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Warnings to Jerusalem

29 How terrible it will be for you, Jerusalem.
    You are the city where David camped.
Her festivals have continued
    year after year.
I will attack Jerusalem.
    That city will be filled with sadness and crying.
    It will be like an altar to me.
I will put armies all around you, Jerusalem.
    I will surround you with towers.
    I will build devices around you to attack you.
You will be pulled down and will speak from the ground.
    I will hear your voice rising from the ground.
It will sound like the voice of a ghost.
    Your words will come like a whisper from the dirt.

Your many enemies will become like fine dust.
    The groups of cruel people will be like chaff that is blown away.
Everything will happen very quickly.
    The Lord of heaven’s armies will come.
He will come with thunder, earthquakes and great noises.
    He will come with storms, strong winds and a fire that destroys.
Then all the nations that fight against Jerusalem
    will be like a dream.
All the nations that surround and attack her
    will be like a vision in the night.
They will be like a hungry man who dreams he is eating.
    But when he wakes up, he is still hungry.
They will be like a thirsty man who dreams he is drinking.
    But when he wakes up, he is still weak and thirsty.
It will be the same way with all the nations
    who fight against Mount Zion.

Be surprised and amazed.
    Blind yourselves so that you cannot see.
Become drunk, but not from wine.
    Trip and fall, but not from beer.
10 The Lord has made you go into a deep sleep.
    He has closed your eyes. (The prophets are your eyes.)
    He has covered your heads. (The seers are your heads.)

11 This vision is like the words of a book that is closed and sealed. You may give the book to someone who can read. And you may tell that person to read it. But he will say, “I can’t read the book. It is closed, and I can’t open it.” 12 Or you may give the book to someone who cannot read. You may tell him to read the book. But he will say, “I can’t read it because I don’t know how to read.”

13 The Lord says:

“These people say they love me.
    They show honor to me with words.
    But their hearts are far from me.
The honor they show me
    is nothing but human rules they have memorized.
14 So I will continue to amaze these people
    by doing more and more miracles.
Their wise men will lose their wisdom.
    Their wise men will not be able to understand.”

Warnings About Other Nations

15 How terrible it will be for those who try
    to hide things from the Lord.
How terrible it will be for those who do their work in darkness.
    They think no one will see them or know what they do.
16 You are confused.
    You think the clay is equal to the potter.
You think that an object can tell the person who made it,
    “You didn’t make me.”
This is like a pot telling its maker,
    “You don’t know anything.”

A Better Time Is Coming

17 In a very short time, Lebanon will become rich farmland.
    And the rich farmland will seem like a forest.
18 At that time the deaf will hear the words in a book.
    Instead of having darkness and gloom, the blind will see.
19 The Lord will make the poor people happy.
    They will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 Then the people without mercy will come to an end.
    Those who do not respect God will disappear.
    Those who enjoy doing evil will be gone.
21 Those who lie about others in court will be gone.
    Those who trap people in court will be gone.
    Those who lie and take justice from innocent people in court will be gone.

22 The Lord set Abraham free. This Lord speaks to the family of Jacob.

“Now the people of Jacob will not be ashamed.
    They will not be disgraced any longer.
23 They will see all their children,
    the children I made with my hands.
And they will say my name is holy.
    The people will agree that the Holy One of Jacob is holy.
    They will respect the God of Israel.
24 People who do wrong will now understand.
    Those who complain will accept being taught.”

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