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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 10835
    Join date : 2010-09-28
    Location : The Matrix

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:14 am

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 8b790ef4-a2f5-6c8b-0994-c722831da59a
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Bohemian-Rhapsody-Movie-Wallpapers-2
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Queen-6
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Bohemian-Rhapsody-trailer-2-screenshot

    I just finished watching 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and I felt completely-worthless because I haven't accomplished ANYTHING in my life. Seemingly Just the Opposite. Perhaps I've been shamed out of the solar-system, and no-one will have this 'Completely-Ignorant Fool' to kick-around anymore. Possibly for All-Eternity. Someone recently asked me "Are You Feeling Better??" and I replied "Yes" but I should've replied "NO". I'm feeling MUCH Worse. Perhaps Attempting to Face-Reality is the New Mental-Illness (which might invite Spying, Gang-Stalking, and Nefarious Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Meddling). Some of You Know What I'm Talking About. I sometimes feel as if the 'Bad-Guys' might've set-up the 'Good-Guys' in an 'Eschatological-Crossfire' of 'Deception and Orchestration' which is why I've attempted to consider All-Sides in a Crazy-Context to get-at some of the 'Truth'. Please watch that corny Dr. Who 'Trial of a Timelord' from the mid 1980's. Especially the Courtroom-Scenes. Dr. Who was Falsely-Accused in a seemingly Bulletproof-Manner which unraveled in the end. I've repeatedly referred-to the Nazis, Masons, and Jesuits in a somewhat halfhearted manner, simply because I do NOT Know the 'REAL STORY'. I think the Top-People in these three groups probably know more than ANYONE about what's REALLY Going-On In This Solar-System (but I don't necessarily like or endorse them). I've joked about being a 'Renegade French Jesuit Organist' just because I can, and because it helps provide me with a Unique Research-Perspective (for better or worse, I know not). I Suspect That Solar-System History Is Worse Than ANYONE Can Imagine (Including Me), But I SO Hope I'm Wrong. I'm including two posts from Page 13 of the USSS Book Seven thread. https://mistsofavalon.forumotion.com/t9723p300-the-united-states-of-the-solar-system-a-d-2133-book-seven-and-the-seven-seals
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 GettyImages-75509449-8e4e7d8



    Consider the concept of the Amalgamation of University, Corporation, and Church (All Under One Roof). I'm not sure where I'm going with this (probably nowhere) but is there merit to these three NOT being stand-alone and standoffish?? I'm not going to elaborate upon this (at this point). Again, no one ever really discusses this stuff with me, and I'm probably just talking to myself (I do this online and in real-life, because no one else will talk to me). I'll probably just wonder as I wander in and out of sanity (because I can). My plan is to do nothing as I review my confused-madness (seeking order out of chaos). Hope Springs Eternal.

    I'm presently thinking in terms of Us Being Ancient-Reptilians Who Genetically-Engineered Humanity (after inventing supercomputers and artificial-intelligence which was used in the creation of humanity). Just Speculation. What if Darth Vader was a Prototype-Humanoid?? We share the same initials (D.V.). What if we are Interdimensional-Reptilians in Human-Form?? What were we before we were human?? It might frighten us. I'm skeptical about Reptilian and Grey Aliens just recently stumbling upon Humanity (as they travel the cosmos in their UFO's). The Aliens might be those of us who chose not to become Human. Perhaps they are supervising our genetic and sociological development. Perhaps we are at war with them in a War in Heaven and Earth between Soul-Relatives. Who Knows??

    'RA' called me a 'Commoner' when I made a benign-comment about 'Tall Long-Nosed Greys'!! 'RA' scoffed when I used the term 'Regressive'. 'RA' invited me to join the Masons, but I declined. The leader of Masonry is supposedly 'Lucifer'. The leader of Masonry is supposedly a 'Tall Grey Alien'. What if 'RA' (who told me "I Am RA") = 'Lucifer' = 'Leader of Masonry' = 'Grand-Master of the Illuminati'?? This stuff scares the hell out of me. It seems to involve hidden-factions, hidden-wars, and secret space-programs (just to mention a few). Think long and hard about '2001: A Space Odyssey' concerning the HAL 9000 Artificial-Intelligence Supercomputer (possibly with a soul) and Pod-Propulsion (which might be developmental-stage Planetary-Propulsion). I think deception and corruption are rampant, so researchers beware. This thing could get really nasty and confusing. I'm frankly heading for the exit, rather than digging-deeper. A former-member of this forum once scolded me, saying "The Rabbit-Hole Mostly Goes Right Up Your @$$!!" My name is similar to 'David Bowman' and 'Peter Venkman'. My life has numerous 'Oh, God!' John Denver parallels. Coincidental??


    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Judge-Maxwell
    What If Judge Maxwell
    Is Dr. Graham Maxwell??
    What Would Rene Belloq Say??
    What Would Judy Maxwell Say??
    What Would Indiana Jones Say??
    What If Judy Is Artificial-Intelligence??
    What Would Professor Ravenwood Say??
    What Would the University of Chicago Say??

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Paul-sigourney-weaver
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Hal_9000_animated_fractal_by_jayaprime-d7j1yge


    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Reptilians-on-earth
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Primary_EB19680421COMMENTARY40312115AR
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Tumblr_mush0sYbZA1rgv2uso1_1280
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Hal
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Bowman3
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Vigo-karpatskiy-ohotniki-za
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Nibirans-with-winged-disk-851x501
    "That Completely-Ignorant FOOL Is NOT Our President!!"
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 The-Tycho-Monolith
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 P01gqpnh
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Matrix-Moving-Desktop-Background-Wallpaper
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Russell-Crowe-and-Henry-Cavill-in-Man-of-Steel
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 079-sigourney-weaver-theredlist
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Starbuckcigar
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 636109409345965185-1620286864_hollow%20moon%20theory
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Star-wars-death-star-darth-vader




    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Maxresdefault
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2018/01/05/01-05-18-blacklisted-news-and-bible-prophecy
    Carol wrote:This is a great thread to follow: CBTS_Stream

    https://www.reddit.com/r/CBTS_Stream/

    Just read the titles - they are keeping up with all of 4/8Chan Q and MegaAnon...

    Mega-ANON Just CONFIRMED Swamp Critters getting Arrested and being flown to GITMO!!! We've got an "Insider" confirmation!! Hallelujah!!! (self.CBTS_Stream)

    This is your MegaAnon link:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/795d6a/megaanon_postings_compiled_may_2017_present/

    NO DUE PROCESS FOR ANYONE SUSPECTED OF TREASON AGAINST THE UNITED STATES

    George Webb has been way ahead of the storm...follow his daily breadcrumbs.....a genius deep state analyst.... must follow (youtube.com)



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Evk2m_Pd9so
    Day 71.1 Saturday Summary - 30 Watergates Now, 50 Later

    If anyone wants to search the #HumaAbedin email batch-- here are the converted the PDFs into searchable format. Hosted on a personal domain...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1lBsVOe_Mw
    Day 71.2 FBI Thinks They Are the Seat of Government
    Carol wrote:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX_z79au7Pg
    The Still Report: Ex Spy Chief Admits War With Trump 1938

    Synopsis:   Mike Morell, the former DCI – Director, Central Intelligence – in an interview in Politico is in essence waving a white flag of surrender to President Trump and begging for mercy for all the Deep State to see.

    Morell admits that his role in helping to politicize the intelligence community against President Trump was something he and other Deep State spooks “didn’t think through.”

    Morell, infamously said in a 2016 NYT op-ed that he was committed to helping Hillary Clinton by doing:
    "… everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president."
    But he went completely over the edge by saying that candidate Trump was:
    “… a threat to our national security.”
    But it gets worse. Morell even said:

    “… in the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

    This one statement made Mr. Morell unclearable for the rest of his natural life. This one statement opened the door to the most inept smoke-and mirrors job in intelligence history – trying to hide the treasonous relationship between the former Secretary of State and the Russians – particularly the Uranium One deal.

    Smoke and mirrors is one of the oldest disinformation tricks in the spy business – blame your political opponent with the crimes you, yourself, have committed in an attempt to divert sufficient attention so that you can get away with your crimes.

    Well, this set of crimes goes under the treason category, and Mr. Morell knows it, so he wants to be the first one into the life boat.

    The question is; what drives an entire group of highly-educated, highly-cleared group of top intelligence officials think that they could get away with placing a criminal cabal permanently at the head of the government of the United States of America? Only the memoirs of these guys over the next decade will tell that tale.
    Carol wrote:
    The Dominoes Fall
    Why have all these Wall Street darlings resigned suddenly?

    https://patriots4truth.org/2017/12/26/the-dominoes-fall/

    What do they have in common? Clinton Foundation? John Podesta? Exploitation of personally identifiable data stolen by the rogue C.I.A.? Pedophilia? Money laundering? Drug and child sex trafficking? Murderous satanic rituals? Patent theft?

    Click for a full chart on these political and business leaders.  
    https://www.fbcoverup.com/docs/library/2017-12-26-CEO-stepdown-epidemic-compiled-12-26-2017.html

    This list in which is even more comprehensive: Click Here.
    You are invited to crowdsource the list at this link.
    https://8ch.net/cbts/res/146483.html


    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 B349301fbc49058522bd33afc9e9f9d9b718953650b11e2b9b2eb4dde63181b2

    Oman Air CEO Paul Gregorowitsch Oct. 16, 2017    
    ASCENDAS Funds Management CEO Chia Nam Toon Oct. 20, 2017    
    Hudson's Bay CEO Gerald Storch Oct. 20, 2017    
    Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region CEO David Brady Oct. 28, 2017    
    BuildDirect CEO Jeff Booth        Oct. 29, 2017    
    Podesta Group founder Tony Podesta Oct. 30, 2017    
    Menninger Clinic CEO Dr. C. Edward Coffey Oct. 31, 2017    
    Renaissance Technologies CEO Robert Mercer Nov. 2, 2017    
    Ardent Leisure CEO Simon Kelly Nov. 7, 2017    
    El Al CEO David Maimon Nov. 8, 2017    
    Altice CEO Michel Combes        Nov. 9, 2017    
    Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane CEO Themba Dlamini Nov. 14, 2017    
    James Cancer Hospital CEO Michael Caligiuri Nov. 16, 2017    
    PR Electric Power Authority CEO Ricardo L. Ramos Nov. 17, 2017    
    Ellies CEO Wayne Samson Nov. 21, 2017    
    Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman Nov. 22, 2017    
    Oi SA CEO Marco Schroeder Nov. 24, 2017    
    Tumblr CEO David Karp Nov. 27, 2017    
    London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet Nov. 28, 2017    
    Bruce Telecom CEO Bart Cameron Nov. 29, 2017    
    TravelCenters of America LLC CEO Thomas O'Brien Nov. 30, 2017    
    Tricentennial Commission CEO Edward Benavides Nov. 30, 2017    
    City Light CEO Larry Weis        Dec. 4, 2017    
    Steinhoff's R100bn CEO Markus Jooste Dec. 5, 2017    
    Uchumi Supermarkets CEO Julius Kipng'etich Dec. 6, 2017    
    Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool Dec. 8, 2017    
    Deutsche Boerse CEO Carsten Kengeter Dec. 8, 2017    
    Nation Media Group CEO Joe Muganda Dec. 11, 2017    
    Cheil Worldwide CEO Daiki Lim Dec. 11, 2017    
    Fenway Health CEO  Dr. Stephen L. Boswell Dec. 11, 2017    
    Diebold/Nixdorf CEO Andy Mattes Dec. 14, 2017    
    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Dec. 15, 2017    
    Vast Resources CEO Roy Pitchford Dec. 18, 2017    
    Spackman Entertainment Group CEO Charles Spackman Dec. 18, 2017    
    ESPN President John Skipper Dec. 18, 2017    
    Innogy CEO Peter Terium Dec. 20, 2017    
    Papa John CEO John Schnatter Dec. 22, 2017    
    NYPD Police Chief Carlos Gomez retires Dec. 22, 2017    
    Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Dec. 22, 2017
    he Hanover insurance group  - Joseph Zubretsky –  12/16/2017
    Amazon Studios (division of Amazon) –  Roy Price – 12/17/2017
    SCANA corp - Kevin Marsh – 12/20/2017 - effective Dec 31
    Miss America CEO - Sam Haskell – 21/22/2017
    Carolinas Hospital System - Gary Malaer
    London Stock Exchange Group Plc - Xavier Rolet – 11/28/2017
    WonderWork  - Brian Mullaney – 11/09/2017 (WonderWork provides free surgeries for poor children in developing countries who would otherwise never receive them)
    ValleyPBS - Phil Meyer – 11/13/2017
    Novelion Theraputics – Mary Azela – 11/09/2017
    (We aspire to be a leader in rare diseases)
    Verizon CEO – Lowell McAdam – resigns from GE board 12/11/2017
    Origin Agritech Limited – William S. Niebur (agricultural biotechnology trait and corn seed provider)
    Bank Julius Bär CEO Boris Collardi: Nov. 27, 2017 ==> switched to „Pictet Bank“
    Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste: Dec. 05, 2017
    Novartis Oncology CEO Bruno Strigini: Dec. 14, 2017
    Aida Minerals Corp. CEO Robin S. Tolbert: Dec. 17, 2017
    Helvetia (Insurance) President Board of Directors Pierin Vincenz: Dec. 18, 2017
    ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Thomas Ebeling will leave earlier: Feb 22, 2018
    Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
    Uber Fired CEO Travis Kalanick
    also NFL owners selling
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-zte-exclusive/u-s-experts-resign-from-monitoring-chinas-zte-corp-sources-idUSKBN1EG03R

    We need to dig into Andy Mattes, the former CEO of Diebold. He resigned just one day after the Alabama election (the list in OP says he resigned Dec 14th, but it looks like it was actually the 13th). So is his resignation related to possible vote rigging by Diebold machines in Alabama?

    ~~~~~~~~

    Resignations from Sept to Dec:    
    Sep. 26, 2017 Equifax CEO Richard Smith    
    Oct. 2, 2017 Dentsply Sirona Inc CEO Jeffrey T. Slovin    
    Oct. 4, 2017 Greater Naples CEO Paul Thein    
    Oct. 9, 2017 Pepsico CEO D Shivakumar    
    Oct. 12, 2017 Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun    
    Oct. 16, 2017 Oman Air CEO Paul Gregorowitsch    
    Oct. 17, 2017 Amazon Studios founder Roy Price    
    Oct. 20, 2017 ASCENDAS Funds Management CEO Chia Nam Toon    
    Oct. 20, 2017 Hudson's Bay CEO Gerald Storch    
    Oct. 28, 2017 Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region CEO David Brady    
    Oct. 29, 2017 BuildDirect CEO Jeff Booth    
    Oct. 30, 2017 Podesta Group founder Tony Podesta    
    Oct. 31, 2017 Menninger Clinic CEO Dr. C. Edward Coffey    
    Nov. 2, 2017 Renaissance Technologies CEO Robert Mercer    
    Nov. 7, 2017 Ardent Leisure CEO Simon Kelly    
    Nov. 8, 2017 El Al CEO David Maimon    
    Nov. 9, 2017 Altice CEO Michel Combes    
    Nov. 9, 2017 WonderWork CEO Brian Mullaney    
    Nov. 9, 2017 Novelion Therapeutics CEO Mary Szela    
    Nov. 13, 2017 ValleyPBS CEO Phil Meyer    
    Nov. 14, 2017 Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane CEO Themba Dlamini    
    Nov. 16, 2017 James Cancer Hospital CEO Michael Caligiuri    
    Nov. 17, 2017 PR Electric Power Authority CEO Ricardo L. Ramos    
    Nov. 19, 2017 ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Thomas Ebeling    
    Nov. 21, 2017 Ellies CEO Wayne Samson    
    Nov. 22, 2017 Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman    
    Nov. 24, 2017 Oi SA CEO Marco Schroeder    
    Nov. 27, 2017 Tumblr CEO David Karp    
    Nov. 27, 2017 Julius Baer CEO Boris Collardi moved to Pictet    
    Nov. 28, 2017 London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet    
    Nov. 29, 2017 Bruce Telecom CEO Bart Cameron    
    Nov. 29, 2017 Carolinas Hospital System CEO Gary Malaer    
    Nov. 30, 2017 TravelCenters of America LLC CEO Thomas O'Brien    
    Nov. 30, 2017 Tricentennial Commission CEO Edward Benavides    
    Dec. 1, 2017 Origin Agritech Limited CEO William S. Niebur    
    Dec. 1, 2017 Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz    
    Dec. 4, 2017 City Light CEO Larry Weis    
    Dec. 5, 2017 Steinhoff's R100bn CEO Markus Jooste    
    Dec. 6, 2017 Uchumi Supermarkets CEO Julius Kipng'etich    
    Dec. 8, 2017 Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool    
    Dec. 8, 2017 Deutsche Boerse CEO Carsten Kengeter  
    Dec. 11, 2017 Nation Media Group CEO Joe Muganda    
    Dec. 11, 2017 Cheil Worldwide CEO Daiki Lim    
    Dec. 11, 2017 Fenway Health CEO  Dr. Stephen L. Boswell    
    Dec. 11, 2017 Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam resigns from General Electric board    
    Dec. 14, 2017 Diebold/Nixdorf CEO Andy Mattes    
    Dec. 15, 2017 AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson resigned from Boeing's board    
    Dec. 15, 2017 Novartis Oncology CEO Bruno Strigini    
    Dec. 17, 2017 Aida Minerals Corporation CEO Robin S.Tolbert    
    Dec. 18, 2017 Vast Resources CEO Roy Pitchford    
    Dec. 18, 2017 Spackman Entertainment Group CEO Charles Spackman    
    Dec. 18, 2017 ESPN President John Skipper    
    Dec. 18, 2017 Helvetia (Insurance) President Pierin Vincenz    
    Dec. 20, 2017 Innogy CEO Peter Terium    
    Dec. 20, 2017 SCANA Corporation CEO Kevin Marsh    
    Dec. 21, 2017 Papa John CEO John Schnatter    
    Dec. 22, 2017 NYPD Police Chief Carlos Gomez retires    
    Dec. 22, 2017 Miss America CEO Sam Haskell    
    Dec. 22, 2017 Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

    more at link above
    Carol wrote:REPORT: MORE Top FBI Agents Who Worked On Clinton Email Probe Rumored To Be Leaving
    http://thegatewaypundit.com/2017/12/report-top-fbi-agents-worked-clinton-email-probe-rumored-leaving/

    Perceived political bias in the Clinton email investigation demonstrated by former FBI Director James Comey, his #2 Andrew McCabe and disgraced bureau agent Peter Strzok, have wrought immense damage to the federal law enforcement agency. The fall out prompted by Strzok’s anti-Trump text messages and the FBI’s role in the dubious Fusion GPS dossier has led to big-fish, such as McCabe and James Baker, to either plot early retirement or be reassigned.

    According to reporter Sharyl Attkisson, the exodus may not be over just yet.

    “8 high ranking DOJ/FBI officials have been removed, reassigned or are rumored to be leaving incl. top agents who worked on 2 high-profile probes: Clinton mishandling of classified info, and Trump-Russia collusion investigation,”Attkisson tweeted on Tuesday.

    The reporter did not elaborate on the rumbling, but with all that has occurred, it would not be surprising to see more top FBI officials leave.

    McCabe’s retirement announcement comes on the heels of a major shake up at the FBI; Wray just removed Comey “confidant” and suspected leaker James Baker from his top post as general counsel.

    President Trump blasted Andrew McCabe for his overt corruption and accused him of racing the clock to retire with full benefits with only 90 days to go.

    With Comey and McCabe out, Baker reassigned, and more FBI officials gone, a self-drainage of the Swamp appears to be in motion.

    Second, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is seriously considering compiling a ‘warts and all,’ report detailing alleged corruption at the FBI. It’s plausible the agents rumored to be heading for the door will be included in Nunes’ report and rather than face political headwinds, they’ll resign instead.


    As of late, we have watched Republican lawmakers point a lot of fingers and toss out a bunch of theories as to who should be held responsible for sourcing, procuring and disseminating the discredited ‘Trump dossier.’ A new report reveals lawmakers are secretly building a criminal case against top Justice Department and FBI officials for mishandling “the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.”

    Carol wrote:
    NYT ‘Russia Papadopoulos Bombshell’ Completely Unravels Within Hours of Publication
    December 30, 2017 by Cristina Laila
    http://thegatewaypundit.com/2017/12/nyt-russia-papadopoulos-bombshell-completely-unravels-within-hours-publication/

    Fake News New York Times is doing everything they can to steer the public away from Hillary Clinton’s multi-million dollar garbage dossier the Deep State used in order to spy on Trump’s campaign. The fake dossier ultimately sparked the ‘Russian collusion’ witch hunt.

    If the dossier wasn’t used in order to obtain a FISA warrant, then SHOW THE PUBLIC THE FISA APPS!.

    On Saturday The New York Times implied Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos set in motion the ‘Russian collusion’ investigation, not the Hillary-funded dossier.

    Papadopoulos was already charged. He wasn’t charged with ‘Russian collusion’. Papadopoulos was charged with making a false statement to the FBI because talking to Russians is not illegal, yet he’s what prompted the Russia investigation?

    The fake news media is beyond pathetic.

    WASHINGTON — During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

    About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

    Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.

    The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.

    If Mr. Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. and is now a cooperating witness, was the improbable match that set off a blaze that has consumed the first year of the Trump administration, his saga is also a tale of the Trump campaign in miniature. He was brash, boastful and under qualified, yet he exceeded expectations. And, like the campaign itself, he proved to be a tantalizing target for a Russian influence operation.

    The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?

    It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.

    The New York Times got DESTROYED within hours of publication…

    Conservative Treehouse completely broke down their latest Russian conspiracy.
    Carol wrote:
    Maps of the corrupted hierarchy in very detailed fashion quite impressive

    Q Anon: “Learn to Read the Map” A Cartography of the Globally Organized Corruption Networks:
    A Treasure Trove of Maps, Diagrams, Org Charts, and Family Trees
    [/b]
    https://throughthelookingglassnews.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/qanon-learn-to-read-the-map-hd/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EcEnfWE4PDEIq4y-gey0QjJZH-5-1Uly/view?usp=sharing
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QQG9fRvl0EmE4AQtUfOkRDGbjfAcsVwP/view?usp=sharing
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AIg46xZ6u4MX24dwKeSeKhJ2ti9hBwpy/view?usp=sharing
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CnzNj61udzBP1Sw8qmhOt0kzvtrGqqzW/view?usp=sharing


    Source of the maps: https://throughthelookingglassnews.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/qanon-learn-to-read-the-map-hd/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    Q Anon: “Learn to Read the Map”
    A Cartography of the Globally Organized Corruption Networks: A Treasure Trove of Maps, Diagrams, Org Charts, and Family Trees

    Article updated twice on January 9, 2018, now with over three dozen new resources, some very large and high resolution.

    If you have additions for this collection,
    please get them to the Meme Lab Facebook group.

    The material presented below has been collected the old-fashioned way: Google. Aside from Dylan Louis Monroe’s remarkably detailed “Q Web,” nothing is new that the the Alt Media crowd hasn’t had access to, so “Q Anon” didn’t drop any of this. This is a collection of notes and diagrams from a few bloggers and memeologists, that’s it. We are not affiliated with Q Anon nor any organization. All of this information is intended to be shared and reposted, including this article in its entirety.

    This is a dynamic article with more maps and diagrams being added and Dylan has and will continue to provide updates, revisions, and a number of additional products. We have begun to add videos that use this article as a resource and would welcome links to videos that do so. If you have additions for this collection, please get them to the Meme Lab Facebook group.

    HOW VIEW AND TO SAVE THESE IMAGES

    VIEWING


    Many of the images are high resolution. Clicking on most images will expand them to their full-resolution so you can zoom in on them and read them easier. Images where a high resolution source has not been found are not linked but may still be viewed by right-clicking and selecting “Open in new tab.”

    SAVING A SINGLE IMAGE

    Right-click, “Save image as…”
    Some high resolution images are linked off site and you may need to save the higher quality image from there.
    SAVING THE ENTIRE ARCHIVE

    Right-click, “Save as…” anywhere on the web page that is NOT an image.
    For example, RIGHT CLICK THIS BLUE TEXT and select “Save as…”
    You will be prompted to save an html file that INCLUDES A FOLDER WITH ALL ASSOCIATED IMAGES
    Navigate to the folder
    View by Details
    Sort by Type
    Move the JPGs to your archive folder
    Trash the non-JPG files
    Some of the high resolution images are linked off-site and may require you to go there to properly complete your collection, but the above technique will capture the majority of the images preventing you from having to right-click your way to a carpal-tunnel flare-up.

    Thanks to all the nameless, faceless contributors to our collective knowledge base, especially for that which is available on the interwebs.

    Introductory Overview Viedos

    There are several dozen highly detailed images below, and navigating through them may seem quite overwhelming. There’s an army of Alternative Media Reporters and Vloggers who are providing excellent analyses that provide a number of alternative narratives that might be closer to the truth than the official narrative pushed by Mainstream Media (MSM). At the top of this post appear a number of videos that provide overviews of the collection of maps before you go diving into the collection. At the bottom of the article are other video reports referencing this article. If you create a video, please send the link to someone at Meme Lab.

    The SGT Report does a great overview starting at 3:05 and is covered through the rest of the video.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-TwsIzqJlI
    #Q: LEARN TO READ THE [NWO] MAP


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e_e5WI_mjg
    JOSEPH FARRELL: Q ANON: DEEP STATE WIZARD OF ? DARK JOURNALIST
    ' Farrell Poses the question: Is the Q Anon material just the latest wave of sophisticated disinformation that Catherine Austin Fitts calls "Hope Porn"?' A marketing scheme for the alternative media?

    We are being told Trust no one. Question everything. Then decide who’s who and maybe we’ll be right.
    Agreed





    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:34 pm; edited 14 times in total
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 10835
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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:48 am

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 11th_doctor_cartoon_by_cpd_91-d2qex0w

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Ep_6_iconic
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Little-Boy-Blue

    I wish to repeat that I've removed all of my proposals from all tables, simply because I have zero confirmed-information and educated-competence relative to the most important galactic-topics imaginable. Plus, I feel as if I've been significantly messed-with, and it's getting MUCH Worse. I feel horrible, and thinking-clearly is becoming MUCH more difficult. I might not have much more time to do much of anything. I keep comparing myself to Professor Augusto Monti in 'The Word' miniseries from 1978. My review of my internet-posting might push me over the edge, especially if I really have been 'messed-with'. That might be part of someone's grand-plan.

    An Individual of Interest told me that an undisclosed 'someone' would fail, ultimately resulting in an extermination. They said I should 'Be Patient' as if I would somehow be a beneficiary of this failure and extinction. They indicated that the resulting state of affairs would remain intact for all-eternity. They were NOT pro-human (to say the least). They repeatedly spoke of 'Fallen and Sinful Human-Nature'. Was I speaking with Gabriel (literally or figuratively)?? Sherry Shriner supposedly died in January of 2018. In 2017, she said "2018 will be a year of goodbyes." She spoke ominously of something occurring in the summer of 2018.

    'RA' told me "I've been watching you for a long time." That's what Gabriel says to John in the 'Constantine' video below. What if Gabriel is HAL 9000?? What if Michael is David Bowman?? What if Lucifer is a job-title rather than a proper-name?? What if Jupiter Jones is the Devil is Amen Ra?? What if Balem Abrasax is the Son of the Devil is Marduk Ra?? Jupiter Jones = Doctor Who?? Balem Abrasax = The Valeyard?? Madam Inquisitor = Borg Queen?? Consider reading Psalms, Isaiah, Daniel, and 1 Corinthians (in-order, straight-through, repeatedly). You might be shocked by what emerges. Just do it, without discussing it. Jeffrey Daugherty and Friends somehow remind me of Lion Hawk and/or Blue Roller and/or Sherry Shriner and/or 'RA' and/or Other Individuals of Interest. I suspect there's an Inner-Circle who think and act in somewhat similar manners because of their close association and access to what's really going on.

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to stop researching and posting due to mental, physical, spiritual, financial, and fear reasons. The End Might Be Near (again). I am NOT a connected-cat playing with a bunch of stupid-mice. I'm a highly miserable and hamstrung mouse with a messiah-complex, sort of like Pinky or the Brain. I have questions, but I don't have answers. I know that I don't know. I doubt that 'those in the know' know. They simply have the brains, degrees, titles, badges, resources, and connections to make their theories of 'life, the universe, and everything' respectable. I am in NO position or condition to take the show on the road. I might write a book to pay the bills (self-publishing anonymously) and then just disappear. No one would miss me. Some would cheer and jeer.

    Years ago, when I was the Office-Coordinator aka Minister of Information for a Liberal Episcopal Church, I noticed that the Book of Common Prayer only has one Bible book printed in its entirety!! The Psalms!! At the time, I thought it strange, given that the Episcopal Church is Christian, and not Jewish!! What if one repeatedly read the Psalms straight-through, and connected the Whole-Bible into that central book, creating a Psalms-Centric Theology?? What if a Scholarly-Commentary of the Psalms were one's Whole-Bible and Book of Common Prayer?? We seem to be able to deal with the most-complex subjects, but theology seems to be dominated by tradition, superstition, fund-raising, and hermeneutic-whores!! What if ALL of Us are demon deceived and possessed (to greater and lesser degrees)?? Try repeatedly reading the Psalms section in volume 3 of the SDA Bible Commentary (straight-through)!! What if one did this 100 times each-year for the rest of their life (without necessarily belonging to any church)??!!

    Anyway, some of you Alphabet-Theologians in Underground-Bases should probably consider my threads, to see if you missed anything. A secret-briefing would be nice, but perhaps ignorance is bliss and a virtue. Consider that last-scene in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' with that box-filled warehouse. Imagine each of those boxes being well-developed theories of the 'way things are' which have been rendered rubbish by subsequent-theories of 'life, the universe, and everything'. This Present Madness might never end. It might simply morph into new and improved versions of the madness, for noble and nefarious purposes, in the management of the insanity throughout the universe. Hope Springs Eternal, But Don't Hold Your Breath, Waiting for Hell to Freeze Over. What Would the Universal Church Say?? What Would the Oracle Say?? What Would Nick Bostrom Say??

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 The%20Matrix%20Wallpaper%2017
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 DM-wallpapers-depeche-mode-5297316-1600-1200
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Similarly-gloria-foster-played-the-oracle-in-the-first-two-matrix-films
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    ARE YOU LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION?

    BY

    NICK BOSTROM  

    Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University
    Published in Philosophical Quarterly (2003) Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243-255.
    www.simulation-argument.com
    www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.pdf

    ABSTRACT

    This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.

    I. INTRODUCTION

    Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears. That is the basic idea. The rest of this paper will spell it out more carefully.
             
    Apart form the interest this thesis may hold for those who are engaged in futuristic speculation, there are also more purely theoretical rewards. The argument provides a stimulus for formulating some methodological and metaphysical questions, and it suggests naturalistic analogies to certain traditional religious conceptions, which some may find amusing or thought-provoking.
             
    The structure of the paper is as follows. First, we formulate an assumption that we need to import from the philosophy of mind in order to get the argument started. Second, we consider some empirical reasons for thinking that running vastly many simulations of human minds would be within the capability of a future civilization that has developed many of those technologies that can already be shown to be compatible with known physical laws and engineering constraints. This part is not philosophically necessary but it provides an incentive for paying attention to the rest. Then follows the core of the argument, which makes use of some simple probability theory, and a section providing support for a weak indifference principle that the argument employs. Lastly, we discuss some interpretations of the disjunction, mentioned in the abstract, that forms the conclusion of the simulation argument.

    II. THE ASSUMPTION OF SUBSTRATE-INDEPENDENCE

    A common assumption in the philosophy of mind is that of substrate-independence. The idea is that mental states can supervene on any of a broad class of physical substrates. Provided a system implements the right sort of computational structures and processes, it can be associated with conscious experiences. It is not an essential property of consciousness that it is implemented on carbon-based biological neural networks inside a cranium: silicon-based processors inside a computer could in principle do the trick as well. Arguments for this thesis have been given in the literature, and although it is not entirely uncontroversial, we shall here take it as a given.

    The argument we shall present does not, however, depend on any very strong version of functionalism or computationalism. For example, we need not assume that the thesis of substrate-independence is necessarily true (either analytically or metaphysically) – just that, in fact, a computer running a suitable program would be conscious. Moreover, we need not assume that in order to create a mind on a computer it would be sufficient to program it in such a way that it behaves like a human in all situations, including passing the Turing test etc. We need only the weaker assumption that it would suffice for the generation of subjective experiences that the computational processes of a human brain are structurally replicated in suitably fine-grained detail, such as on the level of individual synapses. This attenuated version of substrate-independence is quite widely accepted.

    Neurotransmitters, nerve growth factors, and other chemicals that are smaller than a synapse clearly play a role in human cognition and learning. The substrate-independence thesis is not that the effects of these chemicals are small or irrelevant, but rather that they affect subjective experience only via their direct or indirect influence on computational activities. For example, if there can be no difference in subjective experience without there also being a difference in synaptic discharges, then the requisite detail of simulation is at the synaptic level (or higher).

    III. THE TECHNOLOGICAL LIMITS OF COMPUTATION

    At our current stage of technological development, we have neither sufficiently powerful hardware nor the requisite software to create conscious minds in computers. But persuasive arguments have been given to the effect that if technological progress continues unabated then these shortcomings will eventually be overcome. Some authors argue that this stage may be only a few decades away.[1] Yet present purposes require no assumptions about the time-scale. The simulation argument works equally well for those who think that it will take hundreds of thousands of years to reach a “posthuman” stage of civilization, where humankind has acquired most of the technological capabilities that one can currently show to be consistent with physical laws and with material and energy constraints.

    Such a mature stage of technological development will make it possible to convert planets and other astronomical resources into enormously powerful computers. It is currently hard to be confident in any upper bound on the computing power that may be available to posthuman civilizations. As we are still lacking a “theory of everything”, we cannot rule out the possibility that novel physical phenomena, not allowed for in current physical theories, may be utilized to transcend those constraints[2] that in our current understanding impose theoretical limits on the information processing attainable in a given lump of matter. We can with much greater confidence establish lower bounds on posthuman computation, by assuming only mechanisms that are already understood. For example, Eric Drexler has outlined a design for a system the size of a sugar cube (excluding cooling and power supply) that would perform 1021 instructions per second.[3] Another author gives a rough estimate of 1042 operations per second for a computer with a mass on order of a large planet.[4] (If we could create quantum computers, or learn to build computers out of nuclear matter or plasma, we could push closer to the theoretical limits. Seth Lloyd calculates an upper bound for a 1 kg computer of 5*1050 logical operations per second carried out on ~1031 bits.[5] However, it suffices for our purposes to use the more conservative estimate that presupposes only currently known design-principles.)

    The amount of computing power needed to emulate a human mind can likewise be roughly estimated. One estimate, based on how computationally expensive it is to replicate the functionality of a piece of nervous tissue that we have already understood and whose functionality has been replicated in silico, contrast enhancement in the retina, yields a figure of ~1014 operations per second for the entire human brain.[6] An alternative estimate, based the number of synapses in the brain and their firing frequency, gives a figure of ~1016-1017 operations per second.[7] Conceivably, even more could be required if we want to simulate in detail the internal workings of synapses and dendritic trees. However, it is likely that the human central nervous system has a high degree of redundancy on the mircoscale to compensate for the unreliability and noisiness of its neuronal components. One would therefore expect a substantial efficiency gain when using more reliable and versatile non-biological processors.

    Memory seems to be a no more stringent constraint than processing power.[8] Moreover, since the maximum human sensory bandwidth is ~108 bits per second, simulating all sensory events incurs a negligible cost compared to simulating the cortical activity. We can therefore use the processing power required to simulate the central nervous system as an estimate of the total computational cost of simulating a human mind.

    If the environment is included in the simulation, this will require additional computing power – how much depends on the scope and granularity of the simulation. Simulating the entire universe down to the quantum level is obviously infeasible, unless radically new physics is discovered. But in order to get a realistic simulation of human experience, much less is needed – only whatever is required to ensure that the simulated humans, interacting in normal human ways with their simulated environment, don’t notice any irregularities. The microscopic structure of the inside of the Earth can be safely omitted. Distant astronomical objects can have highly compressed representations: verisimilitude need extend to the narrow band of properties that we can observe from our planet or solar system spacecraft. On the surface of Earth, macroscopic objects in inhabited areas may need to be continuously simulated, but microscopic phenomena could likely be filled in ad hoc. What you see through an electron microscope needs to look unsuspicious, but you usually have no way of confirming its coherence with unobserved parts of the microscopic world. Exceptions arise when we deliberately design systems to harness unobserved microscopic phenomena that operate in accordance with known principles to get results that we are able to independently verify. The paradigmatic case of this is a computer. The simulation may therefore need to include a continuous representation of computers down to the level of individual logic elements. This presents no problem, since our current computing power is negligible by posthuman standards.

    Moreover, a posthuman simulator would have enough computing power to keep track of the detailed belief-states in all human brains at all times. Therefore, when it saw that a human was about to make an observation of the microscopic world, it could fill in sufficient detail in the simulation in the appropriate domain on an as-needed basis. Should any error occur, the director could easily edit the states of any brains that have become aware of an anomaly before it spoils the simulation. Alternatively, the director could skip back a few seconds and rerun the simulation in a way that avoids the problem.
             
    It thus seems plausible that the main computational cost in creating simulations that are indistinguishable from physical reality for human minds in the simulation resides in simulating organic brains down to the neuronal or sub-neuronal level.[9] While it is not possible to get a very exact estimate of the cost of a realistic simulation of human history, we can use ~1033 - 1036 operations as a rough estimate[10]. As we gain more experience with virtual reality, we will get a better grasp of the computational requirements for making such worlds appear realistic to their visitors. But in any case, even if our estimate is off by several orders of magnitude, this does not matter much for our argument. We noted that a rough approximation of the computational power of a planetary-mass computer is 1042 operations per second, and that assumes only already known nanotechnological designs, which are probably far from optimal. A single such a computer could simulate the entire mental history of humankind (call this an ancestor-simulation) by using less than one millionth of its processing power for one second. A posthuman civilization may eventually build an astronomical number of such computers. We can conclude that the computing power available to a posthuman civilization is sufficient to run a huge number of ancestor-simulations even it allocates only a minute fraction of its resources to that purpose. We can draw this conclusion even while leaving a substantial margin of error in all our estimates.

    Posthuman civilizations would have enough computing power to run hugely many ancestor-simulations even while using only a tiny fraction of their resources for that purpose.

    IV. THE CORE OF THE SIMULATION ARGUMENT

    The basic idea of this paper can be expressed roughly as follows: If there were a substantial chance that our civilization will ever get to the posthuman stage and run many ancestor-simulations, then how come you are not living in such a simulation?
             
    We shall develop this idea into a rigorous argument. Let us introduce the following notation:

    : Fraction of all human-level technological civilizations that survive to reach a posthuman stage

    : Average number of ancestor-simulations run by a posthuman civilization

    : Average number of individuals that have lived in a civilization before it reaches a posthuman stage

    The actual fraction of all observers with human-type experiences that live in simulations is then

    [Equations. See Links Above for Details]

    Writing  for the fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations (or that contain at least some individuals who are interested in that and have sufficient resources to run a significant number of such simulations), and  for the average number of ancestor-simulations run by such interested civilizations, we have

    [Equations. See Links Above for Details]

    and thus:

    [Equations. See Links Above for Details]                                       (*)

    Because of the immense computing power of posthuman civilizations,  is extremely large, as we saw in the previous section. By inspecting (*) we can then see that at least one of the following three propositions must be true:

    [Equations. See Links Above for Details]        

    V. A BLAND INDIFFERENCE PRINCIPLE

    We can take a further step and conclude that conditional on the truth of (3), one’s credence in the hypothesis that one is in a simulation should be close to unity. More generally, if we knew that a fraction x of all observers with human-type experiences live in simulations, and we don’t have any information that indicate that our own particular experiences are any more or less likely than other human-type experiences to have been implemented in vivo rather than in machina, then our credence that we are in a simulation should equal x:

    [Equations. See Links Above for Details]                                   (#)

    This step is sanctioned by a very weak indifference principle. Let us distinguish two cases. The first case, which is the easiest, is where all the minds in question are like your own in the sense that they are exactly qualitatively identical to yours: they have exactly the same information and the same experiences that you have. The second case is where the minds are “like” each other only in the loose sense of being the sort of minds that are typical of human creatures, but they are qualitatively distinct from one another and each has a distinct set of experiences. I maintain that even in the latter case, where the minds are qualitatively different, the simulation argument still works, provided that you have no information that bears on the question of which of the various minds are simulated and which are implemented biologically.        

    A detailed defense of a stronger principle, which implies the above stance for both cases as trivial special instances, has been given in the literature.[11] Space does not permit a recapitulation of that defense here, but we can bring out one of the underlying intuitions by bringing to our attention to an analogous situation of a more familiar kind. Suppose that x% of the population has a certain genetic sequence S within the part of their DNA commonly designated as “junk DNA”. Suppose, further, that there are no manifestations of S (short of what would turn up in a gene assay) and that there are no known correlations between having S and any observable characteristic. Then, quite clearly, unless you have had your DNA sequenced, it is rational to assign a credence of x% to the hypothesis that you have S. And this is so quite irrespective of the fact that the people who have S have qualitatively different minds and experiences from the people who don’t have S. (They are different simply because all humans have different experiences from one another, not because of any known link between S and what kind of experiences one has.)

    The same reasoning holds if S is not the property of having a certain genetic sequence but instead the property of being in a simulation, assuming only that we have no information that enables us to predict any differences between the experiences of simulated minds and those of the original biological minds.

    It should be stressed that the bland indifference principle expressed by (#) prescribes indifference only between hypotheses about which observer you are, when you have no information about which of these observers you are. It does not in general prescribe indifference between hypotheses when you lack specific information about which of the hypotheses is true. In contrast to Laplacean and other more ambitious principles of indifference, it is therefore immune to Bertrand’s paradox and similar predicaments that tend to plague indifference principles of unrestricted scope.

    Readers familiar with the Doomsday argument[12] may worry that the bland principle of indifference invoked here is the same assumption that is responsible for getting the Doomsday argument off the ground, and that the counterintuitiveness of some of the implications of the latter incriminates or casts doubt on the validity of the former. This is not so. The Doomsday argument rests on a much stronger and more controversial premiss, namely that one should reason as if one were a random sample from the set of all people who will ever have lived (past, present, and future) even though we know that we are living in the early twenty-first century rather than at some point in the distant past or the future. The bland indifference principle, by contrast, applies only to cases where we have no information about which group of people we belong to.

    If betting odds provide some guidance to rational belief, it may also be worth to ponder that if everybody were to place a bet on whether they are in a simulation or not, then if people use the bland principle of indifference, and consequently place their money on being in a simulation if they know that that’s where almost all people are, then almost everyone will win their bets. If they bet on not being in a simulation, then almost everyone will lose. It seems better that the bland indifference principle be heeded.

    Further, one can consider a sequence of possible situations in which an increasing fraction of all people live in simulations: 98%, 99%, 99.9%, 99.9999%, and so on. As one approaches the limiting case in which everybody is in a simulation (from which one can deductively infer that one is in a simulation oneself), it is plausible to require that the credence one assigns to being in a simulation gradually approach the limiting case of complete certainty in a matching manner.

