Isaiah 66

1This is what the Lord says, “The skies are my throne. The earth is my footstool. So do you think you can build a house for me? No! You can’t! Can you give me a place to rest? No! You can’t! 2I myself made all things. All things are here because I made them.” The Lord himself said these things. “Tell me, what people do I care for? I care for the poor people. I care for the people that are very sad. I care for people that obey my words. 3Some people kill bulls ˻as a sacrifice˼, but they also beat people. Those people kill sheep as a sacrifice, but they also break the necks of dogs! Those people offer up grain offerings, but they also offer the blood of pigs! Those people burn incense, but they also love their worthless idols. Those people choose their own ways. And they also love their terrible idols. 4So I decided to use their own tricks! ˻I mean that˼ I will punish them using the things they are most afraid of. I called to those people, but they did not listen. I spoke to them, but they did not hear me. So I will do the same thing to them. Those people did things I said are evil. They chose to do things I did not like.” 5You people that obey the Lord’s commands should listen to the things the Lord says, “Your brothers hated you. They turned against you because you followed me. Your brothers said, 'We will come back to you when the Lord is honored. Then we will be happy with you.’ Those bad people will be punished. 6Listen! There is a loud noise coming from the city and the temple. That noise is the Lord punishing his enemies. The Lord is giving them the punishment they should have. 7- 8“A woman does not give birth before she feels the pain. A woman must feel the pain of childbirth before she can see the boy she gives birth to. ˻In the same way,˼ no person ever saw a new world begin in one day. No person has ever heard of a new nation that began in one day. The land must first have pain like the pain of birth. After the birth pain then the land will give birth to her children—a new nation. 9˻In the same way,˼ I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” The Lord says this. “I promise, if I cause you the pain of birth then I will not stop you from having your new nation.” Your God said this. 10Jerusalem, be happy! All you people who love Jerusalem, be happy! Sad things happened to Jerusalem, so some of you people are sad. But now you people should be happy. 11Why? Because you will receive mercy like milk coming from her breast. That “milk” will truly satisfy you! You people will drink the milk, and you will truly enjoy the glory of Jerusalem. 12The Lord says, “Look, I will give you peace. This peace will come flowing to you like a great river. Wealth from all the nations on earth will come flowing to you. That wealth will come like a flood. ˻You will be like little babies˼. You will drink that 'milk’ ˻(wealth)˼ I will pick you up, hold you in my arms, and bounce you on my knees. 13I will comfort you like a mother comforts her child. And you will be in Jerusalem when I comfort you!” 14You will see the things that you truly enjoy. You will be free and grow like grass. The Lord’s servants will see his power, but the Lord’s enemies will see his anger. 15Look, the Lord is coming with fire. The Lord’s armies are coming with clouds of dust. The Lord will punish those people with his anger. The Lord will use flames of fire to punish those people while he is angry. 16The Lord will judge the people. Then the Lord will destroy the people with fire and with his sword. The Lord will destroy many people. 17Those people wash themselves to make themselves pure for worshiping in their special gardens. These people follow each other into their special gardens. Then they worship their idols. But, the Lord will destroy all those people. “Those people eat the meat from pigs, rats, and other dirty things. But, all of those people will be destroyed together.” (The Lord himself said these things.) 18“Those people have evil thoughts and do evil things. So I am coming to punish them. I will gather all nations and all people. All people will come together and see my power. 19I will put a mark on some of the people—˻I will save them˼. I will send some of these saved people to the nations Tarshish, Libya, Lud (the land of archers), Tubal, Greece, and all the faraway lands. Those people have never heard my teachings. Those people have never seen my Glory. So the saved people will tell the nations about my glory. 20And they will bring all your brothers and sisters from all nations. They will bring your brothers and sisters to my holy mountain, Jerusalem. Your brothers and sisters will come on horses, donkeys, camels, and in chariots and wagons. Your brothers and sisters will be like the gifts that the people of Israel bring on clean plates to the Lord’s temple. 21I will also choose some of these people to be priests and Levites.” The Lord himself said these things. 22“I will make a new world—and the new heavens and the new earth ˻will last forever˼. In the same way, your names and your children will always be with me. 23All people will come to worship me on every worship day; they will come every Sabbath and every first day of the month. 24“˻These people will be in my holy city.˼ And if they go out ˻of the city˼ they will see the dead bodies of the people that sinned against me. ˻There will be worms in those bodies˼—and the worms will never die. ˻Fires will burn those bodies˼—and the fires will never stop.”

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