Ezekiel 35-36The Message (MSG)
A Pile of Rubble
35 1-4 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, confront Mount Seir. Prophesy against it! Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says:
“‘I’m coming down hard on you, Mount Seir.
5-9 “‘I’m doing this because you’ve kept this age-old grudge going against Israel: You viciously attacked them when they were already down, looking their final punishment in the face. Therefore, as sure as I am the living God, I’m lining you up for a real bloodbath. Since you loved blood so much, you’ll be chased by rivers of blood. I’ll reduce Mount Seir to a heap of rubble. No one will either come or go from that place! I’ll blanket your mountains with corpses. Massacred bodies will cover your hills and fill up your valleys and ditches. I’ll reduce you to ruins and all your towns will be ghost towns—population zero. Then you’ll realize that I am God.
10-13 “‘Because you said, “These two nations, these two countries, are mine. I’m taking over” (even though God is right there watching, right there listening), I’ll turn your hate-bloated anger and rage right back on you. You’ll know I mean business when I bring judgment on you. You’ll realize then that I, God, have overheard all the vile abuse you’ve poured out against the mountains of Israel, saying, “They’re roadkill and we’re going to eat them up.” You’ve strutted around, talking so big, insolently pitting yourselves against me. And I’ve heard it all.
14-15 “‘This is the verdict of God, the Master: With the whole earth applauding, I’ll demolish you. Since you danced in the streets, thinking it was so wonderful when Israel’s inheritance was demolished, I’ll give you the same treatment: demolition. Mount Seir demolished—yes, every square inch of Edom. Then they’ll realize that I am God!’”
Back to Your Own Land
36 1-5 “And now, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel. Say, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to God’s Message. God, the Master, says, Because the enemy crowed over you, “Good! Those old hills are now ours!” now here is a prophecy in the name of God, the Master: Because nations came at you from all sides, ripping and plundering, hauling pieces of you off every which way, and you’ve become the butt of cheap gossip and jokes, therefore, Mountains of Israel, listen to the Message of God, the Master. My Message to mountains and hills, to ditches and valleys, to the heaps of rubble and the emptied towns that are looted for plunder and turned into jokes by all the surrounding nations: Therefore, says God, the Master, now I’m speaking in a fiery rage against the rest of the nations, but especially against Edom, who in an orgy of violence and shameless insolence robbed me of my land, grabbed it for themselves.’
6-7 “Therefore prophesy over the land of Israel, preach to the mountains and hills, to every ditch and valley: ‘The Message of God, the Master: Look! Listen! I’m angry—and I care. I’m speaking to you because you’ve been humiliated among the nations. Therefore I, God, the Master, am telling you that I’ve solemnly sworn that the nations around you are next. It’s their turn to be humiliated.
8-12 “‘But you, Mountains of Israel, will burst with new growth, putting out branches and bearing fruit for my people Israel. My people are coming home! Do you see? I’m back again. I’m on your side. You’ll be plowed and planted as before! I’ll see to it that your population grows all over Israel, that the towns fill up with people, that the ruins are rebuilt. I’ll make this place teem with life—human and animal. The country will burst into life, life, and more life, your towns and villages full of people just as in the old days. I’ll treat you better than I ever have. And you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll put people over you—my own people Israel! They’ll take care of you and you’ll be their inheritance. Never again will you be a harsh and unforgiving land to them.
13-15 “‘God, the Master, says: Because you have a reputation of being a land that eats people alive and makes women barren, I’m now telling you that you’ll never eat people alive again nor make women barren. Decree of God, the Master. And I’ll never again let the taunts of outsiders be heard over you nor permit nations to look down on you. You’ll no longer be a land that makes women barren. Decree of God, the Master.’”
16-21 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, when the people of Israel lived in their land, they polluted it by the way they lived. I poured out my anger on them because of the polluted blood they poured out on the ground. And so I got thoroughly angry with them polluting the country with their wanton murders and dirty gods. I kicked them out, exiled them to other countries. I sentenced them according to how they had lived. Wherever they went, they gave me a bad name. People said, ‘These are God’s people, but they got kicked off his land.’ I suffered much pain over my holy reputation, which the people of Israel blackened in every country they entered.
22-23 “Therefore, tell Israel, ‘Message of God, the Master: I’m not doing this for you, Israel. I’m doing it for me, to save my character, my holy name, which you’ve blackened in every country where you’ve gone. I’m going to put my great and holy name on display, the name that has been ruined in so many countries, the name that you blackened wherever you went. Then the nations will realize who I really am, that I am God, when I show my holiness through you so that they can see it with their own eyes.
24-28 “‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!
29-30 “‘I’ll pull you out of that stinking pollution. I’ll give personal orders to the wheat fields, telling them to grow bumper crops. I’ll send no more famines. I’ll make sure your fruit trees and field crops flourish. Other nations won’t be able to hold you in contempt again because of famine.
31 “‘And then you’ll think back over your terrible lives—the evil, the shame—and be thoroughly disgusted with yourselves, realizing how badly you’ve lived—all those obscenities you’ve carried out.
32 “‘I’m not doing this for you. Get this through your thick heads! Shame on you. What a mess you made of things, Israel!
33-36 “‘Message of God, the Master: On the day I scrub you clean from all your filthy living, I’ll also make your cities livable. The ruins will be rebuilt. The neglected land will be worked again, no longer overgrown with weeds and thistles, worthless in the eyes of passersby. People will exclaim, “Why, this weed patch has been turned into a Garden of Eden! And the ruined cities, smashed into oblivion, are now thriving!” The nations around you that are still in existence will realize that I, God, rebuild ruins and replant empty waste places. I, God, said so, and I’ll do it.
37-38 “‘Message of God, the Master: Yet again I’m going to do what Israel asks. I’ll increase their population as with a flock of sheep. Like the milling flocks of sheep brought for sacrifices in Jerusalem during the appointed feasts, the ruined cities will be filled with flocks of people. And they’ll realize that I am God.’”
2 Peter 1The Message (MSG)
1 1-2 I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.
Don’t Put It Off
3-4 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
5-9 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
10-11 So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The One Light in a Dark Time
12-15 Because the stakes are so high, even though you’re up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I’m not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it. This is the post to which I’ve been assigned—keeping you alert with frequent reminders—and I’m sticking to it as long as I live. I know that I’m to die soon; the Master has made that quite clear to me. And so I am especially eager that you have all this down in black and white so that after I die, you’ll have it for ready reference.
16-18 We weren’t, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears.
19-21 We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.