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Revelation 1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prologue

This is a revelation from[a] Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon[b] take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

John’s Greeting to the Seven Churches

This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia.[c]

Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit[d] before his throne; and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.

All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
    And everyone will see him—
    even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
    will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,”[e] says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”

Vision of the Son of Man

I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. 10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit.[f] Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book[g] everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man.[h] He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.[i]

19 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.[j] 20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels[k] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The Message to the Church in Ephesus

“Write this letter to the angel[l] 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![m] 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,[n] 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.[o]

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[p] of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit[q] 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:[r]

“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.[s] 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[t] 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. 1:1a Or of.
  2. 1:1b Or suddenly, or quickly.
  3. 1:4a Asia was a Roman province in what is now western Turkey.
  4. 1:4b Greek the seven spirits.
  5. 1:8 Greek I am the Alpha and the Omega, referring to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
  6. 1:10 Or in spirit.
  7. 1:11 Or on a scroll.
  8. 1:13 Or like a son of man. See Dan 7:13. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
  9. 1:18 Greek and Hades.
  10. 1:19 Or what you have seen and what they mean—the things that have already begun to happen.
  11. 1:20 Or the messengers.
  12. 2:1 Or the messenger; also in 2:8, 12, 18.
  13. 2:4 Greek You have lost your first love.
  14. 2:22 Greek a bed.
  15. 2:26-27 Ps 2:8-9 (Greek version).
  16. 3:1a Or the messenger; also in 3:7, 14.
  17. 3:1b Greek the seven spirits.
  18. 3:7 Isa 22:22.
  19. 3:11 Or suddenly, or quickly.
  20. 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 1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

Introduction and Benediction

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must [a]shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Greeting the Seven Churches

John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

To Him who [b]loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us [c]kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, [d]the Beginning and the End,” says the [e]Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Vision of the Son of Man

I, John, [f]both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, [g]“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches [h]which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying [i]to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of [j]Hades and of Death. 19 [k]Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The [l]mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the [m]angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands [n]which you saw are the seven churches.

The Loveless Church

“To the [o]angel of the church of Ephesus write,

‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your [p]patience, and that you cannot [q]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

The Persecuted Church

“And to the [r]angel of the church in Smyrna write,

‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a [s]synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’

The Compromising Church

12 “And to the [t]angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, [u]which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

The Corrupt Church

18 “And to the [v]angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, [w]service, faith, and your [x]patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have [y]a few things against you, because you allow [z]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [aa]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [ab]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [ac]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[ad] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, [ae]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [af]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

The Dead Church

“And to the [ag]angel of the church in Sardis write,

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before [ah]God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. [ai]You have a few names [aj]even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

The Faithful Church

“And to the [ak]angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, [al]and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept [am]My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 [an]Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the [ao]angel of the church [ap]of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither [aq]cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.[ar] Therefore be [as]zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”

Footnotes:

  1. Revelation 1:1 quickly or swiftly
  2. Revelation 1:5 NU loves us and freed; M loves us and washed
  3. Revelation 1:6 NU, M a kingdom
  4. Revelation 1:8 NU, M omit the Beginning and the End
  5. Revelation 1:8 NU, M Lord God
  6. Revelation 1:9 NU, M omit both
  7. Revelation 1:11 NU, M omit “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and,
  8. Revelation 1:11 NU, M omit which are in Asia
  9. Revelation 1:17 NU, M omit to me
  10. Revelation 1:18 Lit. Unseen; the unseen realm
  11. Revelation 1:19 NU, M Therefore, write
  12. Revelation 1:20 hidden truth
  13. Revelation 1:20 Or messengers
  14. Revelation 1:20 NU, M omit which you saw
  15. Revelation 2:1 Or messenger
  16. Revelation 2:2 perseverance
  17. Revelation 2:2 endure
  18. Revelation 2:8 Or messenger
  19. Revelation 2:9 congregation
  20. Revelation 2:12 Or messenger
  21. Revelation 2:15 NU, M likewise.
  22. Revelation 2:18 Or messenger
  23. Revelation 2:19 NU, M faith, service
  24. Revelation 2:19 perseverance
  25. Revelation 2:20 NU, M against you that you tolerate
  26. Revelation 2:20 M your wife Jezebel
  27. Revelation 2:20 NU, M and teaches and seduces
  28. Revelation 2:21 NU, M repent, and she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality.
  29. Revelation 2:22 NU, M her
  30. Revelation 2:23 examines
  31. Revelation 2:24 NU, M omit and
  32. Revelation 2:24 NU, M omit will
  33. Revelation 3:1 Or messenger
  34. Revelation 3:2 NU, M My God
  35. Revelation 3:4 NU, M Nevertheless you
  36. Revelation 3:4 NU, M omit even
  37. Revelation 3:7 Or messenger
  38. Revelation 3:8 NU, M which no one can shut
  39. Revelation 3:10 Lit. the word of My patience
  40. Revelation 3:11 NU, M omit Behold
  41. Revelation 3:14 Or messenger
  42. Revelation 3:14 NU, M in Laodicea
  43. Revelation 3:16 NU, M hot nor cold
  44. Revelation 3:19 discipline
  45. Revelation 3:19 eager
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Revelation 1-3 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Prologue

