Rivers and Trees of Life | Revelation: A New Illustrated Translation | Michael Straus and Jennifer May Reiland

The following is an excerpt from a haunting new rendition, The Book of Revelation: A New Translation by Michael Straus and Jennifer May Reiland. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection, and there are still limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.

I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God, Ὁ Παντοκράτωρ, he is its temple, he and the Lamb. Neither was there sun nor moon in its vaulted sky, for the city is lit by God’s lambent glory, the Lamb its everlasting radiance. The nations come to its brightness, bringing the wealth of the seas. The city’s gates are not shut by day and there is no night. Within it lie all nations’ praise and honor. Nothing unclean or detestable shall be found in it, neither any lie, and those alone may enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Then he showed me a river of living water lucent as polished glass flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. In the midst of the city’s street and on both sides of the river stood the Tree of Life. It bore twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruits every month. And the leaves of the tree were for healing of the nations.

There will be nothing cursed in the city, for in it is the throne of God and the Lamb and there will his people serve him. They will see his face. His name will be on their foreheads. Night shall be no more neither shall they need any lamp nor the light of the sun – for the Lord God himself shines upon them. And they shall reign forever and ever, ages without end.

He said to me, “These words are faithful and true: The Lord God sent his messenger, imbued with the spirits of the prophets, to reveal to his servants the things that soon must be.”

“Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is she who guards the words of the prophecy of this book.”

“I view this as a ‘literary’ translation in that I took the Greek text as its baseline, of course, but from there tried to break free from the normal constraints of English grammar and vocabulary in an effort to capture in words what the author of the work – the Apostle John living in exile on an island – himself says cannot be expressed in words. So it is the inherent impossibility of seeing things that John says can’t be seen and saying things that John says can’t be said that presented the challenge.” 

Michael Straus. Get your copy here.

About the Author and Illustrator

Michael Straus was born and raised in New Jersey and, after a number of years practicing law in New York, undertook graduate studies in classical languages there and in England. He is intermittently engaged in translations from Greek, such as this volume, as well as Spanish, including Las Uvas y el Viento, a long but previously untranslated poem by Pablo Neruda, soon forthcoming.


Jennifer May Reiland
 was born in Texas and raised in the shadow of the End Times. She studied art at Cooper Union and lives and works in New York City. She has been awarded residencies at the Sharpe- Walentas Studio Program; the Fondation des Etats-Unis as a Hale Woolley Scholar; and the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions Program. Her work has recently been described in The New Yorker as “draws with a vengeance … exquisite.” But she has yet to escape the threat of the End Times.

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