Repent, for the Lord is coming to judge.

The Preaching of Universal Repentance - Father Oleg Molenko -
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Father Oleg Molenko Answers Questions

Victor, Russia

Father Oleg, bless me!
Father, why, do you think, there are so few people who believe in Christ, in the Resurrection and in the Life of the Age to? Among my colleagues and just acquaintances, I can mention only few such people. Is this a tendency of apostasy or of modern pragmatism?
Thank you

  Father Oleg's Answer

May God bless!

Your question is not new, as well as is the answer. In all generations there have always been few genuine believers in Christ and the Most Holy Trinity. That's why history has lasted for over 7 millennia in order to gather all of the saved into the heavenly barns. Things have gotten worse, especially in the times of the modern universal apostasy. Millions of people who count themselves believers are not at all.

There are so few believers because people's hearts are evil and, according to their evilness, people choose not God but Mammon, i.e. the world of passions! It is not by chance that in the Lord's prayer, there is only one request for deliverance - for DELIVERANCE FROM THE EVIL ONE, which must be understood as deliverance from namely one's evil spirit which kills the faith in God.

Then, this question is boiled down to this: why is the heart of man evil?

We find the answer in the Holy Scripture - the Lord Himself pointed out some reasons:

18 Hear then ye the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the evil one, and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart. This is he that was sown by the way side.
20 And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it;
21 yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth.
22 And he that was sown among the thorns, this is he that heareth the word; and the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

Ezra was searching with God for an answer to a similar question:

4Ezra 3:
3 My spirit was greatly agitated, and I began to speak anxious words to the Most High, and said,
4 O sovereign Lord, didst thou not speak at the beginning when thou didst form the earth -- and that without help -- and didst command the dust
5 and it gave thee Adam, a lifeless body? Yet he was the workmanship of thy hands, and thou didst breathe into him the breath of life, and he was made alive in thy presence.
6 And thou didst lead him into the garden which thy right hand had planted before the earth appeared.
7 And thou didst lay upon him one commandment of thine; but he transgressed it, and immediately thou didst appoint death for him and for his descendants. From him there sprang nations and tribes, peoples and clans without number.
8 And every nation walked after its own will and did ungodly things before thee and scorned thee, and thou didst not hinder them.
21 For the first Adam, burdened with an evil heart, transgressed and was overcome, as were also all who were descended from him.
22 Thus the disease became permanent; the law was in the people's heart along with the evil root, but what was good departed, and the evil remained.
23 So the times passed and the years were completed, and thou didst raise up for thyself a servant, named David.
24 And thou didst command him to build a city for thy name, and in it to offer thee oblations from what is thine.
25 This was done for many years; but the inhabitants of the city transgressed,
26 in everything doing as Adam and all his descendants had done, for they also had the evil heart.
27 So thou didst deliver the city into the hands of thy enemies.

