Disaster Is Near
7 The Lord God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Israel that I am saying:
Israel will soon come to an end! Your whole country is about to be destroyed 3 as punishment for your disgusting sins. I, the Lord, am so angry 4 that I will show no pity. I will punish you for the evil you’ve done, and you will know that I am the Lord.
5 There’s never been anything like the coming disaster.[a] 6 And when it comes, your life will be over. 7 You people of Israel are doomed! Soon there will be panic on the mountaintops instead of celebration.[b] 8 I will let loose my anger and punish you for the evil things you’ve done. You’ll get what you deserve. 9 Your sins are so terrible, that you’ll get no mercy from me. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have punished you.
10 Disaster is near! Injustice and arrogance are everywhere, 11 and violent criminals run free. None of you will survive the disaster, and everything you own and value will be shattered.[c] 12 The time is coming when everyone will be ruined. Buying and selling will stop, 13 and people who sell property will never get it back, because all of you must be punished for your sins. And I won’t change my mind![d]
14 A signal has been blown on the trumpet, and weapons are prepared for battle. But no one goes to war, because in my anger I will strike down everyone in Israel.
Israel Is Surrounded
The Lord said to the people of Israel:
15 War, disease, and starvation are everywhere! People who live in the countryside will be killed in battle, and those who live in towns will die from starvation or deadly diseases. 16 Anyone who survives will escape into the hills, like doves who leave the valleys to find safety.
All of you will moan[e] because of your sins. 17 Your hands will tremble, and your knees will go limp. 18 You will put on sackcloth[f] to show your sorrow, but terror will overpower you. Shame will be written all over your faces, and you will shave your heads in despair. 19 Your silver and gold will be thrown into the streets like garbage, because those are the two things that led you into sin, and now they cannot save you from my anger. They are not even worth enough to buy food. 20 You took great pride in using your beautiful jewelry to make disgusting idols of foreign gods. So I will make your jewelry worthless.
21 Wicked foreigners will rob and disgrace you. 22 They will break into my temple[g] and leave it unfit as a place to worship me, but I will look away and let it happen.
23 Your whole country is in confusion![h] Murder and violence are everywhere in Israel, 24 so I will tell the most wicked nations to come and take over your homes. They will put an end to the pride you have in your strong army, and they will make your places of worship unfit to use. 25 You will be terrified and will desperately look for peace—but there will be no peace. 26 One tragedy will follow another, and you’ll hear only bad news. People will beg prophets to give them a message from me. Priests will stop teaching my Law, and wise leaders won’t be able to give advice. 27 Even your king and his officials will lose hope and cry in despair. Your hands will tremble with fear.
I will punish you for your sins and treat you the same way you have treated others. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel Sees the Terrible Sins of Jerusalem
8 Six years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the leaders of Judah were meeting with me in my house. On the fifth day of the sixth month,[i] the Lord God suddenly took control of me, 2 and I saw something in the shape of a human.[j] This figure was like fire from the waist down, and it was bright as polished metal from the waist up. 3 It reached out what seemed to be a hand and grabbed my hair. Then in my vision the Lord’s Spirit lifted me into the sky and carried me to Jerusalem.
The Spirit took me to the north gate of the temple’s inner courtyard, where there was an idol that disgusted the Lord and made him furious. 4 Then I saw the brightness of the glory of the God of Israel, just as I had seen it near the Chebar River.
5 God said to me, “Ezekiel, son of man, look north.” And when I did, I saw that disgusting idol by the altar near the gate.
6 God then said, “Do you see the terrible sins of the people of Israel? Their sins are making my holy temple unfit as a place to worship me. Yet you will see even worse things than this.”
7 Next, I was taken to the entrance of the courtyard, where I saw a hole in the wall.
8 God said, “Make this hole bigger.” And when I did, I realized it was a doorway. 9 “Go in,” God said, “and see what horrible and evil things the people are doing.”
10 Inside, I saw that the walls were covered with pictures of reptiles and disgusting, unclean animals,[k] as well as with idols that the Israelites were worshiping. 11 Seventy Israelite leaders were standing there, including Jaazaniah son of Shaphan. Each of these leaders was holding an incense burner, and the smell of incense filled the room.
12 God said, “Ezekiel, do you see what horrible things Israel’s leaders are doing in secret? They have filled their rooms with idols. And they say I can’t see them, because they think I have already deserted Israel. 13 But I will show you something even worse than this.”
14 He took me to the north gate of the temple, where I saw women mourning for the god Tammuz.[l] 15 God asked me, “Can you believe what these women are doing? But now I want to show you something worse.”
16 I was then led into the temple’s inner courtyard, where I saw about twenty-five men standing near the entrance, between the porch and the altar. Their backs were to the Lord’s temple, and they were bowing down to the rising sun.
17 God said, “Ezekiel, it’s bad enough that the people of Judah are doing these disgusting things. But they have also spread violence and injustice everywhere in Israel and have made me very angry. They have disgraced and insulted me in the worst possible way.[m] 18 So in my fierce anger, I will punish them without mercy and refuse to help them when they cry out to me.”
