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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 23 and 24
23:1 An oracle concerning Tyre:
Wail, O ships of Tarshish!For Tyre is destroyed and left without house or harbor.From the land of Cyprus word has come to them.
2 Be silent, you people of the island and you merchants of Sidon,whom the seafarers have enriched. 3 On the great waters came the grain of the Shihor;the harvest of the Nile was the revenue of Tyre,and she became the marketplace of the nations.
4 Be ashamed, O Sidon, and you, O fortress of the sea,for the sea has spoken:"I have neither been in labor nor given birth;I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters." 5 When word comes to Egypt,they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre.
6 Cross over to Tarshish;wail, you people of the island. 7 Is this your city of revelry,the old, old city,whose feet have taken her to settle in far-off lands? 8 Who planned this against Tyre,the bestower of crowns,whose merchants are princes,whose traders are renowned in the earth? 9 The LORD Almighty planned it,to bring low the pride of all glory and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.
10 Till your land as along the Nile,O Daughter of Tarshish,for you no longer have a harbor. 11 The LORD has stretched out his hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble.He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed. 12 He said, "No more of your reveling,O Virgin Daughter of Sidon, now crushed!
"Up, cross over to Cyprus;even there you will find no rest." 13 Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account!The Assyrians have made it a place for desert creatures;they raised up their siege towers,they stripped its fortresses bare and turned it into a ruin.
14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish;your fortress is destroyed!
15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king's life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:
16 "Take up a harp, walk through the city,O prostitute forgotten;play the harp well, sing many a song,so that you will be remembered."
17 At the end of seventy years, the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire as a prostitute and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes.
See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it;he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants 2 it will be the same for priest as for people,for master as for servant,for mistress as for maid,for seller as for buyer,for borrower as for lender,for debtor as for creditor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word.
4 The earth dries up and withers,the world languishes and withers,the exalted of the earth languish. 5 The earth is defiled by its people;they have disobeyed the laws,violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth;its people must bear their guilt.Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up,and very few are left. 7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers;all the merrymakers groan. 8 The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled,the noise of the revelers has stopped,the joyful harp is silent. 9 No longer do they drink wine with a song;the beer is bitter to its drinkers. 10 The ruined city lies desolate;the entrance to every house is barred. 11 In the streets they cry out for wine;all joy turns to gloom,all gaiety is banished from the earth. 12 The city is left in ruins,its gate is battered to pieces. 13 So will it be on the earth and among the nations,as when an olive tree is beaten,or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.
14 They raise their voices, they shout for joy;from the west they acclaim the LORD's majesty. 15 Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD;exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel,in the islands of the sea. 16 From the ends of the earth we hear singing:"Glory to the Righteous One."
But I said, "I waste away, I waste away!Woe to me!The treacherous betray!With treachery the treacherous betray!" 17 Terror and pit and snare await you,O people of the earth. 18 Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit;whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare.
The floodgates of the heavens are opened,the foundations of the earth shake. 19 The earth is broken up,the earth is split asunder,the earth is thoroughly shaken. 20 The earth reels like a drunkard,it sways like a hut in the wind;so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls never to rise again.
21 In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon;they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. 23 The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed;for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,and before its elders, gloriously.
Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 79
79:1 A psalm of Asaph.
O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;they have defiled your holy
temple,they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. 2 They have given the dead bodies
of your servants as food to the birds of the air,the flesh of your saints to
the beasts of the earth. 3 They have poured out blood like water all around
Jerusalem,and there is no one to bury the dead. 4 We are objects of reproach
to our neighbors,of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever?How long will your jealousy burn like fire? 6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you,on the kingdoms that do not call on your name; 7 for they have devoured Jacob and destroyed his homeland. 8 Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers;may your mercy come quickly to meet us,for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, O God our Savior,for the glory of your name;deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake. 10 Why should the nations say,"Where is their God?"Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants. 11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you;by the strength of your arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times the reproach they have hurled at you, O Lord. 13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,will praise you forever;from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
THE ROLE OF PROPHECY
Part 3 of 6
Understanding prophecy is not always easy. There are some principles that should be applied:
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