1 He who lives forever created the whole universe; 2 the Lord alone is just. 3 He steers the world with the span of his hand, and all things obey his will; for he is king of all things by his power, separating among them the holy things from the profane. 4 To none has he given power to proclaim his works; and who can search out his mighty deeds? 5 Who can measure his majestic power? And who can fully recount his mercies? 6 It is not possible to diminish or increase them, nor is it possible to fathom the wonders of the Lord. 7 When human beings have finished, they are just beginning, and when they stop, they are still perplexed. 8 What are human beings, and of what use are they? What is good in them, and what is evil? 9 The number of days in their life is great if they reach one hundred years. 10 Like a drop of water from the sea and a grain of sand, so are a few years among the days of eternity. 11 That is why the Lord is patient with them and pours out his mercy upon them. 12 He sees and recognizes that their end is miserable; therefore he grants them forgiveness all the more. 13 The compassion of human beings is for their neighbors, but the compassion of the Lord is for every living thing. He rebukes and trains and teaches them, and turns them back, as a shepherd his flock. 14 He has compassion on those who accept his discipline and who are eager for his precepts.
9 I, John, your brother and the one who shares with you in the persecution, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 saying: “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches—to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” 12 I turned to see whose voice was speaking to me, and when I did so, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man. He was dressed in a robe extending down to his feet, and he wore a wide golden belt around his chest. 14 His head and hair were as white as wool, even as white as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp double-edged sword extended out of his mouth. His face shone like the sun shining at full strength. 17 When I saw him I fell down at his feet as though I were dead, but he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, 18 and the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive—forever and ever—and I hold the keys of death and of Hades! 19 Therefore write what you saw, what is, and what will be after these things. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.