To the Church in Sardis
3 “Write this to the ·angel [messenger; see 1:20] of the church in ·Sardis [C the capital of the Roman province of Lydia in western Asia Minor]:
“The One [C the resurrected Jesus] who has the ·seven spirits [C referring either to angels or to the “sevenfold Spirit”—the Holy Spirit portrayed in his perfection; 1:4] and the seven stars [1:16] says ·this [L these things]: I know ·what you do [your works]. ·People say [L You have a name/reputation] that you are alive, but really you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what you have left ·before it dies completely [or which is about to die]. I have found that ·what you are doing is less than what my God wants [L your works are incompleted/unfulfilled before my God]. 3 So ·do not forget [L remember] what you have received and heard. Obey it, and ·change your hearts and lives [repent]. ·So you must wake up, or [L But if you do not wake up,] I will come like a thief, and you will not know ·when [L at what hour] I will come ·to [upon; against] you. 4 But you have a ·few [few people; L few names] there in Sardis who have kept their clothes ·unstained [unsoiled; undefiled], so they will walk with me ·and will wear white clothes [L in white], because they are worthy. 5 Those who ·win the victory [overcome; conquer] will be dressed in white clothes like them. And I will ·not [never; C an emphatic negation] erase [wipe out; blot out] their names from the ·book [scroll] of life [Ex. 32:32–33; Ps. 69:28; Dan. 12:1], but I will ·say they belong to me [L confess their names] before my Father and before his angels. 6 Everyone who has ears should ·listen to [hear; obey] what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the Church in Philadelphia
7 “Write this to the ·angel [messenger; see 1:20] of the church in ·Philadelphia [a city in the Roman province of Lydia in western Asia Minor]:
“This is what the One who is holy and true, who holds the key of David [C the resurrected Jesus; holding the key of David signifies access to the king; Is. 22:22], says. When he opens a door, no one can close it. And when he closes it, no one can open it [C Jesus controls access to God]. 8 I know ·what you do [your works]. I have put an open door before you, which no one can close. I know you have little ·strength [power], but you have ·obeyed my teaching [L kept my word] and ·were not afraid to speak [L have not denied] my name. 9 Those in the synagogue ·that belongs to Satan [L of Satan] say they are Jews, but they are not true Jews; they are liars. I will make them come before you and bow at your feet, and they will ·know [acknowledge; learn] that I have loved you. 10 You have ·obeyed my teaching [L kept my word] about ·not giving up your faith [endurance; perseverance]. So I will keep you from the ·time [hour] of ·trouble [trial; testing] that ·will come [or is about to come] to the whole world to test those who live on earth.
11 “I am coming ·soon [quickly]. ·Continue strong in your faith [L Hold on to what you have] so no one will take away your crown [C wreath indicating honor or victory; 2:10]. 12 I will make those who ·win the victory [overcome; conquer] pillars in the temple of my God [C an image of stability and security close to the glory of God], and they will never have to leave it [C frequent earthquakes often forced Philadelphians to live outdoors]. 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 [C the believers’ eternal dwelling place; see chs. 21—22]. I will also write on them my new name. 13 Everyone who has ears should ·listen to [hear; obey] what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the Church in Laodicea
14 “Write this to the ·angel [or messenger; see 1:20] of the church in Laodicea [C a city in Phrygia, a mountainous province of western Asia]:
“The Amen [C Hebrew for “so be it”; here referring to Jesus], the faithful and true witness, ·the ruler of all God has made [1:5; Prov. 8:30–31; C the resurrected Jesus], says this [L these things]: 15 I know ·what you do [your works], that you are not hot or cold. I wish that you were hot or cold [C both positive images, alluding to cold refreshing mountain streams and healing hot springs near Laodicea]! 16 But because you are lukewarm—neither hot, nor cold—I am ready to ·spit [vomit] you out of my mouth. 17 [L For] You say, ‘I am rich, and I have become wealthy and do not need anything.’ But you do not know that you are really ·miserable [wretched], pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I advise you to buy from me gold ·made pure in [refined by] fire so you can be truly rich. Buy from me white clothes [C indicating purity] so you can be clothed and so you can cover your shameful nakedness. Buy from me ·medicine [salve; ointment] to put on your eyes so you can truly see.
19 “I ·correct [rebuke] and ·punish [discipline] those whom I love. So be ·eager to do right [zealous; earnest], and ·change your hearts and lives [repent]. 20 ·Here I am [L Look; T Behold]! I stand at the door and knock. If ·you [L anyone] hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with me.
21 “Those who ·win the victory [overcome; conquer] will sit with me on my throne in the same way that I ·won the victory [overcame; conquered; C over death, by his resurrection] and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Everyone who has ears should ·listen to [hear; obey] what the Spirit says to the churches.”