5 [a] Now, gather your troops, you city of troops.
We are under attack.
Enemies will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek with a stick.
The Lord’s Leader for Israel
2 You, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are too small to be included among Judah’s cities.
Yet, from you Israel’s future ruler will come for me.
His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago.
3 That is why the Lord will abandon Israel
until the time a mother has a child.
Then the rest of the Lord’s people will return to the people of Israel.
4 The child will become the shepherd of his flock.
He will lead them with the strength of the Lord,
with the majestic name of the Lord his God.
They will live in safety
because his greatness will reach the ends of the earth.
5 This man will be their peace.
When the Assyrians invade our land and trample our palaces,
we will attack them with seven shepherds and eight leaders.
6 They will rule Assyria with their swords
and the country of Nimrod with drawn swords.
They will rescue us from the Assyrians
when they come into our land
and walk within our territory.
7 Then the few people left from Jacob will be among many people
like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass.
They do not put their hope in humans or wait for mortals.
8 The few people left from Jacob will be among the nations,
among many people.
They will be like a lion among animals in the forest,
like a young lion among flocks of sheep.
When a lion hunts,
it tramples its victims and tears them to pieces,
and there is no one to rescue them.
9 You will use your power against your opponents,
and all your enemies will be destroyed.
10 “When that day comes,” declares the Lord,
“I will destroy your horses
and demolish your chariots.
11 I will destroy the cities in your land
and tear down all your fortresses.
12 I will destroy your sorcerers,
and you will have no more fortunetellers.
13 I will destroy your idols and your sacred monuments.
You will no longer worship what your hands have made.
14 I will pull out your poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah.
I will wipe out your cities.
15 I will take revenge with great anger
on the nations that do not obey me.”
The Lord’s Lawsuit against His People
Now listen to what the Lord is saying,
“Stand up! Plead your case in front of the mountains,
and let the hills listen to your request.
2 Listen to the Lord’s lawsuit, you mountains.
Listen, you strong foundations of the earth.
The Lord has filed a lawsuit against his people.
He is arguing his case against Israel.
3 “My people, what have I done to you?
How have I tried your patience? Answer me!
4 I brought you out of Egypt and freed you from slavery.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.
5 My people, remember what King Balak of Moab planned to do to you
and how Balaam, son of Beor, responded to him.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal[b]
so that you may know the victories of the Lord.”
6 What should I bring when I come into the Lord’s presence,
when I bow in front of the God of heaven?
Should I bring him year-old calves as burnt offerings?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams
or with endless streams of olive oil?
Should I give him my firstborn child because of my rebellious acts?
Should I give him my young child for my sin?
8 You mortals, the Lord has told you what is good.
This is what the Lord requires from you:
to do what is right,
to love mercy,
and to live humbly with your God.
9 The voice of the Lord calls out to the city.
(The fear of your name is wisdom.)
“Listen, you tribe assembled in the city.[c]
10 I have cursed all the wicked people who use their money for evil
and use inaccurate weights and measures.
11 I cannot tolerate dishonest scales
and bags filled with inaccurate weights.
12 The rich people in the city are violent.
Those who live in the city speak lies,
and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13 I have begun to strike you with heavy blows
and to ruin you because of your sins.
14 You will eat, but you won’t be full.
So you will always be hungry.
You will put things away, but you won’t save them.
Anything you save I will destroy.
15 You will plant, but you won’t harvest.
You will crush olives, but you won’t rub the oil on your skin.
You will make new wine, but you won’t drink it.
16 You have kept Omri’s laws
and all the practices of the descendants of Ahab,
and you have followed their advice.
That is why I will ruin you.
Your people will be ridiculed.
You will bear the disgrace of my people.”
The Lord’s People Confess Their Sin
I am like those gathering summer fruit,
like those picking grapes.
But there aren’t any grapes to eat
or any ripened figs that I crave.
2 Faithful people are gone from the earth,
and no one is decent.
All people lie in ambush to commit murder.
They trap each other with nets.
3 Their hands are skilled in doing evil.
Officials ask for gifts.
Judges accept bribes.
Powerful people dictate what they want.
So they scheme together.[d]
4 The best of them is like a briar.
The most decent person is sharper than thornbushes.
The day you thought you would be punished has come.
Now is the time you will be confused.
5 Don’t trust your neighbors.
Don’t have confidence in your friends.
Keep your mouth shut even when a woman is lying in your arms.
6 A son treats his father with contempt.
A daughter rebels against her mother.
A daughter-in-law rebels against her mother-in-law.
People’s enemies are the members of their own families.
7 I will look to the Lord.
I will wait for God to save me.
