Judgment Day ahead
A footrest for God1
The LORD says:
Heaven is my throne.
Earth is my footrest.
Where should you build a house for me?
Where should I rest my feet?
I already made everything myself.
If it’s made, I made it.
The folks I respect
Are the poor and the humble-hearted,
And those who listen to what I say.
God doesn’t like hypocrites3
People who trouble me
Sacrifice bulls to me,
Then go out and murder.
They sacrifice a sheep,
Then they slaughter dogs.
They give me a grain offering
Then offer pig’s blood to a false god.
They burn fragrant incense to me,
Then flatter an idol.
They made their choice.
They had their fun.
Now they’ll get the bill.
Now they’ll pay the price.
What they feared is what they’ll get.
When I called, they didn’t answer.
When I talked, they didn’t listen.
They did what they knew was wrong.
They did what they knew I didn’t like.
This thunder is God yelling5
Listen to the LORD.
I’m talking to those of you who respect what he says.
Your own people hated you enough to kick you out.
And they did it in God’s name, on behalf of him.
They taunted you with, “Glory to the LORD!”
But in trying to shame you, they only shamed themselves.
Thundering noise rises from the Temple.
It’s the thundering voice of the LORD
Dealing with his enemies.
There’s pain before new birth7
Who ever heard of a woman giving birth
Before she felt any pain?
Or having a son
Before she went through labor?
Who ever saw such a thing?
Can a country be born pain-free in a day?
Can a nation pop up out of nowhere in a second?
Jerusalem will produce children.
But she’ll go through labor first.
9 “Should I cause a miscarriage to avoid the pain?” asks the LORD.
“I create life. But should I make a woman infertile?”
Jerusalem as a comforting momma10
Celebrate for Jerusalem. Get happy over her.
If you love the city, be glad for the city.
If you’ve mourned for Jerusalem,
Find comfort in her now.
Like a momma with a baby on her breast.
You’re the baby, and momma’s busting to nurse.
Drink the warmth of momma’s comfort.
Here comes the money12
The LORD says,
I’m going to flood Jerusalem with wealth,
Streaming like a river.
Wealth coming at you from the nations
Like a flash flood through a dry gulch.
I’ll take care of you
Like you’re the child in my arms
Or bouncing on my knees.
In the city of Jerusalem, you’ll find comfort here.
Here comes the fire14
You’re going to see it and celebrate it.
You’re going to grow like a field of grass.
Everyone will know the LORD is behind what happens.
They’ll know he’s with his servants.
They’ll know he’s against his enemies.
And chariots riding a whirlwind.
He’s going to vent the fury of his anger
In flaming rebuke.
16 The LORD comes with fire on Judgment Day.
He brings his sword along.
People will fall to the sword of the LORD.
Many will die that day.
17 Some of you will ritually purify yourselves. You’ll do it so you can go into one of those pagan gardens, following the leader and others. You’ll eat the meat of pigs, rats, and little vermin critters. You’ll all die together.
18 I know you people. I read your minds.
I’m coming to collect my people from all nations and languages. The world will catch a glimpse of how glorious I am. 19 I’m going to send a message, a signal to the nations. I’ll send some of the survivors abroad as ambassadors. They’ll go Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal, Javan, and coastal lands so far away they’ve never heard of me. My ambassadors will tell the people how wonderful I am.
20 These people from other nations will escort your brothers and sisters back home. They’ll bring them on horseback, in chariots, and on wagons and mules. They’ll come to Jerusalem, says the LORD. They’ll come like grain at harvesttime, which Israelites bring to the Temple in offerings carried in purified containers. 21 I’ll appoint some of the arrivals as priests and some as their Levite helpers, says the LORD
The LORD says,
My new heavens and new earth will live on.
So will your descendants and your name.
Week after week
And month after month,
The people will come to me in worship.
24 The LORD says,
People will go to the trash heap
To look at corpses of those who rebelled.
Forever, the worms will eat the dead.
Forever, the fire will burn.
The writer doesn’t say who got kicked out of what. One guess is that a family of Levite priests descended from Zadok—the Zadokites—stripped the other groups of their priestly duties, on a charge of idolatry (Ezekiel 44:10-16). Another guess is that the enemies doing the mocking weren’t followers of God. They were idol worshipers.
The term for “gulch” is wadi. It’s a dry streambed most of the time. But with heavy rains upstream, it can turn into a raging river downstream, where it might not have rained at all. In dry times, the wadi makes a good walking trail. Just watch the weather.
Location of Tarshish is unknown. It was the prophet Jonah’s destination when he tried to run away from God. Scholars often guess that it was a city in Spain or somewhere else at the opposite end of the Mediterranean Sea from the Jewish homeland. Some say it was a Phoenician colony called Tartessus, in Spain. Phoenicians were native to what is now Lebanon, but their merchant ships sailed through the Mediterranean Sea.
Libya. For remaining cities in 66:19, see accompanying map. Location of some cities aren’t known.
This describes how some Jews came home after their 50-year exile in Babylon, today’s Iraq (Ezra 1:4).
The text doesn’t mention a trash heap. But some scholars say the writer’s mention of eternal worms and never-ending fire suggests the bodies have been thrown in the trash heap outside the city wall. Jerusalem in Roman times dumped garbage on the southeastern slopes, outside the city walls of a portion of Jerusalem known as the City of David. The trash dumped into the Kidron Valley. The garbage was excavated in 2013-2014. The landfill rose to 70 meters high (about 77 yards). Centuries earlier, the writer of this final chapter seemed to suggest that the memory of this clash between God and the rebels would always be there, every time the people threw out the garbage. There, the trash was in the Hinnom Valley, also known as Gehenna—the term Jesus used that is often interpreted into English as “hell.”
Some Jewish scholars say that among Jews, the idea of a place of eternal torment in what they call Gehenna comes from this verse. Jesus used the phrase “you will be liable to [or burn in] the fires of Gehenna” (Matthew 5:22). Gehenna is the Aramaic name for the Valley of Hinnom, which is located on the south side of Jerusalem.” It was, for a time, the constantly smoldering city dump. But in Old Testament times, some Jews sacrificed to idols there. King Manasseh (reigned 696-642 BC), Hezekiah’s son, sacrificed his own sons in the fire in Hinnom Valley (2 Chronicles 33:6). Later, in 586 BC, Babylonian invaders from what is now Iraq leveled the Jewish cities including Jerusalem and erased the Jewish nation from the world map. Some Jews considered that as God’s judgment on their nation’s lingering idolatry. For the Jews, Hinnom Valley became a synonym for God’s judgment, much like 9/11, for Americans, refers to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York City. English Bible translators created the word “hell” to express the idea that “Gehenna” means more than a valley, but that it points to God’s judgment.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.