I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 1:9 KJV)
This is the only reference to the Island of Patmos in the Bible. John records that he was exiled (imprisoned) on this barren island because of his belief in and testimony of the Word of God. It was while on the island that he received his visions from Jesus Christ. It is likely that he actually recorded the Book of Revelation after returning to the City of Ephesus in Asia-Minor.
John was exiled to Patmos during a period of extreme persecution of Christians by the Romans. Nowhere was this treatment more intense than in Asia-Minor. The Romans had declared their Emperors to be deities, to be worshiped by all subject to Roman rule. Christians refused to do so.
The word “tribulation (KJV)” or “suffering (NIV)” is the Greek word thilpsis meaning pressure, particularly pressure on the human spirit. In this case it is the pressure of oppression. The “kingdom” is the royal reign of God.
The Christians of Asia-Minor were not naive. They knew the risks of maintaining their faith. In calling for patience, John was calling for an active patience. Christians were still to maintain their faith and actively follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
To live as a Christian means that you will be persecuted. John is also reminding us of the promise of the end, that we will be saved.
John may very well have been referring to Psalm 23:
|Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (v 4, KJV)|
This patient endurance is not something we can do on our own. It is something we must achieve through the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.
My thanks to Pastor Michael and the Men on the Grow Bible Study Group.
This blog is part of an ongoing series based on my notes from a weekly Bible Study. For all of the blogs in this study, see: A Study of the Book of Revelation: Index of Blogs
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