THE SEVENTH VISION
57 I went for a walk in the field, worshipping and praising God Most High for the miracles he performs in his own good time. 58For he controls the ages and what happens in them. I remained there for three days.
14 On the third day, while I was sitting under an oak-tree, 8 suddenly a voice came out of a bush near me and called, “Ezra! Ezra!” I stood up and answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 3 The voice continued, “I revealed myself from a bush and spoke to Moses when my people were slaves in Egypt. 4I sent him to lead them out of Egypt, and I brought them to Mount Sinai. I kept Moses with me there on the mountain for a long time, 5 while I told him the secrets about the ages and the end of time. I told him 6what to make public and what to keep secret. ‘Now I command you sto memorize the signs, visions, and interpretations that I have given you. 9 You will be taken out of this world into the heavenly world where you and others like you will live with my son until the end of time. 10The world is no longer young; it is rapidly approaching old age. 1‘ The whole history of the world is divided into twelve periods, and the tenth period has already arrived 12and it is half over; only two and a half parts remain. 13So set your house in order, warn your people, comfort those who are humble, and teach those who are wise.w Then say good-bye to this mortal life. 14Put earthly cares away from you, throw down your human burdens, and lay aside your weak human nature. 15Put all your anxieties aside, and get ready to leave this world quickly.16You have seen many evil things already, but far worse things are about to happen.17As the world grows older and weaker, the evils that will come upon its people will multiply. 18 Truth will depart and falsehood will draw ever nearer. The eagle you saw in your vision is just about to arrive.”
19 I replied, “Let me speak* in your presence, Lord. 20I am ready to depart, as you have commanded, and I will warn the present generation; but who will warn the people who have not yet been born? This world is a dark place, and its people have no light. 21Your Law has been destroyed by fire, so no one can know what you have done in the past or what you are planning to do in the future. 22 Please send your holy spirit to me, so that I can write down everything that has been done in this world from the beginning, everything that was written in your Law. Then in these last days, people will be able to find the right way and obtain life if they want to.”
23 He answered, “Go and call the people together and tell them not to look for you for forty days. 24 Prepare a large number of writing tablets, and take with you these five men who can write fast: Seraiah, Dabriah, Shelemiah, Ethan, and Asiel. 25Then come here, and I will light the lamp of understanding in your heart, and it will not go out until you have finished what you are supposed to write. 26 When you have finished your work, you will make some of it public, and you will give the rest to wise men, who will keep it secret. Tomorrow at this time you will begin to write.”
27 I did as I was commanded and called all the people together. I said, 2S “Listen to what I have to say, people of Israel. 29 At first our ancestors lived as foreigners in Egypt, but then they were set free 30 and received from God the life-giving Law. But they did not keep it, and when your turn came, you did not keep it either. 31God gave you the holy land as your own possession, but you were as sinful as your ancestors and did not follow the ways that God Most High had commanded.32 God is a just judge, so after a while he took away what he had given you. 33 Now you are in exile here, but you are closer to Jerusalem than some of your fellow Jews. 34But if you will discipline your thoughts and be willing to learn, you will be kept safe in this life and will be granted mercy after death, 35for Judgement Day comes after death. We will be brought back to life, and the righteous people will be made known, while what the godless have done will be exposed. 36 But now for forty days, no one is to come near me or try to find me.”
37 As I had been commanded, I took the five men, and we went to the field and stayed there. 38On the next day I suddenly heard a voice saying, “Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I am giving you.” 39So I opened my mouth, and I was handed a cup full of a fiery-coloured liquid, 40 which I took and drank. When I had drunk it, my mind overflowed with understanding, and wisdom increased within me as my memory became perfect. 41I began to speak and went on talking without stopping. 42God Most High also gave wisdom to the five men with me, and they took turns at writing down what I said. They used an alphabet that they had not known before, and worked for forty days, writing in the daytime and eating at night. 43I spoke all day long, and I was not silent even at night. 44 During the forty days, ninety-four3 books were written.
45 At the end of the forty days, God Most High said to me, “You are now to make public the first twenty-four6 booksthat you wrote, so that everyone, whether he is worthy or not, may read them. 46But the last seventy books that you wrote are to be held back and to be given only to the wise men among your people, 47 because these books contain a flood of understanding, a fountain of wisdom, and a river of knowledge.” 48Then I did as I was told.
The Coming Disasters
15 The Lord says, “Proclaim to my people the prophetic messages that I will give you, 2and then have them written down, because they are true and will be fulfilled. 3Do not be afraid of those who plot against you or be disturbed by their unbelief. 4 Every unbeliever will die because of his unbelief.”
5 The Lord says, “I am going to bring terrible disasters on the whole world— war and famine, death and destruction— 6 because wickedness has spread everywhere, and evil has reached its limit.”
