Ezekiel 5; Ezekiel 6; Ezekiel 7; Hebrews 12

1 The Lord said, "Mortal man, take a sharp sword and use it to shave off your beard and all your hair. Then weigh the hair on scales and divide it into three parts. 2 Burn up a third of it in the city when the siege is over. Take another third and chop it up with your sword as you move around outside the city. Scatter the remaining third to the winds, and I will pursue it with my sword. 3 Keep back a few hairs and wrap them in the hem of your clothes. 4 Then take a few of them out again, throw them in the fire, and let them burn up. From them fire will spread to the whole nation of Israel." 5 The Sovereign Lord said, "Look at Jerusalem. I put her at the center of the world, with other countries all around her. 6 But Jerusalem rebelled against my commands and showed that she was more wicked than the other nations, more disobedient than the countries around her. Jerusalem rejected my commands and refused to keep my laws. 7 Now listen, Jerusalem, to what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying. By not obeying my laws or keeping my commands, you have caused more trouble than the nations around you. You have followed the customs of other nations. 8 And so I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling you that I am your enemy. I will pass judgment on you where all the nations can see it. 9 Because of all the things you do that I hate, I will punish Jerusalem as I have never done before and will never do again. 10 As a result, parents in Jerusalem will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will punish you and scatter in every direction any who are left alive. 11 "Therefore, as I am the living God - this is the word of the Sovereign Lord - because you defiled my Temple with all the evil, disgusting things you did, I will cut you down without mercy. 12 A third of your people will die from sickness and hunger in the city; a third will be cut down by swords outside the city; and I will scatter the last third to the winds and pursue them with a sword. 13 "You will feel all the force of my anger and rage until I am satisfied. When all this happens, you will be convinced that I, the Lord, have spoken to you because I am outraged at your unfaithfulness. 14 Everyone from the nations around you who passes by will sneer at you and keep their distance. 15 "When I am angry and furious with you and punish you, all the nations around you will be terrified. They will look at you with disgust and make fun of you. 16 I will cut off your supply of food and let you starve. You will feel the pains of hunger like sharp arrows sent to destroy you. 17 I will send hunger and wild animals to kill your children, and will send sickness, violence, and war to kill you. I, the Lord, have spoken."
1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 "Mortal man," he said, "look toward the mountains of Israel and give them my message. 3 Tell the mountains of Israel to hear the Sovereign Lord's word - to hear what I, the Sovereign Lord, am telling the mountains, the hills, the gorges, and the valleys: I will send a sword to destroy the places where people worship idols. 4 The altars will be torn down and the incense altars broken. All the people there will be killed in front of their idols. 5 I will scatter the corpses of the people of Israel; I will scatter their bones all around the altars. 6 All the cities of Israel will be destroyed, so that all their altars and their idols will be smashed to pieces, their incense altars will be shattered, and everything they made will disappear. 7 People will be killed everywhere, and those who survive will acknowledge that I am the Lord. 8 "I will let some escape the slaughter and be scattered among the nations, 9 where they will live in exile. There they will remember me and know that I have punished them and disgraced them, because their faithless hearts deserted me and they preferred idols to me. And they will be disgusted with themselves because of the evil and degrading things they have done. 10 They will know that I am the Lord and that my warnings were not empty threats." 11 The Sovereign Lord said, "Wring your hands! Stamp your feet! Cry in sorrow because of all the evil, disgusting things the Israelites have done. They are going to die in war or of starvation or disease. 12 Those far away will get sick and die; those nearby will be killed in war; those who survive will starve to death. They will feel all the force of my anger. 13 Corpses will be scattered among the idols and around the altars, scattered on every high hill, on the top of every mountain, under every green tree and every large oak, in every place where they burned sacrifices to their idols. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord. 14 Yes, I will reach out and destroy their country. I will make it a wasteland from the southern desert to the city of Riblah in the north, not sparing any place where the Israelites live. Then everyone will know that I am the Lord."
