The Lord All-Powerful says, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way for me. Suddenly, the Lord you are looking for will come to his Temple; the messenger of the agreement, whom you want, will come.” 2 No one can live through that time; no one can survive when he comes. He will be like a purifying fire and like laundry soap. 3 Like someone who heats and purifies silver, he will purify the Levites and make them pure like gold and silver. Then they will bring offerings to the Lord in the right way. 4 And the Lord will accept the offerings from Judah and Jerusalem, as it was in the past.
When the Lord brought the prisoners back to Jerusalem,
it seemed as if we were dreaming.
2 Then we were filled with laughter,
and we sang happy songs.
Then the other nations said,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are very glad.
4 Lord, return our prisoners again,
as you bring streams to the desert.
5 Those who cry as they plant crops
will sing at harvest time.
6 Those who cry
as they carry out the seeds
will return singing
and carrying bundles of grain.
From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus.
To all of God’s holy people in Christ Jesus who live in Philippi, including your overseers and deacons:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you. 5 I thank God for the help you gave me while I preached the Good News—help you gave from the first day you believed until now. 6 God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.
7 And I know that I am right to think like this about all of you, because I have you in my heart. All of you share in God’s grace with me while I am in prison and while I am defending and proving the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows that I want to see you very much, because I love all of you with the love of Christ Jesus.
9 This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; 10 that you will see the difference between good and bad and will choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ; 11 that you will be filled with the good things produced in your life by Christ to bring glory and praise to God.
7 To the crowds of people who came to be baptized by John, he said, “You are all snakes! Who warned you to run away from God’s coming punishment? 8 Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. Don’t begin to say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. 9 The ax is now ready to cut down the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 The people asked John, “Then what should we do?”
11 John answered, “If you have two shirts, share with the person who does not have one. If you have food, share that also.”
12 Even tax collectors came to John to be baptized. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 John said to them, “Don’t take more taxes from people than you have been ordered to take.”
14 The soldiers asked John, “What about us? What should we do?”
John said to them, “Don’t force people to give you money, and don’t lie about them. Be satisfied with the pay you get.”
15 Since the people were hoping for the Christ to come, they wondered if John might be the one.
16 John answered everyone, “I baptize you with water, but there is one coming who is greater than I am. I am not good enough to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 He will come ready to clean the grain, separating the good grain from the chaff. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn, but he will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.” 18 And John continued to preach the Good News, saying many other things to encourage the people.