The Lord will judge all people
1 Understand this! The Lord is ready to destroy the earth. It will become a desert. He will spoil the ground. He will chase away all the people who live on it.
2 It will be the same for all people:priests as well as ordinary people,masters as well as their servants,rich ladies as well as their servant girls,sellers as well as buyers,people who lend money as well as those who borrow it,rich people as well as poor people.
3 The whole earth will become empty. Nothing will remain. The Lord has said that this punishment will certainly happen.
4 The earth becomes dry and all the plants die. The whole world becomes weak and helpless. Its important people also become weak.
5 The people who live on the earth have caused it to become unclean.
They have not obeyed God's laws.
They have turned against his teaching.
They have not obeyed the covenant that God made with them for ever.
6 That is why a curse is destroying the earth. The people who live on it are guilty and God is punishing them. They become fewer and fewer. Only a very few of them remain.
7 There is no new wine and the vines are dying. The people who were happy to drink the wine are now sad. 8 The happy sound of tambourines has stopped. The noise from parties has finished. The harps no longer make any happy music. 9 People cannot drink wine, so they do not sing. When people drink beer, it seems bitter.
10 The city has become so spoiled that it is useless. People have locked their houses so that nobody can go in. 11 They shout in the streets because they have no wine. Nobody is happy any more, anywhere on the earth.
12 The city has become a heap of stones. Its gates lie in pieces on the ground.
13 This is what will happen among all the nations on the earth. Only a few people will remain, like a few olives that remain on a tree after the harvest. After people have picked the grapes off a vine, there are only a few that remain.
14 Those people who are still alive sing aloud because they are happy. People who live in the west praise the Lord because he is great. 15 So people who live in the east should praise the Lord too. People who live on the coast of the sea will also praise the name of the Lord, Israel's God. 16 From every part of the earth, we hear songs. People sing to praise the Righteous One.
But I say, ‘I have become very weak and thin! It will be very bad for me! Evil people are turning against their friends. They deceive people more and more!’
17 People everywhere on the earth, terror is ready to catch you! You will fall into a deep hole, and a trap will catch you! 18 Anyone who runs away from the sound of the terror will fall into the deep hole. The trap will catch anyone who climbs out of the big hole. God has opened the windows of the sky. He has caused the foundations of the earth to shake.
19 The earth has become broken into many pieces. It has torn apart. It is shaking powerfully. 20 The earth is like a drunk man. It cannot walk in a straight line. It moves in all directions, like a tent in a storm. The people's sins are like a heavy weight on the earth. It cannot carry them and it will fall. It will never be able to get up again.
21 At that time, the Lord will punish the powerful beings in the skies above. He will punish the kings who rule on the earth below. 22 He will bring them together like prisoners in a deep hole. That will be their prison. They will be there for a time, and then he will come to punish them.
23 The moon will hide its face in shame. The bright light of the sun will become dark. Yes, the Lord Almighty will become king on Mount Zion. He will rule with great power in Jerusalem. The leaders of the people will see his great glory.