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Revelation 2-3New Living Translation (NLT)

The Message to the Church in Ephesus

“Write this letter to the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first![b] Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

The Message to the Church in Smyrna

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:

“I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

11 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.

The Message to the Church in Pergamum

12 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:

13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.

14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

The Message to the Church in Thyatira

18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:

19 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.

20 “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.

22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering,[c] and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.

24 “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end,

To them I will give authority over all the nations.
27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod
    and smash them like clay pots.[d]

28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

The Message to the Church in Sardis

“Write this letter to the angel[e] of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit[f] of God and the seven stars:

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

“Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

The Message to the Church in Philadelphia

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.

This is the message from the one who is holy and true,
    the one who has the key of David.
What he opens, no one can close;
    and what he closes, no one can open:[g]

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.

10 “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. 11 I am coming soon.[h] Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. 12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.

13 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

The Message to the Church in Laodicea

14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning[i] of God’s new creation:

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.

22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”

Footnotes:

  1. 2:1 Or the messenger; also in 2:8, 12, 18.
  2. 2:4 Greek You have lost your first love.
  3. 2:22 Greek a bed.
  4. 2:26-27 Ps 2:8-9 (Greek version).
  5. 3:1a Or the messenger; also in 3:7, 14.
  6. 3:1b Greek the seven spirits.
  7. 3:7 Isa 22:22.
  8. 3:11 Or suddenly, or quickly.
  9. 3:14 Or the ruler, or the source.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Revelation 2-3Amplified Bible (AMP)

Message to Ephesus

“To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [a]Ephesus write:

“These are the words of the One who holds [firmly] the seven stars [which are the angels or messengers of the seven churches] in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands (the seven churches):

‘I know [b]your deeds and your toil, and your patient endurance, and that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles (special messengers, personally chosen representatives, of Christ), and [in fact] are not, and have found them to be liars and impostors; and [I know that] you [who believe] are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and that you have not grown weary [of being faithful to the truth]. But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent. Yet you have this [to your credit], that you hate the works and corrupt teachings of the [c]Nicolaitans [that mislead and delude the people], which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who [d]overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant [the privilege] to eat [the fruit] from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’

Message to Smyrna

“And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [e]Smyrna write:

“These are the words of the First and the Last [absolute Deity, the Son of God] who died and came to life [again]:

‘I know your suffering and your poverty (but you are rich), and how you are blasphemed and slandered by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan [they are Jews only by blood, and do not believe and truly honor the God whom they claim to worship]. 10 Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. Be aware that the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested [in your faith], and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful to the point of death [if you must die for your faith], and I will give you the crown [consisting] of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will not be hurt by the second death ([f]the lake of fire).’

Message to Pergamum

12 “And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [g]Pergamum write:

“These are the words of Him who has and wields the sharp two-edged sword [in judgment]:

13 ‘I know where you dwell, [a place] where Satan sits enthroned. Yet you are holding fast to My name, and you did not deny [h]My faith even in the days of [i]Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed (martyred) among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some [among you] who are holding to the [corrupt] teaching of Balaam, who taught [j]Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, [enticing them] to eat things that had been sacrificed to idols and to commit [acts of sexual] [k]immorality. 15 You also have some who in the same way are holding to the teaching of the [l]Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will]; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war and fight against them with the sword of My mouth [in judgment]. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], to him I will give [the privilege of eating] some of the [m]hidden manna, and I will give him a [n]white stone with a new name engraved on the stone which no one knows except the one who receives it.’

Message to Thyatira

18 “And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [o]Thyatira write:

“These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes [that flash] like a flame of fire [in righteous judgment], and whose feet are like burnished [white-hot] bronze:

19 ‘I know your deeds, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are more numerous and greater than the first. 20 But I have this [charge] against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and she teaches and misleads My bond-servants so that they commit [acts of sexual] immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent [to change her inner self and her sinful way of thinking], but she has no desire to repent of her immorality and refuses to do so. 22 [p]Listen carefully, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her [I will bring] into great anguish, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children (followers) with [q]pestilence [thoroughly annihilating them], and all the churches will know [without any doubt] that I am He who searches the [r]minds and hearts [the innermost thoughts, purposes]; and I will give to each one of you [a reward or punishment] according to your deeds. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not explored and known the [s]depths of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you, 25 except to hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 And he who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] and he who keeps My deeds [doing things that please Me] until the [very] end, to him I will give authority and power over the nations; 27 and he shall shepherd and rule them with a rod of iron, as the earthen pots are broken in pieces, as I also have received authority [and power to rule them] from My Father; 28 and I will give him the [t]Morning Star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Message to Sardis

