Revelation

1 This is the Revelation [apokalypsis]

'Revelation' and 'Apocalypse' come from the Latin and Greek words for 'unveiling'. The latter gave its name to a whole class of Jewish religious writings which appeared chiefly between 200 BC and AD 100, and is known as 'apocalyptic literature' or 'apocalyptic'. The Bible contains examples of this, particularly in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show [deiknymi] to his servants [doulois] the things which must happen soon, which he sent [apostellō] and made known [sēmainō] by his angel [angelou] to his servant [doulō], John, 2who testified [martyreō] to God's word [logon], and of the testimony [martyrian] of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw. 3Blessed [makarios] is he who reads [anaginōskō]

What we should try to visualise is a congregation different to the ones to which we belong: much nearer to John's ways of thinking and speaking, some of them able to hear in their mind's ear the very lilt of his voice; more used to the apocalyptic style of writing; coming more freshly and avidly to the study of the Scriptures; untrammelled by nineteen centuries of discordant interpretation of John's letter.

and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand. 4John [Iōannēs]

John had been captured in Ephesus and was taken hostage to Rome where he was fed poison but survived. Later he was put in boiling oil but again miraculously survived. He also survived the hard circumstances of the quarry on the island of Patmos. When the Emperor Domitian died he returned to Ephesus to lead the churches there. He died at the age of one hundred and ten.

, to the seven assemblies [ekklēsiais]

To the Christian churches in seven towns of Asia Minor Revelation was sent as a circular letter, to be read aloud in their meetings as a message directed to the needs of first-century people. The churches had been established long enough to display between them a full range of spiritual conditions, from tenacious devotion to decadent laxity. The early Christians faced many trials through the power of the Roman Empire. The growing practice of 'emperor worship' meant that an increasing number of them were required publicly to make the fateful choice between Caesar and Christ.

that are in Asia: Grace [charis] to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne; 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful [pistos] witness [martys]

Although the word for witness is the root for our word 'martyr', the basic thought is not the death he dies so much as the testimony he bears.

, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler [archōn] of the kings of the earth. To him who loves [agapaō] us, and washed [lytroomai] us from our sins by his blood; 6and he made us to be a Kingdom [basileian], priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen [Amēn]. 7Look [idou], he is coming [erchomai]

Cf. 22:20 where the same word is used.

with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen [Amēn]. 8"I am the Alpha [Α] and the Omega [Ω]," says the Lord God [kyrios; Heb. Adonai]

"God of Heaven's armies."

, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty [pantokratōr]." 9I John, your brother [adelphos] and partner [synkoinōnos] with you in oppression [thlipsei], Kingdom [basileia], and perseverance [hypomonē] in Christ Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos [Patmō]

Meaning 'resin', an volcanic island in the Aegean Sea. It is desolate and infertile and has no fresh water springs, the islanders relying on saving rainwater which falls in the rainy season to last them through the dry summers. In the winter Patmos is cold and bleak. During the Roman Empire Patmos was a place of exile for criminals, who were forced to work in stone pits. Only the most unwanted soldiers were stationed there, and would inevitably take out their grudges on the prisoners. John was imprisoned there under the rule of the Emperor Domitianus who also exiled his niece Flavius Domitilla to the island of Fontia in Italy when she became a believer and executed her husband Clement. The Ephesian church sent out Prochorus to Patmos to encourage John in his imprisonment. According to the oral literature of the Greek Orthodox Church, John dictated his revelation to Prochorus.

because of God's Word [logon] and the testimony [martyrian] of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit [en pneumati] on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet 11saying, "What you see, write in a book [biblion] and send to the seven assemblies [ekklēsiais]: to Ephesus [Epheson]

Means 'patience'.

, Smyrna [Smyrnan]

'Myrrh'

, Pergamum [Pergamon], Thyatira [Thyateira], Sardis [Sardeis], Philadelphia [Philadelpheian], and to Laodicea [Laodikeian]." 12I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. 13And among the lampstands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters. 16He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun [hēlios]

Infinitely more terrible than the pagan sun-god Apollo, whose temple at Thyatira was famous.

shining at its brightest. 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, "Don't be afraid [phobeomai]. I am the first [prōtos] and the last [eschatos], 18and the Living one. I was dead, and see [idou], I am alive forevermore. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades [hadou; Heb. Sh'ol]. 19Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter; 20the mystery [mystērion] of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands [lychnias; Heb. menorah]. The seven stars are the angels [angeloi] of the seven assemblies [ekklēsiōn]. The seven lampstands are seven assemblies [ekklēsiai].

2 1"To the angel [angelō] of the assembly in Ephesus [Ephesō ekklēsias]

If the traditions about John are correct, his pulse would have quickened as he heard that the first of the seven Letters was destined for the church at Ephesus, for there, he was for many years bishop. As might be expected, the character of the church came to reflect the character of its leader. The two sides of the John of the NT - an apostle of love, yet a 'son of thunder' - are seen again, in two stories that have been handed down concerning his later years at Ephesus: on the one hand his refusal to stay under the same roof as the heretic Cerinthus, and on the other hand his reduction of all his message to a sermon of one sentence, which in extreme old age he used to repeat at every church meeting: 'Little children, love one another'. We can tell from Acts and Ephesians that the early church there was likewise characterized by both love and zeal. As the city of Ephesus claimed to be the 'metropolis', or mother city, of the whole of Asia, so its church could claim by her evangelistic and pastoral concern to be the mother church of that province, and Paul could write of her 'love toward all the saints' (Eph 1:15). According to a letter written to the Ephesians not long afterwards by Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, the report that has reached him is of a church so well taught in the gospel that no unorthodox sect can gain a hearing among her members, a church which has taken seriously the warnings of Paul at the time of his last contact with her leaders (Ac 20:28-31; Eph 5:3-17; Ignatius, To the Ephesians 6, 9. But church and city together have vanished; all that remains is the place-name Ayasaluk (from hagios theologos, 'saint-theologian'), the name of the fifth-century church built there and dedicated to John. Ephesus lies between the Koressos Mountains and the river Cayster which flows northwards to form the Meander and the Hermus. It was the largest and most important city in the Roman province of Asia and a world-class city of trade. The Agora, opposite the theatre on the skirts of Mount Pion, was the largest market in the east for food, perfumes, expensive clothes, gold, precious stones, pottery and slaves. Merchants from Syria, India, Arabia and Egypt traded here on ground paved with marble and surrounded by columns. Ephesus was an extremely wealthy city. It featured a theatre with a capacity for 25,000; a stadium, Odeum, gymnasium, baths, library (with its statues of the goddesses for wisdom, knowledge, friendship and understanding) and schools. Every woman dreamt of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ephesus, the city of women of which the goddess Artemis was patron. The modern-day sights at Ephesus are: Mary's house, Luke's grave, the ruins of the old city (walls, Vedius Bath and market place), odium, prytaneion (town hall), baths, mosaic walkway, celsus library, theatre, harbour, Mary's church, stadium and gymnasium, Church of the Seven Sleepers and the Temple of Artemis and St John's Basilica.

