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Zechariah 1-4The Message (MSG)

1-4 In the eighth month of the second year in the reign of Darius, God’s Message came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: “God was very angry with your ancestors. So give to the people this Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: ‘Come back to me and I’ll come back to you. Don’t be like your parents. The old-time prophets called out to them, “A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: Leave your evil life. Quit your evil practices.” But they ignored everything I said to them, stubbornly refused to listen.’

5-6 “And where are your ancestors now? Dead and buried. And the prophets who preached to them? Also dead and buried. But the Message that my servants the prophets spoke, that isn’t dead and buried. That Message did its work on your ancestors, did it not? It woke them up and they came back, saying, ‘He did what he said he would do, sure enough. We didn’t get by with a thing.’”

First Vision: Four Riders

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month in the second year of the reign of Darius, the Message of God was given to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo:

One night I looked out and saw a man astride a red horse. He was in the shadows in a grove of birches. Behind him were more horses—a red, a chestnut, and a white.

I said, “Sir, what are these horses doing here? What’s the meaning of this?”

The Angel-Messenger said, “Let me show you.”

10 Then the rider in the birch grove spoke up, “These are the riders that God sent to check things out on earth.”

11 They reported their findings to the Angel of God in the birch grove: “We have looked over the whole earth and all is well. Everything’s under control.”

12 The Angel of God reported back, “O God-of-the-Angel-Armies, how long are you going to stay angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah? When are you going to let up? Isn’t seventy years long enough?”

13-15 God reassured the Angel-Messenger—good words, comforting words—who then addressed me: “Tell them this. Tell them that God-of-the-Angel-Armies has spoken. This is God’s Message: ‘I care deeply for Jerusalem and Zion. I feel very possessive of them. But I’m thoroughly angry with the godless nations that act as if they own the whole world. I was only moderately angry earlier, but now they’ve gone too far. I’m going into action.

16-17 “‘I’ve come back to Jerusalem, but with compassion this time.’
    This is God speaking.
‘I’ll see to it that my Temple is rebuilt.’
    A Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
‘The rebuilding operation is already staked out.’
    Say it again—a Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
‘My cities will prosper again,
    God will comfort Zion again,
    Jerusalem will be back in my favor again.’”

Second Vision: Four Horns and Four Blacksmiths

18 I looked up, and was surprised by another vision: four horns!

19 I asked the Messenger-Angel, “And what’s the meaning of this?”

He said, “These are the powers that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem abroad.”

20 Then God expanded the vision to include four blacksmiths.

21 I asked, “And what are these all about?”

He said, “Since the ‘horns’ scattered Judah so badly that no one had any hope left, these blacksmiths have arrived to combat the horns. They’ll dehorn the godless nations who used their horns to scatter Judah to the four winds.”

Third Vision: The Man with the Tape Measure

1-5 I looked up and was surprised to see
    a man holding a tape measure in his hand.
I said, “What are you up to?”
    “I’m on my way,” he said, “to survey Jerusalem,
    to measure its width and length.”
Just then the Messenger-Angel on his way out
    met another angel coming in and said,
“Run! Tell the Surveyor, ‘Jerusalem will burst its walls—
    bursting with people, bursting with animals.
And I’ll be right there with her’—God’s Decree—‘a wall of fire
    around unwalled Jerusalem and a radiant presence within.’”

6-7 “Up on your feet! Get out of there—and now!” God says so.
    “Return from your far exile.
I scattered you to the four winds.” God’s Decree.
    “Escape from Babylon, Zion, and come home—now!”

8-9 God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the One of Glory who sent me on my mission, commenting on the godless nations who stripped you and left you homeless, said, “Anyone who hits you, hits me—bloodies my nose, blackens my eye. Yes, and at the right time I’ll give the signal and they’ll be stripped and thrown out by their own servants.” Then you’ll know for sure that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me on this mission.

10 “Shout and celebrate, Daughter of Zion!
    I’m on my way. I’m moving into your neighborhood!”
        God’s Decree.

11-12 Many godless nations will be linked up with God at that time. (“They will become my family! I’ll live in their homes!”) And then you’ll know for sure that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me on this mission. God will reclaim his Judah inheritance in the Holy Land. He’ll again make clear that Jerusalem is his choice.

13 Quiet, everyone! Shh! Silence before God. Something’s afoot in his holy house. He’s on the move!

Fourth Vision: Joshua’s New Clothes

1-2 Next the Messenger-Angel showed me the high priest Joshua. He was standing before God’s Angel where the Accuser showed up to accuse him. Then God said to the Accuser, “I, God, rebuke you, Accuser! I rebuke you and choose Jerusalem. Surprise! Everything is going up in flames, but I reach in and pull out Jerusalem!”

3-4 Joshua, standing before the angel, was dressed in dirty clothes. The angel spoke to his attendants, “Get him out of those filthy clothes,” and then said to Joshua, “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.”

I spoke up and said, “How about a clean new turban for his head also?” And they did it—put a clean new turban on his head. Then they finished dressing him, with God’s Angel looking on.

