1 I am Malachi. And this is the message that the Lord gave me for Israel.
The Lord’s Love for Israel
2 Israel, I, the Lord, have loved you. And yet you ask in what way have I loved you. Don’t forget that Esau was the brother of your ancestor Jacob, but I chose Jacob 3 instead of Esau. And I turned Esau’s hill country into a barren desert where jackals[a] roam. 4 Esau’s descendants may say, “Although our nation Edom is in ruins, we will rebuild.”
But I, the Lord All-Powerful, promise to tear down whatever they build. Then everyone will know that I will never stop being angry with them as long as they are so sinful.
5 Israel, when you see this, you will shout, “The Lord’s great reputation reaches beyond our borders.”
Judgment against Priests
6 I, the Lord All-Powerful, have something to say to you priests. Children respect their fathers, and servants respect their masters. I am your father and your master, so why don’t you respect me? You priests have insulted me, and now you ask, “How did we insult you?”
7 You embarrass me by offering worthless food on my altar. Then you ask, “How have we embarrassed you?” You have done it by saying, “What’s so great about the Lord’s altar?”
8 But isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are blind, crippled, or sick? Just try giving those animals to your governor. That certainly wouldn’t please him or make him want to help you. 9 I am the Lord God All-Powerful, and you had better try to please me. You have sinned. Now see if I will have mercy on any of you.
10 I wish someone would lock the doors of my temple, so you would stop wasting time building fires on my altar. I am not pleased with you priests, and I refuse to accept any more of your offerings. 11 From dawn until dusk my name is praised by every nation on this earth, as they burn incense and offer the proper sacrifices to me. 12 But even you priests insult me by saying, “There’s nothing special about the Lord’s altar, and these sacrifices are worthless.”
13 You get so disgusted that you even make vulgar signs at me.[b] And for an offering, you bring stolen[c] animals or those that are crippled or sick. Should I accept these? 14 Instead of offering the acceptable animals you have promised, you bring me those that are unhealthy. I will punish you for this, because I am the great King, the Lord All-Powerful, and I am worshiped by nations everywhere.
True and False Priests
2 I, the Lord All-Powerful, have something else to say to you priests. 2 You had better take seriously the need to honor my name. Otherwise, when you give a blessing, I will turn it into a curse. In fact, I have already done this, because you haven’t taken to heart your duties as priests. 3 I will punish your descendants and rub your faces in the manure from your animal sacrifices, and then be done with you.[d]
4 I am telling you this, so I can continue to keep my agreement with your ancestor Levi. 5 I blessed him with a full life, as I had promised, and he kept his part of the agreement by honoring me and respecting my name. 6 He taught the truth and never told lies, and he led a lot of people to turn from sin, because he obeyed me and lived right.
7 You priests should be eager to spread knowledge, and everyone should come to you for instruction, because you speak for me, the Lord All-Powerful. 8 But you have turned your backs on me. Your teachings have led others to do sinful things, and you have broken the agreement I made with your ancestor Levi. 9 So I caused everyone to hate and despise you, because you disobeyed me and failed to treat all people alike.
A Broken Agreement
10 Don’t you know that we all have God as our Father? Didn’t the one God create each of us? Then why do you cheat each other by breaking the agreement God made with your ancestors? 11 You people in Judah and Jerusalem have been unfaithful to the Lord. You have disgraced the temple that he loves, and you have committed the disgusting sin of worshiping other gods.[e] 12 I pray that the Lord will no longer let those who are guilty belong to his people, even if they eagerly decide to offer the Lord a gift.[f]
13 And what else are you doing? You cry noisily and flood the Lord’s altar with your tears, because he isn’t pleased with your offerings and refuses to accept them. 14 And why isn’t God pleased? It’s because he knows that each of you men has been unfaithful to the wife you married when you were young. You promised that she would be your partner, but now you have broken that promise. 15 Didn’t God create you to become like one person with your wife?[g] And why did he do this? It was so you would have children, and then lead them to become God’s people. Don’t ever be unfaithful to your wife. 16 The Lord God All-Powerful of Israel hates anyone who is cruel enough to divorce his wife. So take care never to be unfaithful!
17 You have worn out the Lord with your words. And yet, you ask, “How did we do that?”
You did it by saying, “The Lord is pleased with evil and doesn’t care about justice.”
- 1.3 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
- 1.13 me: Or “the altar.”