4Ezra 4:
1 Then the angel that had been sent to me, whose name was Uriel, answered
2 and said to me, "Your understanding has utterly failed regarding this world, and do you think you can comprehend the way of the Most High?"
3 Then I said, "Yes, my lord." And he replied to me, "I have been sent to show you three ways, and to put before you three problems.
4 you can solve one of them for me, I also will show you the way you desire to see, and will teach you why the heart is evil."
5 I said, "Speak on, my lord." And he said to me, "Go, weigh for me the weight of fire, or measure for me a measure of wind, or call back for me the day that is past."
6 I answered and said, "Who of those that have been born can do this, that you ask me concerning these things?"
7 And he said to me, "If I had asked you, `How many dwellings are in the heart of the sea, or how many streams are at the source of the deep, or how many streams are above the firmament, or which are the exits of hell, or which are the entrances of paradise?'
8 Perhaps you would have said to me, `I never went down into the deep, nor as yet into hell, neither did I ever ascend into heaven.'
9 But now I have asked you only about fire and wind and the day, things through which you have passed and without which you cannot exist, and you have given me no answer about them!"
10 And he said to me, "You cannot understand the things with which you have grown up;
11 how then can your mind comprehend the way of the Most High? And how can one who is already worn out by the corrupt world understand incorruption?" When I heard this, I fell on my face
12 and said to him, "It would be better for us not to be here than to come here and live in ungodliness, and to suffer and not understand why."
13 He answered me and said, "I went into a forest of trees of the plain, and they made a plan
14 and said, `Come, let us go and make war against the sea, that it may recede before us, and that we may make for ourselves more forests.'
15 And in like manner the waves of the sea also made a plan and said, `Come, let us go up and subdue the forest of the plain so that there also we may gain more territory for ourselves.'
16 But the plan of the forest was in vain, for the fire came and consumed it;
17 likewise also the plan of the waves of the sea, for the sand stood firm and stopped them.
18 If now you were a judge between them, which would you undertake to justify, and which to condemn?"
19 I answered and said, "Each has made a foolish plan, for the land is assigned to the forest, and to the sea is assigned a place to carry its waves."
20 He answered me and said, "You have judged rightly, but why have you not judged so in your own case?
21 For as the land is assigned to the forest and the sea to its waves, so also those who dwell upon earth can understand only what is on the earth, and he who is above the heavens can understand what is above the height of the heavens."
22 Then I answered and said, "I beseech you, my lord, why have I been endowed with the power of understanding?
24 and why we pass from the world like locusts, and our life is like a mist, and we are not worthy to obtain mercy.
26 He answered me and said, "If you are alive, you will see, and if you live long, you will often marvel, because the age is hastening swiftly to its end.
27 For it will not be able to bring the things that have been promised to the righteous in their appointed times, because this age is full of sadness and infirmities.
28 For the evil about which you ask me has been sown, but the harvest of it has not yet come.
29 If therefore that which has been sown is not reaped, and if the place where the evil has been sown does not pass away, the field where the good has been sown will not come.
30 For a grain of evil seed was sown in Adam's heart from the beginning, and how much ungodliness it has produced until now, and will produce until the time of threshing comes!
31 Consider now for yourself how much fruit of ungodliness a grain of evil seed has produced.
32 When heads of grain without number are sown, how great a threshing floor they will fill!"
33 Then I answered and said, "How long and when will these things be? Why are our years few and evil?"
34 He answered me and said, "You do not hasten faster than the Most High, for your haste is for yourself, but the Highest hastens on behalf of many.
35 Did not the souls of the righteous in their chambers ask about these matters, saying, `How long are we to remain here? And when will come the harvest of our reward?
36 And Jeremiel the archangel answered them and said, `When the number of those like yourselves is completed; for he has weighed the age in the balance,
37 and measured the times by measure, and numbered the times by number; and he will not move or arouse them until that measure is fulfilled.'"
38 Then I answered and said, "O sovereign Lord, but all of us also are full of ungodliness.
39 And it is perhaps on account of us that the time of threshing is delayed for the righteous -- on account of the sins of those who dwell on earth."
40 He answered me and said, "Go and ask a woman who is with child if, when her nine months have been completed, her womb can keep the child within her any longer."
41 And I said, "No, lord, it cannot." And he said to me, "In Hades the chambers of the souls are like the womb.
42 For just as a woman who is in travail makes haste to escape the pangs of birth, so also do these places hasten to give back those things that were committed to them from the beginning.