1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 "Mortal man," he said, "this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying to the land of Israel: This is the end for the whole land! 3 "Israel, the end has come. You will feel my anger, because I am judging you for what you have done. I will pay you back for all your disgusting conduct. 4 I will not spare you or show you any mercy. I am going to punish you for the disgusting things you have done, so that you will know that I am the Lord." 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: "One disaster after another is coming on you. 6 It's all over. This is the end. You are finished. 7 The end is coming for you people who live in the land. The time is near when there will be no more celebrations at the mountain shrines, only confusion. 8 "Very soon now you will feel all the force of my anger. I am judging you for what you have done, and I will pay you back for all your disgusting conduct. 9 I will not spare you or show you any mercy. I am going to punish you for the disgusting things you have done, so that you will know that I am the Lord and that I am the one who punishes you." 10 The day of disaster is coming. Violence is flourishing. Pride is at its height. 11 Violence produces more wickedness. Nothing of theirs will remain, nothing of their wealth, their splendor, or their glory. 12 The time is coming. The day is near when buying and selling will have no more meaning, because God's punishment will fall on everyone alike. 13 No merchants will live long enough to get back what they have lost, because God's anger is on everyone. Those who are evil cannot survive. 14 The trumpet blows, and everyone gets ready. But no one goes off to war, for God's anger will fall on everyone alike. 15 There is fighting in the streets, and sickness and hunger in the houses. Anyone who is out in the country will die in the fighting, and anyone in the city will be a victim of sickness and hunger. 16 Some will escape to the mountains like doves frightened from the valleys. All of them will moan over their sins. 17 Everyone's hands will be weak, and their knees will shake. 18 They will put on sackcloth and they will tremble all over. Their heads will be shaved, and they will all be disgraced. 19 They will throw their gold and silver away in the streets like garbage, because neither silver nor gold can save them when the Lord pours out his fury. They cannot use it to satisfy their desires or fill their stomachs. Gold and silver led them into sin. 20 Once they were proud of their beautiful jewels, but they used them to make disgusting idols. That is why the Lord has made their wealth repulsive to them. 21 "I will let foreigners rob them," says the Lord, "and lawbreakers will take all their wealth and defile it. 22 I will not interfere when my treasured Temple is profaned, when robbers break into it and defile it. 23 "Everything is in confusion - the land is full of murders and the cities are full of violence. 24 I will bring the most evil nations here and let them have your homes. Your strongest men will lose their confidence when I let the nations profane the places where you worship. 25 Despair is coming. You will look for peace and never find it. 26 One disaster will follow another, and a steady stream of bad news will pour in. You will beg the prophets to reveal what they foresee. The priests will have nothing to teach the people, and the elders will have no advice to give. 27 The king will mourn, the prince will give up hope, and the people will shake with fear. I will punish you for all you have done, and will judge you in the same way as you have judged others. This will show you that I am the Lord."
1 As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne. 3 Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. 4 For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed. 5 Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children? "My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. 6 Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a child." 7 Endure what you suffer as being a father's punishment; your suffering shows that God is treating you as his children. Was there ever a child who was not punished by his father? 8 If you are not punished, as all his children are, it means you are not real children, but bastards. 9 In the case of our human fathers, they punished us and we respected them. How much more, then, should we submit to our spiritual Father and live! 10 Our human fathers punished us for a short time, as it seemed right to them; but God does it for our own good, so that we may share his holiness. 11 When we are punished, it seems to us at the time something to make us sad, not glad. Later, however, those who have been disciplined by such punishment reap the peaceful reward of a righteous life. 12 Lift up your tired hands, then, and strengthen your trembling knees! 13 Keep walking on straight paths, so that the lame foot may not be disabled, but instead be healed. 14 Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it. 15 Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison. 16 Let no one become immoral or unspiritual like Esau, who for a single meal sold his rights as the older son. 17 Afterward, you know, he wanted to receive his father's blessing; but he was turned back, because he could not find any way to change what he had done, even though in tears he looked for it. 18 You have not come, as the people of Israel came, to what you can feel, to Mount Sinai with its blazing fire, the darkness and the gloom, the storm, 19 the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of a voice. When the people heard the voice, they begged not to hear another word, 20 because they could not bear the order which said, "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death." 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling and afraid!" 22 Instead, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with its thousands of angels. 23 You have come to the joyful gathering of God's first-born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, who is the judge of all people, and to the spirits of good people made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, who arranged the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that promises much better things than does the blood of Abel. 25 Be careful, then, and do not refuse to hear him who speaks. Those who refused to hear the one who gave the divine message on earth did not escape. How much less shall we escape, then, if we turn away from the one who speaks from heaven! 26 His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, "I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven as well." 27 The words "once more" plainly show that the created things will be shaken and removed, so that the things that cannot be shaken will remain. 28 Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe; 29 because our God is indeed a destroying fire.
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