But as for me, I have not sought to escape from being a shepherd after You, nor have I desired the woeful day [of judgment]; You know that. Whatever I said was spoken in Your presence and was from You.
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord: Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord's house [Jeremiah] and speak to all [the people of] the cities of Judah who come to worship in the Lord's house all the words that I command you to speak to them; subtract not a word. It may be that they will listen and turn every man from his evil way, that I may relent and reverse My decision concerning the evil which I purpose to do to them because of their evil doings. read more.
And you will say to them, Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to and obey Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, And to hear and obey the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you urgently and persistently -- "though you have not listened and obeyed -- " Then will I make this house [the temple] like Shiloh [the home of the Tent of Meeting, abandoned and later destroyed after the ark was captured by the Philistines], and I will make this city subject to the curses of all nations of the earth [so vile in their sight will it be]. And the priests and the [false] prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. Now when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the [false] prophets and all the people seized him, saying, You shall surely die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh [after the ark of the Lord had been taken by our enemies] and this city [Jerusalem] shall be desolate, without inhabitant? And all the people were gathered around Jeremiah in the [outer area of the] house of the Lord. When the princes of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house to the house of the Lord and sat down in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the princes and to all the people, This man is deserving of death, for he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears. Then Jeremiah said to all the princes and to all the people: The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent and reverse the decision concerning the evil which He has pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as seems good and suitable to you. But know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and upon its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.
Thus says the Lord: Do not deceive yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans will surely stay away from us -- "for they will not stay away. For though you should defeat the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only the wounded and men stricken through among them, every man confined to his tent, yet they would rise up and burn this city with fire.
When Jeremiah had come into the cells in the dungeon and had remained there many days, Zedekiah the king sent and brought him out; and the king asked him secretly in his house, Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is! And he said also, You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. Moreover, Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, In what have I sinned against you or against your servants or against this people, that you have put me in prison?
And saying, Repent ( think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
If you will turn (repent) and give heed to my reproof, behold, I [ Wisdom] will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you have refused [to answer], have stretched out my hand and no man has heeded it, And you treated as nothing all my counsel and would accept none of my reproof, read more.
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when the thing comes that shall cause you terror and panic -- " When your panic comes as a storm and desolation and your calamity comes on as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then will they call upon me [Wisdom] but I will not answer; they will seek me early and diligently but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord, Would accept none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them, and the careless ease of [self-confident] fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkens to me [Wisdom] shall dwell securely and in confident trust and shall be quiet, without fear or dread of evil.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly and truly execute justice between every man and his neighbor,
It may be that they will listen and turn every man from his evil way, that I may relent and reverse My decision concerning the evil which I purpose to do to them because of their evil doings.
O Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled and fallen, [visited by calamity] due to your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the Lord. Say to Him, Take away all our iniquity; accept what is good and receive us graciously; so will we render [our thanks] as bullocks [to be sacrificed] and pay the confession of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the work of our hands [idols], You are our gods. For in You [O Lord] the fatherless find love, pity, and mercy.
For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek Me [inquire for and of Me and require Me as you require food] and you shall live! But seek not [the golden calf at] Bethel nor enter into [idolatrous] Gilgal, and pass not over to [the idols of] Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity and exile, and Bethel [house of God] shall become Beth-aven [house of vanity, emptiness, falsity, and futility] and come to nothing. Seek the Lord [inquire for and of Him and require Him] and you shall live, lest He rush down like fire upon the house of Joseph [representing the ten tribes] and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel [the center of their idol hopes].
And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Sardis write: These are the words of Him Who has the seven Spirits of God [ the sevenfold Holy Spirit] and the seven stars: I know your record and what you are doing; you are supposed to be alive, but [in reality] you are dead. Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight. So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I am sending on them the sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs which are so bad they cannot be eaten. And I will pursue them with the sword, famine, and pestilence and will give them up to be tossed to and fro and to be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, an astonishment, and a terror, a hissing and a reproach among all the nations to which I have driven them, Because they have not listened to and heeded My words, says the Lord, which I sent to them persistently by My servants the prophets; but you [exiles] would not listen [either], says the Lord.