4Ezra 5:
1 "Now concerning the signs: behold, the days are coming when those who dwell on earth shall be seized with great terror, and the way of truth shall be hidden, and the land shall be barren of faith.
2 And unrighteousness shall be increased beyond what you yourself see, and beyond what you heard of formerly.
9 ...then shall reason hide itself, and wisdom shall withdraw into its chamber,
10 and it shall be sought by many but shall not be found, and unrighteousness and unrestraint shall increase on earth.
33 And I said, "Speak, my lord." And he said to me, "Are you greatly disturbed in mind over Israel? Or do you love him more than his Maker does?"
34 And I said, "No, my lord, but because of my grief I have spoken; for every hour I suffer agonies of heart, while I strive to understand the way of the Most High and to search out part of his judgment."
35 And he said to me, "You cannot." And I said, "Why not, my lord? Why then was I born? Or why did not my mother's womb become my grave, that I might not see the travail of Jacob and the exhaustion of the people of Israel?"
36 He said to me, "Count up for me those who have not yet come, and gather for me the scattered raindrops, and make the withered flowers bloom again for me;
37 open for me the closed chambers, and bring forth for me the winds shut up in them, or show me the picture of a voice; and then I will explain to you the travail that you ask to understand."
38 And I said, "O sovereign Lord, who is able to know these things except he whose dwelling is not with men?
39 As for me, I am without wisdom, and how can I speak concerning the things which thou hast asked me?"
40 He said to me, "Just as you cannot do one of the things that were mentioned, so you cannot discover my judgment, or the goal of the love that I have promised my people."
41 And I said, "Yet behold, O Lord, thou dost have charge of those who are alive at the end, but what will those do who were before us, or we, or those who come after us?"
42 He said to me, "I shall liken my judgment to a circle; just as for those who are last there is no slowness, so for those who are first there is no haste."
43 Then I answered and said, "Couldst thou not have created at one time those who have been and those who are and those who will be, that thou mightest show thy judgment the sooner?"
44 He replied to me and said, "The creation cannot make more haste than the Creator, neither can the world hold at one time those who have been created in it."
45 And I said, "How hast thou said to thy servant that thou wilt certainly give life at one time to thy creation? If therefore all creatures will live at one time and the creation will sustain them, it might even now be able to support all of them present at one time."
46 He said to me, "Ask a woman's womb, and say to it, `If you bear ten children, why one after another?' Request it therefore to produce ten at one time."
47 I said, "Of course it cannot, but only each in its own time."
48 He said to me, "Even so have I given the womb of the earth to those who from time to time are sown in it.
49 For as an infant does not bring forth, and a woman who has become old does not bring forth any longer, so have I organized the world which I created."
50 Then I inquired and said, "Since thou hast now given me the opportunity, let me speak before thee. Is our mother, of whom thou hast told me, still young? Or is she now approaching old age?"
51 He replied to me, "Ask a woman who bears children, and she will tell you.
52 Say to her, "Why are those whom you have borne recently not like those whom you bore before, but smaller in stature?'
53 And she herself will answer you, `Those born in the strength of youth are different from those born during the time of old age, when the womb is failing.'
54 Therefore you also should consider that you and your contemporaries are smaller in stature than those who were before you,
55 and those who come after you will be smaller than you, as born of a creation which already is aging and passing the strength of youth."

4Ezra 6:
1 And he said to me, "At the beginning of the circle of the earth, before the portals of the world were in place, and before the assembled winds blew,
5 and before the present years were reckoned; and before the imaginations of those who now sin were estranged, and before those who stored up treasures of faith were sealed --
6 then I planned these things, and they were made through me and not through another, just as the end shall come through me and not through another."
18 And it said, "Behold, the days are coming, and it shall be that when I draw near to visit the inhabitants of the earth,
19 and when I require from the doers of iniquity the penalty of their iniquity, and when the humiliation of Zion is complete,
27 For evil shall be blotted out, and deceit shall be quenched;
28 faithfulness shall flourish, and corruption shall be overcome, and the truth, which has been so long without fruit, shall be revealed."
59 If the world has indeed been created for us, why do we not possess our world as an inheritance? How long will this be so?"

