1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.3With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
5In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.6Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.7But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.8Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God,9he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.10And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.13But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.16He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”18Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”19The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”21Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.22When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.23When his time of service was completed, he returned home.24After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.25“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
1The word of the LORD came to me:2“Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman,3and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people,4then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head.5Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves.6But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’7“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.8When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.9But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.10“Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?” ’11Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’12“Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’13If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done.14And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right—15if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die.16None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.17“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just.18If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it.19And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so.20Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”
21In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!”22Now the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the LORD was on me, and he opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.23Then the word of the LORD came to me:24“Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’25Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land?26You rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’27“Say this to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: As surely as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword, those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague.28I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them.29Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done.’30“As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.’31My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.32Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.33“When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
1The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.2Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.3“But you—come here, you children of a sorceress, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!4Who are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? Are you not a brood of rebels, the offspring of liars?5You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.6The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion; indeed, they are your lot. Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings and offered grain offerings. In view of all this, should I relent?7You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill; there you went up to offer your sacrifices.8Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.9You went to Molek with olive oil and increased your perfumes. You sent your ambassadors far away; you descended to the very realm of the dead!10You wearied yourself by such going about, but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.11“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?12I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you.13When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you! The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away. But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”
14And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”15For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.16I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me— the very people I have created.17I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways.18I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,19creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the LORD. “And I will heal them.”20But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.21“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”