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64 Rip the heavens apart!
Come down, Lord;
    make the mountains tremble.
Be a spark that starts a fire
    causing water to boil.[a]
Then your enemies will know
    who you are;
all nations will tremble
    because you are nearby.

Your fearsome deeds
    have completely amazed us;
even the mountains shake
    when you come down.
You are the only God
    ever seen or heard of
who works miracles
    for his followers.

You help all who gladly obey
and do what you want,
    but sin makes you angry.
Only by your help
    can we ever be saved.[b]
We are unfit to worship you;
each of our good deeds
    is merely a filthy rag.
We dry up like leaves;
our sins are storm winds
    sweeping us away.
No one worships in your name
    or remains faithful.
You have turned your back on us
and let our sins melt us away.[c]

You, Lord, are our Father.
    We are nothing but clay,
but you are the potter
    who molded us.
Don’t be so furious
or keep our sins
    in your thoughts forever!
Remember that all of us
    are your people.
10 Every one of your towns
has turned into a desert,
    especially Jerusalem.
11 Zion’s glorious and holy temple
where our ancestors praised you
    has been destroyed by fire.
Our beautiful buildings
    are now a pile of ruins.
12 When you see these things,
how can you just sit there
    and make us suffer more?

The Lord Will Punish the Guilty

65 I, the Lord, was ready
answer even those
    who were not asking
and to be found by those
    who were not searching.
To a nation that refused
to worship me,[d]
    I said, “Here I am!”

All day long I have reached out
to stubborn and sinful people
    going their own way.
They keep making me angry
    by sneering at me,
while offering sacrifices
    to idols in gardens
and burning incense
    to them on bricks.
They spend their nights
    hiding in burial caves;
they eat the meat of pigs,[e]
cooked in sauces
    made of stuff unfit to eat.
And then they say to others,
“Don’t come near us!
    We’re dedicated to God.”
Such people are like smoke,
    irritating my nose all day.
I have written this down;
    I won’t keep silent.
I’ll pay them back
    just as their sins deserve.
I, the Lord, will make them pay
for their sins
and for those
    of their ancestors—
they have disgraced me
by burning incense
    on mountains.

Here is what the Lord says:
    A cluster of grapes
    that produces wine
    is worth keeping!
So, because of my servants,
    I won’t destroy everyone.
I have chosen the people
    of Israel and Judah,
and I will bless them
    with many descendants.
They will settle here
in this land of mountains,
    and it will be theirs.
10 My people will worship me.
Then the coastlands of Sharon
    and the land as far
    as Achor Valley[f]
will turn into pastureland
where cattle and sheep
    will feed and rest.

11 What will I, the Lord, do
if any of you reject me
    and my holy mountain?
What will happen to you
    for offering food and wine
to the gods you call
    “Good Luck” and “Fate”?
12 Your luck will end!
I will see to it
that you
    are slaughtered with swords.
You refused to answer
    when I called out;
you paid no attention
    to my instructions.
Instead, you did what I hated,
    knowing it was wrong.

13 I, the Lord God, will give
food and drink
to my servants,
    and they will celebrate.
But all of you sinners
will go hungry and thirsty,
    overcome with disgrace.
14 My servants will laugh and sing,
but you will be sad
    and cry out in pain.
15 I, the Lord God, promise
    to see that you are killed
and that my chosen servants use
    your names
as curse words.
But I will give new names[g]
    to my servants.[h]
16 I am God! I can be trusted.
Your past troubles are gone;
    I no longer think of them.
When you pray for someone
    to receive a blessing,
or when you make a promise,
    you must do it in my name.
I alone am the God
    who can be trusted.

The Lord’s New Creation

17 I am creating new heavens
    and a new earth;
everything of the past
    will be forgotten.
18 Celebrate and be glad forever!
I am creating a Jerusalem,
    full of happy people.
19 I will celebrate with Jerusalem
    and all of its people;
there will be no more crying
    or sorrow in that city.

20 No child will die in infancy;
everyone will live
    to a ripe old age.
Anyone a hundred years old
    will be considered young,
and to die younger than that
    will be considered a curse.

21 My people will live
    in the houses they build;
they will enjoy grapes
    from their own vineyards.
22 No one will take away
    their homes or vineyards.
My chosen people will live
    to be as old as trees,
and they will enjoy
    what they have earned.
23 Their work won’t be wasted,
and their children won’t die
    of dreadful diseases.[i]
I will bless their children
    and their grandchildren.
24 I will answer their prayers
    before they finish praying.

25 Wolves and lambs
    will graze together;
lions and oxen
    will feed on straw.
Snakes will eat only dirt!
They won’t bite
or harm anyone
    on my holy mountain.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

True Worship

66 The Lord said:

Heaven is my throne;
    the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house
could you build for me?
    In what place will I rest?
I have made everything;
that’s how it all came to be.[j]
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

The people I treasure most
    are the humble—
they depend only on me
    and tremble when I speak.

