Isaiah 66 (New Century Version)

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1 This is what the Lord says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. So do you think you can build a house for me? Do I need a place to rest? 2 My hand made all things. All things are here because I made them," says the Lord. "These are the people I am pleased with: those who are not proud or stubborn and who fear my word. 3 But those people who kill bulls as a sacrifice to me are like those who kill people. Those who kill sheep as a sacrifice are like those who break the necks of dogs. Those who give me grain offerings are like those who offer me the blood of pigs. Those who burn incense are like those who worship idols. These people choose their own ways, not mine, and they love the terrible things they do. 4 So I will choose their punishments, and I will punish them with what they fear most. This is because I called to them, but they did not listen. I spoke to them, but they did not hear me. They did things I said were evil; they chose to do things I did not like." 5 You people who obey the words of the Lord, listen to what he says: "Your brothers hated you and turned against you because you followed me. Your brothers said, 'Let the Lord be honored so we may see you rejoice,' but they will be punished. 6 Listen to the loud noise coming from the city; hear the noise from the Temple. It is the Lord punishing his enemies, giving them the punishment they should have. 7 "A woman does not give birth before she feels the pain; she does not give birth to a son before the pain starts. 8 No one has ever heard of that happening; no one has ever seen that happen. In the same way no one ever saw a country begin in one day; no one has ever heard of a new nation beginning in one moment. just as soon as she feels the birth pains. 9 In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born," says the Lord. "If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation," says your God. 10 "Jerusalem, rejoice. All you people who love Jerusalem, be happy. should now feel happy with her. 11 You will take comfort from her and be satisfied, as a child is nursed by its mother. You will receive her good things and enjoy her wealth." 12 This is what the Lord says: "I will give her peace that will flow to her like a river. The wealth of the nations will come to her like a river overflowing its banks. Like babies you will be nursed and held in my arms and bounced on my knees. 13 I will comfort you as a mother comforts her child. You will be comforted in Jerusalem." 14 When you see these things, you will be happy, and you will grow like the grass. The Lord's servants will see his power, but his enemies will see his anger. 15 Look, the Lord is coming with fire and his armies with clouds of dust. He will punish those people with his anger; he will punish them with flames of fire. 16 The Lord will judge the people with fire, and he will destroy many people with his sword; he will kill many people. 17 "These people make themselves holy and pure to go to worship their gods in their gardens. Following each other into their special gardens, they eat the meat of pigs and rats and other hateful things. But they will all be destroyed together," says the Lord. 18 "I know they have evil thoughts and do evil things, so I am coming to punish them. I will gather all nations and all people, and they will come together and see my glory. 19 "I will put a mark on some of the people, and I will send some of these saved people to the nations: to Tarshish, Libya, Lud (the land of archers), Tubal, Greece, and all the faraway lands. These people have never heard about what I have done nor seen my glory. So the saved people will tell the nations about my glory. 20 And they will bring all your fellow Israelites from all nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem. Your fellow Israelites will come on horses, donkeys, and camels and in chariots and wagons. They will be like the grain offerings that the people bring in clean containers to the Temple," says the Lord. 21 "And I will choose even some of these people to be priests and Levites," says the Lord. 22 "I will make new heavens and the new earth, which will last forever," says the Lord. "In the same way, your names and your children will always be with me. 23 All people will come to worship me every Sabbath and every New Moon," says the Lord. 24 "They will go out and see the dead bodies of the people who sinned against me. The worms that eat them will never die, and the fires that burn them will never stop, and everyone will hate to see those bodies."
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