The revelation of[a] Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony[b] of Jesus Christ, whatever he saw.[c] Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep[d] what is written in it, because the time is near.

John: To the seven churches in Asia. Grace and peace to you from[e] the one who is, who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[f] before his throne, 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[g] from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom,[h] priests[i] to his God and Father—to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
And all the tribes[j] of the earth
will mourn over him.[k]
So it is to be. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

John’s Vision of the Risen Lord

I, John, your brother and partner in the affliction, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit[l] on the Lord’s day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write on a scroll[m] what you see and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me. When I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was one like the Son of Man,[n] dressed in a robe and with a golden sash wrapped around his chest. 14 The hair of his head was white as wool—white as snow—and his eyes like a fiery flame. 15 His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of cascading[o] waters. 16 He had seven stars in his right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth, and his face was shining like the sun at full strength.

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 mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[p] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands[q] are the seven churches.

The Letters to the Seven Churches

The Letter to Ephesus

“Write to the angel[r] of the church in Ephesus: Thus says the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you[s] and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet you do have this: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

“Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in[t] the paradise of God.

The Letter to Smyrna

“Write to the angel of the church in Smyrna: Thus says the First and the Last, the one who was dead and came to life: I know your[u] affliction and poverty, but you are rich. I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will experience affliction for ten days. Be faithful to the point of death, and I will give you the crown[v] of life.

11 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will never be harmed by the second death.

The Letter to Pergamum

12 “Write to the angel of the church in Pergamum: Thus says the one who has the sharp, double-edged sword: 13 I know[w] where you live—where Satan’s throne is. Yet you are holding on to my name and did not deny your faith in me,[x] even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness who was put to death among you, where Satan lives. 14 But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block[y] in front of the Israelites: to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. 15 In the same way, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.[z] 16 So repent! Otherwise, I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will give some of the hidden manna.[aa] I will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed that no one knows except the one who receives it.

The Letter to Thyatira

18 “Write to the angel of the church in Thyatira: Thus says the Son of God, the one whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine bronze: 19 I know your works—your love, faithfulness,[ab] service, and endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. 20 But I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Look, I will throw her into a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her into great affliction. Unless they repent of her[ac] works, 23 I will strike her children dead.[ad] Then all the churches will know that I am the one who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who haven’t known “the so-called secrets[ae] of Satan” —as they say—I am not putting any other burden on you. 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations—

27 and he will rule[af] them with an iron scepter;
he will shatter them like pottery[ag]

28 just as I have received this from my Father. I will also give him the morning star.

29 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Letter to Sardis

“Write to the angel[ah] of the church in Sardis: Thus says the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your works; you have a reputation[ai] for being alive, but you are dead. Be alert and strengthen[aj] what remains, which is about to die,[ak] for I have not found your works complete before my God. Remember, then, what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not alert, I will come[al] like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come upon you. But you have a few people[am] in Sardis who have not defiled[an] their clothes, and they will walk with me in white, because they are worthy.

“In the same way, the one who conquers will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before my Father and before his angels.

“Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Letter to Philadelphia

“Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: Thus says the Holy One, the true one, the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and who closes and no one opens: I know your works. Look, I have placed before you an open door that no one can close because you have but little power; yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Note this: I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown.

12 “The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God—and my new name.