write: "He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lampstands says [legei] these things: 2"I know your works [erga], and your toil and perseverance [hypomonēn], and that you can't tolerate [bastazō] evil men, and have tested [peirazō] those who call themselves apostles [apostolous], and they are not, and found them false [pseudeis]. 3You have perseverance [hypomonēn] and have endured [bastazō] for my name's sake, and have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you left your first love [agapēn]. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent [metanoeō] and do the first works [erga]; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent [metanoeō]. 6But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies [ekklēsiais]. To him who overcomes [nikaō] I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise [paradeisō] of my God. 8"To the angel [angelō] of the assembly in Smyrna [Smyrnē ekklēsias]

Located where the modern city of Izmir now stands, the second largest city in Asiatic Turkey. Its bay formed a natural port, enabling the city to thrive as a centre for trade and as a stopping-off point. Smyrna is quoted in glowing terms by the Ancient Greek writers such as Lucian, Momsen, Aristides, Cicero, Strabo and Apollonius. Smyrna had a temple to Nemesis and one for Dionysus built on Mount Pagos, the high point of the city. Later these temples were accompanied by temples to Zeus and Kybele, mother goddess of Anatolia. Worship of the Roman Cult in Asia Minor began in Smyrna and Smyrna became one of Rome's most important political centres. Games, contests and theatricals were performed on Mount Pagos. Smyrna was the birth-place of Homer, whose 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey' generated revenue for local residents. The Romans developed sanctuaries along the river banks to Zeus, Jupiter, Kybele and Diana. Dionysus and Bacchus as gods of wine were also worshipped and Smyrna was a world famous producer of wines (oinos, mixture, because the wine was watered down). Pramnian wine, traditionally only drank by heroes, was made, according to Pliny, right next to the temple of the Mother goddess Kybele. The beauty of this city, which rivalled Ephesus, was the beauty of a resurrection. Seven hundred years before, old Smyrna had been destroyed, and had lain in ruins for three centuries. The enemy facing the early church in Smyrna was the local Jewish community who possibly bled this church of its financial resources and slandered them (for 'Satan' means 'slanderer') so as to lead to their imprisonment and death.

write: "The first [protos] and the last [eschatos], who was dead, and has come to life says [legei] these things: 9"I know your works, oppression [thlipsin], and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy [blasphēmian] of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10Don't be afraid [phobeomai] of the things which you are about to suffer. Look [idou], the devil [diabolos]

'Accuser.'

is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested [peirazō]

The Stoic Philosopher Emperor Marcus Aurelius (160-180 AD), though once near to believing, went on to persecute believers terribly. He had them whipped then thrown in the sea or impaled on a sword stuck in the ground, and then he had them thrown to wild beasts. Germanicus' courage while being mauled to death by wild animals led a crowd in the stadium to start opposing such evil. The martyrdom in Smyrna of Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, made an unprecedented impact on the growth of the Smyrnaean church.

; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful [pistos] to death, and I will give you the crown [stephanon] of life. 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies [ekklēsiais]. He who overcomes [nikaō] won't be harmed by the second death. 12"To the angel [angelō] of the assembly in Pergamum [Pergamō ekklēsias]

Means 'double wedding' or 'marriage mountain' and dates back to the Trojan War. It was named after Pergamos, the second son of Neoptolemus and Andromache (Hector's widow). The city, 90 km north of Smyrna, is situated on a hill 390m high, giving it natural defences against invaders. Impressively situated on top of the steep slope of the hill is the Acropolis. There are temples to six Greek gods on the summit, most importantly the Altar of Zeus (Latin 'Jupiter'), father of all Greek gods, whose birthplace in mythology was here (now reconstructed in Berlin). Built into the steep hillside is a stunning amphitheatre with seating for 10, 000. Water was efficiently piped via a terracotta channel from Mt Madra 44 km away. Also at Pergamum is the Asklepion (after the god of healing) one of the most famous hospitals of the ancient world and workplace of Hypocrates. Inscriptions there provide us with knowledge of medical practices of the time. There are engravings of serpents in the rocks there, symbols of new life and recovery. The Pergamene library had a capacity of 200,000 written scrolls but was prevented from outstripping Alexander the Great's library after Egypt banned the export of papyrus. Hence the town gave its name to 'parchment', the world's first paper made from calf and lamb skin and used for the writing of the NT (cf. 2 Tim 4:13). Pergamum was not a centre of trade or industry but of politics. Here was where the Roman imperial power had its seat of government until it was transferred to Ephesus. There also was built the earliest temple for the state-sponsored worship of the Emperor. For the Christians at Pergamum, Satan was not just a slanderer working through a group of ill-disposed Jews, but 'ruler of this world' (Jn 14:30).

write: "He who has the sharp two-edged sword says [legei] these things: 13"I know your works and where you dwell [katoikeō], where Satan's throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn't deny my faith in the days of Antipas [Antipas] my witness, my faithful one [ho martus mou ho pistos mou], who was killed among you, where Satan dwells [katoikeō]. 14But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw [ballō] a stumbling block [skandalon] before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality [porneusai]. 15So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise. 16Repent [metanoeō] therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies [ekklēsiais]. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone [psēphon]

'Pebble.' Since the context speaks of feasts of idol-meat and the feast of manna which God spread for Israel in the desert, perhaps the reference to a white stone is to an ancient use of square stones as tickets of admission to some public entertainment. So the promise of eternal life which ends each of the first two Letters is repeated here in terms appropriate to the Christian who will not compromise with worldly pleasures and idol-meat banquets. Christ gives that man a personal invitation to the true pleasures of the banquet of heaven, which are, in fact, himself, the true manna.

, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it. 18"To the angel [angelō] of the assembly in Thyatira [Thyateirois ekklēsias]

'Tiya's city'; tira meaning 'city' and Tiya being the daughter of one of Alexander the Great's adviser's daughters. Thyatira is between Pergamum and Sardis on fertile land bordering the river Rukos. The city had no natural defences but came to be a garrison city guarding Pergamum. There was trade in dying textiles (cf. Homer Iliad IV.4), cotton and wool weaving, leather, bronze helmets, slaves and hand crafts. Each occupation had a trade union, the strongest one being for textiles. Most textile workers were Jewish, one of them being Lydia. They specialised in producing fabrics with a purple dye, possibly obtained from shells bred in the Mediterranean or perhaps from the root of the local Madler tree. Being so expensive, purple cloth symbolised wealth, power and royalty. The people of Thyatira worshipped the gods Asklepion, Dionysus and Artemis. Every trade union was connected in some way with the Temple of Tyrimnas, a brave warrior with a two-edged axe. Levies were raised by the unions and offered to the temple. Meat from sacrifices made was eaten and drunken parties were held involving immorality with the temple prostitutes. For a believer, it was virtually impossible to make a business succeed without belonging to a union and to belong to a union without compromising.

write: "The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass [chalkolibanō]

Unlike the Roman deities and Zeus' son Apollo who were worshipped in this area, for bronze symbolised judgement and holiness. Bronze was one of the many items traded in Thyatira.

, says [legei] these things: 19"I know your works [erga], your love [agapēn], faith [pistin], service [diakonian], patient endurance [hypomonēn], and that your last works are more than the first. 20But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants [doulous] to commit sexual immorality [porneusai], and to eat things sacrificed to idols.21I gave her time to repent [metanoeō], but she refuses to repent [metanoeō] of her sexual immorality [porneias]. 22See [idou], I will throw her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great oppression [thlipsin megalēn], unless they repent of her works [ergōn]. 23I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies [ekklēsiai] will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds [erga]. 24But to you I say, to the rest who are in Thyatira [Thyateirois], as many as don't have this teaching, who don't know what some call 'the deep [bathea]

It has been discovered that for a small town, Thyatira had a remarkable number of trade guilds, and many of the Christians there would have been involved in membership of them, with the attendant problems of conscience (v 20b).

things of Satan,' to you I say, I am not putting any other burden on you. 25Nevertheless, hold that which you have firmly until I come. 26He who overcomes [nikaō], and he who keeps my works [tēreō ta erga] to the end [telous], to him I will give authority over the nations [ethnōn]. 27He will rule [poimainō] them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father: 28and I will give him the morning star [astera]

People believed that the evening star was made up of their ancestors. Here the morning star symbolises the beginning of life.

. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies [ekklēsiais].

3 1"And to the angel [angelō] of the assembly in Sardis [Sardesin ekklēsias]

Sardis means 'left over' in Greek. Sardis became the strongest city in Asia Minor and was the capital of the Lydian kingdom which, intersecting with the kingdoms in Greece and Persia, was often at war. There was a citadel at Sardis, which was never taken by assault and thought to be impregnable. It was fortified by strong walls except for one part on the south which was protected by a natural cliff. But more than once the city was captured by stealth. Thales, the father of Greek philosophy, was born in Sardis. In addition to philosophy, the city was known as a place of wealth, law and music. The people living there would have been used to banqueting, festivals, beauty contests, and music events. Wool, silk, gold and jewellery were traded here but the kingdom's greatest contribution to civilisation was the introduction of gold and silver coins by King Croesus, produced from a mine in the river Pactolus. On the coins is the relief of a lion's head, symbol of Sardis. This was where Artemis (Kybele), goddess of abundance, was worshipped. Jews in Sardis were permitted to practice their own religion in the reign of Caesar. Before the church at Sardis was scattered by an invasion of Goths, Artemidorus, the church leader there, attended the Nicean Council in 325.

write: "He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: "I know your works [erga], that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up [ginomai grēgorōn], and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God. 3Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent [metanoeō]. If therefore you won't watch [grēgoreō], I will come as a thief [kleptēs]

Perhaps alluding to the time when the Persians exploited the break in the city walls after noticing a defending soldier climb down the cliff to retrieve his helmet. Sardis had strong defences but was several times overcome by stealth.

, and you won't know what hour I will come upon you. 4Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis [Sardesin] that did not defile their garments. They will walk [peripateō] with me in white [leukois]

Such as the dress a senior Roman would wear on a holiday or religious day. Cf. Rev 14:4; 1 Cor 8:7.

, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes [nikaō] will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life [biblou tēs zōēs], and I will confess [omologeō] his name before my Father, and before his angels [angelōn]. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies [ekklēsiais]. 7"To the angel [angelō] of the assembly in Philadelphia [Philadelpheia ekklēsias]

Means 'the love of brothers' or 'brotherly love' and is thought to originate from two brothers Attalus II and Eumenes II; Attalus rejecting the offer of being made king by the Romans while Eumenes was at war. The old city lies about 40km SE of Sardis and is built on the skirts of the Tmolos Mountains, an area susceptible to earthquakes. Wine growing has always been important in this region. The god of wine, Dionysus, was worshipped there in ancient times. In 105 AD, ten years after Revelation was written, Ignatius, who was soon to be martyred, wrote a letter from Troy encouraging the church of Philadelphia. Hetimasius represented Philadelphia at the Nicean Council in 325. At the later Council at Ephesus in 431 Philadelphia supported Nestor who was against the Alexandrian Cyril who claimed that Mary was the Mother of God.

write: "He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things: 8"I know your works [erga] (look [idou], I have set before you an open door [thyran]

Philadephia was the gateway to Rome, passing Sardis, Pergamum and Troy.

, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word [logon], and didn't deny my name. 9Look [idou], I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. See [idou], I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know [ginōskō] that I have loved [agapaō] you. 10Because you kept [tēreō] my command [logon] to endure [hypomonēs], I also will keep [tēreō] you from the hour of testing, which is to come on the whole world [oikoumenēs], to test [peirazō] those who dwell [katoikeō] on the earth. 11I am coming quickly! Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown [stephanon]. 12He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar [stylon]

Perhaps no other city of Asia Minor suffered as much destruction from earthquakes as Philadephia. Every time there was an earthquake, the columns of marble supporting the buildings would be liable to collapse.

in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem [Hierousalēm]

In the third century the Philadelphian church became known for its belief in Montanism, one of the beliefs of which was that the New Jerusalem would descend from heaven and be built near Philadelphia.

, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. 13He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies [ekklēsiais]. 14"To the angel [angelō] of the assembly in Laodicea [Laodikeia ekklēsias]

Laodicea means 'the righteousness of the people', named after the wife of Antiochus II from the Seleucid royal family, Laodice, from the mid-third century BC. Laodicea, which lies in the valley of the river Lychus, has good soil. It is located on an important road that led from Ephesus to Syria. In Roman times, Laodicea prospered and became a commercial centre. There were banks there, and greed. Cicero mentions that the Laodiceans stole 9kg of gold the Jews had sent to Jerusalem. Despite earthquakes in 17 and 60 AD the city was able to carry on without any outside help. Laodicea was also famous for its medical knowledge. Carian, like Asklepion, the god of healing was worshipped here. Remedies were exported from Laodicea, the most famous being ointments for the ears and eyes. Coins have been found in Laodicea with the names of Zeuxis and Philaleths engraved on them. Remains of a theatre, stadium (330m long, complete with a roof and used for gladiatorial contests) and a temple dedicated to Zeus can be seen at Laodicea today. The Laodiceans worshipped a pantheon of gods, among them Dionysus, Hellios, Nemesis, Serapis, Mitras, Hera, Athena, Tyche, Aphrodite, Carion and the protecting god Laodis. Epaphras from the church in Colossae, began the work at Laodicea (Col 4:12-15). There was also someone there of the name Philemon. Paul's letter to the Laodiceans is lost. Persecution struck Laodicea between the second and fourth centuries. One church leader was arrested for demolishing a statue of Artemis and one of Apollo. He was given a reprieve for healing the Roman Captain Patrisius, who believed, but later was martyred for not worshipping the emperor. Nunechius in 325 represented the Laodicean church at the Council of Nicea.

write: "The Amen [amēn], the Faithful [pistos] and True Witness [martys], the Head [archē] of God's creation, says these things: 15"I know your works [erga], that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16So, because you are lukewarm [chliaros]

Lime-laden water flowed, tepid and sickly, from nearby springs. At the springs in Hieropolis the sulphuric water was hot, but by the time it reached Laodicea it was lukewarm. Aqueducts and pipes were used to carry the water from the springs but all too frequently they became calcified through limestone deposits and needed replacing. The river water that reached Laodicea was contaminated with dirty water from the wool mills and the waste and blood from animal sacrifices offered to the gods of healing on behalf of the sick. Anyone could get infections from bathing in this water (which only the locally produced salve would cure), or if not - an unsettled stomach.

, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit [emeō] you out of my mouth. 17Because you say, 'I am rich [plousios]

Laodicea was a banking centre and a textile town. Financiers, physicians, and clothing manufacturers were among the notable citizens of Laodicea.

, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;' and don't know [oida] that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 18I counsel you to buy [agorazō] from me gold refined [pyroomai] by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve [kollourion]

Laodicea was famous for the manufacture of eye ointment.

to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19As many as I love [phileō], I reprove [elegchō] and chasten [paideuō]. Be zealous therefore, and repent [metanoeō]. 20Look [idou], I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me. 21He who overcomes [nikaō], I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame [nikaō], and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies [ekklēsiais]."

4 1After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven [ouranō]

The Bible uses this word for (i) the region where the birds fly, and (ii) the region where the stars shine. But John's ascent is more akin to Paul's (2 Cor 12:2); the region where God is.

, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this." 2Immediately I was in the Spirit. Look [idou], there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne 3that looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. There was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald to look at. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones. On the thrones were twenty-four elders [presbyterous] sitting, dressed in white garments, with crowns of gold on their heads. 5Out of the throne proceed lightnings, sounds, and thunders. There were seven [hepta]

Sevens are found everywhere but cluster especially thickly in the chapters which describe OT religion - days and years, altars and sacrificial animals, sprinklings of water and oil and blood. The activities of man's basic function of life and his relationship to his Maker seem to go in sevens. The use of seven spreads to social relationships also: it is the root of the chief Hebrew word for swearing an oath, and thus mutual trust between man and man is also based on the same number. And of course seven-cycle vibrations are built into the world in which we live with a seven-day week appearing to be inviolable.

lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6Before the throne was something like a sea of glass [hyalinē]

In the Temple at Jerusalem was a 'sea' (a great bronze basin for ritual washing) and a seven-branched lampstand (v5; Ex 25:31 ff; 2 Ch 4:2-6).

, similar to crystal. In the midst of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures [zōa]

The word for creatures here is not to be confused with the different word for beasts such as in 13:1.

full of eyes before and behind. 7The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8The four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within. They have no rest day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty [pantokratōr; Heb. Adonai], who was and who is and who is to come!" 9When the living creatures give glory [doxan], honour [timēn], and thanks [eucharistian] to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders [presbyteroi] fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever, and throw their crowns [stephanous] before the throne, saying, 11"Worthy are you, our Lord [kyrie; Heb. Adonai Eloheynu]

'The LORD (Jehovah), our God.

and God, the Holy One, to receive the glory [doxan], the honour [timēn], and the power [dynamin], for you created all things, and because of your desire [thelēma] they existed, and were created!"

5 1I saw, in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a book [biblion] written inside and outside, sealed shut with seven seals. 2I saw a mighty angel [angelon] proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book [biblion], and to break its seals?" 3No one in heaven above, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book [biblion], or to look in it. 4And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look in it. 5One of the elders [presbyterōn] said to me, "Don't weep. See [idou], the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root [rhiza] of David, has overcome [nikaō]; he who opens the book [biblion] and its seven seals." 6I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders [presbyterōn], a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain [sphazō], having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7Then he came, and he took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders [presbyteroi] fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints [agiōn]. 9They sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the book [biblion], and to open its seals: for you were killed [sphazō], and bought us for God with your blood, out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, 10and made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign [basileuō] on earth." 11I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels [angelōn] around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders [presbyterōn]; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; 12saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed [sphazō] to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honour, glory, and blessing [eulogian]!" 13I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing [eulogia], the honour [timē], the glory [doxa], and the dominion [kratos], forever and ever [tous aiōnas tōn aiōnōn]! Amen [amēn]!" 14The four living creatures said, "Amen [Amēn]!" The elders [presbyteroi] fell down and worshiped [proskyneō].

6 1I saw that the Lamb opened one of the seven seals [sphragidōn], and I heard one of the four living creatures saying, as with a voice of thunder, "Come and see!" 2And there [idou], a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow. A crown [stephanos] was given to him, and he came forth conquering [nikaō], and to conquer [nikaō]. 3When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come!" 4Another came forth, a red horse. To him who sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill [sphattō]

'Slay' or 'butcher'.

one another. There was given to him a great sword [machaira megalē]

Could well mean a sacrificial knife.

. 5When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come and see!" And there [idou], a black horse, and he who sat on it had a balance in his hand. 6I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A choenix [choinix] of wheat for a denarius [dēnariou]

'A ration of corn for a day's wages' (JB). Good food (wheat, corn) is available at the price of a man's entire wages! He will have to be content with poorer fare (barley) if he is to feed his family as well as himself, and even that does not take into account the cost of clothing and shelter.

, and three choenix of barley for a denarius [dēnariou]! Don't damage the oil and the wine!" 7When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see!" 8And there [idou], a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. Hades [Hadēs; Heb. Sh'ol] followed with him. Authority [exousia] over one fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with famine, with death, and by the wild animals of the earth was given to him. 9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls [psychas] of those who had been killed [sphazō] for the Word [logon] of God, and for the testimony [martyrian] of the Lamb which they had. 10They cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, Master [despotēs], the holy and true, until you judge [krinō] and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11A long white robe was given to each of them. They were told that they should rest [anapauō] yet for a while, until their fellow servants [syndouloi] and their brothers [adelphoi], who would also be killed even as they were, should complete their course. 12I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became as blood. 13The stars of the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when it is shaken by a great wind. 14The sky was removed like a scroll when it is rolled up. Every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and free person, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. 16They told the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of his wrath [orgēs] has come; and who is able to stand?"

7 1After this, I saw four angels [angelous] standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. 2I saw another angel [angelon] ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels [angelois] to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea, 3saying, "Don't harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants [doulous] of our God on their foreheads!" 4I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel: 5of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand, of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9After these things I looked, and there [idou], a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches [phoinikes]

Used on occasions of festivity (cf. Lev 23:40, Neh 8:15). Kings were welcomed with palm branches; conquerors in Grecian games returned to their homes triumphantly waving palm branches in their hands.

in their hands. 10They cried with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation be to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11All the angels [angeloi] were standing around the throne, the elders [presbyterōn], and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before his throne, and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen [Amēn]! Blessing [eulogia], glory, wisdom, thanksgiving [eucharistia], honor, power, and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen [amēn]." 13One of the elders [presbyterōn] answered, saying to me, "These who are arrayed in white robes, who are they, and from where did they come?" 14I told him, "My lord, you know." He said to me, "These are those who came out of the great tribulation [thlipseōs]. They washed [plynō]

'Freed' is better attested and calls up the associations of the exodus - the death of the Passover lamb, and the rescue of Israel from Egypt.

their robes, and made them white in the Lamb's blood. 15Therefore they are before the throne of God, they serve [latreuō] him day and night in his temple [naō]

Not in the hieron, 'outer court', but in the 'innermost sanctuary' (noas).

. He who sits on the throne will spread his tabernacle [skēnōsei; Heb. Sh'khinah] over them. 16 They will never be hungry, neither thirsty any more; neither will the sun beat on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shepherds them, and leads them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

8 1When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour [hēmiōrion]

It is conceivable that silence would similarly be kept when the letter was being read aloud at the Asian church meeting: that as the reader described the opening of the seventh Seal, silence would have fallen there also, with the congregation lost in the glories of the previous chapter; the Trumpets perhaps postponed for the next Lord's-day reading.

. 2I saw the seven angels [angelous] who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3Another angel [angelos] came and stood over the altar [thysiastērion]

In the furnishing of the Temple, the altar of sacrifice and the altar of incense were separate, in contradistinction to the one altar here.

, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints [agiōn] on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints [agiōn], went up before God out of the angel's [angelou] hand. 5The angel [angelos] took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it on the earth. There followed thunders, sounds, lightnings, and an earthquake. 6The seven angels [angeloi] who had the seven trumpets [salpingas]

The sounding of trumpets might signalize a day of remembrance (Lv 23:24), or a triumph (Jos 6:4), or a coronation (1 Ki 1:34), or a warning (Je 4:5f). The variety of meanings is a warning not to be too predictive.

prepared themselves to sound. 7The first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. One third of the earth was burnt up, and one third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8The second angel [angelos] sounded, and something like a great burning mountain [oros]

The overthrow of Atlantis (an eruption of the volcanic Aegean island of Thera, C16 BC?) was to the readers of Revelation, a legendary and colossal disaster. There may have been extant reports of it as history, not fable, which would have given some conception of how a huge burning mountain might collapse into the sea. Moreover, they had in their time known the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius, whose disaster could have struck many of John's readers as retribution upon Pompeii and Herculaneum, nine years after Roman armies sacked Jerusalem. The smoke that went up symbolized the prayer of the of the people of God (v3; cf. Ps 74:7, 10).

was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood, 9and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died. One third of the ships were destroyed [diaphtheirō]. 10The third angel [angelos] sounded, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell on one third of the rivers, and on the springs of the waters. 11The name of the star is called "Wormwood" [Apsinthos]. One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter. 12The fourth angel [angelos] sounded, and one third of the sun was struck, and one third of the moon, and one third of the stars; so that one third of them would be darkened, and the day wouldn't shine for one third of it, and the night in the same way. 13I saw, and I heard an eagle [aetou]

The Bible does not distinguish between eagles and vultures (cf. Mt 24:28). This bird, warning of doom, my be a vulture circling over the dying body of mankind.

, flying in mid heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe! Woe! Woe for those who dwell on the earth, because of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels [angelōn], who are yet to sound!"

9 1The fifth angel [angelos] sounded, and I saw a star from the sky which had fallen to the earth. The key to the pit of the abyss [phreatos tēs abyssou] was given to him. 2He opened the pit of the abyss [abyssou], and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke from a burning furnace. The sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke from the pit [phreatos]. 3Then out of the smoke came forth locusts on the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4They were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those people who don't have God's seal [sphragida] on their foreheads. 5They were given power not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a person. 6In those days people will seek death, and will in no way find it. They will desire to die, and death will flee from them. 7The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for war. On their heads were something like golden crowns, and their faces were like people's faces. 8They had hair like women's hair, and their teeth were like those of lions. 9They had breastplates, like breastplates of iron. The sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, or of many horses rushing to war. 10They have tails like those of scorpions, and stings. In their tails they have power to harm men for five months. 11They have over them as king the angel of the abyss [angelon tēs abyssou]. His name in Hebrew is "Abaddon," but in Greek, he has the name "Apollyon" [Apollyōn]. 12The first woe is past. See [idou], there are still two woes coming after this. 13The sixth angel [angelos] sounded. I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14saying to the sixth angel [angelō] who had one trumpet, "Free [luō] the four angels [angelous] who are bound at the great river Euphrates!" 15The four angels [angeloi] were freed [luō] who had been prepared for that hour and day and month and year, so that they might kill one third of mankind. 16The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million. I heard the number of them. 17Thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those who sat on them, having breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of lions. Out of their mouths proceed fire, smoke, and sulfur. 18 By these three plagues were one third of mankind killed: by the fire, the smoke, and the sulfur, which proceeded out of their mouths. 19For the power of the horses is in their mouths, and in their tails. For their tails are like serpents, and have heads, and with them they harm. 20The rest of mankind, who were not killed with these plagues, didn't repent [metanoeō] of the works of their hands, that they wouldn't worship demons, and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk. 21They didn't repent [metanoeō] of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their sexual immorality [porneias], nor of their thefts.

10 1I saw a mighty angel [angelon] coming down out of the sky, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2He had in his hand a little open book [biblaridion]. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land. 3He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices. 4When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, "Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don't write them." 5The angel [angelos] who I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky, 6and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay, 7but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel [angelou], when he is about to sound, then the mystery [mystērion] of God is finished, as he declared [euangelizō] to his servants [doulous], the prophets. 8The voice which I heard from heaven, again speaking with me, said, "Go, take the book [biblion] which is open in the hand of the angel [angelou] who stands on the sea and on the land." 9I went to the angel [angelon], telling him to give me the little book [biblaridion]. He said to me, "Take it, and eat it up. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." 10I took the little book [biblaridion] out of the angel's [angelou] hand, and ate it up. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11They told me, "You must prophesy again over many peoples, nations, languages, and kings."

11 1A reed like a rod was given to me. Someone said, "Rise, and measure God's temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2Leave out the court which is outside of the temple, and don't measure it, for it has been given to the nations [ethnesin]. They will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months. 3I will give power to my two witnesses [martysin], and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands, standing before the Lord of the earth. 5If anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. If anyone desires to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. 7When they have finished their testimony [martyrian], the beast that comes up out of the abyss [abyssou] will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them. 8Their dead bodies will be in the street [plateias]

Open square.

of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9From among the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations people will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10Those who dwell on the earth rejoice [chairō] over them, and they will be glad. They will give gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. 11After the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet. Great fear [phobos megas] fell on those who saw them. 12I heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13In that day there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified [phobeomai], and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14The second woe is past. See [idou], the third woe comes quickly. 15The seventh angel [angelos] sounded, and great voices in heaven followed, saying, "The kingdom of the world [basileia tou kosmou] has become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign [basileuō] forever and ever!" 16The twenty-four elders [presbyteroi], who sit on their thrones before God's throne, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying: "We give you thanks [eucharisteō], Lord God, the Almighty [pantokratōr], the one who is and who was; because you have taken your great power, and reigned [basileuō]. 18The nations were angry [orgizomai], and your wrath [orgē] came, as did the time for the dead to be judged [krinō], and to give your bondservants [doulois] the prophets, their reward [didōmi ton misthon], as well as to the saints [agiois], and those who fear [phobeomai] your name, to the small and the great; and to destroy [diaphtheirō] those who destroy [diaphtheirō] the earth." 19God's temple that is in heaven was opened, and the ark of the Lord's covenant [diathēkēs] was seen in his temple. Lightnings, sounds, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail followed.

12 1A great sign [sēmeion mega]

The woman clothed with the sun

In Greek mythology (Greek/Roman pagan religion) Zeus/Jupiter disguised himself in the form of a bull in order to abduct and rape Europa, a beautiful princess (cf. Titian's painting, "The Rape of Europa"). When he discarded the bull disguise he threw it into the heavens where it can be seen as the constellation of Taurus. Europa became the mother of European civilizations, and on her death became "the Queen of Heaven" (a name sometimes applied to Mary by the Catholic church). The Queen of Heaven is one of the deities Judah was condemned for following in Jeremiah 7:18. The continent of Europe was named after Europa by Charlemagne. Readers of John's Revelation would have been familiar with such stories from Greek mythology.

was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown [stephanos] of twelve stars. 2She was with child. She cried out in pain, labouring to give birth. 3Another sign [sēmeion] was seen in heaven. Look [idou], a great red dragon [drakōn]

Undoubtedly related to the dragon or serpent who appears in the mythology of ancient peoples, and also the OT passages, e.g., Ps 74:13, 14, where the Leviathan is used as a symbol of Israel's ancient enemy Egypt. Cf. Ez 29 and 32.