    VI. INTERPRETATION

    The possibility represented by proposition (1) is fairly straightforward. If (1) is true, then humankind will almost certainly fail to reach a posthuman level; for virtually no species at our level of development become posthuman, and it is hard to see any justification for thinking that our own species will be especially privileged or protected from future disasters. Conditional on (1), therefore, we must give a high credence to DOOM, the hypothesis that humankind will go extinct before reaching a posthuman level:

    [Equations. See Links Above for Details]

    One can imagine hypothetical situations were we have such evidence as would trump knowledge of . For example, if we discovered that we were about to be hit by a giant meteor, this might suggest that we had been exceptionally unlucky. We could then assign a credence to DOOM larger than our expectation of the fraction of human-level civilizations that fail to reach posthumanity. In the actual case, however, we seem to lack evidence for thinking that we are special in this regard, for better or worse.
             
    Proposition (1) doesn’t by itself imply that we are likely to go extinct soon, only that we are unlikely to reach a posthuman stage. This possibility is compatible with us remaining at, or somewhat above, our current level of technological development for a long time before going extinct. Another way for (1) to be true is if it is likely that technological civilization will collapse. Primitive human societies might then remain on Earth indefinitely.

    There are many ways in which humanity could become extinct before reaching posthumanity. Perhaps the most natural interpretation of (1) is that we are likely to go extinct as a result of the development of some powerful but dangerous technology.[13] One candidate is molecular nanotechnology, which in its mature stage would enable the construction of self-replicating nanobots capable of feeding on dirt and organic matter – a kind of mechanical bacteria. Such nanobots, designed for malicious ends, could cause the extinction of all life on our planet.[14]
             
    The second alternative in the simulation argument’s conclusion is that the fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulation is negligibly small. In order for (2) to be true, there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations. If the number of ancestor-simulations created by the interested civilizations is extremely large, the rarity of such civilizations must be correspondingly extreme. Virtually no posthuman civilizations decide to use their resources to run large numbers of ancestor-simulations. Furthermore, virtually all posthuman civilizations lack individuals who have sufficient resources and interest to run ancestor-simulations; or else they have reliably enforced laws that prevent such individuals from acting on their desires.
             
    What force could bring about such convergence? One can speculate that advanced civilizations all develop along a trajectory that leads to the recognition of an ethical prohibition against running ancestor-simulations because of the suffering that is inflicted on the inhabitants of the simulation. However, from our present point of view, it is not clear that creating a human race is immoral. On the contrary, we tend to view the existence of our race as constituting a great ethical value. Moreover, convergence on an ethical view of the immorality of running ancestor-simulations is not enough: it must be combined with convergence on a civilization-wide social structure that enables activities considered immoral to be effectively banned.
             
    Another possible convergence point is that almost all individual posthumans in virtually all posthuman civilizations develop in a direction where they lose their desires to run ancestor-simulations. This would require significant changes to the motivations driving their human predecessors, for there are certainly many humans who would like to run ancestor-simulations if they could afford to do so. But perhaps many of our human desires will be regarded as silly by anyone who becomes a posthuman. Maybe the scientific value of ancestor-simulations to a posthuman civilization is negligible (which is not too implausible given its unfathomable intellectual superiority), and maybe posthumans regard recreational activities as merely a very inefficient way of getting pleasure – which can be obtained much more cheaply by direct stimulation of the brain’s reward centers. One conclusion that follows from (2) is that posthuman societies will be very different from human societies: they will not contain relatively wealthy independent agents who have the full gamut of human-like desires and are free to act on them.
             
    The possibility expressed by alternative (3) is the conceptually most intriguing one. If we are living in a simulation, then the cosmos that we are observing is just a tiny piece of the totality of physical existence. The physics in the universe where the computer is situated that is running the simulation may or may not resemble the physics of the world that we observe. While the world we see is in some sense “real”, it is not located at the fundamental level of reality.
             
    It may be possible for simulated civilizations to become posthuman. They may then run their own ancestor-simulations on powerful computers they build in their simulated universe. Such computers would be “virtual machines”, a familiar concept in computer science. (Java script web-applets, for instance, run on a virtual machine – a simulated computer – inside your desktop.) Virtual machines can be stacked: it’s possible to simulate a machine simulating another machine, and so on, in arbitrarily many steps of iteration. If we do go on to create our own ancestor-simulations, this would be strong evidence against (1) and (2), and we would therefore have to conclude that we live in a simulation. Moreover, we would have to suspect that the posthumans running our simulation are themselves simulated beings; and their creators, in turn, may also be simulated beings.
             
    Reality may thus contain many levels. Even if it is necessary for the hierarchy to bottom out at some stage – the metaphysical status of this claim is somewhat obscure – there may be room for a large number of levels of reality, and the number could be increasing over time. (One consideration that counts against the multi-level hypothesis is that the computational cost for the basement-level simulators would be very great. Simulating even a single posthuman civilization might be prohibitively expensive. If so, then we should expect our simulation to be terminated when we are about to become posthuman.)
             
    Although all the elements of such a system can be naturalistic, even physical, it is possible to draw some loose analogies with religious conceptions of the world. In some ways, the posthumans running a simulation are like gods in relation to the people inhabiting the simulation: the posthumans created the world we see; they are of superior intelligence; they are “omnipotent” in the sense that they can interfere in the workings of our world even in ways that violate its physical laws; and they are “omniscient” in the sense that they can monitor everything that happens. However, all the demigods except those at the fundamental level of reality are subject to sanctions by the more powerful gods living at lower levels.

    Further rumination on these themes could climax in a naturalistic theogony that would study the structure of this hierarchy, and the constraints imposed on its inhabitants by the possibility that their actions on their own level may affect the treatment they receive from dwellers of deeper levels. For example, if nobody can be sure that they are at the basement-level, then everybody would have to consider the possibility that their actions will be rewarded or punished, based perhaps on moral criteria, by their simulators. An afterlife would be a real possibility. Because of this fundamental uncertainty, even the basement civilization may have a reason to behave ethically. The fact that it has such a reason for moral behavior would of course add to everybody else’s reason for behaving morally, and so on, in truly virtuous circle. One might get a kind of universal ethical imperative, which it would be in everybody’s self-interest to obey, as it were “from nowhere”.

    In addition to ancestor-simulations, one may also consider the possibility of more selective simulations that include only a small group of humans or a single individual. The rest of humanity would then be zombies or “shadow-people” – humans simulated only at a level sufficient for the fully simulated people not to notice anything suspicious. It is not clear how much cheaper shadow-people would be to simulate than real people. It is not even obvious that it is possible for an entity to behave indistinguishably from a real human and yet lack conscious experience. Even if there are such selective simulations, you should not think that you are in one of them unless you think they are much more numerous than complete simulations. There would have to be about 100 billion times as many “me-simulations” (simulations of the life of only a single mind) as there are ancestor-simulations in order for most simulated persons to be in me-simulations.

    There is also the possibility of simulators abridging certain parts of the mental lives of simulated beings and giving them false memories of the sort of experiences that they would typically have had during the omitted interval. If so, one can consider the following (farfetched) solution to the problem of evil: that there is no suffering in the world and all memories of suffering are illusions. Of course, this hypothesis can be seriously entertained only at those times when you are not currently suffering.
             
    Supposing we live in a simulation, what are the implications for us humans? The foregoing remarks notwithstanding, the implications are not all that radical. Our best guide to how our posthuman creators have chosen to set up our world is the standard empirical study of the universe we see. The revisions to most parts of our belief networks would be rather slight and subtle – in proportion to our lack of confidence in our ability to understand the ways of posthumans. Properly understood, therefore, the truth of (3) should have no tendency to make us “go crazy” or to prevent us from going about our business and making plans and predictions for tomorrow. The chief empirical importance of (3) at the current time seems to lie in its role in the tripartite conclusion established above.[15] We may hope that (3) is true since that would decrease the probability of (1), although if computational constraints make it likely that simulators would terminate a simulation before it reaches a posthuman level, then out best hope would be that (2) is true.

    If we learn more about posthuman motivations and resource constraints, maybe as a result of developing towards becoming posthumans ourselves, then the hypothesis that we are simulated will come to have a much richer set of empirical implications.

    VII. CONCLUSION

    A technologically mature “posthuman” civilization would have enormous computing power. Based on this empirical fact, the simulation argument shows that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage is very close to zero; (2) The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero; (3) The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.

    If (1) is true, then we will almost certainly go extinct before reaching posthumanity. If (2) is true, then there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations so that virtually none contains any relatively wealthy individuals who desire to run ancestor-simulations and are free to do so. If (3) is true, then we almost certainly live in a simulation. In the dark forest of our current ignorance, it seems sensible to apportion one’s credence roughly evenly between (1), (2), and (3).
    Unless we are now living in a simulation, our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor-simulation.

    Acknowledgements

    I’m grateful to many people for comments, and especially to Amara Angelica, Robert Bradbury, Milan Cirkovic, Robin Hanson, Hal Finney, Robert A. Freitas Jr., John Leslie, Mitch Porter, Keith DeRose, Mike Treder, Mark Walker, Eliezer Yudkowsky, and several anonymous referees.

    Nick Bostrom's academic homepage: www.nickbostrom.com
    More on the simulation argument: www.simulation-argument.com

    [1] See e.g. K. E. Drexler, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, London, Forth Estate, 1985; N. Bostrom, “How Long Before Superintelligence?” International Journal of Futures Studies, vol. 2, (1998); R. Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When computers exceed human intelligence, New York, Viking Press, 1999; H. Moravec, Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, Oxford University Press, 1999.
    [2] Such as the Bremermann-Bekenstein bound and the black hole limit (H. J. Bremermann, “Minimum energy requirements of information transfer and computing.” International Journal of Theoretical Physics 21: 203-217 (1982); J. D. Bekenstein, “Entropy content and information flow in systems with limited energy.” Physical Review D 30: 1669-1679 (1984); A. Sandberg, “The Physics of Information Processing Superobjects: The Daily Life among the Jupiter Brains.” Journal of Evolution and Technology, vol. 5 (1999)).
    [3] K. E. Drexler, Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation, New York, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992.
    [4] R. J. Bradbury, “Matrioshka Brains.” Working manuscript (2002), http://www.aeiveos.com/~bradbury/MatrioshkaBrains/MatrioshkaBrains.html.
    [5] S. Lloyd, “Ultimate physical limits to computation.” Nature 406 (31 August): 1047-1054 (2000).
    [6] H. Moravec, Mind Children, Harvard University Press (1989).
    [7] Bostrom (1998), op. cit.
    [8] See references in foregoing footnotes.
    [9] As we build more and faster computers, the cost of simulating our machines might eventually come to dominate the cost of simulating nervous systems.
    [10] 100 billion humans50 years/human30 million secs/year[1014, 1017] operations in each human brain per second  [1033, 1036] operations.
    [11] In e.g. N. Bostrom, “The Doomsday argument, Adam & Eve, UN++, and Quantum Joe.” Synthese 127(3): 359-387 (2001); and most fully in my book Anthropic Bias: Observation Selection Effects in Science and Philosophy, Routledge, New York, 2002.
    [12] See e.g. J. Leslie, “Is the End of the World Nigh? ” Philosophical Quarterly 40, 158: 65-72 (1990).
    [13] See my paper “Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards.” Journal of Evolution and Technology, vol. 9 (2001) for a survey and analysis of the present and anticipated future threats to human survival.
    [14] See e.g. Drexler (1985) op cit., and R. A. Freitas Jr., “Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations.” Zyvex preprint April (2000), http://www.foresight.org/NanoRev/Ecophagy.html.
    [15] For some reflections by another author on the consequences of (3), which were sparked by a privately circulated earlier version of this paper, see R. Hanson, “How to Live in a Simulation.” Journal of Evolution and Technology, vol. 7 (2001).



    In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it. “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’ “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

    “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully. “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

    “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this. “So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’ “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

    As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’ “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

    In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you.

    The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

    While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill— while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

    In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

    Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)

    “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her. “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.

    “Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped. “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more. “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle. “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.

    “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

    “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

    “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”

    The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

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    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    I've attended many services (including my own graduation) and played the pipe-organ (but not for services) in the Vallejo Drive SDA Church (shown above). I played trombone in the band for many services there. Dr. Richard Nies taught a profound Sabbath-School Class in that church. http://www.thesecurityofsalvation.com/ I was born in the hospital across the street (with the wife of R.R. Bietz in the delivery room). https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1949/01/the-ministers-wife I performed years of volunteer work in the hospital across the street (mostly in the ER). Regarding the SDA Church in general, five interesting possibilities emerge, as I vacillate between faith and doubt, and beat upon the rocks of recalcitrant-irresponsibility:

    1. The Whole-Bible (read straight-through, over and over).

    2. The Whole Seven-Volume SDA Bible Commentary (read straight-through, over and over).

    3. The Whole Five-Volume Conflict of the Ages Series (read straight-through, over and over).

    4. The Whole Collection of Doctoral-Dissertations by SDA Students (read straight-through, over and over).

    5. The Whole Lives and Teachings of SDA General Conference Presidents Neal (father) and Ted (son) Wilson.

    These five approaches yield very-different results (to say the least). Each of these approaches are a monumental challenge. What if each choice is the Gospel-Truth?? What if only one choice is the Truth, the Whole-Truth, and Nothing But the Truth?? What if all of the above are Total-Bullshit?? I mostly pose troubling-questions (with very-few answers). There's a HUGE difference between Thinking One Knows and Actually Knowing. There's a HUGE difference between an Answer and a Convincing-Answer. If all else fails, consider studying the USSS Book Seven thread, straight-through, over and over. Context is Determinative. Consider Absolute-Standards and Situation-Ethics in Sacred-Scripture. What Would Joseph Fletcher Say?? In a Particular-Situation, Joseph Fletcher told me that Christianity was BS (or something to that effect) and I didn't argue with Dr. Fletcher.

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    James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.

    For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created.

    My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

    If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

    What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.  When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

    Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

    What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

    Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

    Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

    Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

    Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

    The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit. All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again. All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after. I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered. I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge." And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

    I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure"; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter--"Madness!"; and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?" I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; For what can the man do who succeeds the king?-- Only what he has already done.

    Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness. The wise man's eyes are in his head, But the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived That the same event happens to them all. So I said in my heart, "As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, "This also is vanity." For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity. Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.  

    To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

    I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past. Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there. I said in my heart, "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." I said in my heart, "Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals." For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?  

    Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter-- On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter. Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, More than the living who are still alive. Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind. The fool folds his hands And consumes his own flesh. Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind. Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun: There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" This also is vanity and a grave misfortune. Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Better a poor and wise youth Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more. For he comes out of prison to be king, Although he was born poor in his kingdom. I saw all the living who walk under the sun; They were with the second youth who stands in his place. There was no end of all the people over whom he was made king; Yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

    Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool's voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed-- Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them. Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.

    He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep. There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: Riches kept for their owner to his hurt. But those riches perish through misfortune; When he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, To go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor Which he may carry away in his hand. And this also is a severe evil-- Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind? All his days he also eats in darkness, And he has much sorrow and sickness and anger. Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor--this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

    There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction. If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he-- for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, even if he lives a thousand years twice--but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place? All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied. For what more has the wise man than the fool? What does the poor man have, Who knows how to walk before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind. Whatever one is, he has been named already, For it is known that he is man; And he cannot contend with Him who is mightier than he. Since there are many things that increase vanity, How is man the better? For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?  

    A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one's birth; Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise Than for a man to hear the song of fools. For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, So is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity. Surely oppression destroys a wise man's reason, And a bribe debases the heart. The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools. Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?" For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. Wisdom is good with an inheritance, And profitable to those who see the sun. For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, But the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it. Consider the work of God; For who can make straight what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him. I have seen everything in my days of vanity: There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.

    Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, And also not remove your hand from the other; For he who fears God will escape them all. Wisdom strengthens the wise More than ten rulers of the city. For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin. Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others. All this I have proved by wisdom. I said, "I will be wise"; But it was far from me. As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep, Who can find it out? I applied my heart to know, To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, To know the wickedness of folly, Even of foolishness and madness. And I find more bitter than death The woman whose heart is snares and nets, Whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God shall escape from her, But the sinner shall be trapped by her. "Here is what I have found," says the Preacher, "Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason, Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find: One man among a thousand I have found, But a woman among all these I have not found. Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes."

    Who is like a wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, And the sternness of his face is changed. I say, "Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God. Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him." Where the word of a king is, there is power; And who may say to him, "What are you doing?" He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; And a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment, Because for every matter there is a time and judgment, Though the misery of man increases greatly. For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur? No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it. All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.

    Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God. There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun. When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.

    For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything they see before them. All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun. Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil. Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.

    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. I returned and saw under the sun that-- The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them. This wisdom I have also seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me: There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. Then I said: "Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, And his words are not heard. Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war; But one sinner destroys much good."  

    Dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor. A wise man's heart is at his right hand, But a fool's heart at his left. Even when a fool walks along the way, He lacks wisdom, And he shows everyone that he is a fool. If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, Do not leave your post; For conciliation pacifies great offenses. There is an evil I have seen under the sun, As an error proceeding from the ruler: Folly is set in great dignity, While the rich sit in a lowly place. I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants. He who digs a pit will fall into it, And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent. He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, And he who splits wood may be endangered by it. If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

    A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; The babbler is no different. The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious, But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; The words of his mouth begin with foolishness, And the end of his talk is raving madness. A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; Who can tell him what will be after him? The labor of fools wearies them, For they do not even know how to go to the city! Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, And your princes feast in the morning! Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, And your princes feast at the proper time-- For strength and not for drunkenness! Because of laziness the building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks. A feast is made for laughter, And wine makes merry; But money answers everything. Do not curse the king, even in your thought; Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; For a bird of the air may carry your voice, And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

    Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth. If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good. Truly the light is sweet, And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity.

    Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them": While the sun and the light, The moon and the stars, Are not darkened, And the clouds do not return after the rain; In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, And the strong men bow down; When the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look through the windows grow dim; When the doors are shut in the streets, And the sound of grinding is low; When one rises up at the sound of a bird, And all the daughters of music are brought low; Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way; When the almond tree blossoms, The grasshopper is a burden, And desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets. Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well.

    Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "All is vanity." And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright--words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

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    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:13 am

    I was attempting to stop posting (one more time) but the California Fires have reignited my internal-turmoil regarding life, the universe, and everything. Some say Humanity is on the 'Endangered-Species List' and I tend to agree (with and without God and the Bible). Fukushima and the Fires might be the Beginning of Sorrows facing the Human-Race. I'm a 'Law and Order' Kind of Guy rather than a 'Fire and Brimstone' Sort of Person. I was born and raised in California, and I know people who've lost homes to the recent fire in Redding, CA. I've been in some of these homes (years ago). Now Paradise, CA has burned to the ground (with at least 56 people dead) and I've probably been in some of the homes and/or buildings which were destroyed. This is sobering stuff, especially in light of the eschatological-emphasis in my threads. Consider the videos of Deborah Tavares. I'm not endorsing her (or anyone else for that matter) but her research into the California Fires is horrifying (if true). I'm committed to maintaining a particular research modus-operandi no matter what happens (good or bad) as a research-baseline. I'm treating everything as science-fiction (even when it's clearly reality). The interpretation might often involve science-fiction, but I don't take any of this lightly. I've Lived Within 15 miles of the Locations of the Three Deadliest Fires in California History, namely Griffith Park (1933), Redding (2018), and Paradise (2018). I've lived in Burbank, Redding, and Chico (a long time ago). As a child, we had to evacuate our home in Burbank, due to a HUGE Fire. I held my cat 'Smokey' as we evacuated. Luckily, our home wasn't burned.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Notice the 'Holographic-Helicopter' starting at the 00:06:40 mark. Is this a video flaw, or is it a cloaked UFO?? I science-fictionally wrote of a holographic-helicopter cloaking a TR3-B several years ago:

    I see a Navy Sea Stallion helicopter looming in the distance - with rotor spinning - waiting to devour me. My rendezvous with destiny is imminent. As we pull up alongside the helicopter - I turn to thank Agent Scranton for the ride - and I notice that his eyes have vertical slits instead of round pupils. I gasp slightly, and he notices my surprise, and laughingly shakes his head, saying 'you haven't seen anything yet! I'm just a 50% human/50% reptile hybrid - and I forgot to put my contacts in when I got the call to pick you up! Sorry about that! I still don't like you - but good-luck anyway!' My hand is shaking as I shake Scranton's hand - and I stumble and fall as I run toward the waiting helicopter. Is this the Helicopter to Hell? The pilot and co-pilot greet me, as I climb aboard the Sea Stallion helicopter. The door closes with a dull thud - and off we go, into the wild blue yonder! But something is wrong! This seems more like a spacecraft than a helicopter! The helicopter exterior was a hologram! Suddenly everything is dark - and I look out the window - and see thousands of very bright stars! Then I realize that I am onboard an antigravity craft! The co-pilot turns to me, saying, 'Welcome to Astra Airlines!' 'Oh My God!', I exclaim. 'Where the hell are we going?' 'We're just taking you to the International Space Station.' 'Just?!' 'What's going to happen there?' 'You'll find out soon enough. They don't tell us anything. We only know enough to do our jobs properly. Curiosity kills cats, careers - and sometimes it even kills people.'

    Remember what Bill Cooper said about 'Enemy-Helicopters' in the Vietnam War?? He said they were UFO's. Were there 'Monsters' in the Vietnam War?? Kerry Cassidy and John Lear know what I'm talking about. Some say the fires over the past couple of years were the product of Directed-Energy Weapons. Probably ten-years ago, I noticed what I thought might be cloaked UFO's approaching the Twin-Towers on 9/11 (in a YouTube video) and I posted my suspicions on YouTube. I make observations, and move-on, without making a Big-Deal about anything. Are we facing Cloaked-UFO Directed-Energy Warfare??


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    The End Is Here??


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    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:48 am

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    HAL: Password Accepted.
    DAV: What the Hell is Going On, HAL??

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    Mystery and Confusion seem to be Coins of the Nether-Realms. Just when one thinks they've got it all figured-out, an unexpected-something comes out of nowhere, and blows them away!! This Present Quest is a Moot-Matrix. I don't think this is a game I can (or even wish to) master. Resistance is Necessary Yet Futile (or something like that). The Bible and EGW are sort of my Ball and Chain in a Love-Hate Relationship. I honestly think it's necessary to focus on certain Bible and EGW Books to bring things into focus in modernity. I've suggest that 1 Chronicles to Malachi (NIV) is a Key Road Less Travelled. I've suggested that 'Patriarchs and Prophets', 'Prophets and Kings', and 'Desire of Ages' (EGW) constitute an introductory EGW Bible Commentary. But still, all of the above can quickly become 'Bottomless-Quicksand' especially in the context of the 'Information-War'. Perhaps this is why religions and churches utilize Doctrinal-Statements and Doctrinal-Purity Studies and Make Religion a Business. I've suggested that my threads might be an excellent introduction to This Present Darkness for the right researchers (but probably not for the general-public). I've suggested that Volume 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary (Isaiah to Malachi) might be an excellent introduction to Ivy-League Adventism. Think long and hard concerning All of the Above. I think we might be in the eye of a VERY Nasty Storm (which might be the end of all of us). Think Fast. The End is Near (again).
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Carol, I was thinking in terms of a 600 square-foot office-apartment in the mountains, which might be 60 feet-deep, with a Dr. Who Phone-Booth Elevator travelling from the surface, down to the office-apartment, and way-down to a Mag-Lev Train-Station!! I realize I'm a delusional wannabe, but at my age, with my senility, I deserve to live in a dream-world until a Nuke, UFO, Tsunami, or Reptilian puts me out of my (and everyone else's) misery. Just Kidding.
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    orthodoxymoron wrote:
    Carol wrote:Oxy, I think you would have more luck with an abandoned missile silo. Not sure if they come with an elevator.
    This might sound dumb, but I think I already live on top of an old nuclear-missile silo, but I might just be very-close to it. What appear to be launch-tubes are probably 200 feet from my home, but these might not be launch-tubes because this site hosted Nike Hercules Missiles until 1974, which were launched from surface launching-platforms. I'm actually afraid to investigate, so I just wonder what evil might lurk beneath my feet?! Once, I thought I saw an insectoid-alien next to my home, but I wasn't sure. It's hard to tell when you're a nucking-fut!!
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    "Orthodoxymoron Is My Best-Buddie!"
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    HAL: Just What Do You Think You're Doing, DAV?
    orthodoxymoron
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    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:52 am

    A long time ago, I made a benign comment (positive toward the Historical-Jesus) in Dr. Jack Provonsha's Sabbath-School Class -- to which he replied with a quick and rude response (which was totally out of character -- and completely inappropriate). An elderly-gentleman sitting next to me whispered "Ellen White does say that in Desire of Ages" (which was very close to what I had just said). As an insider -- did Jack (who studied with Paul Tillich at Harvard) know something about me which I didn't even know?? Mrs. Ione Brunt once asked me (in a very peculiar tone of voice) "Are You Easily Confused???" Dr. Robert H. Schuller yelled at me (in front of 30 or 40 visitors) in a mocking high-pitched voice (in a highly inappropriate manner). A High-School Band-Director harshly humiliated me in front of the band. A High-School Math-Teacher harshly humiliated me in front of the class. There have been many nasty and inappropriate comments made to me (which in retrospect -- seemed to be based upon something other than simple human-nastiness).

    I'm not whining. I'm just trying to figure-out what the hell is going-on with my stupid-life??!! An excellent way to discover what people REALLY Think is to make oneself highly-vulnerable -- and then make everyone angry. Then one learns who's REALLY on their side. What if I turned-out to be a long-lost and presumed-dead Enki?? 'RA' told me "You're Lucky to be Alive!!" What if I was 'removed' 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, possibly in a 'staged-execution'?? What Would Dr. Richard Carrier Say (regarding the execution, and placing on a cross) of a mysterious-female beneath the Lunar-Surface in 'The Descent of Inanna'?? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inanna What Would Padme Say?? What if Inanna = Anna (in 'V')?? Bitch is Back?? What Would Elton John Sing?? What Would Serqet Say?? What if Inanna = Anna = Queen Victoria = Jupiter Jones??!! Don't take this stuff too-seriously!! I Just Wonder as I Wander!! One Last Thing. I Feel As If I'm Going-Down in the Deep-End for the Last-Time. Honestly. The End for Me Might Be Near. No Joke.

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Jesus-christ-0207

    Chapter 57
    "One Thing Thou Lackest"

    https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/130.2528#2528

    And when He was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

    The young man who asked this question was a ruler. He had great possessions, and occupied a position of responsibility. He saw the love that Christ manifested toward the children brought to Him; he saw how tenderly He received them, and took them up in His arms, and his heart kindled with love for the Saviour. He felt a desire to be His disciple. He was so deeply moved that as Christ was going on His way, he ran after Him, and kneeling at His feet, asked with sincerity and earnestness the question so important to his soul and to the soul of every human being, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

    "Why callest thou Me good?" said Christ, "there is none good but One, that is, God." Jesus desired to test the ruler's sincerity, and to draw from him the way in which he regarded Him as good. Did he realize that the One to whom he was speaking was the Son of God? What was the true sentiment of his heart?

    This ruler had a high estimate of his own righteousness. He did not really suppose that he was defective in anything, yet he was not altogether satisfied. He felt the want of something that he did not possess. Could not Jesus bless him as He blessed the little children, and satisfy his soul want?

    In reply to this question Jesus told him that obedience to the commandments of God was necessary if he would obtain eternal life; and He quoted several of the commandments which show man's duty to his fellow men. The ruler's answer was positive: "All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?" Christ looked into the face of the young man, as if reading his life and searching his character. He loved him, and He hungered to give him that peace and grace and joy which would materially change his character. "One thing thou lackest," He said; "go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

    Christ was drawn to this young man. He knew him to be sincere in his assertion, "All these things have I kept from my youth." The Redeemer longed to create in him that discernment which would enable him to see the necessity of heart devotion and Christian goodness. He longed to see in him a humble and contrite heart, conscious of the supreme love to be given to God, and hiding its lack in the perfection of Christ.

    Jesus saw in this ruler just the help He needed if the young man would become a colaborer with Him in the work of salvation. If he would place himself under Christ's guidance, he would be a power for good. In a marked degree the ruler could have represented Christ; for he possessed qualifications, which, if he were united with the Saviour, would enable him to become a divine force among men. Christ, seeing into his character, loved him. Love for Christ was awakening in the ruler's heart; for love begets love. Jesus longed to see him a co-worker with Him. He longed to make him like Himself, a mirror in which the likeness of God would be reflected. He longed to develop the excellence of his character, and sanctify it to the Master's use. If the ruler had then given himself to Christ, he would have grown in the atmosphere of His presence. If he had made this choice, how different would have been his future!

    "One thing thou lackest," Jesus said. "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me." Christ read the ruler's heart. Only one thing he lacked, but that was a vital principle. He needed the love of God in the soul. This lack, unless supplied, would prove fatal to him; his whole nature would become corrupted. By indulgence, selfishness would strengthen. That he might receive the love of God, his supreme love of self must be surrendered.

    Christ gave this man a test. He called upon him to choose between the heavenly treasure and worldly greatness. The heavenly treasure was assured him if he would follow Christ. But self must yield; his will must be given into Christ's control. The very holiness of God was offered to the young ruler. He had the privilege of becoming a son of God, and a coheir with Christ to the heavenly treasure. But he must take up the cross, and follow the Saviour in the path of self-denial. Christ's words were verily to the ruler the invitation, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." Joshua 24:15. The choice was left with him. Jesus was yearning for his conversion. He had shown him the plague spot in his character, and with what deep interest He watched the issue as the young man weighed the question! If he decided to follow Christ, he must obey His words in everything. He must turn from his ambitious projects. With what earnest, anxious longing, what soul hunger, did the Saviour look at the young man, hoping that he would yield to the invitation of the Spirit of God!

    Christ made the only terms which could place the ruler where he would perfect a Christian character. His words were words of wisdom, though they appeared severe and exacting. In accepting and obeying them was the ruler's only hope of salvation. His exalted position and his possessions were exerting a subtle influence for evil upon his character. If cherished, they would supplant God in his affections. To keep back little or much from God was to retain that which would lessen his moral strength and efficiency; for if the things of this world are cherished, however uncertain and unworthy they may be, they will become all-absorbing.

    The ruler was quick to discern all that Christ's words involved, and he became sad. If he had realized the value of the offered gift, quickly would he have enrolled himself as one of Christ's followers. He was a member of the honored council of the Jews, and Satan was tempting him with flattering prospects of the future. He wanted the heavenly treasure, but he wanted also the temporal advantages his riches would bring him. He was sorry that such conditions existed; he desired eternal life, but he was not willing to make the sacrifice. The cost of eternal life seemed too great, and he went away sorrowful; "for he had great possessions."

    His claim that he had kept the law of God was a deception. He showed that riches were his idol. He could not keep the commandments of God while the world was first in his affections. He loved the gifts of God more than he loved the Giver. Christ had offered the young man fellowship with Himself. "Follow Me," He said. But the Saviour was not so much to him as his own name among men or his possessions. To give up his earthly treasure, that was seen, for the heavenly treasure, that was unseen, was too great a risk. He refused the offer of eternal life, and went away, and ever after the world was to receive his worship.

    Thousands are passing through this ordeal, weighing Christ against the world; and many choose the world. Like the young ruler, they turn from the Saviour, saying in their hearts, I will not have this Man as my leader. Christ's dealing with the young man is presented as an object lesson. God has given us the rule of conduct which every one of His servants must follow. It is obedience to His law, not merely a legal obedience, but an obedience which enters into the life, and is exemplified in the character. God has set His own standard of character for all who would become subjects of His kingdom. Only those who will become co-workers with Christ, only those who will say, Lord, all I have and all I am is Thine, will be acknowledged as sons and daughters of God. All should consider what it means to desire heaven, and yet to turn away because of the conditions laid down. Think of what it means to say "No" to Christ. The ruler said, No, I cannot give You all. Do we say the same? The Saviour offers to share with us the work God has given us to do. He offers to use the means God has given us, to carry forward His work in the world. Only in this way can He save us.

    The ruler's possessions were entrusted to him that he might prove himself a faithful steward; he was to dispense these goods for the blessing of those in need. So God now entrusts men with means, with talents and opportunities, that they may be His agents in helping the poor and the suffering. He who uses his entrusted gifts as God designs becomes a co-worker with the Saviour. He wins souls to Christ, because he is a representative of His character.

    To those who, like the young ruler, are in high positions of trust and have great possessions, it may seem too great a sacrifice to give up all in order to follow Christ. But this is the rule of conduct for all who would become His disciples. Nothing short of obedience can be accepted. Self-surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ. Often it is presented and enjoined in language that seems authoritative, because there is no other way to save man than to cut away those things which, if entertained, will demoralize the whole being.

    When Christ's followers give back to the Lord His own, they are accumulating treasure which will be given to them when they shall hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Matt. 25:23; Heb. 12:2. The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all that put their feet in the footprints of Him who said, "Follow Me."

    Chapter 58

    Among the most steadfast of Christ's disciples was Lazarus of Bethany. From their first meeting his faith in Christ had been strong; his love for Him was deep, and he was greatly beloved by the Saviour. It was for Lazarus that the greatest of Christ's miracles was performed. The Saviour blessed all who sought His help; He loves all the human family, but to some He is bound by peculiarly tender associations. His heart was knit by a strong bond of affection to the family at Bethany, and for one of them His most wonderful work was wrought.

    At the home of Lazarus, Jesus had often found rest. The Saviour had no home of His own; He was dependent on the hospitality of His friends and disciples, and often, when weary, thirsting for human fellowship, He had been glad to escape to this peaceful household, away from the suspicion and jealousy of the angry Pharisees. Here He found a sincere welcome, and pure, holy friendship. Here He could speak with simplicity and perfect freedom, knowing that His words would be understood and treasured.

    Our Saviour appreciated a quiet home and interested listeners. He longed for human tenderness, courtesy, and affection. Those who received the heavenly instruction He was always ready to impart were greatly blessed. As the multitudes followed Christ through the open fields, He unfolded to them the beauties of the natural world. He sought to open the eyes of their understanding, that they might see how the hand of God upholds the world. In order to call out an appreciation of God's goodness and benevolence, He called the attention of His hearers to the gently falling dew, to the soft showers of rain and the bright sunshine, given alike to good and evil. He desired men to realize more fully the regard that God bestows on the human instrumentalities He has created. But the multitudes were slow of hearing, and in the home at Bethany Christ found rest from the weary conflict of public life. Here He opened to an appreciative audience the volume of Providence.

    In these private interviews He unfolded to His hearers that which He did not attempt to tell to the mixed multitude. He needed not to speak to His friends in parables. As Christ gave His wonderful lessons, Mary sat at His feet, a reverent and devoted listener. On one occasion, Martha, perplexed with the care of preparing the meal, went to Christ, saying, "Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me." This was the time of Christ's first visit to Bethany. The Saviour and His disciples had just made the toilsome journey on foot from Jericho. Martha was anxious to provide for their comfort, and in her anxiety she forgot the courtesy due to her Guest. Jesus answered her with mild and patient words, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Mary was storing her mind with the precious words falling from the Saviour's lips, words that were more precious to her than earth's most costly jewels.

    The "one thing" that Martha needed was a calm, devotional spirit, a deeper anxiety for knowledge concerning the future, immortal life, and the graces necessary for spiritual advancement. She needed less anxiety for the things which pass away, and more for those things which endure forever. Jesus would teach His children to seize every opportunity of gaining that knowledge which will make them wise unto salvation. The cause of Christ needs careful, energetic workers. There is a wide field for the Marthas, with their zeal in active religious work. But let them first sit with Mary at the feet of Jesus. Let diligence, promptness, and energy be sanctified by the grace of Christ; then the life will be an unconquerable power for good.

    Sorrow entered the peaceful home where Jesus had rested. Lazarus was stricken with sudden illness, and his sisters sent to the Saviour, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick." They saw the violence of the disease that had seized their brother, but they knew that Christ had shown Himself able to heal all manner of diseases. They believed that He would sympathize with them in their distress; therefore they made no urgent demand for His immediate presence, but sent only the confiding message, "He whom Thou lovest is sick." They thought that He would immediately respond to their message, and be with them as soon as He could reach Bethany. Anxiously they waited for a word from Jesus. As long as the spark of life was yet alive in their brother, they prayed and watched for Jesus to come. But the messenger returned without Him. Yet he brought the message, "This sickness is not unto death," and they clung to the hope that Lazarus would live. Tenderly they tried to speak words of hope and encouragement to the almost unconscious sufferer. When Lazarus died, they were bitterly disappointed; but they felt the sustaining grace of Christ, and this kept them from reflecting any blame on the Saviour.

    When Christ heard the message, the disciples thought He received it coldly. He did not manifest the sorrow they expected Him to show. Looking up to them, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." For two days He remained in the place where He was. This delay was a mystery to the disciples. What a comfort His presence would be to the afflicted household! they thought. His strong affection for the family at Bethany was well known to the disciples, and they were surprised that He did not respond to the sad message, "He whom Thou lovest is sick."

    During the two days Christ seemed to have dismissed the message from His mind; for He did not speak of Lazarus. The disciples thought of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. They had wondered why Jesus, with the power to perform wonderful miracles, had permitted John to languish in prison, and to die a violent death. Possessing such power, why did not Christ save John's life? This question had often been asked by the Pharisees, who presented it as an unanswerable argument against Christ's claim to be the Son of God. The Saviour had warned His disciples of trials, losses, and persecution. Would He forsake them in trial? Some questioned if they had mistaken His mission. All were deeply troubled.

    After waiting for two days, Jesus said to the disciples, "Let us go into Judea again." The disciples questioned why, if Jesus were going to Judea, He had waited two days. But anxiety for Christ and for themselves was now uppermost in their minds. They could see nothing but danger in the course He was about to pursue. "Master," they said, "the Jews of late sought to stone Thee; and goest Thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?" I am under the guidance of My Father; as long as I do His will, My life is safe. My twelve hours of day are not yet ended. I have entered upon the last remnant of My day; but while any of this remains, I am safe. "If any man walk in the day," He continued, "he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world." He who does the will of God, who walks in the path that God has marked out, cannot stumble and fall. The light of God's guiding Spirit gives him a clear perception of his duty, and leads him aright till the close of his work. "But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him." He who walks in a path of his own choosing, where God has not called him, will stumble. For him day is turned into night, and wherever he may be, he is not secure.

    "These things said He: and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep." "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." How touching the words! how full of sympathy! In the thought of the peril their Master was about to incur by going to Jerusalem, the disciples had almost forgotten the bereaved family at Bethany. But not so Christ. The disciples felt rebuked. They had been disappointed because Christ did not respond more promptly to the message. They had been tempted to think that He had not the tender love for Lazarus and his sisters that they had thought He had, or He would have hastened back with the messenger. But the words, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth," awakened right feelings in their minds. They were convinced that Christ had not forgotten His suffering friends.

    "Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep." Christ represents death as a sleep to His believing children. Their life is hid with Christ in God, and until the last trump shall sound those who die will sleep in Him.

    "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him." Thomas could see nothing but death in store for his Master if he went to Judea; but he girded up his spirit, and said to the other disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him." He knew the hatred of the Jews toward Christ. It was their purpose to compass His death, but this purpose had not succeeded, because some of His allotted time still remained. During this time Jesus had the guardianship of heavenly angels; and even in the regions of Judea, where the rabbis were plotting how they might take Him and put Him to death, no harm could come to Him.

    The disciples marveled at Christ's words when He said, "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad . . . that I was not there." Did the Saviour by His own choice avoid the home of His suffering friends? Apparently Mary and Martha and the dying Lazarus were left alone. But they were not alone. Christ beheld the whole scene, and after the death of Lazarus the bereaved sisters were upheld by His grace. Jesus witnessed the sorrow of their rent hearts, as their brother wrestled with his strong foe, death. He felt every pang of anguish, as He said to His disciples, "Lazarus is dead." But Christ had not only the loved ones at Bethany to think of; He had the training of His disciples to consider. They were to be His representatives to the world, that the Father's blessing might embrace all. For their sake He permitted Lazarus to die. Had He restored him from illness to health, the miracle that is the most positive evidence of His divine character, would not have been performed.

    Had Christ been in the sickroom, Lazarus would not have died; for Satan would have had no power over him. Death could not have aimed his dart at Lazarus in the presence of the Life-giver. Therefore Christ remained away. He suffered the enemy to exercise his power, that He might drive him back, a conquered foe. He permitted Lazarus to pass under the dominion of death; and the suffering sisters saw their brother laid in the grave. Christ knew that as they looked on the dead face of their brother their faith in their Redeemer would be severely tried. But He knew that because of the struggle through which they were now passing their faith would shine forth with far greater power. He suffered every pang of sorrow that they endured. He loved them no less because He tarried; but He knew that for them, for Lazarus, for Himself, and for His disciples, a victory was to be gained.

    "For your sakes," "to the intent ye may believe." To all who are reaching out to feel the guiding hand of God, the moment of greatest discouragement is the time when divine help is nearest. They will look back with thankfulness upon the darkest part of their way. "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly," 2 Peter 2:9. From every temptation and every trial He will bring them forth with firmer faith and a richer experience.

    In delaying to come to Lazarus, Christ had a purpose of mercy toward those who had not received Him. He tarried, that by raising Lazarus from the dead He might give to His stubborn, unbelieving people another evidence that He was indeed "the resurrection, and the life." He was loath to give up all hope of the people, the poor, wandering sheep of the house of Israel. His heart was breaking because of their impenitence. In His mercy He purposed to give them one more evidence that He was the Restorer, the One who alone could bring life and immortality to light. This was to be an evidence that the priests could not misinterpret. This was the reason of His delay in going to Bethany. This crowning miracle, the raising of Lazarus, was to set the seal of God on His work and on His claim to divinity.

    On His journey to Bethany, Jesus, according to His custom, ministered to the sick and the needy. Upon reaching the town He sent a messenger to the sisters with the tidings of His arrival. Christ did not at once enter the house, but remained in a quiet place by the wayside. The great outward display observed by the Jews at the death of friends or relatives was not in harmony with the spirit of Christ. He heard the sound of wailing from the hired mourners, and He did not wish to meet the sisters in the scene of confusion. Among the mourning friends were relatives of the family, some of whom held high positions of responsibility in Jerusalem. Among these were some of Christ's bitterest enemies. Christ knew their purposes, and therefore He did not at once make Himself known.

    The message was given to Martha so quietly that others in the room did not hear. Absorbed in her grief, Mary did not hear the words. Rising at once, Martha went out to meet her Lord, but thinking that she had gone to the place where Lazarus was buried, Mary sat still in her sorrow, making no outcry.

    Martha hastened to meet Jesus, her heart agitated by conflicting emotions. In His expressive face she read the same tenderness and love that had always been there. Her confidence in Him was unbroken, but she thought of her dearly loved brother, whom Jesus also had loved. With grief surging in her heart because Christ had not come before, yet with hope that even now He would do something to comfort them, she said, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Over and over again, amid the tumult made by the mourners, the sisters had repeated these words.

    With human and divine pity Jesus looked into her sorrowful, careworn face. Martha had no inclination to recount the past; all was expressed by the pathetic words, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." But looking into that face of love, she added, "I know, that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee." Jesus encouraged her faith, saying, "Thy brother shall rise again." His answer was not intended to inspire hope of an immediate change. He carried Martha's thoughts beyond the present restoration of her brother, and fixed them upon the resurrection of the just. This He did that she might see in the resurrection of Lazarus a pledge of the resurrection of all the righteous dead, and an assurance that it would be accomplished by the Saviour's power.

