Ecclesiastes 4–6; Revelation 11

Evil Under the Sun

uAgain I vsaw all wthe oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had xno one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I ythought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But zbetter than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is avanity1 and a striving after wind.

The fool bfolds his hands and ceats his own flesh.

dBetter is a handful of equietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

uAgain, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his feyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, gFor whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure? This also is vanity and an unhappy hbusiness.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, ibut how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand hima threefold cord is not quickly broken.

13 Better was ja poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how kto take advice. 14 For he went lfrom prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor. 15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that2 youth who was to stand in the king's3 place. 16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is mvanity and a striving after wind.

Fear God

4nGuard your steps when you go to othe house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to poffer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 5 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore qlet your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with rmany words.

When syou vow a vow to God, tdo not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. uPay what you vow. vIt is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you6 into sin, and do not say before wthe messenger7 that it was xa mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity;8 but9 yGod is the one you must fear.

The Vanity of Wealth and Honor

zIf you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, ado not be amazed at the matter, bfor the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.10

10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

13 cThere is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 dAs he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what egain is there to him who ftoils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he geats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.

18 Behold, what I have seen to be hgood and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment11 in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his ilot. 19 Everyone also to whom jGod has given kwealth and possessions land power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toilthis is mthe gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

nThere is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man oto whom pGod gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he qlacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God rdoes not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity;12 it is a grievous evil. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that sthe days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life's tgood things, and he also has no uburial, I say that va stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not wseen the sun or known anything, yet it finds xrest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy13 no gooddo not all go to the one place?

yAll the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.14 For what advantage has the wise man zover the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? Better ais the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is bvanity and a striving after wind.

10 Whatever has come to be has calready been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to ddispute with one stronger than he. 11 The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? 12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his evain15 life, which he passes like fa shadow? For who can tell man what will be gafter him under the sun?

The Two Witnesses

11 Then I was given ma measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure nthe court outside the temple; leave that out, for oit is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for pforty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for p1,260 days, qclothed in sackcloth.

These are rthe two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, sfire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, tthis is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power uto shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and vto strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, wthe beast that rises from xthe bottomless pit1 ywill make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically2 is called zSodom and aEgypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and brefuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and cthose who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and dexchange presents, because these two prophets ehad been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days fa breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, gCome up here! And hthey went up to heaven iin a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was ja great earthquake, and ka tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and lgave glory to mthe God of heaven.

14 nThe second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

The Seventh Trumpet

15 Then othe seventh angel blew his trumpet, and pthere were loud voices in heaven, saying, qThe kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of rhis Christ, and she shall reign forever and ever. 16 And the twenty-four elders twho sit on their thrones before God ufell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,

vwho is and who was,

for you have taken your great power

and wbegun to reign.

18  The nations raged,

but xyour wrath came,

and ythe time for the dead to be judged,

and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,

and zthose who fear your name,

both small and great,

and afor destroying the destroyers of the earth.

19 Then bGod's temple in heaven was opened, and cthe ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings,3 peals of thunder, an earthquake, and dheavy hail.