Isaiah 56; Isaiah 57; Isaiah 58; 2 Thessalonians 2

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Isaiah 56

1 The LORD says: Act justly and do what is righteous, because my salvation is coming soon, and my righteousness will be revealed.
2 Happy is the one who does this, the person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not making it impure, and avoids doing any evil.
3 Don't let the immigrant who has joined with the LORD say, "The LORD will exclude me from the people." And don't let the eunuch say, "I'm just a dry tree."
4 The LORD says: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, choose what I desire, and remain loyal to my covenant.
5 In my temple and courts, I will give them a monument and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give to them an enduring name that won't be removed.
6 The immigrants who have joined me, serving me and loving my name, becoming my servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath without making it impure, and those who hold fast to my covenant:
7 I will bring them to my holy mountain, and bring them joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their entirely burned offerings and sacrifices on my altar. My house will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples,
8 says the LORD God, who gathers Israel's outcasts. I will gather still others to those I have already gathered.
9 All you beasts of the field, come and eat, all you beasts of the forest!
10 The lookouts are blind; they all lack sense. They are all mute dogs that can't bark, dreamers, loungers, loving to sleep.
11 But the dogs have monstrous appetites. They never have enough. They are shepherds who don't understand. All of them have turned to their own ways, every last one greedy for profit.
12 "Come! I'll get some wine! Let's drink beer! Tomorrow will be like today, or even much better."

Isaiah 57

1 The righteous person perishes, and no one takes it to heart. Loyal people are gathered together, and no one understands that because of evil the righteous one passed away.
2 They will find peace; those who walk in straight paths will find rest on their burial beds.
3 Come here, you children of sorcery, offspring of adultery and prostitution!
4 Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Aren't you children of rebellion, offspring of lies,
5 who console yourselves with idols under every green tree, who slaughter children in the valleys, under the rocky cliffs?
6 You belong with the smooth talkers in the valley; they, they are your lot. For them you poured out a drink offering, and presented a grain offering. Should I condone these things?
7 On a very high mountain you made your bed. You went up there to offer a sacrifice.
8 Behind the door and the doorpost you placed your symbols. You abandoned me and lay down, making room in your bed and making deals for yourself with them. You loved their bed; you saw their nakedness.
9 You went down to Molech with oil, and you slathered on your ointments; you sent your messengers far away, sent them down to the underworld.
10 Worn out by all your efforts, yet you wouldn't say, "This is useless." You found new strength; therefore, you weren't tired.
11 Whom did you dread and fear so that you lied, didn't remember me or give me a thought? Isn't it because I was silent and closed my eyes that you stopped fearing me?
12 I will bring evidence about your righteousness and your actions; they won't help you.
13 When you cry out, let those things you've gathered save you! The wind will lift them all; one breath will take them away. but those taking refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.
14 It will be said: "Survey, survey; build a road! Remove barriers from my people's road!"
15 The one who is high and lifted up, who lives forever, whose name is holy, says: I live on high, in holiness, and also with the crushed and the lowly, reviving the spirit of the lowly, reviving the heart of those who have been crushed.
16 I won't always accuse, nor will I be enraged forever. It is my own doing that their spirit is exhausted— I gave them breath!
17 I was enraged about their illegal profits; I struck them; in rage I withdrew from them. Yet they went on wandering wherever they wanted.
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them. I will guide them, and reward them with comfort. And for those who mourn,
19 I will create reason for praise: utter prosperity to those far and near, and I will heal them, says the LORD.
20 But the wicked are like the churning sea that can't keep still. They churn up from their waters muck and mud.
21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

Isaiah 58

1 Shout loudly; don't hold back; raise your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their crime, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 They seek me day after day, desiring knowledge of my ways like a nation that acted righteously, that didn't abandon their God. They ask me for righteous judgments, wanting to be close to God.
3 "Why do we fast and you don't see; why afflict ourselves and you don't notice?" Yet on your fast day you do whatever you want, and oppress all your workers.
4 You quarrel and brawl, and then you fast; you hit each other violently with your fists. You shouldn't fast as you are doing today if you want to make your voice heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I choose, a day of self-affliction, of bending one's head like a reed and of lying down in mourning clothing and ashes? Is this what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 Isn't this the fast I choose: releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke, setting free the mistreated, and breaking every yoke?
7 Isn't it sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your house, covering the naked when you see them, and not hiding from your own family?
8 Then your light will break out like the dawn, and you will be healed quickly. Your own righteousness will walk before you, and the LORD's glory will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and God will say, "I'm here." If you remove the yoke from among you, the finger-pointing, the wicked speech;
10 if you open your heart to the hungry, and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted, your light will shine in the darkness, and your gloom will be like the noon.
11 The LORD will guide you continually and provide for you, even in parched places. He will rescue your bones. You will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water that won't run dry.
12 They will rebuild ancient ruins on your account; the foundations of generations past you will restore. You will be called Mender of Broken Walls, Restorer of Livable Streets.
13 If you stop trampling the Sabbath, stop doing whatever you want on my holy day, and consider the Sabbath a delight, sacred to the LORD, honored, and honor it instead of doing things your way, seeking what you want and doing business as usual,
14 then you will take delight in the LORD. I will let you ride on the heights of the earth; I will sustain you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

2 Thessalonians 2

1 Brothers and sisters, we have a request for you concerning our Lord Jesus Christ's coming and when we are gathered together to be with him.
2 We don't want you to be easily confused in your mind or upset if you hear that the day of the Lord is already here, whether you hear it through some spirit, a message, or a letter supposedly from us.
3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way. That day won't come unless the rebellion comes first and the person who is lawless is revealed, who is headed for destruction.
4 He is the opponent of every so-called god or object of worship and promotes himself over them. So he sits in God's temple, displaying himself to show that he is God.
5 You remember that I used to tell you these things while I was with you, don't you?
6 Now you know what holds him back so that he can be revealed when his time comes.
7 The hidden plan to live without any law is at work now, but it will be secret only until the one who is holding it back is out of the way.
8 Then the person who is lawless will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath from his mouth. When the Lord comes, his appearance will put an end to him.
9 When the person who is lawless comes, it will happen through Satan's effort, with all kinds of fake power, signs, and wonders.
10 It will happen with every sort of wicked deception of those who are heading toward destruction because they have refused to love the truth that would allow them to be saved.
11 This is why God will send them an influence that will mislead them so that they will believe the lie.
12 The result will be that everyone will be judged who is not convinced by the truth but is happy with injustice.
13 But we always must thank God for you, brothers and sisters who are loved by God. This is because he chose you from the beginning to be the first crop of the harvest. This brought salvation, through your dedication to God by the Spirit and through your belief in the truth.
14 God called all of you through our good news so you could possess the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions we taught you, whether we taught you in person or through our letter.
16 Our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and a good hope.
17 May he encourage your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do or say.