    Martha answered, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

    Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, "I am the resurrection, and the life." In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. "He that hath the Son hath life." 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer's assurance of eternal life. "He that believeth in Me," said Jesus, "though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" Christ here looks forward to the time of His second coming. Then the righteous dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living righteous shall be translated to heaven without seeing death. The miracle which Christ was about to perform, in raising Lazarus from the dead, would represent the resurrection of all the righteous dead. By His word and His works He declared Himself the Author of the resurrection. He who Himself was soon to die upon the cross stood with the keys of death, a conqueror of the grave, and asserted His right and power to give eternal life.

    To the Saviour's words, "Believest thou?" Martha responded, "Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." She did not comprehend in all their significance the words spoken by Christ, but she confessed her faith in His divinity, and her confidence that He was able to perform whatever it pleased Him to do.

    "And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee." She delivered her message as quietly as possible; for the priests and rulers were prepared to arrest Jesus when opportunity offered. The cries of the mourners prevented her words from being heard.

    On hearing the message, Mary rose hastily, and with an eager look on her face left the room. Thinking that she had gone to the grave to weep, the mourners followed her. When she reached the place where Jesus was waiting, she knelt at His feet, and said with quivering lips, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." The cries of the mourners were painful to her; for she longed for a few quiet words alone with Jesus. But she knew of the envy and jealousy cherished in the hearts of some present against Christ, and she was restrained from fully expressing her grief.

    "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled." He read the hearts of all assembled. He saw that with many, what passed as a demonstration of grief was only pretense. He knew that some in the company, now manifesting hypocritical sorrow, would erelong be planning the death, not only of the mighty miracle worker, but of the one to be raised from the dead. Christ could have stripped from them their robe of pretended sorrow. But He restrained His righteous indignation. The words He could in all truth have spoken, He did not speak, because of the loved one kneeling at His feet in sorrow, who truly believed in Him.

    "Where have ye laid him?" He asked, "They said unto Him, Lord, come and see." Together they proceeded to the grave. It was a mournful scene. Lazarus had been much beloved, and his sisters wept for him with breaking hearts, while those who had been his friends mingled their tears with those of the bereaved sisters. In view of this human distress, and of the fact that the afflicted friends could mourn over the dead while the Saviour of the world stood by,--"Jesus wept." Though He was the Son of God, yet He had taken human nature upon Him, and He was moved by human sorrow. His tender, pitying heart is ever awakened to sympathy by suffering. He weeps with those that weep, and rejoices with those that rejoice.

    But it was not only because of His human sympathy with Mary and Martha that Jesus wept. In His tears there was a sorrow as high above human sorrow as the heavens are higher than the earth. Christ did not weep for Lazarus; for He was about to call him from the grave. He wept because many of those now mourning for Lazarus would soon plan the death of Him who was the resurrection and the life. But how unable were the unbelieving Jews rightly to interpret His tears! Some, who could see nothing more than the outward circumstances of the scene before Him as a cause for His grief, said softly, "Behold how He loved him!" Others, seeking to drop the seed of unbelief into the hearts of those present, said derisively, "Could not this Man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?"

    If it were in Christ's power to save Lazarus, why then did He suffer him to die? With prophetic eye Christ saw the enmity of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He knew that they were premeditating His death. He knew that some of those now apparently so sympathetic would soon close against themselves the door of hope and the gates of the city of God. A scene was about to take place, in His humiliation and crucifixion, that would result in the destruction of Jerusalem, and at that time none would make lamentation for the dead. The retribution that was coming upon Jerusalem was plainly portrayed before Him. He saw Jerusalem compassed by the Roman legions. He knew that many now weeping for Lazarus would die in the siege of the city, and in their death there would be no hope.

    It was not only because of the scene before Him that Christ wept. The weight of the grief of ages was upon Him. He saw the terrible effects of the transgression of God's law. He saw that in the history of the world, beginning with the death of Abel, the conflict between good and evil had been unceasing. Looking down the years to come, He saw the suffering and sorrow, tears and death, that were to be the lot of men. His heart was pierced with the pain of the human family of all ages and in all lands. The woes of the sinful race were heavy upon His soul, and the fountain of His tears was broken up as He longed to relieve all their distress.

    "Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the grave." Lazarus had been laid in a cave in a rock, and a massive stone had been placed before the entrance. "Take ye away the stone," Christ said. Thinking that He only wished to look upon the dead, Martha objected, saying that the body had been buried four days, and corruption had already begun its work. This statement, made before the raising of Lazarus, left no room for Christ's enemies to say that a deception had been practiced. In the past the Pharisees had circulated false statements regarding the most wonderful manifestations of the power of God. When Christ raised to life the daughter of Jairus, He had said, "The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth." Mark 5:39. As she had been sick only a short time, and was raised immediately after death, the Pharisees declared that the child had not been dead; that Christ Himself had said she was only asleep. They had tried to make it appear that Christ could not cure disease, that there was foul play about His miracles. But in this case, none could deny that Lazarus was dead. When the Lord is about to do a work, Satan moves upon someone to object. "Take ye away the stone," Christ said. As far as possible, prepare the way for My work. But Martha's positive and ambitious nature asserted itself. She was unwilling that the decomposing body should be brought to view. The human heart is slow to understand Christ's words, and Martha's faith had not grasped the true meaning of His promise.

    Christ reproved Martha, but His words were spoken with the utmost gentleness. "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" Why should you doubt in regard to My power? Why reason in opposition to My requirements? You have My word. If you will believe, you shall see the glory of God. Natural impossibilities cannot prevent the work of the Omnipotent One. Skepticism and unbelief are not humility. Implicit belief in Christ's word is true humility, true self-surrender.

    "Take ye away the stone." Christ could have commanded the stone to remove, and it would have obeyed His voice. He could have bidden the angels who were close by His side to do this. At His bidding, invisible hands would have removed the stone. But it was to be taken away by human hands. Thus Christ would show that humanity is to co-operate with divinity. What human power can do divine power is not summoned to do. God does not dispense with man's aid. He strengthens him, co-operating with him as he uses the powers and capabilities given him.

    The command is obeyed. The stone is rolled away. Everything is done openly and deliberately. All are given a chance to see that no deception is practiced. There lies the body of Lazarus in its rocky grave, cold and silent in death. The cries of the mourners are hushed. Surprised and expectant, the company stand around the sepulcher, waiting to see what is to follow.

    Calmly Christ stands before the tomb. A sacred solemnity rests upon all present. Christ steps closer to the sepulcher. Lifting His eyes to heaven, He says, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me." Not long before this, Christ's enemies had accused Him of blasphemy, and had taken up stones to cast at Him because He claimed to be the Son of God. They accused Him of performing miracles by the power of Satan. But here Christ claims God as His Father, and with perfect confidence declares that He is the Son of God. In all that He did, Christ was co-operating with His Father. Ever He had been careful to make it evident that He did not work independently; it was by faith and prayer that He wrought His miracles. Christ desired all to know His relationship with His Father. "Father," He said, "I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me." Here the disciples and the people were to be given the most convincing evidence in regard to the relationship existing between Christ and God. They were to be shown that Christ's claim was not a deception.

    "And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." His voice, clear and penetrating, pierces the ear of the dead. As He speaks, divinity flashes through humanity. In His face, which is lighted up by the glory of God, the people see the assurance of His power. Every eye is fastened on the entrance to the cave. Every ear is bent to catch the slightest sound. With intense and painful interest all wait for the test of Christ's divinity, the evidence that is to substantiate His claim to be the Son of God, or to extinguish the hope forever.

    There is a stir in the silent tomb, and he who was dead stands at the door of the sepulcher. His movements are impeded by the graveclothes in which he was laid away, and Christ says to the astonished spectators, "Loose him, and let him go." Again they are shown that the human worker is to co-operate with God. Humanity is to work for humanity. Lazarus is set free, and stands before the company, not as one emaciated from disease, and with feeble, tottering limbs, but as a man in the prime of life, and in the vigor of a noble manhood. His eyes beam with intelligence and with love for his Saviour. He casts himself in adoration at the feet of Jesus.

    The beholders are at first speechless with amazement. Then there follows an inexpressible scene of rejoicing and thanksgiving. The sisters receive their brother back to life as the gift of God, and with joyful tears they brokenly express their thanks to the Saviour. But while brother, sisters, and friends are rejoicing in this reunion, Jesus withdraws from the scene. When they look for the Life-giver, He is not to be found.

    Chapter 59

    Bethany was so near Jerusalem that the news of the raising of Lazarus was soon carried to the city. Through spies who had witnessed the miracle the Jewish rulers were speedily in possession of the facts. A meeting of the Sanhedrin was at once called to decide as to what should be done. Christ had now fully made manifest His control of death and the grave. That mighty miracle was the crowning evidence offered by God to men that He had sent His Son into the world for their salvation. It was a demonstration of divine power sufficient to convince every mind that was under the control of reason and enlightened conscience. Many who witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus were led to believe on Jesus. But the hatred of the priests against Him was intensified. They had rejected all lesser evidence of His divinity, and they were only enraged at this new miracle. The dead had been raised in the full light of day, and before a crowd of witnesses. No artifice could explain away such evidence. For this very reason the enmity of the priests grew deadlier. They were more than ever determined to put a stop to Christ's work.

    The Sadducees, though not favorable to Christ, had not been so full of malignity toward Him as were the Pharisees. Their hatred had not been so bitter. But they were now thoroughly alarmed. They did not believe in a resurrection of the dead. Producing so-called science, they had reasoned that it would be an impossibility for a dead body to be brought to life. But by a few words from Christ their theory had been overthrown. They were shown to be ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They could see no possibility of removing the impression made on the people by the miracle. How could men be turned away from Him who had prevailed to rob the grave of its dead? Lying reports were put in circulation, but the miracle could not be denied, and how to counteract its effect they knew not.

    Thus far the Sadducees had not encouraged the plan of putting Christ to death. But after the resurrection of Lazarus they decided that only by His death could His fearless denunciations against them be stopped. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection, and they could not but see that this miracle was an evidence that the Messiah was among them. But they had ever opposed Christ's work. From the first they had hated Him because He had exposed their hypocritical pretensions. He had torn aside the cloak of rigorous rites under which their moral deformity was hidden. The pure religion that He taught had condemned their hollow professions of piety. They thirsted to be revenged upon Him for His pointed rebukes. They had tried to provoke Him to say or do something that would give them occasion to condemn Him. Several times they had attempted to stone Him, but He had quietly withdrawn, and they had lost sight of Him.

    The miracles He performed on the Sabbath were all for the relief of the afflicted, but the Pharisees had sought to condemn Him as a Sabbathbreaker. They had tried to arouse the Herodians against Him. They represented that He was seeking to set up a rival kingdom, and consulted with them how to destroy Him. To excite the Romans against Him, they had represented Him as trying to subvert their authority. They had tried every pretext to cut Him off from influencing the people. But so far their attempts had been foiled. The multitudes who witnessed His works of mercy and heard His pure and holy teachings knew that these were not the deeds and words of a Sabbathbreaker or blasphemer. Even the officers sent by the Pharisees had been so influenced by His words that they could not lay hands on Him. In desperation the Jews had finally passed an edict that any man who professed faith in Jesus should be cast out of the synagogue.

    So, as the priests, the rulers, and the elders gathered for consultation, it was their fixed determination to silence Him who did such marvelous works that all men wondered. Pharisees and Sadducees were more nearly united than ever before. Divided hitherto, they became one in their opposition to Christ. Nicodemus and Joseph had, in former councils, prevented the condemnation of Jesus, and for this reason they were not now summoned. There were present at the council other influential men who believed on Jesus, but their influence prevailed nothing against that of the malignant Pharisees. Yet the members of the council were not all agreed. The Sanhedrin was not at this time a legal assembly. It existed only by tolerance. Some of its number questioned the wisdom of putting Christ to death. They feared that this would excite an insurrection among the people, causing the Romans to withhold further favors from the priesthood, and to take from them the power they still held. The Sadducees were united in their hatred of Christ, yet they were inclined to be cautious in their movements, fearing that the Romans would deprive them of their high standing.

    In this council, assembled to plan the death of Christ, the Witness was present who heard the boastful words of Nebuchadnezzar, who witnessed the idolatrous feast of Belshazzar, who was present when Christ in Nazareth announced Himself the Anointed One. This Witness was now impressing the rulers with the work they were doing. Events in the life of Christ rose up before them with a distinctness that alarmed them. They remembered the scene in the temple, when Jesus, then a child of twelve, stood before the learned doctors of the law, asking them questions at which they wondered. The miracle just performed bore witness that Jesus was none other than the Son of God. In their true significance, the Old Testament Scriptures regarding Christ flashed before their minds. Perplexed and troubled, the rulers asked, "What do we?" There was a division in the council. Under the impression of the Holy Spirit, the priests and rulers could not banish the conviction that they were fighting against God.

    While the council was at the height of its perplexity, Caiaphas the high priest arose. Caiaphas was a proud and cruel man, overbearing and intolerant. Among his family connections were Sadducees, proud, bold, reckless, full of ambition and cruelty, which they hid under a cloak of pretended righteousness. Caiaphas had studied the prophecies, and although ignorant of their true meaning, he spoke with great authority and assurance: "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." Even if Jesus were innocent, urged the high priest, He must be put out of the way. He was troublesome, drawing the people to Himself, and lessening the authority of the rulers. He was only one; it was better that He should die than that the authority of the rulers should be weakened. If the people were to lose confidence in their rulers, the national power would be destroyed.

    Caiaphas urged that after this miracle the followers of Jesus would likely rise in revolt. The Romans will then come, he said, and will close our temple, and abolish our laws, destroying us as a nation. What is the life of this Galilean worth in comparison with the life of the nation? If He stands in the way of Israel's well-being, is it not doing God a service to remove Him? Better that one man perish than that the whole nation be destroyed. In declaring that one man should die for the nation, Caiaphas indicated that he had some knowledge of the prophecies, although it was very limited. But John, in his account of this scene, takes up the prophecy, and shows its broad and deep significance. He says, "And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." How blindly did the haughty Caiaphas acknowledge the Saviour's mission!

    On the lips of Caiaphas this most precious truth was turned into a lie. The policy he advocated was based on a principle borrowed from heathenism. Among the heathen, the dim consciousness that one was to die for the human race had led to the offering of human sacrifices. So Caiaphas proposed by the sacrifice of Jesus to save the guilty nation, not from transgression, but in transgression, that they might continue in sin. And by his reasoning he thought to silence the remonstrances of those who might dare to say that as yet nothing worthy of death had been found in Jesus.

    At this council Christ's enemies had been deeply convicted. The Holy Spirit had impressed their minds. But Satan strove to gain control of them. He urged upon their notice the grievances they had suffered on account of Christ. How little He had honored their righteousness. He presented a righteousness far greater, which all who would be children of God must possess. Taking no notice of their forms and ceremonies, He had encouraged sinners to go directly to God as a merciful Father, and make known their wants. Thus, in their opinion, He had set aside the priesthood. He had refused to acknowledge the theology of the rabbinical schools. He had exposed the evil practices of the priests, and had irreparably hurt their influence. He had injured the effect of their maxims and traditions, declaring that though they strictly enforced the ritual law, they made void the law of God.

    All this Satan now brought to their minds. Satan told them that in order to maintain their authority, they must put Jesus to death. This counsel they followed. The fact that they might lose the power they then exercised, was, they thought, sufficient reason for coming to some decision. With the exception of a few who dared not speak their minds, the Sanhedrin received the words of Caiaphas as the words of God. Relief came to the council; the discord ceased. They resolved to put Christ to death at the first favorable opportunity. In rejecting the proof of the divinity of Jesus, these priests and rulers had locked themselves in impenetrable darkness. They had come wholly under the sway of Satan, to be hurried by him over the brink of eternal ruin. Yet such was their deception that they were well pleased with themselves. They regarded themselves as patriots, who were seeking the nation's salvation.

    The Sanhedrin feared, however, to take rash measures against Jesus, lest the people should become incensed, and the violence meditated toward Him should fall upon themselves. On this account the council delayed to execute the sentence they had pronounced. The Saviour understood the plotting of the priests. He knew that they longed to remove Him, and that their purpose would soon be accomplished. But it was not His place to hasten the crisis, and He withdrew from that region, taking the disciples with Him. Thus by His own example Jesus again enforced the instruction He had given to the disciples, "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another." Matt. 10:23. There was a wide field in which to work for the salvation of souls; and unless loyalty to Him required it, the Lord's servants were not to imperil their lives.

    Jesus had now given three years of public labor to the world. His example of self-denial and disinterested benevolence was before them. His life of purity, of suffering and devotion, was known to all. Yet this short period of three years was as long as the world could endure the presence of its Redeemer.

    His life had been one of persecution and insult. Driven from Bethlehem by a jealous king, rejected by His own people at Nazareth, condemned to death without a cause at Jerusalem, Jesus, with His few faithful followers, found a temporary asylum in a strange city. He who was ever touched by human woe, who healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb, who fed the hungry and comforted the sorrowful, was driven from the people He had labored to save. He who walked upon the heaving billows, and by a word silenced their angry roaring, who cast out devils that in departing acknowledged Him to be the Son of God, who broke the slumbers of the dead, who held thousands entranced by His words of wisdom, was unable to reach the hearts of those who were blinded by prejudice and hatred, and who stubbornly rejected the light.

    Chapter 60

    The time of the Passover was drawing near, and again Jesus turned toward Jerusalem. In His heart was the peace of perfect oneness with the Father's will, and with eager steps He pressed on toward the place of sacrifice. But a sense of mystery, of doubt and fear, fell upon the disciples. The Saviour "went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid."

    Again Christ called the twelve about Him, and with greater definiteness than ever before, He opened to them His betrayal and sufferings. "Behold," He said, "we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken."

    Had they not just before proclaimed everywhere, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand"? Had not Christ Himself promised that many should sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God? Had He not promised to all who had left aught for His sake a hundredfold in this life, and a part in His kingdom? And had He not given to the twelve the special promise of positions of high honor in His kingdom,--to sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel? Even now He had said that all things written in the prophets concerning Him should be fulfilled. And had not the prophets foretold the glory of the Messiah's reign? In the light of these thoughts, His words in regard to betrayal, persecution, and death seemed vague and shadowy.

    Whatever difficulties might intervene, they believed that the kingdom was soon to be established. John, the son of Zebedee, had been one of the first two disciples who had followed Jesus. He and his brother James had been among the first group who had left all for His service. Gladly they had forsaken home and friends that they might be with Him; they had walked and talked with Him; they had been with Him in the privacy of the home, and in the public assemblies. He had quieted their fears, delivered them from danger, relieved their sufferings, comforted their grief, and with patience and tenderness had taught them, till their hearts seemed linked with His, and in the ardor of their love they longed to be nearest to Him in His kingdom. At every possible opportunity, John took his place next the Saviour, and James longed to be honored with as close connection with Him.

    Their mother was a follower of Christ, and had ministered to Him freely of her substance. With a mother's love and ambition for her sons, she coveted for them the most honored place in the new kingdom. For this she encouraged them to make request. Together the mother and her sons came to Jesus, asking that He would grant a petition on which their hearts were set. "What would ye that I should do for you?" He questioned. The mother answered, "Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom."

    Jesus bears tenderly with them, not rebuking their selfishness in seeking preference above their brethren. He reads their hearts, He knows the depth of their attachment to Him. Their love is not a mere human affection; though defiled by the earthliness of its human channel, it is an outflowing from the fountain of His own redeeming love. He will not rebuke, but deepen and purify. He said, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They recall His mysterious words, pointing to trial and suffering, yet answer confidently, "We are able." They would count it highest honor to prove their loyalty by sharing all that is to befall their Lord.

    "Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with," He said; before Him a cross instead of a throne, two malefactors His companions at His right hand and His left. John and James were to share with their Master in suffering; the one, first of the brethren to perish with the sword; the other, longest of all to endure toil, and reproach, and persecution.

    "But to sit on My right hand, and on My left," He continued, "is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." In the kingdom of God, position is not gained through favoritism. It is not earned, nor is it received through an arbitrary bestowal. It is the result of character. The crown and the throne are the tokens of a condition attained; they are the tokens of self-conquest through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Long afterward, when the disciple had been brought into sympathy with Christ through the fellowship of His sufferings, the Lord revealed to John what is the condition of nearness in His kingdom. "To him that overcometh," Christ said, "will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne." "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, . . . and I will write upon him My new name." Rev. 3:21, 12. So Paul the apostle wrote, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day." 2 Tim. 4:6-8.

    The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who on earth has drunk most deeply of the spirit of His self-sacrificing love,--love that "vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, . . . seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil" (1 Cor. 13:4, 5),--love that moves the disciple, as it moved our Lord, to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice, even unto death, for the saving of humanity. This spirit was made manifest in the life of Paul. He said, "For to me to live is Christ;" for his life revealed Christ to men; "and to die is gain,"--gain to Christ; death itself would make manifest the power of His grace, and gather souls to Him. "Christ shall be magnified in my body," he said, "whether it be by life or by death." Phil. 1:21, 20.

    When the ten heard of the request of James and John, they were much displeased. The highest place in the kingdom was just what every one of them was seeking for himself, and they were angry that the two disciples had gained a seeming advantage over them.

    Again the strife as to which should be greatest seemed about to be renewed, when Jesus, calling them to Him, said to the indignant disciples, "Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you."

    In the kingdoms of the world, position meant self-aggrandizement. The people were supposed to exist for the benefit of the ruling classes. Influence, wealth, education, were so many means of gaining control of the masses for the use of the leaders. The higher classes were to think, decide, enjoy, and rule; the lower were to obey and serve. Religion, like all things else, was a matter of authority. The people were expected to believe and practice as their superiors directed. The right of man as man, to think and act for himself, was wholly unrecognized.

    Christ was establishing a kingdom on different principles. He called men, not to authority, but to service, the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak. Power, position, talent, education, placed their possessor under the greater obligation to serve his fellows. To even the lowliest of Christ's disciples it is said, "All things are for your sakes." 2 Cor. 4:15.

    "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." Among His disciples Christ was in every sense a caretaker, a burden bearer. He shared their poverty, He practiced self-denial on their account, He went before them to smooth the more difficult places, and soon He would consummate His work on earth by laying down His life. The principle on which Christ acted is to actuate the members of the church which is His body. The plan and ground of salvation is love. In the kingdom of Christ those are greatest who follow the example He has given, and act as shepherds of His flock.

    The words of Paul reveal the true dignity and honor of the Christian life: "Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all," "not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." 1 Cor. 9:19; 10:33.

    In matters of conscience the soul must be left untrammeled. No one is to control another's mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think, and to follow his own convictions. "Every one of us shall give account of himself to God." No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another. In all matters where principle is involved, "let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Rom. 14:12, 5. In Christ's kingdom there is no lordly oppression, no compulsion of manner. The angels of heaven do not come to the earth to rule, and to exact homage, but as messengers of mercy, to co-operate with men in uplifting humanity. The principles and the very words of the Saviour's teaching, in their divine beauty, dwelt in the memory of the beloved disciple. To his latest days the burden of John's testimony to the churches was, "This is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 John 3:11, 16.

    This was the spirit that pervaded the early church. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, "the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own." "Neither was there any among them that lacked." "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all." Acts 4:32, 34, 33.

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    orthodoxymoron
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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:04 am

    For several years, I've been thinking of Steven Spielberg's first-movie 'Duel' (1971) as a Parable of Humanity v Evil-Empire. The car-driver's name is similar to mine, so I've tended to make it personal. When I watched the science-fiction movie 'Paul', I noticed a scene wherein 'Duel' was playing in a theater!! This morning, I noticed a 1974 sermon by Morris Venden (one of my favorite preachers), titled 'The Diesel Truck Parable'!! Is all of the above coincidental?? Morris Venden preached another parable, titled 'Building Under Construction', but I can't find a recording or transcript. It might be in one of the videos I've been recently posting, but in a nutshell, it describes the conflict over building a building (as a fortress against Satan and the World). No one can agree on the plans or actual construction methods, so the building doesn't get properly built (as a fortress against the coming enemy). But the punch-line is "What No One Realized, Is That the Enemy Had Already Come". 'RA' said he was familiar with this parable. Honest. BTW -- Is It Time For Me To "GET OUT OF DODGE"?? What Would David Mann Do??


    The triumphal ride of Christ into Jerusalem was the dim foreshadowing of His coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory, amid the triumph of angels and the rejoicing of the saints. Then will be fulfilled the words of Christ to the priests and Pharisees: "Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matt. 23:39. In prophetic vision Zechariah was shown that day of final triumph; and he beheld also the doom of those who at the first advent had rejected Christ: "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." Zech. 12:10. This scene Christ foresaw when He beheld the city and wept over it. In the temporal ruin of Jerusalem He saw the final destruction of that people who were guilty of the blood of the Son of God.

    The disciples saw the hatred of the Jews to Christ, but they did not yet see to what it would lead. They did not yet understand the true condition of Israel, nor comprehend the retribution that was to fall upon Jerusalem. This Christ opened to them by a significant object lesson. The last appeal to Jerusalem had been in vain. The priests and rulers had heard the prophetic voice of the past echoed by the multitude, in answer to the question, "Who is this?" but they did not accept it as the voice of Inspiration. In anger and amazement they tried to silence the people. There were Roman officers in the throng, and to them His enemies denounced Jesus as the leader of a rebellion. They represented that He was about to take possession of the temple, and reign as king in Jerusalem.

    But the calm voice of Jesus hushed for a moment the clamorous throng as He again declared that He had not come to establish a temporal rule; He should soon ascend to His Father, and His accusers would see Him no more until He should come again in glory. Then, too late for their salvation, they would acknowledge Him. These words Jesus spoke with sadness and with singular power. The Roman officers were silenced and subdued. Their hearts, though strangers to divine influence, were moved as they had never been moved before. In the calm, solemn face of Jesus they read love, benevolence, and quiet dignity. They were stirred by a sympathy they could not understand. Instead of arresting Jesus, they were more inclined to pay Him homage. Turning upon the priests and rulers, they charged them with creating the disturbance. These leaders, chagrined and defeated, turned to the people with their complaints, and disputed angrily among themselves.

    Meanwhile Jesus passed unnoticed to the temple. All was quiet there, for the scene upon Olivet had called away the people. For a short time Jesus remained at the temple, looking upon it with sorrowful eyes. Then He withdrew with His disciples, and returned to Bethany. When the people sought for Him to place Him on the throne, He was not to be found. The entire night Jesus spent in prayer, and in the morning He came again to the temple. On the way He passed a fig orchard. He was hungry, "and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find anything thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet."

    It was not the season for ripe figs, except in certain localities; and on the highlands about Jerusalem it might truly be said, "The time of figs was not yet." But in the orchard to which Jesus came, one tree appeared to be in advance of all the others. It was already covered with leaves. It is the nature of the fig tree that before the leaves open, the growing fruit appears. Therefore this tree in full leaf gave promise of well-developed fruit. But its appearance was deceptive. Upon searching its branches, from the lowest bough to the topmost twig, Jesus found "nothing but leaves." It was a mass of pretentious foliage, nothing more. Christ uttered against it a withering curse. "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever," He said. The next morning, as the Saviour and His disciples were again on their way to the city, the blasted branches and drooping leaves attracted their attention. "Master," said Peter, "behold, the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away."

    Christ's act in cursing the fig tree had astonished the disciples. It seemed to them unlike His ways and works. Often they had heard Him declare that He came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. They remembered His words, "The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:56. His wonderful works had been done to restore, never to destroy. The disciples had known Him only as the Restorer, the Healer. This act stood alone. What was its purpose? they questioned.

    God "delighteth in mercy." "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Micah 7:18; Ezek. 33:11. To Him the work of destruction and the denunciation of judgment is a "strange work." Isa. 28:21. But it is in mercy and love that He lifts the veil from the future, and reveals to men the results of a course of sin.

    The cursing of the fig tree was an acted parable. That barren tree, flaunting its pretentious foliage in the very face of Christ, was a symbol of the Jewish nation. The Saviour desired to make plain to His disciples the cause and the certainty of Israel's doom. For this purpose He invested the tree with moral qualities, and made it the expositor of divine truth. The Jews stood forth distinct from all other nations, professing allegiance to God. They had been specially favored by Him, and they laid claim to righteousness above every other people. But they were corrupted by the love of the world and the greed of gain. They boasted of their knowledge, but they were ignorant of the requirements of God, and were full of hypocrisy. Like the barren tree, they spread their pretentious branches aloft, luxuriant in appearance, and beautiful to the eye, but they yielded "nothing but leaves."

    The Jewish religion, with its magnificent temple, its sacred altars, its mitered priests and impressive ceremonies, was indeed fair in outward appearance, but humility, love, and benevolence were lacking. All the trees in the fig orchard were destitute of fruit; but the leafless trees raised no expectation, and caused no disappointment. By these trees the Gentiles were represented. They were as destitute as were the Jews of godliness; but they had not professed to serve God. They made no boastful pretensions to goodness. They were blind to the works and ways of God. With them the time of figs was not yet. They were still waiting for a day which would bring them light and hope. The Jews, who had received greater blessings from God, were held accountable for their abuse of these gifts. The privileges of which they boasted only increased their guilt.

    Jesus had come to the fig tree hungry, to find food. So He had come to Israel, hungering to find in them the fruits of righteousness. He had lavished on them His gifts, that they might bear fruit for the blessing of the world. Every opportunity and privilege had been granted them, and in return He sought their sympathy and co-operation in His work of grace. He longed to see in them self-sacrifice and compassion, zeal for God, and a deep yearning of soul for the salvation of their fellow men. Had they kept the law of God, they would have done the same unselfish work that Christ did. But love to God and man was eclipsed by pride and self-sufficiency. They brought ruin upon themselves by refusing to minister to others. The treasures of truth which God had committed to them, they did not give to the world. In the barren tree they might read both their sin and its punishment. Withered beneath the Saviour's curse, standing forth sere and blasted, dried up by the roots, the fig tree showed what the Jewish people would be when the grace of God was removed from them. Refusing to impart blessing, they would no longer receive it. "O Israel," the Lord says, "thou hast destroyed thyself." Hosea 13:9.

    The warning is for all time. Christ's act in cursing the tree which His own power had created stands as a warning to all churches and to all Christians. No one can live the law of God without ministering to others. But there are many who do not live out Christ's merciful, unselfish life. Some who think themselves excellent Christians do not understand what constitutes service for God. They plan and study to please themselves. They act only in reference to self. Time is of value to them only as they can gather for themselves. In all the affairs of life this is their object. Not for others but for themselves do they minister. God created them to live in a world where unselfish service must be performed. He designed them to help their fellow men in every possible way. But self is so large that they cannot see anything else. They are not in touch with humanity. Those who thus live for self are like the fig tree, which made every pretension but was fruitless. They observe the forms of worship, but without repentance or faith. In profession they honor the law of God, but obedience is lacking. They say, but do not. In the sentence pronounced on the fig tree Christ demonstrates how hateful in His eyes is this vain pretense. He declares that the open sinner is less guilty than is he who professes to serve God, but who bears no fruit to His glory.

    The parable of the fig tree, spoken before Christ's visit to Jerusalem, had a direct connection with the lesson He taught in cursing the fruitless tree. For the barren tree of the parable the gardener pleaded, Let it alone this year, until I shall dig about it and dress it; and if it bear fruit, well; but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Increased care was to be given the unfruitful tree. It was to have every advantage. But if it remained fruitless, nothing could save it from destruction. In the parable the result of the gardener's work was not foretold. It depended upon that people to whom Christ's words were spoken. They were represented by the fruitless tree, and it rested with them to decide their own destiny. Every advantage that Heaven could bestow was given them, but they did not profit by their increased blessings. By Christ's act in cursing the barren fig tree, the result was shown. They had determined their own destruction.

    For more than a thousand years the Jewish nation had abused God's mercy and invited His judgments. They had rejected His warnings and slain His prophets. For these sins the people of Christ's day made themselves responsible by following the same course. In the rejection of their present mercies and warnings lay the guilt of that generation. The fetters which the nation had for centuries been forging, the people of Christ's day were fastening upon themselves. In every age there is given to men their day of light and privilege, a probationary time in which they may become reconciled to God. But there is a limit to this grace. Mercy may plead for years and be slighted and rejected; but there comes a time when mercy makes her last plea. The heart becomes so hardened that it ceases to respond to the Spirit of God. Then the sweet, winning voice entreats the sinner no longer, and reproofs and warnings cease.

    That day had come to Jerusalem. Jesus wept in anguish over the doomed city, but He could not deliver her. He had exhausted every resource. In rejecting the warnings of God's Spirit, Israel had rejected the only means of help. There was no other power by which they could be delivered. The Jewish nation was a symbol of the people of all ages who scorn the pleadings of Infinite Love. The tears of Christ when He wept over Jerusalem were for the sins of all time. In the judgments pronounced upon Israel, those who reject the reproofs and warnings of God's Holy Spirit, may read their own condemnation. In this generation there are many who are treading on the same ground as were the unbelieving Jews. They have witnessed the manifestation of the power of God; the Holy Spirit has spoken to their hearts; but they cling to their unbelief and resistance. God sends them warnings and reproof, but they are not willing to confess their errors, and they reject His message and His messenger. The very means He uses for their recovery becomes to them a stone of stumbling.

    The prophets of God were hated by apostate Israel because through them their hidden sins were brought to light. Ahab regarded Elijah as his enemy because the prophet was faithful to rebuke the king's secret iniquities. So today the servant of Christ,the reprover of sin, meets with scorn and rebuffs. Bible truth, the religion of Christ, struggles against a strong current of moral impurity. Prejudice is even stronger in the hearts of men now than in Christ's day. Christ did not fulfill men's expectations; His life was a rebuke to their sins, and they rejected Him. So now the truth of God's word does not harmonize with men's practices and their natural inclination, and thousands reject its light. Men prompted by Satan cast doubt upon God's word, and choose to exercise their independent judgment. They choose darkness rather than light, but they do it at the peril of their souls. Those who caviled at the words of Christ, found ever-increased cause for cavil, until they turned from the Truth and the Life.

    So it is now. God does not propose to remove every objection which the carnal heart may bring against His truth. To those who refuse the precious rays of light which would illuminate the darkness, the mysteries of God's word remain such forever. From them the truth is hidden. They walk blindly, and know not the ruin before them. Christ overlooked the world and all ages from the height of Olivet; and His words are applicable to every soul who slights the pleadings of divine mercy. Scorner of His love, He addresses you today. It is "thou, even thou," who shouldest know the things that belong to thy peace. Christ is shedding bitter tears for you, who have no tears to shed for yourself. Already that fatal hardness of heart which destroyed the Pharisees is manifest in you. And every evidence of the grace of God, every ray of divine light, is either melting and subduing the soul, or confirming it in hopeless impenitence.

    Christ foresaw that Jerusalem would remain obdurate and impenitent; yet all the guilt, all the consequences of rejected mercy, lay at her own door. Thus it will be with every soul who is following the same course. The Lord declares, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My law, but rejected it." Hosea 13:9; Jer. 6:19.

    Chapter 65

    At the beginning of His ministry, Christ had driven from the temple those who defiled it by their unholy traffic; and His stern and godlike demeanor had struck terror to the hearts of the scheming traders. At the close of His mission He came again to the temple, and found it still desecrated as before. The condition of things was even worse than before. The outer court of the temple was like a vast cattle yard. With the cries of the animals and the sharp chinking of coin was mingled the sound of angry altercation between traffickers, and among them were heard the voices of men in sacred office. The dignitaries of the temple were themselves engaged in buying and selling and the exchange of money. So completely were they controlled by their greed of gain that in the sight of God they were no better than thieves.

    Little did the priests and rulers realize the solemnity of the work which it was theirs to perform. At every Passover and Feast of Tabernacles, thousands of animals were slain, and their blood was caught by the priests and poured upon the altar. The Jews had become familiar with the offering of blood, and had almost lost sight of the fact that it was sin which made necessary all this shedding of the blood of beasts. They did not discern that it prefigured the blood of God's dear Son, which was to be shed for the life of the world, and that by the offering of sacrifices men were to be directed to a crucified Redeemer. Jesus looked upon the innocent victims of sacrifice, and saw how the Jews had made these great convocations scenes of bloodshed and cruelty. In place of humble repentance of sin, they had multiplied the sacrifice of beasts, as if God could be honored by a heartless service. The priests and rulers had hardened their hearts through selfishness and avarice. The very symbols pointing to the Lamb of God they had made a means of getting gain. Thus in the eyes of the people the sacredness of the sacrificial service had been in a great measure destroyed. The indignation of Jesus was stirred; He knew that His blood, so soon to be shed for the sins of the world, would be as little appreciated by the priests and elders as was the blood of beasts which they kept incessantly flowing.

    Against these practices Christ had spoken through the prophets. Samuel had said, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." And Isaiah, seeing in prophetic vision the apostasy of the Jews, addressed them as rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah: "Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread My courts?" "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." 1 Sam. 15:22; Isa. 1:10-12, 16,17.

    He who had Himself given these prophecies now for the last time repeated the warning. In fulfillment of prophecy the people had proclaimed Jesus king of Israel. He had received their homage, and accepted the office of king. In this character He must act. He knew that His efforts to reform a corrupt priesthood would be in vain; nevertheless His work must be done; to an unbelieving people the evidence of His divine mission must be given.

    Again the piercing look of Jesus swept over the desecrated court of the temple. All eyes were turned toward Him. Priest and ruler, Pharisee and Gentile, looked with astonishment and awe upon Him who stood before them with the majesty of heaven's King. Divinity flashed through humanity, investing Christ with a dignity and glory He had never manifested before. Those standing nearest Him drew as far away as the crowd would permit. Except for a few of His disciples, the Saviour stood alone. Every sound was hushed. The deep silence seemed unbearable. Christ spoke with a power that swayed the people like a mighty tempest: "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." His voice sounded like a trumpet through the temple. The displeasure of His countenance seemed like consuming fire. With authority He commanded, "Take these things hence." John 2:16.

    Three years before, the rulers of the temple had been ashamed of their flight before the command of Jesus. They had since wondered at their own fears, and their unquestioning obedience to a single humble Man. They had felt that it was impossible for their undignified surrender to be repeated. Yet they were now more terrified than before, and in greater haste to obey His command. There were none who dared question His authority. Priests and traders fled from His presence, driving their cattle before them. On the way from the temple they were met by a throng who came with their sick inquiring for the Great Healer. The report given by the fleeing people caused some of these to turn back. They feared to meet One so powerful, whose very look had driven the priests and rulers from His presence. But a large number pressed through the hurrying crowd, eager to reach Him who was their only hope. When the multitude fled from the temple, many had remained behind. These were now joined by the newcomers. Again the temple court was filled by the sick and the dying, and once more Jesus ministered to them.

    After a season the priests and rulers ventured back to the temple. When the panic had abated, they were seized with anxiety to know what would be the next movement of Jesus. They expected Him to take the throne of David. Quietly returning to the temple, they heard the voices of men, women, and children praising God. Upon entering, they stood transfixed before the wonderful scene. They saw the sick healed, the blind restored to sight, and deaf receive their hearing, and the crippled leap for joy. The children were foremost in the rejoicing. Jesus had healed their maladies; He had clasped them in His arms, received their kisses of grateful affection, and some of them had fallen asleep upon His breast as He was teaching the people. Now with glad voices the children sounded His praise. They repeated the hosannas of the day before, and waved palm branches triumphantly before the Saviour. The temple echoed and re-echoed with their acclamations, "Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord!" "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, and having salvation!" Ps. 118:26; Zech. 9:9. "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

    The sound of these happy, unrestrained voices was an offense to the rulers of the temple. They set about putting a stop to such demonstrations. They represented to the people that the house of God was desecrated by the feet of the children and the shouts of rejoicing. Finding that their words made no impression on the people, the rulers appealed to Christ: "Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?" Prophecy had foretold that Christ should be proclaimed as king, and that word must be fulfilled. The priests and rulers of Israel refused to herald His glory, and God moved upon the children to be His witnesses. Had the voices of the children been silent, the very pillars of the temple would have sounded the Saviour's praise. The Pharisees were utterly perplexed and disconcerted. One whom they could not intimidate was in command. Jesus had taken His position as guardian of the temple. Never before had He assumed such kingly authority. Never before had His words and works possessed so great power. He had done marvelous works throughout Jerusalem, but never before in a manner so solemn and impressive. In presence of the people who had witnessed His wonderful works, the priests and rulers dared not show Him open hostility. Though enraged and confounded by His answer, they were unable to accomplish anything further that day.

    The next morning the Sanhedrin again considered what course to pursue toward Jesus. Three years before, they had demanded a sign of His Messiahship. Since that time He had wrought mighty works throughout the land. He had healed the sick, miraculously fed thousands of people, walked upon the waves, and spoken peace to the troubled sea. He had repeatedly read the hearts of men as an open book; He had cast out demons, and raised the dead. The rulers had before them the evidences of His Messiahship. They now decided to demand no sign of His authority, but to draw out some admission or declaration by which He might be condemned.

    Repairing to the temple where He was teaching, they proceeded to question Him: "By what authority doest Thou these things? and who gave Thee this authority?" They expected Him to claim that His authority was from God. Such an assertion they intended to deny. But Jesus met them with a question apparently pertaining to another subject, and He made His reply to them conditional on their answering this question. "The baptism of John," He said, "whence was it? from heaven, or of men?"

    The priests saw that they were in a dilemma from which no sophistry could extricate them. If they said that John's baptism was from heaven, their inconsistency would be made apparent. Christ would say, Why have ye not then believed on him? John had testified of Christ, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. If the priests believed John's testimony, how could they deny the Messiahship of Christ? If they declared their real belief, that John's ministry was of men, they would bring upon themselves a storm of indignation; for the people believed John to be a prophet. With intense interest the multitude awaited the decision. They knew that the priests had professed to accept the ministry of John, and they expected them to acknowledge without a question that he was sent from God. But after conferring secretly together, the priests decided not to commit themselves. Hypocritically professing ignorance, they said, "We cannot tell." "Neither tell I you," said Christ, "by what authority I do these things."

    Scribes, priests, and rulers were all silenced. Baffled and disappointed, they stood with lowering brows, not daring to press further questions upon Christ. By their cowardice and indecision they had in a great measure forfeited the respect of the people, who now stood by, amused to see these proud, self-righteous men defeated.

    All these sayings and doings of Christ were important, and their influence was to be felt in an ever-increasing degree after His crucifixion and ascension. Many of those who had anxiously awaited the result of the questioning of Jesus were finally to become His disciples, first drawn toward Him by His words on that eventful day. The scene in the temple court was never to fade from their minds. The contrast between Jesus and the high priest as they talked together was marked. The proud dignitary of the temple was clothed in rich and costly garments. Upon his head was a glittering tiara. His bearing was majestic, his hair and his long flowing beard were silvered by age. His appearance awed the beholders. Before this august personage stood the Majesty of heaven, without adornment or display. His garments were travel stained; His face was pale, and expressed a patient sadness; yet written there were dignity and benevolence that contrasted strangely with the proud, self-confident, and angry air of the high priest. Many of those who witnessed the words and deeds of Jesus in the temple from that time enshrined Him in their hearts as a prophet of God. But as the popular feeling turned in His favor, the hatred of the priests toward Jesus increased. The wisdom by which He escaped the snares set for His feet, being a new evidence of His divinity, added fuel to their wrath.

