False Prophets Condemned
13 1 God's Message came to me: 2 "Son of man, preach against the prophets of Israel who are making things up out of their own heads and calling it 'prophesying.' 3 God, the Master, pronounces doom on the empty-headed prophets who do their own thing and know nothing of what's going on! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals scavenging through the ruins. 5 They haven't lifted a finger to repair the defenses of the city and have risked nothing to help Israel stand on God's Day of Judgment. 6 All they do is fantasize comforting illusions and preach lying sermons. They say 'God says . . .' when God hasn't so much as breathed in their direction. And yet they stand around thinking that something they said is going to happen. 7 "Haven't you fantasized sheer nonsense? Aren't your sermons tissues of lies, saying 'God says . . .' when I've done nothing of the kind? 8 Therefore - and this is the Message of God, the Master, remember - I'm dead set against prophets who substitute illusions for visions and use sermons to tell lies. 9 I'm going to ban them from the council of my people, remove them from membership in Israel, and outlaw them from the land of Israel. Then you'll realize that I am God, the Master.
10 "The fact is that they've lied to my people. They've said, 'No problem; everything's just fine,' when things are not at all fine. When people build a wall, they're right behind them slapping on whitewash. 11 Tell those who are slapping on the whitewash, 'When a torrent of rain comes and the hailstones crash down and the hurricane sweeps in 12 and the wall collapses, what's the good of the whitewash that you slapped on so liberally, making it look so good?' 13 "And that's exactly what will happen. I, God, the Master, say so: 'I'll let the hurricane of my wrath loose, a torrent of my hailstone-anger. 14 I'll make that wall you've slapped with whitewash collapse. I'll level it to the ground so that only the foundation stones will be left. And in the ruin you'll all die. You'll realize then that I am God. 15 "'I'll dump my wrath on that wall, all of it, and on those who plastered it with whitewash. I will say to them, There is no wall, and those who did such a good job of whitewashing it wasted their time, 16 those prophets of Israel who preached to Jerusalem and announced all their visions telling us things were just fine when they weren't at all fine. Decree of God, the Master.'
17 "And the women prophets - son of man, take your stand against the women prophets who make up stuff out of their own minds. Oppose them. 18 Say 'Doom' to the women who sew magic bracelets and head scarves to suit every taste, devices to trap souls. Say, 'Will you kill the souls of my people, use living souls to make yourselves rich and popular? 19 You have profaned me among my people just to get ahead yourselves, used me to make yourselves look good - killing souls who should never have died and coddling souls who shouldn't live. You've lied to people who love listening to lies.' 20 "Therefore God says, 'I am against all the devices and techniques you use to hunt down souls. I'll rip them out of your hands. I'll free the souls you're trying to catch. 21 I'll rip your magic bracelets and scarves to shreds and deliver my people from your influence so they'll no longer be victimized by you. That's how you'll come to realize that I am God. 22 "'Because you've confounded and confused good people, unsuspecting and innocent people, with your lies, and because you've made it easy for others to persist in evil so that it wouldn't even dawn on them to turn to me so I could save them, 23 as of now you're finished. No more delusion-mongering from you, no more sermonic lies. I'm going to rescue my people from your clutches. And you'll realize that I am God.'"
Judgment on Idolaters Who Consult a Prophet
14 1 Some of the leaders of Israel approached me and sat down with me. 2 God's Message came to me: 3 "Son of Man, these people have installed idols in their hearts. They have embraced the wickedness that will ruin them. Why should I even bother with their prayers? 4 Therefore tell them, 'The Message of God, the Master: All in Israel who install idols in their hearts and embrace the wickedness that will ruin them and still have the gall to come to a prophet, be on notice: I, God, will step in and personally answer them as they come dragging along their mob of idols. 5 I am ready to go to work on the hearts of the house of Israel, all of whom have left me for their idols.' 6 "Therefore, say to the house of Israel: 'God, the Master, says, Repent! Turn your backs on your no-god idols. Turn your backs on all your outrageous obscenities. 7 To every last person from the house of Israel, including any of the resident aliens who live in Israel - all who turn their backs on me and embrace idols, who install the wickedness that will ruin them at the center of their lives and then have the gall to go to the prophet to ask me questions - I, God, will step in and give the answer myself. 8 I'll oppose those people to their faces, make an example of them - a warning lesson - and get rid of them so you will realize that I am God. 9 "'If a prophet is deceived and tells these idolaters the lies they want to hear, I, God, get blamed for those lies. He won't get by with it. I'll grab him by the scruff of the neck and get him out of there. 10 They'll be equally guilty, the prophet and the one who goes to the prophet, 11 so that the house of Israel will never again wander off my paths and make themselves filthy in their rebellions, but will rather be my people, just as I am their God. Decree of God, the Master.'"
The Justice of God's Punishment of Jerusalem
12 God's Message came to me: 13 "Son of man, when a country sins against me by living faithlessly and I reach out and destroy its food supply by bringing on a famine, wiping out humans and animals alike, 14 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job - the Big Three - were alive at the time, it wouldn't do the population any good. Their righteousness would only save their own lives." Decree of God, the Master. 15 "Or, if I make wild animals go through the country so that everyone has to leave and the country becomes wilderness and no one dares enter it anymore because of the wild animals, 16 even if these three men were living there, as sure as I am the living God, neither their sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only those three, and the country would revert to wilderness. 17 "Or, if I bring war on that country and give the order, 'Let the killing begin!' leaving both people and animals dead, 18 even if those three men were alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, neither sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only these three. 19 "Or, if I visit a deadly disease on that country, pouring out my lethal anger, killing both people and animals, 20 and Noah, Daniel, and Job happened to be alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, not a son, not a daughter, would be rescued. Only these three would be delivered because of their righteousness. 21 "Now then, that's the picture," says God, the Master, "once I've sent my four catastrophic judgments on Jerusalem - war, famine, wild animals, disease - to kill off people and animals alike. But look! 22 Believe it or not, there'll be survivors. Some of their sons and daughters will be brought out. When they come out to you and their salvation is right in your face, you'll see for yourself the life they've been saved from. You'll know that this severe judgment I brought on Jerusalem was worth it, that it had to be. 23 Yes, when you see in detail the kind of lives they've been living, you'll feel much better. You'll see the reason behind all that I've done in Jerusalem." Decree of God, the Master.
Jerusalem like a Useless Vine
15 1 God's Message came to me: 2 "Son of man, how would you compare the wood of a vine with the branches of any tree you'd find in the forest? 3 Is vine wood ever used to make anything? Is it used to make pegs to hang things from? 4 "I don't think so. At best it's good for fuel. Look at it: a flimsy piece of vine, thrown in the fire and then rescued - the ends burned off and the middle charred. Now is it good for anything? 5 "Hardly. When it was whole it wasn't good for anything. Half-burned is no improvement. What's it good for? 6 "So here's the Message of God, the Master: Like the wood of the vine I selected from among the trees of the forest and used as fuel for the fire, just so I'll treat those who live in Jerusalem. 7 I am dead set against them. Even though at one time they got out of the fire charred, the fire's going to burn them up. When I take my stand against them, you'll realize that I am God. 8 I'll turn this country into a wilderness because they've been faithless." Decree of God, the Master.