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The Destiny of the Righteous
1But righteous people are protected by God and will never suffer torment. 2#Ws 4.17 It is a foolish mistake to think that righteous people die and that their death is a terrible evil. 3They leave us, but it is not a disaster. In fact, the righteous are at peace. 4It might appear that they have suffered punishment, but they have the confident hope of immortality. 5-6#Ro 8.182 Co 4.17 Their sufferings were minor compared with the blessings they will receive. God has tested them, like gold in a furnace, and found them worthy to be with him. He has accepted them, just as he accepts the sacrifices which his worshipers burn on the altar.
7When God comes to reward the righteous, they will blaze out against the wicked like fire in dry straw. 8They will rule over nations and peoples, and the Lord will be their king forever. 9Those who have put their trust in God will come to understand the truth of his ways. Those who have been faithful will live with him in his love, for he is kind and merciful to the ones whom he has chosen.#3.9: Some manuscripts add and he protects his own people (see 4.15).
The Destiny of the Wicked
10The ungodly, however, will get the punishment their wicked thoughts deserve, because they rebelled against the Lord and ignored what was right.#3.10: what was right; or righteous people. 11A man who has no use for wisdom or education has a miserable life in store for him. He has nothing to hope for. His labors are useless, and he will never accomplish anything worthwhile. 12The woman he marries will turn out to be irresponsible, and his children will go wrong. 13All his descendants will be under a curse.
The Importance of Virtue
On Judgment Day God will reward the woman who has never been able to have a child, provided she has not been guilty of adultery. Then she will be happy. 14On that day, even the man who has been castrated will be rewarded with happiness, if he has kept the Law and has not stored up resentment against the Lord. Because he has been faithful, he will receive a special reward more precious than having children: a place in the Lord's heavenly Temple. 15Honest deeds are like a tree that bears marvelous fruit. Wisdom is like a root that is alive and can always send up new shoots.
16But children born of adultery or of a forbidden union will die an early death. 17Yet even if they do live a long time, they will never amount to anything. They will not be respected in their old age, 18and if they die young, they will have no hope or comfort on Judgment Day. 19Children born of a forbidden union suffer a miserable fate.
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