like their ancestors and cheat on God again, because they were still recovering from that mistake. God also showed him visions of guardian angels riding red horses who persuaded God to relent and forgive the Jews. The angels even got God to promise to punish the nations that conquered Judah!
In the third year of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel dreamed he was standing beside the Ulai Canal in Susa where he saw a mighty ram with mighty horns that rammed everyone and everything that came in its path. But then a one-horned goat appeared and charged the ram and broke its horns. Then the goat ruled the canal. Only its horn broke and four grew in its place. One of these new horns grew all the way to heaven and demanded that everyone worship it. Then a voice said in 2300 days, the Temple will be rebuilt! Then the voice said, Gabriel, explain to Daniel what all this means. So an angel appeared and told Daniel that the ram represented the Persian empire and the goat represented the Greek kingdoms, which would dominate the world until they too were toppled.
Then Daniel awoke, but he was so disturbed he stayed in bed for like a week.
In the first year of Belshazzar’s reign, Daniel had a dream. In the dream were four beasts that emerged from the sea. The first beast was a winged lion, but then the wings were torn off and it stood on its hind legs and spoke and thought like a human. The second beast was a bear. This one also stood on two legs, only it was a back and a front paw. It had bones in its mouth and ate voraciously. The third beast was a winged leopard with four heads and it was the king. The fourth beast…the fourth beast was a monster with ten horns, and iron teeth, and great crushing feet. Then a tiny horn grew in place of three of the horns. This tiny horn had eyes and a mouth and it looked at Daniel and said, The Ancient of Days, in his white robes with his white woolly hair, sits on his throne with his court of thousands.
Then all the beasts died and burned up. Then an angel came and went before the Ancient of Days and became the ruler of the world.
In the dream, Daniel was freaking out, so he asked one of the court to tell him what the hell was going on. That guy was all, The four beasts are four kings that will rule and then fall and then the followers of God will finally get a forever ruler.
Nebuchadnezzar had another bad dream. He dreamed of an enormous tree, full of fruit and sheltering many animals–like the Tree of Souls. But then an angel appeared and ordered, Cut down the tree and bronze the stump! Then the angel looked through Nebuchadnezzar and intoned, Let him swap minds with an animal and live like one for seven years!
No one could interpret the dream but Daniel. But Daniel didn’t want to upset the king. Nebuchadnezzar was all, It’s alright. Just give me the news.
Daniel answered, Um, well. I really wish this dream was about someone else, like the king’s enemies. But here goes. God is mad at you and has decided that you are going to become a crazy homeless man for seven years. But there’s hope! The roots left in the ground means you will be restored. Continue reading “Daniel 4: More bad dreams”
Some time later, Nebuchadnezzar had a bad dream. So he called all of his enchanters, magicians, astrologers, and other psychics to tell him what it meant. They were all, Tell us the dream, o king, and we will interpret it for you.
But Nebuchadnezzar was all, No. You tell me the dream and tell me what it means.
The wise men were all, Surely the king is joking. Tell us the dream, sire, and we will tell its meaning.
Nebuchadnezzar was all, You guys are a bunch of fakes! If you’re really psychic, then you could tell me the dream and its meaning.
The wise men were all, With all due respect, no one can do what you’re asking.
This really pissed Nebuchadnezzar off, so he decreed that all magicians, wizards, astrologers, enchanters or interpreters of dreams should be executed immediately. Continue reading “Daniel 2: Dream reader”