You let us choose, O God, between you and the false gods of this world.
In the midst of the night of sin and death, wake us from our slumber and call us forth to greet Christ, so that with eyes and hearts fixed on him, we may follow to eternal light. Amen.
The power of God
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.
Joshua renews the covenant
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, “an altar of unhewn stones, on which no iron tool has been used”; and they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord, and sacrificed offerings of well-being. And there, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. All Israel, alien as well as citizen, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark in front of the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, blessings and curses, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the aliens who resided among them.
Unrepentant humankind persists in sin
Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of humankind. The number of the troops of cavalry was two hundred million; I heard their number. And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the colour of fire and of sapphire and of sulphur; the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of humankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they inflict harm.
The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts.