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Isaiah 66 (New International Reader's Version)

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The LORD Judges Some People and Blesses Others

1 The LORD says, "Heaven is my throne. The earth is under my control. So how could you ever build a house for me? Where would my resting place be? 2 Didn't my powerful hand make everything? That is how all things were created," announces the Lord. "The person I value is not proud. He is sorry for the wrong things he has done. He has great respect for what I say. 3 But others are not like that. They sacrifice bulls to me, but at the same time they kill people. They offer lambs to me, but they also sacrifice dogs to other gods. They bring grain offerings to me, but they also offer pig's blood to other gods. They burn incense to me, but they also worship statues of gods. They have chosen to go their own way. They take delight in things I hate. 4 So I have also made a choice. I will make them suffer greatly. I will bring on them what they are afraid of. When I called out to them, no one answered me. When I spoke to them, no one listened. They did what is evil in my sight. They chose to do what displeases me." 5 Listen to the word of the Lord. Listen, you who tremble with fear when he speaks. He says, "Some of your own people hate you. They turn their backs on you because you are faithful to me. They make fun of you and say, 'Let the LORD show his glory by saving you. Then we can see how happy you are.' But they will be put to shame. 6 Hear the loud sounds coming from the city! Listen to the noise coming from the temple! I am the one who is causing it. I am paying my enemies back for everything they have done. 7 "Zion is like a woman who has a baby before she goes into labor. She has a son even before her labor pains begin. 8 Who has ever heard of anything like that? Who has ever seen such a thing? Can a country be born in a day? Can a nation be created in a moment? But as soon as Zion goes into labor, her people increase their numbers. 9 Zion, would I bring you to the moment of birth and not let it happen?" says the Lord. "Would I close up a mother's body when it is time for her baby to be born?" says your God. 10 "Be glad along with Jerusalem, all you who love her. Be filled with joy because of her. Take great delight in her, all you who sob over her. 11 You will nurse at her comforting breasts. And you will be satisfied. You will drink until you are full. And you will delight in her rich and plentiful supply." 12 The LORD continues, "I will cause peace to flow over her like a river. I will make the wealth of nations sweep over her like a flooding stream. You will nurse and be carried in her arms. You will play on her lap. 13 As a mother comforts her child, I will comfort you. You will find comfort in Jerusalem." 14 When you see that happen, your hearts will be filled with joy. Just as grass grows quickly, you will succeed. The LORD will show his power to those who serve him. But he will pour out his anger on his enemies. 15 The LORD will judge them with fire. His chariots are coming like a windstorm. He will pour out his burning anger on his enemies. It will blaze out like flames of fire. 16 The LORD will bring everyone into court. He will use fire and his sword to punish those he finds guilty. He will put many people to death. 17 "Some people set themselves apart and make themselves pure. They do it so they can go into the gardens to worship other gods. They do what the worship leader tells them to do. They eat the meat of pigs and rats. They also eat other things I hate. All of those people will come to a horrible end," announces the Lord. 18 "They have done many evil things. And they plan to do even more. So I will come and gather the people of every nation and language. They will see my glory when I act. 19 "I will do a miracle among them. I will send to the nations some of those who are left alive. I will send some of them to the people of Tarshish, Libya and Lydia, who are famous for using bows. I will send others to Tubal and Greece. And I will send still others to islands far away. The people who live there have not heard about my fame. They have not seen my glory. Those I send will tell the nations about my glory when I act. 20 "And they will bring back all of the people of Israel from all of those nations. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem. My people will ride on horses, mules and camels. They will come in chariots and wagons," says the Lord. "Those messengers will bring my people as an offering to me. They will bring them to my temple, just as the Israelites bring their grain offerings in bowls that are 'clean.' 21 And I will choose some of them to be priests and Levites," says the Lord. 22 "I will make new heavens and a new earth. And they will last forever," announces the Lord. "In the same way, your name and your children after you will last. 23 Everyone will come and bow down to me. They will do it at every New Moon Feast and on every Sabbath day," says the Lord. 24 "When they go out of Jerusalem, they will see the dead bodies of those who refused to obey me. The worms that eat the bodies will not die. The fire that burns them will not be put out. It will make everyone sick just to look at them."
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