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Revelation 1; Nehemiah 1; Nehemiah 2; Psalm 96

Revelation 1

Prologue

1 The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His slaves what must quickly take place. He sent it and signified it through His angel to His slave John, 2 who testified to God's word and to the testimony about Jesus Christ, in all he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near! 4 John: To the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who was, and who is coming; from the seven spirits before His throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father-to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him. And all the families of the earth will mourn over Him. This is certain. Amen. 8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty."

John's Vision of the Risen Lord

9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation, kingdom, and perseverance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of God's word and the testimony about Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea." 12 I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. When I turned I saw seven gold lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was One like the Son of Man, dressed in a long robe, and with a gold sash wrapped around His chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool-white as snow, His eyes like a fiery flame, 15 His feet like fine bronze fired in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of cascading waters. 16 In His right hand He had seven stars; from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was shining like the sun at midday. 17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me, and said, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last, 18 and the Living One. I was dead, but look-I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades. 19 Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this. 20 The secret of the seven stars you saw in My right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands, is this: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Nehemiah 1

1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: During the month of Chislev in the twentieth year, when I was in the fortress city of Susa,

News from Jerusalem

2 Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived with men from Judah, and I questioned them about Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant that had returned from exile. 3 They said to me, "The survivors in the province, who returned from the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem's wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned down."

Nehemiah's Prayer

4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said, Lord God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands, 6 let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear Your servant's prayer that I now pray to You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father's house have sinned. 7 We have acted corruptly toward You and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances You gave Your servant Moses. 8 Please remember what You commanded Your servant Moses: "[If] you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. 9 But if you return to Me and carefully observe My commands, even though your exiles were banished to the ends of the earth, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have My name dwell." 10 They are Your servants and Your people. You redeemed [them] by Your great power and strong hand. 11 Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to that of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man. [At the time,] I was the king's cupbearer.

Nehemiah 2

Nehemiah Sent to Jerusalem

1 During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence, 2 so the king said to me, "Why are you sad, when you aren't sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart." I was overwhelmed with fear 3 and replied to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" 4 Then the king asked me, "What is your request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven 5 and answered the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah and to the city where my ancestors are buried, so that I may rebuild it." 6 The king, with the queen seated beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you return?" So I gave him a definite time, and it pleased the king to send me. 7 I also said to the king: "If it pleases the king, let me have letters [written] to the governors of the region west of the Euphrates River, so that they will grant me [safe] passage until I reach Judah. 8 And [let me have] a letter [written] to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so that he will give me timber to rebuild the gates of the temple's fortress, the city wall, and the home where I will live." The king granted my [requests], for I was graciously strengthened by my God. 9 I went to the governors of the region west of the Euphrates and gave them the king's letters. The king had also sent officers of the infantry and cavalry with me. 10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard that someone had come to seek the well-being of the Israelites, they were greatly displeased.

Preparing to Rebuild the Walls

11 After I arrived in Jerusalem and had been there three days, 12 I got up at night and [took] a few men with me. I didn't tell anyone what my God had laid on my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I took was the one I was riding. 13 I went out at night through the Valley Gate toward the Serpent's Well and the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 I went on to the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but farther down it became too narrow for my animal to go through. 15 So I went up at night by way of the valley and inspected the wall. Then heading back, I entered through the Valley Gate and returned. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, for I had not yet told the Jews, priests, nobles, officials, or the rest of those who would be doing the work. 17 So I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned down. Come, let's rebuild Jerusalem's wall, so that we will no longer be a disgrace." 18 I told them how the gracious hand of my God had been on me, and what the king had said to me. They said, "Let's start rebuilding," and they were encouraged to [do] this good work. 19 When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard [about this], they mocked and despised us, and said, "What is this you're doing? Are you rebelling against the king?" 20 I gave them this reply, "The God of heaven is the One who will grant us success. We, His servants, will start building, but you have no share, right, or historic claim in Jerusalem."

Psalm 96

King of the Earth

1 Sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to the Lord, praise His name; proclaim His salvation from day to day. 3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples. 4 For the Lord is great and is highly praised; He is feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; bring an offering and enter His courts. 9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of [His] holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations: "The Lord reigns. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken. He judges the peoples fairly." 11 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound. 12 Let the fields and everything in them exult. Then all the trees of the forest will shout for joy 13 before the Lord, for He is coming- for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness.
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