4Ezra 7:
1 When I had finished speaking these words, the angel who had been sent to me on the former nights was sent to me again,
2 and he said to me, "Rise, Ezra, and listen to the words that I have come to speak to you."
3 I said, "Speak, my lord." And he said to me, "There is a sea set in a wide expanse so that it is broad and vast,
4 but it has an entrance set in a narrow place, so that it is like a river.
5 If any one, then, wishes to reach the sea, to look at it or to navigate it, how can he come to the broad part unless he passes through the narrow part?
6 Another example: There is a city built and set on a plain, and it is full of all good things;
7 but the entrance to it is narrow and set in a precipitous place, so that there is fire on the right hand and deep water on the left;
8 and there is only one path lying between them, that is, between the fire and the water, so that only one man can walk upon that path.
9 If now that city is given to a man for an inheritance, how will the heir receive his inheritance unless he passes through the danger set before him?"
10 I said, "He cannot, lord." And he said to me, "So also is Israel's portion.
11 For I made the world for their sake, and when Adam transgressed my statutes, what had been made was judged.
12 And so the entrances of this world were made narrow and sorrowful and toilsome; they are few and evil, full of dangers and involved in great hardships.
13 But the entrances of the greater world are broad and safe, and really yield the fruit of immortality.
14 Therefore unless the living pass through the difficult and vain experiences, they can never receive those things that have been reserved for them.
15 But now why are you disturbed, seeing that you are to perish? And why are you moved, seeing that you are mortal?
16 And why have you not considered in your mind what is to come, rather than what is now present?"
17 Then I answered and said, "O sovereign Lord, behold, thou hast ordained in thy law that the righteous shall inherit these things, but that the ungodly shall perish.
18 The righteous therefore can endure difficult circumstances while hoping for easier ones; but those who have done wickedly have suffered the difficult circumstances and will not see the easier ones."
19 And he said to me, "You are not a better judge than God, or wiser than the Most High!
20 Let many perish who are now living, rather than that the law of God which is set before them be disregarded!
21 For God strictly commanded those who came into the world, when they came, what they should do to live, and what they should observe to avoid punishment.
22 Nevertheless they were not obedient, and spoke against him; they devised for themselves vain thoughts,
23 and proposed to themselves wicked frauds; they even declared that the Most High does not exist, and they ignored his ways!
24 They scorned his law, and denied his covenants; they have been unfaithful to his statutes, and have not performed his works.
25 "Therefore, Ezra, empty things are for the empty, and full things are for the full.
33 And the Most High shall be revealed upon the seat of judgment, and compassion shall pass away, and patience shall be withdrawn;
34 but only judgment shall remain, truth shall stand, and faithfulness shall grow strong.
35 And recompense shall follow, and the reward shall be manifested; righteous deeds shall awake, and unrighteous deeds shall not sleep.
42 He answered me and said, "This present world is not the end; the full glory does not abide in it; therefore those who were strong prayed for the weak.
43 But the day of judgment will be the end of this age and the beginning of the immortal age to come, in which corruption has passed away,
44 sinful indulgence has come to an end, unbelief has been cut off, and righteousness has increased and truth has appeared.
45 Therefore no one will then be able to have mercy on him who has been condemned in the judgment, or to harm him who is victorious."
46 I answered and said, "This is my first and last word, that it would have been better if the earth had not produced Adam, or else, when it had produced him, had restrained him from sinning.
47 For what good is it to all that they live in sorrow now and expect punishment after death?
48 O Adam, what have you done? For though it was you who sinned, the fall was not yours alone, but ours also who are your descendants.
49 For what good is it to us, if an eternal age has been promised to us, but we have done deeds that bring death?
50 And what good is it that an everlasting hope has been promised to us, but we have miserably failed?
51 Or that safe and healthful habitations have been reserved for us, but we have lived wickedly?
52 Or that the glory of the Most High will defend those who have led a pure life, but we have walked in the most wicked ways?
53 Or that a paradise shall be revealed, whose fruit remains unspoiled and in which are abundance and healing, but we shall not enter it,
54 because we have lived in unseemly places?
55 Or that the faces of those who practiced self-control shall shine more than the stars, but our faces shall be blacker than darkness?
56 For while we lived and committed iniquity we did not consider what we should suffer after death."
57 He answered and said, "This is the meaning of the contest which every man who is born on earth shall wage,
58 that if he is defeated he shall suffer what you have said, but if he is victorious he shall receive what I have said.
59 For this is the way of which Moses, while he was alive, spoke to the people, saying, `Choose for yourself life, that you may live!'
60 But they did not believe him, or the prophets after him, or even myself who have spoken to them.
61 Therefore there shall not be grief at their destruction, so much as joy over those to whom salvation is assured."
62 I answered and said, "I know, O Lord, that the Most High is now called merciful, because he has mercy on those who have not yet come into the world;
63 and gracious, because he is gracious to those who turn in repentance to his law;
64 and patient, because he shows patience toward those who have sinned, since they are his own works;
65 and bountiful, because he would rather give than take away;
66 and abundant in compassion, because he makes his compassions abound more and more to those now living and to those who are gone and to those yet to come,
67 for if he did not make them abound, the world with those who inhabit it would not have life;
68 and he is called giver, because if he did not give out of his goodness so that those who have committed iniquities might be relieved of them, not one ten-thousandth of mankind could have life;
69 and judge, because if he did not pardon those who were created by his word and blot out the multitude of their sins,
70 there would probably be left only very few of the innumerable multitude."

