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The book opens with a pretty big claim: what you're about to read is the revelation of Jesus Christ. So, yeah. Start paying attention.
It was all revealed to a man named John. God sent an angel to him to tell him all this and he wrote it all down in this handy dandy little guide. How nice of him.
John tells the reader that they are blessed if they listen to what he has to say. Okay, so you may want to start taking notes.
He tells us that time is running very short. Something big is about to happen (i.e. Jesus is going to return to Earth for a second time). People need to hear what John has to tell them and start getting their stuff together.
That's why he wrote this down in a letter. He's planning on sending it to seven of the Christian churches in Asia.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane
Look over there! It's Jesus! John sees a vision of Jesus coming down on clouds.
He tells us that soon everyone is going to see him. Even the people who hate Jesus and his followers are going see him floating on down from Heaven. And, boy, are they going to feel stupid that they ever doubted him.
When this happens, God will tell everyone "I am the Alpha and the Omega." This just means that he is the first and the last. The head honcho. The big cheese in the universe.
It Gets Better, John
John tells the Christians he is writing to that he understands that they are being bullied because they believe in Jesus. And by bullied, he means imprisoned or killed by Rome for the crime of being Christian. Yikes.
John has actually suffered some of this bullying first hand. He is currently living on an island called Patmos. This is either because he was banished for being a Christian or he's gone into hiding. Tough break, John.
Jesus Comes in Style
John tells us that he is under the influence of the spirit. No, he's not drunk—he means the Holy Spirit.
Suddenly, he hears a voice like a trumpet commanding him to write to the seven churches in Asia. They are in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
When John looks around to see who's talking, he sees Jesus. What a coincidence.
And Jesus is lookin' good. He's standing in the middle of seven tall candlesticks and wearing a long robe with a golden sash. It's the sash that really makes the outfit work.
His hair is white like snow and his eyes look like flames. Okay, a little creepy.
His feet are made of bronze and his voice sounds like running water. How soothing… except the flaming eyes are still freaking us out.
In addition to being a sharp-dressing guy with flames for eyes, Jesus carries seven stars in his right hand (how's that for accessorizing?).
A sharp sword comes out of his mouth, too. Oh, sword-swallowing! It's like a carnival!
His face also shines like the sun. Overall, he's looking pretty awesome.
Write It Down
When John sees Jesus, he falls down at his feet. We don't blame him.
But Jesus tells him not to be afraid. Hmmm. If he doesn't want people to be afraid of him, he could try toning down the flaming eyes a little.
Jesus tells John to write down everything he sees. And don't forget to include all the stuff about the number seven. Sevens are pretty big in this story.