1 God's spirit lifted me up and took me to the east gate of the Temple. There near the gate I saw twenty-five men, including Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, two leaders of the nation. 2 God said to me, "Mortal man, these men make evil plans and give bad advice in this city. 3 They say, "We will soon be building houses again. The city is like a cooking pot, and we are like the meat in it, but at least it protects us from the fire.' 4 Now then, denounce them, mortal man." 5 The spirit of the Lord took control of me, and the Lord told me to give the people this message: "People of Israel, I know what you are saying and what you are planning. 6 You have murdered so many people here in the city that the streets are full of corpses. 7 "So this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to you. This city is a cooking pot all right, but what is the meat? The corpses of those you have killed! You will not be here - I will throw you out of the city! 8 Are you afraid of swords? I will bring soldiers with swords to attack you. 9 I will take you out of the city and hand you over to foreigners. I have sentenced you to death, 10 and you will be killed in battle in your own country. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord. 11 This city will not protect you the way a pot protects the meat in it. I will punish you wherever you may be in the land of Israel. 12 You will know that I am the Lord and that while you were keeping the laws of the neighboring nations, you were breaking [my ]laws and disobeying [my ]commands." 13 While I was prophesying, Pelatiah dropped dead. I threw myself face downward on the ground and shouted, "No, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to kill everyone left in Israel?" 14 The Lord spoke to me. 15 "Mortal man," he said, "the people who live in Jerusalem are talking about you and those of your nation who are in exile. They say, "The exiles are too far away to worship the Lord. He has given us possession of the land.' 16 "Now tell your fellow exiles what I am saying. I am the one who sent them to live in far-off nations and scattered them in other countries. Yet, for the time being I will be present with them in the lands where they have gone. 17 "So tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. I will gather them out of the countries where I scattered them, and will give the land of Israel back to them. 18 When they return, they are to get rid of all the filthy, disgusting idols they find. 19 I will give them a new heart and a new mind. I will take away their stubborn heart of stone and will give them an obedient heart. 20 Then they will keep my laws and faithfully obey all my commands. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But I will punish the people who love to worship filthy, disgusting idols. I will punish them for what they have done." The Sovereign Lord has spoken. 22 The living creatures began to fly, and the wheels went with them. The dazzling light of the presence of the God of Israel was over them. 23 Then the dazzling light left the city and moved to the mountain east of it. 24 In the vision the spirit of God lifted me up and brought me back to the exiles in Babylonia. Then the vision faded, 25 and I told the exiles everything that the Lord had shown me.
1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 "Mortal man," he said, "you are living among rebellious people. They have eyes, but they see nothing; they have ears, but they hear nothing, because they are rebellious. 3 "Now, mortal man, pack a bundle just as a refugee would and start out before nightfall. Let everyone see you leaving and going to another place. Maybe those rebels will notice you. 4 While it is still daylight, pack your bundle for exile, so that they can see you, and then let them watch you leave in the evening as if you were going into exile. 5 While they are watching, break a hole through the wall of your house and take your pack out through it. 6 Let them watch you putting your pack on your shoulder and going out into the dark with your eyes covered, so that you can't see where you are going. What you do will be a warning to the Israelites." 7 I did what the Lord told me to do. That day I packed a bundle as a refugee would, and that evening as it was getting dark I dug a hole in the wall with my hands and went out. While everyone watched, I put the pack on my shoulder and left. 8 The next morning the Lord spoke to me. 9 "Mortal man," he said, "now that those Israelite rebels are asking you what you're doing, 10 tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to them. This message is for the prince ruling in Jerusalem and for all the people who live there. 11 Tell them that what you have done is a sign of what will happen to them - they will be refugees and captives. 12 The prince who is ruling them will shoulder his pack in the dark and escape through a hole that they dig for him in the wall. He will cover his eyes and not see where he is going. 13 But I will spread out my net and trap him in it. Then I will take him to the city of Babylon, where he will die without having seen it. 14 I will scatter in every direction all the members of his court and his advisers and bodyguards, and people will search for them to kill them. 15 "When I scatter them among the other nations and in foreign countries, they will know that I am the Lord. 16 I will let a few of them survive the war, the famine, and the diseases, so that there among the nations they will realize how disgusting their actions have been and will acknowledge that I am the Lord." 17 The Lord spoke to me. 18 "Mortal man," he said, "tremble when you eat, and shake with fear when you drink. 19 Tell the whole nation that this is the message of the Sovereign Lord to the people of Jerusalem who are still living in their land: They will tremble when they eat and shake with fear when they drink. Their land will be stripped bare, because everyone who lives there is lawless. 20 Cities that are now full of people will be destroyed, and the country will be made a wilderness. Then they will know that I am the Lord." 21 The Lord spoke to me. 22 "Mortal man," he said, "why do the people of Israel repeat this proverb: "Time goes by, and predictions come to nothing'? 23 Now tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, have to say about that. I will put an end to that proverb. It won't be repeated in Israel any more. Tell them instead: The time has come, and the predictions are coming true! 24 "Among the people of Israel there will be no more false visions or misleading prophecies. 25 I, the Lord, will speak to them, and what I say will be done. There will be no more delay. In your own lifetime, you rebels, I will do what I have warned you I would do. I have spoken," says the Sovereign Lord. 26 The Lord said to me, 27 "Mortal man, the Israelites think that your visions and prophecies are about the distant future. 28 So tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: There will be no more delay. What I have said will be done. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!"