13 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Letter to Laodicea

14 “Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea: Thus says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the originator[ao] of God’s creation: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit[ap] you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be zealous and repent. 20 See! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

21 “To the one who conquers I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

22 “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1 Or Revelation of, or A revelation of
  2. 1:2 Or witness
  3. 1:2 Or as many as he saw
  4. 1:3 Or follow, or obey
  5. 1:4 Other mss add God
  6. 1:4 Or the sevenfold Spirit
  7. 1:5 Other mss read has washed us
  8. 1:6 Other mss read kings and
  9. 1:6 Or made us into (or to be) a kingdom of priests; Ex 19:6
  10. 1:7 Or peoples
  11. 1:7 Or will wail because of him
  12. 1:10 Or in spirit; lit I became in the Spirit
  13. 1:11 Or book
  14. 1:13 Or like a son of man
  15. 1:15 Lit many
  16. 1:20 Or messengers
  17. 1:20 Other mss add that you saw
  18. 2:1 Or messenger, also in vv. 8,12,18
  19. 2:5 Other mss add quickly
  20. 2:7 Other mss read in the midst of
  21. 2:9 Other mss add works and
  22. 2:10 Or wreath
  23. 2:13 Other mss add your works and
  24. 2:13 Or deny my faith
  25. 2:14 Or to place a trap
  26. 2:15 Other mss add which I hate
  27. 2:17 Other mss add to eat
  28. 2:19 Or faith
  29. 2:22 Other mss read their
  30. 2:23 Or with a plague
  31. 2:24 Or the secret things
  32. 2:27 Or shepherd
  33. 2:27 Ps 2:9
  34. 3:1 Or messenger, also in vv. 7,14
  35. 3:1 Or have a name
  36. 3:2 Other mss read guard
  37. 3:2 Or strengthen who remain, who are about to die
  38. 3:3 Other mss add upon you
  39. 3:4 Lit few names
  40. 3:4 Or soiled
  41. 3:14 Or beginning of God’s creation, or ruler of God’s creation
  42. 3:16 Or spit
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Revelation 1-3 New International Version (NIV)

Prologue

The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Greetings and Doxology

John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]
    and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c]
So shall it be! Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

John’s Vision of Christ

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

To the Church in Ephesus

“To the angel[f] of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

To the Church in Smyrna

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

To the Church in Thyatira

18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’[g]—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Sardis

“To the angel[h] of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[i] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Philadelphia

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Footnotes:

  1. Revelation 1:4 That is, the sevenfold Spirit
  2. Revelation 1:7 Daniel 7:13
  3. Revelation 1:7 Zech. 12:10
  4. Revelation 1:13 See Daniel 7:13.
  5. Revelation 1:20 Or messengers
  6. Revelation 2:1 Or messenger; also in verses 8, 12 and 18
  7. Revelation 2:27 Psalm 2:9
  8. Revelation 3:1 Or messenger; also in verses 7 and 14
  9. Revelation 3:1 That is, the sevenfold Spirit
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Revelation 1-3 The Voice (VOICE)

Prologue

This is the revelation of Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King: an account of visions and a heavenly journey. God granted this to Him so He would show His followers the realities that are already breaking into the world and soon will be fulfilled. Through His heavenly messenger, He revealed to His servant John signs and insight into these mysteries. John, in turn, gave witness to the word of God and to the glorious truth revealed about Jesus, the Anointed One, the Chosen Ruler, by carefully describing everything he saw.

Blessings come to those who read and proclaim these words aloud; blessings come to those who listen closely and put the prophetic words recorded here into practice. The finale is approaching.

I, John, to the seven churches in Asia:

May you experience God’s favor and rest in the peace that comes from the One who is, the One who was, and the One who is coming; from the seven Spirits, the Perfect Spirit, constantly before God’s throne; and from Jesus the Anointed, the Witness who is true and faithful, the first to emerge from death’s cold womb, the chosen Ruler over all the kings and rulers of the earth.

To the One who loves us and liberated us from the grip of our evil deeds through His very own blood and who established us to be His kingdom and priests for God, His Father. May glory and power be His throughout all the ages. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds, in glory.
    He will capture every eye,
Even of those who pierced Him through.
    All the nations of the earth will be pierced with grief when He appears.

Yes, may all this be done according to His plan. Amen.

Lord God: I am the Alpha and the Omega, [the very beginning and the very end,][a] the One who is, the One who was, and the One who is coming: the All Powerful.

I, John, your brother who shares with you this journey in persecution and the establishment of the Kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the ministry of the word of God and my testimony about Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (the first day of the week), and I heard a voice behind me. It sounded like the blast of a trumpet.