, having seven heads [kephalas]

Probably not meaning intellect (in the ancient world one thought with one's heart) but authority; and the crowns, unlike the woman's in verse 1, are royal crowns.

and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns [diadēmata]. 4His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child [teknon]. 5She gave birth to a son [hyion]

Only the point at which the Son first came within the dragon's grasp, and the point at which he finally escaped it for ever, are referred to. This is characteristic of the Semitic way of touching on the beginning and end of a story without referring to what happens in between.

, a male child, who is to rule [poimainō] all the nations [ethnē] with a rod of iron. Her child [teknon] was caught up to God, and to his throne. 6The woman fled into the wilderness [erēmon], where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her one thousand two hundred sixty days. 7There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels [angeloi] made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels [angeloi] made war. 8They didn't prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven. 9The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil [Diabolos] and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world [oikoumenēn]. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels [angeloi] were thrown down with him. 10I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now is come the salvation, the power, and the Kingdom [basileia] of our God, and the authority [exousia] of his Christ; for the accuser of our brothers [adelphōn] has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11They overcame [nikaō] him because of the Lamb's blood, and because of the word [logon] of their testimony [martyrias]. They didn't love [agapaō] their life [psychēn], even to death. 12Therefore rejoice [euphrainō], heavens, and you who dwell [skēnoō] in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil [diabolos] has gone down to you, having great wrath [thymon], knowing that he has but a short time." 13When the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted [diokō] the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14Two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness [erēmon] to her place, so that she might be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15The serpent spewed water out of his mouth after the woman like a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. 16The earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon spewed out of his mouth. 17The dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep God's commandments and hold Jesus' testimony [martyrian].

13 1Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast [thērion]

John's readers were not unfamiliar with the apocalyptic style of this next section, and would not have found the talk of beasts and horns peculiar. Assuming they were well taught in their Scriptures, we may be sure that their minds would have gone at once to the OT's own great apocalyptic book of Daniel. As the beast rose from the sea, they would no doubt have said to one another, first, 'It looks like the dragon we have just been hearing about'; but then, 'It also looks like one of the visions of Daniel'. The multiple heads and horns showed that power was of his very essence. That power is not of wealth or influence but of government ('diadems' and a 'throne'), who combines the powers of Daniel 7, and whose authority is worldwide (7).

coming up out of the sea, having ten horns [diadēmata] and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous [blasphēmias] names. 2The beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power [dynamin], his throne, and great authority. 3One of his heads looked like it had been wounded fatally. His fatal wound was healed [therapeuō]

The beast's blasphemies meant in those days the claims of emperors to be divine. In keeping with this fallacy, there was a widespread belief that the emperor Nero might return after death (if not in his own person, then in the person of one of his successors).

, and the whole earth [gē] marveled [thaumazō] at the beast. 4They worshiped [proskyneō]

'Did homage to'.

the dragon, because he gave his authority [exousian] to the beast, and they worshiped [proskyneō] the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" 5A mouth speaking great things and blasphemy [blasphēmias] was given to him. Authority to make war for forty-two months was given to him. 6He opened his mouth for blasphemy [blasphēmeō] against God, to blaspheme [blasphēmeō] his name, and his dwelling [skēnēn; Heb. Sh'khinah], those who dwell [skēnoō] in heaven. 7It was given to him to make war with the saints [agiōn], and to overcome [nikaō] them. Authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation was given to him. 8All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world [kosmou] in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed [sphazō]. 9If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone has captivity, he will go into captivity. If anyone is with the sword, he must be killed. Here is the endurance [hypomonē] and the faith [pistis] of the saints [agiōn]. 11I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. 12He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13He performs great signs [sēmeia megala], even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people. 14He deceives [planaō] my own people who dwell on the earth because of the signs [sēmeia] he was granted to do in front of the beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who had the sword wound and lived. 15It was given to him to give breath [pneuma] to it, to the image [eikona] of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as wouldn't worship the image [eikoni] of the beast to be killed [eikoni]. 16He causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave [doulous], to be given marks [charagma] on their right hands, or on their foreheads; 17and that no one would be able to buy or to sell, unless he has that mark [charagma], the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. He who has understanding [noun], let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is six hundred sixty-six.

14 1I saw, and there [idou], the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a number, one hundred forty-four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. 2I heard a sound from heaven, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of a great thunder. The sound which I heard was like that of harpists playing on their harps. 3They sing a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders [presbyterōn]. No one could learn the song except the one hundred forty-four thousand, those who had been redeemed [exagorzō] out of the earth. 4These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins [parthenoi]. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed [exagorazō] by Jesus from among men, the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5In their mouth was found no lie, for they are blameless. 6I saw an angel [angelon] flying in mid heaven, having an eternal Good News [euangelion] to proclaim [euangelizō] to those who dwell [kathēmai] on the earth, and to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7He said with a loud voice, "Fear [phobeomai] the Lord, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment [kriseōs] has come. Worship him who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and the springs of waters!" 8Another, a second angel [angelos], followed, saying, "Babylon the great has fallen, which has made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath [thymos] of her sexual immorality [porneias]." 9Another angel [angelos], a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image [eikona], and receives a mark [charagma] on his forehead, or on his hand, 10he also will drink of the wine of the wrath [thymou] of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger [orgēs]. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels [angelōn], and in the presence of the Lamb. 11The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark [charagma] of his name. 12Here is the patience [hypomonē] of the saints [agiōn], those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus [pistin Iēsou]." 13I heard the voice from heaven saying, "Write, 'Blessed [makarioi] are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors; for their works [erga] follow with them [akoloutheō]." 14I looked, and there [idou], a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown [stephanon], and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15Another angel [angelos] came out from the temple, crying with a loud voice [megalē phonē] to him who sat on the cloud, "Send forth your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest [therismos]

Harvest in the OT is usually a symbol of judgment on the wicked.

of the earth is ripe!" 16He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. 17Another angel [angelos] came out from the temple which is in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle. 18Another angel [angelos] came out from the altar, he who has power over fire, and he called with a great voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Send forth your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for the earth's grapes are fully ripe!" 19The angel [angelos] thrust his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath [thymou] of God. 20The winepress was trodden outside of the city, and blood came out from the winepress, even to the bridles of the horses, as far as one thousand six hundred stadia.

15 1I saw another great and marvellous [mega kai thaumaston] sign [sēmeion] in the sky: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them God's wrath [thymos] is finished. 2I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who overcame the beast, his image, and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 3They sang the song of Moses, the servant [doulou] of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvellous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty [pantokratōr; Heb. Adonai]

God of heaven's armies.

! Righteous [dikaiai] and true are your ways, you King of the nations. 4Who wouldn't fear [phobeomai] you, Lord [kyrie; Heb. Adonai], and glorify [doxazō] your name? For you only are holy. For all the nations [ethnē] will come and worship [proskyneō] before you. For your righteous acts [dikaiōmata] have been revealed [phaneroō]." 5After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle [skēnēs] of the testimony [martyriou] in heaven was opened. 6The seven angels [angeloi] who had the seven plagues came out, clothed with pure, bright linen, and wearing golden sashes around their breasts. 7One of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels [angelois] seven golden bowls full of the wrath [thymou] of God, who lives forever and ever. 8The temple was filled with smoke from the glory [doxēs; Heb. Sh'khinah] of God, and from his power. No one was able to enter into the temple, until the seven plagues of the seven angels [angelōn] would be finished.