4Ezra 8:
1 He answered me and said, "The Most High made this world for the sake of many, but the world to come for the sake of few.
2 But I tell you a parable, Ezra. Just as, when you ask the earth, it will tell you that it provides very much clay from which earthenware is made, but only a little dust from which gold comes; so is the course of the present world.
3 Many have been created, but few shall be saved."
4 I answered and said, "Then drink your fill of understanding, O my soul, and drink wisdom, O my heart!
35 For in truth there is no one among those who have been born who has not acted wickedly, and among those who have existed there is no one who has not transgressed.
36 For in this, O Lord, thy righteousness and goodness will be declared, when thou art merciful to those who have no store of good works."
37 He answered me and said, "Some things you have spoken rightly, and it will come to pass according to your words.
38 For indeed I will not concern myself about the fashioning of those who have sinned, or about their death, their judgment, or their destruction;
39 but I will rejoice over the creation of the righteous, over their pilgrimage also, and their salvation, and their receiving their reward.
40 As I have spoken, therefore, so it shall be.
41 "For just as the farmer sows many seeds upon the ground and plants a multitude of seedlings, and yet not all that have been sown will come up in due season, and not all that were planted will take root; so also those who have been sown in the world will not all be saved."
46 He answered me and said, "Things that are present are for those who live now, and things that are future are for those who will live hereafter.
47 For you come far short of being able to love my creation more than I love it. But you have often compared yourself to the unrighteous. Never do so!
50 For many miseries will affect those who inhabit the world in the last times, because they have walked in great pride.
51 But think of your own case, and inquire concerning the glory of those who are like yourself,
52 because it is for you that paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the age to come is prepared, plenty is provided, a city is built, rest is appointed, goodness is established and wisdom perfected beforehand.
53 The root of evil is sealed up from you, illness is banished from you, and death is hidden; hell has fled and corruption has been forgotten;
54 sorrows have passed away, and in the end the treasure of immortality is made manifest.
55 Therefore do not ask any more questions about the multitude of those who perish.
56 For they also received freedom , but they despised the Most High, and were contemptuous of his law, and forsook his ways.
57 Moreover they have even trampled upon his righteous ones,
58 and said in their hearts that there is not God -- though knowing full well that they must die.
59 For just as the things which I have predicted await you, so the thirst and torment which are prepared await them. For the Most High did not intend that men should be destroyed;
60 but they themselves who were created have defiled the name of him who made them, and have been ungrateful to him who prepared life for them.
61 Therefore my judgment is now drawing near;
62 I have not shown this to all men, but only to you and a few like you."

4Ezra 9:
9 Then those who have now abused my ways shall be amazed, and those who have rejected them with contempt shall dwell in torments.
10 For as many as did not acknowledge me in their lifetime, although they received my benefits,
11 and as many as scorned my law while they still had freedom, and did not understand but despised it while an opportunity of repentance was still open to them,
12 these must in torment acknowledge it after death.
13 Therefore, do not continue to be curious as to how the ungodly will be punished; but inquire how the righteous will be saved, those to whom the age belongs and for whose sake the age was made."
14 I answered and said,
15 "I said before, and I say now, and will say it again: there are more who perish than those who will be saved,
16 as a wave is greater than a drop of water."
17 He answered me and said, "As is the field, so is the seed; and as are the flowers, so are the colors; and as is the work, so is the product; and as is the farmer, so is the threshing floor.
18 For there was a time in this age when I was preparing for those who now exist, before the world was made for them to dwell in, and no one opposed me then, for no one existed;
19 but now those who have been created in this world which is supplied both with an unfailing table and an inexhaustible pasture, have become corrupt in their ways.
20 So I considered my world, and behold, it was lost, and my earth, and behold, it was in peril because of the devices of those who had come into it.
21 And I saw and spared some with great difficulty, and saved for myself one grape out of a cluster, and one plant out of a great forest.
22 So let the multitude perish which has been born in vain, but let my grape and my plant be saved, because with much labor I have perfected them.

