Jeremiah 51; Jeremiah 52; Hebrews 9

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Jeremiah 51

1 This is what the LORD says: I will stir up a destructive wind against Babylon and against the people who live in Leb Kamai.
2 I will send people to winnow Babylon, to winnow it and strip its land bare. They will attack it from every direction on the day of trouble.
3 Have the archers bend their bows. Have them put on their armor. Don't spare Babylon's young men. Completely destroy its whole army.
4 Babylon's soldiers will fall down badly wounded in their streets. They will lie dead in their own land.
5 Israel and Judah haven't been abandoned by their God, the LORD of Armies, although their land is guilty of abandoning the Holy One of Israel.
6 Run away from Babylon! Run for your lives! You shouldn't die because of Babylon's crimes. This is the time for the vengeance of the LORD. He will pay the people of Babylon back for what they have done.
7 Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand. It made the whole world drunk. The nations drank its wine. That is why the nations have gone insane.
8 Babylon will suddenly fall and be shattered. Cry for it. Bring medicine for its pain. Maybe it can be healed.
9 We wanted to heal Babylon, but it couldn't be healed. Let's abandon it and go to our own land. God has judged Babylon. Its judgment is complete.
10 The LORD has brought about our victory. Let's announce in Zion what the LORD our God has done.
11 Sharpen the arrows; fill the quivers. The LORD will stir up the spirit of the kings of the Medes because his plan is to destroy Babylon. The LORD will avenge his temple.
12 Raise your battle flag in front of the walls of Babylon. Strengthen the guards. Station watchmen. Prepare ambushes. The LORD will carry out his plans against the people who live in Babylon.
13 Babylon, you live beside many rivers and are rich with treasures, but your end has come. The thread of your life has been cut off.
14 The LORD of Armies has taken an oath on himself: "I will certainly fill you with many enemy armies. They will swarm like locusts. People will shout their victory over you."
15 The LORD made the earth by his power. He set up the world by his wisdom. He stretched out heaven by his understanding.
16 When he thunders, the water in the sky roars. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain. He brings wind out of his storehouses.
17 Everyone is stupid and ignorant. Metalsmiths are put to shame by their idols. Their statues are false [gods].
18 They can't breathe. They are worthless jokes. When they are punished, they will disappear.
19 Jacob's God isn't like them. He made everything, and Israel is the tribe that belongs to him. His name is the LORD of Armies.
20 "You are my war club and my weapon for battle. I will use you to crush nations. I will use you to destroy kingdoms.
21 I will use you to crush horses and their riders. I will use you to crush chariots and their drivers.
22 I will use you to crush men and women. I will use you to crush the old and the young. I will use you to crush young men and women.
23 I will use you to crush shepherds and their flocks. I will use you to crush farmers and their oxen. I will use you to crush governors and officials.
24 "In your presence I will pay back Babylon and all the people who live in Babylon for all the evil things that they did in Zion," declares the LORD.
25 "I am against you, Babylon, you destructive mountain. You have destroyed the whole earth," declares the LORD. "I will use my power against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a scorched mountain.
26 People won't find any stones in you to use as a cornerstone. They won't find any stones in you to use for a foundation. You will become permanent ruins," declares the LORD.
27 Raise your battle flag throughout the world. Blow the ram's horn among the nations. Prepare nations to attack Babylon. Tell the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz to attack it. Appoint a commander to lead the attack. Bring up horses like a swarm of locusts.
28 Prepare nations to attack Babylon. Prepare the king of the Medes, their governors, all their deputies, and all the countries that they rule.
29 The earth trembles and writhes in pain. The LORD carries out his plans against Babylon to make Babylon a wasteland so that no one will live there.
30 The warriors of Babylon have stopped fighting. They stay in their fortified cities. Their strength has failed. They have become women. Their buildings are set on fire. The bars across their gates are broken.
31 Runners run to meet runners. Messengers follow messengers. They inform the king of Babylon that his entire city is captured.
32 The river crossings have been taken. The enemy has burned its marshes, and its soldiers are terrified.
33 This is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: The people of Babylon are like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled. Their harvest time will come soon.
34 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has devoured us. He has thrown us into confusion. He has turned us into empty jars. He has swallowed us like a monster. He has filled his belly with our delicacies. Then he spit us out.
35 The people who live in Zion say, "May the violence done to us be done to Babylon." Jerusalem says, "May the people of Babylon be held responsible for our deaths."
36 This is what the LORD says: I am going to take up your cause and get revenge for you. I will dry up Babylon's sea and make its springs dry.
37 Babylon will become piles of rubble. It will become a dwelling place for jackals, something horrible, and an object of contempt, where no one lives.
38 Its people are like roaring lions and growling lion cubs.
39 When they are excited, I will prepare a feast for them and make them drunk so that they will shout and laugh. They will fall into a deep sleep and never wake up again, declares the LORD.
40 I will take them to be slaughtered like lambs, rams, and male goats.
41 "Sheshach has been captured. Babylon, the city that the whole world praised, has been taken captive.
42 What a horrifying sight Babylon will be to the nations! The sea will rise over Babylon, and its roaring waves will cover it.
43 Its cities will be ruined. It will become a desert, a land where no one lives and where no human travels.
44 I will punish Bel in Babylon. I will make Bel spit out everything that it has swallowed. Nations will no longer stream to Babylon, and its walls will fall.
45 "Leave it, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the burning anger of the LORD.
46 Don't lose courage or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land. One rumor comes one year; another rumor comes the next year. Rumors of violence are in the land. Rumors that one ruler will fight against another are in the land.
47 That is why the days are coming when I will punish Babylon's idols. The whole country will be put to shame, and all its soldiers will lie dead.
48 Then heaven and earth and everything in them will rejoice over Babylon, because destroyers from the north will attack it," declares the LORD.
49 Because the people of Babylon have killed many Israelites and because they have killed many people throughout the earth, Babylon must fall.
50 You people who escaped from the sword, leave! Don't just stand there. Remember the LORD in a distant land, and think about Jerusalem.
51 We have been put to shame, and we have been disgraced. Shame covers our faces, because foreigners have gone into the holy places of the LORD's temple.
52 "That is why the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will punish their idols, and those who are wounded will moan everywhere in the land.
53 The people of Babylon might go up to heaven. They might fortify their strongholds. But destroyers will still come from me against them," declares the LORD.
54 Cries of agony are heard from Babylon. Sounds of terrible destruction are heard from the land of the Babylonians.
55 The LORD will destroy Babylon. He will silence the loud noise coming from it. Waves of enemies will come roaring in like raging water. The noise will be heard everywhere.
56 A destroyer will attack Babylon, its soldiers will be captured, and their bows and arrows will be broken. "I, the LORD, am a God who punishes evil. I will certainly punish them.
57 I will make their officials and wise men drunk, along with their governors, officers, and soldiers. They will fall into a deep sleep and never wake up," declares the king, whose name is the LORD of Armies.
58 This is what the LORD of Armies says: The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled, and its high gates will be set on fire. People exhaust themselves for nothing. The nations wear themselves out only to have a fire.
59 This is the message that the prophet Jeremiah gave to Seraiah, son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah in the fourth year of Zedekiah's rule. (Seraiah was the quartermaster.)
60 Jeremiah wrote on a scroll all the disasters that would happen to Babylon. He wrote all these things that have been written about Babylon.
61 Jeremiah said to Seraiah, "When you come to Babylon, see that you read all this.
62 Then say, 'LORD, you have threatened to destroy this place so that no person or animal will live here, and it will become a permanent ruin.'
63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River.
64 Say, 'Babylon will sink like this scroll. It will never rise again because of the disasters that I will bring on it.'" The words of Jeremiah end here.