You sacrifice oxen to me,
    and you commit murder;
you sacrifice lambs to me
    and dogs to other gods;
you offer grain to me
    and pigs' blood to idols;
you burn incense to me
    and praise your idols.[k]
You have made your own choice
to do these disgusting things
    that you enjoy so much.
You refused to answer
    when I called out;
you paid no attention
    to my instructions.
Instead, you did what I hated,
    knowing it was wrong.
Now I will punish[l] you
    in a way you dread the most.

The Lord Will Help Jerusalem

If you tremble
when the Lord speaks,
    listen to what he says:
“Some of your own people hate
and reject you because of me.
    They make fun and say,
‘Let the Lord show his power!
Let us see him
    make you truly happy.’[m]
But those who say these things
    will be terribly ashamed.”

Do you hear that noise
in the city and those shouts
    coming from the temple?
It is the Lord shouting
    as he punishes his enemies.

Have you ever heard of a woman
who gave birth to a child
    before having labor pains?
Who ever heard of such a thing
    or imagined it could happen?
Can a nation be born in a day
    or come to life in a second?
Jerusalem is like a mother
who gave birth to her children
    as soon as she was in labor.
The Lord is the one
    who makes birth possible.
And he will see that Zion
has many more children.
    The Lord has spoken.

10 If you love Jerusalem,
    celebrate and shout!
If you were in sorrow
because of the city,
    you can now be glad.
11 She will nurse and comfort you,
just like your own mother,
    until you are satisfied.
You will fully enjoy
    her wonderful glory.

12 The Lord has promised:
    “I will flood Jerusalem
with the wealth of nations
    and make the city prosper.
Zion will nurse you at her breast,
carry you in her arms,
    and hold you in her lap.
13 I will comfort you there
like a mother
    comforting her child.”

14 When you see this happen,
    you will celebrate;
your strength will return
    faster than grass can sprout.
Then everyone will know
that the Lord is present
    with his servants,
but he is angry
    with his enemies.
15 The Lord will come down
like a whirlwind
    with his flaming chariots.
He will be terribly furious
and punish his enemies
    with fire.
16 The Lord’s fiery sword
    will bring justice
everywhere on this earth
    and execute many people.

A Threat and a Promise

17 Some of you get yourselves ready and go to a garden to worship a foreign goddess.[n] You eat the meat of pigs, lizards, and mice. But I, the Lord, will destroy you for this.

18 I know everything you do and think! The time has now come[o] to bring together the people of every language and nation and to show them my glory 19 by proving what I can do.[p] I will send the survivors to Tarshish, Pul,[q] Lud, Meshech,[r] Tubal, Javan,[s] and to the distant islands. I will send them to announce my wonderful glory to nations that have never heard about me.

20 They will bring your relatives from the nations as an offering to me, the Lord. They will come on horses, chariots, wagons, mules, and camels[t] to Jerusalem, my holy mountain. It will be like the people of Israel bringing the right offering to my temple. 21 I promise that some of them will be priests and others will be helpers in my temple. I, the Lord, have spoken.

22 I also promise that you will always have descendants and will never be forgotten, just as the new heavens and the new earth that I create will last forever. 23 On the first day of each month and on each Sabbath, everyone will worship me. I, the Lord, have spoken.

24 My people will go out and look at the dead bodies of those who turned against me. The worms there never die, the fire never stops burning, and the sight of those bodies will be disgusting to everyone.

Footnotes

  1. 64.2 Be. . . boil: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 64.5 saved: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 5.
  3. 64.7 and let. . . away: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 65.1 refused. . . me: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 65.4 burial. . . pigs: Coming in contact with the dead or eating the meat of pigs made a person unacceptable to God.
  6. 65.10 coastlands of Sharon. . . Achor Valley: Sharon is the coastal plain on the west, and Achor Valley is in the east near Jericho. These two places stand for the whole country.
  7. 65.15 new names: The giving of a new name suggests the beginning of a new life.
  8. 65.15 But I. . . servants: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 65.23 their children. . . diseases: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 66.2 that’s. . . be: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  11. 66.3 You sacrifice oxen. . . idols: Or “Sacrificing oxen to me is the same as murder; sacrificing lambs to me is the same as sacrificing dogs to other gods; offering grain to me is the same as offering pigs' blood to idols; and burning incense to me is the same as praising idols.”
  12. 66.4 punish: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  13. 66.5 Some. . . happy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  14. 66.17 Some. . . goddess: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  15. 66.18 I. . . come: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  16. 66.19 by. . . do: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  17. 66.19 Pul: Hebrew; one ancient translation “Put,” a country in Africa, but neither the location of Pul or Put is known for certain.
  18. 66.19 Meshech: One ancient translation; Hebrew “those who use bows and arrows.”
  19. 66.19 Tarshish. . . Javan: Tarshish may have been a Phoenician city in Spain; Put (see note on Pul) and Lud were African people; Meshech and Tubal were regions south or southeast of the Black Sea; the Javan were people of Asia Minor and the Greek islands.
  20. 66.20 camels: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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