- 1.13 stolen: Or “injured.”
- 2.3 and then be done with you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 2.11 worshiping other gods: Or “marrying the worshipers of other gods.”
- 2.12 even if. . . gift: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 2.15 Didn’t. . . wife: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
The New Heaven and the New Earth
21 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. 2 Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband.
3 I heard a loud voice shout from the throne:
God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. 4 He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.
5 Then the one sitting on the throne said:
I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. 6 Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega,[a] the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. 7 All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
8 But I will tell you what will happen to cowards and to everyone who is unfaithful or dirty-minded or who murders or is sexually immoral or uses witchcraft or worships idols or tells lies. They will be thrown into that lake of fire and burning sulfur. This is the second death.[b]
The New Jerusalem
9 I saw one of the seven angels who had the bowls filled with the seven last terrible troubles. The angel came to me and said, “Come on! I will show you the one who will be the bride and wife of the Lamb.” 10 Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven.
11 The glory of God made the city bright. It was dazzling and crystal clear like a precious jasper stone. 12 The city had a high and thick wall with twelve gates, and each one of them was guarded by an angel. On each of the gates was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 Three of these gates were on the east, three were on the north, three more were on the south, and the other three were on the west. 14 The city was built on twelve foundation stones. On each of the stones was written the name of one of the Lamb’s twelve apostles.
15 The angel who spoke to me had a gold measuring stick to measure the city and its gates and its walls. 16 The city was shaped like a cube, because it was just as high as it was wide. When the angel measured the city, it was about fifteen hundred miles high and fifteen hundred miles wide. 17 Then the angel measured the wall, and by our measurements it was about two hundred sixteen feet high.
18 The wall was built of jasper, and the city was made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 19 Each of the twelve foundations was a precious stone. The first was jasper,[c] the second was sapphire, the third was agate, the fourth was emerald, 20 the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. 21 Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal.
22 I did not see a temple there. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were its temple. 23 And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light.
24 Nations will walk by the light of that city, and kings will bring their riches there. 25 Its gates are always open during the day, and night never comes. 26 The glorious treasures of nations will be brought into the city. 27 But nothing unworthy will be allowed to enter. No one who is dirty-minded or who tells lies will be there. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life[d] will be in the city.
- 21.6 Alpha and Omega: See the note at 1.8.
- 21.8 second death: See the note at 2.11.
- 21.19 jasper: The precious and semi-precious stones mentioned in verses 19,20 are of different colors. Jasper is usually green or clear; sapphire is blue; agate has circles of brown and white; emerald is green; onyx has different bands of color; carnelian is deep-red or reddish-white; chrysolite is olive-green; beryl is green or bluish-green; topaz is yellow; chrysoprase is apple-green; jacinth is reddish-orange; and amethyst is deep purple.
- 21.27 book of life: See the note at 3.5.
A New Song of Praise
149 Shout praises to the Lord!
Sing him a new song of praise
when his loyal people meet.
2 People of Israel, rejoice
because of your Creator.
People of Zion, celebrate
because of your King.
3 Praise his name by dancing
and playing music on harps
4 The Lord is pleased
with his people,
and he gives victory
to those who are humble.
5 All of you faithful people,
praise our glorious Lord!
Celebrate and worship.
6 Praise God with songs
on your lips
and a sword in your hand.
7 Take revenge and punish
8 Put chains of iron
on their kings and rulers.
9 Punish them as they deserve;
this is the privilege
of God’s faithful people.
Shout praises to the Lord!
In Praise of a Good Wife
10 A truly good wife
is the most precious treasure
a man can find!
11 Her husband depends on her,
and she never
lets him down.
12 She is good to him
every day of her life,
13 and with her own hands
she gladly makes clothes.
14 She is like a sailing ship
that brings food
from across the sea.
15 She gets up before daylight
to prepare food
for her family
and for her servants.[a]
16 She knows how to buy land
and how to plant a vineyard,
17 and she always works hard.
18 She knows when to buy or sell,
and she stays busy
until late at night.
19 She spins her own cloth,
20 and she helps the poor
and the needy.
21 Her family has warm clothing,
and so she doesn’t worry
when it snows.
22 She does her own sewing,
and everything she wears
23 Her husband is a well-known
and respected leader
in the city.
24 She makes clothes to sell
to the shop owners.
- 31.15 and. . . servants: Or “and to tell her servants what to do.”