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Old Testament:  Isaiah 65-66

Isaiah 65

Judgment and Final Salvation
 1  The LORD says,

"I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
  I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, `Here I am, here I am!'
  to a nation that did not call on my name. [1] 
 2  All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. [2] 
  But they follow their own evil paths
  and their own crooked schemes.
 3  All day long they insult me to my face
  by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens.
  They burn incense on pagan altars.
 4  At night they go out among the graves,
  worshiping the dead.
They eat the flesh of pigs
  and make stews with other forbidden foods.
 5  Yet they say to each other,
  `Don't come too close or you will defile me!
  I am holier than you!'
These people are a stench in my nostrils,
  an acrid smell that never goes away.

 6  "Look, my decree is written out [6]  in front of me:
  I will not stand silent;
I will repay them in full!
  Yes, I will repay them—
 7  both for their own sins
  and for those of their ancestors,"
  says the LORD.
"For they also burned incense on the mountains
  and insulted me on the hills.
  I will pay them back in full!

 8  "But I will not destroy them all,"
  says the LORD.
"For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones
  (and someone will say, `Don't throw them all away—
  some of those grapes are good!'),
so I will not destroy all Israel.
  For I still have true servants there.
 9  I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel [9] 
  and of Judah to possess my land.
Those I choose will inherit it,
  and my servants will live there.
 10  The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks
  for my people who have searched for me,
  and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.

 11  "But because the rest of you have forsaken the LORD
  and have forgotten his Temple,
and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate
  and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny,
 12  now I will `destine' you for the sword.
  All of you will bow down before the executioner.
For when I called, you did not answer.
  When I spoke, you did not listen.
You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes—
  and chose to do what you know I despise."

 13  Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"My servants will eat,
  but you will starve.
My servants will drink,
  but you will be thirsty.
My servants will rejoice,
  but you will be sad and ashamed.
 14  My servants will sing for joy,
  but you will cry in sorrow and despair.
 15  Your name will be a curse word among my people,
  for the Sovereign LORD will destroy you
  and will call his true servants by another name.
 16  All who invoke a blessing or take an oath
  will do so by the God of truth.
For I will put aside my anger
  and forget the evil of earlier days.

 17  "Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth,
  and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
 18  Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!
  And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness.
  Her people will be a source of joy.
 19  I will rejoice over Jerusalem
  and delight in my people.
And the sound of weeping and crying
  will be heard in it no more.

 20  "No longer will babies die when only a few days old.
  No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life.
No longer will people be considered old at one hundred!
  Only the cursed will die that young!
 21  In those days people will live in the houses they build
  and eat the fruit of their own vineyards.
 22  Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses
  and confiscate their vineyards.
For my people will live as long as trees,
  and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains.
 23  They will not work in vain,
  and their children will not be doomed to misfortune.
For they are people blessed by the LORD,
  and their children, too, will be blessed.
 24  "I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!"  25  The wolf and the lamb will feed together.
  The lion will eat hay like a cow.
  But the snakes will eat dust.
In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain.
  I, the LORD, have spoken!"

Isaiah 66

 1  This is what the LORD says:

"Heaven is my throne,
  and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
  Could you build me such a resting place?
 2  My hands have made both heaven and earth;
  they and everything in them are mine. [2] 
  I, the LORD, have spoken!

"I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,
  who tremble at my word.
 3  But those who choose their own ways—
  delighting in their detestable sins—
  will not have their offerings accepted.
When such people sacrifice a bull,
  it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice.
When they sacrifice a lamb,
  it's as though they had sacrificed a dog!
When they bring an offering of grain,
  they might as well offer the blood of a pig.
When they burn frankincense,
  it's as if they had blessed an idol.
 4  I will send them great trouble—
  all the things they feared.
For when I called, they did not answer.
  When I spoke, they did not listen.
They deliberately sinned before my very eyes
  and chose to do what they know I despise."

 5  Hear this message from the LORD,
  all you who tremble at his words:
"Your own people hate you
  and throw you out for being loyal to my name.
`Let the LORD be honored!' they scoff.
  `Be joyful in him!'
  But they will be put to shame.
 6  What is all the commotion in the city?
  What is that terrible noise from the Temple?
It is the voice of the LORD
  taking vengeance against his enemies.

 7  "Before the birth pains even begin,
  Jerusalem gives birth to a son.
 8  Who has ever seen anything as strange as this?
  Who ever heard of such a thing?
Has a nation ever been born in a single day?
  Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment?
But by the time Jerusalem's [8]  birth pains begin,
  her children will be born.
 9  Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth
  and then not deliver it?" asks the LORD.
"No! I would never keep this nation from being born,"
  says your God.

 10  "Rejoice with Jerusalem!
  Be glad with her, all you who love her
  and all you who mourn for her.
 11  Drink deeply of her glory
  even as an infant drinks at its mother's comforting breasts."

 12  This is what the LORD says:
"I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity.
  The wealth of the nations will flow to her.
Her children will be nursed at her breasts,
  carried in her arms, and held on her lap.
 13  I will comfort you there in Jerusalem
  as a mother comforts her child."

 14  When you see these things, your heart will rejoice.
  You will flourish like the grass!
Everyone will see the LORD's hand of blessing on his servants—
  and his anger against his enemies.
 15  See, the LORD is coming with fire,
  and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind.
He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger
  and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke.
 16  The LORD will punish the world by fire
  and by his sword.
He will judge the earth,
  and many will be killed by him.

   17  "Those who `consecrate' and `purify' themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end," says the LORD.
   18  "I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory.  19  I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans [19]  and Lydians [19]  (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, [19]  and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations.  20  They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the LORD. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says the LORD.  21  "And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the LORD, have spoken!

 22  "As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain,
  so will you always be my people,
with a name that will never disappear,"
  says the LORD.
 23  "All humanity will come to worship me
  from week to week
  and from month to month.
 24  And as they go out, they will see
  the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me.
For the worms that devour them will never die,
  and the fire that burns them will never go out.
All who pass by
  will view them with utter horror."
<<  65:1 Or to a nation that did not bear my name.
<<  65:1-2 Greek version reads I was found by people who were not looking for me. / I showed myself to those who were not asking for me. / All day long I opened my arms to them, / but they were disobedient and rebellious. Compare Rom 10:20-21.
<<  65:6 Or their sins are written out; Hebrew reads it stands written.
<<  65:9 Hebrew remnant of Jacob. See note on 14:1.
<<  66:2 As in Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads these things are.
<<  66:8 Hebrew Zion's.
<<  66:19a As in some Greek manuscripts, which read Put [that is, Libya]; Hebrew reads Pul. 66:19b Hebrew Lud. 66:19c Hebrew Javan.

New Testament:  1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 2

Instructions about Worship
 1  I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  2  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  3  This is good and pleases God our Savior,  4  who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.  5  For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.  6  He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.  7  And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I'm not exaggerating—just telling the truth.
   8  In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.    9  And I want women to be modest in their appearance. [9]  They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.  10  For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
   11  Women should learn quietly and submissively.  12  I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. [12]  Let them listen quietly.  13  For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve.  14  And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.  15  But women will be saved through childbearing, [15]  assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.
<<  2:9 Or to pray in modest apparel.
<<  2:12 Or teach men or usurp their authority.
<<  2:15 Or will be saved by accepting their role as mothers, or will be saved by the birth of the Child.

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