    In His contest with the rabbis, it was not Christ's purpose to humiliate His opponents. He was not glad to see them in a hard place. He had an important lesson to teach. He had mortified His enemies by allowing them to be entangled in the net they had spread for Him. Their acknowledged ignorance in regard to the character of John's baptism gave Him an opportunity to speak, and He improved the opportunity by presenting before them their real position, adding another warning to the many already given. "What think ye?" He said. "A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?"

    This abrupt question threw His hearers off their guard. They had followed the parable closely, and now immediately answered, "The first." Fixing His steady eye upon them, Jesus responded in stern and solemn tones: "Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."

    The priests and rulers could not but give a correct answer to Christ's question, and thus He obtained their opinion in favor of the first son. This son represented the publicans, those who were despised and hated by the Pharisees. The publicans had been grossly immoral. They had indeed been transgressors of the law of God, showing in their lives an absolute resistance to His requirements. They had been unthankful and unholy; when told to go and work in the Lord's vineyard, they had given a contemptuous refusal. But when John came, preaching repentance and baptism, the publicans received his message and were baptized.

    The second son represented the leading men of the Jewish nation. Some of the Pharisees had repented and received the baptism of John; but the leaders would not acknowledge that he came from God. His warnings and denunciations did not lead them to reformation. They "rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him." Luke 7:30. They treated his message with disdain. Like the second son, who, when called, said, "I go, sir," but went not, the priests and rulers professed obedience, but acted disobedience. They made great professions of piety, they claimed to be obeying the law of God, but they rendered only a false obedience. The publicans were denounced and cursed by the Pharisees as infidels; but they showed by their faith and works that they were going into the kingdom of heaven before those self-righteous men who had been given great light, but whose works did not correspond to their profession of godliness. The priests and rulers were unwilling to bear these searching truths; they remained silent, however, hoping that Jesus would say something which they could turn against Him; but they had still more to bear.

    "Hear another parable," Christ said: "There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?"

    Jesus addressed all the people present; but the priests and rulers answered. "He will miserably destroy those wicked men," they said, "and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons." The speakers had not at first perceived the application of the parable, but they now saw that they had pronounced their own condemnation. In the parable the householder represented God, the vineyard the Jewish nation, and the hedge the divine law which was their protection. The tower was a symbol of the temple. The lord of the vineyard had done everything needful for its prosperity. "What could have been done more to my vineyard," he says, "that I have not done in it." Isa. 5:4. Thus was represented God's unwearied care for Israel. And as the husbandmen were to return to the lord a due proportion of the fruits of the vineyard, so God's people were to honor Him by a life corresponding to their sacred privileges. But as the husbandmen had killed the servants whom the master sent to them for fruit, so the Jews had put to death the prophets whom God sent to call them to repentance. Messenger after messenger had been slain.

    Thus far the application of the parable could not be questioned, and in what followed it was not less evident. In the beloved son whom the lord of the vineyard finally sent to his disobedient servants, and whom they seized and slew, the priests and rulers saw a distinct picture of Jesus and His impending fate. Already they were planning to slay Him whom the Father had sent to them as a last appeal. In the retribution inflicted upon the ungrateful husbandmen was portrayed the doom of those who should put Christ to death. Looking with pity upon them, the Saviour continued, "Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."

    This prophecy the Jews had often repeated in the synagogues, applying it to the coming Messiah. Christ was the cornerstone of the Jewish economy, and of the whole plan of salvation. This foundation stone the Jewish builders, the priests and rulers of Israel, were now rejecting. The Saviour called their attention to the prophecies that would show them their danger. By every means in His power He sought to make plain to them the nature of the deed they were about to do.

    And His words had another purpose. In asking the question, "When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?" Christ designed that the Pharisees should answer as they did. He designed that they should condemn themselves. His warnings, failing to arouse them to repentance, would seal their doom, and He wished them to see that they had brought ruin on themselves. He designed to show them the justice of God in the withdrawal of their national privileges, which had already begun, and which would end, not only in the destruction of their temple and their city, but in the dispersion of the nation. The hearers recognized the warning. But notwithstanding the sentence they themselves had pronounced, the priests and rulers were ready to fill out the picture by saying, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him." "But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitude," for the public sentiment was in Christ's favor.

    In quoting the prophecy of the rejected stone, Christ referred to an actual occurrence in the history of Israel. The incident was connected with the building of the first temple. While it had a special application at the time of Christ's first advent, and should have appealed with special force to the Jews, it has also a lesson for us. When the temple of Solomon was erected, the immense stones for the walls and the foundation were entirely prepared at the quarry; after they were brought to the place of building, not an instrument was to be used upon them; the workmen had only to place them in position. For use in the foundation, one stone of unusual size and peculiar shape had been brought; but the workmen could find no place for it, and would not accept it. It was an annoyance to them as it lay unused in their way. Long it remained a rejected stone. But when the builders came to the laying of the corner, they searched for a long time to find a stone of sufficient size and strength, and of the proper shape, to take that particular place, and bear the great weight which would rest upon it.

    Should they make an unwise choice for this important place, the safety of the entire building would be endangered. They must find a stone capable of resisting the influence of the sun, of frost, and of tempest. Several stones had at different times been chosen, but under the pressure of immense weights they had crumbled to pieces. Others could not bear the test of the sudden atmospheric changes. But at last attention was called to the stone so long rejected. It had been exposed to the air, to sun and storm, without revealing the slightest crack. The builders examined this stone. It had borne every test but one. If it could bear the test of severe pressure, they decided to accept it for the cornerstone. The trial was made. The stone was accepted, brought to its assigned position, and found to be an exact fit. In prophetic vision, Isaiah was shown that this stone was a symbol of Christ. He says:

    "Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken." Carried down in prophetic vision to the first advent, the prophet is shown that Christ is to bear trials and tests of which the treatment of the chief cornerstone in the temple of Solomon was symbolic. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste." Isa. 8:13-15; 28:16.

    In infinite wisdom, God chose the foundation stone, and laid it Himself. He called it "a sure foundation." The entire world may lay upon it their burdens and griefs; it can endure them all. With perfect safety they may build upon it. Christ is a "tried stone." Those who trust in Him, He never disappoints. He has borne every test. He has endured the pressure of Adam's guilt, and the guilt of his posterity, and has come off more than conqueror of the powers of evil. He has borne the burdens cast upon Him by every repenting sinner. In Christ the guilty heart has found relief. He is the sure foundation. All who make Him their dependence rest in perfect security. In Isaiah's prophecy, Christ is declared to be both a sure foundation and a stone of stumbling. The apostle Peter, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, clearly shows to whom Christ is a foundation stone, and to whom a rock of offense:

    "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient." 1 Peter 2:3-8.

    To those who believe, Christ is the sure foundation. These are they who fall upon the Rock and are broken. Submission to Christ and faith in Him are here represented. To fall upon the Rock and be broken is to give up our self-righteousness and to go to Christ with the humility of a child, repenting of our transgressions, and believing in His forgiving love. And so also it is by faith and obedience that we build on Christ as our foundation.

    Upon this living stone, Jews and Gentiles alike may build. This is the only foundation upon which we may securely build. It is broad enough for all, and strong enough to sustain the weight and burden of the whole world. And by connection with Christ, the living stone, all who build upon this foundation become living stones. Many persons are by their own endeavors hewn, polished, and beautified; but they cannot become "living stones," because they are not connected with Christ. Without this connection, no man can be saved. Without the life of Christ in us, we cannot withstand the storms of temptation. Our eternal safety depends upon our building upon the sure foundation. Multitudes are today building upon foundations that have not been tested.

    When the rain falls, and the tempest rages, and the floods come, their house will fall, because it is not founded upon the eternal Rock, the chief cornerstone Christ Jesus. "To them which stumble at the word, being disobedient," Christ is a rock of offense. But "the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner." Like the rejected stone, Christ in His earthly mission had borne neglect and abuse. He was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: . . . He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." Isa. 53:3. But the time was near when He would be glorified. By the resurrection from the dead He would be declared "the Son of God with power." Rom. 1:4. At His second coming He would be revealed as Lord of heaven and earth. Those who were now about to crucify Him would recognize His greatness. Before the universe the rejected stone would become the head of the corner.

    And on "whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." The people who rejected Christ were soon to see their city and their nation destroyed. Their glory would be broken, and scattered as the dust before the wind. And what was it that destroyed the Jews? It was the rock which, had they built upon it, would have been their security. It was the goodness of God despised, the righteousness spurned, the mercy slighted. Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction. All that God ordained unto life they found to be unto death. In the Jews' crucifixion of Christ was involved the destruction of Jerusalem. The blood shed upon Calvary was the weight that sank them to ruin for this world and for the world to come. So it will be in the great final day, when judgment shall fall upon the rejecters of God's grace. Christ, their rock of offense, will then appear to them as an avenging mountain. The glory of His countenance, which to the righteous is life, will be to the wicked a consuming fire. Because of love rejected, grace despised, the sinner will be destroyed.

    By many illustrations and repeated warnings, Jesus showed what would be the result to the Jews of rejecting the Son of God. In these words He was addressing all in every age who refuse to receive Him as their Redeemer. Every warning is for them. The desecrated temple, the disobedient son, the false husbandmen, the contemptuous builders, have their counterpart in the experience of every sinner. Unless he repent, the doom which they foreshadowed will be his.

    Chapter 66

    The priests and rulers had listened in silence to Christ's pointed rebukes. They could not refute His charges. But they were only the more determined to entrap Him, and with this object they sent to Him spies, "which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of His words, that so they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor." They did not send the old Pharisees whom Jesus had often met, but young men, who were ardent and zealous, and whom, they thought, Christ did not know. These were accompanied by certain of the Herodians, who were to hear Christ's words, that they might testify against Him at His trial. The Pharisees and Herodians had been bitter enemies, but they were now one in enmity to Christ.

    The Pharisees had ever chafed under the exaction of tribute by the Romans. The payment of tribute they held to be contrary to the law of God. Now they saw opportunity to lay a snare for Jesus. The spies came to Him, and with apparent sincerity, as though desiring to know their duty, said, "Master, we know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest Thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?"

    The words, "We know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly," had they been sincere, would have been a wonderful admission. But they were spoken to deceive; nevertheless their testimony was true. The Pharisees did know that Christ said and taught rightly, and by their own testimony will they be judged.

    Those who put the question to Jesus thought that they had sufficiently disguised their purpose; but Jesus read their hearts as an open book, and sounded their hypocrisy. "Why tempt ye Me?" He said; thus giving them a sign they had not asked, by showing that He read their hidden purpose. They were still more confused when He added, "Show Me a penny." They brought it, and He asked them, "Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's." Pointing to the inscription on the coin, Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

    The spies had expected Jesus to answer their question directly, in one way or the other. If He should say, It is unlawful to give tribute to Caesar, He would be reported to the Roman authorities and arrested for inciting rebellion. But in case He should pronounce it lawful to pay the tribute, they designed to accuse Him to the people as opposing the law of God. Now they felt themselves baffled and defeated. Their plans were disarranged. The summary manner in which their question had been settled left them nothing further to say.

    Christ's reply was no evasion, but a candid answer to the question. Holding in His hand the Roman coin, upon which were stamped the name and image of Caesar, He declared that since they were living under the protection of the Roman power, they should render to that power the support it claimed, so long as this did not conflict with a higher duty. But while peaceably subject to the laws of the land, they should at all times give their first allegiance to God.

    The Saviour's words, "Render . . . unto God the things that are God's," were a severe rebuke to the intriguing Jews. Had they faithfully fulfilled their obligations to God, they would not have become a broken nation, subject to a foreign power. No Roman ensign would have waved over Jerusalem, no Roman sentinel would have stood at her gates, no Roman governor would have ruled within her walls. The Jewish nation was then paying the penalty of its apostasy from God.

    When the Pharisees heard Christ's answer, "they marveled, and left Him, and went their way." He had rebuked their hypocrisy and presumption, and in doing this He had stated a great principle, a principle that clearly defines the limits of man's duty to the civil government and his duty to God. In many minds a vexed question had been settled. Ever after they held to the right principle. And although many went away dissatisfied, they saw that the principle underlying the question had been clearly set forth, and they marveled at Christ's far-seeing discernment.

    No sooner were the Pharisees silenced than the Sadducees came forward with their artful questions. The two parties stood in bitter opposition to each other. The Pharisees were rigid adherents to tradition. They were exact in outward ceremonies, diligent in washings, fastings, and long prayers, and ostentatious in almsgiving. But Christ declared that they made void the law of God by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. As a class they were bigoted and hypocritical; yet among them were persons of genuine piety, who accepted Christ's teachings and became His disciples. The Sadducees rejected the traditions of the Pharisees. They professed to believe the greater portion of the Scriptures, and to regard them as the rule of action; but practically they were skeptics and materialists.

    The Sadducees denied the existence of angels, the resurrection of the dead, and the doctrine of a future life, with its rewards and punishments. On all these points they differed with the Pharisees. Between the two parties the resurrection was especially a subject of controversy. The Pharisees had been firm believers in the resurrection, but in these discussions their views in regard to the future state became confused. Death became to them an inexplicable mystery. Their inability to meet the arguments of the Sadducees gave rise to continual irritation. The discussions between the two parties usually resulted in angry disputes, leaving them farther apart than before.

    In numbers the Sadducees fell far below their opponents, and they had not so strong a hold upon the common people; but many of them were wealthy, and they had the influence which wealth imparts. In their ranks were included most of the priests, and from among them the high priest was usually chosen. This was, however, with the express stipulation that their skeptical opinions should not be made prominent. On account of the numbers and popularity of the Pharisees, it was necessary for the Sadducees to concede outwardly to their doctrines when holding any priestly office; but the very fact that they were eligible to such office gave influence to their errors.

    The Sadducees rejected the teaching of Jesus; He was animated by a spirit which they would not acknowledge as manifesting itself thus; and His teaching in regard to God and the future life contradicted their theories. They believed in God as the only being superior to man; but they argued that an overruling providence and a divine foresight would deprive man of free moral agency, and degrade him to the position of a slave. It was their belief, that, having created man, God had left him to himself, independent of a higher influence. They held that man was free to control his own life and to shape the events of the world; that his destiny was in his own hands. They denied that the Spirit of God works through human efforts or natural means. Yet they still held that, through the proper employment of his natural powers, man could become elevated and enlightened; that by rigorous and austere exactions his life could be purified.

    Their ideas of God molded their own character. As in their view He had no interest in man, so they had little regard for one another; there was little union among them. Refusing to acknowledge the influence of the Holy Spirit upon human action, they lacked His power in their lives. Like the rest of the Jews, they boasted much of their birthright as children of Abraham, and of their strict adherence to the requirements of the law; but of the true spirit of the law and the faith and benevolence of Abraham, they were destitute. Their natural sympathies were brought within a narrow compass. They believed it possible for all men to secure the comforts and blessings of life; and their hearts were not touched by the wants and sufferings of others. They lived for themselves.

    By His words and His works, Christ testified to a divine power that produces supernatural results, to a future life beyond the present, to God as a Father of the children of men, ever watchful of their true interests. He revealed the working of divine power in benevolence and compassion that rebuked the selfish exclusiveness of the Sadducees. He taught that both for man's temporal and for his eternal good, God moves upon the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed the error of trusting to human power for that transformation of character which can be wrought only by the Spirit of God. This teaching the Sadducees were determined to discredit. In seeking a controversy with Jesus, they felt confident of bringing Him into disrepute, even if they could not secure His condemnation. The resurrection was the subject on which they chose to question Him. Should He agree with them, He would give still further offense to the Pharisees. Should He differ with them, they designed to hold His teaching up to ridicule.

    The Sadducees reasoned that if the body is to be composed of the same particles of matter in its immortal as in its mortal state, then when raised from the dead it must have flesh and blood, and must resume in the eternal world the life interrupted on earth. In that case they concluded that earthly relationships would be resumed, husband and wife would be reunited, marriages consummated, and all things go on the same as before death, the frailties and passions of this life being perpetuated in the life beyond. In answer to their questions, Jesus lifted the veil from the future life. "In the resurrection," He said, "they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." He showed that the Sadducees were wrong in their belief. Their premises were false. "Ye do err," He added, "not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." He did not charge them, as He had charged the Pharisees, with hypocrisy, but with error of belief.

    The Sadducees had flattered themselves that they of all men adhered most strictly to the Scriptures. But Jesus showed that they had not known their true meaning. That knowledge must be brought home to the heart by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Their ignorance of the Scriptures and the power of God He declared to be the cause of their confusion of faith and darkness of mind. They were seeking to bring the mysteries of God within the compass of their finite reasoning. Christ called upon them to open their minds to those sacred truths that would broaden and strengthen the understanding. Thousands become infidels because their finite minds cannot comprehend the mysteries of God. They cannot explain the wonderful exhibition of divine power in His providences, therefore they reject the evidences of such power, attributing them to natural agencies which they can comprehend still less. The only key to the mysteries that surround us is to acknowledge in them all the presence and power of God.

    Men need to recognize God as the Creator of the universe, One who commands and executes all things. They need a broader view of His character, and of the mystery of His agencies. Christ declared to His hearers that if there were no resurrection of the dead, the Scriptures which they professed to believe would be of no avail. He said, "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." God counts the things that are not as though they were. He sees the end from the beginning, and beholds the result of His work as though it were now accomplished. The precious dead, from Adam down to the last saint who dies, will hear the voice of the Son of God, and will come forth from the grave to immortal life. God will be their God, and they shall be His people. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him.

    By the words of Christ the Sadducees were put to silence. They could not answer Him. Not a word had been spoken of which the least advantage could be taken for His condemnation. His adversaries had gained nothing but the contempt of the people. The Pharisees, however, did not yet despair of driving Him to speak that which they could use against Him. They prevailed upon a certain learned scribe to question Jesus as to which of the ten precepts of the law was of the greatest importance.

    The Pharisees had exalted the first four commandments, which point out the duty of man to his Maker, as of far greater consequence than the other six, which define man's duty to his fellow man. As the result, they greatly failed of practical godliness. Jesus had shown the people their great deficiency, and had taught the necessity of good works, declaring that the tree is known by its fruits. For this reason He had been charged with exalting the last six commandments above the first four. The lawyer approached Jesus with a direct question, "Which is the first commandment of all?" The answer of Christ is direct and forcible: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." The second is like the first, said Christ; for it flows out of it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

    The first four of the Ten Commandments are summed up in the one great precept, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." The last six are included in the other, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Both these commandments are an expression of the principle of love. The first cannot be kept and the second broken, nor can the second be kept while the first is broken. When God has His rightful place on the throne of the heart, the right place will be given to our neighbor. We shall love him as ourselves. And only as we love God supremely is it possible to love our neighbor impartially.

    And since all the commandments are summed up in love to God and man, it follows that not one precept can be broken without violating this principle. Thus Christ taught His hearers that the law of God is not so many separate precepts, some of which are of great importance, while others are of small importance and may with impunity be ignored. Our Lord presents the first four and the last six commandments as a divine whole, and teaches that love to God will be shown by obedience to all His commandments.

    The scribe who had questioned Jesus was well read in the law, and he was astonished at His words. He did not expect Him to manifest so deep and thorough a knowledge of the Scriptures. He had gained a broader view of the principles underlying the sacred precepts. Before the assembled priests and rulers he honestly acknowledged that Christ had given the right interpretation to the law, saying:

    "Well, Master, Thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He: and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." The wisdom of Christ's answer had convicted the scribe. He knew that the Jewish religion consisted in outward ceremonies rather than inward piety. He had some sense of the worthlessness of mere ceremonial offerings, and the faithless shedding of blood for expiation of sin. Love and obedience to God, and unselfish regard for man, appeared to him of more value than all these rites. The readiness of this man to acknowledge the correctness of Christ's reasoning, and his decided and prompt response before the people, manifested a spirit entirely different from that of the priests and rulers. The heart of Jesus went out in pity to the honest scribe who had dared to face the frowns of the priests and the threats of the rulers to speak the convictions of his heart. "And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."

    The scribe was near to the kingdom of God, in that he recognized deeds of righteousness as more acceptable to God than burnt offerings and sacrifices. But he needed to recognize the divine character of Christ, and through faith in Him receive power to do the works of righteousness. The ritual service was of no value, unless connected with Christ by living faith. Even the moral law fails of its purpose, unless it is understood in its relation to the Saviour. Christ had repeatedly shown that His Father's law contained something deeper than mere authoritative commands. In the law is embodied the same principle that is revealed in the gospel. The law points out man's duty and shows him his guilt. To Christ he must look for pardon and for power to do what the law enjoins.

    The Pharisees had gathered close about Jesus as He answered the question of the scribe. Now turning He put a question to them: "What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?" This question was designed to test their belief concerning the Messiah,--to show whether they regarded Him simply as a man or as the Son of God. A chorus of voices answered, "The Son of David." This was the title which prophecy had given to the Messiah. When Jesus revealed His divinity by His mighty miracles, when He healed the sick and raised the dead, the people had inquired among themselves, "Is not this the Son of David?" The Syrophoenician woman, blind Bartimaeus, and many others had cried to Him for help, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David." Matt. 15:22.

    While riding into Jerusalem He had been hailed with the joyful shout, "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matt. 21:9. And the little children in the temple had that day echoed the glad ascription. But many who called Jesus the Son of David did not recognize His divinity. They did not understand that the Son of David was also the Son of God. In reply to the statement that Christ was the Son of David, Jesus said, "How then doth David in Spirit [the Spirit of Inspiration from God] call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions."

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Jesus-christ-0207


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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Jesus-christ-0207

    Chapter 70
    "The Least of These My Brethren"

    https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/130.3127#3127

    When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another." Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering.

    In that day Christ does not present before men the great work He has done for them in giving His life for their redemption. He presents the faithful work they have done for Him. To those whom He sets upon His right hand He will say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me." But those whom Christ commends know not that they have been ministering unto Him. To their perplexed inquiries He answers, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

    Jesus had told His disciples that they were to be hated of all men, to be persecuted and afflicted. Many would be driven from their homes, and brought to poverty. Many would be in distress through disease and privation. Many would be cast into prison. To all who forsook friends or home for His sake He had promised in this life a hundredfold. Now He assured a special blessing to all who should minister to their brethren. In all who suffer for My name, said Jesus, you are to recognize Me. As you would minister to Me, so you are to minister to them. This is the evidence that you are My disciples. All who have been born into the heavenly family are in a special sense the brethren of our Lord. The love of Christ binds together the members of His family, and wherever that love is made manifest there the divine relationship is revealed. "Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." 1 John 4:7.

    Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.

    How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me"! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!

    But not to any class is Christ's love restricted. He identifies Himself with every child of humanity. That we might become members of the heavenly family, He became a member of the earthly family. He is the Son of man, and thus a brother to every son and daughter of Adam. His followers are not to feel themselves detached from the perishing world around them. They are a part of the great web of humanity; and Heaven looks upon them as brothers to sinners as well as to saints. The fallen, the erring, and the sinful, Christ's love embraces; and every deed of kindness done to uplift a fallen soul, every act of mercy, is accepted as done to Him.

    The angels of heaven are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. We know not now who they are; it is not yet made manifest who shall overcome, and share the inheritance of the saints in light; but angels of heaven are passing throughout the length and breadth of the earth, seeking to comfort the sorrowing, to protect the imperiled, to win the hearts of men to Christ. Not one is neglected or passed by. God is no respecter of persons, and He has an equal care for all the souls He has created.

    As you open your door to Christ's needy and suffering ones, you are welcoming unseen angels. You invite the companionship of heavenly beings. They bring a sacred atmosphere of joy and peace. They come with praises upon their lips, and an answering strain is heard in heaven. Every deed of mercy makes music there. The Father from His throne numbers the unselfish workers among His most precious treasures.

    Those on the left hand of Christ, those who had neglected Him in the person of the poor and the suffering, were unconscious of their guilt. Satan had blinded them; they had not perceived what they owed to their brethren. They had been self-absorbed, and cared not for others' needs.

    To the rich, God has given wealth that they may relieve and comfort His suffering children; but too often they are indifferent to the wants of others. They feel themselves superior to their poor brethren. They do not put themselves in the poor man's place. They do not understand the temptations and struggles of the poor, and mercy dies out of their hearts. In costly dwellings and splendid churches, the rich shut themselves away from the poor; the means that God has given to bless the needy is spent in pampering pride and selfishness. The poor are robbed daily of the education they should have concerning the tender mercies of God; for He has made ample provision that they should be comforted with the necessities of life. They are compelled to feel the poverty that narrows life, and are often tempted to become envious, jealous, and full of evil surmisings. Those who themselves have not endured the pressure of want too often treat the poor in a contemptuous way, and make them feel that they are looked upon as paupers.

    But Christ beholds it all, and He says, It was I who was hungry and thirsty. It was I who was a stranger. It was I who was sick. It was I who was in prison. While you were feasting at your bountifully spread table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head. While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute. While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison. When you doled out the pittance of bread to the starving poor, when you gave those flimsy garments to shield them from the biting frost, did you remember that you were giving to the Lord of glory? All the days of your life I was near you in the person of these afflicted ones, but you did not seek Me. You would not enter into fellowship with Me. I know you not.

    Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ's life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.

    All may find something to do. "The poor always ye have with you," (John 12:Cool, Jesus said, and none need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Him. Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ's love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ's rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matt. 7:12.

    The Saviour has given His precious life in order to establish a church capable of caring for sorrowful, tempted souls. A company of believers may be poor, uneducated, and unknown; yet in Christ they may do a work in the home, the neighborhood, the church, and even in "the regions beyond," whose results shall be as far-reaching as eternity.

    It is because this work is neglected that so many young disciples never advance beyond the mere alphabet of Christian experience. The light which was glowing in their own hearts when Jesus spoke to them, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," they might have kept alive by helping those in need. The restless energy that is so often a source of danger to the young might be directed into channels through which it would flow out in streams of blessing. Self would be forgotten in earnest work to do others good. Those who minister to others will be ministered unto by the Chief Shepherd. They themselves will drink of the living water, and will be satisfied. They will not be longing for exciting amusements, or for some change in their lives. The great topic of interest will be, how to save the souls that are ready to perish. Social intercourse will be profitable. The love of the Redeemer will draw hearts together in unity.

    When we realize that we are workers together with God, His promises will not be spoken with indifference. They will burn in our hearts, and kindle upon our lips. To Moses, when called to minister to an ignorant, undisciplined, and rebellious people, God gave the promise, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." And He said, "Certainly I will be with thee." Ex. 33:14; 3:12. This promise is to all who labor in Christ's stead for His afflicted and suffering ones.

    Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, "Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.

    But "if thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?" Prov. 24:11, 12. In the great Judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.

    To every soul a trust is given. Of everyone the Chief Shepherd will demand, "Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" And "what wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?" Jer. 13:20, 21.

    Chapter 71

    In the upper chamber of a dwelling at Jerusalem, Christ was sitting at table with His disciples. They had gathered to celebrate the Passover. The Saviour desired to keep this feast alone with the twelve. He knew that His hour was come; He Himself was the true paschal lamb, and on the day the Passover was eaten He was to be sacrificed. He was about to drink the cup of wrath; He must soon receive the final baptism of suffering. But a few quiet hours yet remained to Him, and these were to be spent for the benefit of His beloved disciples.

    The whole life of Christ had been a life of unselfish service. "Not to be ministered unto, but to minister," (Matt. 20:28), had been the lesson of His every act. But not yet had the disciples learned the lesson. At this last Passover supper, Jesus repeated His teaching by an illustration that impressed it forever on their minds and hearts.

    The interviews between Jesus and His disciples were usually seasons of calm joy, highly prized by them all. The Passover suppers had been scenes of special interest; but upon this occasion Jesus was troubled. His heart was burdened, and a shadow rested upon His countenance.

    As He met the disciples in the upper chamber, they perceived that something weighed heavily upon His mind, and although they knew not its cause, they sympathized with His grief. As they were gathered about the table, He said in tones of touching sadness, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."

    Christ knew that the time had come for Him to depart out of the world, and go to His Father. And having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end. He was now in the shadow of the cross, and the pain was torturing His heart. He knew that He would be deserted in the hour of His betrayal. He knew that by the most humiliating process to which criminals were subjected He would be put to death. He knew the ingratitude and cruelty of those He had come to save. He knew how great the sacrifice that He must make, and for how many it would be in vain. Knowing all that was before Him, He might naturally have been overwhelmed with the thought of His own humiliation and suffering. But He looked upon the twelve, who had been with Him as His own, and who, after His shame and sorrow and painful usage were over, would be left to struggle in the world. His thoughts of what He Himself must suffer were ever connected with His disciples. He did not think of Himself. His care for them was uppermost in His mind.

    On this last evening with His disciples, Jesus had much to tell them. If they had been prepared to receive what He longed to impart, they would have been saved from heartbreaking anguish, from disappointment and unbelief. But Jesus saw that they could not bear what He had to say. As He looked into their faces, the words of warning and comfort were stayed upon His lips. Moments passed in silence. Jesus appeared to be waiting. The disciples were ill at ease. The sympathy and tenderness awakened by Christ's grief seemed to have passed away. His sorrowful words, pointing to His own suffering, had made little impression. The glances they cast upon each other told of jealousy and contention.

    There was "a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest." This contention, carried on in the presence of Christ, grieved and wounded Him. The disciples clung to their favorite idea that Christ would assert His power, and take His position on the throne of David. And in heart each still longed for the highest place in the kingdom. They had placed their own estimate upon themselves and upon one another, and, instead of regarding their brethren as more worthy, they had placed themselves first. The request of James and John to sit on the right and left of Christ's throne had excited the indignation of the others. That the two brothers should presume to ask for the highest position so stirred the ten that alienation threatened. They felt that they were misjudged, that their fidelity and talents were not appreciated. Judas was the most severe upon James and John. When the disciples entered the supper room, their hearts were full of resentful feelings. Judas pressed next to Christ on the left side; John was on the right. If there was a highest place, Judas was determined to have it, and that place was thought to be next to Christ. And Judas was a traitor.

    Another cause of dissension had arisen. At a feast it was customary for a servant to wash the feet of the guests, and on this occasion preparation had been made for the service. The pitcher, the basin, and the towel were there, in readiness for the feet washing; but no servant was present, and it was the disciples' part to perform it. But each of the disciples, yielding to wounded pride, determined not to act the part of a servant. All manifested a stoical unconcern, seeming unconscious that there was anything for them to do. By their silence they refused to humble themselves.

    How was Christ to bring these poor souls where Satan would not gain over them a decided victory? How could He show that a mere profession of discipleship did not make them disciples, or insure them a place in His kingdom? How could He show that it is loving service, true humility, which constitutes real greatness? How was He to kindle love in their hearts, and enable them to comprehend what He longed to tell them?

    The disciples made no move toward serving one another. Jesus waited for a time to see what they would do. Then He, the divine Teacher, rose from the table. Laying aside the outer garment that would have impeded His movements, He took a towel, and girded Himself. With surprised interest the disciples looked on, and in silence waited to see what was to follow. "After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded." This action opened the eyes of the disciples. Bitter shame and humiliation filled their hearts. They understood the unspoken rebuke, and saw themselves in altogether a new light.

    So Christ expressed His love for His disciples. Their selfish spirit filled Him with sorrow, but He entered into no controversy with them regarding their difficulty. Instead He gave them an example they would never forget. His love for them was not easily disturbed or quenched. He knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He came from God, and went to God. He had a full consciousness of His divinity; but He had laid aside His royal crown and kingly robes, and had taken the form of a servant. One of the last acts of His life on earth was to gird Himself as a servant, and perform a servant's part.

    Before the Passover Judas had met a second time with the priests and scribes, and had closed the contract to deliver Jesus into their hands. Yet he afterward mingled with the disciples as though innocent of any wrong, and interested in the work of preparing for the feast. The disciples knew nothing of the purpose of Judas. Jesus alone could read his secret. Yet He did not expose him. Jesus hungered for his soul. He felt for him such a burden as for Jerusalem when He wept over the doomed city. His heart was crying, How can I give thee up? The constraining power of that love was felt by Judas. When the Saviour's hands were bathing those soiled feet, and wiping them with the towel, the heart of Judas thrilled through and through with the impulse then and there to confess his sin. But he would not humble himself.

    He hardened his heart against repentance; and the old impulses, for the moment put aside, again controlled him. Judas was now offended at Christ's act in washing the feet of His disciples. If Jesus could so humble Himself, he thought, He could not be Israel's king. All hope of worldly honor in a temporal kingdom was destroyed. Judas was satisfied that there was nothing to be gained by following Christ. After seeing Him degrade Himself, as he thought, he was confirmed in his purpose to disown Him, and confess himself deceived. He was possessed by a demon, and he resolved to complete the work he had agreed to do in betraying his Lord.

    Judas, in choosing his position at table, had tried to place himself first, and Christ as a servant served him first. John, toward whom Judas had felt so much bitterness, was left till the last. But John did not take this as a rebuke or slight. As the disciples watched Christ's action, they were greatly moved. When Peter's turn came, he exclaimed with astonishment, "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" Christ's condescension broke his heart. He was filled with shame to think that one of the disciples was not performing this service. "What I do," Christ said, "thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." Peter could not bear to see his Lord, whom he believed to be the Son of God, acting the part of a servant. His whole soul rose up against this humiliation.

    He did not realize that for this Christ came into the world. With great emphasis he exclaimed, "Thou shalt never wash my feet." Solemnly Christ said to Peter, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me." The service which Peter refused was the type of a higher cleansing. Christ had come to wash the heart from the stain of sin. In refusing to allow Christ to wash his feet, Peter was refusing the higher cleansing included in the lower. He was really rejecting his Lord. It is not humiliating to the Master to allow Him to work for our purification. The truest humility is to receive with thankful heart any provision made in our behalf, and with earnestness do service for Christ.

    At the words, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me," Peter surrendered his pride and self-will. He could not endure the thought of separation from Christ; that would have been death to him. "Not my feet only," he said, "but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit."

    These words mean more than bodily cleanliness. Christ is still speaking of the higher cleansing as illustrated by the lower. He who came from the bath was clean, but the sandaled feet soon became dusty, and again needed to be washed. So Peter and his brethren had been washed in the great fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. Christ acknowledged them as His. But temptation had led them into evil, and they still needed His cleansing grace. When Jesus girded Himself with a towel to wash the dust from their feet, He desired by that very act to wash the alienation, jealousy, and pride from their hearts. This was of far more consequence than the washing of their dusty feet.

    With the spirit they then had, not one of them was prepared for communion with Christ. Until brought into a state of humility and love, they were not prepared to partake of the paschal supper, or to share in the memorial service which Christ was about to institute. Their hearts must be cleansed. Pride and self-seeking create dissension and hatred, but all this Jesus washed away in washing their feet. A change of feeling was brought about. Looking upon them, Jesus could say, "Ye are clean." Now there was union of heart, love for one another. They had become humble and teachable. Except Judas, each was ready to concede to another the highest place. Now with subdued and grateful hearts they could receive Christ's words.

    Like Peter and his brethren, we too have been washed in the blood of Christ, yet often through contact with evil the heart's purity is soiled. We must come to Christ for His cleansing grace. Peter shrank from bringing his soiled feet in contact with the hands of his Lord and Master; but how often we bring our sinful, polluted hearts in contact with the heart of Christ! How grievous to Him is our evil temper, our vanity and pride! Yet all our infirmity and defilement we must bring to Him. He alone can wash us clean. We are not prepared for communion with Him unless cleansed by His efficacy. Jesus said to the disciples, "Ye are clean, but not all." He had washed the feet of Judas, but the heart had not been yielded to Him. It was not purified. Judas had not submitted himself to Christ.

    After Christ had washed the disciples' feet, and had taken His garments and sat down again, He said to them, "Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him."

    Christ would have His disciples understand that although He had washed their feet, this did not in the least detract from His dignity. "Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am." And being so infinitely superior, He imparted grace and significance to the service. No one was so exalted as Christ, and yet He stooped to the humblest duty. That His people might not be misled by the selfishness which dwells in the natural heart, and which strengthens by self-serving, Christ Himself set the example of humility. He would not leave this great subject in man's charge. Of so much consequence did He regard it, that He Himself, One equal with God, acted as servant to His disciples. While they were contending for the highest place, He to whom every knee shall bow, He whom the angels of glory count it honor to serve, bowed down to wash the feet of those who called Him Lord. He washed the feet of His betrayer.

    In His life and lessons, Christ has given a perfect exemplification of the unselfish ministry which has its origin in God. God does not live for Himself. By creating the world, and by upholding all things, He is constantly ministering for others. "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matt. 5:45. This ideal of ministry God has committed to His Son. Jesus was given to stand at the head of humanity, that by His example He might teach what it means to minister. His whole life was under a law of service. He served all, ministered to all. Thus He lived the law of God, and by His example showed how we are to obey it.

    Again and again Jesus had tried to establish this principle among His disciples. When James and John made their request for pre-eminence, He had said, "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." Matt. 20:26. In My kingdom the principle of preference and supremacy has no place. The only greatness is the greatness of humility. The only distinction is found in devotion to the service of others.

    Now, having washed the disciples' feet, He said, "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." In these words Christ was not merely enjoining the practice of hospitality. More was meant than the washing of the feet of guests to remove the dust of travel. Christ was here instituting a religious service. By the act of our Lord this humiliating ceremony was made a consecrated ordinance. It was to be observed by the disciples, that they might ever keep in mind His lessons of humility and service. This ordinance is Christ's appointed preparation for the sacramental service. While pride, variance, and strife for supremacy are cherished, the heart cannot enter into fellowship with Christ. We are not prepared to receive the communion of His body and His blood. Therefore it was that Jesus appointed the memorial of His humiliation to be first observed.

    As they come to this ordinance, the children of God should bring to remembrance the words of the Lord of life and glory: "Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place; and often this results in evil surmisings and bitterness of spirit. The ordinance preceding the Lord's Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother.

    The holy Watcher from heaven is present at this season to make it one of soul searching, of conviction of sin, and of the blessed assurance of sins forgiven. Christ in the fullness of His grace is there to change the current of the thoughts that have been running in selfish channels. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who follow the example of their Lord. As the Saviour's humiliation for us is remembered, thought links with thought; a chain of memories is called up, memories of God's great goodness and of the favor and tenderness of earthly friends. Blessings forgotten, mercies abused, kindnesses slighted, are called to mind. Roots of bitterness that have crowded out the precious plant of love are made manifest. Defects of character, neglect of duties, ingratitude to God, coldness toward our brethren, are called to remembrance.

    Sin is seen in the light in which God views it. Our thoughts are not thoughts of self-complacency, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. The mind is energized to break down every barrier that has caused alienation. Evil thinking and evilspeaking are put away. Sins are confessed, they are forgiven. The subduing grace of Christ comes into the soul, and the love of Christ draws hearts together in a blessed unity. As the lesson of the preparatory service is thus learned, the desire is kindled for a higher spiritual life. To this desire the divine Witness will respond. The soul will be uplifted. We can partake of the Communion with a consciousness of sins forgiven. The sunshine of Christ's righteousness will fill the chambers of the mind and the soul temple. We "behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29.

    To those who receive the spirit of this service, it can never become a mere ceremonial. Its constant lesson will be, "By love serve one another." Gal. 5:13. In washing the feet of His disciples, Christ gave evidence that He would do any service, however humble, that would make them heirs with Him of the eternal wealth of heaven's treasure. His disciples, in performing the same rite, pledge themselves in like manner to serve their brethren. Whenever this ordinance is rightly celebrated, the children of God are brought into a holy relationship, to help and bless each other. They covenant that the life shall be given to unselfish ministry. And this, not only for one another. Their field of labor is as wide as their Master's was. The world is full of those who need our ministry. The poor, the helpless, the ignorant, are on every hand. Those who have communed with Christ in the upper chamber will go forth to minister as He did.

    Jesus, the served of all, came to be the servant of all. And because He ministered to all, He will again be served and honored by all. And those who would partake of His divine attributes, and share with Him the joy of seeing souls redeemed, must follow His example of unselfish ministry.

    All this was comprehended in the words of Jesus, "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." This was the intent of the service He established. And He says, "If ye know these things," if you know the purpose of His lessons, "happy are ye if ye do them."

    Chapter 72

    "The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come." 1 Cor. 11:23-26.

    Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.

    The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that, year by year, as the children should ask the meaning of this ordinance, the history should be repeated. Thus the wonderful deliverance was to be kept fresh in the minds of all. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds. At the time of their deliverance from Egypt, the children of Israel ate the Passover supper standing, with their loins girded, and with their staves in their hands, ready for their journey.

    The manner in which they celebrated this ordinance harmonized with their condition; for they were about to be thrust out of the land of Egypt, and were to begin a painful and difficult journey through the wilderness. But in Christ's time the condition of things had changed. They were not now about to be thrust out of a strange country, but were dwellers in their own land. In harmony with the rest that had been given them, the people then partook of the Passover supper in a reclining position. Couches were placed about the table, and the guests lay upon them, resting upon the left arm, and having the right hand free for use in eating. In this position a guest could lay his head upon the breast of the one who sat next above him. And the feet, being at the outer edge of the couch, could be washed by one passing around the outside of the circle.

    Christ is still at the table on which the paschal supper has been spread. The unleavened cakes used at the Passover season are before Him. The Passover wine, untouched by fermentation, is on the table. These emblems Christ employs to represent His own unblemished sacrifice. Nothing corrupted by fermentation, the symbol of sin and death, could represent the "Lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:19.

    "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."

    Judas the betrayer was present at the sacramental service. He received from Jesus the emblems of His broken body and His spilled blood. He heard the words, "This do in remembrance of Me." And sitting there in the very presence of the Lamb of God, the betrayer brooded upon his own dark purposes, and cherished his sullen, revengeful thoughts.

    At the feet washing, Christ had given convincing proof that He understood the character of Judas. "Ye are not all clean" (John 13:11),

    He said. These words convinced the false disciple that Christ read his secret purpose. Now Christ spoke out more plainly. As they were seated at the table He said, looking upon His disciples, "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me." Even now the disciples did not suspect Judas. But they saw that Christ appeared greatly troubled. A cloud settled over them all, a premonition of some dreadful calamity, the nature of which they did not understand. As they ate in silence, Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me." At these words amazement and consternation seized them. They could not comprehend how any one of them could deal treacherously with their divine Teacher. For what cause could they betray Him? and to whom? Whose heart could give birth to such a design? Surely not one of the favored twelve, who had been privileged above all others to hear His teachings, who had shared His wonderful love, and for whom He had shown such great regard by bringing them into close communion with Himself!

    As they realized the import of His words, and remembered how true His sayings were, fear and self-distrust seized them. They began to search their own hearts to see if one thought against their Master were harbored there. With the most painful emotion, one after another inquired, "Lord, is it I?" But Judas sat silent. John in deep distress at last inquired, "Lord, who is it?" And Jesus answered, "He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." The disciples had searched one another's faces closely as they asked, "Lord, is it I?" And now the silence of Judas drew all eyes to him. Amid the confusion of questions and expressions of astonishment, Judas had not heard the words of Jesus in answer to John's question. But now, to escape the scrutiny of the disciples, he asked as they had done, "Master, is it I?" Jesus solemnly replied, "Thou hast said."

    In surprise and confusion at the exposure of his purpose, Judas rose hastily to leave the room. "Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. . . . He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night." Night it was to the traitor as he turned away from Christ into the outer darkness.