6-7 God’s Angel then charged Joshua, “Orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: ‘If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in my service, then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee my affairs. And all my attendants standing here will be at your service.

8-9 “‘Careful, High Priest Joshua—both you and your friends sitting here with you, for your friends are in on this, too! Here’s what I’m doing next: I’m introducing my servant Branch. And note this: This stone that I’m placing before Joshua, a single stone with seven eyes’—Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies—‘I’ll engrave with these words: “I’ll strip this land of its filthy sin, all at once, in a single day.”

10 “‘At that time, everyone will get along with one another, with friendly visits across the fence, friendly visits on one another’s porches.’”

Fifth Vision: A Lampstand and Two Olive Trees

The Messenger-Angel again called me to attention. It was like being wakened out of deep sleep.

2-3 He said, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top. Seven lamps, each with seven spouts, are set on the bowl. And there are two olive trees, one on either side of the bowl.”

Then I asked the Messenger-Angel, “What does this mean, sir?”

5-7 The Messenger-Angel said, “Can’t you tell?”

“No, sir,” I said.

Then he said, “This is God’s Message to Zerubbabel: ‘You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says God-of-the-Angel-Armies. ‘So, big mountain, who do you think you are? Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, accompanied by cheers: Yes! Yes! Do it!’”

8-10 After that, the Word of God came to me: “Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!”

Going back to the vision, the Messenger-Angel said, “The seven lamps are the eyes of God probing the dark corners of the world like searchlights.”

11-12 And the two olive trees on either side of the lampstand?” I asked. “What’s the meaning of them? And while you’re at it, the two branches of the olive trees that feed oil to the lamps—what do they mean?”

13 He said, “You haven’t figured that out?”

I said, “No, sir.”

14 He said, “These are the two who stand beside the Master of the whole earth and supply golden lamp oil worldwide.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Revelation 18The Message (MSG)

Doom to the City of Darkness

18 1-8 Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven. His authority was immense, his glory flooded earth with brightness, his voice thunderous:

Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon, ruined!
    A ghost town for demons is all that’s left!
A garrison of carrion spirits,
    garrison of loathsome, carrion birds.
All nations drank the wild wine of her whoring;
    kings of the earth went whoring with her;
    entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her.

Just then I heard another shout out of Heaven:

Get out, my people, as fast as you can,
    so you don’t get mixed up in her sins,
    so you don’t get caught in her doom.
Her sins stink to high Heaven;
    God has remembered every evil she’s done.
Give her back what she’s given,
    double what she’s doubled in her works,
    double the recipe in the cup she mixed;
Bring her flaunting and wild ways
    to torment and tears.
Because she gloated, “I’m queen over all,
    and no widow, never a tear on my face,”
In one day, disasters will crush her—
    death, heartbreak, and famine—
Then she’ll be burned by fire, because God,
    the Strong God who judges her,
    has had enough.

9-10 “The kings of the earth will see the smoke of her burning, and they’ll cry and carry on, the kings who went night after night to her brothel. They’ll keep their distance for fear they’ll get burned, and they’ll cry their lament:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
    City of Babylon, strong city!
In one hour it’s over, your judgment come!

11-17 “The traders will cry and carry on because the bottom dropped out of business, no more market for their goods: gold, silver, precious gems, pearls; fabrics of fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet; perfumed wood and vessels of ivory, precious woods, bronze, iron, and marble; cinnamon and spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat; cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots. And slaves—their terrible traffic in human lives.

Everything you’ve lived for, gone!
    All delicate and delectable luxury, lost!
    Not a scrap, not a thread to be found!

“The traders who made millions off her kept their distance for fear of getting burned, and cried and carried on all the more:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
    Dressed in the latest fashions,
    adorned with the finest jewels,
    in one hour such wealth wiped out!

17-19 “All the ship captains and travelers by sea, sailors and toilers of the sea, stood off at a distance and cried their lament when they saw the smoke from her burning: ‘Oh, what a city! There was never a city like her!’ They threw dust on their heads and cried as if the world had come to an end:

Doom, doom, the great city doomed!
    All who owned ships or did business by sea
Got rich on her getting and spending.
    And now it’s over—wiped out in one hour!

20 “O Heaven, celebrate! And join in, saints, apostles, and prophets! God has judged her; every wrong you suffered from her has been judged.”

21-24 A strong Angel reached for a boulder—huge, like a millstone—and heaved it into the sea, saying,

Heaved and sunk, the great city Babylon,
    sunk in the sea, not a sign of her ever again.
Silent the music of harpists and singers—
    you’ll never hear flutes and trumpets again.
Artisans of every kind—gone;
    you’ll never see their likes again.
The voice of a millstone grinding falls dumb;
    you’ll never hear that sound again.
The light from lamps, never again;
    never again laughter of bride and groom.
Her traders robbed the whole earth blind,
    and by black-magic arts deceived the nations.
The only thing left of Babylon is blood—
    the blood of saints and prophets,
    the murdered and the martyred.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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