Behold, I send forth my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before my face; and at once the Lord whom you seek shall come to his temple, and the messenger of the testament which you desire. Behold, he comes, says the Lord of Troops. And who will endure the day of his coming, or who will stand upon seeing him? For it shall be as a refiner’s fire, as a launderer’s lye. And he shall sit as a refiner, and as a purifier of silver; and he shall purge the sons of Levi, smelt them like gold and silver, and they will be offering sacrifices to the Lord in righteousness. And the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the former days, and as in the ancient years.
I give thanks to my God in every memory of you, always in my every prayer for all of you, making the prayer with joy, that you have come into the communion of the gospel from the first day until this time, being convinced of this itself, that the one who began the good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ; as it is fitting to me that I should think this of all of you, because I have you in my heart, both in my shackles, and in defense and confirmation of the gospel, as you are all co-partakers with me in grace. For God is my witness how much I have longed you all in the guts of Jesus Christ. And this I pray: that your love may all the greater and greater abound, into the knowing of all discernment, that you may examine those things which stand before you, that you may be sincere; and such that none of you may be a stumbling block in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
And in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of the regions of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysania the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being high priests, it so happened, the word of the Lord came upon John the son of Zacharias in the desert. And he came into all the countryside by the Jordan preaching the baptism of repentance into the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying,
A voice shouting in the desert:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled in,
and every mountain and hill brought down,
and the crooked ways shall be straightened,
and the rough flattened,
and then shall all flesh see the salvation of God.