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

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Isaiah 56

1 This is what the LORD says: Preserve justice, and do what is right. My salvation is about to come. My righteousness is about to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the one who does these things and the person who holds on to them. Blessed is the one who keeps the day of worship from becoming unholy and his hands from doing anything wrong.
3 Foreigners who have joined the LORD should not say, "The LORD will separate us from his people." Castrated men should not say, "We're only dead trees!"
4 This is what the LORD says: [I will remember] the castrated men who keep my days of worship, choose what pleases me, and faithfully observe the conditions of my promise.
5 Inside my house and within my walls, I will give them something better than sons and daughters. I will give them a monument and a name. I will give them a permanent name that will not be forgotten.
6 And [I will remember] the foreigners who have joined the LORD to worship him, to love the LORD's name, and to be his servants. All of them will keep the day of worship from becoming unholy and will faithfully observe the conditions of my promise.
7 Then I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them happy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, because my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
8 The Almighty LORD, who gathers the scattered people of Israel, declares, "I will gather still others besides those I have already gathered."
9 All you animals in the field, all you animals in the forest, come and eat.
10 [Israel's] watchmen are blind. None of them know anything. All of them are like dogs that are unable to bark. They lie around dreaming; they love to sleep.
11 These dogs have huge appetites. They are never full. They are the shepherds, but they don't understand. All of them have turned to go their own ways. Each one seeks his own gain.
12 [Each one cries,] "Let me get some wine, and we'll fill ourselves with liquor. And tomorrow will be like today, only better."

Isaiah 57

1 Righteous people die, and no one cares. Loyal people are taken away, and no one understands. Righteous people are spared when evil comes.
2 When peace comes, everyone who has lived honestly will rest on his own bed.
3 But you--come here, you children of witches, you descendants of adulterers and prostitutes!
4 Whom are you making fun of? Whom are you making a face at? Whom are you sticking out your tongue at? Aren't you rebellious children, descendants of liars?
5 You burn with lust under oak trees and under every large tree. You slaughter children in the valleys and under the cracks in the rocks.
6 Your idols are among the smooth stones in the ravine. They are your destiny. You have given them wine offerings and sacrificed grain offerings to them. Do you think I am pleased with all this?
7 You've made your bed on a high and lofty mountain. You've gone to offer sacrifices there.
8 You've set up your idols beside doors and doorposts. You've uncovered yourself to the idols. You've distanced yourself from me. You've made your bed with them. You've made a deal with those you have pleasure with in bed. You've seen them naked.
9 You've journeyed to the king with perfumed oils and put on plenty of perfume. You've sent your ambassadors far away and sent them down to Sheol.
10 You've tired yourself out with many journeys. You didn't think that it was hopeless. You've found renewed strength, so you didn't faint.
11 Whom did you dread and fear so much that you lied to me? You haven't remembered me or cared about me. I've been silent for a long time. Is that why you don't fear me?
12 I'll tell you about your righteous ways and what you have done, but they won't help you.
13 When you cry for help, let your collection of idols save you. A wind will carry them all away. A breath will take them away. But whoever trusts me will possess the land and inherit my holy mountain.
14 It will be said: "Build a road! Build a road! Prepare the way! Remove every obstacle in the way of my people!"
15 The High and Lofty One lives forever, and his name is holy. This is what he says: I live in a high and holy place. But I am with those who are crushed and humble. I will renew the spirit of those who are humble and the courage of those who are crushed.
16 I will not accuse you forever. I will not be angry with you forever. Otherwise, the spirits, the lives of those I've made, would grow faint in my presence.
17 I was angry because of their sinful greed, so I punished them, hid [from them], and remained angry. But they continued to be sinful.
18 I've seen their [sinful] ways, but I'll heal them. I'll guide them and give them rest. I'll comfort them and their mourners.
19 I'll create praise on their lips: "Perfect peace to those both far and near." "I'll heal them," says the LORD.
20 But the wicked are like the churning sea. It isn't quiet, and its water throws up mud and slime.
21 "There is no peace for the wicked," says my God.