16 1I heard a loud voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels [angelois], "Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath [thymou] of God on the earth!" 2The first went, and poured out his bowl into the earth, and it became a harmful and evil sore on the people who had the mark [charagma] of the beast, and who worshiped his image [eikoni]. 3The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man. Every living thing in the sea died. 4The third poured out his bowl into the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5I heard the angel [angelou] of the waters saying, "You are righteous [dikaios], who are and who were, you Holy One, because you have judged [krinō] these things. 6For they poured out the blood of the saints [agiōn] and the prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. They deserve this." 7I heard the altar saying, "Yes, Lord God, the Almighty [pantokratōr], true and righteous [dikaiai] are your judgments [kriseis]." 8The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9People were scorched with great heat, and people blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues. They didn't repent [metanoeō] and give him glory. 10The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom [basileia] was darkened. They gnawed their tongues because of the pain, 11and they blasphemed [blasphēmeō] the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. They didn't repent [metanoeō] of their works. 12The sixth poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates. Its water was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that come from the sunrise. 13I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet [pseudoprophētou], three unclean spirits, something like frogs [batrachoi]

The frog was in biblical times an example of an unclean creature.

; 14for they are spirits of demons, performing signs [sēmeia]; which go forth to the kings of the whole inhabited earth [oikoumenēs], to gather them together for the war of that great day of God, the Almighty [pantokratoros; Heb. Adonai-Tzva'ot]

The LORD (Jehovah) of Hosts (heaven's armies).

. 15"See [idou], I come like a thief. Blessed [makarios] is he who watches [grēgoreō], and keeps his clothes, so that he doesn't walk [peripateō] naked, and they see his shame." 16He gathered them together into the place which is called in Hebrew, Megiddo [Armagedōn]

'Hill of Megiddo.' This hill, a few miles SE of the modern city of Haifa, overlooks the crossing-place of some of the most important routes of the ancient world, and as the 'crossroads of the Middle East' witnessed many of the crucial battles of history.

. 17The seventh poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came forth out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" 18There were lightnings, sounds, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men on the earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. 19The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath [orgēs]. 20Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21Great hailstones, about the weight of a talent, came down out of the sky on people. People blasphemed [blasphēmeō] God because of the plague of the hail, for this plague is exceedingly severe.

17 1One of the seven angels [angelōn] who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show [deiknymi] you the judgment [krima] of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, 2with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality [porneuō], and those who dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her sexual immorality [porneias]." 3He carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness [erēmon]. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-coloured animal, full of blasphemous [blasphēmias] names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations [bdelygmatōn] and the impurities of the sexual immorality [porneias] of the earth. 5And on her forehead a name was written, "MYSTERY [mystērion], BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE PROSTITUTES [pornōn]

the root of harlot and fornication.

AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS [bdelygmatōn] OF THE EARTH." 6I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints [agiōn], and with the blood of the martyrs [martyrōn] of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered with great amazement [thaumazō]. 7The angel [angelos] said to me, "Why do you wonder [thaumazō]? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8The beast that you saw was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss [abyssou] and to go into destruction [apōleian]. Those who dwell on the earth and whose names have not been written in the book of life [biblion tēs zōēs] from the foundation of the world will marvel when they see that the beast was, and is not, and shall be present. 9Here is the mind [nous] that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains [hepta orē]

To the Hebrews, mountains represented strength; God's holy mountain, the hill of Zion, supremely (Ps 2:1-6; 125:1,2). They are both the sign and source of strength (Ps 30:7; 121:1,2). One way of expressing the greatness of God is to say that he is even greater than the mountains (76:4); when he marches forth, even the mountains tremble (18:7; 114:4-7). Rome sat on seven hills, thereby indicating the strength and (apparent) durability of its empire.

, on which the woman sits. 10They are seven kings. Five have fallen, the one is, the other has not yet come. When he comes, he must continue a little while. 11The beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goes to destruction [apōleian]. 12The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom [basileian] as yet, but they receive authority [exousian] as kings, with the beast, for one hour. 13These have one mind [gnōmēn], and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14These will war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings. They also will overcome [nikaō] who are with him, called [klētoi] and chosen [eklektoi] and faithful [pistoi]." 15He said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. 16The ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the prostitute, and will make her desolate [erēmoō], and will make her naked, and will eat her flesh [sarkas], and will burn her utterly with fire. 17For God has put in their hearts to do what he has in mind [gnōmēn], and to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom [basileian] to the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished. 18The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns [echō basilesian] over the kings [basileōn] of the earth [gēs]."

18 1After these things, I saw another angel [angelon] coming down out of the sky, having great authority. The earth was illuminated with his glory [doxēs]. 2He cried with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and she has become a habitation [katoikētērion] of demons, a prison [phylakē] of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird! 3For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury." 4I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don't receive of her plagues, 5for her sins have reached to the sky, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6Return to her just as she returned, and repay her double as she did, and according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix to her double. 7However much she glorified herself, and grew wanton, so much give her of torment and mourning. For she says [legō] in her heart, 'I sit a queen, and am no widow, and will in no way see mourning.' 8Therefore in one day her plagues will come: death, mourning, and famine; and she will be utterly burned with fire; for the Lord God who has judged [krinō] her is strong. 9The kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality [porneuō] and lived wantonly with her, will weep and wail over her, when they look at the smoke of her burning, 10standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For your judgment [krisis] has come in one hour.' 11The merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise any more; 12merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, all expensive wood, every vessel of ivory, every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; 13 and cinnamon, incense, perfume, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, sheep, horses, chariots, and people's bodies [sōmatōn] and souls [psychas]. 14The fruits which your soul lusted after have been lost to you, and all things that were dainty and sumptuous have perished from you, and you will find them no more at all. 15The merchants of these things, who were made rich by her, will stand far away for the fear of her torment [phobeomai tou basanismou], weeping and mourning; 16saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17For in an hour such great riches are made desolate [erēmoō].' Every shipmaster, and everyone who sails anywhere, and mariners, and as many as gain their living by sea, stood far away, 18and cried out as they looked at the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What is like the great city?' 19They cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had their ships in the sea were made rich by reason of her great wealth!' For in one hour is she made desolate [erēmoō]. 20"Rejoice [euphrainō] over her, O heaven, you saints [agioi], apostles [apostoloi], and prophets; for God has judged [krinō] your judgment [krima] on her." 21A mighty angel [angelos] took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down, and will be found no more at all. 22The voice of harpists, minstrels, flute players, and trumpeters will be heard no more at all in you. No craftsman, of whatever craft, will be found any more at all in you. The sound of a mill will be heard no more at all in you. 23The light of a lamp will shine no more at all in you. The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride will be heard no more at all in you; for your merchants were the princes of the earth; for with your sorcery all the nations were deceived [planaō]. 24In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints [agiōn], and of all who have been slain on the earth."