Jeremiah 52

1 Zedekiah was 21 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for 11 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal, daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah.
2 Zedekiah did what the LORD considered evil, as Jehoiakim had done.
3 The LORD became angry with Jerusalem and Judah and threw the people out of his sight. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
4 On the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem with his entire army. They set up camp and built dirt ramps around the city walls.
5 The blockade of the city lasted until Zedekiah's eleventh year as king.
6 On the ninth day of the fourth month, the famine in the city became so severe that the common people had no food.
7 The enemy broke through the city walls, and all Judah's soldiers fled. They left the city at night through the gate between the two walls beside the king's garden. While the Babylonians were attacking the city from all sides, they took the road to the plain [of Jericho].
8 The Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah and caught up with him in the plain of Jericho. His entire army had deserted him.
9 The Babylonians captured the king and brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in Hamath, where the king of Babylon passed sentence on him.
10 The king of Babylon slaughtered Zedekiah's sons as Zedekiah watched. He also slaughtered all the officials of Judah at Riblah.
11 Then he blinded Zedekiah and put him in bronze shackles. The king of Babylon took him to Babylon and put him in a prison, where he stayed until he died.
12 On the tenth day of the fifth month of Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year as king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, who was the captain of the guard and an officer of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
13 He burned down the LORD's temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem. Every important building was burned down.
14 The entire Babylonian army that was with the captain of the guard tore down the walls around Jerusalem.
15 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, captured the few people left in the city, those who surrendered to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population.
16 But Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, left some of the poorest people in the land to work in the vineyards and on the farms.
17 The Babylonians broke apart the bronze pillars of the LORD's temple, the stands, and the bronze pool in the LORD's temple. They shipped all the bronze to Babylon.
18 They took the pots, shovels, snuffers, bowls, dishes, and all the bronze utensils used in the temple service.
19 The captain of the guard also took pans, incense burners, bowls, pots, lamp stands, dishes, and the bowls used for wine offerings. The captain of the guard took all of the trays and bowls that were made of gold or silver.
20 The bronze from the 2 pillars, the pool, and the 12 bronze bulls under the stands that King Solomon had made for the LORD's temple couldn't be weighed.
21 One pillar was 27 feet high and 18 feet in circumference. It was three inches thick and hollow.
22 The capital that was on it was 7½ feet high with a filigree and pomegranates around it. They were all made of bronze. The second pillar was the same. It also had pomegranates.
23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides. The total number of pomegranates on the surrounding filigree was 100.
24 The captain of the guard took the chief priest Seraiah, the second priest Zephaniah, and the 3 doorkeepers.
25 From the city he also took an army commander, 7 men who had access to the king whom he found in the city, the scribe who was in charge of the militia, and 60 common people whom he found in the city.
26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
27 The king of Babylon executed them at Riblah in the territory of Hamath. So the people of Judah were captives as they left their land.
28 These are the people Nebuchadnezzar took captive: In his seventh year as king, he took 3,023 Jews.
29 In his eighteenth year, Nebuchadnezzar took 832 people from Jerusalem.
30 In Nebuchadnezzar's twenty-third year as king, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took away 745 Jews. In all, 4,600 people were taken away.
31 On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the imprisonment of King Jehoiakin of Judah, King Evil Merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, freed King Jehoiakin of Judah and released him from prison.
32 He treated him well and gave him a special position higher than the other kings who were with him in Babylon.
33 Jehoiakin no longer wore prison clothes, and he ate his meals in the king's presence as long as he lived.
34 The king of Babylon gave him a daily food allowance as long as he lived.