7 “Therefore,” the Lord says, 8“I will no longer remain silent about the wickedness of these godless people; I will no longer tolerate it. They have murdered innocent people, and the blood they have spilt cries out to me for revenge; the souls of the righteous are constantly pleading for vengeance. 9Let there be no doubt,” says the Lord, “I will hear the plea of all the innocent people who have been murdered and I will take vengeance for what has been done to them.
10 “My people are being led to the slaughter like a flock of sheep. They will no longer have to live in Egypt; nl will use all my strength and power to bring them out of that land. I will bring disasters upon the Egyptians, as I did earlier, and I will destroy their country. 12The whole land will be in mourning; it will be shaken to its foundations when I, the Lord, strike it and pound on it. 13The farmers will mourn because their seed will fail to sprout, and their trees will be destroyed by blight, hail, and terrible storms.
14 “The world and the people in it are doomed. 15The war that will bring their destruction is very near. Nations will arm themselves and fight against other nations. 16There will be great political turmoil, with one group trying to overpower another and gain control, while ignoring the legitimate government. 17There will no longer be free access to the cities, 18 because the struggle for power will bring destruction, terror, and total confusion wherever people live. 19 Driven by famine and terrible suffering, men will assault their neighbours and mercilessly plunder their possessions.”
20 God says, “I am calling together all the kings of the earth to come from north, south, east, and west to turn back and restore what they have taken. 21I will pay them back with the same harsh treatment they have always given to my chosen people.” The Lord says, 22“I will use my power, and there will be no mercy for sinners; I will put to death all who have murdered innocent people. 23My anger has become so fierce that fire has blazed out to burn up the foundations of the earth and to burn up sinners like straw. 24 Sinners who do not keep my commands are doomed,” says the Lord. 25“I will have no mercy on them! Out of my sight, you rebels! Do not defile my holy Temple.”
26 God is aware of all those who sin against him, and he will hand them over to death and destruction. 27 Terrible disasters have already come upon the world, and there is no escape. You have sinned against God, and he will not rescue you.
28 Then in the east you will suddenly see a fearsome sight. 29Arab armies with many chariots will advance like dragons. As soon as they start out, the sound of their hissing will spread across the world and bring fear and trembling to everyone who hears it. 30The Carmonians will come out of the forest in a fierce rage like wild boars advancing in full strength to attack the dragons. With their tusks they will tear up a large part of Assyria, 31 but the dragons will unite their forces, regain their former strength, and win the victory. They will turn and pursue the wild boars,32who will be thrown into panic, beaten into silence, and forced to turn and run.33The wild boars will be ambushed in Assyria, and one of them will be killed.This will bring fear and panic to their army and indecision to their kings.34 Then suddenly clouds—terrible, angry storm clouds—will cover the sky from one end to the other. 36They will collide head-on and release their violence upon the earth. The blood of war will be as deep as a horse’s belly 36or a man’s thigh or a camel’s knee. 37 Everywhere on earth people will tremble in fear at the horrible sight. 38Then great storm clouds will move in from the north and the south, and others from the west. 39But the winds from the east will prevail and push back those angry storm clouds that were about to bring destruction. 40~41Huge, powerful, angry storm clouds will arise and ruin the whole world and its people. A terrible storm of fire, hail, and flashing swords will come sweeping down on those who have power and authority. Every river will overflow into the fields, and the floods 42 will demolish cities, walls, mountains, hills, forests, and crops. 43–44This destruction will press on until it reaches Babylon and engulfs it in a raging storm of ruin. The dust and the smoke will form a great cloud reaching to the sky, and all the neighbouring cities will mourn for Babylon. 45 Any one who survives will become a slave to those who destroyed the city.
46-47 You, Asia, are to be pitied. You are doomed! You have enjoyed the splendour and glory of Babylon. You have imitated her and dressed up your daughters to look like prostitutes to please and gratify your lovers, who have always lusted for you.
48 Because you have imitated that vile prostitute in everything she has done or planned, God has this to say: 49“I will send disasters upon you. I will make you a widow and send poverty, famine, war, and epidemics to destroy your homes and bring ruin and death. 50 The power of which you boast will wither like a flower when the burning heat is sent upon you. 51 You will be a wretched, weak woman so bruised, beaten, and wounded that you will no longer attract your wealthy lovers. 52I would not punish you so severely,” says the Lord, 53 “if you had not murdered my chosen people. But you took great delight in striking them, and when you were drunk, you boasted about killing them.