19 1After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation, power [dynamis], and glory belong to our God: 2for true and righteous [dikaiai] are his judgments [kriseis]. For he has judged [krinō] the great prostitute, who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality [porneia], and he has avenged the blood of his servants [doulōn] at her hand." 3A second said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forever and ever." 4The twenty-four elders [presbyteroi] and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne, saying, "Amen [Amēn]! Hallelujah!" 5A voice came forth from the throne, saying, "Give praise [aineō] to our God, all you his servants [douloi], you who fear [phobeomai] him, the small and the great!" 6I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty [ischyrōn] thunders, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty [pantokratōr], reigns! 7Let us rejoice [chairō] and be exceedingly glad [agalliaō], and let us give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready." 8It was given to her that she would array herself in bright, pure, fine linen: for the fine linen is the righteous acts [dikaiōmata] of the saints [agiōn]. 9He said to me, "Write, 'Blessed [makarioi] are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" He said to me, "These are true words [logoi] of God." 10I fell down before his feet to worship him. He said to me, "Look! Don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant [syndoulos] with you and with your brothers [adelphōn] who hold the testimony [martyrian] of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony [martyria] of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy." 11I saw the heaven opened, and there [idou], a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful [pistos] and True. In righteousness he judges [dikaiosynē krinō] and makes war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns [diadēmata]

Monarchs who claimed authority over more than one country wore more than one crown. The kings of Egypt were crowned with the Pshent, or united crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. When Ptolemy Philometer entered Antioch as a conqueror, he wore a triple crown, two for Egypt, and a third for Asia.

. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but he himself. 13 He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called "The Word [logos] of God." 14The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen. 15Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule [poimainō] them with an iron rod. He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath [orgēs] of God, the Almighty [pantokratoros]. 16He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." 17I saw an angel [angelon] standing in the sun. He cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the sky, "Come! Be gathered together to the great supper of God, 18that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh [sarkas] of captains [chiliarchōn], the flesh [sarkas] of mighty men [ischyrōn], and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave [doulōn], and small and great." 19I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army. 20The beast was taken [piazō], and with him the false prophet [pseudoprophētēs] who worked the signs [sēmeia] in his sight, with which he deceived [planaō] those who had received the mark [charagma] of the beast and those who worshiped [proskyneō] his image [eikoni]. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. 21The rest were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came forth out of his mouth. All the birds were filled [chortazō] with their flesh [sarkōn].

20 1I saw an angel [angelon] coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss [abyssou] and a great chain in his hand. 2He seized [krateō] the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil [Diabolos] and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, 3and cast him into the abyss [abysson], and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive [planaō] the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed [luō] for a short time. 4I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment [krima] was given to them. I saw the souls [psychas] of those who had been beheaded for the testimony [martyrian] of Jesus, and for the word [logon] of God, and such as didn't worship the beast nor his image, and didn't receive the mark [charagma] on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned [basileuō] with Christ for a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead didn't live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection [anastasis]. 6Blessed [makarios] and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection [anastasei]. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign [basileusousin] with him one thousand years. 7And after the thousand years, Satan will be released [luō] from his prison, 8and he will come out to deceive [planaō] the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9They went up over the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints [agiōn], and the beloved [agapaō] city. Fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them. 10The devil [diabolos] who deceived [planaō] them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet [pseudoprophētēs] are also. They will be tormented [basanizō] day and night forever and ever. 11I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. 12I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged [krinō] out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works [erga]. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades [hadēs] gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged [krinō], each one according to his works [erga]. 14Death and Hades [hadēs] were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

21 1I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away [aperchomai], and the sea [thalassa]

The sea, representing all that chafed and fretted under the dominion of God, depicted in the ancient mythologies by the chaos-monster Tiamat, is done away with altogether.

is no more. 2I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. 3I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, "Look [idou], God's dwelling [skēnē] is with people, and he will dwell [skēnoō] with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away." 5He who sits on the throne said, "Look [idou], I am making all things new." He said, "Write, for these words [logoi] of God are faithful [pistoi] and true." 6He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha [Α] and the Omega [Ω], the Beginning [archē] and the End [telos]. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life [zōēs]. 7He who overcomes [nikaō], I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son. 8But for the cowardly [deilois], unbelieving [apistois], sinners, abominable [ebdelygmenois], murderers, sexually immoral [pornois], sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." 9One of the seven angels [angelōn] who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb's bride." 10He carried me away in the Spirit [en pneumati] to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11having the glory [doxan; Heb. Sh'khinah] of God. Her light [phōstēr]

This word normally means a light-giving body, such as a star or lamp, cf. Phil 2:15.

was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels [angelous]; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. 13On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles [apostolōn] of the Lamb. 15He who spoke with me had for a measure, a golden reed, to measure the city, its gates, and its walls. 16The city lies foursquare, and its length is as great as its breadth. He measured the city with the reed, Twelve thousand twelve stadia. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17Its wall is one hundred forty-four cubits, by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel [angelou]. 18The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass. 19The foundations of the city's wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst. 21The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. 22I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty [pantokratōr], and the Lamb, are its temple. 23The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory [doxa; Heb. Sh'khinah] of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations [ethnē] will walk [peripateō] in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory [doxan] and honour [timēn] of the nations into it. 25Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there), 26and they shall bring the glory [doxan] and the honour [timēn] of the nations [ethnōn] into it so that they may enter. 27There will in no way enter into it anything profane [koinon], or one who causes an abomination [bdelygma] or a lie [pseudos], but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

22 1He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3There will be no curse [katathema] any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants [douloi] serve [latreuō] him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign [basileuō] forever and ever. 6He said to me, "These words [logoi] are faithful [pistoi] and true. The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent [apostellō] his angel [angelon] to show to his bondservants [doulois] the things which must happen soon." 7"See [idou], I come quickly. Blessed [makarios] is he who keeps the words [logous] of the prophecy of this book [bibliou]." 8Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel [angelou] who had shown me these things. 9He said to me, "See you don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant [syndoulos] with you and with your brothers [adelphōn], the prophets, and with those who keep [tēreō] the words [logous] of this book [bibliou]. Worship God." 10He said to me, "Don't seal up the words of the prophecy of this book [bibliou], for the time is at hand. 11He who acts unjustly [adikeō], let him act unjustly [adikeō] still. He who is filthy [rhuparos], let him be filthy [rhupareuomai] still. He who is righteous [dikaiosynēn poieō], let him do righteousness [dikeō] still. He who is holy, let him be holy still." 12"See [idou], I come [erchomai]

Echoes 1:6, 7 where the same word is used.

quickly. My reward [misthos] is with me, to repay [apodidōmi] to each man according to his work [ergon]. 13I am the Alpha [Α] and the Omega [Ω], the First [prōtos] and the Last [eschatos], the Beginning [archē] and the End [telos]. 14Blessed [makarioi] are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right [exousia] to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs [kynes]

The pariahs of an eastern city's slums, symbolic of those who are unclean.

, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral [pornoi], the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves [phileō] and practices falsehood [pseudos]. 16I, Jesus, have sent [pempō] my angel [angelon] to testify [martyrēsai] these things to you for the assemblies [ekklēsiais]. I am the root [rhiza] and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star." 17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!" He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life [zōēs] freely. 18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [bibliou], if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book [bibliō]. 19If anyone takes away from the words of the book [bibliou] of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life [zōēs], and out of the holy city, which are written in this book [bibliō]. 20He who testifies [martyreō] these things says, "Yes, I come [erchomai]

Echoes 1:6, 7 where the same word is used.

quickly." Amen [Amēn]! Yes, come [erchomai], Lord Jesus. 21The grace [charis] of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints [pantōn]. Amen [Amēn].

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