Isaiah 47; Isaiah 48; Isaiah 49; 1 Thessalonians 4

1 "Go down and sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter Babylon. Sit on the ground without a throne, Daughter Chaldea! For you will no longer be called pampered and spoiled. 2 Take millstones and grind meal; remove your veil, strip off [your] skirt, bare your thigh, wade through the streams. 3 Your nakedness will be uncovered, and your shame will be exposed. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one. 4 The Holy One of Israel is our Redeemer; the Lord of Hosts is His name. 5 "Daughter Chaldea, sit in silence and go into darkness. For you will no longer be called mistress of kingdoms. 6 I was angry with My people; I profaned My possession, and I placed them under your control. You showed them no mercy; you made your yoke very heavy on the elderly. 7 You said: I will be the mistress forever. You did not take these things to heart or think about their outcome. 8 "So now hear this, lover of luxury, who sits securely, who says to herself: I, and no one else, will never be a widow or know the loss of children. 9 These two things will happen to you suddenly, in one day: loss of children and widowhood. They will happen to you in their entirety, in spite of your many sorceries and the potency of your spells. 10 You were secure in your wickedness; you said: No one sees me. Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray. You said to yourself: I, and no one else. 11 But disaster will happen to you; you will not know how to avert it. And it will fall on you, but you will be unable to ward it off. Devastation will happen to you suddenly and unexpectedly. 12 So take your stand with your spells and your many sorceries, which you have wearied yourself with from your youth. Perhaps you will be able to succeed; perhaps you will inspire terror! 13 You are worn out with your many consultations. So let them stand and save you- the astrologers, who observe the stars, who predict monthly what will happen to you. 14 Look, they are like stubble; fire burns them up. They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. This is not a coal for warming themselves, or a fire to sit beside! 15 This is what they are to you- those who have wearied you and have traded with you from your youth- each wanders on his own way; no one can save you.
1 "Listen to this, house of Jacob- those who are called by the name Israel and have descended from Judah, who swear by the name of the Lord and declare the God of Israel, [but] not in truth or righteousness. 2 For they are named after the Holy City, and lean on the God of Israel; His name is Yahweh of Hosts. 3 I declared the past events long ago; they came out of My mouth; I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they occurred. 4 Because I know that you are stubborn, and your neck is iron and your forehead bronze, 5 therefore I declared to you long ago; I announced it to you before it occurred, so you could not claim: My idol caused them; my carved image and cast idol control them. 6 You have heard it. Observe it all. Will you not acknowledge it? From now on I will announce new things to you, hidden things that you have not known. 7 They have been created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today, so you could not claim, "I already knew them!" 8 You have never heard; you have never known; For a long time your ears have not been open. For I knew that you were very treacherous, and were known as a rebel from birth. 9 I will delay My anger for the honor of My name, and I will restrain Myself for your benefit and [for] My praise, so that you will not be destroyed. 10 Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 I will act for My own sake, indeed, My own, for how can I be defiled? I will not give My glory to another. 12 "Listen to Me, Jacob, and Israel, the one called by Me: I am He; I am the first, I am also the last. 13 My own hand founded the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I summoned them, they stood up together. 14 All of you, assemble and listen! Who among the idols has declared these things? The Lord loves him; he will accomplish His will against Babylon, and His arm [will be against] the Chaldeans. 15 I-I have spoken; yes, I have called him; I have brought him, and he will succeed in his mission. 16 Approach Me and listen to this. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time anything existed, I was there." And now the Lord God has sent me and His Spirit. 17 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for [your] benefit, who leads you in the way you should go. 18 If only you had paid attention to My commands. Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. 19 Your descendants would have been as [countless] as the sand, and the offspring of your body like its grains; their name would not be cut off or eliminated from My presence. 20 Leave Babylon, flee from the Chaldeans! Declare with a shout of joy, proclaim this, let it go out to the end of the earth; announce, "The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob!" 21 They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts; He made water flow for them from the rock; He split the rock, and water gushed out. 22 "There is no peace," says the Lord, "for the wicked."
1 Coastlands, listen to me; distant peoples, pay attention. The Lord called me before I was born. He named me while I was in my mother's womb. 2 He made my words like a sharp sword; He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me like a sharpened arrow; He hid me in His quiver. 3 He said to me, "You are My servant, Israel; I will be glorified in him." 4 But I myself said: I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and futility; yet my vindication is with the Lord, and my reward is with my God. 5 And now, says the Lord, who formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him so that Israel might be gathered to Him; for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God is my strength- 6 He says, "It is not enough for you to be My servant raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, to be My salvation to the ends of the earth." 7 This is what the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One says to one who is despised, to one abhorred by people, to a servant of rulers: "Kings will see and stand up, and princes will bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel-and He has chosen you." 8 This is what the Lord says: I will answer you in a time of favor, and I will help you in the day of salvation. I will keep you, and I will appoint you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land, to make them possess the desolate inheritances, 9 saying to the prisoners: Come out, and to those who are in darkness: Show yourselves. They will feed along the pathways, and their pastures will be on all the barren heights. 10 They will not hunger or thirst, the scorching heat or sun will not strike them; for their compassionate One will guide them, and lead them to springs of water. 11 I will make all My mountains into a road, and My highways will be raised up. 12 See, these will come from far away, from the north and from the west, and from the land of Sinim. 13 Shout for joy, you heavens! Earth, rejoice! Mountains break into joyful shouts! For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. 14 Zion says, "The Lord has abandoned me; The Lord has forgotten me!" 15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the child of her womb? Even if these forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me. 17 Your builders hurry; those who destroy and devastate you will leave you. 18 Look up, and look around. They all gather together; they come to you. As I live"- the Lord's declaration- "you will wear all your children as jewelry, and put them on as a bride does. 19 For your waste and desolate places and your land marked by ruins- will now be indeed too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up will be far away. 20 The children that you have been deprived of will yet say in your hearing: This place is too small for me; make room for me so that I may settle. 21 Then you will say within yourself: Who fathered these for me? I was deprived of my children and barren, exiled and wandering- but who brought them up? See, I was left by myself- but these, where did they come from?" 22 This is what the Lord God says: Look, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and raise My banner to the peoples. They will bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. 23 Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down to you with their faces to the ground, and lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who put their hope in Me will not be put to shame. 24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of the righteous be delivered? 25 For this is what the Lord says: "Even the captives of a mighty man will be taken, and the prey of a tyrant will be delivered; I will contend with the one who contends with you, and I will save your children. 26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they will be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. Then all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
1 Finally then, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you must walk and please God-as you are doing-do so even more. 2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is God's will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 so that each of you knows how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don't know God. 6 This means one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. 7 For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification. 8 Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit. 9 About brotherly love: you don't need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10 In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more, 11 to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone. 13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord's coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel's voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
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