54 “Paint your face! 55You will be paid for your work as a prostitute; you will get what you have earned. 56I will pay you back,” says the Lord, “for what you have done to my chosen people. I will bring disaster on you. 57 You will be put to death, and your children will starve. Your cities will be torn down, and the people out in the country will be killed. 5S Those in the mountains will starve; their hunger and thirst will drive them to eat their own flesh and drink their own blood. 59 You will be more miserable than anyone has ever been, but there will be still more punishment to come. 60The army that destroyed Babylon will march back through your country and devastate your peaceful city; they will destroy your beautiful country and leave most of it in ruins. 61Your country will be destroyed like straw in a fire. 62They will burn up all your forests and orchards. All over your land, your cities and mountains will be covered with ruins. 63Your splendour will vanish; your children will be carried off as prisoners; your possessions will be plundered.”
3I am sending war on you, and no one can stop it. 4I am sending fire on you, and no one can put it out. 5I am sending disasters on you, and no one can stop them from coming. 6Can anyone stop a hungry lion in the forest or put out a fire that is burning in straw 7 or turn back an arrow shot by a strong bowman? 8 When the Lord God sends disaster, no one can hold it back. 9No one can put out the blazing anger of the Lord. 10When he sends lightning, no one can keep from trembling; and when it thunders, everyone is afraid. uWhen the Lord makes his threats, no one can keep from falling to the ground in his presence. I2The foundations of the earth tremble. There is violent churning in the deepest part of the sea. Even the creatures in the sea are in turmoil when the Lord makes his glorious power felt. 13He is like a mighty bowman whose strong right arm bends the bow. His arrows are sharp and never miss their mark once they are shot out towards any part of the earth. 14He has already sent out his disasters towards the earth, and they will not miss their target. 15 The fire has been lit, and it cannot be put out until it burns up the foundations of the earth. 16The disasters are on their way towards the earth, and like an arrow shot by a strong bowman, they cannot be turned back.
17 I am doomed! I am doomed! Who will rescue me in those days? lsTroubles will come, and many people will groan. Famine will come, and many will die. Wars will come, and the world powers will tremble. Disasters will come, and everyone will be terrified. What will people do when these disasters come? 19 Famine, epidemics, troubles, and suffering are sent to punish and correct people. 20But in spite of all this, they will not turn away from their sins; they soon forget their punishment. 2IThe time is coming when food will be so cheap that people will think a time of peace and plenty has arrived. But then disasters will spring up everywhere—wars, famine, and great confusion. 22Many people on earth will starve to death, and those who escape starvation will be killed in war. 23 Their corpses will be thrown out like dung, and there will be no one left to comfort the living. The earth will be deserted and its cities demolished. 24 There will be no one left to plough the land or sow it. 25 Trees will bear their fruit, but there will be no one left to pick it. 26 Grapes will ripen, but there will be no one left to make wine. There will be desolation everywhere, 2Tand a person will long to see the face of another human being or even to hear another person’s voice. 28Only ten will be left out of a whole city, and in the countryside, only two, who have hidden in the forest or in caves. 29When an olive-grove is harvested, three or four olives may be left on each tree. 30When grapes in a vineyard are picked, a few bunches may be left even by those who look carefully. 31That is how it will be in those days. Three or four will be missed by the soldiers who search through the houses to kill everyone. 32The land will be left empty; the fields will be overgrown with briars; the roads and paths will be covered with weeds and thorns because there will be no sheep to graze along them. 33 Young women will be in mourning because there is no one to marry them; wives will be in mourning because they have lost their husbands; girls will be in mourning because there is no one to help them. 34 All the young men will be killed in the war, and all married men will die in the famine.
God’s People Must Prepare for the End.
35 Now listen to my message, you people who serve the Lord. 36It is the Lord’s message, so receive it and believe what he says. 37The disasters are approaching rapidly, and they will not be delayed. 38A woman in the ninth month of pregnancy may suffer labour pains for several hours, but when the time comes for the baby to be born, there is no longer any delay. 39In the same way, the disasters that are coming on the earth will not be delayed, and the world will groan when it is caught in its labour pains. 40 Listen to my message, my people, and get ready for the battle. When the disasters come, you must live as people whose home is not in this world. 41-42 Merchants must not expect to make a profit from what they sell; they must be ready to run for their lives. Their customers must expect to lose whatever they buy. Whoever builds a house should not plan to live in it. 43 Farmers should not expect to harvest their crops or pick their grapes. 44 Those who marry must not expect to have children, and those who don’t marry must live as if they had been widowed. 45 Everything that is done will be useless. 46 Foreigners will harvest the crops, seize the wealth, tear down the houses, and carry off the children as slaves. Anyone who has children will be bringing them up to be slaves or to die of starvation. 47Anyone who makes money will do so only to see it violently taken away. The more possessions people gather, the more they spend on their cities and houses, the more attention they give to their personal appearance, 48the more angry the Lord will become with them because of their sin. This is what the Lord says. 49Just as a respectable woman despises a prostitute, 50so righteousness despises sinfulness, no matter how attractive it may look. Righteousness will expose every sin in the world and condemn it face to face when her Defender comes. 51So do not imitate sinfulness or what it does, 52for in a very short time sinfulness will be swept out of the world and righteousness will rule among us.
