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4 Esdras 16

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 1 "Woe be unto you, Babylon, and Asia! woe be unto you, Egypt and Syria!

 2 Gird up yourselves with cloths of sack and hair, bewail your children, and be sorry; for your destruction is at hand.

 3 A sword is sent upon you, and who may turn it back?

 4 A fire is sent among you, and who can quench it?

 5 Plagues are sent unto you, and what is he that may drive them away?

 6 Can any man drive away a hungry lion in the wood? Or can any one quench the fire in stubble, when it has begun to burn?

 7 Can one turn again the arrow that is shot of a strong archer?

 8 The mighty Lord sends the plagues and who is he that can drive them away?

 9 A fire shall go forth from his wrath, and who is he that can quench it?

 10 He shall cast lightnings, and who shall not fear? He shall thunder, and who shall not be afraid?

 11 The Lord shall threaten, and who shall not be utterly beaten to powder at his presence?

 12 The earth quakes, and the foundations thereof; the sea arises up with waves from the deep, and the waves of it are troubled, and the fishes thereof also, before the Lord, and before the glory of his power:

 13 For strong is his right hand that bends the bow, his arrows that he shoots are sharp, and shall not miss, when they begin to be shot into the ends of the world.

 14 Behold, the plagues are sent, and shall not return again, until they come upon the earth.

 15 The fire is kindled, and shall not be put out, till it consumes the foundation of the earth.

 16 Like an arrow which is shot of a mighty archer returns not backward; even so the plagues that shall be sent upon earth shall not return again.

 17 Woe is me! Woe is me! Who will deliver me in those days?

 18 The beginning of sorrows and great mournings; the beginning of famine and great death; the beginning of wars, and the powers shall stand in fear; the beginning of evils! What shall I do when these evils shall come?

 19 Behold, famine and plague, tribulation and anguish, are sent as scourges for amendment.1 [God sends the troubles to wake man up from his drunken pride and lusts so that he will repent and be saved.]

 20 But for all these things they shall not turn from their wickedness, nor be always mindful of the scourges.

 21 Behold, food shall be so plentiful and cheap upon earth, that they shall think themselves to be secure and safe,2 and even then shall evils grow upon earth: the sword, famine, and great confusion.

 22 For many of them that dwell upon earth shall perish of famine; and the other, that escape the hunger, shall the sword destroy.

 23 And the dead shall be cast out as dung, and there shall be no man to comfort them for the earth shall be wasted, and the cities shall be cast down.

 24 There shall be no man left to till the earth, and to sow it.

 25 The trees shall give fruit, and who shall gather them?

 26 The grapes shall ripen, and who shall tread them? for all places shall be desolate of men:

 27 So that one man shall desire to see another, and to hear his voice.

 28 For in a city there shall be ten left, and two in the field, which shall hide themselves in the thick groves, and in the clefts of the rocks.

 29 As in an orchard of olives upon every tree there are left three or four olives; [See Isaiah 24 for more on the thinning of the earth.]

 30 Or as when a vineyard is gathered, there are left some clusters found by those who diligently search through the vineyard.

 31 Even so in those days there shall be three or four left by those who search their houses with the sword.

 32 And the earth shall be laid waste, and the fields thereof shall wax old, and her ways and all her paths shall grow full of thorns, because no man shall travel through.

 33 The virgins shall mourn, having no bridegrooms; the women shall mourn, having no husbands; their daughters shall mourn, having no helpers.

 34 In the wars shall their bridegrooms be destroyed, and their husbands shall perish of famine.

 35 Hear now these things and understand them, you servants of the Lord.

 36 Behold, the word of the Lord, receive it; believe not the gods of whom the Lord spoke.

 37 Behold, the plagues draw near, and are not slack.

 38 As when a woman with child in the ninth month brings forth her son, with two or three hours of her birth great pains compass her womb, which pains, when the child comes forth, they slack not a moment.

 39 Even so shall the plagues not be slack to come upon the earth, and the world shall mourn, and sorrows shall come upon it on every side.

 40 O my people, hear my word; make yourself ready to your battle, and in those evils be even as pilgrims upon the earth.

 41 He that sells, let him be as he that flees away; and he that buys, as one that will lose.

 42 He that occupies merchandise, as he that has no profit by it; and he that builds, as he that shall not dwell therein.

 43 He that sows, as if he should not reap; so also he that plants the vineyard, as he that shall not gather the grapes.

 44 Those who marry, as those who shall have no children; and those who marry not, as the widowers.

 45 And therefore those who labor, labor in vain;

 46 For strangers shall reap their fruits, and spoil their goods, overthrow their houses, and take their children captives, for in captivity and famine shall they beget children.

 47 And those who occupy their merchandise with deceit, the more they deck their cities, their houses, their possessions, and their own persons;

 48 The more will I be angry with them for their sin," says the Lord.

 49 "Like a whore envies a right honest and virtuous woman,

 50 So shall righteousness hate iniquity, when she decks herself, and shall accuse her to her face, when he comes that shall defend him that diligently searches out every sin upon earth.

 51 And therefore be not like thereunto, nor to the works thereof.

 52 For yet a little, and iniquity shall be taken away out of the earth, and righteousness shall reign among you.

 53 Let not the sinner say that he has not sinned for God shall burn coals of fire upon his head, who says before the Lord God and his glory, 'I have not sinned.'

