Ezekiel 8-10Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Ezekiel Sees the Terrible Sins of Jerusalem
8 Six years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the leaders of Judah were meeting with me in my house. On the fifth day of the sixth month,[a] the Lord God suddenly took control of me, 2 and I saw something in the shape of a human.[b] This figure was like fire from the waist down, and it was bright as polished metal from the waist up. 3 It reached out what seemed to be a hand and grabbed my hair. Then in my vision the Lord’s Spirit lifted me into the sky and carried me to Jerusalem.
The Spirit took me to the north gate of the temple’s inner courtyard, where there was an idol that disgusted the Lord and made him furious. 4 Then I saw the brightness of the glory of the God of Israel, just as I had seen it near the Chebar River.
5 God said to me, “Ezekiel, son of man, look north.” And when I did, I saw that disgusting idol by the altar near the gate.
6 God then said, “Do you see the terrible sins of the people of Israel? Their sins are making my holy temple unfit as a place to worship me. Yet you will see even worse things than this.”
7 Next, I was taken to the entrance of the courtyard, where I saw a hole in the wall.
8 God said, “Make this hole bigger.” And when I did, I realized it was a doorway. 9 “Go in,” God said, “and see what horrible and evil things the people are doing.”
10 Inside, I saw that the walls were covered with pictures of reptiles and disgusting, unclean animals,[c] as well as with idols that the Israelites were worshiping. 11 Seventy Israelite leaders were standing there, including Jaazaniah son of Shaphan. Each of these leaders was holding an incense burner, and the smell of incense filled the room.
12 God said, “Ezekiel, do you see what horrible things Israel’s leaders are doing in secret? They have filled their rooms with idols. And they say I can’t see them, because they think I have already deserted Israel. 13 But I will show you something even worse than this.”
14 He took me to the north gate of the temple, where I saw women mourning for the god Tammuz.[d] 15 God asked me, “Can you believe what these women are doing? But now I want to show you something worse.”
16 I was then led into the temple’s inner courtyard, where I saw about twenty-five men standing near the entrance, between the porch and the altar. Their backs were to the Lord’s temple, and they were bowing down to the rising sun.
17 God said, “Ezekiel, it’s bad enough that the people of Judah are doing these disgusting things. But they have also spread violence and injustice everywhere in Israel and have made me very angry. They have disgraced and insulted me in the worst possible way.[e] 18 So in my fierce anger, I will punish them without mercy and refuse to help them when they cry out to me.”
The Lord Gives the Command To Punish Jerusalem
9 After that, I heard the Lord shout, “Come to Jerusalem, you men chosen to destroy the city. And bring your weapons!”
2 I saw six men come through the north gate of the temple, each one holding a deadly weapon. A seventh man dressed in a linen robe was with them, and he was carrying things to write with. The men went into the temple and stood by the bronze altar.
3 The brightness of God’s glory then left its place above the statues of the winged creatures[f] inside the temple and moved to the entrance. The Lord said to the man in the linen robe, 4 “Walk through the city of Jerusalem and mark the forehead of anyone who is truly upset and sad about the disgusting things that are being done here.”
5-6 He turned to the other six men and said, “Follow him and put to death everyone who doesn’t have a mark on their forehead. Show no mercy or pity! Kill men and women, parents and children. Begin here at my temple and be sure not to harm those who are marked.”
The men immediately killed the leaders who were standing there.
7 Then the Lord said, “Pollute the temple by piling the dead bodies in the courtyards. Now get busy!” They left and started killing the people of Jerusalem.
8 I was then alone, so I bowed down and cried out to the Lord, “Why are you doing this? Are you so angry at the people of Jerusalem that everyone must die?”
9 The Lord answered, “The people of Israel and Judah have done horrible things. Their country is filled with murderers, and Jerusalem itself is filled with violence. They think that I have deserted them, and that I can’t see what they are doing. 10 And so I will not have pity on them or forgive them. They will be punished for what they have done.”