Hebrews 9

1 The first promise had rules for the priests' service. It also had a holy place on earth.
2 A tent was set up. The first part of this tent was called the holy place. The lamp stand, the table, and the bread of the presence were in this part of the tent.
3 Behind the second curtain was the part of the tent called the most holy place.
4 It contained the gold incense burner and the ark of the Lord's promise. The ark was completely covered with gold. In the ark were the gold jar filled with manna, Aaron's staff that had blossomed, and the tablets on which the promise was written.
5 Above the ark were the angels of glory [with their wings] overshadowing the throne of mercy. (Discussing these things in detail isn't possible now.)
6 That is how these two parts of the tent were set up. The priests always went into the first part of the tent to perform their duties.
7 But only the chief priest went into the second part of the tent. Once a year he entered and brought blood that he offered for himself and for the things that the people did wrong unintentionally.
8 The Holy Spirit used this to show that the way into the most holy place was not open while the tent was still in use.
9 The first part of the tent is an example for the present time. The gifts and sacrifices that were brought there could not give the worshiper a clear conscience.
10 These gifts and sacrifices were meant to be food, drink, and items used in various purification ceremonies. These ceremonies were required for the body until God would establish a new way of doing things.
11 But Christ came as a chief priest of the good things that are now here. Christ went through a better, more perfect tent that was not made by human hands and that is not part of this created world.
12 He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice. He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever.
13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of cows sprinkled on unclean people made their bodies holy and clean.
14 The blood of Christ, who had no defect, does even more. Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself to God and cleansed our consciences from the useless things we had done. Now we can serve the living God.
15 Because Christ offered himself to God, he is able to bring a new promise from God. Through his death he paid the price to set people free from the sins they committed under the first promise. He did this so that those who are called can be guaranteed an inheritance that will last forever.
16 In order for a will to take effect, it must be shown that the one who made it has died.
17 A will is used only after a person is dead because it goes into effect only when a person dies.
18 That is why even the first promise was made with blood.
19 As Moses' Teachings tell us, Moses told all the people every commandment. Then he took the blood of calves and goats together with some water, red yarn, and hyssop and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.
20 He said, "Here is the blood that seals the promise God has made to you."
21 In the same way, Moses sprinkled blood on the tent and on everything used in worship.
22 As Moses' Teachings tell us, blood was used to cleanse almost everything, because if no blood is shed, no sins can be forgiven.
23 The copies of the things in heaven had to be cleansed by these sacrifices. But the heavenly things themselves had to be cleansed by better sacrifices.
24 Christ didn't go into a holy place made by human hands. He didn't go into a model of the real thing. Instead, he went into heaven to appear in God's presence on our behalf.
25 Every year the chief priest went into the holy place to make a sacrifice with blood that isn't his own. However, Christ didn't go into heaven to sacrifice himself again and again.
26 Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was created. But now, at the end of the ages, he has appeared once to remove sin by his sacrifice.
27 People die once, and after that they are judged.
28 Likewise, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of humanity, and after that he will appear a second time. This time he will not deal with sin, but he will save those who eagerly wait for him.