Then the Spirit picked me up and took me to the gate of the Temple that faces east. There were twenty-five men standing at the gate. I recognized the leaders, Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah.
God said, "Son of man, these are the men who draw up blueprints for sin, who think up new programs for evil in this city.
They say, 'We can make anything happen here. We're the best. We're the choice pieces of meat in the soup pot.'
"Oppose them, son of man. Preach against them."
Then the Spirit of God came upon me and told me what to say: "This is what God says: 'That's a fine public speech, Israel, but I know what you are thinking.
You've murdered a lot of people in this city. The streets are piled high with corpses.'
"Therefore this is what God, the Master, says: 'The corpses that you've piled in the streets are the meat and this city is the soup pot, and you're not even in the pot! I'm throwing you out!
You fear war, but war is what you're going to get. I'm bringing war against you.
I'm throwing you out of this city, giving you over to foreigners, and punishing you good.
You'll be killed in battle. I'll carry out judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you'll realize that I am God.
This city will not be your soup pot and you won't be the choice pieces of meat in it either. Hardly. I will carry out judgment on you at the borders of Israel
and you'll realize that I am God, for you haven't followed my statutes and ordinances. Instead of following my ways, you've sunk to the level of the laws of the nations around you.'"
Even while I was preaching, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. I fell down, face to the ground, and prayed loudly, "O Master, God! Will you completely wipe out what's left of Israel?"
The answer from God came back:
"Son of man, your brothers - I mean the whole people of Israel who are in exile with you - are the people of whom the citizens of Jerusalem are saying, 'They're in the far country, far from God. This land has been given to us to own.'
"Well, tell them this: 'This is your Message from God, the Master. True, I sent you to the far country and scattered you through other lands. All the same, I've provided you a temporary sanctuary in the countries where you've gone.
I will gather you back from those countries and lands where you've been scattered and give you back the land of Israel.
You'll come back and clean house, throw out all the rotten images and obscene idols.
I'll give you a new heart. I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart.
Then you'll obey my statutes and be careful to obey my commands. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!
"'But not those who are self-willed and addicted to their rotten images and obscene idols! I'll see that they're paid in full for what they've done.' Decree of God, the Master."
Then the cherubim spread their wings, with the wheels beside them and the Glory of the God of Israel hovering over them.
The Glory of God ascended from within the city and rested on the mountain to the east of the city.
Then, still in the vision given me by the Spirit of God, the Spirit took me and carried me back to the exiles in Babylon. And then the vision left me.
I told the exiles everything that God had shown me.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)