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Revelation 1-6 Common English Bible (CEB)

Greetings

A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. Christ made it known by sending it through his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the witness of Jesus Christ, including all that John saw. Favored is the one who reads the words of this prophecy out loud, and favored are those who listen to it being read, and keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

John, to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace and peace to you from the one who is and was and is coming, and from the seven spirits that are before God’s throne, and from Jesus Christ—the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To the one who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, who made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and always. Amen.

Look, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye will see him, including those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him. This is so. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and was and is coming, the Almighty.”

Christ appears to John

I, John, your brother who shares with you in the hardship, kingdom, and endurance that we have in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and my witness about Jesus. 10 I was in a Spirit-inspired trance on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice that sounded like a trumpet. 11 It said, “Write down on a scroll whatever you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

12 I turned to see who was speaking to me, and when I turned, I saw seven oil lamps burning on top of seven gold stands. 13 In the middle of the lampstands I saw someone who looked like the Human One.[a] He wore a robe that stretched down to his feet, and he had a gold sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white as white wool—like snow—and his eyes were like a fiery flame. 15 His feet were like fine brass that has been purified in a furnace, and his voice sounded like rushing water. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword. His appearance was like the sun shining with all its power.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. But he put his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I was dead, but look! Now I’m alive forever and always. I have the keys of Death and the Grave. 19 So write down what you have seen, both the scene now before you and the things that are about to unfold after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands, here is what they mean: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Message to Ephesus

“Write this to the angel of the church in Ephesus:

These are the words of the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold lampstands: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance. I also know that you don’t put up with those who are evil. You have tested those who say they are apostles but are not, and you have found them to be liars. You have shown endurance and put up with a lot for my name’s sake, and you haven’t gotten tired. But I have this against you: you have let go of the love you had at first. So remember the high point from which you have fallen. Change your hearts and lives and do the things you did at first. If you don’t, I’m coming to you. I will move your lampstand from its place if you don’t change your hearts and lives. But you have this in your favor: you hate what the Nicolaitans are doing, which I also hate. If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. I will allow those who emerge victorious to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.

Message to Smyrna

“Write this to the angel of the church in Smyrna:

These are the words of the one who is the first and the last, who died and came back to life: I know your hardship and poverty (though you are actually rich). I also know the hurtful things that have been spoken about you by those who say they are Jews (though they are not, but are really Satan’s synagogue). 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are going to suffer. Look! The devil is going to throw some of you into prison in order to test you. You will suffer hardship for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Those who emerge victorious won’t be hurt by the second death.

Message to Pergamum

12 “Write this to the angel of the church in Pergamum:

These are the words of the one who has the sharp, two-edged sword: 13 I know that you are living right where Satan’s throne is. You are holding on to my name, and you didn’t break faith with me even at the time that Antipas, my faithful witness, was killed among you, where Satan lives. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have some there who follow Balaam’s teaching. Balaam had taught Balak to trip up the Israelites so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality. 15 In the same way, you have some who follow the Nicolaitans’ teaching. 16 So change your hearts and lives. If you don’t, I am coming to you soon, and I will make war on them with the sword that comes from my mouth. 17 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. I will give those who emerge victorious some of the hidden manna to eat. I will also give to each of them a white stone with a new name written on it, which no one knows except the one who receives it.

Message to Thyatira

18 “Write this to the angel of the church in Thyatira:

These are the words of God’s Son, whose eyes are like a fiery flame, and whose feet are like fine brass. 19 I know your works, your love and faithfulness, your service and endurance. I also know that the works you have done most recently are even greater than those you did at first. 20 But I have this against you: you put up with that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. You allow her to teach and to mislead my servants into committing sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to change her heart and life, but she refuses to change her life of prostitution. 22 Look! I’m throwing her onto a sickbed. I am casting those who have committed adultery with her into terrible hardship—if they don’t change their hearts from following her practices— 23 and I will even put her children to death with disease. Then all the churches will know that I’m the one who examines minds and hearts, and that I will give to each of you what your actions deserve. 24 As for the rest of you in Thyatira—those of you who don’t follow this teaching and haven’t learned the so-called “deep secrets” of Satan—I won’t burden you with anything else. 25 Just hold on to what you have until I come. 26 To those who emerge victorious, keeping my practices until the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 to rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like pottery— 28 just as I received authority from my Father. I will also give them the morning star. 29 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Message to Sardis

“Write this to the angel of the church in Sardis:

These are the words of the one who holds God’s seven spirits and the seven stars: I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, and you are in fact dead. Wake up and strengthen whatever you have left, teetering on the brink of death, for I’ve found that your works are far from complete in the eyes of my God. So remember what you received and heard. Hold on to it and change your hearts and lives. If you don’t wake up, I will come like a thief, and you won’t know what time I will come upon you. But you do have a few people in Sardis who haven’t stained their clothing. They will walk with me clothed in white because they are worthy. Those who emerge victorious will wear white clothing like this. I won’t scratch out their names from the scroll of life, but will declare their names in the presence of my Father and his angels. If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Message to Philadelphia