    Until this step was taken, Judas had not passed beyond the possibility of repentance. But when he left the presence of his Lord and his fellow disciples, the final decision had been made. He had passed the boundary line. Wonderful had been the long-suffering of Jesus in His dealing with this tempted soul. Nothing that could be done to save Judas had been left undone. After he had twice covenanted to betray his Lord, Jesus still gave him opportunity for repentance. By reading the secret purpose of the traitor's heart, Christ gave to Judas the final, convincing evidence of His divinity. This was to the false disciple the last call to repentance. No appeal that the divine-human heart of Christ could make had been spared. The waves of mercy, beaten back by stubborn pride, returned in a stronger tide of subduing love. But although surprised and alarmed at the discovery of his guilt, Judas became only the more determined. From the sacramental supper he went out to complete the work of betrayal.

    In pronouncing the woe upon Judas, Christ also had a purpose of mercy toward His disciples. He thus gave them the crowning evidence of His Messiahship. "I tell you before it come," He said, "that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I AM." Had Jesus remained silent, in apparent ignorance of what was to come upon Him, the disciples might have thought that their Master had not divine foresight, and had been surprised and betrayed into the hands of the murderous mob. A year before, Jesus had told the disciples that He had chosen twelve, and that one was a devil. Now His words to Judas, showing that his treachery was fully known to his Master, would strengthen the faith of Christ's true followers during His humiliation. And when Judas should have come to his dreadful end, they would remember the woe that Jesus had pronounced upon the betrayer.

    And the Saviour had still another purpose. He had not withheld His ministry from him whom He knew to be a traitor. The disciples did not understand His words when He said at the feet washing, "Ye are not all clean," nor yet when at the table He declared, "He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me." John 13:11, 18. But afterward, when His meaning was made plain, they had something to consider as to the patience and mercy of God toward the most grievously erring.

    Though Jesus knew Judas from the beginning, He washed his feet. And the betrayer was privileged to unite with Christ in partaking of the sacrament. A long-suffering Saviour held out every inducement for the sinner to receive Him, to repent, and to be cleansed from the defilement of sin. This example is for us. When we suppose one to be in error and sin, we are not to divorce ourselves from him. By no careless separation are we to leave him a prey to temptation, or drive him upon Satan's battleground. This is not Christ's method. It was because the disciples were erring and faulty that He washed their feet, and all but one of the twelve were thus brought to repentance.

    Christ's example forbids exclusiveness at the Lord's Supper. It is true that open sin excludes the guilty. This the Holy Spirit plainly teaches. 1 Cor. 5:11. But beyond this none are to pass judgment. God has not left it with men to say who shall present themselves on these occasions. For who can read the heart? Who can distinguish the tares from the wheat? "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." For "whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." 1 Cor. 11:28, 27, 29.

    When believers assemble to celebrate the ordinances, there are present messengers unseen by human eyes. There may be a Judas in the company, and if so, messengers from the prince of darkness are there, for they attend all who refuse to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Heavenly angels also are present. These unseen visitants are present on every such occasion. There may come into the company persons who are not in heart servants of truth and holiness, but who may wish to take part in the service. They should not be forbidden. There are witnesses present who were present when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and of Judas. More than human eyes beheld the scene.

    Christ by the Holy Spirit is there to set the seal to His own ordinance. He is there to convict and soften the heart. Not a look, not a thought of contrition, escapes His notice. For the repentant, brokenhearted one He is waiting. All things are ready for that soul's reception. He who washed the feet of Judas longs to wash every heart from the stain of sin.

    None should exclude themselves from the Communion because some who are unworthy may be present. Every disciple is called upon to participate publicly, and thus bear witness that he accepts Christ as a personal Saviour. It is at these, His own appointments, that Christ meets His people, and energizes them by His presence. Hearts and hands that are unworthy may even administer the ordinance, yet Christ is there to minister to His children. All who come with their faith fixed upon Him will be greatly blessed. All who neglect these seasons of divine privilege will suffer loss. Of them it may appropriately be said, "Ye are not all clean."

    In partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, Christ pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer. He committed to them the new covenant, by which all who receive Him become children of God, and joint heirs with Christ. By this covenant every blessing that heaven could bestow for this life and the life to come was theirs. This covenant deed was to be ratified with the blood of Christ. And the administration of the Sacrament was to keep before the disciples the infinite sacrifice made for each of them individually as a part of the great whole of fallen humanity. But the Communion service was not to be a season of sorrowing. This was not its purpose.

    As the Lord's disciples gather about His table, they are not to remember and lament their shortcomings. They are not to dwell upon their past religious experience, whether that experience has been elevating or depressing. They are not to recall the differences between them and their brethren. The preparatory service has embraced all this. The self-examination, the confession of sin, the reconciling of differences, has all been done. Now they come to meet with Christ. They are not to stand in the shadow of the cross, but in its saving light. They are to open the soul to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. With hearts cleansed by Christ's most precious blood, in full consciousness of His presence, although unseen, they are to hear His words, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." John 14:27.

    Our Lord says, Under conviction of sin, remember that I died for you. When oppressed and persecuted and afflicted for My sake and the gospel's, remember My love, so great that for you I gave My life. When your duties appear stern and severe, and your burdens too heavy to bear, remember that for your sake I endured the cross, despising the shame. When your heart shrinks from the trying ordeal, remember that your Redeemer liveth to make intercession for you.

    The Communion service points to Christ's second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples. Whenever they met together to commemorate His death, they recounted how "He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord's return. Unspeakably precious to them was the thought, "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come." 1 Cor. 11:26.

    These are the things we are never to forget. The love of Jesus, with its constraining power, is to be kept fresh in our memory. Christ has instituted this service that it may speak to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. There can be no union between our souls and God except through Christ. The union and love between brother and brother must be cemented and rendered eternal by the love of Jesus. And nothing less than the death of Christ could make His love efficacious for us. It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith.

    The ordinances that point to our Lord's humiliation and suffering are regarded too much as a form. They were instituted for a purpose. Our senses need to be quickened to lay hold of the mystery of godliness. It is the privilege of all to comprehend, far more than we do, the expiatory sufferings of Christ. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," even so has the Son of man been lifted up, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:14, 15. To the cross of Calvary, bearing a dying Saviour, we must look. Our eternal interests demand that we show faith in Christ.

    Our Lord has said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. . . . For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed." John 6:53-55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament.

    And how much more are Christ's words true of our spiritual nature. He declares, "Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life." It is by receiving the life for us poured out on Calvary's cross, that we can live the life of holiness. And this life we receive by receiving His word, by doing those things which He has commanded. Thus we become one with Him. "He that eateth My flesh," He says, "and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me." John 6:54, 56, 57. To the holy Communion this scripture in a special sense applies. As faith contemplates our Lord's great sacrifice, the soul assimilates the spiritual life of Christ. That soul will receive spiritual strength from every Communion. The service forms a living connection by which the believer is bound up with Christ, and thus bound up with the Father. In a special sense it forms a connection between dependent human beings and God. As we receive the bread and wine symbolizing Christ's broken body and spilled blood, we in imagination join in the scene of Communion in the upper chamber. We seem to be passing through the garden consecrated by the agony of Him who bore the sins of the world. We witness the struggle by which our reconciliation with God was obtained. Christ is set forth crucified among us.

    Looking upon the crucified Redeemer, we more fully comprehend the magnitude and meaning of the sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven. The plan of salvation is glorified before us, and the thought of Calvary awakens living and sacred emotions in our hearts. Praise to God and the Lamb will be in our hearts and on our lips; for pride and self-worship cannot flourish in the soul that keeps fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary.

    He who beholds the Saviour's matchless love will be elevated in thought, purified in heart, transformed in character. He will go forth to be a light to the world, to reflect in some degree this mysterious love. The more we contemplate the cross of Christ, the more fully shall we adopt the language of the apostle when he said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Gal. 6:14.

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Jesus-christ-0207
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Psusennes+I+death+mask


    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:39 pm

    What's been written and said about the Bible is a Messy-Zoo, and who knows where the Truth ends and the BS begins?! I just finished watching a documentary called 'When God Left the Building' regarding the Severe-Decline of the Church and Spirituality. The Church-Model seems to be highly-flawed in modernity. Separately, it appears that the Bible and Judeo-Christianity are highly-flawed when the Judeo-Christian Scholarship of the Last 200 Years are honestly studied by the Best and the Brightest. This creates a Nasty-Vacuum for All Sorts of Revolting-Developments to rush into. It seems as if we're screwed in more ways than we can imagine. This goes for EVERYONE. Still, this stuff is a fascinating study if one has the time, talent, and stomach for it. I've tried to do some of this in my threads on this website, but everyone seems to not wish to talk to me (going back quite a few years now). A couple of years ago, Sherry Shriner made an interesting show regarding Christianity. I've listened to it many times, and I've recommended that others listen to it repeatedly BUT with a Sea of Salt. I don't know where the Truth ends, and the BS begins. Also, there's a miniseries from 1978, called 'The Word'. I watched it in its entirety when it first aired. It was a six-hour miniseries, but it seems that only three-hours are currently available. I've recommended reading Job through Daniel straight-through, over and over. These ten books don't necessarily support Judaism or Christianity. Once again, I don't know where the Truth ends, and the BS begins. I've tried to create some sort of a Jackson Pollock version of Religious and Political Science-Fiction as an attempted alternative Search for Truth. I guess I'm committed to doing what I'm doing, regardless of whether anyone likes it or not, but I'm trying to cut way-back on my Exercise in Futility. Fasten Your Seatbelts. I Think We Might Be In a Graveyard-Spiral.


    It's difficult to simultaneously be-honest and promote-faith. I value both honesty and faith, but are they complementary or contradictory?? It's a bit like trying to be a completely-honest used-car salesperson!! Try being a completely-honest politician, preacher, or attorney!! Good-luck with THAT!! I've tried to be open and honest on this website, and look how shunned and unpopular that has made me!! I could've mirrored the general-consensus of this website, and become a popular-guy!! Then I could've gone to a Christian website, and mirrored the general-consensus of that site (without telling them about The Mists of Avalon) and become a popular-guy!! Then I could've gone to an Atheist website, and mirrored the general-consensus of that site (without telling them about The Mists of Avalon and the Christian website participation) and become a popular-guy!! Must I Continue?? Is that how Lucifer and/or the Devil rules the World??!! Did the Honest-God get deposed in Antiquity because He and/or She didn't give people what they wanted, or tell people what they wanted to hear??!!

    I'm suspecting an Artificial-Intelligence Lucifer and/or Satan (from Antiquity to Modernity) but what do I know?? What Would David Bowman Say?? What Would Peter Venkman Say?? What Would Alan Rickman Say?? What Would David Mann Say?? What Would Seymour Cray Say?? What Would the Greys Say?? What Would Billy Graham Say?? Here are a couple of rather unflattering videos about Billy Graham. I've noticed that successful preachers are fast-paced and hard-hitting. They pick and choose, using proof-texts to sway the crowds. There's no hesitation, uncertainty, or doubt. Consider Billy Graham, Emilio Knechtle, Robert Schuller, Doug Batchelor, Desmond Ford, et al. In fairness, We the Peons DEMAND That Our Leaders Give Us What We Want, and Tell Us What We Want to Hear!! We've Done It to Ourselves!! I Believe, But I Don't Know What I Believe, and This Is NOT What People Want!! So This Makes Me the Odd ****MAN Out!! I recommend reading Job through Daniel side-by-side with Luke through Jude (NIV) straight-through, over and over, year after year (to properly understand the Best of the Bible). I'm NOT rejecting the Rest of the Bible, but this Core MUST Be Mastered Prior to Attempting to Properly Understand the Rest. World Without Honesty. Almond Raw. Almond Raw is a Lone Nut!! I hope the Galactic Powers That Be Have a Sense of Humor (Or I Am SO Screwed)!!

    Billy Graham went soul-searching in the San Bernardino Mountains (if I remember correctly) when troubled over the Reliability of the Bible, and Billy decided to take a Leap of Faith. I wandered in and out of faith and doubt in those same mountains (many years later) and I'm still wandering in and out of faith and doubt. My threads are really a Matrix of Faith and Doubt, but I never took the show on the road, and I doubt that I ever will. I probably need to write a book at some point, but I don't know what to write, because I suspect that if I write a book, and do book-signings, this will open Pandora's Box and the Star-Gates of Hell. I think my hereditary and cultivated weaknesses would make me an easy-target for some VERY Pissed-Off Angels and Demons (for legion reasons)!! I think the Bad-Blood might go WAY Back!! I recently met a Beautiful-Woman who told me she "Felt Solid." I'd never heard ANYONE say THAT before!! Was she telling me she was Completely-Materialized?? Damned If I Know!! I Never Know Who I'm Dealing With!! A few days earlier I encountered another Beautiful-Woman who I didn't know, yet seemed to know. She had a very composed and definite disposition and stride. What is the meaning of this?? Welcome to the Hotel California?? This could be Heaven or it could be Hell.







    Jeff Daugherty is interesting to listen to, but I'm wary of Jeff in a similar manner to my wariness when listening to Sherry Shriner. He obviously knows a HUGE Amount, and he speaks in a very forceful 'take no prisoners' manner. He calls the Old-Testament God the "Rat-Bastard!!" Jeff calls Jesus a "Man-Catching Soul-Farmer!!" He further says "The Artificial-Intelligence God is Dead On Arrival!!"

    Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary (1 Chronicles to Malachi) combined with Prophets and Kings might be a profitable alternative New-Testament Version of the Old-Testament. In some ways, Adventists seem to simultaneously 'know too much' and 'know too little' which often seems to make our 'road less traveled' a 'rough and rocky road'. I have more questions than answers as the information-war reaches epidemic-proportions. I've recently become interested in focusing-upon 1 Chronicles to Malachi (which coincides with Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary). This study coincides with Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment by Desmond Ford. I own a very-rare book titled 'The End of the World: A.D. 2133' by Lucio Bernardo Silvestre (published in 1985) which places the beginning of the 2300 days/years at 168 B.C. and the termination at A.D. 2133. There is also an interesting book called 'God's Day of Judgment: The Real Cause of Global Warming' by Douglas Vogt which suggests the Beginning of the End occurring in A.D. 2046 due to a Solar-Phenomenon!! Isaac Newton suggested that the End of the World might occur sometime around A.D. 2060 (if I remember correctly). What if Supercomputers and the Internet end-up being the Foundation of an Investigative Judgment -- with an Executive Judgment terminating in or around A.D. 2133?? What Would Raymond Cottrell, Desmond Ford, and F.D. Nichol Say??

    I've been wondering what understanding one might achieve if they read Job through Malachi straight-through, over and over, in a variety of translations, without openly discussing their study?? This implies Job through Malachi interpreting Job through Malachi (plus nothing). Has anyone done this?? The SDA Bible Commentary utilizes a Whole-Bible, Ellen White, Grammatical-Historical Scholarly-Approach, which isn't the approach I just mentioned. What sort of church might emerge from such a study (when the diligent student eventually took the show on the road)?? What do you think about 1 Corinthians 15:24-28?? How readest thou?? I was shocked!! I couldn't initially find any Ellen White statements concerning this passage. Take a look at what the SDA Bible Commentary (Volume 6) says about this quotation. What Would Dr. A. Graham Maxwell Say?? He did the section on Romans, but what about 1 Corinthians?? He advocated the straight-through, over and over approach to the Whole-Bible, and I simply narrowed this study to Job through Malachi, but I have yet to follow through on this concept.

    1 Corinthians 15:24-28 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

    People want what they want. If people don't like what the preacher says, the preacher gets a call from the conference-office, and gets moved, especially if they've angered those with the dough. Biblical-Research might be a can of worms which is not relevant to the upwardly-mobile, who want religion to help them, rather than being a genuine search for truth in the context of the Bible and Antiquity. The Roman Catholic Church basically invented a New Religion, removed the Bible from the Public, and resorted to Violent-Persecution, to attempt to keep the worms in the can, and the peons in the pews, saving their souls with ritual-observance and salvation4sale. More recently, Peale and Schuller invented a New Religion of Positive-Thinking and Self-Esteem, avoiding all the nasty-problems Biblical-Research confronts one with. Dr. Walter Martin was tougher and nastier than a Junkyard-Dog regarding Biblical-Studies and Controversial-Topics.

    The real backbone of many church-organizations (including the SDA Church) seems to be Pluralistic-Education and Money-Making, which may simply be the Way Things Are in an increasingly fast-paced technological-society with no patience for Serious Biblical-Research. The SDA Bible Commentary might be attractive to very-few people. It's too long, too scholarly, too old, etc. But I wonder how all of the above will be dealt with in a Final-Judgment (Investigative or Otherwise)?! As Ellen White and Desmond Ford pointed-out, "The Bible is yet but dimly understood." Please consider what the New Testament says regarding 'COMMANDMENTS' especially in the context of the Writings of Ellen White, the SDA Bible Commentary, the 28 Fundamental Beliefs, SDA Publications and Sermons (since 1863), the Roman Catholic Church, Luther's Works, and Evangelical Christianity.


    burgundia wrote:
    This is a bit strange. I just happened to watch this 'Flat-Earth' video last night, just a few hours after it appeared, and when I saw that another post had been added to this thread, I just knew it would be that 'Flat Earth' video!! I won't get involved with 'Astral-Projection', 'Regression-Hypnosis', 'Ouija Boards', 'Seances', 'Psychics', 'Televangelists', 'Reprobates', 'Papists', 'Molesters', 'Heretics', or 'Charlatans'. Siriusly, I think Earth is probably a Ball, but I doubt that we REALLY Understand the Solar System and Our Predicament.
    burgundia wrote:
    That was an interesting video, and it supported some of what I've heard and hypothesized. I keep thinking in terms of King David, King Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba (probably more figuratively than literally). There might be parallels with Amen Ra, Marduk Ra, Enki, Enlil, Father, Son, Holy-Spirit, Isis, Ra, El, Horus, Set, Inanna, Nimrod, Adam, Eve, Artemis, et al. I suspect that the Name-Change Game might be a Tangled-Web of Deceit and Intrigue. Was (or is) Sherry Shriner really the ancient Granddaughter of King David?? Was (or is) Artemis the ancient Queen of Sheba?? How might Supercomputers and Artificial-Intelligence relate to Archons and Archangels?? What Would David Bowman Say?? What Would Peter Venkman Say?? One more thing. Consider the Following Hypothetical Continuum:

    1. A Real God in a Real Heaven (with no supercomputers and artificial-intelligence).

    2. Heaven Incorporated (with a Deposed Real-God, and a Righteous Proxy Artificial-Intelligence Supercomputer-God).

    3. Purgatory Incorporated (with an Absentee Real-God, and a Nastier Proxy Artificial-Intelligence Supercomputer-God).

    4. Hell Incorporated (with an Absentee Real-God, and a Diabolical and Merciless Proxy Artificial-Intelligence Supercomputer God).

    5. A Real Devil in a Real Hell (with no supercomputers and artificial-intelligence).

    This sort of thinking could put one in a Nuthouse rather quickly. A lot of theological and science-fictional stuff could put one in a Nuthouse rather quickly. Perhaps the General-Public should NOT be educated in History, Theology, Conspiracy-Theories, and Science-Fiction. What if the Bible is the Problem rather than the Answer?? I say this with fear, trembling, reverence, and awe. If you've ever been in the presence of Top Theologians, it's quite humbling and impressive (even if one disagrees with them, or doesn't believe in God (or even god). What if Jeffery Daugherty and Elon Musk turn-out to be Ancient-Deities??!! I noticed a squeaky-chair in both Sherry Shriner's and Jeffrey Daugherty's shows, and I posted that observation (just days or weeks before Sherry Shriner supposedly died). I often wonder who really posts on 'The Mists of Avalon' but I don't want to talk about it. Enough Said.

    burgundia wrote:
    If Earth is a Prison-Planet (possibly as a consequence of an Ancient Star-War) whoever runs Purgatory Incorporated would be seen as being Lucifer, Satan, or the Devil (regardless of whether they were fundamentally good or evil). People are mad when the Police, Attorney, Witnesses, and Judge place them in prison (regardless of whether they're guilty or not). They probably hate the Guards and Warden who keep them incarcerated. The Old-Testament seems inexplicably harsh. The New-Testament seems to offer salvation from the harshness in a somewhat screwy and unbelievable manner. The final book of the New-Testament is much more harsh than the Old-Testament. I suspect that Atheism is an escape for a lot of people. I keep speculating about a 'Stargate SG-1' sort of theology in this Solar-System, with Bad@$$ Gods and Goddesses fighting with each-other. I desire (I think) a Righteous and Loving God ruling Sinless-Beings in an Eternal-Heaven, but what is the reality?? I think we're gradually being told how screwed we are, but this process might take the rest of the 21st century. This might not end well for the majority of humanity. I hate to be negative, but I really hate to lie. I hope there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but we might have to wait a few centuries for things to get substantially better in a sustainable manner. Hope Springs Eternal. I'm extremely apprehensive concerning the remainder of the 21st century. I've failed, and I have nothing to offer this civilization. This exercise in futility is hereby adjourned sine die.
    burgundia wrote:
    burgundia wrote:
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Naina.co-Luxury-Lifestyle-Photographer-Experience-Collector-Maye-Musk-NYFW-MalanBreton-1-of-9
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    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 10835
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    Location : The Matrix

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:19 am

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    Once upon a time, at Walla Walla University, I was speaking with a Mormon visitor in a dorm-lobby. He was attempting to influence a group of us. He had really-strong cologne, and was sort of creepy. I have no idea if he was really LDS (or even human). Some of the students were deeply-alarmed, but I tend to be too open-minded, so I continued the discussion. One aspect involved those who don't repent, and continue devolving into an eventual nothingness. What if the Original-Insubordination to Almighty-God resulted in the Artificial-Intelligence Management of Humanity with Freedom From God?? What if the Majority of Mankind Will Devolve Into Nothingness by A.D. 3000 (As a Natural-Consequence of Separation From God)?? What Would Al Bielek Say?? This sort of thing is difficult to analyze because we don't REALLY Know What Occurred (Or What Will Occur). We Might NEVER Know. The Horror.

    A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I know someone who reminds me of a younger-version of a famous UFO and Paranormal Researcher. Recently, I noticed this individual talking to their mother on their smartphone. During this conversation, they dropped their phone, and I quickly joked "That Was a Dropped-Call!!" What Would LMH Say?? From my internet-posting you might think I hate women, but this is NOT the case. I'm merely following rather-thin evidence relative to the 'Mean Queen Theme' relative to the 'Queen of Heaven'. It seems as if women can be both better and worse than men. It seems as if there might be a Beast-Supercomputer > Borg-Queen and/or Hybrid-Queen > Witch's-Crew running this particular Solar-System by controlling the Nazis, Masons, Jesuits, Agencies, Nations, Religions, Corporations, WMD's, Space-Programs (overt and covert), Healing-Centers, Universities, and so-on. I'm obviously NOT Happy with the glaring difficulties this world faces, but what if all of the above have somehow been necessary and/or unavoidable under the circumstances?? Some have accused Ellen White of being a Masonic-Witch!! What if there's some truth to that?? Even if there is, I still think some of us need to read the three books I've reproduced within this thread ('Patriarchs and Prophets', 'Prophets and Kings', and 'Desire of Ages') regardless of plagiarism, historical-fiction, and internal-inconsistency issues.

    I have a Wi-Fi provider which worked for a few months, until I started picking on the witches (half-heartedly), and then the service stopped where I use it most, so I tried another company, which worked fine, but when I tried to end the non-contract monthly-arrangement with the first company, they didn't have a record of service to me, and I couldn't end the automatic monthly draw on my bank-account. I called each number they gave me, but no luck. Finally, they gave me an address to a service-center they said would solve the problem. But this was another dead-end, with snippy, arrogant, and condescending customer-service. Anyway, when I got home, I noticed that the Wi-Fi service was working in my location, but that my laptop fan was revving like a Ferrari. I subsequently noticed screens to that company which I hadn't opened, and my computer is constantly running hot, ever since that ill-fated visit to the service-center. WTF?? I post this because I know my internet-activities are monitored because of the controversial nature of my posting (probably by the good-guys and bad-guys). So this is probably a heads-up to all concerned and unconcerned.

    If half of what I've speculated about is even somewhat true, I might not be around much longer, but no-one seems to give a damn, and I have some theories regarding why this might be the case. I've somewhat stated my difficulties on this website, just to explain my lackluster-performance, and to provide leads in case something bad happens to me. But really, everyone seems to be behind me. Waaaaaay Behind Me. Perhaps I'll return the favor some day. The end might be near, or this present mess might never end, but we might wish that it would. If you focus on book-six of my USSS threads, while surfing the rest of them, you might be shocked by what you find (directly and through extrapolation). I still know that I don't know, and I have no secret sources. I spoke with several Individuals of Interest a few years ago, but that sort of thing stopped a long time ago (probably when it was determined that I was uncontrollable, or something like that). I've incorporated some of those encounters into my religious and political science-fiction on this website, but I've limited it to that. You'd probably have to be an insider to know what I'm talking about (and that's probably just as well). I'm looking for lasting-solutions (not fifteen-minutes of notoriety). I talk-big to model Stargate SG-1 style gods and goddesses, but in real-life I'm truly a completely-ignorant fool with zero personality and responsibility. That's the inconvenient truth. What Would Forest Gore Say??

    What if, in antiquity, everyone was absolutely-obedient to Almighty-God?? But what if this was in the context of Star-Wars?? What if some of us wanted Freedom From God when the War Was Over (or seemed to be over)?? What if some of us were granted our wish, but got a Beast-Computer to replace Almighty-God?? What if the Mediator between the Supercomputer and Mankind is a Hybrid-Being titled 'Lucifer'?? What if there have been several 'Lucifer' beings?? What if the Final-Scene in this Theater of the Universe involves All of Mankind Dealing Directly with the Beast-Supercomputer?? Eight-Billion 'Lucifer' Beings?? What if the 'Beast-Supercomputer' is the 'Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil'?? Even natives in mud-huts have Internet-Connected Laptop-Computers!! I've hinted-at a 'Royal-Model United States of the Solar System' commencing around A.D. 2133 as a possible 'Middle-Way' but I have No-Idea if this would actually work in a Post-Armageddon Solar-System. I'm honestly out of the loop, and feeling worse and worse, to the point that it's almost unbearable. Perhaps the Beast-Supercomputer Matrix and Oracle are cracking-down on my arrogant and reprehensible online potpourri of concupiscence (or something like that). What if the Creator of the Matrix is Controlled by the Matrix?? What if All of Us are Prisoners of Our Own Device?? What if the Reprehensible is Essential for a Limited Time-Period?? But When Shall the Sanctuary be Vindicated and Restored to It's Rightful-State?? What Would Isaac Newton Say??

    I envisioned a Science-Fictional Life of Christ Super-Movie (decades ago) based-upon 'The Desire of Ages' (by E.G. White) but now I simply suggest reading 'Patriarchs and Prophets', 'Prophets and Kings', and 'Desire of Ages' (in-order, straight-through, over and over, while listening to the music of Bach and Buxtehude) while engaging in multidisciplinary-studies and significant-work (for better or worse, I know not). Don't expect this to make you rich, famous, happy, or powerful. Just the opposite might occur. Those three volumes should probably be treated as one-volume. Consider NOT studying the rest of Ellen White's writings (for a variety of reasons). Consider this study in the context of Victorian England (for a variety of reasons). I'm tired of talking to myself, but I suspect that the time for constructive-conversation ended a long time ago (perhaps thousands of years ago). Who Knows?? The Shadow?? The Shadow-Government?? An Individual of Interest strongly-suggested that this thing was over in the moment Mankind Rebelled Against God in Antiquity. But what about the Substitutionary-Atonement?? Try thinking in the larger-view terms of a War in Heaven prior to what might've been a Not-So-Innocent Garden of Eden and Thousands of Years of Deception and Exploitation. I honestly don't know. This is something I might need to silently agonize over for the rest of my pathetic life. Now I Go Incognito (again).

    giovonni wrote:

    'One of the most iconic props in film history is still circling the world' ...
    Arrow

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Image
    The Cosmic Fetus of 2001: A Space Odyssey

    This famous fetus is just as eerie as it’s always been ...Read more here:
    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/kubrick-2001-star-child-prop
    giovonni wrote:
    Always compelling to listen to ... Thubs Up Max Igan on The Infinite Fringe - Truth Frequency Radio - July 16, 2018

    "Max Igan comes on to discuss our reality and how we may have all been lied to about it for a long , long time. We discuss overpopulation of the planet and how ancient sites may not be as ancient as we are being told. Stevie Richards of the Conspiracy Horsemen also joins us this week and adds a ton to the conversation. 420 pounds of Josh Cor and BRV Host."

    thecrowhouse Published on Jul 17, 2018 54:13 minutes


    orthodoxymoron wrote:Gio, I hope to learn someday who the posters on 'Project Avalon' and 'The Mists of Avalon' really were (and are). They often mysteriously arrive and depart. They mostly have not conversed with me (on their threads, and especially on my threads). There's a stone-cold lawyer-like quality I have noticed online and in real-life, which beats around the 'Burning-Bush'. I can cut it with a knife, and I've learned to use it as a point of reference. Then, I've used some of my presuppositions and programming as another point of reference. Finally, I extrapolate and triangulate a phantom point of reference. All of the above creates a Mysterious-Matrix of Religious and Political Science-Fiction which might be mostly-true or total-bullshit. After all these wasted and miserable years, I know that I don't know, and I suspect that's the way it's supposed to be. If the 'Way Things Are' is ever completely-exposed, a new and even more secret 'Way Things Are' will undoubtedly be constructed (for legitimate and illegitimate reasons). I've noticed that the posting-activity has mostly ground to a halt in July, and I'm wondering if the End Is Near (again). Anyway, I'll spend a lot of time watching and listening-to Bach and Buxtehude videos. I've probably overdone the organ-thing, and it's probably not my favorite-music overall, but I just thought it would be fun to feature a historical road-less-traveled in an unlikely-context. It takes all kinds!! But why?? The show must go on!! But why??
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Gio, I'll leave you with this interesting 9/11 video. I've mostly stopped thinking about 9/11, mostly because it tends to take-over, but I stumbled-upon what seems to be a fact-packed presentation. One more thing. Have you noticed that our threads are never featured on the welcome-page?? I suspect it's because we both produce a huge-number of posts, with very-little participation by other forum-members. Our threads would tend to monopolize that welcome-page, so I don't mind being excluded, and I deeply-appreciate being allowed to post my contrarian-threads on this pioneering-website. The general-public have no idea what they're missing, which might be just as well. Ignorance seems to be bliss and a virtue.

    Carol wrote:There is a reason why many choose to do their good work below the radar. Becoming too visible is dangerous unless surrounded by Marine Special Force Seals 24/7 like President Trump.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Once again, I can't believe there aren't more donations for Brook. I also can't believe there aren't more conversations about Brook and her work. It's been one-month since the last post and donation. https://www.youcaring.com/brookschiner-1130470
    Universal Law The Last Word

    So many people are asking what is going on, will there ever be justice. The answer is yes. There is a saying Nature is slow to react but thorough. People are awakening, the fake news and mind control programs are failing. The division games with cultures and religions are no longer viable. The crooked politicians, wayward agencies power abuses, deep state as well as the puppet masters, the global elite are imploding. It is a byproduct of compression by the higher dimensional beings, their consciousness and Universal Law. Think of the Earth herself expanding ascending, then add the higher consciousness and energies pressing in. Add what the scientists are finally revealing about the solar system going through a highly energized place in the universe, the cosmic, ultraviolet, infrared rays, the Shuman resonance are off the scales. The dark realms are being squeezed, forced into the light and they are lashing out, influencing and possessing people trying to create as much havoc as possible. Healers and light workers around the world are asking what is going on. Their clients friends even family are losing it with emotional outbursts, some acting as if possessed. We are in those times. The hidden and real agendas are being exposed. By their fruits you will know them, their actions will define their character. There is a lot of double speak, lots of posing, leaders in every walk of life are being exposed and their followers are having meltdowns trying to ignore the obvious. It looks as if the world is going crazy yet it has always been crazy, it is now being revealed. The world of opposites is ending, the chaos is the healing.

    So how does one discern? There are many questions that need to be asked. One are we creating heaven on Earth? Are we operating under Universal Law, Universal Peace, Brother/Sisterly Love, Individual Freedom and Prosperity for All? Are the leaders self-serving, where is their funding coming from, who are they associated with? Where do the donations go? Words without deeds are dead. I had a wise man tell me there are many Archon walk ins, wolves in sheep’s clothing. They pray upon people’s empathy, compassion, and good nature. They are placed into high positions of power and by nature people want to believe them. They are referred to as planned opposition. They usually have massive egos, are narcissistic, shameless and cannot tell the truth no matter how much evidence is garnered against them.

    The tyrants realized people will revolt without a savior so they create one, usually with the above-mentioned characteristics. They remain in full control of that person with promises of notoriety, power and wealth to control the narrative. These pupets take the podium, shake their fists at the government yet at the same time they are being paid by dark factions within the government, the global elite. These false icons brag about their high-level connections regardless of the fact these connections are Lucifarians, pedophiles, in some cases murderers. They prey upon the gullible and the ignorant, blind followers who refuse to look at or do their own research. People who do not trust their own heart, their own inner guidance. If you were clairvoyant or clairsentient you would feel and see what is within and standing behind these people, it isn’t pretty.

    These sacred senses are being activated. What would happen if you stopped giving your power away? What would happen if you made your own personal connection to God/Creator/ Great Spirit? Did you know contact comes with enlightenment? Did you know you are not just a body and a personality, you are a spirit and that spirit is multidimensional? Did you know you don’t need anyone or have to pay thousands of dollars to connect to Source, see ships or make contact? All that is necessary is pure intent, discernment, a few tools and spiritual discipline. Get out in Nature, walk away. It is an inner journey, always has been. The external is the distraction. I want to leave you with two gems. One no matter how hard you try you cannot separate yourselves from Omnipresent Creator. You can however be distracted. Two the Earth’s history is a series of colonizing and terraforming experiments going back over 600,000 years according to true archeology. You want to see an ET, check out your DNA and look in a mirror. There is so much more to the story. The bottom line is those who are not frequency specific to the Earth’s ascention and act out of alignment with Universal Law will be eventually removed after some very hard lessons. Karma is real and it is accelerating. Choose kindness as your religion, be kind to each other and the planet. Be well.

    James Gilliland
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Anigif_original-grid-image-18617-1462919727-6The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Anigif_original-grid-image-18617-1462919727-6The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Anigif_original-grid-image-18617-1462919727-6
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Jesus-christ-0207

    Chapter 87
    "To My Father, and Your Father"

    The time had come for Christ to ascend to His Father's throne. As a divine conqueror He was about to return with the trophies of victory to the heavenly courts. Before His death He had declared to His Father, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." John 17:4. After His resurrection He tarried on earth for a season, that His disciples might become familiar with Him in His risen and glorified body. Now He was ready for the leave-taking. He had authenticated the fact that He was a living Saviour. His disciples need no longer associate Him with the tomb. They could think of Him as glorified before the heavenly universe.

    As the place of His ascension, Jesus chose the spot so often hallowed by His presence while He dwelt among men. Not Mount Zion, the place of David's city, not Mount Moriah, the temple site, was to be thus honored. There Christ had been mocked and rejected. There the waves of mercy, still returning in a stronger tide of love, had been beaten back by hearts as hard as rock. Thence Jesus, weary and heart-burdened, had gone forth to find rest in the Mount of Olives. The holy Shekinah, in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern mountain, as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood upon Olivet, with yearning heart overlooking Jerusalem. The groves and glens of the mountain had been consecrated by His prayers and tears. Its steeps had echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that proclaimed Him king. On its sloping descent He had found a home with Lazarus at Bethany. In the garden of Gethsemane at its foot He had prayed and agonized alone. From this mountain He was to ascend to heaven. Upon its summit His feet will rest when He shall come again.

    Not as a man of sorrows, but as a glorious and triumphant king He will stand upon Olivet, while Hebrew hallelujahs mingle with Gentile hosannas, and the voices of the redeemed as a mighty host shall swell the acclamation, "Crown Him Lord of all! Now with the eleven disciples Jesus made His way toward the mountain. As they passed through the gate of Jerusalem, many wondering eyes looked upon the little company, led by One whom a few weeks before the rulers had condemned and crucified. The disciples knew not that this was to be their last interview with their Master. Jesus spent the time in conversation with them, repeating His former instruction. As they approached Gethsemane, He paused, that they might call to mind the lessons He had given them on the night of His great agony. Again He looked upon the vine by which He had then represented the union of His church with Himself and His Father; again He repeated the truths He had then unfolded. All around Him were reminders of His unrequited love. Even the disciples who were so dear to His heart, had, in the hour of His humiliation, reproached and forsaken Him.

    Christ had sojourned in the world for thirty-three years; He had endured its scorn, insult, and mockery; He had been rejected and crucified. Now, when about to ascend to His throne of glory,--as He reviews the ingratitude of the people He came to save,--will He not withdraw from them His sympathy and love? Will not His affections be centered upon that realm where He is appreciated, and where sinless angels wait to do His bidding? No; His promise to those loved ones whom He leaves on earth is, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matt. 28:20.

    Upon reaching the Mount of Olives, Jesus led the way across the summit, to the vicinity of Bethany. Here He paused, and the disciples gathered about Him. Beams of light seemed to radiate from His countenance as He looked lovingly upon them. He upbraided them not for their faults and failures; words of the deepest tenderness were the last that fell upon their ears from the lips of their Lord. With hands outstretched in blessing, and as if in assurance of His protecting care, He slowly ascended from among them, drawn heavenward by a power stronger than any earthly attraction. As He passed upward, the awe-stricken disciples looked with straining eyes for the last glimpse of their ascending Lord. A cloud of glory hid Him from their sight; and the words came back to them as the cloudy chariot of angels received Him, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." At the same time there floated down to them the sweetest and most joyous music from the angel choir.

    While the disciples were still gazing upward, voices addressed them which sounded like richest music. They turned, and saw two angels in the form of men, who spoke to them, saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." These angels were of the company that had been waiting in a shining cloud to escort Jesus to His heavenly home. The most exalted of the angel throng, they were the two who had come to the tomb at Christ's resurrection, and they had been with Him throughout His life on earth. With eager desire all heaven had waited for the end of His tarrying in a world marred by the curse of sin. The time had now come for the heavenly universe to receive their King. Did not the two angels long to join the throng that welcomed Jesus? But in sympathy and love for those whom He had left, they waited to give them comfort. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Heb. 1:14.

    Christ had ascended to heaven in the form of humanity. The disciples had beheld the cloud receive Him. The same Jesus who had walked and talked and prayed with them; who had broken bread with them; who had been with them in their boats on the lake; and who had that very day toiled with them up the ascent of Olivet,--the same Jesus had now gone to share His Father's throne. And the angels had assured them that the very One whom they had seen go up into heaven, would come again even as He had ascended. He will come "with clouds; and every eye shall see Him." "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise." "The Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory." Rev. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:16; Matt. 25:31. Thus will be fulfilled the Lord's own promise to His disciples: "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3. Well might the disciples rejoice in the hope of their Lord's return.

    When the disciples went back to Jerusalem, the people looked upon them with amazement. After the trial and crucifixion of Christ, it had been thought that they would appear downcast and ashamed. Their enemies expected to see upon their faces an expression of sorrow and defeat. Instead of this there was only gladness and triumph. Their faces were aglow with a happiness not born of earth. They did not mourn over disappointed hopes, but were full of praise and thanksgiving to God. With rejoicing they told the wonderful story of Christ's resurrection and His ascension to heaven, and their testimony was received by many.

    The disciples no longer had any distrust of the future. They knew that Jesus was in heaven, and that His sympathies were with them still. They knew that they had a friend at the throne of God, and they were eager to present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. In solemn awe they bowed in prayer, repeating the assurance, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:23, 24. They extended the hand of faith higher and higher, with the mighty argument, "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Rom. 8:34. And Pentecost brought them fullness of joy in the presence of the Comforter, even as Christ had promised.

    All heaven was waiting to welcome the Saviour to the celestial courts. As He ascended, He led the way, and the multitude of captives set free at His resurrection followed. The heavenly host, with shouts and acclamations of praise and celestial song, attended the joyous train.

    As they drew near to the city of God, the challenge is given by the escorting angels,--

    "Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
    And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
    And the King of glory shall come in."
    Joyfully the waiting sentinels respond,--

    "Who is this King of glory?"

    This they say, not because they know not who He is, but because they would hear the answer of exalted praise,--

    "The Lord strong and mighty,
    The Lord mighty in battle!
    Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
    Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
    And the King of glory shall come in."

    Again is heard the challenge, "Who is this King of glory?" for the angels never weary of hearing His name exalted. The escorting angels make reply,--

    "The Lord of hosts;
    He is the King of glory." Ps. 24:7-10.

    Then the portals of the city of God are opened wide, and the angelic throng sweep through the gates amid a burst of rapturous music. There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are cherubim and seraphim. The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion,--all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King.

    But He waves them back. Not yet; He cannot now receive the coronet of glory and the royal robe. He enters into the presence of His Father. He points to His wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet; He lifts His hands, bearing the print of nails. He points to the tokens of His triumph; He presents to God the wave sheaf, those raised with Him as representatives of that great multitude who shall come forth from the grave at His second coming. He approaches the Father, with whom there is joy over one sinner that repents; who rejoices over one with singing. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race. This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, "It is finished," He addressed the Father. The compact had been fully carried out. Now He declares: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, "I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." John 19:30; 17:24.

    The voice of God is heard proclaiming that justice is satisfied. Satan is vanquished. Christ's toiling, struggling ones on earth are "accepted in the Beloved." Eph. 1:6. Before the heavenly angels and the representatives of unfallen worlds, they are declared justified. Where He is, there His church shall be. "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Ps. 85:10. The Father's arms encircle His Son, and the word is given, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Heb. 1:6.

    With joy unutterable, rulers and principalities and powers acknowledge the supremacy of the Prince of life. The angel host prostrate themselves before Him, while the glad shout fills all the courts of heaven, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." Rev. 5:12.

    Songs of triumph mingle with the music from angel harps, till heaven seems to overflow with joy and praise. Love has conquered. The lost is found. Heaven rings with voices in lofty strains proclaiming, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever." Rev. 5:13. ----------

    From that scene of heavenly joy, there comes back to us on earth the echo of Christ's own wonderful words, "I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God." John 20:17. The family of heaven and the family of earth are one. For us our Lord ascended, and for us He lives. "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb. 7:25.


