Zechariah 1-4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Turn to the Lord
1 I am the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo.
In the eighth month of the second year that Darius was king of Persia,[a] the Lord told me to say:
2-3 Israel, I, the Lord All-Powerful, was very angry with your ancestors. But if you people will return to me, I will turn and help you. 4 Don’t be stubborn like your ancestors. They were warned by the earlier prophets[b] to give up their evil and turn back to me, but they paid no attention.
5 Where are your ancestors now? Not even prophets live forever. 6 But my warnings and my words spoken by the prophets caught up with your ancestors. So they turned back to me and said, “Lord All-Powerful, you have punished us for our sins, just as you had planned.”
First Vision: Horses and Riders
7-8 On the twenty-fourth day of Shebat,[c] which was the eleventh month of that same year,[d] the Lord spoke to me in a vision during the night: In a valley among myrtle trees,[e] I saw someone on a red horse, with riders on red, brown, and white horses behind him. 9 An angel was there to explain things to me, and I asked, “Sir, who are these riders?”
“I’ll tell you,” the angel answered.
10 Right away, the man standing among the myrtle trees said, “These are the ones the Lord has sent to find out what’s happening on earth.”
11 Then the riders spoke to the Lord’s angel, who was standing among the myrtle trees, and they said, “We have gone everywhere and have discovered that the whole world is at peace.”
12 At this, the angel said, “Lord All-Powerful, for seventy years you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. When are you ever going to have mercy on them?”
13 The Lord’s answer was kind and comforting. 14 So the angel told me to announce:
I, the Lord All-Powerful, am very protective of Jerusalem. 15 For a while I was angry at the nations, but now I am furious, because they have made things worse for Jerusalem and are not the least bit concerned. 16 And so, I will have pity on Jerusalem. The city will be completely rebuilt, and my temple will stand again. 17 I also promise that my towns will prosper—Jerusalem will once again be my chosen city, and I will comfort the people of Zion.
Second Vision: Animal Horns
18 Next, I saw four animal horns.[f] 19-21 The angel who was sent to explain was there, and so I asked, “What do these mean?”
His answer was, “These horns are the nations that scattered the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem, and took away their freedom.”
Then the Lord showed me four blacksmiths, and I asked, “What are they going to do?”
He replied, “They are going to terrify and crush those horns.”
Third Vision: A Measuring Line
2 This time I saw someone holding a measuring line, 2 and I asked, “Where are you going?”
“To measure Jerusalem,” was the answer. “To find out how wide and long it is.”
3 The angel who had spoken to me was leaving, when another angel came up to him 4 and said, “Hurry! Tell that man with the measuring line that Jerusalem won’t have any boundaries. It will be too full of people and animals even to have a wall. 5 The Lord himself has promised to be a protective wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem, and he will be its shining glory in the heart of the city.”
A Call to Action
6 The Lord says to his people, “Run! Escape from the land in the north, where I scattered you to the four winds. 7 Leave Babylonia and hurry back to Zion.”
8 Then the glorious Lord All-Powerful ordered me to say to the nations that had raided and robbed Zion:
Zion is as precious to the Lord as are his eyes. Whatever you do to Zion, you do to him. 9 And so, he will put you in the power of your slaves, and they will raid and rob you. Then you will know that I am a prophet of the Lord All-Powerful.
10 City of Zion, sing and celebrate! The Lord has promised to come and live with you. 11 When he does, many nations will turn to him and become his people. At that time you will know that I am a prophet of the Lord All-Powerful. 12 Then Judah will be his part of the holy land, and Jerusalem will again be his chosen city.
13 Everyone, be silent!
Fourth Vision: Joshua and Satan
3 I was given another vision. This time Joshua the high priest was standing in front of the Lord’s angel. And there was Satan, standing at Joshua’s right side, ready to accuse him. 2 But the Lord said, “Satan, you are wrong. Jerusalem is my chosen city, and this man was rescued like a stick from a flaming fire.”
3 Joshua’s clothes were filthy. 4 So the angel told some of the people to remove Joshua’s filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua, “This means you are forgiven. Now I will dress you in priestly clothes.”
5 I spoke up and said, “Also put a clean priestly turban on his head.” Then they dressed him in priestly clothes and put the turban on him, while the Lord’s angel stood there watching.
6 After this, the angel encouraged Joshua by telling him that the Lord All-Powerful had promised:
7 If you truly obey me, I will put you in charge of my temple, including the courtyard around it, and you will be allowed to speak at any time with the angels standing beside me.[g] 8 Listen carefully, High Priest Joshua and all of you other priests. You are a sign of things to come, because I am going to bring back my servant, the Chosen King.[h]
9 Joshua, I have placed in front of you a stone with seven sides. I will engrave something on that stone, and in a single day I will forgive this guilty country. 10 Then each of you will live at peace and entertain your friends in your own vineyard and under your own fig trees.
Fifth Vision: A Lampstand and Olive Trees
4 The angel who explained the visions woke me from what seemed like sleep. 2 Then he asked, “What do you see?”
“A solid gold lampstand with an oil container above it,” I answered. “On the stand are seven lamps, each with seven flames. 3 One olive tree is on the right side and another on the left of the oil container. 4 But, sir, what do these mean?”
5 Then he asked, “Don’t you know?”
“No sir,” I replied.
6 So the angel explained that it was the following message of the Lord to Zerubbabel:[i]
I am the Lord All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit. 7 Zerubbabel, that mountain in front of you will be leveled to the ground. Then you will bring out the temple’s most important stone and shout, “God has been very kind.”[j]
8 The Lord spoke to me again and said:
9 Zerubbabel laid the foundation for the temple, and he will complete it. Then everyone will know that you were sent by me, the Lord All-Powerful. 10 Those who have made fun of this day of small beginnings will celebrate when they see Zerubbabel holding this important stone.[k]
Those seven lamps represent my eyes—the eyes of the Lord—and they see everything on this earth.
11 Then I asked the angel, “What about the olive trees on each side of the lampstand? What do they represent? 12 And what is the meaning of the two branches from which golden olive oil[l] flows through the two gold pipes?”
13 “Don’t you know?” he asked.
“No sir, I don’t,” was my answer.
14 Then he told me, “These branches are the two chosen leaders[m] who stand beside the Lord of all the earth.”
Revelation 18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Fall of Babylon
18 I saw another angel come from heaven. This one had great power, and the earth was bright because of his glory. 2 The angel shouted,
“Fallen! Powerful Babylon
4 Then I heard another voice
“Deep in her heart
9 Every king on earth who slept with her and shared in her luxury will mourn. They will weep, when they see the smoke from that fire. 10 Her sufferings will frighten them, and they will stand at a distance and say,
“Pity that great
11 Every merchant on earth will mourn, because there is no one to buy their goods. 12 There won’t be anyone to buy their gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, sweet-smelling wood, fancy carvings of ivory and wood, as well as things made of bronze, iron, or marble. 13 No one will buy their cinnamon, spices, incense, myrrh, frankincense,[a] wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, chariots, slaves, and other humans.
14 Babylon, the things
15 The merchants had become rich because of her. But when they saw her sufferings, they were terrified. They stood at a distance, crying and mourning. 16 Then they shouted,
“Pity the great city
Every ship captain and passenger and sailor stood at a distance, together with everyone who does business by traveling on the sea. 18 When they saw the smoke from her fire, they shouted, “This was the greatest city ever!”
19 They cried loudly, and in their sorrow they threw dust on their heads, as they said,
“Pity the great city
21 A powerful angel then picked up a huge stone and threw it into the sea. The angel said,
“This is how the great city
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