The Revelation of Jesus Christ
(1) The revelation (apocalypse) of Jesus Christ that God gave Jesus to show his servants the things that must happen soon. Jesus made them known by sending his angel to his servant John (the apostle John), (2) who testifies to God’s word and the witness of Jesus Christ regarding everything he saw in visions (all the visions of Revelation were possibly experienced by John on a single day; see Revelation 1:10). (3) Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and obey everything that is written in it—because the time is near!
(4) From John, to the Seven Churches in the Roman province of Asia (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea): Grace and peace to you from the one who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits (the sevenfold Spirit, referring to the Holy Spirit) before God’s throne in heaven; (5) and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over all the kings of the earth. To Jesus, who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (6) and made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father—to him be majestic glory and power for ever and ever! Amen (let it be).
(7) Look! Jesus is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him (hung him on the cross), and all the peoples on earth will mourn over him. So will it be (this will certainly come to pass)! Amen (let it be).
(8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the One who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty!”
John on the Island of Patmos
(9) I, John, your brother and partner in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was (probably temporarily exiled) on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and my witness of Jesus. (Patmos was located in the Aegean Sea, around 40 miles/64 km west of modern Turkey).
(10) On one Sunday—the Lord’s Day—I was in the Holy Spirit and I heard behind me a loud voice that sounded like a trumpet, saying, (11) “Write in a book (on a scroll) the visions you see and send it to the Seven Churches in the Roman province of Asia: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea” (all seven were located in the western region of modern Turkey, and their ruins can be visited today).
The Exalted Jesus Christ Appears to John
(12) Then I turned around to see whose voice was speaking to me, and when I turned I saw a vision of seven gold lampstands. (13) And in the middle of the lampstands was someone like a son of man (see Daniel 7:13-14). He was clothed with a robe flowing down to his feet and a golden band wrapped around his chest. (14) His hair was as white as wool and snow, and his eyes were like a blazing flame of fire. (15) His feet were like polished bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing rivers. (16) He held seven stars in his right hand, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, two-edged sword. His appearance was like the sun shining in its full brilliance.
(17) And when I saw the vision of his appearance, I fell at his feet like a dead man. But then he reached down and placed 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 was dead, but now I am alive for ever and ever. I hold the keys of death and hades (the realm of the dead).
(19) “Therefore, write down the visions you saw: The things that are now (what is) and the things that are certain to take place after this. (20) This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the Seven Churches, and the seven lampstands are the Seven Churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”