4Ezra 14:
17 For the weaker the world becomes through old age, the more shall evils be multiplied among its inhabitants.
18 For truth shall go farther away, and falsehood shall come nearů

4Ezra 15:
3 Do not fear the plots against you, and do not be troubled by the unbelief of those who oppose you.
4 For every unbeliever shall die in his unbelief."
5 "Behold," says the Lord, "I bring evils upon the world, the sword and famine and death and destruction.
6 For iniquity has spread throughout every land, and their harmful deeds have reached their limit.
7 Therefore," says the Lord,
8 "I will be silent no longer concerning their ungodly deeds which they impiously commit, neither will I tolerate their wicked practices. Behold, innocent and righteous blood cries out to me, and the souls of the righteous cry out continually.
9 I will surely avenge them," says the Lord, "and will receive to myself all the innocent blood from among them.
10 Behold, my people is led like a flock to the slaughter; I will not allow them to live any longer in the land of Egypt,
11 but I will bring them out with a mighty hand and with an uplifted arm, and will smite Egypt with plagues, as before, and will destroy all its land."
14 Alas for the world and for those who live in it!
15 For the sword and misery draw near them, and nation shall rise up to fight against nation, with swords in their hands.
21 Just as they have done to my elect until this day, so I will do, and will repay into their bosom." Thus says the Lord God:
22 "My right hand will not spare the sinners, and my sword will not cease from those who shed innocent blood on earth."
23 And a fire will go forth from his wrath, and will consume the foundations of the earth, and the sinners, like straw that is kindled.
24 "Woe to those who sin and do not observe my commandments," says the Lord;
25 "I will not spare them. Depart, you faithless children! Do not pollute my sanctuary."
26 For the Lord knows all who transgress against him; therefore he will hand them over to death and slaughter.
27 For now calamities have come upon the whole earth, and you shall remain in them; for God will not deliver you, because you have sinned against him.

4Ezra 16:
17 Alas for me! Alas for me! Who will deliver me in those days?
18 The beginning of sorrows, when there shall be much lamentation; the beginning of famine, when many shall perish; the beginning of wars, when the powers shall be terrified; the beginning of calamities, when all shall tremble. What shall they do in these circumstances, when the calamities come?
19 Behold, famine and plague, tribulation and anguish are sent as scourges for the correction of men.
20 Yet for all this they will not turn from their iniquities, nor be always mindful of the scourges.
21 Behold, provision will be so cheap upon earth that men will imagine that peace is assured for them, and then the calamities shall spring up on the earth -- the sword, famine, and great confusion.
22 For many of those who live on the earth shall perish by famine; and those who survive the famine shall die by the sword. 23 And the dead shall be cast out like dung, and there shall be no one to console them; for the earth shall be left desolate, and its cities shall be demolished.
37 Behold, the calamities draw near, and are not delayed.
38 Just as a woman with child, in the ninth month, when the time of her delivery draws near, has great pains about her womb for two or three hours beforehand, and when the child comes forth from the womb, there will not be a moment's delay,
39 so the calamities will not delay in coming forth upon the earth, and the world will groan, and pains will seize it on every side.
40 "Hear my words, O my people; prepare for battle, and in the midst of the calamities be like strangers on the earth.
51 Therefore do not be like her or her works.
52 For behold, just a little while, and iniquity will be removed from the earth, and righteousness will reign over us.
53 Let no sinner say that he has not sinned; for God will burn coals of fire on the head of him who says, "I have not sinned before God and his glory."
54 Behold, the Lord knows all the works of men, their imaginations and their thoughts and their hearts.
63 Surely he knows your imaginations and what you think in your hearts! Woe to those who sin and want to hide their sins!
64 Because the Lord will strictly examine all their works, and will make a public spectacle of all of you.
65 And when your sins come out before men, you shall be put to shame; and your own iniquities shall stand as 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 is the judge, fear him! Cease from your sins, and forget your iniquities, never to commit them again; so God will lead you forth and deliver you from all tribulation.
70 For in many places and in neighboring cities there shall be a great insurrection against those who fear the Lord.
71 They shall be like mad men, sparing no one, but plundering and destroying those who continue to fear the Lord.
72 For they shall destroy and plunder their goods, and drive them out of their houses.
73 Then the tested quality of my elect shall be manifest, as gold that is tested by fire.
74 "Hear, my elect," says the Lord. "Behold, the days of tribulation are at hand, and I will deliver you from them.
75 Do not fear or doubt, for God is your guide.
76 You who keep my commandments and precepts," says the Lord God, "do not let your sins pull you down, or your iniquities prevail over you."
77 Woe to those who are choked by their sins and overwhelmed by their iniquities, as a field is choked with underbrush and its path overwhelmed with thorns, so that no one can pass through!
78 It is shut off and given up to be consumed by fire.

I don't think that we'd be able to find a better answer than that which Ezra received from God by mediation of an Angel of the Lord!

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Fr. Oleg Molenko