The Lord Gives the Command To Punish Jerusalem
9 After that, I heard the Lord shout, “Come to Jerusalem, you men chosen to destroy the city. And bring your weapons!”
2 I saw six men come through the north gate of the temple, each one holding a deadly weapon. A seventh man dressed in a linen robe was with them, and he was carrying things to write with. The men went into the temple and stood by the bronze altar.
3 The brightness of God’s glory then left its place above the statues of the winged creatures[n] inside the temple and moved to the entrance. The Lord said to the man in the linen robe, 4 “Walk through the city of Jerusalem and mark the forehead of anyone who is truly upset and sad about the disgusting things that are being done here.”
5-6 He turned to the other six men and said, “Follow him and put to death everyone who doesn’t have a mark on their forehead. Show no mercy or pity! Kill men and women, parents and children. Begin here at my temple and be sure not to harm those who are marked.”
The men immediately killed the leaders who were standing there.
7 Then the Lord said, “Pollute the temple by piling the dead bodies in the courtyards. Now get busy!” They left and started killing the people of Jerusalem.
8 I was then alone, so I bowed down and cried out to the Lord, “Why are you doing this? Are you so angry at the people of Jerusalem that everyone must die?”
9 The Lord answered, “The people of Israel and Judah have done horrible things. Their country is filled with murderers, and Jerusalem itself is filled with violence. They think that I have deserted them, and that I can’t see what they are doing. 10 And so I will not have pity on them or forgive them. They will be punished for what they have done.”
11 Just then, the man in the linen robe returned and said, “I have done what you commanded.”
- 7.5 disaster: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 5.
- 7.7 celebration: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 7.
- 7.11 shattered: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 10,11.
- 7.13 mind: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
- 7.16 will moan: Hebrew; two ancient translations “will die.”
- 7.18 sackcloth: A rough, dark-colored cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow.
- 7.22 my temple: The Hebrew text has “my treasure,” which may refer to the temple, to Jerusalem, or to Israel itself.
- 7.23 Your whole country is in confusion: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Get chains ready to drag away the dead bodies of your people.”
- 8.1 Six years. . . sixth month: Probably September of 592 B.C.
- 8.2 a human: One ancient translation; Hebrew “a fiery figure.”
- 8.10 disgusting, unclean animals: See, for example, Leviticus 11.9-19.
- 8.14 the god Tammuz: A god of vegetation who was thought to die in the dry season. During the Hebrew month of Tammuz (from about mid-June to mid-July), women mourned the death of this god, hoping to bring him back to life.
- 8.17 disgraced and insulted me. . . way: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 9.3 the statues of the winged creatures: These were symbols of the Lord’s throne on earth (see Exodus 25.18-22; 1 Kings 6.23-28).
5 Every high priest is appointed to help others by offering gifts and sacrifices to God because of their sins. 2 A high priest has weaknesses of his own, and he feels sorry for foolish and sinful people. 3 That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins and for the sins of others. 4 But no one can have the honor of being a high priest simply by wanting to be one. Only God can choose a priest, and God is the one who chose Aaron.
5 That is how it was with Christ. He became a high priest, but not just because he wanted the honor of being one. It was God who told him,
“You are my Son, because today
I have become your Father!”
6 In another place, God says,
“You are a priest forever
just like Melchizedek.”[a]
7 God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers. 8 Jesus is God’s own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God. 9 Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him. 10 This is because God chose him to be a high priest like Melchizedek.
Warning against Turning Away
11 Much more could be said about this subject. But it is hard to explain, and all of you are slow to understand. 12 By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of solid food. 13 People who live on milk are like babies who don’t really know what is right. 14 Solid food is for mature people who have been trained to know right from wrong.
- 5.6 Melchizedek: When Melchizedek is mentioned in the Old Testament, he is described as a priest who lived before Aaron. Nothing is said about his ancestors or his death (see 7.3 and Genesis 14.17-20).
The Lord Can Be Trusted
105 Praise the Lord
and pray in his name!
what he has done.
2 Sing praises to the Lord!
Tell about his miracles.
3 Celebrate and worship
his holy name
with all your heart.
4 Trust the Lord
and his mighty power.
5 Remember his miracles
and all his wonders
and his fair decisions.
6 You belong to the family
of Abraham, his servant;
you are his chosen ones,
the descendants of Jacob.
7 The Lord is our God,
everywhere on earth.
8 He will never forget
his agreement or his promises,
not in thousands of years.
9 God made an eternal promise
10 to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
11 when he said, “I’ll give you
the land of Canaan.”
12 At the time there were
only a few of us,
and we were homeless.
13 We wandered from nation
from one country
14 God did not let anyone
mistreat our people.
Instead he protected us
by punishing rulers
15 and telling them,
“Don’t touch my chosen leaders
or harm my prophets!”
28 Watch out for anyone
who tells lies and flatters—
they are out to get you.