A Voice: 11 [I am the Alpha and the Omega, the very beginning and the very end.][b] Make a book of what you see, write it down, and send it to the seven churches [which are in Asia][c]: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

12 When I turned around to see what sort of voice this was that was addressing me, I saw seven golden lampstands. 13 And among the lampstands, I saw One like the Son of Man right in front of me dressed in a long robe. Across His chest was draped a golden sash. 14 His head and hair were pure white, white as wool and white as snow; His eyes blazed like a fiery flame; 15 His feet gleamed like brightly polished bronze, purified to perfection in a furnace; His voice filled the air and sounded like a roaring waterfall. 16 He held seven stars in His right hand, from His mouth darted a sharp double-edged sword, and His face shone a brilliant light, like the blinding sun.

The Son of Man is none other than the risen Jesus shining in glory, moving among the lampstands.

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet. It was as though I were dead. But He reached down and placed His right hand on me.

The One: This is not the time for fear; I am the First and the Last, 18 and I am the living One. I entered the realm of the dead; but see, I am alive now and for all the ages—even ages to come. [Amen.][d] I possess the keys to open the prison of death and hades.

19 Now write down all you have seen—all that is and all that will be. 20 Regarding the mystery of the seven stars you saw in My right hand and of the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the heavenly messengers who preside over the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches themselves.

As the story unfolds, we’re told that the lampstands signify the churches. During harsh times of persecution, the faithful often wonder where their Master is. Is He even aware of what they are experiencing? John’s vision confirms what the gospel already teaches: Jesus is present with them even in their suffering, moving among those who dare to bear the light. Lampstands, of course, are not the light. They only carry the light. The true Light that has come into the world is none other than Jesus, the Son of Man (John 8:28).

Letter to Ephesus

The One: Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Ephesus. “These are the words of the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks and moves among the golden lampstands:

“I know your deeds, your tireless labor, and your patient endurance. I know you do not tolerate those who do evil. Furthermore, you have diligently tested those who claim to be emissaries,[e] and you have found that they are not true witnesses. You have correctly found them to be false. I know you are patiently enduring and holding firm on behalf of My name. You have not become faint.

“However, I have this against you: you have abandoned your first love. Do you remember what it was like before you fell? It’s time to rethink and change your ways;[f] go back to how you first acted. However, if you do not return,[g] I will come quickly[h] and personally remove your lampstand from its place. But you do have this to your credit: you despise the deeds of the Nicolaitans and how they concede to evil. I also hate what they do.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. I will allow the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death to eat from the tree of life found in God’s lush paradise.”

Letter to Smyrna

Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Smyrna. “These are the words of the First and the Last, the One who was dead and returned to life:

“I know [your deeds and][i] the difficult ordeal you are enduring and your poverty, although you are actually rich. I am aware of the offensive accusations preached by those who call themselves ‘Jews.’ But these people are not the Jews they pretend to be; they are actually the congregation of Satan. 10 In the face of suffering, do not fear. Watch; the devil will throw some of you into prison shortly so that you might be tested, and you will endure great affliction for 10 days. Be faithful throughout your life, until the day you die, and I will give you the victor’s wreath of life.

11 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will escape the second death.”

Letter to Pergamum

12 Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Pergamum. “These are the words of the One with the sharp double-edged sword:

13 “I know [your deeds and][j] where you live. It is where Satan, the adversary, has established his throne. You have stayed true to My name, and you did not deny your trust in Me even in the eventful days of My faithful witness, Antipas. He was killed among you in that place where Satan dwells.

14 “However, I have a few matters against you: some who live among you hold to the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to set up a stumbling block before the people of Israel.[k] As a result, some among you are eating food prepared for idol worship and committing immoral sexual acts. 15 You have others who are holding firm to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore, change your ways and turn to Me.[l] If you do not, I will quickly come to where you live and will battle them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. To the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will feed you with hidden manna and give you a white stone. Upon this stone, a new name is engraved. No one knows this name except for its recipient.”

Letter to Thyatira

18 Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Thyatira. “These are the words of the Son of God, the One whose eyes blaze like flames of fire and whose feet gleam like brightly polished bronze:

19 “I know your deeds, love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your labors greatly increase in quality as you travel along this journey.

20 “However, I have this against you: you have tolerated that woman Jezebel, who is a self-anointed prophetess and who misleads My followers to commit immoral sexual acts and to eat food prepared for idol worship. 21 I have provided her enough time to turn away[m] from her indecency, but she refuses to turn from these immoral acts. 22 Watch; I will throw her back into her sickbed with those who committed adultery with her, and I will make them a bed of great affliction if they do not abandon her indiscretions and turn[n] to follow Me. 23 I will punish her by striking her children dead. Through this all the churches will know I am the One who relentlessly explores the mind and heart, and I will deal with each of you as you deserve according to your acts.

