Message to Sardis
3 “To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [a]Sardis write:
“These are the words of Him who has [b]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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 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). 5 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].(A) 6 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Message to Philadelphia
7 “And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [c]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:(B)
8 ‘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.(C) 9 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.(D) 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.(E) 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 [d]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.(F) 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 [e]Laodicea write:
“These are the words of the Amen, the trusted and faithful and true Witness, the [f]Beginning and Origin of God’s creation:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are [g]neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were [h]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],(G) 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].(H) 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.(I) 22 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
- 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.
- Revelation 3:1 See note 1:4.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Revelation 3:14 I.e. Origin of Source.
- 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.
- Revelation 3:15 I.e. alive, productive—beneficial in one way or the other.
Complete Jewish Bible
3 “To the angel of the Messianic Community in Sardis, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: “I know what you are doing — you have a reputation for being alive, but in fact you are dead! 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains, before it dies too! For I have found what you are doing incomplete in the sight of my God. 3 So remember what you received and heard, and obey it, and turn from your sin! For if you don’t wake up, I will come like a thief; and you don’t know at what moment I will come upon you. 4 Nevertheless, you do have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; and they will walk with me, clothed in white, because they are worthy. 5 He who wins the victory will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before his angels. 6 Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities.”’
7 “To the angel of the Messianic Community in Philadelphia, write: ‘Here is the message of HaKadosh, the True One, the one who has the key of David, who, if he opens something, no one else can shut it, and if he closes something, no one else can open it.[a] 8 “I know what you are doing. Look, I have put in front of you an open door, and no one can shut it. I know that you have but little power, yet you have obeyed my message and have not disowned me. 9 Here, I will give you some from the synagogue of the Adversary, those who call themselves Jews but aren’t — on the contrary, they are lying — see, I will cause them to come and prostrate themselves at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. 10 Because you did obey my message about persevering, I will keep you from the time of trial coming upon the whole world to put the people living on earth to the test. 11 I am coming soon; hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. 12 I will make him who wins the victory a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he will never leave it. Also I will write on him the name of my God and the name of my God’s city, the new Yerushalayim coming down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. 13 Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities.”’
14 “To the angel of the Messianic Community in Laodicea, write: ‘Here is the message from the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the Ruler of God’s creation: 15 “I know what you are doing: you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth! 17 For you keep saying, ‘I am rich, I have gotten rich,[b] I don’t need a thing!’ You don’t know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked! 18 My advice to you is to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be dressed and not have to be ashamed of your nakedness; and eyesalve to rub on your eyes, so that you may see. 19 As for me, I rebuke and discipline everyone I love; so exert yourselves, and turn from your sins! 20 Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. 21 I will let him who wins the victory sit with me on my throne, just as I myself also won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities.”’”