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First Reading: Ezekiel Chapter 23 and 24

Ezekiel 23

23:1 Two Harlot Sisters

The word of the LORD came again to me, saying:
2 "Son of man, there were two women,The daughters of one mother. 3 They committed harlotry in Egypt,They committed harlotry in their youth;Their breasts were there embraced,Their virgin bosom was there pressed. 4 Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister;They were Mine,And they bore sons and daughters.As for their names,Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.
5 The Older Sister, Samaria
"Oholah played the harlot even though she was Mine;And she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring Assyrians, 6 Who were clothed in purple,Captains and rulers,All of them desirable young men,Horsemen riding on horses. 7 Thus she committed her harlotry with them,All of them choice men of Assyria;And with all for whom she lusted,With all their idols, she defiled herself. 8 She has never given up her harlotry brought from Egypt,For in her youth they had lain with her,Pressed her virgin bosom,And poured out their immorality upon her.
9 "Therefore I have delivered her Into the hand of her lovers,Into the hand of the Assyrians,For whom she lusted. 10 They uncovered her nakedness,Took away her sons and daughters,And slew her with the sword;She became a byword among women,For they had executed judgment on her.
11 The Younger Sister, Jerusalem

"Now although her sister Oholibah saw this, she became more corrupt in her lust than she, and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister's harlotry.
12 "She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians,Captains and rulers,Clothed most gorgeously,Horsemen riding on horses,All of them desirable young men. 13 Then I saw that she was defiled;Both took the same way. 14 But she increased her harlotry;She looked at men portrayed on the wall,Images of Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion, 15 Girded with belts around their waists,Flowing turbans on their heads,All of them looking like captains,In the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea,The land of their nativity. 16 As soon as her eyes saw them,She lusted for them And sent messengers to them in Chaldea.
17 "Then the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love,And they defiled her with their immorality;So she was defiled by them, and alienated herself from them. 18 She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness.Then I alienated Myself from her,As I had alienated Myself from her sister.
19 "Yet she multiplied her harlotry In calling to remembrance the days of her youth,When she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. 20 For she lusted for her paramours,Whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys,And whose issue is like the issue of horses. 21 Thus you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth,When the Egyptians pressed your bosom Because of your youthful breasts.
22 Judgment on Jerusalem

"Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD:
'Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you,From whom you have alienated yourself,And I will bring them against you from every side: 23 The Babylonians,All the Chaldeans,Pekod, Shoa, Koa,All the Assyrians with them,All of them desirable young men,Governors and rulers,Captains and men of renown,All of them riding on horses. 24 And they shall come against you With chariots, wagons, and war-horses,With a horde of people.They shall array against you Buckler, shield, and helmet all around.
'I will delegate judgment to them,And they shall judge you according to their judgments. 25 I will set My jealousy against you,And they shall deal furiously with you;They shall remove your nose and your ears,And your remnant shall fall by the sword;They shall take your sons and your daughters,And your remnant shall be devoured by fire. 26 They shall also strip you of your clothes And take away your beautiful jewelry.
27'Thus I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry Brought from the land of Egypt,So that you will not lift your eyes to them,Nor remember Egypt anymore.'
28 "For thus says the Lord GOD: 'Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself. 29 They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. 30 I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols. 31 You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her cup in your hand.'
32 "Thus says the Lord GOD:
'You shall drink of your sister's cup,The deep and wide one;You shall be laughed to scorn And held in derision;It contains much. 33 You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow,The cup of horror and desolation,The cup of your sister Samaria. 34 You shall drink and drain it,You shall break its shards,And tear at your own breasts;For I have spoken,'Says the Lord GOD.
35 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
'Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back,Therefore you shall bear the penaltyOf your lewdness and your harlotry.'"
36 Both Sisters Judged

The LORD also said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. 37 For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. 38 Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. 39 For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.
40 "Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments. 41 You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set My incense and My oil. 42 The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, 'Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?' 44 Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women. 45 But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.
46 "For thus says the Lord GOD:'Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder. 47 The assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire. 48 Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness. 49 They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.'"

Ezekiel 24

24:1 Symbol of the Cooking Pot
(cf. Jer 1:13-19)

Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day — the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day. 3 And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD:
"Put on a pot, set it on,And also pour water into it. 4 Gather pieces of meat in it,Every good piece,The thigh and the shoulder.Fill it with choice cuts; 5 Take the choice of the flock.Also pile fuel bones under it,Make it boil well,And let the cuts simmer in it."
6'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
"Woe to the bloody city,To the pot whose scum is in it,And whose scum is not gone from it!Bring it out piece by piece,On which no lot has fallen. 7 For her blood is in her midst;She set it on top of a rock;She did not pour it on the ground,To cover it with dust. 8 That it may raise up fury and take vengeance,I have set her blood on top of a rock,That it may not be covered."
9'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
"Woe to the bloody city!I too will make the pyre great. 10 Heap on the wood,Kindle the fire;Cook the meat well,Mix in the spices,And let the cuts be burned up.
11 "Then set the pot empty on the coals,That it may become hot and its bronze may burn,That its filthiness may be melted in it,That its scum may be consumed. 12 She has grown weary with lies,And her great scum has not gone from her.Let her scum be in the fire! 13 In your filthiness is lewdness.Because I have cleansed you, and you were not cleansed,You will not be cleansed of your filthiness anymore,Till I have caused My fury to rest upon you. 14 I, the LORD, have spoken it;It shall come to pass, and I will do it;I will not hold back,Nor will I spare,Nor will I relent;According to your ways And according to your deeds They will judge you,"Says the Lord GOD.'"
15 The Prophet's Wife Dies

Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 16 "Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. 17 Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man's bread of sorrow."
18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.
19 And the people said to me,"Will you not tell us what these things signify to us, that you behave so?"
20 Then I answered them, "The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 21'Speak to the house of Israel, "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, I will profane My sanctuary, your arrogant boast, the desire of your eyes, the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. 22 And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips nor eat man's bread of sorrow. 23 Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall neither mourn nor weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and mourn with one another. 24 Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.'"
25'And you, son of man — will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters: 26 on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears; 27 on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.'"

Second Reading: Revelation Chapter 5

Revelation 5

5:1 The Lamb Takes the Scroll

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice,"Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
8 Worthy Is the Lamb

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
"You are worthy to take the scroll,And to open its seals;For You were slain,And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;And we shall reign on the earth."
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:
"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom,And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
"Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne,And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
14 Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

Bible Background



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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