24 “I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, those who have not held to the teachings of Jezebel and who remain ignorant of the real meaning of what is called the deep things of Satan, I will not burden you with anything more. 25 Just keep on task, and keep the faith until I return.

26 “And as for those who conquer through faithfulness even unto death and continue to labor with Me until the close of the final curtain,

    I will give them authority over the nations.
27     And they will rule the nations with an iron scepter,
        as fragile clay jars are shattered to pieces.[o]

As I received this authority from My Father, 28 I will bestow the morning star to the victor.

29 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

For centuries many Jews had been scattered throughout the known world, exiled to the lands east of the Jordan River from the promised land by powerful invading nations. After Jerusalem fell in a.d. 70, even more Jews left Judea, this time crossing the Mediterranean looking for some place far from Roman cruelty. That’s why, as John writes these letters to churches in Asia Minor, he recalls some of the most infamous characters from Israel’s past—Balaam, Balak, and Jezebel. The ordeals facing John’s churches are not all that different from those Israel faced hundreds of years before. Many of the same struggles plague churches in the West to this day. The names may change, but the problems confronting God’s faithful do not.

Letter to Sardis

The One: Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Sardis. “These are the words of the One who has the seven Spirits of God, the Perfect Spirit, and the One who holds the seven stars:

“I know the things you do—you’ve claimed a reputation of life, but you are actually dead. Wake up from your death-sleep, and strengthen what remains of the life you have been given that is in danger of death. I have judged your deeds as far from complete in the sight of My God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard; it’s time to keep these instructions and turn back from your ways.[p] If you do not wake up from this sleep, I will come in judgment. I will creep up on you like a thief—you will have no way of knowing when I will come. But there are a few in Sardis who don’t have the stain of evil works on their clothes. They will walk alongside Me in white, spotless garments because they have been proven worthy.

“The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will be clothed in white garments, and I will certainly not erase that person’s name from the book of life. I will acknowledge this person’s name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

Letter to Philadelphia

Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia. “These are the words of the holy One, the true One, and the One who possesses the key of David, which opens the possibilities so that no one can shut them. The One who closes all options so that no one can open:

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door, which no one can shut. I have done this because you have limited strength, yet you have obeyed My word and have not denied My name. Watch, and I will make those of the congregation of Satan—those who call themselves ‘Jews’ but are not because they lie—come before you penitent, falling at your feet. Then they will know how much I have loved you. 10 Because you have obeyed My instructions to endure and be patient, I will protect you from the time of trial which will come upon the whole earth and put everyone in it to the test. 11 I will soon return. Hold tight to what you have so that no one can take away your victor’s wreath.

12 “As for the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death, I will plant that person as a pillar in the temple of My God, and that person will never have to leave the presence of God. Moreover, I will inscribe this person with the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, New Jerusalem—which descends out of heaven from My God—and My own new name.

God’s intention for the world is this: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” This is fulfilled by those who are faithful to Him.

13 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

Letter to Laodicea

14 Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Laodicea. “These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation:

15 “I know your works. You are neither cold with apathy nor hot with passion. It would be better if you were one or the other, but you are neither. 16 So because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 You claim, ‘I am rich, I have accumulated riches, and I need nothing’; but you do not realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. 18 So here is what I suggest you do: buy true gold from Me (gold refined by fire so that you can be truly rich), white garments (to cover you so that you can keep the shame of your nakedness from showing), and eye ointment (to treat your eyes so that you may see clearly).

19 “Those I love I also correct and discipline. Therefore, be shamelessly committed to Me, and turn back.[q] 20 Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me.

21 “The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death I will place next to Me on My throne, just as I Myself conquered and took a place of honor with My Father on His throne.

22 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1:8 Most manuscripts omit this portion.
  2. 1:11 Early manuscripts omit this portion.
  3. 1:11 Most manuscripts omit this portion.
  4. 1:18 The earliest manuscripts omit “Amen.”
  5. 2:2 Literally, apostles
  6. 2:5 Literally, repent
  7. 2:5 Literally, repent
  8. 2:5 Some manuscripts omit “quickly.”
  9. 2:9 The earliest manuscripts omit this portion.
  10. 2:13 The earliest manuscripts omit this portion.
  11. 2:14 Numbers 22–24
  12. 2:16 Literally, repent
  13. 2:21 Literally, repent
  14. 2:22 Literally, repent
  15. 2:26–27 Psalm 2:8–9
  16. 3:3 Literally, repent
  17. 3:19 Literally, repent
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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