“Write this to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:

These are the words of the one who is holy and true, who has the key of David. Whatever he opens, no one will shut; and whatever he shuts, no one opens. I know your works. Look! I have set in front of you an open door that no one can shut. You have so little power, and yet you have kept my word and haven’t denied my name. Because of this I will make the people from Satan’s synagogue (who say they are Jews and really aren’t, but are lying)—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and realize that I have loved you. 10 Because you kept my command to endure, I will keep you safe through the time of testing that is about to come over the whole world, to test those who live on earth. 11 I’m coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown. 12 As for those who emerge victorious, I will make them pillars in the temple of my God, and they will never leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God. I will also write on them my own new name. 13 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Message to Laodicea

14 “Write this to the angel of the church in Laodicea:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler[b] of God’s creation. 15 I know your works. You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 After all, you say, ‘I’m rich, and I’ve grown wealthy, and I don’t need a thing.’ You don’t realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. 18 My advice is that you buy gold from me that has been purified by fire so that you may be rich, and white clothing to wear so that your nakedness won’t be shamefully exposed, and ointment to put on your eyes so that you may see. 19 I correct and discipline those whom I love. So be earnest and change your hearts and lives. 20 Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me. 21 As for those who emerge victorious, I will allow them to sit with me on my throne, just as I emerged victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

John sees God’s heavenly throne

After this I looked and there was a door that had been opened in heaven. The first voice that I had heard, which sounded like a trumpet, said to me, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in a Spirit-inspired trance and I saw a throne in heaven, and someone was seated on the throne. The one seated there looked like jasper and carnelian, and surrounding the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Twenty-four thrones, with twenty-four elders seated upon them, surrounded the throne. The elders were dressed in white clothing and had gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came lightning, voices, and thunder. In front of the throne were seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God. Something like a glass sea, like crystal, was in front of the throne.

In the center, by the throne, were four living creatures encircling the throne. These creatures were covered with eyes on the front and on the back. The first living creature was like a lion. The second living creature was like an ox. The third living creature had a face like a human being. And the fourth living creature was like an eagle in flight. Each of the four living creatures had six wings, and each was covered all around and on the inside with eyes. They never rest day or night, but keep on saying,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is coming.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the one seated on the throne, who lives forever and always, 10 the twenty-four elders fall before the one seated on the throne. They worship the one who lives forever and always. They throw down their crowns before the throne and say,

11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
        to receive glory and honor and power,
            because you created all things.
                It is by your will that they existed and were created.”

The Lamb takes the scroll

Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one seated on the throne. It had writing on the front and the back, and it was sealed with seven seals. I saw a powerful angel, who proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or look inside it. So I began to weep and weep, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look inside it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Don’t weep. Look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has emerged victorious so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then, in between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb, standing as if it had been slain. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are God’s seven spirits, sent out into the whole earth. He came forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one seated on the throne. When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each held a harp and gold bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They took up a new song, saying,

“You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals,
        because you were slain,
        and by your blood you purchased for God
            persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
10 You made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
        and they will rule on earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the sound of many angels surrounding the throne, the living creatures, and the elders. They numbered in the millions—thousands upon thousands. 12 They said in a loud voice,

“Worthy is the slaughtered Lamb
        to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and might,
        and honor, glory, and blessing.”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea—I heard everything everywhere say,

“Blessing, honor, glory, and power belong
to the one seated on the throne
    and to the Lamb
        forever and always.”

14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped.

Opening the first six seals

Then I looked on as the Lamb opened one of the seven seals. I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” So I looked, and there was a white horse. Its rider held a bow and was given a crown. And he went forth from victory to victory.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Out came another horse, fiery red. Its rider was allowed to take peace from the earth so that people would kill each other. He was given a large sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” So I looked, and there was a black horse. Its rider held a balance for weighing in his hand. I heard what sounded like a voice from among the four living creatures. It said, “A quart of wheat for a denarion,[c] and three quarts of barley for a denarion, but don’t damage the olive oil and the wine.”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” So I looked, and there was a pale green horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and the Grave was following right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, famine, disease, and the wild animals of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar those who had been slaughtered on account of the word of God and the witness they had given. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “Holy and true Master, how long will you wait before you pass judgment? How long before you require justice for our blood, which was shed by those who live on earth?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little longer, until their fellow servants and brothers and sisters—who were about to be killed as they were—were finished.

12 I looked on as he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as funeral clothing, and the entire moon turned red as blood. 13 The stars of the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its fruit when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky disappeared like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth, the officials and the generals, the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in caves and in the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the Lamb’s wrath! 17 The great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Footnotes:

  1. Revelation 1:13 Or Son of Man
  2. Revelation 3:14 Or beginning
  3. Revelation 6:6 A denarion was a day’s pay for a laborer.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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