When I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his perversity and iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand.
So he said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, You offspring of vipers! Who secretly warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Bear fruits that are deserving and consistent with [your] repentance [that is, conduct worthy of a heart changed, a heart abhorring sin]. And do not begin to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father; for I tell you that God is able from these stones to raise up descendants for Abraham. Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees, so that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
Collect your thoughts, yes, unbend yourselves [in submission and see if there is no sense of shame and no consciousness of sin left in you], O shameless nation [not desirous or desired]! [The time for repentance is speeding by like chaff whirled before the wind!] Therefore consider, before God's decree brings forth [the curse upon you], before the time [to repent] is gone like the drifting chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you -- "yes, before the day of the wrath of the Lord comes upon you!
Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).
Although the Lord persistently sent you all the prophets, His servants, yet you have not listened and obeyed or [even] inclined your ear to hear. [The prophets came on My behalf] saying, Turn again now every one from his evil way and wrongdoing; [that you may not forfeit the right to] dwell in the land that the Lord gave to you and to your fathers from of old and forevermore. Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.
And now, because you have done all these things, says the Lord, and [because] when I spoke to you persistently [even rising up early and speaking], you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, Therefore will I do to this house (the temple), which is called by My Name and in which you trust, to the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole posterity of Ephraim.
But this thing I did command them: Listen to and obey My voice, and I will be your God and you will be My people; and walk in the whole way that I command you, that it may be well with you. But they would not listen to and obey Me or bend their ear [to Me], but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their backs and went in reverse instead of forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them daily, early and late.
Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord's house [Jeremiah] and speak to all [the people of] the cities of Judah who come to worship in the Lord's house all the words that I command you to speak to them; subtract not a word. It may be that they will listen and turn every man from his evil way, that I may relent and reverse My decision concerning the evil which I purpose to do to them because of their evil doings.
And you will say to them, Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to and obey Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, read more.
And to hear and obey the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you urgently and persistently -- "though you have not listened and obeyed -- " Then will I make this house [the temple] like Shiloh [the home of the Tent of Meeting, abandoned and later destroyed after the ark was captured by the Philistines], and I will make this city subject to the curses of all nations of the earth [so vile in their sight will it be]. And the priests and the [false] prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord.
Then Jeremiah said to all the princes and to all the people: The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent and reverse the decision concerning the evil which He has pronounced against you.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house and prospering in my palace. I had a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts and imaginations and the visions of my head as I was lying upon my bed troubled and agitated me. Therefore I made a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. read more.
Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me the interpretation of it. But at last Daniel came in before me -- "he who was named Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God -- "and I told the dream before him, saying, O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you and no secret mystery is a burden or troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen and the interpretation of it. The visions of my head [as I lay] on my bed were these: I saw, and behold, [there was] a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and was strong and its height reached to the heavens, and the sight of it reached to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were fair and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The living creatures of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches; and all flesh was fed from it. I saw in the visions of my head [as I lay] on my bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He cried aloud [with might] and said, Cut down the tree and cut off its branches; shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the living creatures flee from under it and the fowls from its branches. Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the midst of the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of the heavens, and let him share the lot of the living creatures in the grass of the earth. Let his nature and understanding be changed from a man's and let a beast's nature and understanding be given him, and let seven times [or years] pass over him. This sentence is by the decree of the [heavenly] watchers and the decision is by the word of the holy ones, to the intent that the living may know that the Most High [God] rules the kingdom of mankind and gives it to whomever He will and sets over it the humblest and lowliest of men. This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. And you, O Belteshazzar [Daniel], declare now its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you. Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished and dismayed and stricken dumb for a while [concerned about the king's destiny], and his thoughts troubled, agitated, and alarmed him. The king said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream or its interpretation trouble or alarm you. Belteshazzar answered, My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its message for your enemies. The tree that you saw, which grew [great] and was strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which was visible to all the earth, Whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, on which was food for all, under which the living creatures of the field dwelt, and on whose branches the birds of the sky had their nests -- " It is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; your greatness has increased and it reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And whereas the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, Cut the tree down and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth with a band of iron and bronze around it, in the tender grass of the field; and let him be wet with the dew of the heavens, and let his portion be with the living creatures of the field until seven times [or years] pass over him -- " This is the interpretation, O king: It is the decree of the Most High [God] which has come upon my lord the king: You shall be driven from among men and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; you shall be made to eat grass as do the oxen and you shall be wet with the dew of the heavens; and seven times [or years] shall pass over you until you learn and know and recognize that the Most High [God] rules the kingdom of mankind and gives it to whomever He will. And in that it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be sure to you after you have learned and know that [the God of] heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you; break off your sins and show the reality of your repentance by righteousness (right standing with God and moral and spiritual rectitude and rightness in every area and relation) and liberate yourself from your iniquities by showing mercy and loving-kindness to the poor and oppressed, that [if the king will repent] there may possibly be a continuance and lengthening of your peace and tranquility and a healing of your error.