 54 Behold, the Lord know all the works of men, their imaginations, their thoughts, and their hearts:

 55 Which spoke but the word, 'Let the earth be made;' and it was made. 'Let the heaven be made;' and it was created.

 56 In his word were the stars made, and he knows the number of them.

 57 He searches the deep, and the treasures thereof; he has measured the sea, and what it contains.

 58 He has shut the sea in the midst of the waters, and with his word has he hung the earth upon the waters.

 59 He spreads out the heavens like a vault; upon the waters has he founded it.

 60 In the desert has he made springs of water, and pools upon the tops of the mountains, that the floods might pour down from the high rocks to water the earth.

 61 He made man, and put his heart in the midst of the body, and gave him breath, life, and understanding.

 62 Yes and the Spirit of Almighty God, which made all things, and searches out all hidden things in the secrets of your earthen heart,

 63 Surely he knows your inventions, and what you think in your hearts, even those who sin, and would hide their sin.

 64 Therefore has the Lord exactly searched out all your works, and he will put you all to shame.

 65 And when your sins are brought forth, you shall be ashamed before men, and your own sins shall be your accusers in that day.

 66 What will you do? or how will you hide your sins before God and his angels?

 67 Behold, God himself is the judge, fear him. Cease from your sins, and forget your iniquities, to meddle no more with them forever. So shall God lead you forth, and deliver you from all trouble. [This is why all this is going to happen, to wake man up from his drunken pride and lusts, to shock him into re-evaluating his life, to cause him to fear God, and in that fear to seek his favor instead of his fury.]

 68 For, behold, the burning wrath of a great multitude is kindled over you, and they shall take away certain of you, and feed you, being idle, with things offered unto idols.

 69 And those who consent unto them shall be had in derision and in reproach, and trodden under foot.

 70 For there shall be in every place, and in the next cities, a great insurrection upon those that fear the Lord.

 71 They shall be like mad men, sparing none, but still spoiling and destroying those that fear the Lord.

 72 For they shall waste and take away their goods, and cast them out of their houses.

 73 Then shall they be known, who are my chosen; and they shall be tried as the gold in the fire.

 74 Hear, O you my beloved," says the Lord. "Behold, the days of trouble are at hand, but I will deliver you from the same.

 75 Be you not afraid neither doubt; for God is your guide,

 76 And the guide of them who keep my commandments and precepts," says the Lord God. "Let not your sins weigh you down, and let not your iniquities lift up themselves.

 77 Woe be unto them that are bound with their sins, and covered with their iniquities like as a field is covered over with bushes, and the path thereof covered with thorns, that no man may travel through!

 78 It is left undressed, and is cast into the fire to be consumed."

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1 Behold, famine and plague, tribulation and anguish, are sent as scourges for amendment. The purpose is to wake man up and cause him to seek peace with his creator. God sends the troubles to gather in the final wedding guests and fill the banquet — he would have as many people as possible to be saved. The troubles are to shake the tree to get the remaining, unpicked fruit to the ground. It is a thinning of the earth, not the end of the earth; it is purging of those who sin. (See Isaiah 24 for more detail.) This is the final harvest of the kingdom age; to wake people up from their complacent life styles, to fear God, and seek his favor. Those who do will be guided and protected by God; those who don't will perish from the earth, and learn the hard way about love vs. lust, sin vs. righteousness, turmoil vs. peace, humility vs. pride, good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, bitter vs. sweet. See Is There Hope for All for more on those who have to learn the hard way, with far less reward.

2 food shall be so plentiful and cheap upon earth, that they shall think themselves to be secure and safe. The last 80 years have been a time of large grain surpluses; this has kept the price of food down. From the Word of the Lord within: "man has forgotten that food is God's gift to man; I am going to make the necessities of life scarce." Now the surpluses are decreasing rapidly; some claim the surpluses are being overstated by most governments in order to keep inflation low. Whatever, we are for certain only one crop failure away from massive famine. And consider how much of the world's food production depends on a continuing supply of inexpensive oil. What happens if that supply is interrupted, which could occur from: a war in the Middle East, (Arab vs. Jew, or Sunni vs. Shiite); or from an earthquake that destroys cross-country oil pipelines; or from extremely heavy rains that destroy pipelines in landslides. From the Word of the Lord within: "Sudden rain gets the best of everything, and then the oil supply is interrupted; the ungodly will panic." Many waters, that all fields may be full, and all rivers, with the abundance of great waters. 4 Esdras 15:41. Suddenly the sown places will appear unsown, the full storehouses will suddenly be found empty. 4 Esdras 6:22. The rivers shall run together in a terrible manner. Wisdom 5:23.

Pipelines deliver natural gas, gasoline, oil to refineries, aviation fuel, propane, et. al. In 1982, Santa Cruz, CA, experienced a massive storm. From that one storm alone, 1800 land slides were created in the Santa Cruz Mountains. One slide destroyed a natural gas pipeline that took several days to repair. The area was without power for an equivalent time. Now if one storm, lasting only 2-3 days, could create such a mess, imagine what continuing unprecedented storms could create. One break in a pipeline is relatively easy to repair; but what if there were hundreds of breaks, throughout the country? The time to restore would be years.


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