The New Temple Will Be Beautiful
1A second message came to me from the Lord. It came on the 21st day of the seventh month. The Lord said, 2"Speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah and the son of Shealtiel. Also speak to the high priest Jeshua, the son of Jehozadak. And speak to all of my people who are still left alive. Ask them, 3'Did any of you who are here see how beautiful this temple used to be? How does it look to you now? It doesn't look so good, does it?
4" 'But be strong, Zerubbabel,' announces the Lord. 'Be strong, Jeshua. Be strong, all of you people in the land,' announces the Lord. 'Start rebuilding. I am with you,' announces the Lord who rules over all. 5'That is what I promised you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit continues to be with you. So do not be afraid.' "
6The Lord says, "In a little while I will shake the heavens and the earth once more. I will also shake the ocean and the dry land. 7I will shake all of the nations. Then what they consider to be priceless will come to my temple. And I will fill the temple with glory," says the Lord who rules over all.
8"The silver belongs to me. So does the gold," announces the Lord. 9"The new temple will be more beautiful than the first one was," says the Lord. "And in this place I will give peace to my people," announces the Lord who rules over all.
The Lord Will Make His People Pure and Clean
10A third message came to me from the Lord. It came on the 24th day of the ninth month of the second year that Darius was king. 11The Lord who rules over all speaks. He says, "Ask the priests what the law says. 12Suppose someone carries holy meat in the clothes he is wearing. And the clothes touch some bread or stew. Or they touch some wine, olive oil or other food. Then do those things also become holy?"
The priests answered, "No."
13So I said, "Suppose someone is made 'unclean' by touching a dead body. And then he touches one of those things. Does it become 'unclean' too?"
"Yes," the priests replied. "It does."
14Then I said, "The Lord announces, 'That is how I look at these people and this nation. Anything they do and anything they sacrifice on the altar is "unclean."
15" 'Now think carefully about the time before one stone was laid on top of another in my temple. 16People went to get 20 measures of grain. But they could find only 10. They went to where the wine was stored to get 50 measures. But only 20 were there. 17You worked very hard to produce all of those things. But I struck them with rot, mold and hail. And you still did not turn to me,' announces the Lord.
18" 'It is the 24th day of the ninth month. From this day on, think carefully about the day when the foundation of my temple was laid. Think about it carefully. 19Are any seeds still left in your barns? Until now, your vines and fig trees have not produced any fruit. Your pomegranate and olive trees have not produced any either.
" 'But from this day on I will bless you.' "
The Lord Compares Zerubbabel to His Royal Ring
20A final message came to me from the Lord. It also came on the 24th day of the ninth month. He said, 21"Speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah. Tell him I will shake the heavens and the earth. 22I will throw down royal thrones. I will smash the power of other kingdoms. I will destroy chariots and their drivers. Horses and their riders will fall. They will be killed with the swords of their relatives.
23" 'Zerubbabel, at that time I will pick you,' announces the Lord. 'You are my servant,' announces the Lord. 'You will be like a ring that has my royal seal on it. I have chosen you,' announces the Lord who rules over all."
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