"Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The enemy said of you, "Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession." '
Therefore prophesy and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because they ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people's malicious talk and slander,
therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign LORD: This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and the deserted towns that have been plundered and ridiculed by the rest of the nations around you--
this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland.'
Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I speak in my jealous wrath because you have suffered the scorn of the nations.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I swear with uplifted hand that the nations around you will also suffer scorn.
" 'But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.
I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown,
and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.
I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.
" 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because people say to you, "You devour men and deprive your nation of its children,"
therefore you will no longer devour men or make your nation childless, declares the Sovereign LORD.
No longer will I make you hear the taunts of the nations, and no longer will you suffer the scorn of the peoples or cause your nation to fall, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "
Again the word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman's monthly uncleanness in my sight.
So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols.
I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions.
And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, 'These are the LORD's people, and yet they had to leave his land.'
I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.
I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
" 'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.
I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.
Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.
I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!
" 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.
The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.
They will say, "This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited."
Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep,
as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD."
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."6
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."9
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city.
When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)
and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus--
he was one of our number and shared in this ministry."
(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.
Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
"For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " 'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " 'May another take his place of leadership.'
Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."
So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen
to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs."
Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent,
for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
Appoint an evil man to oppose him; let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him.
May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
May their sins always remain before the LORD, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted.
He loved to pronounce a curse-- may it come on him; he found no pleasure in blessing-- may it be far from him.
He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil.
May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.
May this be the LORD's payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.
But you, O Sovereign LORD, deal well with me for your name's sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads.
Help me, O LORD my God; save me in accordance with your love.
Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O LORD, have done it.
They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice.
My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng I will praise him.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.