Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh--
though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:
circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;
as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
The word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother.
They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed.
The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.#cr
"Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians--warriors
clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen.
She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after.
She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her.
"Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted.
They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.
"Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister.
She too lusted after the Assyrians--governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men.
I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.
"But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans portrayed in red,
with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea.
As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.
Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust.
When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister.
Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt
There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.
"Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side--
the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses.
They will come against you with weapons, chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards.
I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire.
They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry.
So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore.
"For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust.
They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you naked and bare, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity
have brought this upon you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols.
You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand.
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "You will drink your sister's cup, a cup large and deep; it will bring scorn and derision, for it holds so much.
You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of ruin and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria.
You will drink it and drain it dry; you will dash it to pieces and tear your breasts. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.
"Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution."
The LORD said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices,
for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them.
They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths.
On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.
"They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry.
You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and oil that belonged to me.
"The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; Sabeans were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the arms of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads.
Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, 'Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.'
And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah.
But righteous men will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder.
The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.
"So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.
You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD."
"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.
The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
"Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations.
My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.
"Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations."
Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through?
Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over?
The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
"I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass,
that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.
For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD Almighty is his name.
I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand-- I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.' "
Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger.
Of all the sons she bore there was none to guide her; of all the sons she reared there was none to take her by the hand.
These double calamities have come upon you-- who can comfort you?-- ruin and destruction, famine and sword-- who can console you?
Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of every street, like antelope caught in a net. They are filled with the wrath of the LORD and the rebuke of your God.
Therefore hear this, you afflicted one, made drunk, but not with wine.
This is what your Sovereign LORD says, your God, who defends his people: "See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again.
I will put it into the hands of your tormentors, who said to you, 'Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.' And you made your back like the ground, like a street to be walked over."