1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 "Mortal man," he said, "denounce the prophets of Israel who make up their own prophecies. Tell them to listen to the word of the Lord." 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "These foolish prophets are doomed! They provide their own inspiration and invent their own visions. 4 People of Israel, your prophets are as useless as foxes living among the ruins of a city. 5 They don't guard the places where the walls have crumbled, nor do they rebuild the walls, and so Israel cannot be defended when war comes on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false, and their predictions are lies. They claim that they are speaking my message, but I have not sent them. Yet they expect their words to come true! 7 I tell them: Those visions you see are false, and the predictions you make are lies. You say that they are my words, but I haven't spoken to you!" 8 So the Sovereign Lord says to them, "Your words are false, and your visions are lies. I am against you. 9 I am about to punish you prophets who have false visions and make misleading predictions. You will not be there when my people gather to make decisions; your names will not be included in the list of the citizens of Israel; you will never return to your land. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. 10 "The prophets mislead my people by saying that all is well. All is certainly not well! My people have put up a wall of loose stones, and then the prophets have come and covered it with whitewash. 11 Tell the prophets that their wall is going to fall down. I will send a pouring rain. Hailstones will fall on it, and a strong wind will blow against it. 12 The wall will collapse, and everyone will ask you what good the whitewash did." 13 Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "In my anger I will send a strong wind, pouring rain, and hailstones to destroy the wall. 14 I intend to break down the wall they whitewashed, to shatter it, and to leave the foundation stones bare. It will collapse and kill you all. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord. 15 "The wall and those who covered it with whitewash will feel the force of my anger. Then I will tell you that the wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it - 16 those prophets who assured Jerusalem that all was well, when all was not well!" The Sovereign Lord has spoken. 17 The Lord said, "Now, mortal man, look at the women among your people who make up predictions. Denounce them 18 and tell them what the Sovereign Lord is saying to them: "You women are doomed! You sew magic wristbands for everyone and make magic scarves for everyone to wear on their heads, so that they can have power over other people's lives. You want to possess the power of life and death over my people and to use it for your own benefit. 19 You dishonor me in front of my people in order to get a few handfuls of barley and a few pieces of bread. You kill people who don't deserve to die, and you keep people alive who don't deserve to live. So you tell lies to my people, and they believe you." 20 Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: "I hate the wristbands that you use in your attempt to control life and death. I will rip them off your arms and set free the people that you were controlling. 21 I will rip off your scarves and let my people escape from your power once and for all. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 22 "By your lies you discourage good people, whom I do not wish to hurt. You prevent evil people from giving up evil and saving their lives. 23 So now your false visions and misleading predictions are over. I am rescuing my people from your power, so that you will know that I am the Lord."
1 From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: Greetings to all God's people scattered over the whole world. 2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3 for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4 Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6 But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7 If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord. 9 Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10 and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant. 11 The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business. 12 Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him. 13 If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, "This temptation comes from God." For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. 15 Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my dear friends! 17 Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning. 18 By his own will he brought us into being through the word of truth, so that we should have first place among all his creatures. 19 Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20 Human anger does not achieve God's righteous purpose. 21 So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you. 22 Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23 If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24 They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25 But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice - you will be blessed by God in what you do. 26 Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. 27 What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.