The Revelation of Jesus Christ
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, 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]. [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
[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, 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)— 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. 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.
“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].”
The Patmos Vision
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. 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, 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.”
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And after turning I saw seven golden lampstands; 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. 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]. His feet were like burnished [white-hot] bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was [powerful] like the sound of many waters. 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].
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], 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). 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. 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.
- 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.