53 Sinners must not deny their sins. Those who say that they have not sinned against God and his majesty are only bringing fiery shame upon themselves.54 The Lord certainly knows everything that people do; he knows their plans and innermost thoughts. 55When the Lord said, “Let the world be created,” it was done! When he said, “Let the sky be created,” that was done too. 56He set the stars in place by his command, and he knows how many of them there are. “He knows what is in the deepest part of the sea and the treasures that are there. He has measured the sea and everything that is in it. 58By his word he confined the sea to its place and put the land on top of the water. 59The Lord stretched out the sky and fixed it firmly over the water like a dome. 60He put springs of water in the desert and lake in the high mountains, so that water could flow down in the rivers and water the land. 61The Lord created human beings and gave each one of them a heart. He gave them life, breath, and understanding, 62 which is the spirit of God the Almighty, who created everything and who knows all secrets and sees into all hidden places. 63My people, the Lord knows everything you plan and the secret thoughts of your heart. Sinners who try to hide their sins are doomed. 64 The Lord will carefully examine everything you have done and bring you to judgement. 65On that day you will be thrown into utter confusion; all your sins will be publicly exposed and the wicked things you have done will witness against you. 66What will you do then? How will you hide your sins from God and his angels? 67God is your judge, so fear him! Abandon your sins, put away the evil you have done, and never sin again. Then God will save you from all these disasters.
68 A vast mob of people is ready now to descend on you and devour you like flames. They will drag some of you off and force you to eat pagan sacrifices. 69If you give in to them, they will ridicule you, mock you, and humiliate you. 70In many places near the citiesf there will be violent persecution against those who fear the Lord. 71The attackers will act like wild men; they will plunder and destroy without pity all those who still fear the Lord. 72They will turn them out of their homes and take away all their possessions. “This will be the time of testing for my chosen people, and they will prove to be as pure as refined gold.
74 But listen to what the Lord says: “My chosen people, the time of terrible suffering is near, but I will rescue you. 75Don’t be afraid or have any doubts; I am your God and I will lead you. 76If you keep my laws and my commands,” says the Lord, “you must not let your sins weigh you down or control you. 77 Those who are chained by their sins, overwhelmed by the evil they have done, are doomed. They will be like a field overgrown with brushwood, with the path across it so choked with thorns that no one can get through. 78It is abandoned and doomed to be destroyed by fire.”
Bretheren the time is now. What more do we want? We must pray for all the people of the world. If you think there is no chance your life was too sinful to get a second chance. There is still a chance. I am putting in the prayer of Manasseh. He was a very wicked king of Judah. Please Read it.
|THE PRAYER OF
The Prayer of Manasseh is a beautiful short prayer of repentance. It is presented as a prayer by Manasseh, the wicked king of Judah, referred to in Second Chronicles 33.12-20.
1Lord Almighty, God of our fathers, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God of their righteous descendants, 2you created the universe and all the splendour that fills it.3The sea obeys your command and never overflows its bounds. The power of your wonderful, glorious name keeps the ocean depths in their place.4When you show your power, all creation trembles.5Your glorious splendour is overwhelming, and your anger is more than sinners can endure.
6But the mercy you promise is also greater than we can understand or measure.7For you are the Lord Most High; you are patient and show mercy and compassion. You make our punishment easier to bear when we suffer for our sins. O Lord, in your great goodness and mercy you promise forgiveness and salvation to those who repent of their sin against you. a 8You, Lord, are the God of righteous people. Repentance was not necessary for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for they did not sin against you. But for sinners like me you have made repentance possible. 91 have committed more sins than there are grains of sand along the seashore. They are so many, Lord, they are so many. I have done so much that is wrong that I am not worthy to turn my face towards heaven. 101 am crushed beneath the weight of my sin ;b I am bowed down by its heavy iron chain. I can find no relief, for I have made you angry. I have set up idols everywhere ; I have done what you hate. ” But now I bow in deep humility, praying for your mercy. 121 have sinned, Lord, I have sinned; I confess the wicked things I have done. 131 beg you, Lord, I earnestly pray: forgive me, forgive me. Do not destroy me because of my sins ; do not be angry with me forever or store up punishment for me. Do not condemn me to the world of the dead, for you, O Lord, forgive those who repent.14Show me all your mercy and kindness and save me, even though I do not deserve it.15Then I will go on praising you as long as I live. All the heavenly powers sing your praises, and your glory endures forever. Amen.
a O Lord…against you; some manuscripts do not have these words .ft bcrushed…my sin; Greek unclear.
1: 2 Chr 33.11-13,18-19 9: 2 Kgs 21.1-18