They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Immediately and suddenly there appeared the fingers of a man's hand and wrote on the plaster of the wall opposite the candlestick [so exposed especially to the light] in the king's palace, and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the color and the [drunken] hilarious brightness of the king's face was changed, and his [terrifying] thoughts troubled and alarmed him; the joints and muscles of his hips and back gave way and his knees smote together. read more.
The king cried aloud [mightily] to bring in the enchanters or soothsayers, the Chaldeans [diviners], and the astrologers. The king said to the wise men of Babylon, Whoever will read this writing and show me the interpretation of it will be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold put about his neck and will be the third ruler in the kingdom. And all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation of it. Then King Belshazzar was greatly perplexed and alarmed and the color faded from his face, and his lords were puzzled and astounded. Now the queen [mother], overhearing the exciting words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house. The queen [mother] said, O king, live forever! Do not be alarmed at your thoughts or let your cheerful expression and the color of your face be changed. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the holy God [or gods], and in the days of your father light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father -- "the king, I say, your father -- "appointed him master of the magicians, enchanters or soothsayers, Chaldeans, and astrologers, Because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, clarify riddles, and solve knotty problems were found in this same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation. Then Daniel was brought in before the king. And the king said to Daniel, Are you that Daniel of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Judah? I have heard of you, that the Spirit of the holy God [or gods] is in you and that light and understanding and superior wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me that they might read this writing and make known to me the interpretation of it, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard of you, that you can make interpretations and solve knotty problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold put around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then Daniel answered before the king, Let your gifts be for yourself and give your rewards to another. However, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and greatness and glory and majesty; And because of the greatness that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up and his mind and spirit were hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne and his glory was taken from him; He was driven from among men, and his heart or mind was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses. He was fed with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the heavens until he learned and knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men and that He appoints and sets over it whomever He will. And you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart and mind, though you knew all this [knew it and were defiant]. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven, and the vessels of His house have been brought before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in Whose hand your breath is and Whose are all your ways you have not honored and glorified [but have dishonored and disgraced]. Then was the part of the hand sent from the presence of [the Most High God], and this writing was inscribed. And this is the inscription that was written, mene, mene, tekel, upharsin -- "numbered, numbered, weighed, divisions. This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingship and brought them to an end; tekel, You are weighed in the balances and are found wanting; peres, Your kingdom and your kingship are divided and given to the Medes and Persians. [Foretold in Isa. 21:2, 5, 9.] Then Belshazzar commanded, and Daniel was clothed with purple and a chain of gold put about his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
For certain men have crept in stealthily [ gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Now I want to remind you, though you were fully informed once for all, that though the Lord [at one time] delivered a people out of the land of Egypt, He subsequently destroyed those [of them] who did not believe [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him]. And angels who did not keep (care for, guard, and hold to) their own first place of power but abandoned their proper dwelling place -- "these He has reserved in custody in eternal chains (bonds) under the thick gloom of utter darkness until the judgment and doom of the great day. read more.
[The wicked are sentenced to suffer] just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the adjacent towns -- "which likewise gave themselves over to impurity and indulged in unnatural vice and sensual perversity -- "are laid out [in plain sight] as an exhibit of perpetual punishment [to warn] of everlasting fire.
So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. read more.
Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].