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First Reading: Ezekiel Chapter 23 and 24
23:1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, there were two women,
daughters of the same mother. 3 They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in
prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their
virgin bosoms caressed. 4 The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah.
They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and
Oholibah is Jerusalem.
5 "Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians-warriors 6 clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. 7 She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after. 8 She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her.
9 "Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. 10 They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her.
11 "Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister. 12 She too lusted after the Assyrians-governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men. 13 I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.
14 "But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans portrayed in red, 15 with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea. 16 As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.
22 "Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side- 23 the Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, the men of Pekod and Shoa and Koa, and all the Assyrians with them, handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses. 24 They will come against you with weapons, chariots and wagons and with a throng of people; they will take up positions against you on every side with large and small shields and with helmets. I will turn you over to them for punishment, and they will punish you according to their standards. 25 I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword. They will take away your sons and daughters, and those of you who are left will be consumed by fire. 26 They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. 27 So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore.
28 "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. 29 They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you naked and bare, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity 30 have brought this upon you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. 31 You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand.
32 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"You will drink your sister's cup, a cup large and deep; it will bring scorn and derision, for it holds so much. 33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of ruin and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria. 34 You will drink it and drain it dry; you will dash it to pieces and tear your breasts.
I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD.
35 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution."
36 The LORD said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, 37 for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. 38 They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths. 39 On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.
40 "They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry. 41 You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and oil that belonged to me.
42 "The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; Sabeans were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the arms of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, 'Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.' 44 And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah. 45 But righteous men will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.
46 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. 47 The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.
48 "So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. 49 You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD."
24:1 In the ninth year, in the tenth month on the tenth day, the word of the
LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, record this date, this very date, because
the king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. 3 Tell this rebellious
house a parable and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"'Put on the cooking pot; put it on and pour water into it. 4 Put into it the pieces of meat, all the choice pieces-the leg and the shoulder. Fill it with the best of these bones; 5 take the pick of the flock. Pile wood beneath it for the bones; bring it to a boil and cook the bones in it.
6 "'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"'Woe to the city of bloodshed, to the pot now encrusted, whose deposit will not go away! Empty it piece by piece without casting lots for them.
7 "'For the blood she shed is in her midst: She poured it on the bare rock; she did not pour it on the ground, where the dust would cover it. 8 To stir up wrath and take revenge I put her blood on the bare rock, so that it would not be covered.
9 "'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"'Woe to the city of bloodshed! I, too, will pile the wood high. 10 So heap on the wood and kindle the fire. Cook the meat well, mixing in the spices; and let the bones be charred. 11 Then set the empty pot on the coals till it becomes hot and its copper glows so its impurities may be melted and its deposit burned away. 12 It has frustrated all efforts; its heavy deposit has not been removed, not even by fire.
13 "'Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.
14 "'I the LORD have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign LORD.'"
15 The word of the LORD came to me: 16 "Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. 17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food [of mourners]."
18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.
19 Then the people asked me, "Won't you tell us what these things have to do with us?"
20 So I said to them, "The word of the LORD came to me: 21 Say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary-the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. 22 And you will do as I have done. You will not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food [of mourners]. 23 You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. 24 Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.'
25 "And you, son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes, their heart's desire, and their sons and daughters as well- 26 on that day a fugitive will come to tell you the news. 27 At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD."
5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with
writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel
proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open
the scroll?" 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could
open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was
found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders
said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root
of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"
14 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 4 of 4
The last sections of Revelation are found in chapters 19:6 to 22. This relates the final culmination of God's plan. The judgments of the enemies of God are completed. The new Jerusalem is described in all its beauty and God and the Lamb reside there. The final testimony of the book promises the coming of Jesus soon.
1. Praise for the Wedding of the Lamb - Ch 19:6-10
2. The return of Christ - Ch 19:11-21
3. The 1000 years and the final judgment - Ch 20
4. The new Jerusalem - Ch 21
5. The river of life and the coming of Jesus - Ch 22
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