I will wait for my God to listen to me.
8 Don’t laugh at me, my enemies.
Although I’ve fallen, I will get up.
Although I sit in the dark, the Lord is my light.
9 I have sinned against the Lord.
So I will endure his fury
until he takes up my cause and wins my case.
He will bring me into the light,
and I will see his victory.
10 Then my enemies will see this, and they will be covered with shame,
because they asked me, “Where is the Lord your God?”
Now I look at them.
They are trampled like mud in the streets.
11 The day for rebuilding your walls
and extending your borders is coming.
12 When that day comes, your people will come to you
from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
from Egypt to the Euphrates River,
from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.
13 The earth will become a wasteland for those who live on it
because of what the people living there have done.
14 With your shepherd’s staff, take care of your people,
the sheep that belong to you.
They live alone in the woods, in fertile pastures.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead like before.
15 Let us see miracles
like the time you came out of Egypt.
16 Nations will see this and be ashamed in spite of all their strength.
They will put their hands over their mouths.
Their ears will become deaf.
17 They will lick dust like snakes,
like animals that crawl on the ground.
They will come out of their hiding places trembling.
They will turn away from your presence in fear, O Lord our God.
They will be afraid of you.
18 Who is a God like you?
You forgive sin
and overlook the rebellion of your faithful people.
You will not be angry forever,
because you would rather show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us.
You will overcome our wrongdoing.
You will throw all our sins into the deep sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob.
You will have mercy on Abraham
as you swore by an oath to our ancestors long ago.
144,000 People Are Sealed
7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. They were holding back the four winds of the earth to keep them from blowing on the land, the sea, or any tree. 2 I saw another angel coming from the east with the seal of the living God. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been allowed to harm the land and sea, 3 “Don’t harm the land, the sea, or the trees until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
4 I heard how many were sealed: 144,000. Those who were sealed were from every tribe of the people of Israel:
5 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
6 12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
7 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
8 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
God’s People around His Throne in Heaven
9 After these things I saw a large crowd from every nation, tribe, people, and language. No one was able to count how many people there were. They were standing in front of the throne and the lamb. They were wearing white robes, holding palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!”
11 All the angels stood around the throne with the leaders and the four living creatures. They bowed in front of the throne with their faces touching the ground, worshiped God, 12 and said,
“Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength
be to our God forever and ever! Amen!”
13 One of the leaders asked me, “Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered him, “Sir, you know.”
Then he told me,
“These are the people who are coming out of the terrible suffering.
They have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the lamb.
15 That is why they are in front of the throne of God.
They serve him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
16 They will never be hungry or thirsty again.
Neither the sun nor any burning heat will ever overcome them.
17 The lamb in the center near the throne will be their shepherd.
He will lead them to springs filled with the water of life,
and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Praise the name of the Lord.
Praise him, you servants of the Lord
2 who are standing in the house of the Lord,
in the courtyards of the house of our God.
3 Praise the Lord because he is good.
Make music to praise his name because his name is beautiful.
4 The Lord chose Jacob to be his own
and chose Israel to be his own special treasure.
5 I know that the Lord is great,
that our Lord is greater than all the false gods.
6 The Lord does whatever he wants in heaven or on earth,
on the seas or in all the depths of the oceans.
7 He is the one who makes the clouds rise from the ends of the earth,
who makes lightning for the thunderstorms,
and who brings wind out of his storerooms.
8 He is the one who killed every firstborn male in Egypt.
He killed humans and animals alike.
9 He sent miraculous signs and amazing things into the heart of Egypt
against Pharaoh and all his officials.
10 He is the one who defeated many nations and killed mighty kings:
11 King Sihon of the Amorites,
King Og of Bashan,
and all the kingdoms in Canaan.
12 He gave their land as an inheritance,
an inheritance to his people Israel.
13 O Lord, your name endures forever.
O Lord, you will be remembered throughout every generation.
14 The Lord will provide justice for his people
and have compassion on his servants.
15 The idols of the nations are made of silver and gold.
They were made by human hands.[a]
16 They have mouths, but they cannot speak.
They have eyes, but they cannot see.
17 They have ears, but they cannot hear.
They cannot breathe.
18 Those who make idols end up like them.
So does everyone who trusts them.
19 Descendants of Israel, praise the Lord.
Descendants of Aaron, praise the Lord.
20 Descendants of Levi, praise the Lord.
You people who fear the Lord, praise the Lord.
21 Thank the Lord in Zion.
Thank the one who lives in Jerusalem.
5 “All of God’s words has proven to be true.
He is a shield to those who come to him for protection.
6 Do not add to his words,
or he will reprimand you, and you will be found to be a liar.