4 In the future, the mountain with the Lord’s temple will be the highest of all. It will reach above the hills, and every nation will rush to it. 2 People of many nations will come and say, “Let’s go up to the mountain of the Lord God of Jacob and worship in his temple.”
The Lord will teach us his Law from Jerusalem, and we will obey him. 3 He will settle arguments between distant and powerful nations. They will pound their swords and their spears into rakes and shovels; they will never again make war or attack one another. 4 Everyone will find rest beneath their own fig trees or grape vines, and they will live in peace. This is a solemn promise of the Lord All-Powerful.
5 Others may follow their gods, but we will always follow the Lord our God.
The Lord Will Lead His People Home
6 The Lord said: At that time I will gather my people— the lame and the outcasts, and all into whose lives I have brought sorrow. 7 Then the lame and the outcasts will belong to my people and become a strong nation. I, the Lord, will rule them from Mount Zion forever. 8 Mount Zion in Jerusalem, guardian of my people, you will rule again.
9 Jerusalem, why are you crying? Don’t you have a king? Have your advisors gone? Are you suffering like a woman in childbirth? 10 Keep on groaning with pain, you people of Jerusalem! If you escape from your city to the countryside, you will still be taken as prisoners to Babylonia. But later I will rescue you from your enemies.
11 Zion, because of your sins you are surrounded by many nations who say, “We can hardly wait to see you disgraced.”[a] 12 But they don’t know that I, the Lord, have gathered them here to grind them like grain. 13 Smash them to pieces, Zion! I’ll let you be like a bull with iron horns and bronze hoofs. Crush those nations and bring their wealth to me, the Lord of the earth.
A Promised Ruler
5 Jerusalem, enemy troops have surrounded you;[b] they have struck Israel’s ruler in the face with a stick.
2 Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the Lord will choose one of your people to rule the nation— someone whose family goes back to ancient times.[c] 3 The Lord will abandon Israel only until this ruler is born, and the rest of his family returns to Israel. 4 Like a shepherd taking care of his sheep, this ruler will lead and care for his people by the power and glorious name of the Lord his God. His people will live securely, and the whole earth will know his true greatness, 5 because he will bring peace.
Assyria Will Be Defeated
Let Assyria attack our country and our palaces. We will counterattack, led by a number of rulers 6 whose strong army will defeat the nation of Assyria.[d] Yes, our leaders will rescue us, if those Assyrians dare to invade our land.
The Survivors Will Be Safe
7 A few of Jacob’s descendants survived and are scattered among the nations. But the Lord will let them cover the earth like dew and rain that refreshes the soil. 8 At present they are scattered, but later they will attack, as though they were fierce lions pouncing on sheep. Their enemies will be torn to shreds, with no one to save them; 9 they will be helpless, completely destroyed.
Idols Will Be Destroyed in Israel
10 The Lord said: At that time I will wipe out your cavalry and chariots, 11 as well as your cities and your fortresses. 12 I will stop you from telling fortunes and practicing witchcraft. 13 You will no longer worship the idols or stone images you have made— I will destroy them, 14 together with the sacred poles[e] and even your towns. 15 I will become furious and take revenge on the nations that refuse to obey me.
4.11We. . . disgraced: Or “We’ll pull up your skirt and expose your nakedness!”
5.1Jerusalem. . . you: Or “Jerusalem, you are slashing yourself in sorrow, because of the enemy troops.”
12 Something important appeared in the sky. It was a woman whose clothes were the sun. The moon was under her feet, and a crown made of twelve stars was on her head. 2 She was about to give birth, and she was crying because of the great pain.
3 Something else appeared in the sky. It was a huge red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and a crown on each of its seven heads. 4 With its tail, it dragged a third of the stars from the sky and threw them down to the earth. Then the dragon turned toward the woman, because it wanted to eat her child as soon as it was born.
5 The woman gave birth to a son, who would rule all nations with an iron rod. The boy was snatched away. He was taken to God and placed on his throne. 6 The woman ran into the desert to a place that God had prepared for her. There she would be taken care of for one thousand two hundred sixty days.
Michael Fights the Dragon
7 A war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels were fighting against the dragon and its angels. 8 But the dragon lost the battle. It and its angels were forced out of their places in heaven 9 and were thrown down to the earth. Yes, that old snake and his angels were thrown out of heaven! That snake, who fools everyone on earth, is known as the devil and Satan. 10 Then I heard a voice from heaven shout,
“Our God has shown his saving power, and his kingdom has come! God’s own Chosen One has shown his authority. Satan accused our people in the presence of God day and night. Now he has been thrown out!
11 Our people defeated Satan because of the blood[a] of the Lamb and the message of God. They were willing to give up their lives.
12 The heavens should rejoice, together with everyone who lives there. But pity the earth and the sea, because the devil was thrown down to the earth. He knows his time is short, and he is very angry.”
13 When the dragon realized that it had been thrown down to the earth, it tried to make trouble for the woman who had given birth to a son. 14 But the woman was given two wings like those of a huge eagle, so that she could fly into the desert. There she would escape from the snake and be taken care of for a time, two times, and half a time.
15 The snake then spewed out water like a river to sweep the woman away. 16 But the earth helped her and swallowed the water that had come from the dragon’s mouth. 17 This made the dragon terribly angry with the woman. So it started a war against the rest of her children. They are the people who obey God and are faithful to what Jesus did and taught. 18 The dragon[b] stood on the beach beside the sea.
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