Malachi 3-4:6 (Contemporary English Version)
The Promised Messenger
1I, the LORD All-Powerful,
will send my messenger
to prepare the way for me.
Then suddenly the Lord
you are looking for
will appear in his temple.
The messenger you desire
is coming with my promise,
and he is on his way.
A Day of Change
2On the day the Lord comes, he will be like a furnace that purifies silver or like strong soap in a washbasin. No one will be able to stand up to him. 3The LORD will purify the descendants of Levi, [a] as though they were gold or silver. Then they will bring the proper offerings to the LORD, 4and the offerings of the people of Judah and Jerusalem will please him, just as they did in the past.
Don't Cheat God
5The LORD All-Powerful said:
I'm now on my way to judge you. And I will quickly condemn all who practice witchcraft or cheat in marriage or tell lies in court or rob workers of their pay or mistreat widows and orphans or steal the property of foreigners or refuse to respect me.
6Descendants of Jacob, I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I never change. That's why you haven't been wiped out, 7even though you have ignored and disobeyed my laws ever since the time of your ancestors. But if you return to me, I will return to you.
And yet you ask, "How can we return?"
8You people are robbing me, your God. And, here you are, asking, "How are we robbing you?"
You are robbing me of the offerings and of the ten percent that belongs to me. [b] 9That's why your whole nation is under a curse. 10I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I challenge you to put me to the test. Bring the entire ten percent into the storehouse, so there will be food in my house. Then I will open the windows of heaven and flood you with blessing after blessing. [c] 11I will also stop locusts [d] from destroying your crops and keeping your vineyards from producing. 12Everyone of every nation will talk about how I have blessed you and about your wonderful land. I, the LORD All-Powerful, have spoken! 13You have said horrible things about me, and yet you ask, "What have we said?"
14Here is what you have said: "It's foolish to serve the LORD God All-Powerful. What do we get for obeying him and from going around looking sad? 15See how happy those arrogant people are. Everyone who does wrong is successful, and when they put God to the test, they always get away with it."
Faithfulness Is Rewarded
16All those who truly respected the LORD and honored his name started discussing these things, and when God saw what was happening, he had their names [e] written as a reminder in his book. 17Then the LORD All-Powerful said:
You people are precious to me, and when I come to bring justice, I will protect you, just as parents protect an obedient child. 18Then everyone will once again see the difference between those who obey me by doing right and those who reject me by doing wrong.
The Day of Judgment
The LORD said:
1The day of judgment is certain to come. And it will be like a red-hot furnace with flames that burn up proud and sinful people, as though they were straw. Not a branch or a root will be left. I, the LORD All-Powerful, have spoken! 2But for you that honor my name, victory will shine like the sun with healing in its rays, and you will jump around like calves at play. 3When I come to bring justice, you will trample those who are evil, as though they were ashes under your feet. I, the LORD All-Powerful, have spoken!
4Don't ever forget the laws and teachings I gave my servant Moses on Mount Sinai. [f] 5I, the LORD, promise to send the prophet Elijah before that great and terrible day comes. 6He will lead children and parents to love each other more, so that when I come, I won't bring doom to the land.
Malachi 3:3 descendants of Levi: The priests.
Malachi 3:8 the ten percent. . . to me: The people of Israel were supposed to give a tenth of their harvests and of their flocks and herds to the LORD (see Leviticus 27.30-33; Deuteronomy 14.22-29).
Malachi 3:10 open the windows. . . blessing: This may refer to rain, since there seems to have been a terrible drought at this time.
Malachi 3:11 locusts: A kind of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life.
Malachi 3:16 names: Or "deeds."
Malachi 4:4 Sinai: Hebrew "Horeb."
Revelation 22:1-21 (Contemporary English Version)
1The angel showed me a river that was crystal clear, and its waters gave life. The river came from the throne where God and the Lamb were seated. 2Then it flowed down the middle of the city's main street. On each side of the river are trees [a] that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations. 3God's curse will no longer be on the people of that city. He and the Lamb will be seated there on their thrones, and its people will worship God 4and will see him face to face. God's name will be written on the foreheads of the people. 5Never again will night appear, and no one who lives there will ever need a lamp or the sun. The Lord God will be their light, and they will rule forever.
The Coming of Christ
6Then I was told:
These words are true and can be trusted. The Lord God controls the spirits of his prophets, and he is the one who sent his angel to show his servants what must happen right away. 7Remember, I am coming soon! God will bless everyone who pays attention to the message of this book.
8My name is John, and I am the one who heard and saw these things. Then after I had heard and seen all this, I knelt down and began to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown it to me.
9But the angel said,
Don't do that! I am a servant, just like you. I am the same as a follower or a prophet or anyone else who obeys what is written in this book. God is the one you should worship.
10Don't keep the prophecies in this book a secret. These things will happen soon.
11Evil people will keep on being evil, and everyone who is dirty-minded will still be dirty-minded. But good people will keep on doing right, and God's people will always be holy.
12Then I was told:
I am coming soon! And when I come, I will reward everyone for what they have done. 13I am Alpha and Omega, [b] the first and the last, the beginning and the end. 14God will bless all who have washed their robes. They will each have the right to eat fruit from the tree that gives life, and they can enter the gates of the city. 15But outside the city will be dogs, witches, immoral people, murderers, idol worshipers, and everyone who loves to tell lies and do wrong.
16I am Jesus! And I am the one who sent my angel to tell all of you these things for the churches. I am David's Great Descendant, [c] and I am also the bright morning star. [d] 17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"
Everyone who hears this [e] should say, "Come!" If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It's free!
18Here is my warning for everyone who hears the prophecies in this book:
If you add anything to them, God will make you suffer all the terrible troubles written in this book. 19If you take anything away from these prophecies, God will not let you have part in the life-giving tree and in the holy city described in this book.
20The one who has spoken these things says, "I am coming soon!"
So, Lord Jesus, please come soon!
21I pray that the Lord Jesus will be kind to all of you.
Revelation 22:2 trees: The Greek has "tree," which is used in a collective sense of trees on both sides of the heavenly river.
Revelation 22:13 Alpha and Omega: See the note at 1.8.
Revelation 22:16 David's Great Descendant: See the note at 5.5.
Revelation 22:16 the bright morning star: Probably thought of as the brightest star (see 2.27,28).
Revelation 22:17 who hears this: The reading of the book of Revelation in a service of worship.
Psalm 150:1-6 (Contemporary English Version)
The LORD Is Good to His People
1Shout praises to the LORD!
Praise God in his temple.
Praise him in heaven,
his mighty fortress.
2Praise our God!
His deeds are wonderful,
too marvelous to describe.
3Praise God with trumpets
and all kinds of harps.
4Praise him with tambourines
with stringed instruments
5Praise God with cymbals,
with clashing cymbals.
6Let every living creature
praise the LORD.
Shout praises to the LORD!
Proverbs 31:25-31 (Contemporary English Version)
25She is strong and graceful, [a]
as well as cheerful
about the future.
26Her words are sensible,
and her advice
27She takes good care
of her family
and is never lazy.
28Her children praise her,
and with great pride
her husband says,
29"There are many good women,
but you are the best!"
30Charm can be deceiving,
and beauty fades away,
but a woman
who honors the LORD
deserves to be praised.
31Show her respect--
praise her in public
for what she has done.
Proverbs 31:25 She. . . graceful: Or " The clothes she makes are attractive and of good quality."