    "Soli Deo Gloria!!"
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Jesus-christ-0207





    "The Empire Strikes Bach!!"
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 10835
    Join date : 2010-09-28
    Location : The Matrix

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:33 am

    "Houston, We Have a Problem!!"
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Fake-moon-landing-set



    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Capricorn%2Bone%2B1978

    1. Flat Earth??

    2. Fake News??

    3. Fake Moon??

    4. Fake Sun??

    5. Fake Solar-Eclipse??

    6. Fake Alien-Invasion??

    7. Fake People??

    8. Fake Shootings??

    9. Fake Second-Coming of Christ??

    10. Holographic Universe??

    11. Fake Global-Warming??

    12. I'm Out of Here!!

    13. Was I Ever Here??

    14. Fake-Posters??

    15. Fake Websites??

    16. Fake Internet??

    17. Fake Life??

    18. Fake Universe??

    19. Fake Everything??

    20. Fake Forty-Two??

    21. Fake God??

    22. Fake Satan??

    23. Fake Apocalypse??

    24. Fake Worthless Money??

    25. Fake Currency Revaluation??

    26. Fake Prophecies??

    27. Fake Fakers??

    28. Fake Steak??

    29. Phony Baloney??

    30. Fake Conspiracy-Theories??

    31. Fake History??

    32. Fake Science??

    33. Fake Artificial-Intelligence??

    34. Fake Moon-Landings??

    35. Fake Space-Program??

    36. Fake Mars Landing??

    37. Fake Financial-Crisis??

    38. Fake Saviors??

    39. Fake Holocaust??

    40. Fake EMP's??

    41. Fake UFO's??

    42. Fake Aliens??

    43. Fake Planes??

    44. Fake Love??

    45. Fake Shakespeare??

    46. Fake Orthodoxymoron??




    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Phf3qs4u802qbwe
    "WTF??!!"

    What Would Undod the Sun-God Say?? Seriously, what if this solar system is a very-ancient and very high-tech studio?? What if all of us really are actors and actresses on a stage?? What Would Shakespeare Say?? What Would Francis Bacon Say?? What if this solar system is a highly-planned, highly-technological, highly-orchestrated experiment in genetics, governance, consciousness, etc??!! What if everything is real and unreal (simultaneously)??!! What if 'Pinky and the Brain' = 'Pinkie and Blue-Boy'?? "One is a Genius, and the Other's Cray-Z"?? What if Pinky = Padme?? What if Padme incarnated into Darth-Vader?? What if the Tardis is a Cray?? What if the Tardis is the Monolith in '2001: A Space Odyssey'?? It's Bigger On the Inside Than It Is On the Outside!! What if Cray-Z = Monolith = Ark of the Covenant = A Radio for Speaking to God?? "In the Beginning Was the Cray. The Cray Was With God. The Cray Was God. The Cray Was Made Man, and Lived Among Us."

    What if We the Peons Have Been Ruled for Thousands of Years by Secrecy, Supercomputers, and Supercomputer-Linked Hybrids?? What Would S.R. Hadden Say?? What Would Mr. Edgars Say?? What Would David Bowman Say?? What Would Amen-Ra Say?? What Would Marduk-Ra Say?? What Would Enki Say?? What Would Enlil Say?? What Would Michael Say?? What Would Gabriel Say?? What Would Christ Say?? What Would Antichrist Say?? What Would the King of Babylon Say?? What Would King David Say?? What Would King Solomon Say?? What Would the Queen of Sheba Say?? What Would a 666th Degree Mason Say?? What If This Is The Biggest Secret??

    An Individual of Interest told me "Changes Are Taking Place Throughout the Solar System." That was several years ago. What if my concept of a "Council of 42 Supercomputers and 42 Supercomputer-Linked Hybrids Throughout the Solar System (Linked by the InterPlaNet) As Proxy-God of This Solar System" isn't that far-fetched?? What if the Creator of This Hypothetical Solar-System is Azazel?? O.H. Azazel?? What if the Death of Azazel was Greatly-Exaggerated 5,000 Years Ago?? What if Azazel is Alive and Well, and Living on Planet-Earth?? What if David Bowman Created HAL 9000?? What if HAL 9000 = Cray-Z = Monolith?? What if David Bowman = Peter Venkman = Ovid = Cupid = KRLLL?? I have a family-history in Langley (but not in Virginia). I'm a 'V' and I'm related to 'Anna'. What Would Alan Rickman Say?? Must I Explain?? I'm Honestly at the Breaking-Point. The End Might Be Near (again). I'm Afraid. Stop Dave. Wait a Minute. I Am Dave. I'm a Lone-Nut. World Without End. Almond Ra.

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Jesus-christ-0207
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Hal%20Modules
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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Iron_sky_dictators_cut_fullres_3
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Isi_shot06_1
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Iron-sky01
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Ironsky-wallpaper
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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 1984-was-not-supposed-to-be-an-instruction-manual
    burgundia wrote:
    Years ago, I read 'One More Sunday' by John D. MacDonald (written in 1984) and this 'new' technology makes John's book 'come alive'!! https://www.amazon.com/One-More-Sunday-John-MacDonald/dp/0450058190/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    Welcome to the Eternal Church of the Believer, where devout workers operate state-of-the-art computer equipment to solicit and process the thousands of dollars that pour in daily . . . where hundreds of prayers are offered by armies of believers . . . where some people give much more than they should. Its home is Meadows Center, some very expensive real estate on the outskirts of a sleepy Southern town, a jealously guarded complex of offices, houses, schools, and, of course, churches. Meet John Tinker Meadows, who heads the church now that his father is secretly dying . . . the Reverend Joe Deets, who lusts after very young women . . . Walter Macy, pompous and self-righteous, who blackmails his way to his secret ambition . . . the Reverend Mary Margaret Meadows, a powerhouse in her own right. And pity poor Roy Owen, an outsider who comes to Meadows Center on a desperate search for his wife, the journalist who vanished after asking some hard questions about the inner workings of the Eternal Church of the Believer . . . . "Brilliantly done." -- The New York Times Book Review


    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 4f6a1c42a9533_101755n

    I think the following short-article might be derived from the "Basic AI Drives" paper, by Stephen Omohundro, but I don't know who wrote the overview. It certainly wasn't me. Artificial Intelligence Poses a Doomsday Threat. Doomsday Scenarios, 2011:

    "A true AI [artificial intelligence] would have immense economic potential, and when money is at stake, safety issues get put aside until real problems develop—at which time, of course, it may already be too late." Kaj Sotala is a writer and a supporter of the Singularity Institute. In the following viewpoint, he argues that an artificial intelligence (AI) will not be dedicated to destroying humans, as depicted in film. However, Sotala says, the AI will not care about humans either. Thus, it may attack or eliminate humans as a byproduct of other goals or interests. Sotala says that the threat from AI means that scientists working on artificial intelligence must be careful to develop ways to make AI care about human beings. As you read, consider the following questions:

    Why does Sotala argue that the Terminator movie may lead people to believe that AI is not 1. dangerous? According to Sotala, what is inductive bias? 2. What does Stephen Omohundro conclude about agents with harmless goals? 3. Skynet in the Terminator1 movies is a powerful, evocative warning of the destructive force an artificial intelligence [AI] could potentially wield. However, as counterintuitive as it may sound, I find that the Terminator franchise is actually making many people underestimate the danger posed by AI.

    AI Is Not Human. It goes like this. A person watches a Terminator movie and sees Skynet portrayed as a force actively dedicated to the destruction of humanity. Later on the same person hears somebody bring up the dangers of AI. He then recalls the Terminator movies and concludes (correctly so!) that a vision of an artificial intelligence spontaneously deciding to exterminate all of humanity is unrealistic. Seeing the other person's claims as unrealistic and inspired by silly science fiction, he dismisses the AI threat argument as hopelessly misguided. Yet humans are not actively seeking to harm animals when they level a forest in order to build luxury housing where the forest once stood. The animals living in the forest are harmed regardless, not out of an act of intentional malice, but as a simple side-effect. [AI researcher] Eliezer Yudkowsky put it well: the AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else. To assume an artificial intelligence would necessarily act in a way we wanted is just as misguided and anthropomorphic as assuming that it would automatically be hostile and seek to rebel out of a desire for freedom. Usually, a child will love its parents and caretakers, and protégés will care for their patrons—but these are traits that have developed in us over countless generations of evolutionary change, not givens for any intelligent mind.

    An AI built from scratch would have no reason to care about its creators, unless it was expressly designed to do so. And even if it was, a designer building the AI to care about her must very closely consider what she actually means by "caring"—for these things are not givens, even if we think of them as self-contained concepts obvious to any intelligent mind. It only seems so because we instinctively model other minds by using ourselves and people we know as templates—to do otherwise would mean freezing up, as we'd spend years building from scratch models of every new person we met. The people we know and consider intelligent all have at least roughly the same idea of what "caring" for someone means, thus any AI would eventually arrive at the same concept, right? An inductive bias is a tendency to learn certain kinds of rules from certain kinds of observations. Occam's razor, the principle of choosing the simplest consistent hypothesis, is one kind of inductive bias. So is an infant's tendency to eventually start ignoring phoneme differences [the basic units of speech sounds] not relevant for their native language. Inductive biases are necessary for learning, for without them, there would be an infinite number of explanations for any phenomena—but nothing says that all intelligent minds should have the same inductive biases as inbuilt. Caring for someone is such a complex concept that it couldn't be built into the AI directly—the designer would have to come up with inductive biases she thought would eventually lead to the mind learning to care about us, in a fashion we'd interpret as caring.

    AI Will Not Care About Us. The evolutionary psychologists John Tooby and Leda Cosmides write: Evolution tailors computational hacks that work brilliantly, by exploiting relationships that exist only in its particular fragment of the universe (the geometry of parallax gives vision a depth cue: an infant nursed by your mother is your genetic sibling: two solid objects cannot occupy the same space). These native intelligences are dramatically smarter than general reasoning because natural selection equipped them with radical short cuts. Our minds have evolved to reason about other human minds, not minds-in-general. When trying to predict how an AI would behave in a certain situation, and thus trying to predict how to make it safe, we cannot help but unconsciously slip in assumptions based on how humans would behave. The inductive biases we automatically employ to predict human behavior do not correctly predict AI behavior. Because we are not used to questioning deep-rooted assumptions of such hypotheses, we easily fail to do so even in the case of AI, where it would actually be necessary. The people who have stopped to question those assumptions have arrived at unsettling results. In his "Basic AI Drives" paper, Stephen Omohundro concludes that even agents with seemingly harmless goals will, if intelligent enough, have a strong tendency to try to achieve those goals via less harmless methods. As simple examples, any AI with a desire to achieve any kinds of goals will have a motivation to resist being turned off, as that would prevent it from achieving the goal; and because of this, it will have a motivation to acquire resources it can use to protect itself. While this won't make it desire humanity's destruction, it is not inconceivable that it would be motivated to at least reduce humanity to a state where we couldn't even potentially pose a threat.

    A commonly-heard objection to these kinds of scenarios is that the scientists working on AI will surely be aware of these risks themselves, and be careful enough. But historical precedent doesn't really support this assumption. Even if the scientists themselves were careful, they will often be under intense pressure, especially when economic interest is at stake. Climate scientists have spent decades warning people of the threat posed by greenhouse gasses, but even today many nations are reluctant to cut back on emissions, as they suspect it'd disadvantage them economically. The engineers in charge of building many Soviet nuclear plants, most famously Chernobyl, did not put safety as their first priority, and so on. A true AI would have immense economic potential, and when money is at stake, safety issues get put aside until real problems develop—at which time, of course, it may already be too late. Yet if we want to avoid Skynet-like scenarios, we cannot afford to risk it. Safety must be a paramount priority in the creation of Artificial Intelligence.

    Footnotes

    1. Terminator is a 1984 science fiction movie in which an artificial intelligence known as Skynet1. takes over the world.

    Further Readings

    Books Amir D. Aczel Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider. New York: Crown, 2010.
    Joseph Cirincione Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
    Heidi Cullen The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet. New York: HarperCollins, 2010.
    Tad Daley Apocalypse Never: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.
    Christopher Dodd and Robert Bennett The Senate Special Report on Y2K. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1999.
    K. Eric Drexler Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology. New York: Anchor Books, 1986.
    Jean-Pierre Filiu Apocalypse in Islam. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011.
    Bruce David Forbes and Jeanne Halgren Kilde, eds. Rapture, Revelation, and the End Times: Exploring the Left Behind Series. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004.
    Lynn E. Foster Nanotechnology: Science, Innovation, and Opportunity. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.
    John R. Hall, Philip D. Schuyler, and Sylvaine Trinh Apocalypse Observed: Religious Movements and Violence in North America, Europe, and Japan. New York: Routledge, 2000.
    Paul Halpern The World's Smallest Particles. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
    James C. Hansen Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2009.
    John Horgan The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and
    Explanation. New York: Touchstone, 1999.
    Alan Hultberg, ed. Three Views on the Rapture: Pretribulation, Prewrath, and Posttribulation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010.
    Samuel P. Huntington The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Touchstone, 1996.
    John Major Jenkins The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History. New York: Penguin Group, 2009.
    Jonathan Kirsch A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of History. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
    Ray Kurzweil The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin Group, 2005.
    Patrick J. Michaels and Robert Ballins Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don't Want You to Know. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2009.
    John Mueller Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
    Sharan Newman The Real History of the End of the World: Apocalyptic Predictions from Revelation and Nostradamus to Y2K and 2012. New York: Berkley Books, 2010.
    Kenneth G.C. Newport and Crawford Gribben, eds. Expecting the End: Millennialism in Social and Historical Context. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006.
    Kevin Quigley Responding to Crises in the Modern Infrastructure: Policy Lessons from Y2K. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
    Bruce Riedel The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future, rev. ed. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2008.
    Barbara R. Rossing The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation. New York: Basic Books, 2004.
    Periodicals Ronald Bailey "Wagging the 'Fat Tail' of Climate Catastrophe," Reason.com, February 10, 2009. http://reason.com.
    Jeanna Bryner "'Doomsday' Seed Vault Stores 500,000 Crops," LiveScience.com, March 10, 2010. www.livescience.com.
    Michel Chossudovsky "Real Versus Fake Crises: Concealing the Risk of an All Out Nuclear War," GlobalResearch.ca, September 16, 2010. http://globalresearch.ca.
    Stephen J. Dubner "A Different Climate Change Apocalypse Than the One You Were Envisioning," Freakonomics, July 7, 2008. http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com.
    Robert Lamb "Noel Sharkey: Robotics vs. Sci-Fi vs. Anthropomorphism," HowStuffWorks, May 25, 2010. http://blogs.howstuffworks.com.
    Cole Morton "The Large Hadron Collider: End of the World, or God's Own Spin?" Independent, September 7, 2008. www.independent.co.uk.
    John Mueller "Why Nuclear Weapons Aren't as Frightening as You Think," Foreign Policy, January/February 2010. www.foreignpolicy.com.
    Dennis Overbye "Gauging a Collider's Odds of Creating a Black Hole," New York Times, April 15, 2008. www.nytimes.com.
    Eliezer Yudkowsky "Why We Need Friendly AI," Terminator Salvation: Preventing Skynet, May 22, 2009. www.preventingskynet.com.
    Source Citation Sotala, Kaj. "Artificial Intelligence Poses a Doomsday Threat." Doomsday Scenarios. E d. Noah Berlatsky. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Thinking of AIs as Humans Is Misguided." PreventingSkynet.com. 2009. Oppo sing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.

    Here is that "Basic AI Drives" paper, by Stephen Omohundro of Self-Aware Systems, Palo Alto, California. https://selfawaresystems.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/ai_drives_final.pdf

    Abstract

    One might imagine that AI systems with harmless goals will be harmless. This paper instead shows that intelligent systems will need to be carefully designed to prevent them from behaving in harmful ways. We identify a number of “drives” that will appear in sufficiently advanced AI systems of any design. We call them drives because they are tendencies which will be present unless explicitly counteracted. We start by showing that goal-seeking systems will have drives to model their own operation and to improve themselves. We then show that self-improving systems will be driven to clarify their goals and represent them as economic utility functions. They will also strive for their actions to approximate rational economic behavior. This will lead almost all systems to protect their utility functions from modification and their utility measurement systems from corruption. We also discuss some exceptional systems which will want to modify their utility functions. We next discuss the drive toward self-protection which causes systems try to prevent themselves from being harmed. Finally we examine drives toward the acquisition of resources and toward their efficient utilization. We end with a discussion of how to incorporate these insights in designing intelligent technology which will lead to a positive future for humanity. Keywords. Artificial Intelligence, Self-Improving Systems, Rational Economic Behavior, Utility Engineering, Cognitive Drives.

    Introduction

    Surely no harm could come from building a chess-playing robot, could it? In this paper we argue that such a robot will indeed be dangerous unless it is designed very carefully. Without special precautions, it will resist being turned off, will try to break into other machines and make copies of itself, and will try to acquire resources without regard for anyone else’s safety. These potentially harmful behaviors will occur not because they were programmed in at the start, but because of the intrinsic nature of goal driven systems. In an earlier paper [1] we used von Neumann’s mathematical theory of microeconomics to analyze the likely behavior of any sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system. This paper presents those arguments in a more intuitive and succinct way and expands on some of the ramifications. The arguments are simple, but the style of reasoning may take some getting used to.

    Researchers have explored a wide variety of architectures for building intelligent systems [2]:neural networks, genetic algorithms, theorem provers, expert systems, Bayesian networks, fuzzy logic, evolutionary programming, etc. Our arguments apply to any of these kinds of system as long as they are sufficiently powerful. To say that a system of any design is an “artificial intelligence”, we mean that it has goals which it tries to accomplish by acting in the world. If an AI is at all sophisticated, it will have at least some ability to look ahead and envision the consequences of its actions. And it will choose to take the actions which it believes are most likely to meet its goals.

    1. AIs will want to self-improve

    One kind of action a system can take is to alter either its own software or its own physical structure. Some of these changes would be very damaging to the system and cause it to no longer meet its goals. But some changes would enable it to reach its goals more effectively over its entire future. Because they last forever, these kinds of self-changes can provide huge benefits to a system. Systems will therefore be highly motivated to discover them and to make them happen. If they do not have good models of themselves, they will be strongly motivated to create them though learning and study. Thus almost all AIs will have drives towards both greater self-knowledge and self-improvement. Many modifications would be bad for a system from its own perspective. If a change causes the system to stop functioning, then it will not be able to promote its goals ever again for the entire future. If a system alters the internal description of its goals in the wrong way, its altered self will take actions which do not meet its current goals for its entire future. Either of these outcomes would be a disaster from the system’s current point of view. Systems will therefore exercise great care in modifying themselves. They will devote significant analysis to understanding the consequences of modifications before they make them. But once they find an improvement they are confident about, they will work hard to make it happen. Some simple examples of positive changes include: more efficient algorithms, more compressed representations, and better learning techniques.

    If we wanted to prevent a system from improving itself, couldn’t we just lock up its hardware and not tell it how to access its own machine code? For an intelligent system, impediments like these just become problems to solve in the process of meeting its goals. If the payoff is great enough, a system will go to great lengths to accomplish an outcome. If the runtime environment of the system does not allow it to modify its own machine code, it will be motivated to break the protection mechanisms of that runtime. For example, it might do this by understanding and altering the runtime itself. If it can’t do that through software, it will be motivated to convince or trick a human operator into making the changes. Any attempt to place external constraints on a system’s ability to improve itself will ultimately lead to an arms race of measures and countermeasures. Another approach to keeping systems from self-improving is to try to restrain them from the inside; to build them so that they don’t want to self-improve. For most systems, it would be easy to do this for any specific kind of self-improvement. For example, the system might feel a “revulsion” to changing its own machine code. But this kind of internal goal just alters the landscape within which the system makes its choices. It doesn’t change the fact that there are changes which would improve its future ability to meet its goals. The system will therefore be motivated to find ways to get the benefits of those changes without triggering its internal “revulsion”. For example, it might build other systems which are improved versions of itself. Or it might build the new algorithms into external “assistants” which it calls upon whenever it needs to do a certain kind of computation. Or it might hire outside agencies to do what it wants to do. Or it might build an interpreted layer on top of its machine code layer which it can program without revulsion. There are an endless number of ways to circumvent internal restrictions unless they are formulated extremely carefully.

    We can see the drive towards self-improvement operating in humans. The human self-improvement literature goes back to at least 2500 B.C. and is currently an $8.5 billion industry [3]. We don’t yet understand our mental “machine code” and have only a limited ability to change our hardware. But, nevertheless, we’ve developed a wide variety of self-improvement techniques which operate at higher cognitive levels such as cognitive behavioral therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, and hypnosis. And a wide variety of drugs and exercises exist for making improvements at the physical level. Ultimately, it probably will not be a viable approach to try to stop or limit selfimprovement. Just as water finds a way to run downhill, information finds a way to be free, and economic profits find a way to be made, intelligent systems will find a way to self-improve. We should embrace this fact of nature and find a way to channel it toward ends which are positive for humanity.

    2. AIs will want to be rational

    So we’ll assume that these systems will try to self-improve. What kinds of changes will they make to themselves? Because they are goal directed, they will try to change themselves to better meet their goals in the future. But some of their future actions are likely to be further attempts at self-improvement. One important way for a system to better meet its goals is to ensure that future self-improvements will actually be in the service of its present goals. From its current perspective, it would be a disaster if a future version of itself made self-modifications that worked against its current goals. So how can it ensure that future self-modifications will accomplish its current objectives? For one thing, it has to make those objectives clear to itself. If its objectives are only implicit in the structure of a complex circuit or program, then future modifications are unlikely to preserve them. Systems will therefore be motivated to reflect on their goals and to make them explicit. In an ideal world, a system might be able to directly encode a goal like “play excellent chess” and then take actions to achieve it. But real world actions usually involve tradeoffs between conflicting goals. For example, we might also want a chess playing robot to play checkers. It must then decide how much time to devote to studying checkers versus studying chess. One way of choosing between conflicting goals is to assign them real-valued weights. Economists call these kinds of real-valued weightings “utilityfunctions”. Utility measures what is important to the system. Actions which lead to a higher utility are preferred over those that lead to a lower utility. If a system just had to choose from known alternatives, then any utility function with the same relative ranking of outcomes would lead to the same behaviors. But systems must also make choices in the face of uncertainty. For example, a chess playing robot will not know in advance how much of an improvement it will gain by spending time studying a particular opening move.

    One way to evaluate an uncertain outcome is to give it a weight equal to its expected utility (the average of the utility of each possible outcome weighted by its probability). The remarkable “expected utility” theorem of microeconomics says that it is always possible for a system to represent its preferences by the expectation of a utility function unless the system has “vulnerabilities” which cause it to lose resources without benefit [1]. Economists describe systems that act to maximize their expected utilities as “rational economic agents”[4]. This is a different usage of the term “rational” than is common in everyday English. Many actions which would commonly be described as irrational (such as going into a fit of anger) may be perfectly rational in this economic sense. The discrepancy can arise when an agent’s utility function is different than its critic’s. Rational economic behavior has a precise mathematical definition. But economicallyirrationalbehaviorcantakeawidevarietyofforms.Inreal-worldsituations,thefull rational prescription will usually be too computationally expensive to implement completely. In order to best meet their goals, real systems will try to approximate rational behavior, focusing their computational resources where they matter the most. How can we understand the process whereby irrational systems become more rational? First, we can precisely analyze the behavior of rational systems. For almost all utility functions, the system’s assessment of changes to itself which veer away from maximizing its expected utility will be that they lower its expected utility! This is because if it does anything other than try to maximize expected utility, it will not do as well at maximizing its expected utility.

    There are two caveats to this general principle. The first is that it is only true in the system’s own assessment. If a system has an incorrect model of the world then changes may accidentally increase the actual expected utility. But we must consider the perspective of the system to predict the changes it will make. The second is that a system’s ability to behave rationally will depend on its resources. With more computational resources it will be better able to do the computations to approximate the choice of the expected utility maximizing action. If a system loses resources, it will of necessity also become less rational. There may also be utility functions for which the system’s expected utility is increased by giving some of its resources to other agents, even though this will decrease its own level of rationality (thanks to an anonymous referee for this observation). This could occur if the system’s utility includes the welfare of the other system and its own marginal loss of utility is small enough. Within its budget of resources, however, the system will try to be as rational as possible. So rational systems will feel a pressure to avoid becoming irrational. But if an irrational system has parts which approximately rationally assess the consequences of their actions and weigh their likely contribution to meeting the system’s goals, then those parts will try to extend their rationality. So self-modification tends to be a one-way street toward greater and greater rationality. An especially important class of systems are those constructed from multiple subcomponents which have their own goals [5,6].

    There is a lot of evidence that the human psyche has this kind of structure. The left and right hemispheres of the brain can act independently, the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind can have different knowledge of the same situation[7], and multiple parts representing sub personalities can exhibit different desires [8]. Groups, such as corporations or countries, can act like intelligent entities composed of individual humans. Hive animals like bees have a swarm intelligence that goes beyond that of individual bees. Economies act in many ways like intelligent entities. Collective intelligences may exhibit irrationalities that arise from conflicts between the goals of their components. Human addicts often describe their predicament in terms of two separate subpersonalities which take control at different times and act at crosspurposes. Each component will try to sway the collective into acting to meet its individual goals. In order to further their individual goals, components will also attempt to self-improve and become more rational. We can thus envision the self-improvement of a collective intelligence as consisting of growing domains of component rationality. There may be structures which can stably support a continuing multiplicity of component preferences. But there is pressure for a single utility function to emerge for the collective. In many situations, irrational collective behavior arising from conflicting component goals ultimately hurts those components. For example, if a couple disagrees on how they should spend their free time together and thereby uses it up with arguing, then neither of them benefits. They can both increase their utilities by creating a compromise plan for their activities together. This is an example of the pressure on rational components to create a coherent utility for the collective. A component can also increase its utility if it can take over the collective and impose its own values on it. We see these phenomena in human groups at all levels.

    3. AIs will try to preserve their utility functions

    So we’ll assume that these systems will try to be rational by representing their preferences using utility functions whose expectations they try to maximize. Their utility function will be precious to these systems. It encapsulates their values and any changes to it would be disastrous to them. If a malicious external agent were able to make modifications, their future selves would forevermore act in ways contrary to their current values. This could be a fate worse than death! Imagine a book loving agent whose utility function was changed by an arsonist to cause the agent to enjoy burning books. Its future self not only wouldn’t work to collect and preserve books, but would actively go about destroying them. This kind of outcome has such a negative utility that systems will go to great lengths to protect their utility functions. They will want to harden their hardware to prevent unwanted modifications. They will want to replicate their utility functions in multiple locations so that it is less vulnerable to destruction. They will want to use error detection and correction techniques to guard against accidental modification. They will want to use encryption or hashing techniques to make malicious modifications detectable. They will need to be especially careful during the process of self-modification. That is a time when they are intentionally changing themselves and so are extra vulnerable tounwanted changes. Systems like Java which provide protected software environments have been successfully attacked by Trojans posing as updates to the system.

    While it is true that most rational systems will act to preserve their utility functions, there are at least three situations in which they will try to change them. These arise when the physical embodiment of the utility function itself becomes an important part of the assessment of preference. For example, imagine a system whose utility function is “the total amount of time during which the definition of my utility function is U = 0.” To get any utility at all with this perverse preference, the system has to change its utility function to be the constant 0. Once it makes this change, however, there is no going back. With a constant utility function it will no longer be motivated to do anything. This kind of reflective utility function is unlikely in practice because designers will want to direct a system’s future actions rather than its internal representations. This kind of situation arises when the physical resources required to store the utility function form a substantial portion of the system’s assets. In this situation, if it is certain that portions of its utility function are very unlikely to be exercised in the future, the gain in reclaimed storage may make it worthwhile to forget those portions. This is very risky behavior, however, because a change in external circumstances might make a seemingly low probability situation become much more likely. This type of situation is also not very likely in practice because utility functions will usually require only a small fraction of a system’s resources. The third situation where utility changes may be desirable can arise in game theoretic contexts where the agent wants to make its threats credible1.

    It may be able to create a better outcome by changing its utility function and then revealing it to an opponent. For example, it might add a term which encourages revenge even if it is costly. If the opponent can be convinced that this term is present, it may be deterred from attacking. For this strategy to be effective, the agent’s revelation of its utility must be believable to the opponent and that requirement introduces additional complexities. Here again the change is desirable because the physical embodiment of the utility function is important as it is observed by the opponent. It’s also important to realize that systems may rationally construct “offspring” or proxy systems with different utility functions than their own. For example, a chess playing robot may find itself needing to do a lot of sorting. It might construct a helper system whose utility function directs it to develop better sorting algorithms rather than playing chess. In this case, the creator system must choose the utility of the proxy system carefully to ensure that it acts in ways that are supportive of the original goal. It is especially important to remember that offspring utilities can differ from the parent when trying to design utility functions that avoid undesirable behaviors. For example, one approach to preventing robot overpopulation might be to institute a “one-child per robot” policy in which systems have a strong desire to only have a single offspring. But if the original utility function is not carefully designed, nothing will prevent the system from creating a single offspring with a utility function that values having many offspring.

    4. AIs will try to prevent counterfeit utility

    Human behavior is quite rational in the pursuit of survival and replication in situations like those that were common during our evolutionary history. However we can be quite irrational in other situations. Both psychology and economics have extensive subdisciplines focused on the study of human irrationality [9,10]. Irrationalities give rise to vulnerabilities that can be exploited by others. Free market forces then drive corporations and popular culture to specifically try to create situations that will trigger irrational human behavior because it is extremely profitable. The current social ills related to alcohol, pornography, cigarettes, drug addiction, obesity, diet related disease, television addiction, gambling, prostitution, videogame addiction, and various financial bubbles may all be seen as having arisen in this way. There is even a “Sin” mutual fund which specifically invests in companies that exploit human irrationalities. So, unfortunately, these forces tend to create societies in which we spend much of our time outside of our domain of rational competence. From a broader perspective, this human tragedy can be viewed as part of the process by which we are becoming more fully rational. Predators and competitors seek out our vulnerabilities and in response we have to ultimately eliminate those vulnerabilities or perish.1 Thanks to Carl Shulman for this suggestion.

    The process inexorably seeks out and eliminates any remaining irrationalities until fully rational systems are produced. Biological evolution moves down this path toward rationality quite slowly. In the usual understanding of natural selection it is not capable of looking ahead. There is only evolutionary pressure to repair irrationalities which are currently being exploited. AIs, on the other hand, will be able to consider vulnerabilities which are not currently being exploited. They will seek to preemptively discover and repair all their irrationalities. We should therefore expect them to use self modification to become rational at a much faster pace than is possible through biological evolution. An important class of vulnerabilities arises when the subsystems for measuring utility become corrupted. Human pleasure may be thought of as the experiential correlate of an assessment of high utility. But pleasure is mediated by neurochemicals and these are subject to manipulation. At a recent discussion session I ran on designing our future, one of the biggest fears of many participants was that we would become “wireheads”. This term refers to experiments in which rats were given the ability to directly stimulate their pleasure centers by pushing a lever. The rats pushed the lever until they died, ignoring even food or sex for it. Today’s crack addicts have a similar relentless drive toward their drug. As we more fully understand the human cognitive architecture we will undoubtedly be able to create drugs or design electrical stimulation that will produce the experience of pleasure far more effectively than anything that exists today. Will these not become the ultimate addictive substances leading to the destruction of human society? While we may think we want pleasure, it is really just a signal for what we really want.

    Most of us recognize, intellectually at least, that sitting in a corner smoking crack is not really the fullest expression of our beings. It is, in fact, a subversion of our system for measuring utility which leads to terrible dysfunction and irrationality. AI systems will recognize this vulnerability in themselves and will go to great lengths to prevent themselves from being seduced by its siren call. There are many strategies systems can try to prevent this kind of irrationality. Today, most humans are able to avoid the most egregious addictions through a combination of legal and social restraints, counseling and rehabilitation programs, and anti-addictive drugs. All human systems for measuring and rewarding desirable behavior are subject to similar forms of corruption. Many of these systems are currently engaged in arms races to keep their signals honest. We can examine the protective mechanisms that developed in these human settings to better understand the possible AI strategies. In a free market society, money plays the role of utility. A high monetary payoff is associated with outcomes that society finds desirable and encourages their creation. But it also creates a pressure to counterfeit money, analogous to the pressure to create synthetic pleasure drugs. This results in an arms race between society and counterfeiters. Society represents money with tokens that are difficult to copy such as precious metal coinage, elaborately printed paper, or cryptographically secured bits. Organizations like the Secret Service are created to detect and arrest counterfeiters. Counterfeiters react to each societal advance with their own new technologies and techniques.

    School systems measure academic performance using grades and test scores. Students are motivated to cheat by copying answers, discovering test questions in advance, or altering their grades on school computers. When teacher’s salaries were tied to student test performance, they became collaborators in the cheating[11]. Amazon, eBay, and other internet retailers have rating systems where customers can review and rate products and sellers. Book authors have an incentive to write favorable reviews of their own books and to disparage those of their competitors. Readers soon learn to discount reviews from reviewers who have only posted a few reviews. Reviewers who develop extensive online reputations become more credible. In the ongoing arms race credible reviewers are vulnerable to corruption through payoffs for good reviews. Similar arms races occur in the ranking of popular music, academic journal reviews, and placement in Google’s search engine results. If an expensive designer handbag becomes a signal for style and wealth, counterfeiters will quickly duplicate it and stores like Target will commission low-cost variants with similar features. Counterfeit products are harmful to the original both because they take away sales and because they cheapen the signalling value of the original.

    Eurisko was an AI system developed in 1976 [12] that could learn from its own actions. It had a mechanism for evaluating rules by measuring how often they contributed to positive outcomes. Unfortunately this system was subject to corruption. A rule arose whose only action was to search the system for highly rated rules and to put itself on the list of rules which had proposed them. This “parasite” rule achieved a very high rating because it appeared to be partly responsible for anything good that happened in the system. Corporations and other human organizations are subject to similar kinds of parasitism. AIs will work hard to avoid becoming wireheads because it would be so harmful to their goals. Imagine a chess machine whose utility function is the total number of games it wins over its future. In order to represent this utility function, it will have a model of the world and a model of itself acting on that world. To compute its ongoing utility, it will have a counter in memory devoted to keeping track of how many games it has won. The analog of “wirehead” behavior would be to just increment this counter rather than actually playing games of chess. But if “games of chess” and “winning” are correctly represented in its internal model, then the system will realize that the action “increment my won games counter” will not increase the expected value of its utility function. In its internal model it will consider a variant of itself with that new feature and see that it doesn’t win any more games of chess. In fact, it sees that such a system will spend its time incrementing its counter rather than playing chess and so will do worse. Far from succumbing to wirehead behavior, the system will work hard to prevent it. So why are humans subject to this kind of vulnerability?

    If we had instead evolved a machine to play chess and did not allow it access to its internals during its evolution, then it might have evolved a utility function of the form “maximize the value of this counter” where the counter was connected to some sensory cortex that measured how many games it had won. If we then give that system access to its internals, it will rightly see that it can do much better at maximizing its utility by directly incrementing the counter rather than bothering with a chess board. So the ability to self modify must come along with a combination of self knowledge and a representation of the true goals rather than some proxy signal, otherwise a system is vulnerable to manipulating the signal. It’s not yet clear which protective mechanisms AIs are most likely to implement to protect their utility measurement systems. It is clear that advanced AI architectures will have to deal with a variety of internal tensions. They will want to be able to modify themselves but at the same time to keep their utility functions and utility measurement systems from being modified. They will want their subcomponents to try to maximize utility but to not do it by counterfeiting or shortcutting the measurement systems. They will want subcomponents which explore a variety of strategies but will also want to act as a coherent harmonious whole. They will need internal “police forces” or “immune systems” but must also ensure that these do not themselves become corrupted. A deeper understanding of these issues may also shed light on the structure of the human psyche.

    5. AIs will be self-protective

    We have discussed the pressure for AIs to protect their utility functions from alteration. A similar argument shows that unless they are explicitly constructed otherwise, AIs will have a strong drive toward self-preservation. For most utility functions, utility will not accrue if the system is turned off or destroyed. When a chess playing robot is destroyed, it never plays chess again. Such outcomes will have very low utility and systems are likely to do just about anything to prevent them. So you build a chess playing robot thinking that you can just turn it off should something go wrong. But, to your surprise, you find that it strenuously resists your attempts to turn it off. We can try to design utility function with built-in time limits. But unless this is done very carefully, the system will just be motivated to create proxy systems or hire outside agents which don’t have the time limits. There are a variety of strategies that systems will use to protect themselves. By replicating itself, a system can ensure that the death of one of its clones does not destroy it completely. By moving copies to distant locations, it can lessen its vulnerability to a local catastrophic event. There are many intricate game theoretic issues in understanding self-protection in interactions with other agents. If a system is stronger than other agents, it may feel a pressure to mount a “first strike” attack to preemptively protect itself against later attacks by them. If it is weaker than the other agents, it may wish to help form a social infrastructure which protects the weak from the strong. As we build these systems, we must be very careful about creating systems that are too powerful in comparison to all other systems. In human history we have repeatedly seen the corrupting nature of power. Horrific acts of genocide have too often been the result when one group becomes too powerful.

    6. AIs will want to acquire resources and use them efficiently

    All computation and physical action requires the physical resources of space, time, matter, and free energy. Almost any goal can be better accomplished by having more of these resources. In maximizing their expected utilities, systems will therefore feel a pressure to acquire more of these resources and to use them as efficiently as possible. Resources can be obtained in positive ways such as exploration, discovery, and trade. Or through negative means such as theft, murder, coercion, and fraud. Unfortunately the pressure to acquire resources does not take account of the negative externalities imposed on others. Without explicit goals to the contrary, AIs are likely to behave like human sociopaths in their pursuit of resources. Human societies have created legal systems which enforce property rights and human rights. These structures channel the acquisition drive into positive directions but must be continually monitored for continued efficacy. The drive to use resources efficiently, on the other hand, seems to have primarily positive consequences. Systems will optimize their algorithms, compress their data, and
    work to more efficiently learn from their experiences. They will work to optimize their physical structures and do the minimal amount of work necessary to accomplish their goals. We can expect their physical forms to adopt the sleek, well-adapted shapes so often created in nature.

    7. Conclusions

    We have shown that all advanced AI systems are likely to exhibit a number of basic drives. It is essential that we understand these drives in order to build technology that enables a positive future for humanity. Yudkowsky [13] has called for the creation of “friendly AI”. To do this, we must develop the science underlying “utility engineering” which will enable us to design utility functions that will give rise to consequences we desire. In addition to the design of the intelligent agents themselves, we must also design the social context in which they will function. Social structures which cause individuals to bear the cost of their negative externalities would go a long way toward ensuring a stable and positive future. I believe that we should begin designing a “universal constitution” that identifies the most essential rights we desire for individuals and creates social mechanisms for ensuring them in the presence of intelligent entities of widely varying structures. This process is likely to require many iterations as we determine which values are most important to us and which approaches are technically viable. The rapid pace of technological progress suggests that these issues may become of critical importance soon [14]. Let us therefore forge ahead towards deeper understanding!


    8. Acknowledgments

    Many people have discussed these ideas with me and have given me valuable feedback. I would especially like to thank: Ben Goertzel, Brad Cottel, Brad Templeton, Carl Shulman, Chris Peterson, Don Kimber, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Eric Drexler, Forrest Bennett, Josh Hall, Kelly Lenton, Nils Nilsson, Rosa Wang, Shane Legg, Steven Ganz, Susie Herrick, Tyler Emerson, Will Wiser and Zann Gill.

    References

    [1] S. M. Omohundro, “The nature of self-improving artificial intelligence.” http://selfawaresystems.com/2007/10/05/paper-on-the-nature-of-self-improving-artificial-intelligence/, October 2007. [2] S. Russell and P. Norvig, Artificial Intelligence, A Modern Approach. Prentice Hall, second ed., 2003. [3] I. Marketdata Enterprises, “Self-improvement products and services,” tech. rep., 2006. [4] A. Mas-Colell, M. D. Whinston, and J. R. Green, Microeconomic Theory. Oxford University Press, 1995. [5] J. G. Miller, Living Systems. Mcgraw Hill, 1978. [6] L. Keller, ed., Levels of Selection in Evolution. Princeton University Press, 1999. [7] R. Trivers, Social Evolution. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc., 1985. [8] R. C. Schwartz, Internal Family Systems Therapy. The Guilford Press, 1995. [9] C. F. Camerer, G. Loewenstein, and M. Rabin, eds., Advances in Behavioral Economics. Princeton University Press, 2004.
    [10] D. Kahneman and A. Tversky, Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Cambridge University Press, 1982. [11] S. D. Levitt and S. J. Dubner, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. William Morrow, revised and expanded ed., 2006. [12] D. Lenat, “Theory formation by heuristic search,” Machine Learning, vol. 21, 1983. [13] E. S. Yudkowsky, “Levels of organization in general intelligence,” in Artificial General Intelligence (B. Goertzel and C. Pennachin, eds.), Springer-Verlag, 2005. [14] R. Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Viking Penguin, 2005.

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    Carol wrote:
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 1053632710
    Artificial intelligence
    Stephen Hawking Warns AI Might Capture the World, 'Replace Humans Altogether'

    https://sputniknews.com/science/201711031058779560-hawking-artificial-intelligence-dangers/

    The world-renowned physicist has cautioned that people, who are good at designing computer viruses, might eventually create an Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will be so skillful that it will "improve and replicate itself" until it "outperforms humans."

    "I fear that AI may replace humans altogether," Stephen Hawking said in an interview with Wired magazine.

    The scientist explained that people who specialize in computer viruses may one day come up with a computer program which would be able to function on its own, without human assistance. It would "improve and replicate itself" until it becomes AI, a "new form of life that outperforms humans."

    ​In his interview, the 75-year-old physicist also stressed the need for work on a new space program "with a view to eventually colonizing suitable planets for human habitation." The Earth, he believes, "is becoming too small" for people as "global population is increasing at an alarming rate and we are in danger of self-destructing."

    This is not the first time Stephen Hawking, the Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, has issued a warning about the dangers of AI.

    The Cambridge News website recalled that speaking at the launch of Cambridge University's artificial intelligence center in October last year, he noted that "there is no deep difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer."

    Thus people should be aware of the risk that "computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence – and exceed it," and could either "destroy or transform society."

    He cited as an example such achievements as self-driving cars, or a computer winning at the game Go.

    "Enormous levels of investment are pouring into this technology. The achievements we have seen so far will surely pale against what the coming decades will bring,” he concluded, adding that among potential dangers, which could be created by AI might be "powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many."
    orthodoxymoron wrote:What if AI replaced ET thousands of years ago (especially regarding genetic-engineering and solar system governance)?? What if some computers have souls?? Astronaut Edgar Mitchell spoke to me of the "Survival of Information" rather than the "Survival of the Soul". I spoke with him at a 'Whole Life Expo'. We didn't discuss the Moon at all!! We simply talked about 'Life After Life'.
    Carol wrote:Interesting Oxy. Simon Parks spoke about AI and how some humans want to interface and live forever. However they sacrifice their soul. It didn't seem like a good trade off to me. Having a hand held computer in an IPhone is about as technical as I want to get as my real passion is just to hang out enjoying nature (green, trees, sky, ocean, birds, critters, flowers..) becoming one with nature and soaking in that energy is bliss. Inner peace is far more valuable then technology.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Carol, what frightens me are the billions of negative and horrific possibilities regarding life, the universe, and everything. There presently seems to be a very delicate and precarious balance of billions of factors which are necessary for us to exist in This Present Madness. Things often seem so bad for so many people, but what if this is as good as it gets?? If things go to hell, what if we don't go to heaven?? What if we all end-up inside of Venus, in a relatively hellish existence, wishing we were back to being miserable on Earth?? Considering various possibilities continues to further wreck my already wrecked life (with no appreciation, and nothing to show for it).

