"You do have this to your credit: You hate the Nicolaitan business. I hate it, too.
"Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I'm about to call each conqueror to dinner. I'm spreading a banquet of Tree-of-Life fruit, a supper plucked from God's orchard."
Write this to Smyrna, to the Angel of the church. The Beginning and Ending, the First and Final One, the Once Dead and Then Come Alive, speaks:
"I can see your pain and poverty - constant pain, dire poverty - but I also see your wealth. And I hear the lie in the claims of those who pretend to be good Jews, who in fact belong to Satan's crowd.
"Fear nothing in the things you're about to suffer - but stay on guard! Fear nothing! The Devil is about to throw you in jail for a time of testing - ten days. It won't last forever. "Don't quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.
"Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. Christ-conquerors are safe from Devil-death."
Write this to Pergamum, to the Angel of the church. The One with the sharp-biting sword draws from the sheath of his mouth - out come the sword words:
"I see where you live, right under the shadow of Satan's throne. But you continue boldly in my Name; you never once denied my Name, even when the pressure was worst, when they martyred Antipas, my witness who stayed faithful to me on Satan's turf.
"But why do you indulge that Balaam crowd? Don't you remember that Balaam was an enemy agent, seducing Balak and sabotaging Israel's holy pilgrimage by throwing unholy parties?
And why do you put up with the Nicolaitans, who do the same thing?
"Enough! Don't give in to them; I'll be with you soon. I'm fed up and about to cut them to pieces with my sword-sharp words.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)