“To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [u]Sardis write:

“These are the words of Him who has [v]the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your deeds; you have a name (reputation) that you are alive, but [in reality] you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen and reaffirm what remains [of your faithful commitment to Me], which is about to die; for I have not found [any of] your deeds completed in the sight of My God or meeting His requirements. So remember and take to heart the lessons you have received and heard. Keep and obey them, and repent [change your sinful way of thinking, and demonstrate your repentance with new behavior that proves a conscious decision to turn away from sin]. So then, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you [still] have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes [that is, contaminated their character and personal integrity with sin]; and they will walk with Me [dressed] in white, because they are worthy (righteous). He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will accordingly be dressed in white clothing; and I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess and openly acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels [saying that he is one of Mine]. He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Message to Philadelphia

“And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [w]Philadelphia write:

“These are the words of the Holy One, the True One, He who has the key [to the house] of David, He who opens and no one will [be able to] shut, and He who shuts and no one opens:

‘I know your deeds. See, I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut, for you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not renounced or denied My name. Take note, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and make them know [without any doubt] that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept the word of My endurance [My command to persevere], I will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial, that hour which is about to come on the whole [inhabited] world, to test those who live on the earth. 11 I am coming quickly. Hold tight what you have, so that no one will take your crown [by leading you to renounce the faith]. 12 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will make him a [x]pillar in the temple of My God; he will most certainly never be put out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God, and My [own] new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Message to Laodicea

14 “To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [y]Laodicea write:

“These are the words of the Amen, the trusted and faithful and true Witness, the [z]Beginning and Origin of God’s creation:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are [aa]neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were [ab]cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm (spiritually useless), and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth [rejecting you with disgust]. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have prospered and grown wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked [without hope and in great need], 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold that has been heated red hot and refined by fire so that you may become truly rich; and white clothes [representing righteousness] to clothe yourself so that the shame of your nakedness will not be seen; and healing salve to put on your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I rebuke and discipline [showing them their faults and instructing them]; so be enthusiastic and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will]. 20 Behold, I stand at the door [of the church] and continually knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (restore him), and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant to him [the privilege] to sit beside Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Revelation 2:1 Ephesus, the largest city in Roman-controlled Asia Minor, developed into a major trade center because of its access to the Aegean Sea. It was the primary center for the worship of the goddess Artemis (Diana). The Temple of Artemis, the largest building in ancient times, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The open-air theatre in Ephesus could accommodate 25,000 spectators and was used for both drama and gladiatorial combat.
  2. Revelation 2:2 Here through 3:18, “your” and “you” are in the singular, referring to the angel of each church. Much of what is said is rebuke and admonishment, so if the angels are heavenly beings, they may serve in some way as representatives of the sinful people in their churches. Jewish tradition maintained that every nation and individual has a guardian angel, and that when God is about to punish a nation, He first punishes its angel. There is even a story of Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, being rebuked by God for the sins committed in the time of Ezekiel. So the original readers of Revelation might have assumed that the angels here are the guardian angels of the individual churches, sharing responsibility for the actions of the members.
  3. Revelation 2:6 There is scant information about the cult of the Nicolaitans, but it appears they adopted a syncretistic worship, combining Christianity and idolatry. They may have held heretical views similar to those mentioned in vv 14 and 20.
  4. Revelation 2:7 The definition of one who overcomes is recorded in 1 John 5:5.
  5. Revelation 2:8 In ancient times Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey) was a beautiful, cosmopolitan city. Located on the Aegean coast, it vied with Ephesus and Pergamum in importance in Asia Minor. It was closely identified with Rome and the cult of emperor worship. Smyrna was later the home of Polycarp, the great Christian church leader who, at the age of eighty-six, was burned at the stake for his refusal to worship the Roman emperor.
  6. Revelation 2:11 The Valley of Hinnom located south of Jerusalem was the place where garbage burned continuously. Often regarded in ancient times as symbolic of hell (the lake of fire), reserved for the wicked. Paradise or Abraham’s bosom (cf Luke 16:22) was the place reserved for the good in anticipation of heaven. Mentioned in Matt 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6.
  7. Revelation 2:12 Pergamum (modern Bergama, Turkey) was built on a promontory about sixteen miles from the Aegean Sea. It was famous as a worship center for many pagan gods including Zeus (Jupiter, king of gods), Dionysus (Bacchus, god of wine and intoxication), and Asklepios (god of healing). The enormous altar dedicated to Zeus is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Pergamum also had an important temple dedicated to the worship of Caesar. Refusal to take part in the imperial cult was considered treason. A culturally sophisticated city as well as a center for pagan worship, Pergamum’s library, believed to contain over 200,000 volumes, was second only to the Library of Alexandria.
  8. Revelation 2:13 I.e. your faith in Me.
  9. Revelation 2:13 Antipas was a pastor or leader of the church at Pergamum.
  10. Revelation 2:14 The king of Moab in the time of the exodus, who hired Balaam to curse Israel.
  11. Revelation 2:14 Pagan worship often included the use of temple prostitutes who served as “priestesses.”
  12. Revelation 2:15 See note v 6.
  13. Revelation 2:17 This probably refers to the pot of manna placed in the Ark of the Covenant by Moses (Ex 16:33; Heb 9:4). Manna was a food supernaturally provided to Israel by God during their wanderings in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt.
  14. Revelation 2:17 White stones were sometimes used as tickets of admission to public assemblies. Here the white stone may symbolize admission to the Messiah’s banquet.
  15. Revelation 2:18 Thyatira (modern Akhisar, Turkey) was famous for its dyeing and indigo trade. It was the home of Lydia, the seller of purple fabrics, who was converted under the ministry of Paul (Acts 16:14). Located in a valley, midway between Pergamum and Sardis, it was originally established as a military base by one of the generals in the army of Alexander the Great.
  16. Revelation 2:22 Lit Behold.
  17. Revelation 2:23 Lit death.
  18. Revelation 2:23 Lit kidneys, i.e. inner man. In Jewish thought, the kidneys were considered a source of wisdom (cf Ps 16:7).
  19. Revelation 2:24 I.e. participated in and experienced evil.
  20. Revelation 2:28 In 22:16 this expression designates Christ as the true Messiah, the root and the descendant of David. Here, the gift probably is the privilege of knowing Christ at a much higher level (see Phil 3:8).
  21. Revelation 3:1 Sardis (modern Sart, Turkey), in Roman times, was a wealthy city known for the manufacture and dyeing of woolen fabric and carpets. Originally, it was the capital of the ancient Lydian Empire and was the first city to mint coinage (600 b.c.). A stream that flowed through its market place carried gold dust from a nearby mountain. King Croesus of Lydia (560-546 b.c.) financed the building of the great Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (550 b.c.). The city was conquered twice, under Cyrus the Great and under Antiochus, due to lack of adequate watchfulness.
  22. Revelation 3:1 See note 1:4.
  23. Revelation 3:7 Philadelphia (modern Alashehir, Turkey) was a commercial center located on elevated ground overlooking the fertile plain of the Hermus (Gediz) River. In 189 b.c. the king of Pergamum established Philadelphia and named the city to honor his brother.
  24. Revelation 3:12 Like the common phrase “pillar of the community,” this is a metaphor of great honor, but far more so. The statement that the one who overcomes will never leave the temple is assurance that he will never lose the privilege of being in the presence of God and serving Him.
  25. Revelation 3:14 Laodicea, located beside the Lycus River, was a prosperous city about forty miles south of Philadelphia. It had a well-respected financial center, thriving textile production industry (specializing in black wool), and a leading medical school that produced a famous eye salve. Two other cities were in this general area: Colossae, known for its mountain spring of cold, fresh water; and Hierapolis, a site famous for its hot, therapeutic mineral springs.
  26. Revelation 3:14 I.e. Origin of Source.
  27. Revelation 3:15 This phrase and the word lukewarm in v 16 form a metaphor that is probably based on the quality of the water supply of Laodicea, which was delivered by aqueduct from the hot mineral springs about five miles away. During its journey, the water cooled to a warm or lukewarm temperature.
  28. Revelation 3:15 I.e. alive, productive—beneficial in one way or the other.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

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