John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia. May a blessing be granted you and peace from him who is and was and ever shall be, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the first of the dead to be restored to life and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
I, John, your brother who shares with you the distress, the dominion, and the patient endurance which we have through our faith in Jesus, found myself in the island called Patmos because of my loyalty to God's message and to the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was under the influence of the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet calling, "Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches."
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me; and on turning around I saw seven golden lamps and in the midst of the lamps One, like a Son of man, clothed in a long robe and with a belt of gold around his breast. His head and hair were white as wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze melted in the furnace, his voice was like the sound of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars; a sharp, two-edged sword came out from his mouth, and his face shone like the sun in its full strength.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead; but he laid his hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, I was dead but now I am alive for evermore. Therefore write down what you see and what is now and shall be hereafter. As for the secret meaning of the seven stars which you have seen in my right hand and of the seven golden lamps—the seven stars represent the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamps represent the seven churches."
After this I saw a door opening into heaven. And the voice like a trumpet which I had previously heard talking with me, said: "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place in the future." At once I found myself under the influence of the Spirit, and there stood a throne in heaven whose appearance was like a diamond or ruby and One was sitting on the throne. Encircling the throne was a rainbow which looked like an emerald; also around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on these thrones were seated twenty-four elders, clothed in white robes with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning and voices and peals of thunder, while in front of the throne were seven flaming torches, which were the seven spirits of God.
In front of the throne there appeared to be a sea of glass which looked like crystal. In the space about the throne and encircling it were four living creatures, and day and night they never ceased chanting:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and ever shall be."
Then I saw, lying at the right hand of him who was seated on the throne, a book sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel saying in a loud voice: "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?" But no one was worthy, either in heaven or on the earth or under the earth to open the book or look into it. So I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the book or look into it; but one of the elders said to me: "Weep not; behold the Lion of Judah's tribe, the Scion of David—he has won the right to open the book and its seven seals."
Then in the space between the throne and the four living creatures I saw a Lamb standing among the elders. He seemed to have been slain, but he had seven horns and seven eyes. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he took the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each with his harp, and with his golden bowls full of incense which represent the prayers of the saints. They were singing this new song: "Thou art worthy to take the book and open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood thou hast ransomed for God, men from every tribe and language and people and nation; thou hast made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
And I looked and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and of the living creatures and of the elders, numbering ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, crying aloud, "Worthy is the Lamb that has been slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all things that are in them crying, "To him who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and praise and dominion forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshipped.