The Revelation of Jesus Christ
1 This is the [a]revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries], which God [the Father] gave to Him to show to His bond-servants (believers) the things which must soon take place [in their entirety]; and He sent and communicated it by His angel (divine messenger) to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified and gave supporting evidence to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to everything that he saw [in his visions]. 3 [b]Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and who keep the things which are written in it [heeding them and taking them to heart]; for the time [of fulfillment] is near.
Message to the Seven Churches
4 [c]John, to the seven churches that are in [the province of] [d]Asia: [e]Grace [be granted] to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being], from Him Who is [existing forever] and Who was [continually existing in the past] and Who is to come, and from [f]the seven Spirits that are before His throne,(A) 5 and from Jesus Christ, the [g]faithful and trustworthy Witness, the [h]Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who [always] loves us and who [has once for all] [i]freed us [or washed us] from our sins by His own blood (His sacrificial death)—(B) 6 and formed us into a kingdom [as His subjects], [j]priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the power and the majesty and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.(C) 7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes (nations) of the earth will mourn over Him [realizing their sin and guilt, and anticipating the coming wrath]. [k]So it is to be. Amen.(D)
8 “I am the [l]Alpha and the Omega [the Beginning and the End],” says the Lord God, “Who is [existing forever] and Who was [continually existing in the past] and Who is to come, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all].”(E)
The Patmos Vision
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the [m]tribulation and kingdom and patient endurance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, [exiled there] because of [my preaching of] the word of God [regarding eternal salvation] and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the [n]Spirit [in special communication with the Holy Spirit and empowered to receive and record the revelation from Jesus Christ] on the [o]Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11 saying, “Write on a scroll what you see [in this revelation], and send it to the [p]seven churches—to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And after turning I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the midst of the lampstands I saw someone [q]like the Son of Man, dressed in a robe reaching to His feet, and with a golden sash wrapped around His chest.(F) 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, [glistening white] like snow; and His [all-seeing] eyes were [flashing] like a flame of fire [piercing into my being].(G) 15 His feet were like burnished [white-hot] bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was [powerful] like the sound of many waters.(H) 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword [of judgment]; and His face [reflecting His majesty and the [r]Shekinah glory] was like the sun shining in [all] its power [at midday].(I)
17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. And He placed His right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last [absolute Deity, the Son of God],(J) 18 and the Ever-living One [living in and beyond all time and space]. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of [absolute control and victory over] death and of Hades (the realm of the dead). 19 So write the things [s]which you have seen [in the vision], and the things [t]which are [now happening], and the things [u]which will take place after these things. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels ([v]divine messengers) of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Message to Ephesus
2 “To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [w]Ephesus write:
“These are the words of the One who holds [firmly] the seven stars [which are the angels or messengers of the seven churches] in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands (the seven churches):
2 ‘I know [x]your deeds and your toil, and your patient endurance, and that you cannot tolerate those who are evil, and have tested and critically appraised those who call themselves apostles (special messengers, personally chosen representatives, of Christ), and [in fact] are not, and have found them to be liars and impostors; 3 and [I know that] you [who believe] are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name’s sake, and that you have not grown weary [of being faithful to the truth]. 4 But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me]. 5 So remember the heights from which you have fallen, and repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will] and do the works you did at first [when you first knew Me]; otherwise, I will visit you and remove your lampstand (the church, its impact) from its place—unless you repent. 6 Yet you have this [to your credit], that you hate the works and corrupt teachings of the [y]Nicolaitans [that mislead and delude the people], which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who [z]overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant [the privilege] to eat [the fruit] from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’(K)
Message to Smyrna
8 “And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [aa]Smyrna write:
“These are the words of the First and the Last [absolute Deity, the Son of God] who died and came to life [again]:(L)
9 ‘I know your suffering and your poverty (but you are rich), and how you are blasphemed and slandered by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan [they are Jews only by blood, and do not believe and truly honor the God whom they claim to worship]. 10 Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. Be aware that the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested [in your faith], and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful to the point of death [if you must die for your faith], and I will give you the crown [consisting] of life.(M) 11 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will not be hurt by the second death ([ab]the lake of fire).’(N)
Message to Pergamum
12 “And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [ac]Pergamum write:
“These are the words of Him who has and wields the sharp two-edged sword [in judgment]:
13 ‘I know where you dwell, [a place] where Satan sits enthroned. Yet you are holding fast to My name, and you did not deny [ad]My faith even in the days of [ae]Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed (martyred) among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some [among you] who are holding to the [corrupt] teaching of Balaam, who taught [af]Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, [enticing them] to eat things that had been sacrificed to idols and to commit [acts of sexual] [ag]immorality.(O) 15 You also have some who in the same way are holding to the teaching of the [ah]Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, your sinful behavior—seek God’s will]; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war and fight against them with the sword of My mouth [in judgment]. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], to him I will give [the privilege of eating] some of the [ai]hidden manna, and I will give him a [aj]white stone with a new name engraved on the stone which no one knows except the one who receives it.’(P)
Message to Thyatira
18 “And to the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [ak]Thyatira write:
“These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes [that flash] like a flame of fire [in righteous judgment], and whose feet are like burnished [white-hot] bronze:(Q)
19 ‘I know your deeds, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are more numerous and greater than the first. 20 But I have this [charge] against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and she teaches and misleads My bond-servants so that they commit [acts of sexual] immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols.(R) 21 I gave her time to repent [to change her inner self and her sinful way of thinking], but she has no desire to repent of her immorality and refuses to do so. 22 [al]Listen carefully, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her [I will bring] into great anguish, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children (followers) with [am]pestilence [thoroughly annihilating them], and all the churches will know [without any doubt] that I am He who searches the [an]minds and hearts [the innermost thoughts, purposes]; and I will give to each one of you [a reward or punishment] according to your deeds.(S) 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not explored and known the [ao]depths of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you, 25 except to hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 And he who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] and he who keeps My deeds [doing things that please Me] until the [very] end, to him I will give authority and power over the nations;(T) 27 and he shall shepherd and rule them with a rod of iron, as the earthen pots are broken in pieces, as I also have received authority [and power to rule them] from My Father;(U) 28 and I will give him the [ap]Morning Star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Message to Sardis
3 “To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in [aq]Sardis write:
“These are the words of Him who has [ar]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].(V) 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 [as]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:(W)
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.(X) 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.(Y) 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.(Z) 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 [at]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.(AA) 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 [au]Laodicea write:
“These are the words of the Amen, the trusted and faithful and true Witness, the [av]Beginning and Origin of God’s creation:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are [aw]neither cold (invigorating, refreshing) nor hot (healing, therapeutic); I wish that you were [ax]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],(AB) 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].(AC) 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.(AD) 22 He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Scene in Heaven
4 After this I looked, and behold, [ay]a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a [war] trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 2 At once I was in [special communication with] the Spirit; and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne.(AE) 3 And He who sat there appeared like [the crystalline sparkle of] [az]a jasper stone and [the fiery redness of] a sardius stone, and encircling the throne there was a rainbow that looked like [the color of an] emerald.(AF) 4 Twenty-four [other] thrones surrounded the throne; and seated on these thrones were [ba]twenty-four elders dressed in white clothing, with crowns of gold on their heads.
The Throne and Worship of the Creator
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning and [rumbling] sounds and peals of thunder. Seven lamps of fire were burning in front of the throne, which are [bb]the seven Spirits of God;(AG) 6 and in front of the throne there was something like a sea or large expanse of glass, like [the clearest] crystal. In the center and around the throne were four living [bc]creatures who were full of eyes in front and behind [seeing everything and knowing everything that is around them].(AH) 7 [bd]The first living creature was like a lion, the second creature like a calf (ox), the third creature had the face of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.(AI) 8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes all over and within [underneath their wings]; and day and night they never stop saying,
“Holy, holy, holy [is the] Lord God, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all], who was and who is and who is to come [the unchanging, eternal God].”(AJ)
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanksgiving to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,(AK) 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they throw down their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they exist, and were created and brought into being.”(AL)
The Scroll with Seven Seals
5 I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, closed and sealed with seven seals.(AM) 2 And I saw a strong angel announcing with a loud voice, “Who is worthy [having the authority and virtue] to open the scroll and to [be]break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] was able to open the scroll or look into it. 4 And I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. 5 Then one of the [twenty-four] elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look closely, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome and conquered! He can open the scroll and [break] its seven seals.”(AN)
6 And there [bf]between the throne (with the four living creatures) and among the elders I saw a Lamb (Christ) standing, [bearing scars and wounds] as though it had been slain, with seven horns (complete power) and with seven eyes (complete knowledge), which are [bg]the seven Spirits of God who have been sent [on duty] into all the earth.(AO) 7 And He came and [bh]took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb (Christ), each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints (God’s people). 9 And they sang a new song [of glorious redemption], saying,
“Worthy and deserving are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.(AP)
“You have made them to be a kingdom [of royal subjects] and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”(AQ)
Angels Exalt the Lamb
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and [the voice] of the living creatures and the elders; and they numbered myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (innumerable),(AR) 12 saying in a loud voice,
“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
13 And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together],
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”(AS)
14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever and ever].
- Revelation 1:1 The God-given disclosures contained in this book relate to both Christ and future events.
- Revelation 1:3 This is the first of the seven promised blessings (beatitudes) of the Revelation. See also 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14.
- Revelation 1:4 John and his brother James were among the first apostles chosen by Jesus, and were the sons of Zebedee and Salome. In addition to the Revelation, John wrote the Gospel and the three letters that bear his name.
- Revelation 1:4 The Roman province of Asia (now western Turkey) was formed in 129 b.c.
- Revelation 1:4 Like Paul, the apostle John takes the standard Jewish greeting of “Peace [Heb shalom] to you” and modifies it by adding grace, without which no one could obtain peace with God.
- Revelation 1:4 A literal translation, perhaps referring to the perfect fullness of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
- Revelation 1:5 Lit the witness, the faithful.
- Revelation 1:5 Jesus was not the first person to be brought back to life, since He raised others from the dead (the most notable being Lazarus, John 11), but they had to experience death again. Jesus is the first to be restored to life with a glorified (immortal, everlasting) body, never again to die. The word Firstborn may point not only to Jesus’ own resurrection but also to His divine power to resurrect others. The Firstborn (preeminent) is given power over all things.
- Revelation 1:5 Some manuscripts use “freed” (lusanti) while others use “washed” (lousanti). Either reading conveys a similar theological conclusion: Jesus has taken away our sins by His blood.
- Revelation 1:6 All Christians become priests to God in order to offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet 2:5) and proclaim His praises (1 Pet 2:9), and they will reign with Christ in the Millennium (20:6).
- Revelation 1:7 Lit Yes, amen.
- Revelation 1:8 An expression of God’s absolute supremacy over all things.
- Revelation 1:9 I.e. persecution because of one’s faith.
- Revelation 1:10 Or spirit. The Greek wording is not decisive, so John could be referring either to being in special communion with the Holy Spirit, or to being in a trance-like state in his own spirit like that experienced by Peter at Joppa (cf Acts 10:10, 11).
- Revelation 1:10 The early church used this term to refer to Sunday, the day of Jesus’ resurrection. The term Kyriake is also the regular word for Sunday in modern Greek.
- Revelation 1:11 These were actual churches in Asia Minor (now western Turkey), and in John’s time there would have been only one church body in each of the cities. They are mentioned in the order in which they would be visited by a messenger traveling northward on the imperial road from Ephesus to Laodicea.
- Revelation 1:13 Or like a son of man. The phrase is a translation of a Hebrew idiom which refers to a man, and John could simply be describing his first impression. But since this proves to be a vision of Christ (v 18), John probably is referring to Him by the title that Jesus so often applied to Himself, a title originating in the Messianic prophecy of Daniel.
- Revelation 1:16 The visible, divine Presence.
- Revelation 1:19 I.e. the vision of ch 1.
- Revelation 1:19 I.e. the events of the present moment (chs 2; 3).
- Revelation 1:19 I.e. the events to come in chs 4-22, after the messages to the churches in chs 2; 3.
- Revelation 1:20 The Greek word for “messenger” is aggelos. When the word is referring to a heavenly being, it is usually not translated, but rather transliterated as “angel”; that is, the Greek letters are converted to their English equivalents, based on the sound of the Greek word. When the word is referring to a human, it is instead translated as “messenger” or the equivalent. So whether “angel” or “messenger” is used depends on the context.
- Revelation 2:1 Ephesus, the largest city in Roman-controlled Asia Minor, developed into a major trade center because of its access to the Aegean Sea. It was the primary center for the worship of the goddess Artemis (Diana). The Temple of Artemis, the largest building in ancient times, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The open-air theatre in Ephesus could accommodate 25,000 spectators and was used for both drama and gladiatorial combat.
- Revelation 2:2 Here through 3:18, “your” and “you” are in the singular, referring to the angel of each church. Much of what is said is rebuke and admonishment, so if the angels are heavenly beings, they may serve in some way as representatives of the sinful people in their churches. Jewish tradition maintained that every nation and individual has a guardian angel, and that when God is about to punish a nation, He first punishes its angel. There is even a story of Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, being rebuked by God for the sins committed in the time of Ezekiel. So the original readers of Revelation might have assumed that the angels here are the guardian angels of the individual churches, sharing responsibility for the actions of the members.
- Revelation 2:6 There is scant information about the cult of the Nicolaitans, but it appears they adopted a syncretistic worship, combining Christianity and idolatry. They may have held heretical views similar to those mentioned in vv 14 and 20.
- Revelation 2:7 The definition of one who overcomes is recorded in 1 John 5:5.
- Revelation 2:8 In ancient times Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey) was a beautiful, cosmopolitan city. Located on the Aegean coast, it vied with Ephesus and Pergamum in importance in Asia Minor. It was closely identified with Rome and the cult of emperor worship. Smyrna was later the home of Polycarp, the great Christian church leader who, at the age of eighty-six, was burned at the stake for his refusal to worship the Roman emperor.
- Revelation 2:11 The Valley of Hinnom located south of Jerusalem was the place where garbage burned continuously. Often regarded in ancient times as symbolic of hell (the lake of fire), reserved for the wicked. Paradise or Abraham’s bosom (cf Luke 16:22) was the place reserved for the good in anticipation of heaven. Mentioned in Matt 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6.
- Revelation 2:12 Pergamum (modern Bergama, Turkey) was built on a promontory about sixteen miles from the Aegean Sea. It was famous as a worship center for many pagan gods including Zeus (Jupiter, king of gods), Dionysus (Bacchus, god of wine and intoxication), and Asklepios (god of healing). The enormous altar dedicated to Zeus is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Pergamum also had an important temple dedicated to the worship of Caesar. Refusal to take part in the imperial cult was considered treason. A culturally sophisticated city as well as a center for pagan worship, Pergamum’s library, believed to contain over 200,000 volumes, was second only to the Library of Alexandria.
- Revelation 2:13 I.e. your faith in Me.
- Revelation 2:13 Antipas was a pastor or leader of the church at Pergamum.
- Revelation 2:14 The king of Moab in the time of the exodus, who hired Balaam to curse Israel.
- Revelation 2:14 Pagan worship often included the use of temple prostitutes who served as “priestesses.”
- Revelation 2:15 See note v 6.
- Revelation 2:17 This probably refers to the pot of manna placed in the Ark of the Covenant by Moses (Ex 16:33; Heb 9:4). Manna was a food supernaturally provided to Israel by God during their wanderings in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt.
- Revelation 2:17 White stones were sometimes used as tickets of admission to public assemblies. Here the white stone may symbolize admission to the Messiah’s banquet.
- Revelation 2:18 Thyatira (modern Akhisar, Turkey) was famous for its dyeing and indigo trade. It was the home of Lydia, the seller of purple fabrics, who was converted under the ministry of Paul (Acts 16:14). Located in a valley, midway between Pergamum and Sardis, it was originally established as a military base by one of the generals in the army of Alexander the Great.
- Revelation 2:22 Lit Behold.
- Revelation 2:23 Lit death.
- Revelation 2:23 Lit kidneys, i.e. inner man. In Jewish thought, the kidneys were considered a source of wisdom (cf Ps 16:7).
- Revelation 2:24 I.e. participated in and experienced evil.
- Revelation 2:28 In 22:16 this expression designates Christ as the true Messiah, the root and the descendant of David. Here, the gift probably is the privilege of knowing Christ at a much higher level (see Phil 3:8).
- 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.
- Revelation 4:1 This chapter begins the revelation to John of future events.
- Revelation 4:3 In antiquity this name was given to various kinds and colors of precious stones, while the sardius was a reddish stone. The gems are indicative of royalty.
- Revelation 4:4 The twenty-four elders may indicate the twelve tribes of Israel together with the twelve apostles, representing redeemed humanity. Others say the twenty-four may be an angelic order of worship akin to the Aaronic priests.
- Revelation 4:5 See note 1:4.
- Revelation 4:6 Some scholars identify these creatures as cherubim glorifying God and guarding the throne of heaven; others suggest the creatures represent God’s attributes (especially His omniscience and omnipresence).
- Revelation 4:7 Jewish tradition suggests that during the exodus the four standards of the tribal triads depicted these images: the triad led by Judah, the lion; the triad led by Reuben, the man; the triad led by Ephraim, the ox; the triad led by Dan, the eagle.
- Revelation 5:2 When the seals are broken, the consummation of history, focused in the judgments, is unveiled.
- Revelation 5:6 The Lamb is Jesus Christ, who stands “between,” in other words both as one with God upon the throne and as one with humanity around the throne.
- Revelation 5:6 See note 1:4.
- Revelation 5:7 Lit has taken. This is the Greek perfect tense, which John sometimes uses to emphasize the lasting significance of an action or event.