‘I want to tell you what is going to happen as the judgment days of wrath wind down, for there is going to be an end to all this.“
You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.” God says, “Your treaty with death will be wiped away. Your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming disaster passes by, you will be trampled by it.“
(Isaiah 28:15, Isaiah 28:15)
Never Tired of Trying New Religions
Meanwhile, right-living people die and no one gives them a thought. God-fearing people are carted off and no one even notices.
The right-living people are out of their misery, they’re finally at rest. They lived well and with dignity and now they’re finally at peace.
“But you, children of a witch, come here! Sons of a slut, daughters of a whore. What business do you have taunting, sneering, and sticking out your tongue?
Do you have any idea what wretches you’ve turned out to be?
A race of rebels, a generation of liars. You satisfy your lust any place you find some shade and fornicate at whim.
You kill your children at any convenient spot—any cave or crevasse will do.You take stones from the creek and set up your sex-and-religion shrines.
You’ve chosen your fate. Your worship will be your doom.You’ve climbed a high mountain to practice your foul sex-and-death religion.
Behind closed doors you assemble your precious gods and goddesses. Deserting Me, you’ve gone all out, stripped down and made your bed your place of worship.
You’ve climbed into bed with the ‘sacred’ whores and loved every minute of it, adoring every curve of their naked bodies.
You anoint your king-god with ointments and lavish perfumes on yourselves.
You send scouts to search out the latest in religion,send them all the way to hell and back.
You wear yourselves out trying the new and the different, and never see what a waste it all is. You’ve always found strength for the latest fad,never got tired of trying new religions.
“Who talked you into the pursuit of this nonsense, leaving Me high and dry, forgetting you ever knew Me? Because I don’t yell and make a scene do you think I don’t exist?
I’ll go over, detail by detail, all your ‘righteous’ attempts at religion, and expose the absurdity of it all.
Go ahead, cry for help to your collection of no-gods: A good wind will blow them away. They’re smoke, nothing but smoke.
Someone says: “Build, build! Make a road! Clear the way, remove the rocks from the road My people will travel.”
A Message from the high and towering God, who lives in Eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I live in the high and holy places, but also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed, And what I do is put new spirit in them, get them up and on their feet again.
For I’m not going to haul people into court endlessly, I’m not going to be angry forever.
Otherwise, people would lose heart. These souls I created would tire out and give up.
I was angry, good and angry, because of Israel’s sins. I struck him hard and turned away in anger, while he kept at his stubborn, willful ways.
When I looked again and saw what he was doing, I decided to heal him, lead him, and comfort him, creating a new language of praise for the mourners.
Peace to the far-off, peace to the near-at-hand,” says God—“and yes, I will heal them.
But the wicked are storm-battered seas that can’t quiet down. The waves stir up garbage and mud. There’s no peace,” God says, “for the wicked.”
Messages of Judgment
Quit Your Worship Charades
The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw regarding Judah and Jerusalem during the times of the kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
Heaven and earth, you’re the jury. Listen to God’s case:
“I had children and raised them well, and they turned on Me.
The ox knows who’s boss, the mule knows the hand that feeds him,
But not Israel. My people don’t know up from down.
Shame! Misguided God-dropouts, staggering under their guilt-baggage,
Gang of miscreants, band of vandals—
My people have walked out on Me, their God, turned their backs on The Holy of Israel, walked off and never looked back.
“Why bother even trying to do anything with you when you just keep to your bullheaded ways?
You keep beating your heads against brick walls. Everything within you protests against you.
From the bottom of your feet to the top of your head, nothing’s working right.
Wounds and bruises and running sores—untended, unwashed, unbandaged.
Your country is laid waste, your cities burned down. Your land is destroyed by outsiders while you watch, reduced to rubble by barbarians.
Daughter Zion is deserted—like a tumbledown shack on a dead-end street, Like a tarpaper shanty on the wrong side of the tracks, like a sinking ship abandoned by the rats.
If God-of-the-Angel-Armies hadn’t left us a few survivors, we’d be as desolate as Sodom, doomed just like Gomorrah.
“Listen to My Message, you Sodom-schooled leaders. Receive God’s revelation, you Gomorrah-schooled people.
“Why this frenzy of sacrifices?” God’s asking.
“Don’t you think I’ve had My fill of burnt sacrifices, rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don’t you think I’ve had My fill of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before Me, whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?
“Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn Me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way.
And do you know why?
Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.
Let’s Argue This Out
“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message:
“If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool. If you’ll willingly obey, you’ll feast like kings.
But if you’re willful and stubborn, you’ll die like dogs.”
That’s right. God says so.
Those Who Walk Out on God
Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city has become a whore! She was once all justice,everyone living as good neighbors,
And now they’re all at one another’s throats.Your coins are all counterfeits.Your wine is watered down. Your leaders are turncoats who keep company with crooks.
They sell themselves to the highest bidder and grab anything not nailed down.
They never stand up for the homeless, never stick up for the defenseless.
This Decree, therefore, of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the Strong One of Israel:
“This is it! I’ll get My oppressors off My back. I’ll get back at My enemies.
