The promises of God for Jerusalem
1 The Lord Almighty gave this message to Zechariah. 2 ‘I have wanted to help Jerusalem because I love its people very much. My love causes me to be very angry with the enemies of Jerusalem,’ says the Lord Almighty.
3 ‘Jerusalem is the city that I have chosen. I will return there and I will live there. Then Jerusalem will be called the city that obeys God. And the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the mountain that God has chosen.’
4 The Lord Almighty says, ‘Old men and old women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem again. Each will have a stick in his hands because he is so old.
5 Many boys and girls will play in the streets of the city again.’
6 ‘This may seem impossible to the few people that remain,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘But nothing is impossible to me,’ says the Lord Almighty.
7 ‘I will bring my people back from the east country and from the west country,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem. They will be my people and I will be their God. I will do for them what I promised to do.’
9 The Lord Almighty says, ‘Be strong, you people who now hear these words from the mouths of the prophets. The prophets spoke the same words when you prepared the ground for the temple of the Lord Almighty. Now be strong and continue to build. 10 Before that time, there was not enough money to pay for work that men or animals did. No man was safe from the enemy because I made all men angry with each other.’
11 ‘But now it is different. I will not be angry with the few people that have returned,’ says the Lord Almighty.
12 ‘The seeds and the plants will grow well. The trees will give fruit. There will be water from the skies. I will bless the few people that will return. 13 In past years, people from other countries have said bad things against you, Judah and Israel. But now I will help you. You will bless many people. Do not be afraid. Be strong.’
14 The Lord Almighty says this: ‘When your parents and their parents made me angry, I decided to punish them.’ ‘I have also punished you,’ says the Lord Almighty. 15 ‘Do not be afraid. I have now decided to do good things to Jerusalem and to the people in Judah again. 16 These are the things that you should do. Speak true words to each other. Leaders, be fair to all people. 17 Do not think to do bad things against other people. Do not use my name to promise things and then not do those things. All these things make me very angry.’
18 Again Zechariah the prophet heard this message from the Lord Almighty. 19 ‘On special days in the year you eat no food. Those days are in the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months. But I want you to enjoy those days,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘I want the people in Judah to be happy. So speak true words and live quiet lives.’
20 ‘People that live in many countries will come to Jerusalem,’ says the Lord Almighty. 21 ‘The people from one city will go the people in another city. They will say, “Come with us to worship the Lord Almighty. Come and ask the Lord to help us.” 22 People from many strong countries will worship the Lord Almighty in Jerusalem. And they will ask the Lord to help them.’
23 ‘Then, 10 men from foreign countries will hold the coat of one Jew,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘They will say, “People have told us that the Lord is with you. So we want to go with you.” ’