21 “I have not sent these prophets,
yet they run around claiming to speak for me.
I have given them no message,
yet they go on prophesying.
22 If they had stood before me and listened to me,
they would have spoken my words,
and they would have turned my people
from their evil ways and deeds.
23 Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord.
“No, I am far away at the same time.
24 Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?
Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”
says the Lord.
25 “I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. 26 How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. 27 By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal.
28 “Let these false prophets tell their dreams,
but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word.
There is a difference between straw and grain!
29 Does not my word burn like fire?”
says the Lord.
“Is it not like a mighty hammer
that smashes a rock to pieces?
30 “Therefore,” says the Lord, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. 31 I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the Lord!’ 32 I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!
False Prophecies and False Prophets
33 “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the Lord burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden![a] The Lord says he will abandon you!’
34 “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the Lord,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 35 You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 36 But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the Lord.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
37 “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 38 But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the Lord!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the Lord,” even though I warned you not to use it, 39 I will forget you completely.[b] I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”
Good and Bad Figs
24 After King Nebuchadnezzar[c] of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin[d] son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the officials of Judah and all the craftsmen and artisans, the Lord gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. 2 One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with bad figs that were too rotten to eat.
3 Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
I replied, “Figs, some very good and some very bad, too rotten to eat.”
4 Then the Lord gave me this message: 5 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians.[e] 6 I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.
8 “But the bad figs,” the Lord said, “represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. 9 I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. 10 And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors.”
Seventy Years of Captivity
25 This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah.[f] This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar[g] of Babylon began his reign.
2 Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, 3 “For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon,[h] king of Judah, until now—the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.
4 “Again and again the Lord has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. 5 Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. 6 Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’
7 “But you would not listen to me,” says the Lord. “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. 8 And now the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me, 9 I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy[i] you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. 10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out. 11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12 “Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the Lord. “I will make the country of the Babylonians[j] a wasteland forever. 13 I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book—all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations. 14 Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.”
The Cup of the Lord’s Anger
15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. 16 When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.”
17 So I took the cup of anger from the Lord and made all the nations drink from it—every nation to which the Lord sent me. 18 I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing. 19 I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people, 20 along with all the foreigners living in that land. I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod. 21 Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, 22 and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea. 23 I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places.[k] 24 I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert, 25 and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media. 26 And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other—all the kingdoms of the world. And finally, the king of Babylon[l] himself drank from the cup of the Lord’s anger.
27 Then the Lord said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink from this cup of my anger. Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’ 28 And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it. 29 I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name. Now should I let you go unpunished? No, you will not escape disaster. I will call for war against all the nations of the earth. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’
30 “Now prophesy all these things, and say to them,
“‘The Lord will roar against his own land
from his holy dwelling in heaven.
He will shout like those who tread grapes;
he will shout against everyone on earth.
31 His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth,
for the Lord will bring his case against all the nations.
He will judge all the people of the earth,
slaughtering the wicked with the sword.
I, the Lord, have spoken!’”
32 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation!
A great whirlwind of fury is rising
from the most distant corners of the earth!”
33 In that day those the Lord has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure.
34 Weep and moan, you evil shepherds!
Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock!
The time of your slaughter has arrived;
you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase.
35 You will find no place to hide;
there will be no way to escape.
36 Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds.
The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair,
for the Lord is ruining their pastures.
37 Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland
by the Lord’s fierce anger.
38 He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey,
and their land will be made desolate
by the sword[m] of the enemy
and the Lord’s fierce anger.
- 23:33 As in Greek version and Latin Vulgate; Hebrew reads What burden?
- 23:39 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Greek version read I will surely lift you up.
- 24:1a Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar.
- 24:1b Hebrew Jeconiah, a variant spelling of Jehoiachin.
- 24:5 Or Chaldeans.
- 25:1a The fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign and the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 605 B.c.
- 25:1b Hebrew Nebuchadrezzar, a variant spelling of Nebuchadnezzar; also in 25:9.
- 25:3 The thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign was 627 B.c.
- 25:9 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.
- 25:12 Or Chaldeans.
- 25:23 Or who clip the corners of their hair.
- 25:26 Hebrew of Sheshach, a code name for Babylon.
- 25:38 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Greek version; Masoretic Text reads by the anger.
2 Thessalonians 2
Events prior to the Lord’s Second Coming
2 Now, dear brothers and sisters,[a] let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed—the one who brings destruction.[c] 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
Believers Should Stand Firm
13 As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first[d] to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument.[a]
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
2 I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
4 What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises. Interlude
5 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,[b]
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
7 They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.[c]
8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude
9 O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield!
Show favor to the one you have anointed.
10 A single day in your courts
is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
what joy for those who trust in you.
15 Patience can persuade a prince,
and soft speech can break bones.