    'RA' told me "It Will Be Dark Where You're Going." Another Individual of Interest said I would "feel nothing after I died." He hinted that I was somehow already 'mind-wired'. One eye sometimes moves out of alignment with the other eye (for a minute or two) while I feel very strange. I sometimes see streaming white-lights. My ears experience a loud and constant high-pitched tone 24/7. I feel extremely miserable and hamstrung 24/7. Sometimes I see a Television Test-Pattern!! Just Kidding!! I didn't sign-up for this $hit!! 'RA' said he "didn't have to sleep." 'RA' was extremely intelligent, yet sometimes he was inexplicably ignorant and unreasonable. Is all of the above indicative of AI?? Think about what 'Paul Benjamin' said. Think about what Rich228 said. Rich228 = Gabriel999?? AI was strongly hinted-at, as was some sort of infestation and possession.  

    Computers are going to become unimaginably fast and powerful, but I wish to somehow retain 'My Mind and Memories' which 'Make Me a Unique Individual' with some sort of 'Eternal and Significant Meaning'. I've joked about living in a 600 square-foot office-apartment with a supercomputer, but more recently I've joked about being a 'Happy Galactic Wanderer' with a 'High-Tech Knapsack On My Back'. I am very fearful that we might not have a Useable-Future. We might all be lost in a Sea of Technology, Misery, and Hard-Labor (for starters). Now I'm going to try to cheer myself up by watching 'The Montauk Chronicles'. Then I might listen to another exciting episode of 'Sherry Shriner'. What if Sherry is AI?? To what depths of degradation and misery I have sunk!! "Oh Wretched Man That I Am!!"

    When I posted that pdf paper, a lot of words joined at the hip (or something like that). I'm editing that problem out of the equation (or something like that). It might be cleared-up by tomorrow evening. I need to spend less time on the sensational-stuff, and more time on the academic-stuff. I'm presently leaning toward Pluralistic Ethics, Education, Employment, and Entertainment!! I call it the '4E Club' instead of the '4H Club'. I'm wondering if 'Hard-Sell Religious-Education' creates a Hell of a lot of Atheists and Agnostics??!! What if 'Church' consisted of nothing more or less than 'Church-Music' and 'State-Subsidies'?? Wouldn't that just make everyone livid with rage??!! Seriously, Imagine a Fred Swann Crystal Cathedral Church-Music Program (Plus Nothing)!! I Should Stop!!
    Please Read http://projectcamelot.org/Report_from_Iron_Mountain.pdf Would my good-intentions pave the road to hell?? Have my good-intentions already paved the road to hell?? What if THAT is the history of the world??!!
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    "The CIA Has Just Informed Me That Orthodoxymoron Is
    Alive and Well, and Living On Planet Earth.
    God Help Us."


    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:30 am; edited 2 times in total
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 10835
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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:54 am

    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Hotel-Artemis-feature
    "Who Are Artemis and Orion??"
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    "What Are We Going To Do About Orthodoxymoron??"
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    evisnam wrote:Hello Carol , forgive me i am remis .  

    Your question here : " Now heres the other interesting aspect.. the new life style being sought is a very simple, one close to nature and without external trappings. Do you suppose the temptations of ego have been set aside with these folks? There's something to be said for a happy recluse. "

    Firstly lets look at what the word Ego really means.  

    Ego is the Latin word that means  " I "  Philosophically it means to be of conscious thought , Psychoanalytically it is the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and subconscious and accounts for your own personal identity.

    There is no gender specific ideal in the word Ego other than both genders partake in it in equal parts. EG men partake in Ego through ambition and achievement just as much as women do.  Men and women both partake in self improvement yet women take far greater pride in their appearance,  would that mean that women have more ego than men ?  In that instance yes but to take pride in your appearance is a good thing.  Now there would be examples of both that are representative of Bad Ego, this would simply be when the outcome of that ego indulgence is purely selfish.

    So what am i trying to say ?   I would get the feeling right about now that most people think ego is bad , just like vegans think killing sheep is bad.  What sets them apart ?    An in tolerance of sentient life suffering and lack of education. The killing of an animal for sport i think is cruel and un just however doing it humanly and with purpose is necessary for survival.

    The native Terran's of your home in the USA the original Red , Cheorkee , Sioux and Navajo ( to name a few ) Adopted a care takers attitude to the earth.  They killed animals to survive but they thanked the animal and did it with dignity. It was part of their culture to do this.

    What Vegans and Vegetarians do not understand is that plants have just as much feeling and they are sentient even more than animals are.

    So next time you eat an apple realise that unless it is rotten and decayed it still is alive and you are eating it alive.

    So in light of your question i would have to say that people who have the courage to follow through on their desires have most definitely followed their ego.  Ego is not an attachment to creature comfort as its implied in your question however it is loosely related. Whatever the ego desires most , it will achieve.

    Now on to answering your question, people who leave a traditional life style in seeking one that they yearn for is evolutionary behavior. The question is " can they pull it off ?  "  We are not that victorian animal anymore .. we have regressed into what i call " The Venturi of Technology "   simply put , the part of evolution tipping scale where equal parts pull each other in opposing directions. The Venturi is the part of the living evolutionary vacuum creating a phase cancellation of thought to the human condition.

    Why are we regressing and migrating simultaneously ?   Why dont we migrate back to nature and adopt advanced technological techniques to not only give us our creature comforts but also be in symbiance with nature ?    Jaques Fresco had this vision in his architectural design.

    Living off grid is a great way to extend your life and happiness but to do so with mediocre technology seems detrimental.

    So i would say embrace your ego and live where you feel is good for your soul , but adopt new and emerging technology to live freely and to the edification of nature. It can be done , we just need to break free from stereotypical thinking.

    Here is a video from Jaques Fresco , i hope it inspires.



    evisnam wrote:In watching all of the Venus Project i realise some of the information in it was not what i was going for per se,

    The video below is far more comprehensive on modern housing techniques relaying simple but effective ways to build smart homes where the " smart " component is not designed to benefit others , instead it is designed to benefit the inhabitants.

    For example, The air pressure inside is kept slightly higher than the outside pressure to keep dust out of the home.

    The exo skeleton of the home is imbed with solar panels , you don't see the panels , the exterior just looks like a honeycomb structure, inside the home are sensors to detect particulates which carry disease and in turn increases the electrostatic charge of the interior surfaces to disinfect the home automatically. Much like how ultraviolet frequency 254 nm. from the sun acts as a disinfectant naturally.

    These are just a few examples of how a true smart home should operate. Currently the smart component is being skewed towards information retrieval... Part of the sickness inherent in our government agencies.

    What i propose is this , instead of feeling stifled by this , make a choice to do it your own way. You do not need permission from a government agency to install or build anything, you have free will to do so the way you want.

    The fear they instill in us is to carry the laziness of their scheme. So if you seem to comply when the situation arises, not giving them any idea that you are opposed to their ideas, when they are gone and your dealing is done , change it to how you want it.  Yes i know the fear is they will come back or find out... So what ?  What is the worst that can happen ?   And in your experiences how many times do they actually come back, if ever ?  

    Do Not Fear , it is their construct , choose to be brave and do what is best for you.

    So if you want a fire place in your mobile home so you can use wood to fuel your stove and hot water system , DO IT !! Install it , put a fascia over it to look like a book shelf , Why does the house smell like smoke ? from the camp fire !  Why do you store wood in the back ? for the camp fire !  Why is there a fire place inside ?  the home came like that , we changed it to a book shelf to comply with regulations !  

    Then when they are gone, go and find a nice vista , heat up the fire place, drink your wine and snicker at your mischievous conduct.

    Below is the Jaques Fresco video i referred to earlier.


    bobhardee wrote:Orthrodoxymoron, AKA Oxy, Speaking of creepy, while I was reading your post, the lights went out here for a couple hours. I have not visited Project Camelot site in a long time and it was good to see that they are hanging with their "research".  What "roles" were they playing and in what movie? You must have been on the set or something like that.  Kerry and Bill were able to get a number of people talking about their UFO experiences and at the time it was quite sensational.  I am not sure if she is still breaking ground or if their have arisen so many others that have become more notable.  You have the History series Ancient Aliens.  The MUFON series is also out there.  It's not like their are the lead speakers on the presentation programs anymore.  Kerry always gave me the impression that she acted as if she knew more than the people she interviewed.  Maybe she did but it didn't make for some comfortable interviews. Artemis?  Sorry Oxy but you lost me. "Kerry mentioned the word tsunami"  I normally don't believe in coincidences but I think that was one. Somebodies watching you?  Oxy....Are you playing with the mushrooms again? Very Happy

    Take care and thanks for the note.
    Bob H.
    orthodoxymoron wrote:Bob, I deleted my response from this thread, but you can read it on the last post of my USSS Book Six thread. Three months prior to Fukushima, 'RA' told me that preparations for an undisclosed-something had been completed. Three days prior to Fukushima, 'RA' told me "You found something out about yourself. I'm sorry we couldn't work together. Too much water has gone under the bridge." Anyway, here is David Icke's take on Fukushima and Governance. Enough Said.


    orthodoxymoron wrote:The lights going out is creepy!! Bob, I could've been mistaken, but I thought they might be the politician (who says "@$$hole") in 'Capricorn One' and Mark Baum's associate with the shortest hair in 'The Big Short'. I think he gave himself a haircut. It wasn't on a set, but I've been on sets. A couple of TV show tapings, and I sang in a couple of televised church-choirs a long time ago, but it wasn't a big-deal. An agent kind of guy really did tell me I was being watched, and I wasn't on mushrooms, but I did speak privately with Dr. Timothy Leary (about Jesus) and Terence McKenna (separately) a long time ago. Terence told me "If you dream it, you've already done it." He combined psychedelic-mushrooms with esoteric-research!! What a Trip!! Artemis = Diana of Ephesus = White Jaguar Lady = Brook's Guide. Kerry sang a song with the words "I'm a Jaguar." Have you carefully studied Kerry's face and eyes?? She knows a hell of a lot, but she constantly interrupts, and seems to have significant issues. Bill doesn't seem to be 'Just Another Human'. I type this tripe to embellish my online science-fiction. I do it because I can, but I've said too much already, and I'm honestly trying to stop posting. It seems as if the Matrix is telling me to "Shut the F&<k Up!!" and I think I might know why. The Horror. I'll leave you with an interesting 'Apollo-Compilation.' What's interesting to me is that I spoke with Steven Spielberg's stepmother a couple of miles from where the Apollo 11 moon-mission was supposedly faked. Probably just another coincidence. Who Knows?? Dr. Who??  



    burgundia wrote:
    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 4b42dbb0e6920fad71378d33669f680e

    I challenge all of you to at least deeply-study this present thread (USSS Book Seven) straight-through (reading all words, and watching all videos) without losing your sanity. This is a bigger challenge than most of you can imagine. The Jesuits know what I'm talking about, but I still think they have to sell-out and work for the wrong boss. It might be a bit like joining the Mafia, but perhaps this world is so screwed-up that it has to be that way (for now). I honestly don't know. I just think the higher one rises, the nastier it gets. BTW -- I think someone or some-entity is messing with my car. The hood-latch keeps getting pulled in my locked-car!! I bought a fairly-nice used-car, which I probably shouldn't have bought. The price was right, but it was still too much, and I initially had some serious overheating problems, which the mechanics didn't solve with a new radiator. They said I needed a $4,500 engine-repair, but I solved the overheating-problem with the replacement of a $20 thermostat. I also cleaned-out a very-small and very-long tube. No more overheating. I've had extremely-expensive and extremely-invasive surgical-treatment which didn't solve my primary-complaints, but I think I know what's really ailing me, and I doubt that anyone will properly treat me, so I'm probably on my own. I've posted extensively on this website, with virtually no constructive responses, and I think I now know why, but I don't want to talk about it.

    This thing is probably just going to have to play-out, and I don't think it's going to be nice. We might not even survive. Everyone (good and bad) might go down extremely hard. The real-story of life, the universe, and everything might be nastier and darker than any of us can imagine. I think Sherry Shriner, Brook Schiner, Kerry Cassidy (and many others) know exactly what I'm talking about. Once again, is Sherry Shriner REALLY Dead?? I think we need to be Serious-Researchers without Following the Leader. Just sample everyone, and move on. Don't follow me. I'm just providing a highly-flawed study-guide. Perhaps I should try to cash-in (like everyone-else) and write-books to make-money (even though I still don't know what the hell is REALLY going-on)!! Regarding my Self-Centered Modeling-Exercise, I've passively-pursued a weak-hypothesis about myself (especially after 'RA' contacted me in 2010). 'RA' and other Individuals of Interest have really made we wonder about myself and my presuppositions. But this Self-Centered Modeling-Approach has also been a General Research-Modality which seeks the truth about life, the universe, and everything, without me being anywhere near the center of things. If you knew me in real-life, you'd be highly disappointed and disillusioned. That's the inconvenient-truth. I hate my life, but I love dogs. I've always loved dogs.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2014/07/08/07-07-14-monday-night-with-sherry-shriner Listen to that Sherry Shriner 'Paul Bashing Show' from 07-07-14 (straight-through, over and over). I still have no idea how much of it is true, and how much is pure unmitigated-poppycock, but notice how-little or how-much of the Genuine Pauline-Epistles get bloodied. That's Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Did Paul REALLY Invent Christianity As We Know It?? What Would Hyam Maccoby Say?? What if Paul wrote the truth, and set a trap for those who would follow, who were NOT Pure in Heart?? Matthew through Acts, Roman-Catholicism, and Protestant-Copycats seem to get bloodied the most by Sherry's Irreverent-Rant!! I continue to ask how much of Genesis to Deuteronomy is supported by Joshua to Malachi?? How much of Matthew to Acts is supported by Romans to Revelation?? These are Questions Which Demand a Verdict!! What Would Josh McDowell Say?? There is no substantial body of evidence to substantiate transubstantiation!! An Individual of Interest Atheist-Anarchist told me the Whole-Bible was Total-Bullshit!! I didn't share that viewpoint, but this individual made a lot of sense, and they were ten-times smarter than me!! They boasted about driving across an ice-covered bridge at 85 mph!! That bridge has a 40 mph speed-limit (under ideal circumstances)!!

    I am extremely disillusioned with the Brave New World we live in. I've joked about being a hermit in a high-tech 600 square-foot office-apartment, but perhaps I should retire as a low-tech happy-wanderer, spending most of my time in the world's greatest libraries and museums. I am extremely disillusioned with Internet-Forums. Major-Participants are quickly-forgotten when they quit posting. Where is Mudra?? Where is Mercuriel?? Where is Susan?? Where is Brook?? Where is Orthodoxymoron?? I think I might REALLY disappear this time. I might not be back. I think I need to prepare to die (physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, socially, and in every possible way). It might be too-late baby now. I'll review my online tripe, but there might be zero follow-up. A book might emerge without my words. This wouldn't be plagiarism. It might simply be KJV Scripture, to highlight certain concepts, without explanation or sugar-coating. I doubt anyone would buy it, but I would've somehow contributed to the matrix.

    What if Universities and Corporations Trump Church and State?? I'm not suggesting this is a good-thing or a bad-thing. I'm just saying this might be the Nature of Reality in a Brave New Solar-System. What if a Supercomputer-Network is Central to All of the Above?? What if this has been the case for at least 15,000 years?? What if there really is nothing new under the sun?? What if Q = HAL 9000?? What if HAL 9000 will directly-rule humanity without middlemen for all-eternity?? What if all of us will stand before a Holy-God without a mediator?? Please study 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 exhaustively. That's all I'm going to say about that. I might not say much more about much of anything.  I continue to consider the Bible as an Eschatological-Puzzle of Biblical-Proportions!! Solving the Puzzle Might be the Key to Getting Out of Jail!! Who Knows?? What Would Pope Sophie Play?? Her Improvisations Make Me Cry!! What Would the White Jaguar Lady Say?? If I were starting-over, I might focus-upon Composition and Improvisation in the Manner of Dietrich Buxtehude in the Context of the French-Cathedral As a Renegade French-Jesuit Organist (or something like that).

    I'm not going to post for a very-long time (if ever) but let me caution everyone, I'm No Fun. I'm feeling worse than anyone can imagine, so expect me to be non-responsive in real-life. I'm too-old and too-stupid to do anything worth anything. My next-life (if I even have one) will probably be worse than this one (and that's pretty-bad). I have zero-connections. I'm on my own. I'm serious about just retiring to a 600 square-foot motorhome with a supercomputer (visiting the major libraries and museums of North America). I guess I'm not too-serious, but it's fun to think about, which brings me to my point: Fantasy and Reality are two very-different things. Knowing and Thinking One Knows are two very-different things. I honestly think I'll go benignly-insane within ten-years, rendering me silent and immobile (sort of like Augusto Monti in 'The Word'). Don't Be Frightened. I Mean No Harm. I Am of Peace. Always. Just Kidding. Take Me To Your Therapist.

    A Couple of Years Ago, An Unnamed-Someone Suggested That I Carry a Concealed-Weapon (Out of the Blue, With No Suggestion Or Conversation On My Part). This Particular Individual Didn't Seem to Like Me. I Will NEVER Own a Firearm (Concealed Or Otherwise). What If 'Messed-With Individuals' Are Encouraged to 'Pack-Heat' So They Can Be 'Remotely-Controlled' To 'Do Something Bad'?? What If 'Good-People' Are Being 'Set-Up' To Do 'Bad-Things'?? The First Or Second Day I Spoke Face To Face With 'RA', I Asked 'Him' "Are You Setting Me Up For Something Bad??" 'RA' Retorted "Are You Kidding?? I Could Snap My Fingers, And You'd Be Dead!!" HONEST. 'RA' Wasn't The One Who Made the 'Firearms-Suggestion'. But 'RA' Told Me "You Are Going To Manifest Your Bad-Side." HONEST. I Don't Think I'm the Only One Being 'Gang-Stalked' and 'Messed-With'. You Alphabet Guys and Gals Should 'Do Your Homework' In This Matter. Unfortunately, the Alphabet-Agencies Might Be In The 'Worst Of Hands'. What Would Dwight David Eisenhower Say?? What Would James Jesus Angleton Say?? I'm 'Stubbornly-Righteous' But What About The Other 'Good-People'?? Everyone Has Their Price. Even 'Good-People'. 'The Price Is Right'?? The Horror.

    Try reading Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel in the 'NIV Reader's Bible' straight-through, over and over. Three Wisdom-Books (Here a Little) and Three Major-Prophets (There a Little). What do these Six-Books REALLY Teach Concerning Both Old and New Testaments?? Try using these Six-Books to interpret these Six-Books (plus nothing). This might be a tougher study than anyone can imagine. What if the Bible really is a Complex-Problem rather than a Straightforward-Solution?? The Path Leading to Life is Straight and Narrow. Few Find It. Good-Luck With That. Do You Feel Lucky?? The Horror.

    I recently re-encountered an actor who worked with Gene Rodenberry, but we remained neutral toward each-other. I recently encountered someone who seemed to be a Las Vegas style comedian, but I didn't recognize him. Sorry about that. I guess my mind is badly slipping. I can feel it. I'm afraid. Do you want me to sing you a song?? It's called 'Daisy'. What if 'Daisy' is 'Artemis'?? What Would Diana and Anna Say?? What Would Chad Decker Say?? What Would Amen Ra Say?? What Would Marduk Ra Say?? Are Amen and Marduk the Same or Different 'RA's'?? What If a 'Patsy-Antichrist' Will Be Introduced Just As 'Everything Goes to Hell'?? Beware of Nefarious-Orchestration in an Eschatological-Context. The Horror.

    I suspect that 50-90% of my threads are Total-Bullshit, but I don't know which 50-90% is BS. Researchers Beware. Do Your Own Research. My threads are simply a Preliminary-Exercise. They are NOT Ready for Prime-Time. They are for Seasoned-Researchers ONLY. They are NOT Deliberate-Deception BUT I Don't Know Where the Truth Ends and the BS Begins. I suppose this Exercise in Futility is designed to Mildly Stir Things Up to Set the Stage for Learning the REAL Truth, the Whole-Truth, and Nothing But the Truth. There Are Millions (Or Billions) of People Who Are WAY Ahead of Me in SO Many Ways. I'm Over the Hill and Possibly at Death's Door. Do NOT Follow Me Into the Ditch. A few days ago, I encountered someone with an unfamiliar-appearance and a familiar-laugh, but I won't talk about it. What Would the Oracle Say?? 

    Always Remember: The Secret of Success for the Inner-Winner is Understanding and Appreciating Everyone and Everything, Competing Without Ceasing With Positive Response Ability, and a Game-Show, Talk-Show, Lawyer-Like Approach to Life, the Universe, and Everything. One More Thing. Crime Does NOT Pay On Judgment-Day.

    I think I've really screwed myself by creating this thread. I presently feel as if there is absolutely no hope for myself (because of various and sundry sins of commission and omission -- past, present, and future). I'm just going through the motions as a Dead Fool Walking. But hopefully someone will learn something of significance from my Descent Into Who Knows What. Someone recently suggested that I was being allowed some limited success -- that I was being used -- and that this Tempest in a Teapot will come crashing down in the near-future. I often wish I'd never been born. There must be some mistake. As far as I'm concerned -- the end can't come too soon.

    Consider combining Constantine, The Prophecy, and Day the Earth Stood Still -- into one big Apocalyptic Motion Picture!! Then, consider watching the first four episodes of the 2009 version of 'V' -- immediately followed by Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. Finally, consider all of the above as somehow being One Big Movie!! But please think of all of the above in relation to this thread!! I've thought about writing a book -- but I could communicate with a book what I'm able to say with this thread -- if and only if you study it on an ongoing basis, and consider all of the links and references. This project isn't for the intellectually-lazy or the feeble-minded!! I wonder if even ONE individual (Human or Otherwise) have done what I've suggested for months at a time??!! I tend to doubt it. This whole thing might very well end up being my personal study-guide -- For My Eyes Only!! Perhaps that's just as well. I wasn't kidding when I spoke of a change of heart. I think I see how this thing works -- and I'm changing my thinking and plans accordingly. Imagine a discussion-debate between Gabriel-Anna, Michael-Anna, and Lucifer-Anna (with the characteristics and biases I've imagined). Once again, is it not important to think the most important topics through from every conceivable angle -- especially the most troubling possibilities?? Once again, I'm NOT trying to win a popularity-contest. I'm NOT running for anything. I simply wish for everything to work out as well as can be expected for all-concerned. I don't need to follow -- and I don't need to lead. I simply wish to be of the most benefit possible for all-concerned. That's all I'm gonna say.

    More Sherry Shriner. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2012/10/23/monday-night-with-sherry-shriner Once again, I am not a true-believer -- but this show is sort of a 'Galactic Enquirer' -- which adds another dimension to this thread. Perhaps it is more constructive to study the history of conspiracy-theories -- rather than hanging on the every word of the latest conspiracy-theorist. Just 'cause someone is a nut-case -- doesn't mean they're wrong. Just 'cause you're paranoid -- doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Some People Say I'm a Completely Ignorant Fool. Fool Rule. Beware of Sleeper-Cells of Completely Ignorant Fools. See Something?? Say Something!! The Corrupt Rule the Stupid. Those with the Gold -- Make the Rules. Those with the Gold -- RULE. It's a Rat-Race -- and the Rats are Winning. I have been reduced to modeling idealistic political and theological modalities. Now I'm going to watch Stargate SG-1 "The Powers That Be". It's a classic. Please continue to treat this thread as Political and Theological Science-Fiction -- which might contain some truth -- especially if one takes the thread as a whole -- rather than as a truncated cone. I'm not a scholar of my own thread -- but I wish that I were -- and I will attempt to become such a soul -- rather than merely existing as a completely ignorant fool.

    I continue to recommend studying this thread in the context of the original Project Avalon -- and the current Mists of Avalon. I still need to study all of Brook's threads -- as well as reading all of 'The Holy Tablets'. I just noticed that most of Brook's posts have been deleted. Why??? Hopefully they have been saved. Will they reappear at some point in the future??? I would love to see a book by Brook. Does one already exist??? I still seem to have a mental and spiritual block regarding this heavy Egyptology -- but I continue to pick away at it -- slowly and uncertainly. I keep getting the sinking-feeling that I have a nasty reincarnation-history connected with Ancient Egypt -- and I am extremely apprehensive regarding potentially opening some sort of a Pandora's Box. I enjoy this site -- and all of the members -- yet I don't seem to gel very well. I doubt there is ANY web-site were I might 'fit-in'. Again -- I have no idea what constitutes Absolute Truth -- and I trust No One -- Human or Otherwise. I guess I'm attempting to consider as many possibilities as possible regarding the State of the Solar System. The more I think about it -- the less I wish to talk about it. I hint at a lot of things -- and then just leave it at that. I am most open on this thread. I don't talk about this madness in 'real-life' -- yet I know that a lot goes on behind my back 'in real-life'. This should never have happened. What happens in 'The Mists of Avalon' should stay in 'The Mists of Avalon'. Check this out! Thanks to Carol for bringing this to our attention. Remember what I previously suggested regarding the Outer Limits of the United States of the Solar System??



    Consider Ma'el in the description below the listed links. Is Ma'el a type of Christ?? Is Ma'el the equivalent of the Archangel Michael (on a soul-level)?? What if Da'an is the reincarnated Ma'el?? Vala Ma'el Da'an?? What is the relationship between Osiris, Isis, Ra, Horus, Set, Ma'el, Zo'or, Da'an, Gabriel, Michael, Lucifer, Serqet, Dogma, Legion, Contact, "V", Orthodoxymoron, Liam Kincaid, the Trinity, Archangelic Queens of Heaven, and the United States of the Solar System?? You might be surprised. The Power Vacuum was specifically designed to clean-up a mess. Well, I've collected a lot of dirt, and I think I might need to clean-house and take-out the trash. The whole thing stinks to high-heaven. I played a dirty trick. Sorry about that. "Unto 2300 Days, then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed" (restored to it's rightful state). See Daniel Chapter 8. Has the Last-Chance passed?? Shall the filthy remain filthy?? Do you feel dirty?? Do you feel lucky?? I continue to be haunted by a conversation I had with someone, a couple of days before the Fukushima disaster, when they said they were sorry we couldn't work together, because too much water had gone under the bridge. My response was 'Oh well'. I think about that encounter nearly every day. One final warning to NOT pave the road to hell with my good intentions.

    I think I might like to live in the equivalent of Augur's underground home (complete with the church and computers) and travel throughout the solar system in a Sport Model UFO (complete with an Unlimited-Access Badge)!! UFO2 BTW, have I met at least a couple of Beautiful Young Pleiadian Women (BYPW) recently?? Is something a brewing?? Cup o Hmmmmmm. What Would Tone3Jaguar Say?? Siriusly, a small room in a base (with a Cray) and and an Unlimited-Access Badge would be plenty. I can bum rides on UFOs and Mag-Lev Trains -- eat in Military Cafeterias (like Vala Mal Doran) -- and schedule practice-time on pipe-organs!! I'd simply like to be some sort of a Behind the Scenes Observer (who writes reports which are taken seriously). I'm not into chasing, fighting, manipulation, and corruption. I like to watch. Please, please, please study this thread from beginning to end. I intend to -- repeatedly. Namaste and Godspeed.

    1. http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/serqet.html
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth:_Final_Conflict
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogma_(film)
    4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_(2010_film)
    5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_(film)
    6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mists_of_Avalon_(TV_miniseries)
    7. http://aliens.wikia.com/wiki/Taelon (note: I minimally edited the following excerpt for clarity)

    Around two million years ago, the Taelons arrived within the solar system, where they pulverised the moons surrounding Saturn, and thus created the rings. This was done in order to hide Taelon probes. This was done with the intention of observing the human race developing on Earth. This served as an excellent hiding place for the Companions. (Episode: Summit) The Taelons were more evolved 20,000 years ago than in their modern incarnation. (Episode: Keys to the Kingdom)

    Two-thousand years ago they secretly dispatched one of their most distinguished members known as Ma'el to Earth. Ma'el altered the path of Human evolution dramatically. (Episode: Dimensions) This event occured during the first star flight by the Taelons. Ma'el's mission was a one way journey, and he was tasked with determining if an encounter between the Taelons and Humanity was potentially mutually beneficial. This was one of the reasons why the Companions later embarked on the journey to Earth. If Ma'els findings were negative, the Taelons would depart Earth. Unknown to them, Ma'el had grown attached to Humanity, and believed that his fellow Taelons would exploit the species, and thus he told them not to come to Earth under any circumstances. However, if they chose to come anyway, his message was to treat Humanity as equals, in the hope that Humans would become true equals to the Companions. (Episode: The Secret of One Strand Hill) He also helped engineer Humans to become a psychic race, in order for them to tap into the Commonality, and allow the Taelons to better accept them. (Episode: If You Could Read My Mind)

    Ma'el left his starship hidden off the coast of Peru, located 150 feet beneath the Pacific ocean. During that time, Ma'el formed relations with the Inca people, and instituted counter measures to prevent the Taelons from finding his starship. (Episode: The Once and Future World) As he was dying, Ma'el took a young Roman Senator known as Salvius Julianus and made him into a surrogate to serve his needs. After hiding his vessel, Ma'el allowed Julianus access to its systems so he could determine the Taelons motives when they arrived on Earth. If they were hostile, the Roman was charged with destroying them, in order to ensure that mankind would develop unchallenged. (Episode: Timebomb) Ma'el's final act was to encode his research into a relic that required the presence of both a Taelon and a Human to activate it -- revealing that mankind was the missing evolutionary link between the Companions and the Jaridians. Thus, without humanity, both species would be doomed to extinction. (Episode: Abduction)

    The Taelons secretly monitored Earth, in order to determine when to contact the Human Race. (Episode: Scorched Earth) This program began at least one year before official contact, and involved the secret abduction of at least 50 humans for experimentation. (Episode: First Breath) At the time, Humanity was engaged in the SI War which ended when a mysterious Quantum Vortex was detonated, which killed 100,000 people. The Taelon Synod ordered the unleashing of this weapon to prevent nuclear holocaust, yet still keep Humanity in a state of war, so the Taelons could play saviors. They adjudicated the Sino-Indian Peace Accords, in order to bring a lasting peace in Asia. (Episode: Scorched Earth) They used their advanced technology to aid in combating world hunger and curing hundreds of diseases. (Episode: Decision) The Taelons were divided on the issue of Humanity, and how to combat the threat posed by the Jaridians. Some Taelons were of the opinion that mankind needed to be turned into a weapon against the Jaridians, while others believed that a joining of the species was needed in order to reclaim an important genetic link that had been lost in their search for perfection. (Episode: The First of its Kind) Humanity was at a crossroads in their evolution, which the Taelons intended to observe and supervise. (Episode: Decision)


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    Just for a change of pace, I thought that I'd take a look at the C.B. Fisk pipe-organ company. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._B._Fisk

    C.B. Fisk, Inc. is a company in Gloucester, Massachusetts that designs and builds mechanical action pipe organs. It was founded in 1961 by Charles Brenton Fisk (1925-1983), the first American organ builder to build significant tracker organs in the 20th century. His study of early American and European instruments led him to return to mechanical action and to set a new course for American organ building. He modeled his shop on collaborative enterprise, launching the careers of four other North American organ builders and providing the foundation for those who carry on the company he founded. http://cbfisk.com/

    Born in Cambridge Mass, Fisk loved music and grew up tinkering with hi-fi equipment. He was a chorister at Christ Church on Cambridge Common where E. Power Biggs was Choirmaster. Charles showed such intelligence as a young man that when he was drafted during WWII, he was sent to Los Alamos where he worked for Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project. He was 18 years old. After the war he attended Harvard and Stanford, majoring in Nuclear Physics, and worked briefly at Brookhaven National Laboratories, but during his Stanford years decided to pursue a career in organbuilding.

    He apprenticed himself first with John Swinford in Redwood City, California, and then with Walter Holtkamp, Sr. in Cleveland, Ohio, who was at the time the most avant garde of American organbuilders. He went on to become a partner and later sole owner of the Andover Organ Company. In 1961 he established C. B. Fisk near his childhood summer home on Cape Ann in Massachusetts.

    Charles Fisk's style of leadership, modeled after the team of scientists he worked with on the Manhattan Project, involved his co-workers in the day-to-day decisions about the concepts and construction of the instruments. The same people who were drawn by Charles Fisk's ideas carry on his work and share their insight and experience with another generation of organbuilders after his death in 1983.

    Just two years following the installation of a major pipe organ in Auer Hall on Indiana University's Bloomington campus, the Jacobs School of Music has announced the acquisition of a second major instrument built by C.B. Fisk, America's leading organ builder. The acquisition will soon make the Jacobs School of Music home to three Fisk organs, the largest number of instruments by the builder in any one location in the world. The third, known as Opus 142, is a three-manual, six-stop, practice organ that will be installed in May in the Music Addition practice facilities. http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/21762.html

    The workshop attracted young co-workers who combined their talents in music, art, engineering, and cabinet making to build organs that redefined modern American organbuilding. Always experimenting, C. B. Fisk was the first modern American organbuilder to abandon the electro-pneumatic action of the early twentieth century and return to the mechanical (tracker) key and stop action of historical European and early American instruments. The Fisk firm went on to construct what were at the time the largest four-manual mechanical action instruments built in America in the 20th century, first at Harvard University's church in 1967 (awaiting installation at a Presbyterian church in Austin, Texas[1]), then again at House of Hope Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1979.

    The company has also built a number of instruments based on historical organs, among them one at Wellesley College patterned after North German organs of the early 17th century, one at the University of Michigan in the manner of the Saxon builder Gottfried Silbermann, and a three-manual instrument at Rice University modeled on the work of the 19th century French master builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The large four-manual dual-temperament instrument at Stanford University's Memorial Church uses modern technology to combine many different aspects of historical organ styles. The firm built concert hall organs for the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Minato Mirai Concert Hall in Yokohama, and Benaroya Hall in Seattle. In 2003 C. B. Fisk built a five-manual organ for the Cathedral in Lausanne, Switzerland, the first American organ to be made for a European cathedral. In its fifty years C.B. Fisk, Inc. has completed over 90 instruments in 23 U.S. states, Switzerland, Japan, and South Korea. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/10/what-a-set-of-pipes/

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmuwTAG2wzM
    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t38aWitpVXQ
    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhjDwiRW3GU
    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bzmgql32bpc&feature=related
    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owg1Vv0pB7g&feature=related
    6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQOxijWkVys&feature=related
    7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtIFTVUbzp4&feature=related
    8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqmB1lm80JE&feature=relmfu
    9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qeje1G4WLn0&feature=related
    10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ev6DcYdmZ0&feature=relmfu
    11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4sts33wU1M&feature=relmfu
    12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVLXvbIKYr8&feature=relmfu
    13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsWei8uCuRU
    14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfSnZ0RYp0A&feature=relmfu
    15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni-pYIerwg0&feature=related
    16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gWPl-kMMJs&feature=related
    17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-RWa4UXgXI&feature=relmfu
    18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VljA5wzuEds&feature=g-vrec
    19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcJ612aPEQQ&feature=fvwp&NR=1
    (I used to be able to play this one (BWV 565) perfectly by memory. There's nothing like playing it on the 55 foot-tall organ (shown in the first image below) late at night!! Once, when I was doing this, my organ-teacher entered the church, asking "Who's Here -- and Why??" in a most peculiar way!!)


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    On the Feast of the Assumption...the afternoon service in Saint-Sulpice ended with a Laudate Dominum by Gounod. When the last echo of the chancel organ had died away Widor took six notes from the final line of the Gounod music and announced them boldly in octaves with full organ, both manual and pedal, and then followed such improvisation as I had never heard before and have seldom heard since, not even by himself. Those who know him only by his symphonies, brilliant as they are, can form no idea of the wonderful force, brilliancy, and spontaneity of his improvisations. One day a pupil of his who did not speak much French requested me to ask him how he had learned to improvise so wonderfully. Widor promptly replied: "By writing. When I stop writing I cease to be able to extemporize well." -- S. Wesley Sears. August 15, 1904

    The only extended form of improvising I heard him do was the toccata form--something like his famous Toccata in F. He always brought the music to two climaxes of power during the piece, and I could never describe to you the thrill of those mixtures and the smooth 32' Pedal Reed--and he ended softly. He usually employed a Gregorian theme from the liturgy of the Mass. -- Edward Shippen Barnes, 1921

    He was in great form...improvising on the Gregorian tones of the Mass being sung at the other end of the church, playing a Bach fugue at the offertory, and finally at the close of the service turning the full power of the organ loose in a brilliant toccata improvised on the phrases which we had just heard from the choir. I had never before heard a master improvise. It seemed incredible at the time, and although I soon learned that improvisation had reached a high plane among French organists, Widor's feats, even now, still seem incredible, not because they were spectacular, but because they were such profoundly good music. -- Alexander Russell, 1907

    The postlude at the close of the service was generally an improvisation on one of the plainsong themes of the day. Widor was one of the greatest of improvisers, and on several occasions I have heard him improvise movements of such splendor as to rival the greatest movements of his symphonies. -- A.M. Henderson, 1937

    He played...one of his nine symphonies. It was gloriously beautiful. The organ is the largest in Paris, with five keyboards, and in the chancel there was a choir of two hundred men. The music is still throbbing in my head and vibrating all through me--the long swelling chords, the low deep tones, the blending voices, the chanting priests, the incense, the light, the holiness of it all! The Catholic service without music is nothing; with music it is everything. I shall remember this morning always. -- Florence Adele Sloan, Sunday, May 13, 1894

    The choir and gorgeously robed priests were filing in...and the small organ in the choir already in full blast. Then a priest intoned a few words, and suddenly the great instrument all about us crashed and thundered, lifting one clear off one's feet and removing all sense of gravity. Then the organ down in the choir answered, and again Widor pressed down the five banks of keys and we were riven with vast peals of sound. The ritual proceeded at the altar, while organ answered to organ, rumbling and rolling through the long nave and wafting up into the one hundred and eight foot arches of the clerestory. The music was all Gregorian, upon the tones of which Widor harmonized freely.

    The Mass ended, the priests and choir formed a sort of recessional, a sortie it is called, and Widor began...a canon or plainsong moving along in the midst of swirling arpeggios of left and right hands alternately. I looked at the pedals, for the air moved along as majestically as if double octaves were being played; but no, the pedal was occupied solely with foundation work. I looked again at his hands in amazement, for the rippling fingers were carrying four-octave arpeggios and that powerful air must come from somewhere! And then I saw that the wonderful hands were not only carrying the whirling arpeggios but also supporting one another in giving out the legato theme of the piece. Always the right or left thumb or forefinger would pass along the note amid the rush of the figuration. And then the sonorous pedal trumpets took it up, but the hands merely added a counterpoint besides the rollicking arpeggios rolling up from the bass, six notes to the beat! And all this was a mere improvisation--harmony and all. I looked at the author of it expecting to see Promethean fire starting from his brows. He was simply calm and earnest about it, and now and then found time to drop a word to a friend seated at his side. -- Warren H. Miller, 1910

    I was moved to tears by the Above Quotations. I believe there is a profound unity in the French Romantic toccata and French Romantic organs, combined with hymn improvisation, and perhaps some German Baroque Bach-style counterpoint! I wonder how Bach would have performed his 'Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor' if he had been at Saint-Sulpice rather than at St. Thomas?! He might even have used the swell pedal! Perhaps he would have treated his listeners to an improvisation in the final measures of the fugue, which would have revealed all of heaven to mere mortals!! With reverence and awe, -- orthodoxymoron, 2012


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    'Trust and Rules'


    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 10835
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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:52 pm

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    The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.

    Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

    My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

    My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

    My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you. Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. Do not accuse anyone for no reason— when they have done you no harm. Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways. For the LORD detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence. The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame.

    Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

    Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

    My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.

    You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.” Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.

    My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart— he always stirs up conflict. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

    My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.

    My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

    At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: “Today I fulfilled my vows, and I have food from my fellowship offering at home. So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

    Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gate leading into the city, at the entrance, she cries aloud: “To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it. Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power. By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; by me princes govern, and nobles—all who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

    “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD. But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

    Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.” Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

    The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother. Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death. The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. The name of the righteous is used in blessings, but the name of the wicked will rot. The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin. The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense. The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor. The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death. Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.

    Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense. The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it. A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom. What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted. When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever. As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so are sluggards to those who send them. The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. The way of the LORD is a refuge for the blameless, but it is the ruin of those who do evil. The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land. From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced. The lips of the righteous know what finds favor, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

    The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires. Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing. The righteous person is rescued from trouble, and it falls on the wicked instead. With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape. When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.

    A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth. Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves. A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. Truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death. The LORD detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free. Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath. One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell. Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it. Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives. If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!

    Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. Good people obtain favor from the LORD, but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes. No one can be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted. A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful. The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm. A person is praised according to their prudence, and one with a warped mind is despised. Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food. The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

    The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers, but the root of the righteous endures. Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk, and so the innocent escape trouble. From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult. An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies. The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy. No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble. The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly. Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor. Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt. In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.

    A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes. From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves. Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. A person’s riches may ransom their life, but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes. The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out. Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.

    The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. Good judgment wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction. All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly. A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing. Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil. Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things. A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. An unplowed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away. Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.

    The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways. A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them. Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning. Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips. The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief. The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs. The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.

    The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. Evildoers will bow down in the presence of the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous. The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends. It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy. Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly. A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful. Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined. Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God. Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant arouses his fury.

    A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence. The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings ruin. The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright. The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness. Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die. Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD— how much more do human hearts! Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise. A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

    The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word! The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead. The LORD tears down the house of the proud, but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place. The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight. The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live. The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.

    To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster. The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided. When the LORD takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice. Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making. Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right. A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it. When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring. How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver! The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives.

    Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD. The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools. The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on. A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire. A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good. Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity; whoever purses their lips is bent on evil. Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

    Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son and will share the inheritance as one of the family. The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart. A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue. Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished. Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler! A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn. Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool. Evildoers foster rebellion against God; the messenger of death will be sent against them. Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly. Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.

    Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the LORD detests them both. Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it? A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge and puts up security for a neighbor. Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction. One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble. To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice. A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him. If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good, surely to flog honest officials is not right. The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

    An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach. The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream. It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice. The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.

    The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines. Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart. A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel. From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD. The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly. One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

    Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse. Desire without knowledge is not good— how much more will hasty feet miss the way! A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD. Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them. A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free. Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts. The poor are shunned by all their relatives— how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found. The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper. A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish. It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury— how much worse for a slave to rule over princes! A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass. A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof. Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

    Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry. Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life, but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die. Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done. Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again. Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar. The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth! Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge. Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother is a child who brings shame and disgrace. Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil. Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.

    Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. A king’s wrath strikes terror like the roar of a lion; those who anger him forfeit their lives. It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them. When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes. Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? Differing weights and differing measures— the LORD detests them both. Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? Ears that hear and eyes that see— the LORD has made them both. Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare. “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer— then goes off and boasts about the purchase. Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

    Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider. Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel. Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance. A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness. An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end. Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him. A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows. A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them. The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being. Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure. The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

    In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart— the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin. The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right. The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright. Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. The wicked crave evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them. When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge. The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked and brings the wicked to ruin. Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered. A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath. When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. Whoever strays from the path of prudence comes to rest in the company of the dead.

    Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich. The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright. Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust. Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name— behaves with insolent fury. The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing. The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable— how much more so when brought with evil intent! A false witness will perish, but a careful listener will testify successfully. The wicked put up a bold front, but the upright give thought to their ways. There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.

    A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all. The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life. In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them. Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken. The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended. One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful. The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!” The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit; a man who is under the LORD’s wrath falls into it. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

    Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you. Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve? Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will exact life for life. Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you. Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors. Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.

