This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you ever build me a temple as good as that? Could you build a dwelling place for me?
My hands have made both heaven and earth, and they are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken!"I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.
But those who choose their own ways, delighting in their sins, are cursed. Their offerings will not be accepted. When such people sacrifice an ox, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb or bring an offering of grain, it is as bad as putting a dog or the blood of a pig on the altar! When they burn incense, it is as if they had blessed an idol.
I will send great troubles against them -- all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned -- before my very eyes -- and chose to do what they know I despise."
Hear this message from the LORD, and tremble at his words: "Your close relatives hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. 'Let the LORD be honored!' they scoff. 'Be joyful in him!' But they will be put to shame.
What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the LORD taking vengeance against his enemies."
"Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son.
Who has ever seen or heard of anything as strange as this? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem's a birth pains begin, the baby will be born; the nation will come forth.
Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?" asks the LORD. "No! I would never keep this nation from being born," says your God.
"Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and mourn for her.
Delight in Jerusalem! Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother's generous breasts.
Peace and prosperity will overflow Jerusalem like a river," says the LORD. "The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and treated with love.
I will comfort you there as a child is comforted by its mother."
When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. Vigorous health will be yours! Everyone will see the good hand of the LORD on his people -- and his anger against his enemies.
See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his swift chariots of destruction roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke.
The LORD will punish the world by fire and by his sword, and many will be killed by the LORD.
"Those who 'purify' themselves in a sacred garden, feasting on pork and rats and other forbidden meats, will come to a terrible end," says the LORD.
"I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory.
I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations -- to Tarshish, to the Libyans b and Lydians c (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, d and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations.
They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says the LORD.
"And I will appoint some of those who return to be my priests and Levites. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
"As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear," says the LORD.
"All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month.
And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)