Babylonia, Asia, Egypt, and Syria, you are doomed!
Put on your clothes of mourning, your sackcloth and goat's hair. Cry and wail for your children because the time for your destruction is near.
I am sending war on you, and no one can stop it.
I am sending fire on you, and no one can put it out.
I am sending disasters on you, and no one can stop them from coming.
Can anyone stop a hungry lion in the forest or put out a fire that is burning in straw
or turn back an arrow shot by a strong archer?
When the Lord God sends disaster, no one can hold it back.
No one can escape the blazing anger of the Lord.
When he sends lightning, no one can keep from trembling; and when it thunders, everyone is afraid.
When the Lord makes his threats, no one can keep from falling to the ground in his presence.
The foundations of the earth tremble. There is violent churning in the deepest part of the sea. Even the creatures in the sea are in turmoil when the Lord makes his glorious power felt.
He is like a mighty archer whose strong right arm bends the bow. His arrows are sharp and never miss their mark once they are shot out toward any part of the earth.
He has already sent out his disasters toward the earth, and they will not miss their target.
The fire has been lit, and it cannot be put out until it burns up the foundations of the earth.
The disasters are on their way toward the earth, and like an arrow shot by a strong archer, they cannot be turned back.
I'm doomed! I'm doomed! Who will rescue me in those days?
Troubles will come, and many people will groan. Famine will come, and many will die. Wars will come, and the world powers will tremble. Disasters will come, and everyone will be terrified. What will people do when these disasters come?
Famine, epidemics, troubles, and suffering are sent to punish and correct people.
But in spite of all this, they will not turn away from their sins; they soon forget their punishment.
The time is coming when food will be so cheap that people will think a time of peace and plenty has arrived. But then disasters will spring up everywhere - wars, famine, and great confusion.
Many people on earth will starve to death, and those who escape starvation will be killed in war.
Their corpses will be thrown out like garbage, and there will be no one left to comfort the living. The earth will be deserted and its cities demolished.
There will be no one left to plow the land or plant it.
Trees will bear their fruit, but there will be no one left to pick it.
Grapes will ripen, but there will be no one left to make wine. There will be desolation everywhere,
and a person will long to see the face of another human being or even to hear another person's voice.
Only ten will be left out of a whole city, and in the countryside, only two, who have hidden in the forest or in caves.
When an olive grove is harvested, three or four olives may be left on each tree.
When grapes in a vineyard are picked, a few bunches may be left even by those who look carefully.
That is how it will be in those days. Three or four will be missed by the soldiers who search through the houses to kill everyone.
The land will be left empty; the fields will be overgrown with briers; the roads and paths will be covered with weeds and thorns because there will be no sheep to graze along them.
Young women will be in mourning because there is no one to marry them; wives will be in mourning because they have lost their husbands; daughters will be in mourning because there is no one to help them.
All the young men will be killed in the war, and all the married men will die in the famine.
Now listen to my message, you people who serve the Lord.
It is the Lord's message, so receive it and believe what he says.
The disasters are approaching rapidly, and they will not be delayed.
A woman in the ninth month of pregnancy may suffer labor pains for several hours, but when the time comes for the baby to be born, there is no longer any delay.
In the same way, the disasters that are coming on the earth will not be delayed, and the world will groan when it is caught in its labor pains.
Listen to my message, my people, and get ready for the battle. When the disasters come, you must live as people whose home is not in this world.
Merchants must not expect to make a profit from what they sell; they must be ready to run for their lives. Their customers must expect to lose whatever they buy. Whoever builds a house should not plan to live in it.
Farmers should not expect to harvest their crops or pick their grapes.
Those who marry must not expect to have children, and those who don't marry must live as if they had been widowed.
Anything that is done will be useless.
Foreigners will harvest the crops, seize the wealth, tear down the houses, and carry off the children as slaves. Anyone who has children will be bringing them up to be slaves or to die of starvation.
Anyone who makes money will do so only to see it violently taken away. The more possessions people gather, the more they spend on their cities and houses, the more attention they give to their personal appearance,
the more angry the Lord will become with them because of their sin. This is what the Lord says.
Just as a respectable woman despises a prostitute,
so righteousness despises sinfulness, no matter how attractive it may look. Righteousness will expose every sin in the world and condemn it face-to-face when her Defender comes.
So do not imitate sinfulness or what it does,
for in a very short time sinfulness will be swept out of the world and righteousness will rule among us.
Sinners must not deny their sins. Those who say that they have not sinned against God and his majesty are only bringing fiery shame upon themselves.
The Lord certainly knows everything that people do; he knows their plans and innermost thoughts.
When the Lord said, "Let the world be created," it was done! When he said, "Let the sky be created," that was done too.
He set the stars in place by his command, and he knows how many of them there are.
He knows what is in the deepest part of the sea and the treasures that are there. He has measured the sea and everything that is in it.
By his word he confined the sea to its place and put the land on top of the water.
The Lord stretched out the sky and fixed it firmly over the water like a dome.
He put springs of water in the desert and lakes in the high mountains, so that water could flow down in the rivers and water the land.
The Lord created human beings and gave each one of them a heart. He gave them life, breath, and understanding,
which is the spirit of God the Almighty, who created everything and who knows all secrets and sees into all hidden places.
My people, the Lord knows everything you plan and the secret thoughts of your heart. Sinners who try to hide their sins are doomed.
The Lord will carefully examine everything you have done and bring you to judgment.
On that day you will be thrown into utter confusion; all your sins will be publicly exposed and the wicked things you have done will witness against you.
What will you do then? How will you hide your sins from God and his angels?
God is your judge, so fear him! Abandon your sins, put away the evil you have done, and never sin again. Then God will save you from all these disasters.
A vast mob of people is ready now to descend on you and devour you like flames. They will drag some of you off and force you to eat pagan sacrifices.
If you give in to them, they will ridicule you, mock you, and humiliate you.
In many places near the cities there will be violent persecution against those who fear the Lord.
The attackers will act like wild people; they will plunder and destroy without pity all those who still fear the Lord.
They will turn them out of their homes and take away all their possessions.
This will be the time of testing for my chosen people, and they will prove to be as pure as refined gold. 1
But listen to what the Lord says: "My chosen people, the time of terrible suffering is near, but I will rescue you.
Don't be afraid or have any doubts; I am your God and I will lead you.
If you keep my laws and commands," says the Lord, "you must not let your sins weigh you down or control you.
Those who are chained by their sins, overwhelmed by the evil they have done, are doomed. They will be like a field overgrown with brush, with the path across it so choked with thorns that no one can get through.
It is abandoned and doomed to be destroyed by fire."