Isaiah 58

1 Cry aloud! Don't hold back! Raise your voice like a ram's horn. Tell my people about their rebellion and the descendants of Jacob about their sins.
2 They look for me every day and want to know my ways. They act as if they were a nation that has done what is right and as if they haven't disregarded God's judgment [on them]. They ask me for just decrees. They want God to be near them.
3 Why have we fasted if you are not aware of it? Why have we inflicted pain on ourselves if you don't pay attention? Don't you see that on the days you fast, you do what you want to do? You mistreat all your workers.
4 Don't you see that when you fast, you quarrel and fight and beat your workers? The way you fast today keeps you from being heard in heaven.
5 Is this the kind of fasting I have chosen? Should people humble themselves for [only] a day? Is fasting just bowing your head like a cattail and making your bed from sackcloth and ashes? Is this what you call fasting? Is this an acceptable day to the LORD?
6 This is the kind of fasting I have chosen: Loosen the chains of wickedness, untie the straps of the yoke, let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke.
7 Share your food with the hungry, take the poor and homeless into your house, and cover them with clothes when you see [them] naked. Don't refuse to help your relatives.
8 Then your light will break through like the dawn, and you will heal quickly. Your righteousness will go ahead of you, and the glory of the LORD will guard you from behind.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer. You will cry for help, and he will say, "Here I am!" Get rid of that yoke. Don't point your finger and say wicked things.
10 If you give some of your own food to [feed] those who are hungry and to satisfy [the needs of] those who are humble, then your light will rise in the dark, and your darkness will become as bright as the noonday sun.
11 The LORD will continually guide you and satisfy you even in sun-baked places. He will strengthen your bones. You will become like a watered garden and like a spring whose water does not stop flowing.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the foundations of past generations. You will be called the Rebuilder of Broken Walls and the Restorer of Streets Where People Live.
13 If you stop trampling on the day of worship and doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the day of worship a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, if you honor it by not going your own way, by not going out when you want, and by not talking idly,
14 then you will find joy in the LORD. I will make you ride on the heights of the earth. I will feed you with the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob. The LORD has spoken.

2 Thessalonians 2

1 Brothers and sisters, we have this request to make of you about our Lord Jesus Christ's coming and our gathering to meet him.
2 Don't get upset right away or alarmed when someone claims that we said through some spirit, conversation, or letter that the day of the Lord has already come.
3 Don't let anyone deceive you about this in any way. [That day cannot come unless] a revolt takes place first, and the man of sin, the man of destruction, is revealed.
4 He opposes every so-called god or anything that is worshiped and places himself above them, sitting in God's temple and claiming to be God.
5 Don't you remember that I told you about these things when I was still with you?
6 You know what it is that now holds him back, so that he will be revealed when his time comes.
7 The mystery of this sin is already at work. But it cannot work effectively until the person now holding it back gets out of the way.
8 Then the man of sin will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will destroy him by what he says. When the Lord Jesus comes, his appearance will put an end to this man.
9 The man of sin will come with the power of Satan. He will use every kind of power, including miraculous and wonderful signs. But they will be lies.
10 He will use everything that God disapproves of to deceive those who are dying, those who refused to love the truth that would save them.
11 That's why God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe a lie.
12 Then everyone who did not believe the truth, but was delighted with what God disapproves of, will be condemned.
13 We always have to thank God for you, brothers and sisters. You are loved by the Lord and we thank God that in the beginning he chose you to be saved through a life of spiritual devotion and faith in the truth.
14 With this in mind he called you by the Good News which we told you so that you would obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Then, brothers and sisters, firmly hold on to the traditions we taught you either when we spoke to you or in our letter.
16 God our Father loved us and by his kindness gave us everlasting encouragement and good hope. Together with our Lord Jesus Christ,
17 may he encourage and strengthen you to do and say everything that is good.