I’ll give you the back of My hand, purge the junk from your life, clean you up.
I’ll set honest judges and wise counselors among you just like it was back in the beginning.
Then you’ll be renamed City-That-Treats-People-Right, the True-Blue City.”
God’s right ways will put Zion right again. God’s right actions will restore her penitents.
But it’s curtains for rebels and God-traitors, a dead end for those who walk out on God.
“Your dalliances in those oak grove shrines will leave you looking mighty foolish,
All that fooling around in god and goddess gardens that you thought was the latest thing.
You’ll end up like an oak tree with all its leaves falling off, Like an unwatered garden, withered and brown.”
‘The Big Man’ will turn out to be dead bark and twigs, and his ‘work,’ the spark that starts the fire That exposes man and work both as nothing but cinders and smoke.”
If He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly. (2 Peter 2:6)
Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8)
The Temple Dedication
When Solomon finished praying, a bolt of lightning out of heaven struck the Whole-Burnt-Offering and sacrifices and the Glory of God filled The Temple. The Glory was so dense that the priests couldn’t get in—God so filled The Temple that there was no room for the priests! When all Israel saw the fire fall from heaven and the Glory of God fill The Temple, they fell on their knees, bowed their heads, and worshiped, thanking God:
Yes! God is good! His love never quits!
Then the king and all Israel worshiped, offering sacrifices to God. King Solomon worshiped by sacrificing 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep at the dedication of The Temple. The priests were all on duty; the choir and orchestra of Levites that David had provided for singing and playing anthems to the praise and love of God were all there; across the courtyard the priests blew trumpets. All Israelites were on their feet.
Solomon set apart the central area of the courtyard in front of God’s Temple for sacred use and there sacrificed the Whole-Burnt-Offerings, Grain-Offerings, and fat from the Peace-Offerings—the Bronze Altar was too small to handle all these offerings. This is how Solomon kept the great autumn Feast of Booths. For seven days there were people there all the way from the far northeast (the Entrance to Hamath) to the far southwest (the Brook of Egypt)—a huge congregation. They started out celebrating for seven days, and then did it for another seven days, a week for dedicating the Altar and another for the Feast itself—two solid weeks of celebration! On the twenty-third day of the seventh month Solomon dismissed his congregation. They left rejoicing, exuberant over all the good God had done for David and Solomon and his people Israel.
Solomon completed building The Temple of God and the royal palace—the projects he had set his heart on doing. Everything was done—success! Satisfaction!
God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’
“But if you or your sons betray me, ignoring my guidance and judgments, taking up with alien gods by serving and worshiping them, then the guarantee is off: I’ll wipe Israel right off the map and repudiate this Temple I’ve just sanctified to honor my Name. And Israel will be nothing but a bad joke among the peoples of the world. And this Temple, splendid as it now is, will become an object of contempt; tourists will shake their heads, saying, ‘What happened here? What’s the story behind these ruins?’ Then they’ll be told, ‘The people who used to live here betrayed their God, the very God who rescued their ancestors from Egypt; they took up with alien gods, worshiping and serving them. That’s what’s behind this God-visited devastation.’”
2 Chronicles 7
The LORD declares, “Throughout the land two-thirds will be cut off and die. Yet, one-third will be left in it.” (Zechariah 13:8)
In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
There will be a highway for the remnant of His people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.
This is what the LORD says: “As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and men say, ‘Don’t destroy it, there is yet some good in it,’ so will I do in behalf of My servants; I will not destroy them all.” (Isaiah 65:8)
Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left.”
“In those days, at that time,” declares the LORD, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.“
(Jeremiah 42:2, Jeremiah 50:20)
Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. (Isaiah 37:31)
(Isaiah 10:20, Isaiah 11:11, 16)
“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. ” (Job 14:7)
Though a tenth will remain in the land, it will be burned again. Like the terebinth or the oak that leaves a stump when felled, the holy seed is the stump. (Isaiah 6:13)
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1)
“Come on, let’s go back to God. He hurt us, but He’ll heal us.
He hit us hard, but He’ll put us right again.
In a couple of days we’ll feel better. By the third day He’ll have made us brand-new,
Alive and on our feet, fit to face Him.
We’re ready to study God, eager for God-knowledge.
As sure as dawn breaks, so sure is His daily arrival.
He comes as rain comes, as spring rain refreshing the ground.”
“What am I to do with you, Ephraim? What do I make of you, Judah?
Your declarations of love last no longer than morning mist and predawn dew.
That’s why I use prophets to shake you to attention, why My words cut you to the quick:
To wake you up to My judgment blazing like light.
I’m after love that lasts, not more religion.
I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.
You broke the covenant—just like Adam! You broke faith with Me—ungrateful wretches!
A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword. (Ezekiel 5:12)
I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against Me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 20:38)
All the sinners among My people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.‘ (Amos 9:10)
But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD. (Zephaniah 3:12)
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
The Sun of Righteousness Will Dawn
“Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash— a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you’ll tromp on the wicked. They’ll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.