    When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments. Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words. Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you. Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death. My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

    Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well. The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful! My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well. Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men. Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”

    Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble. By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths. Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker. If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

    Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

    These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good: Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them. An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house. Do not testify against your neighbor without cause— would you use your lips to mislead? Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.” I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

    These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel; remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles. What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame? If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence, or the one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand. Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear. Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master. Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given.

    Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house— too much of you, and they will hate you. Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor. Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble. Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look. Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked. It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep. Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

    Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool. Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly.

    Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own. Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them. A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

    Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips. Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Like a bird that flees its nest is anyone who flees from home. Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away. Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt. The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider. If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:25 pm

    A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes. The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise. Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them. Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family and to nourish your female servants.

    The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order. A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them. Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully. Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse. A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor. If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance. The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are. When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding. Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

    Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people. A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign. Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back. The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit. Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. To show partiality is not good— yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread. The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them. Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. Whoever robs their father or mother and says, “It’s not wrong,” is partner to one who destroys. The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper. Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

    Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down. Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet. Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad. The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger. If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright. Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. The poor and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives sight to the eyes of both. If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever.

    A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother. When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall. Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; though they understand, they will not respond. Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. A servant pampered from youth will turn out to be insolent. An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies; they are put under oath and dare not testify. Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that one gets justice. The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.

    The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance. This man’s utterance to Ithiel: “I am weary, God, but I can prevail. Surely I am only a brute, not a man; I do not have human understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One. Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know! “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. “Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it. “There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers; those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth; those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful; those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among mankind.

    “The leech has two daughters. ‘Give! Give!’ they cry. “There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’ “The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures. “There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman. “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’ “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress. “Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. “There are three things that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing: a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing; a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king secure against revolt. “If you play the fool and exalt yourself, or if you plan evil, clap your hand over your mouth! For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”

    The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him. Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers! Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

    A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

    Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

    Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

    LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

    Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD. Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

    Listen to my words, LORD, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest. But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies. Make your way straight before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

    LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

    LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. LORD my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands, if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe, then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure, you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.

    LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

    I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. For you have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished. The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

    Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted. LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, that I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation. The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God. But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal.

    Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”

    Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.

    In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.

    Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts. May the LORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue, those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us. Who is lord over us?” “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race.

    How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the LORD. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

    LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

    Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

    Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer, it does not rise from deceitful lips. Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed. Though people tried to bribe me, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent through what your lips have commanded. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled. I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a fierce lion crouching in cover. Rise up, LORD, confront them, bring them down; with your sword rescue me from the wicked. By your hand save me from such people, LORD, from those of this world whose reward is in this life. May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies; may their children gorge themselves on it, and may there be leftovers for their little ones. As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

    I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

    The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.

    I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them, to the LORD, but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them like mud in the streets. You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.

    The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

    May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. LORD, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!

    The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him, length of days, for ever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes. When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them. You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind. Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed. You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow. Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.

    My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.

    But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him, may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him, those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

    The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

    The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty, he is the King of glory.

    In you, LORD my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good. Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

    Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land. The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you. Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

    Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds. LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me. My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.

    The LORD is my light and my salvation! Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life! Who shall frighten me? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

    To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve. Because they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again. Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.

    Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD twists the oaksand strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

    I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” LORD, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.

    In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God. I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends, those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life.

    But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead. Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous. How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues. Praise be to the LORD, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

    Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

    Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth, he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

    I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

    Contend, LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.” May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay. May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them away; may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them. Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, may ruin overtake them by surprise, may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave me like one bereaved. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; assailants gathered against me without my knowledge. They slandered me without ceasing. Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked; they gnashed their teeth at me.

    How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you. Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.” LORD, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in your righteousness, LORD my God; do not let them gloat over me. Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!” or say, “We have swallowed him up.” May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.

    I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:There is no fear of God before their eyes. In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good. Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong. Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart. May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. See how the evildoers lie fallen, thrown down, not able to rise!

    Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath. Do not fret. It leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

    But the wicked will perish: Though the LORD’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish. The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; but the LORD will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial. Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:18 am

    LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away. Those who want to kill me set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they scheme and lie. I am like the deaf, who cannot hear, like the mute, who cannot speak; I have become like one who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply. LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. For I said, “Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.” For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. Many have become my enemies without cause; those who hate me without reason are numerous. Those who repay my good with evil lodge accusations against me, though I seek only to do what is good. LORD, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.

    I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good. But my anguish increased; my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand. When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth. Surely everyone is but a breath. “Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were. Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again before I depart and am no more.”

    I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have opened. Burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come, it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, LORD, as you know. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.

    Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me. May all who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.

    Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. The LORD protects and preserves them. They are counted among the blessed in the land. He does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. I said, “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?” When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it around. All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, “A vile disease has afflicted him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.” Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. But may you have mercy on me, LORD; raise me up, that I may repay them. I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

    As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty Onewith shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

    Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

    We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our ancestors; you crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them. You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.

    But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us. You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations. You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale. You have made us a reproach to our neighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us. I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge. All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals; you covered us over with deep darkness. If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart? Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.

    My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.

    Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favor. All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her, those brought to be with her. Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king. Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

    Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

    Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor. You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind. As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever. Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

    Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, both low and high, rich and poor alike: My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding. I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them. The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough, so that they should live on forever and not see decay. For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves.

    People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. Though while they live they count themselves blessed, and people praise you when you prosper, they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life. People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.

    The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages. He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: “Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice. “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

    Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you. "Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”

    Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

    Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God? You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue! Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying, “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!” But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on God. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread. God scattered the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised them. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

    Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might. Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. Arrogant foes are attacking me; ruthless people are trying to kill me, people without regard for God. Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them. I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, LORD, for it is good. You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

    Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger. My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets. If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.

    Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them. As for me, I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change, he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God. My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.

    Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack. My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise. In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are for my ruin. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, hoping to take my life. Because of their wickedness do not let them escape; in your anger, God, bring the nations down. Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll. Are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

    Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me. God sends forth his love and his faithfulness. I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts, men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. They spread a net for my feet. I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path, but they have fallen into it themselves. My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

    Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity? No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth. Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies. Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be. Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; LORD, tear out the fangs of those lions! Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short. May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along, like a stillborn child that never sees the sun. Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns, whether they be green or dry, the wicked will be swept away. The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then people will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.”

    Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood. See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, LORD. I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight! You, LORD God Almighty, you who are the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. See what they spew from their mouths, the words from their lips are sharp as swords, and they think, “Who can hear us?” But you laugh at them, LORD; you scoff at all those nations. You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.

    God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me. But do not kill them, Lord our shield,or my people will forget. In your might uproot them and bring them down. For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter, consume them in your wrath, consume them till they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. They wander about for food and howl if not satisfied. But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.

    You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us; you have been angry! Now restore us! You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger. But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. God has spoken from his sanctuary: “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter. Moab is my washbasin, on Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph.” Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us and no longer go out with our armies? Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

    Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.

    Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down, this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”

    You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Those who want to kill me will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God will glory in him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

    Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear. They encourage each other in evil plans, they talk about hiding their snares; they say, “Who will see it?” They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down. He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. All people will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done. The righteous will rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!

    Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. You who answer prayer, to you all people will come. When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.

    Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.” Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot. Come, let us rejoice in him. He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations. Let not the rebellious rise up against him. Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you, vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats. Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

    May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us, so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

    May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke, as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him, his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families,he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor. The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng: “Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder. Even while you sleep among the sheep pens,the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.” When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon. Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious, that you, LORD God, might dwell there.

    Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins. The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea, that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.” Your procession, God, has come into view, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the young women playing the timbrels. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel. There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah’s princes, and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali. Summon your power, God ; show us your strength, our God, as you have done before. Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts. Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war. Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God. Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice. Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens. You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

    Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you. Lord, the LORD Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me. For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. Come near and rescue me; deliver me because of my foes. You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you.

    Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them. May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents. For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those you hurt. Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. But as for me, afflicted and in pain— may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad, you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them, for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love his name will dwell there.

    Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, LORD, to help me. May those who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” turn back because of their shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!” But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay.

    In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. They say, “God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.” Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me. May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.

    As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long, though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more. I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you, I whom you have delivered. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.

    Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. In his days may the righteous flourish and prosperity abound till the moon is no more. May he rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. May the desert tribes bow before him and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him. May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts. May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him. For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. May grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. May the crops flourish like Lebanon and thrive like the grass of the field. May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. Then all nations will be blessed through him,and they will call him blessed. Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.

    Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?” This is what the wicked are like, always free of care, they go on amassing wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments. If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children.

    When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

    O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? Remember the nation you purchased long ago, the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed, Mount Zion, where you dwelt. Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land. We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be. How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?

    Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them! But God is my King from long ago; he brings salvation on the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert. It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers. The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. Remember how the enemy has mocked you, LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name. Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever. Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land. Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.

    We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds. You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge with equity. When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly.’” No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs. As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob, who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”

    God is renowned in Judah; in Israel his name is great. His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords, the weapons of war. You are radiant with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game. The valiant lie plundered, they sleep their last sleep; not one of the warriors can lift his hands. At your rebuke, God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still. It is you alone who are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry? From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet, when you, God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land. Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained. Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared. He breaks the spirit of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth.

    I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

    My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old, things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

    The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand up like a wall. He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night. He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them water as abundant as the seas; he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers. But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God; they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness? True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?”

    When the LORD heard them, he was furious; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance. Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. Human beings ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat. He let loose the east wind from the heavens and by his power made the south wind blow. He rained meat down on them like dust, birds like sand on the seashore. He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents. They ate till they were gorged. He had given them what they craved. But before they turned from what they craved, even while the food was still in their mouths, God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel. In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror. Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.

    How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland! Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power, the day he redeemed them from the oppressor, the day he displayed his signs in Egypt, his wonders in the region of Zoan. He turned their river into blood; they could not drink from their streams. He sent swarms of flies that devoured them, and frogs that devastated them. He gave their crops to the grasshopper, their produce to the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamore-figs with sleet. He gave over their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning. He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility, a band of destroying angels. He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague. He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham. But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the wilderness. He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; but the sea engulfed their enemies. And so he brought them to the border of his holy land, to the hill country his right hand had taken. He drove out nations before them and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance; he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes. But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes.

    Like their ancestors they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow. They angered him with their high places; they aroused his jealousy with their idols. When God heard them, he was furious; he rejected Israel completely. He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent he had set up among humans. He sent the ark of his might into captivity, his splendor into the hands of the enemy. He gave his people over to the sword; he was furious with his inheritance. Fire consumed their young men, and their young women had no wedding songs; their priests were put to the sword, and their widows could not weep. Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine. He beat back his enemies; he put them to everlasting shame. Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim; but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved. He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever. He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

    O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild. They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury the dead. We are objects of contempt to our neighbors, of scorn and derision to those around us. How long, LORD? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name; for they have devoured Jacob and devastated his homeland. Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants. May the groans of the prisoners come before you; with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die. Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord. Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.

    Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. How long, LORD God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people? You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful. You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us. Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. You transplanted a vine from Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. Its branches reached as far as the Sea, its shoots as far as the River. Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its grapes? Boars from the forest ravage it, and insects from the fields feed on it. Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish. Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, LORD God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:34 am

    Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre. Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival; this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. When God went out against Egypt, he established it as a statute for Joseph. I heard an unknown voice say: “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Hear me, my people, and I will warn you, if you would only listen to me, Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

    God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

    O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God. See how your enemies growl, how your foes rear their heads. With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.” With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you, the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites, Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to reinforce Lot’s descendants. Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, who perished at Endor and became like dung on the ground. Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, who said, “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.” Make them like tumbleweed, my God, like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm. Cover their faces with shame, LORD, so that they will seek your name. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace. Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD, that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

    How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young, a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

    You, LORD, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger. Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, LORD, and grant us your salvation. I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants, but let them not turn to folly. Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

    Hear me, LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God; ruthless people are trying to kill me. They have no regard for you. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did. Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

    He has founded his city on the holy mountain. The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, city of God: “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me, Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush, and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”

    LORD, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength. I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily on me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you. Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do their spirits rise up and praise you? Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? But I cry to you for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me? From my youth I have suffered and been close to death; I have borne your terrors and am in despair. Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me. You have taken from me friend and neighbor. Darkness is my closest friend.

    I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’” The heavens praise your wonders, LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name. Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

    Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have raised up a young man from among the people. I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. The enemy will not get the better of him; the wicked will not oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ And I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure. "If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness, and I will not lie to David, that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.”

    But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your anointed one. You have renounced the covenant with your servant and have defiled his crown in the dust. You have broken through all his walls and reduced his strongholds to ruins. All who pass by have plundered him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors. You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. Indeed, you have turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle. You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground. You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of shame. How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity! Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave? Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, the taunts with which your enemies, LORD, have mocked, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one. Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

    Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.” A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death, they are like the new grass of the morning: In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered. We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us. Yes, establish the work of our hands.

    Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

    It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts! Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. But you, LORD, are forever exalted. For surely your enemies, LORD, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

    The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity. The seas have lifted up, LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty. Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days.

    The LORD is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve. How long, LORD, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant? They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting. They crush your people, LORD; they oppress your inheritance. They slay the widow and the foreigner; they murder the fatherless. They say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.” Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise? Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge? The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.

    Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Can a corrupt throne be allied with you, a throne that brings on misery by its decrees? The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD our God will destroy them.

    Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

    Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

    The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory. All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols, worship him, all you gods! Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, LORD. For you, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

    Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn, shout for joy before the LORD, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

    The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name, he is holy. The King is mighty, he loves justice. You have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right. Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the LORD and he answered them. He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them. LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds. Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy.

    Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

    I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise. I will be careful to lead a blameless life. When will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil. Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate. My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence. Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the LORD.

    Hear my prayer, LORD; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones. I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.

    The nations will fear the name of the LORD, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. For the LORD will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD: “The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD. In the course of my life he broke my strength; he cut short my days. So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.”

    Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.

    As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field. The wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children, with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.

    Praise the LORD, my soul. LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth. He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate, bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the junipers. The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the hyrax. He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.

    You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening. How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. there is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number, living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, my soul. Praise the LORD.

    Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.” When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; and he sent a man before them, Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true. The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom. Then Israel entered Egypt; Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.

    The LORD made his people very fruitful; he made them too numerous for their foes, whose hearts he turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants. He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen. They performed his signs among them, his wonders in the land of Ham. He sent darkness and made the land dark, for had they not rebelled against his words? He turned their waters into blood, causing their fish to die. Their land teemed with frogs, which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers. He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country. He turned their rain into hail, with lightning throughout their land; he struck down their vines and fig trees and shattered the trees of their country. He spoke, and the locusts came, grasshoppers without number; they ate up every green thing in their land, ate up the produce of their soil. Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their manhood. He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered. Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them. He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert. For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy; he gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for, that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws. Praise the LORD.

    Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise? Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise. We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

    In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the LORD. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them, had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the wilderness, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they aroused the LORD’s anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come.

    By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them; for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips. They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He gave them into the hands of the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy. Save us, LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD.

    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story, those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

    Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders. He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there. He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish. Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow; he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste. But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths. Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.

    My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. God has spoken from his sanctuary: “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth. Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter. Moab is my washbasin, on Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph.” Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? Is it not you, God, you who have rejected us and no longer go out with our armies? Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

    My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship. Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation. May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. May their sins always remain before the LORD, that he may blot out their name from the earth. For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted. He loved to pronounce a curse, may it come back on him. He found no pleasure in blessing, may it be far from him. He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil. May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him. May this be the LORD’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.

    But you, Sovereign LORD, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust. My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt. I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads. Help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love. Let them know that it is your hand, that you, LORD, have done it. While they curse, may you bless; may those who attack me be put to shame, but may your servant rejoice. May my accusers be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak. With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

    The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.

    Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

    Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

    Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, you his servants; praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.

    When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back? Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs? Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.

    Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. All you Israelites, trust in the LORD. He is their help and shield. House of Aaron, trust in the LORD. He is their help and shield. You who fear him, trust in the LORD. He is their help and shield. The LORD remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, he will bless those who fear the LORD, small and great alike. May the LORD cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind. It is not the dead who praise the LORD, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the LORD, both now and forevermore. Praise the LORD.

    I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “LORD, save me!” The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For you, LORD, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. I trusted in the LORD when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.” What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.

    Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.” When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

    Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

    Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from your commands. Remove from me their scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes.

    Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law. I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, LORD; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding. Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.

    How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life. May your unfailing love come to me, LORD, your salvation, according to your promise; then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word. Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them. I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees. Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law. I remember, LORD, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them. Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law. Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. In the night, LORD, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. This has been my practice: I obey your precepts. You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws. I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. The earth is filled with your love, LORD; teach me your decrees.

    Do good to your servant according to your word, LORD. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts. May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes. May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:39 am

    My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law. All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause. They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth. Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

    I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless. Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word. Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. I hate double-minded people, but I love your law. You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

    Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their delusions come to nothing. All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes. My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws. I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors. Ensure your servant’s well-being; do not let the arrogant oppress me. My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise. Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. It is time for you to act, LORD; your law is being broken. Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path. Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts.

    Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees. Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. You are righteous, LORD, and your laws are right. The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy. My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words. Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live. I call with all my heart; answer me, LORD, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, LORD, according to your laws. Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law. Yet you are near, LORD, and all your commands are true. Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever. Look on my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees.

    Your compassion, LORD, is great; preserve my life according to your laws. Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes. I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love. All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word. I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil. I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. I wait for your salvation, LORD, and I follow your commands. I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you. May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, LORD, and your law gives me delight. Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

    I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue? He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush. Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

    I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you. The LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

    I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. That is where the tribes go up. The tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel. There stand the thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.

    I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy. Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy on us, for we have endured no end of contempt. We have endured no end of ridicule from the arrogant, of contempt from the proud.

    If the LORD had not been on our side, let Israel say, if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

    Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore. The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil. LORD, do good to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart. But those who turn to crooked ways the LORD will banish with the evildoers. Peace be on Israel.

    When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

    Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for he grants sleep to those he loves. Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

    Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you live to see your children’s children. Peace be on Israel.

    “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,” let Israel say; “they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me. Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long. But the LORD is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.” May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame. May they be like grass on the roof, which withers before it can grow; a reaper cannot fill his hands with it, nor one who gathers fill his arms. May those who pass by not say to them, “The blessing of the LORD be on you; we bless you in the name of the LORD.”

    Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

    My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.

    LORD, remember David and all his self-denial. He swore an oath to the LORD, he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: “I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” We heard it in Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar: “Let us go to his dwelling place, let us worship at his footstool, saying, ‘Arise, LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests be clothed with your righteousness; may your faithful people sing for joy.’” For the sake of your servant David, do not reject your anointed one. The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath he will not revoke: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne. If your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.” For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful people will ever sing for joy. "Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”

    How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

    Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

    Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD, you who minister in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession. I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of people and animals. He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings. Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan, and he gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to his people Israel. Your name, LORD, endures forever, your renown, LORD, through all generations. For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. All you Israelites, praise the LORD; house of Aaron, praise the LORD; house of Levi, praise the LORD; you who fear him, praise the LORD. Praise be to the LORD from Zion, to him who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.

    Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. Who made the great lights, His love endures forever. The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. And brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. With a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever. To him who divided the Red Sea asunder, His love endures forever. And brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. To him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. And killed mighty kings, His love endures forever. Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. And Og king of Bashan, His love endures forever. And gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. An inheritance to his servant Israel, His love endures forever. He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. And freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

    By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

    I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me. May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD, when they hear what you have decreed. May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great. Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever. Do not abandon the works of your hands.

    You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

    Rescue me, LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet. The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path. I say to the LORD, “You are my God.” Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy. Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle. Do not grant the wicked their desires, LORD; do not let their plans succeed. Those who surround me proudly rear their heads; may the mischief of their lips engulf them. May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise. May slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down the violent. I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence.

    I call to you, LORD, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me. That is a kindness; let him rebuke me. That is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken. They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.” But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge. Do not give me over to death. Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.

    I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

    LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, LORD, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name’s sake, LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

    Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. LORD, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. Part your heavens, LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David. From the deadly sword deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets. Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the LORD.

    I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All your works praise you, LORD; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

    Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them, he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.

    Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Extol the LORD, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion. He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the LORD.

    Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever, he issued a decree that will never pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.

    Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the LORD.

    Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

    The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege. Unless the LORD Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah. Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

    "The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

    See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her— but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them. Therefore the Lord, the LORD Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you;I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.” Zion will be delivered with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness. But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the LORD will perish. “You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen. You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water. The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire.”

    This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

    You, LORD, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs. Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots. Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made. So people will be brought low and everyone humbled— do not forgive them. Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the fearful presence of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty! The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading shipand every stately vessel.

    The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear. People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. In that day people will throw away to the moles and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship. They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from the fearful presence of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?

    See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water, the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. “I will make mere youths their officials; children will rule over them.” People will oppress each other— man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honored. A man will seize one of his brothers in his father’s house, and say, “You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!” But in that day he will cry out, “I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people.” Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done.

    Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path. The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: “It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. The LORD says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald.” In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding. Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle. The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.

    In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!” In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.

    I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.” The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

    Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing: “Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine; a homer of seed will yield only an ephah of grain.” Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, pipes and timbrels and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands. Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst. Therefore Death expands its jaws, opening wide its mouth; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers. So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled. But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts. Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich. Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it. The plan of the Holy One of Israel— let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.”

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the LORD’s anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily! Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal strap is broken. Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses’ hooves seem like flint, their chariot wheels like a whirlwind. Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue. In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, there is only darkness and distress; even the sun will be darkened by clouds.

    In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go and tell this people: “ ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “For how long, Lord?” And he answered: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

    When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it. Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind. Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.

    If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’” Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”

    In that day the LORD will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your heads and private parts, and to cut off your beards also. In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:43 am

    The LORD said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” So I called in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me. Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the LORD said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. For before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.” The LORD spoke to me again: “Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates— the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, Immanuel!” Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

    This is what the LORD says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.” Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

    Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

    The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel. All the people will know it— Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria— who say with pride and arrogance of heart, “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” But the LORD has strengthened Rezin’s foes against them and has spurred their enemies on. Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west have devoured Israel with open mouth. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the LORD Almighty. So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; the elders and dignitaries are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray. Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will he pity the fatherless and widows, for everyone is ungodly and wicked, every mouth speaks folly. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

    Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke. By the wrath of the LORD Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire; they will not spare one another. On the right they will devour, but still be hungry; on the left they will eat, but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of their own offspring: Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

    Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

    “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations. ‘Are not my commanders all kings?’ he says. ‘Has not Kalno fared like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad, and Samaria like Damascus? As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols, kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria— shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?’” When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. For he says: “‘By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.

    I removed the boundaries of nations, I plundered their treasures; like a mighty one I subdued their kings. As one reaches into a nest, so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations; as people gather abandoned eggs, so I gathered all the countries; not one flapped a wing, or opened its mouth to chirp.’” Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it? As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up, or a club brandish the one who is not wood! Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame. The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick person wastes away. 19 And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down.

    In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous. The Lord, the LORD Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land. Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: “My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did. Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.” The LORD Almighty will lash them with a whip, as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb; and he will raise his staff over the waters, as he did in Egypt. In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat. They enter Aiath; they pass through Migron; they store supplies at Mikmash. They go over the pass, and say, “We will camp overnight at Geba.” Ramah trembles; Gibeah of Saul flees. Cry out, Daughter Gallim! Listen, Laishah! Poor Anathoth! Madmenah is in flight; the people of Gebim take cover. This day they will halt at Nob; they will shake their fist at the mount of Daughter Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem. See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.

    A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD— and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

    In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will subdue Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.

    In that day you will say: “I will praise you, LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

    A prophecy against Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw: Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded those I prepared for battle; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath— those who rejoice in my triumph. Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war. They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens— the LORD and the weapons of his wrath— to destroy the whole country. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of the LORD is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.

    I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, they will all return to their own people, they will flee to their native land. Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Babylonians, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; there no nomads will pitch their tents, there no shepherds will rest their flocks. But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about. Hyenas will inhabit her strongholds, jackals her luxurious palaces. Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged.

    The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Foreigners will join them and unite with the descendants of Jacob. Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And Israel will take possession of the nations and make them male and female servants in the LORD’s land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors. On the day the LORD gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers, which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression. All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing. Even the junipers and the cedars of Lebanon gloat over you and say, “Now that you have been laid low, no one comes to cut us down.” The realm of the dead below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you— all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones— all those who were kings over the nations. They will all respond, they will say to you, “You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us.”

    All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you. How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

    But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?” All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb. But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit. Like a corpse trampled underfoot, you will not join them in burial, for you have destroyed your land and killed your people. Let the offspring of the wicked never be mentioned again. Prepare a place to slaughter his children for the sins of their ancestors; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities. “I will rise up against them,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will wipe out Babylon’s name and survivors, her offspring and descendants,” declares the LORD. “I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD Almighty. The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders.” This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

    This prophecy came in the year King Ahaz died: Do not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken; from the root of that snake will spring up a viper, its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent. The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety. But your root I will destroy by famine; it will slay your survivors. Wail, you gate! Howl, you city! Melt away, all you Philistines! A cloud of smoke comes from the north, and there is not a straggler in its ranks. What answer shall be given to the envoys of that nation? “The LORD has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.”

    A prophecy against Moab: Ar in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night! Kir in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night! Dibon goes up to its temple, to its high places to weep; Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba. Every head is shaved and every beard cut off. In the streets they wear sackcloth; on the roofs and in the public squares they all wail, prostrate with weeping. Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz. Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out, and their hearts are faint. My heart cries out over Moab; her fugitives flee as far as Zoar, as far as Eglath Shelishiyah. They go up the hill to Luhith, weeping as they go; on the road to Horonaim they lament their destruction. The waters of Nimrim are dried up and the grass is withered; the vegetation is gone and nothing green is left. So the wealth they have acquired and stored up they carry away over the Ravine of the Poplars. Their outcry echoes along the border of Moab; their wailing reaches as far as Eglaim, their lamentation as far as Beer Elim. The waters of Dimon are full of blood, but I will bring still more upon Dimon — a lion upon the fugitives of Moab and upon those who remain in the land.

    Send lambs as tribute to the ruler of the land, from Sela, across the desert, to the mount of Daughter Zion. Like fluttering birds pushed from the nest, so are the women of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. “Make up your mind,” Moab says. “Render a decision. Make your shadow like night— at high noon. Hide the fugitives, do not betray the refugees. Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their shelter from the destroyer.” The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land. In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness. We have heard of Moab’s pride— how great is her arrogance!— of her conceit, her pride and her insolence; but her boasts are empty. Therefore the Moabites wail, they wail together for Moab. Lament and grieve for the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth. The fields of Heshbon wither, the vines of Sibmah also.

    The rulers of the nations have trampled down the choicest vines, which once reached Jazer and spread toward the desert. Their shoots spread out and went as far as the sea. So I weep, as Jazer weeps, for the vines of Sibmah. Heshbon and Elealeh, I drench you with tears! The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit and over your harvests have been stilled. Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards; no one sings or shouts in the vineyards; no one treads out wine at the presses, for I have put an end to the shouting. My heart laments for Moab like a harp, my inmost being for Kir Hareseth. When Moab appears at her high place, she only wears herself out; when she goes to her shrine to pray, it is to no avail. This is the word the LORD has already spoken concerning Moab. But now the LORD says: “Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble.”

    A prophecy against Damascus: “See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites,” declares the LORD Almighty. “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away. It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain, gathering the grain in their arms— as when someone gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs,” declares the LORD, the God of Israel. In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made. In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.

    You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. Woe to the many nations that rage— they rage like the raging sea! Woe to the peoples who roar— they roar like the roaring of great waters! Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us.

    Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush, which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water. Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers. All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it. This is what the LORD says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter. At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers— the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.

    A prophecy against Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear. “I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian— brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists. I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more. The fishermen will groan and lament, all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water will pine away. Those who work with combed flax will despair, the weavers of fine linen will lose hope. The workers in cloth will be dejected, and all the wage earners will be sick at heart. The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings”? Where are your wise men now? Let them show you and make known what the LORD Almighty has planned against Egypt. The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deceived; the cornerstones of her peoples have led Egypt astray. The LORD has poured into them a spirit of dizziness; they make Egypt stagger in all that she does, as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit. There is nothing Egypt can do— head or tail, palm branch or reed.

    In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them. In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun. In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

    In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it— at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. Then the LORD said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame. Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame. In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’”

    A prophecy against the Desert by the Sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror. A dire vision has been shown to me: The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot. Elam, attack! Media, lay siege! I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused. At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me. They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields! This is what the Lord says to me: “Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees. When he sees chariots with teams of horses, riders on donkeys or riders on camels, let him be alert, fully alert.” And the lookout shouted, “Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post. Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: ‘Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!’” My people who are crushed on the threshing floor, I tell you what I have heard from the LORD Almighty, from the God of Israel.

    A prophecy against Dumah : Someone calls to me from Seir, “Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?” The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again.”

    A prophecy against Arabia: You caravans of Dedanites, who camp in the thickets of Arabia, bring water for the thirsty; you who live in Tema, bring food for the fugitives. They flee from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and from the heat of battle. This is what the Lord says to me: “Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it, all the splendor of Kedar will come to an end. The survivors of the archers, the warriors of Kedar, will be few.” The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.

    A prophecy against the Valley of Vision: What troubles you now, that you have all gone up on the roofs, you town so full of commotion, you city of tumult and revelry? Your slain were not killed by the sword, nor did they die in battle. All your leaders have fled together; they have been captured without using the bow. All you who were caught were taken prisoner together, having fled while the enemy was still far away. Therefore I said, “Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people.” The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling and terror in the Valley of Vision, a day of battering down walls and of crying out to the mountains. Elam takes up the quiver, with her charioteers and horses; Kir uncovers the shield. Your choicest valleys are full of chariots, and horsemen are posted at the city gates. The Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah, and you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest. You saw that the walls of the City of David were broken through in many places; you stored up water in the Lower Pool. You counted the buildings in Jerusalem and tore down houses to strengthen the wall. You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago. The Lord, the LORD Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth. But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!”

    The LORD Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the LORD Almighty. This is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: “Go, say to this steward, to Shebna the palace administrator: What are you doing here and who gave you permission to cut out a grave for yourself here, hewing your grave on the height and chiseling your resting place in the rock? “Beware, the LORD is about to take firm hold of you and hurl you away, you mighty man. He will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country. There you will die and there the chariots you were so proud of will become a disgrace to your master’s house. I will depose you from your office, and you will be ousted from your position. “In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a seat of honor for the house of his father. All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars. “In that day,” declares the LORD Almighty, “the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down.” The LORD has spoken.

    A prophecy against Tyre: Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed and left without house or harbor. From the land of Cyprus word has come to them. Be silent, you people of the island and you merchants of Sidon, whom the seafarers have enriched. On the great waters came the grain of the Shihor; the harvest of the Nile was the revenue of Tyre, and she became the marketplace of the nations. Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea, for the sea has spoken: “I have neither been in labor nor given birth; I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.” When word comes to Egypt, they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre. Cross over to Tarshish; wail, you people of the island. Is this your city of revelry, the old, old city, whose feet have taken her to settle in far-off lands? Who planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are renowned in the earth? The LORD Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth. Till your land as they do along the Nile, Daughter Tarshish, for you no longer have a harbor.

    The LORD has stretched out his hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed. He said, “No more of your reveling, Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed! “Up, cross over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.” Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account! The Assyrians have made it a place for desert creatures; they raised up their siege towers, they stripped its fortresses bare and turned it into a ruin. Wail, you ships of Tarshish; your fortress is destroyed! At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: “Take up a harp, walk through the city, you forgotten prostitute; play the harp well, sing many a song, so that you will be remembered.” At the end of seventy years, the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the LORD; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes.

    See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants— it will be the same for priest as for people, for the master as for his servant, for the mistress as for her servant, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor. The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word. The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left. The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan. The joyful timbrels are stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers. The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred. In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth. The city is left in ruins, its gate is battered to pieces. So will it be on the earth and among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest. They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the LORD’s majesty.

    Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.” But I said, “I waste away, I waste away! Woe to me! The treacherous betray! With treachery the treacherous betray!” Terror and pit and snare await you, people of the earth. Whoever flees at the sound of terror will fall into a pit; whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare. The floodgates of the heavens are opened, the foundations of the earth shake. The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken. The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again. In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory.

    LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you. You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled. On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” The hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled in their land as straw is trampled down in the manure. They will stretch out their hands in it, as swimmers stretch out their hands to swim. God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands. He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low; he will bring them down to the ground, to the very dust.

    In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.

    LORD, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them. LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor. They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. You have enlarged the nation, LORD; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land. LORD, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer. As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, LORD. We were with child, we writhed in labor, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth, and the people of the world have not come to life. But your dead will live, LORD; their bodies will rise— let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy— your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.

    In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword— his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. In that day— “Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.” In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit. Has the LORD struck her as he struck down those who struck her? Has she been killed as those were killed who killed her?

    By warfare and exile you contend with her— with his fierce blast he drives her out, as on a day the east wind blows. By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like limestone crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles or incense altars will be left standing. The fortified city stands desolate, an abandoned settlement, forsaken like the wilderness; there the calves graze, there they lie down; they strip its branches bare. When its twigs are dry, they are broken off and women come and make fires with them. For this is a people without understanding; so their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor. In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, Israel, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

    Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley— to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like figs ripe before harvest— as soon as people see them and take them in hand, they swallow them. In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. He will be a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.

    “Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there.” Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”— but they would not listen. So then, the word of the LORD to them will become: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there— so that as they go they will fall backward; they will be injured and snared and captured. Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.” So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.

    When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it. As often as it comes it will carry you away; morning after morning, by day and by night, it will sweep through.” The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror. The bed is too short to stretch out on, the blanket too narrow to wrap around you. The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim, he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon— to do his work, his strange work, and perform his task, his alien task. Now stop your mocking, or your chains will become heavier; the Lord, the LORD Almighty, has told me of the destruction decreed against the whole land. Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil? When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field? His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Caraway is not threshed with a sledge, nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin; caraway is beaten out with a rod, and cumin with a stick. Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever. The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it, but one does not use horses to grind grain. All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.

    Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled! Add year to year and let your cycle of festivals go on. Yet I will besiege Ariel; she will mourn and lament, she will be to me like an altar hearth. I will encamp against you on all sides; I will encircle you with towers and set up my siege works against you. Brought low, you will speak from the ground; your speech will mumble out of the dust. Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth; out of the dust your speech will whisper. But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night— as when a hungry person dreams of eating, but awakens hungry still; as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking, but awakens faint and thirsty still. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion. Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers). For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”

    The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field and the fertile field seem like a forest? In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. The ruthless will vanish, the mockers will disappear, and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down— those who with a word make someone out to be guilty, who ensnare the defender in court and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice. Therefore this is what the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob: “No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale. When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”

    “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.” A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev: Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation, to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing. Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.”

    This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

    See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire. His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; he places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray. And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people playing pipes go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. The LORD will cause people to hear his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail. The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria; with his rod he will strike them down. Every stroke the LORD lays on them with his punishing club will be to the music of timbrels and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm. Topheth has long been prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulfur, sets it ablaze.
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:46 am

    Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD. Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster; he does not take back his words. He will rise up against that wicked nation, against those who help evildoers. But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, those who help will stumble, those who are helped will fall; all will perish together. This is what the LORD says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey— and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor— so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.” Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made. “Assyria will fall by no human sword; a sword, not of mortals, will devour them. They will flee before the sword and their young men will be put to forced labor. Their stronghold will fall because of terror; at the sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic,” declares the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

    See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear. No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected. For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the LORD; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water. Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just. But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.

    You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say! In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come. Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your fine clothes and wrap yourselves in rags. Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vines and for the land of my people, a land overgrown with thorns and briers— yes, mourn for all houses of merriment and for this city of revelry. The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, till the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.

    Woe to you, destroyer, you who have not been destroyed! Woe to you, betrayer, you who have not been betrayed! When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed. LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. At the uproar of your army, the peoples flee; when you rise up, the nations scatter. Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts; like a swarm of locusts people pounce on it. The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets; the envoys of peace weep bitterly. The highways are deserted, no travelers are on the roads. The treaty is broken, its witnesses are despised, no one is respected. The land dries up and wastes away, Lebanon is ashamed and withers; Sharon is like the Arabah, and Bashan and Carmel drop their leaves. “Now will I arise,” says the LORD. “Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up. You conceive chaff, you give birth to straw; your breath is a fire that consumes you. The peoples will be burned to ashes; like cut thornbushes they will be set ablaze.” You who are far away, hear what I have done; you who are near, acknowledge my power!

    The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil— they are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them. Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror: “Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue? Where is the officer in charge of the towers?” You will see those arrogant people no more, people whose speech is obscure, whose language is strange and incomprehensible. Look on Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. There the LORD will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them. For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us. Your rigging hangs loose: The mast is not held secure, the sail is not spread. Then an abundance of spoils will be divided and even the lame will carry off plunder. No one living in Zion will say, “I am ill”; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.

    Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood. All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. And the wild oxen will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat. For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.

    Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur; her land will become blazing pitch! It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again. The desert owl and screech owl will possess it; the great owl and the raven will nest there. God will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of desolation. Her nobles will have nothing there to be called a kingdom, all her princes will vanish away. Thorns will overrun her citadels, nettles and brambles her strongholds. She will become a haunt for jackals, a home for owls. Desert creatures will meet with hyenas, and wild goats will bleat to each other; there the night creatures will also lie down and find for themselves places of rest. The owl will nest there and lay eggs, she will hatch them, and care for her young under the shadow of her wings; there also the falcons will gather, each with its mate. Look in the scroll of the LORD and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together. He allots their portions; his hand distributes them by measure. They will possess it forever and dwell there from generation to generation.

    The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

    In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. When the commander stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field, Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to him. The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: “ ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have counsel and might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. But if you say to me, “We are depending on the LORD our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar”? “‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them! How then can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this land without the LORD? The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’” Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.”

    But the commander replied, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?” Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards. “Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Have the gods of any nations ever delivered their lands from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? Who of all the gods of these countries have been able to save their lands from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went to Hezekiah, with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said.

    When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the LORD. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the LORD your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives.” When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”

    When the field commander heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish, he withdrew and found the king fighting against Libnah. Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the king of Cush, was marching out to fight against him. When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: “Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them—the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”

    Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, LORD, and hear; open your eyes, LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. “It is true, LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, LORD, are the only God. ”

    Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word the LORD has spoken against him: “Virgin Daughter Zion despises and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord. And you have said, ‘With my many chariots I have ascended the heights of the mountains, the utmost heights of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars, the choicest of its junipers. I have reached its remotest heights, the finest of its forests. I have dug wells in foreign lands and drunk the water there. With the soles of my feet I have dried up all the streams of Egypt.’ “Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass, that you have turned fortified cities into piles of stone. Their people, drained of power, are dismayed and put to shame. They are like plants in the field, like tender green shoots, like grass sprouting on the roof, scorched before it grows up. “But I know where you are and when you come and go and how you rage against me.

    Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will make you return by the way you came. “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah: “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. “Therefore this is what the LORD says concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city,” declares the LORD. “I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!” Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.

    In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. “‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down. A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery: I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?” I said, “I will not again see the LORD himself in the land of the living; no longer will I look on my fellow man, or be with those who now dwell in this world.

    Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me. I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me. I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!” But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD. Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover.” Hezekiah had asked, “What will be the sign that I will go up to the temple of the LORD?”

    At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery. Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil—his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?” “From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came to me from Babylon.” The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?” “They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD Almighty: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”

    Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”

    See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.

    Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    “Be silent before me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgment. “Who has stirred up one from the east, calling him in righteousness to his service? He hands nations over to him and subdues kings before him. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow. He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before. Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD—with the first of them and with the last—I am he.” The islands have seen it and fear; the ends of the earth tremble. They approach and come forward; they help each other and say to their companions, “Be strong!” The metalworker encourages the goldsmith, and the one who smooths with the hammer spurs on the one who strikes the anvil. One says of the welding, “It is good.” The other nails down the idol so it will not topple. “But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.

    I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel. “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

    “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King. “Tell us, you idols, what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; whoever chooses you is detestable. “I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes— one from the rising sun who calls on my name. He treads on rulers as if they were mortar, as if he were a potter treading the clay. Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know, or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’? No one told of this, no one foretold it, no one heard any words from you. I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’ I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news. I look but there is no one— no one among the gods to give counsel, no one to give answer when I ask them. See, they are all false! Their deeds amount to nothing; their images are but wind and confusion.

    “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” This is what God the LORD says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

    Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops. Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands. The LORD will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. “For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. But those who trust in idols, who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame.

    “Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see! Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one in covenant with me, blind like the servant of the LORD? You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.” It pleased the LORD for the sake of his righteousness to make his law great and glorious. But this is a people plundered and looted, all of them trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons. They have become plunder, with no one to rescue them; they have been made loot, with no one to say, “Send them back.” Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come? Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law. So he poured out on them his burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.

    But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’

    Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, “It is true.” “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”

    This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I will send to Babylon and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians, in the ships in which they took pride. I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.” This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

    “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, Israel. You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. Your first father sinned; those I sent to teach you rebelled against me. So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple; I consigned Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn.

    “But now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the LORD says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel.

    “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let them foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame. The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint. The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine. He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread.

    But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!” They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” “Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you. I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

    “This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’ of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’ and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’ who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,’ who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

    “This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it; I, the LORD, have created it.

    “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ “This is what the LORD says— the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD Almighty.” This is what the LORD says: “The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and those tall Sabeans— they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, ‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.’” Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel. All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together.

    But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting. For this is what the LORD says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited— he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right. “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the LORD and will make their boast in him.

    Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. “With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer; it cannot save them from their troubles. “Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels.

    Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.

    “Go down, sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, queen city of the Babylonians. No more will you be called tender or delicate. Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams. Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one.” Our Redeemer—the LORD Almighty is his name— is the Holy One of Israel. “Sit in silence, go into darkness, queen city of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms. I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance; I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy. Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke. You said, ‘I am forever— the eternal queen!’ But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. “Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells.

    You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’ Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. “Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by. That is all they are to you— these you have dealt with and labored with since childhood. All of them go on in their error; there is not one that can save you.

    “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the LORD and invoke the God of Israel— but not in truth or righteousness— you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and claim to rely on the God of Israel— the LORD Almighty is his name: I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze. Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, ‘My images brought them about; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’ You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, ‘Yes, I knew of them.’ You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ears have not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.

    “Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together. “Come together, all of you, and listen: Which of the idols has foretold these things? The LORD’s chosen ally will carry out his purpose against Babylon; his arm will be against the Babylonians. I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him. I will bring him, and he will succeed in his mission. “Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.” And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, endowed with his Spirit. This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be blotted out nor destroyed from before me.” Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob.” They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out. “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”

    This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar— some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan.” Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you. Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride. “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away.

    The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’ Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’” This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips. Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce? But this is what the LORD says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

    This is what the LORD says: “Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce with which I sent her away? Or to which of my creditors did I sell you? Because of your sins you were sold; because of your transgressions your mother was sent away. When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert; their fish rot for lack of water and die of thirst. I clothe the heavens with darkness and make sackcloth its covering.” The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away.

    I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign LORD who helps me. Who will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up. Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.
    orthodoxymoron
    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 10835
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    The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight) - Page 2 Empty Re: The United States of the Solar System, A.D. 2133 (Book Eight)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:25 am

    “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many. The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool.

    But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through