11 Just then, the man in the linen robe returned and said, “I have done what you commanded.”
The Lord’s Glory Leaves the Temple
10 I saw the dome that was above the four winged creatures,[g] and on it was the sapphire[h] throne.[i] 2 The Lord said to the man in the linen robe, “Walk among the four wheels beside the creatures and pick up as many hot coals as you can carry. Then scatter them over the city of Jerusalem.” I watched him as he followed the Lord’s instructions.
3 The winged creatures were standing south of the temple when the man walked among them. A cloud filled the inner courtyard, 4 and the brightness of the Lord’s glory moved from above the creatures and stopped at the entrance of the temple. The entire temple was filled with his glory, and the courtyard was dazzling bright. 5 The sound of the creatures' wings was as loud as the voice of God All-Powerful and could even be heard in the outer courtyard.
6 The man in the robe was now standing beside a wheel. 7 One of the four creatures reached its hand into the fire among them and gave him some of the hot coals. The man took the coals and left.
8 I noticed again that each of the four winged creatures had what looked like human hands under their wings, 9 and I saw the four wheels near the creatures. These wheels were shining like chrysolite.[j] 10 Each wheel was exactly the same and had a second wheel that cut through the middle of it,[k] 11 so that they could move in any direction without turning. The wheels moved together whenever the creatures moved. 12 I also noticed that the wheels and the creatures' bodies, including their backs, their hands, and their wings, were covered with eyes. 13 And I heard a voice calling these “the wheels that spin.”
14 Each of the winged creatures had four faces: the face of a bull,[l] the face of a human, the face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. 15-17 These were the same creatures I had seen near the Chebar River. They controlled when and where the wheels moved—the wheels went wherever the creatures went and stopped whenever they stopped. Even when the creatures flew in the air, the wheels stayed beside them.
18 Then I watched the brightness of the Lord’s glory move from the entrance of the temple and stop above the winged creatures. 19 They spread their wings and flew into the air with the wheels at their side. They stopped at the east gate of the temple, and the Lord’s glory was above them.
20 I knew for sure that these were the same creatures I had seen beneath the Lord’s glory near the Chebar River. 21-22 They had four wings with hands beneath them, and they had the same four faces as those near the River. Each creature moved straight ahead without turning.
Hebrews 13Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Service That Pleases God
13 Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord’s followers should.
2 Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it.
3 Remember the Lord’s people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don’t forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.
4 Have respect for marriage. Always be faithful to your partner, because God will punish anyone who is immoral or unfaithful in marriage.
5 Don’t fall in love with money. Be satisfied with what you have. The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us. 6 That should make you feel like saying,
“The Lord helps me!
7 Don’t forget about your leaders who taught you God’s message. Remember what kind of lives they lived and try to have faith like theirs.
8 Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Don’t be fooled by any kind of strange teachings. It is better to receive strength from God’s undeserved kindness than to depend on certain foods. After all, these foods don’t really help the people who eat them. 10 But we have an altar where even the priests who serve in the place of worship have no right to eat.
11 After the high priest offers the blood of animals as a sin offering, the bodies of those animals are burned outside the camp. 12 Jesus himself suffered outside the city gate, so that his blood would make people holy. 13 That’s why we should go outside the camp to Jesus and share in his disgrace. 14 On this earth we don’t have a city that lasts forever, but we are waiting for such a city.
15 Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus. 16 But don’t forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God.
17 Obey your leaders and do what they say. They are watching over you, and they must answer to God. So don’t make them sad as they do their work. Make them happy. Otherwise, they won’t be able to help you at all.
18 Pray for us. Our consciences are clear, and we always try to live right. 19 I especially want you to pray that I can visit you again soon.
Final Prayers and Greetings
20 God gives peace, and he raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Now Jesus is like a Great Shepherd whose blood was used to make God’s eternal agreement with his flock.[a] 21 I pray that God will make you ready to obey him and that you will always be eager to do right. May Jesus help you do what pleases God. To Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever! Amen.
22 My friends, I have written only a short letter to encourage you, and I beg you to pay close attention to what I have said.
23 By now you surely must know that our friend Timothy is out of jail. If he gets here in time, I will bring him with me when I come to visit you.
24 Please give my greetings to your leaders and to the rest of the Lord’s people.
His followers from Italy send you their greetings.
25 I pray that God will be kind to all of you![b]
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