Revelation 1:9
(9) I John, who also am your brother . . .--More literally, I, John, your brother and fellow partner in the tribulation and kingdom and patience in Jesus,. . . . because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. He was a fellow-sharer of tribulation with them, and he shares that patience which brings experience, because it is a patience in Jesus. It is not patience for Christ, like 2Thessalonians 3:5, nor patience of Christ, but rather patience which draws its life and energy of endurance from Him.

Patmos.--Professor Plumptre notices how little the scenery of Patmos colours the Apocalypse. "The vision that follows is all but unaffected by the external surroundings of the seer. At the farthest, we can but think of the blue waters of the Mediterranean--now purple as wine, now green as emerald, flushing and flashing in the light as the hues on the plumage of a dove." The position of the Apostle in Patmos was probably that of an exile, free to roam where he would within the limits of the island. There was at any rate no limit of chains or guard, as in the case of St. Paul (Acts 28:16; Acts 28:20). He tells us what was the cause of his exile. It was his faithfulness in proclaiming, as we know he loved to do, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. "St. John, proclaiming the Word of God, who was before all worlds, who had been made flesh and dwelt among men, who was the King of kings and Lord of lords, struck a blow at the worship as well as the polity of the Roman empire. He opposed the God-man to the man-god" (Maurice on the Revel., p. 20). The contest is incessantly the same. False creeds ever aim to deify man. "Ye shall be as gods" is their motto and their bible. "Emmanuel," is the motto of the true faith--

"The Lord was God, and came as man; the Pope

Is man, and comes as God."--Harold.

The crucified, suffering Saviour, God in Christ, very God, and one with man in sorrow, was the stumbling-block in the past, and is the ideal which offends many now. (See Bp. Alexander's Bampton Lectures, p. 30, et seq.) The terms of the conflict remain unchanged through the ages. (Comp. Revelation 6:9.)

Verses 9-20. - The introductory vision. This section is introductory, not merely to the epistles to the Churches, but to the whole book. In it the seer narrates how he received his commission; and with it should be compared Isaiah 6; Jeremiah 1:1-10; Ezekiel 1:1-3; Daniel 10, especially vers. 2, 7, where "I Daniel" is exactly parallel to "I John" here. The Revised Version is again much to be preferred to the Authorized Version. Verse 9. - In the tribulation and kingdom and patience. The order of the words is surprising; we should have expected "kingdom" to have come first or last. But "and patience" seems to be added epexegetically, to show how the tribulation leads to the kingdom (comp. Revelation 2:2, 3, 19; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 13:10; Revelation 14:12). "In your patience ye shall win your souls" (Luke 21:19). "Tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3); and "through many tribulations, we must enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). Bengel notes that it is in tribulation that believers specially love this book. The Church of Asia, particularly after the prosperous time of Constantine, had a low opinion of the Apocalypse; while the African Church, which was more subject to persecution, highly esteemed it. "Everything tends to show that the Apocalypse was acknowledged in Africa from the earliest times as canonical Scripture" (Westcott, 'On the Canon of the New Testament,' p. 238). Was in the isle. Here and in ver. 10 "was" is literally "came to be" (ἐγενόμην), implying that such was not his ordinary condition; comp. γενόμενος ἐν Ρώμη (2 Timothy 1:17). That is called Patmos. St. John does not assume that his readers know so insignificant a place. He does not say simply "in Patmos," as St. Luke says "to Rhodes" or "to Cyprus," but "in the isle that is called Patmos." Now Patmo or Patino, but in the Middle Ages Palmosa. Its small size and rugged character made it a suitable place for penal transportation. Banishment to a small island (deportatio in insulam or insulae vinculum) was common. "Aude aliquid brevibus Gyaris et carcere dignum" (Juv., 1:73). Compare the cases of Agrippa Postumus (Tac., 'Ann.,' 1:3) and of Julia (4:71). For a full account of the island, see Gudrin's 'Description de File de Patmos,' Paris: 1856. For the circumstances of St. John's banishment, see Introduction. It was in exile that Jacob saw God at Bethel; in exile that Moses saw God at the burning bush; in exile that Elijah heard the "still small voice;" in exile that Ezekiel saw "the likeness of the glory of the Lord" by the river Chebar; in exile that Daniel saw "the Ancient of days." For the Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus. No doubt the Greek (διὰ τὸν λόγον) might mean that he was in Patmos for the sake of receiving the word; but Revelation 6:9 and Revelation 20:4 are decisive against this (comp. διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου in John 16:21). These passages and "partaker in the tribulation" here prove that St. John's "coming to be in Patmos" was caused by suffering for the Word of God. The testimony of Jesus. This, as in ver. 2, probably means the testimony that he bore, rather than the testimony about him. "Christ" is a corrupt addition to the text in both places in this verse.

1:9-11 It was the apostle's comfort that he did not suffer as an evil-doer, but for the testimony of Jesus, for bearing witness to Christ as the Immanuel, the Saviour; and the Spirit of glory and of God rested upon this persecuted apostle. The day and time when he had this vision was the Lord's day, the Christian sabbath, the first day of the week, observed in remembrance of the resurrection of Christ. Let us who call him Our Lord, honour him on his own day. The name shows how this sacred day should be observed; the Lord's day should be wholly devoted to the Lord, and none of its hours employed in a sensual, worldly manner, or in amusements. He was in a serious, heavenly, spiritual frame, under the gracious influences of the Spirit of God. Those who would enjoy communion with God on the Lord's day, must seek to draw their thoughts and affections from earthly things. And if believers are kept on the Lord's holy day, from public ordinances and the communion of saints, by necessity and not by choice, they may look for comfort in meditation and secret duties, from the influences of the Spirit; and by hearing the voice and contemplating the glory of their beloved Saviour, from whose gracious words and power no confinement or outward circumstances can separate them. An alarm was given as with the sound of the trumpet, and then the apostle heard the voice of Christ.I, John, who also am your brother,.... Here begins the narrative of the visions and prophecies of this book, the former verses containing a general preface to the whole; and this, and the two following verses, are the introduction to the first vision, which John saw; who describes himself by his name, "I John", the evangelist and apostle, a servant of Christ, and a beloved disciple of his; one that was well known to the seven churches to whom he writes, and who had no reason to doubt of his fidelity in the account he gives them; and also by his relation to them as a "brother", not in a natural, but in a spiritual sense, they and he belonging to that family that is named of Christ, to the household of God, and of faith, and having one and the same Father, even God: thus, though he was an elder, an evangelist, yea, an apostle by office, yet he puts himself on a level with the several members of these churches, as he was a believer in Christ:

and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ; many are the afflictions and tribulations of the saints; these lie in the way to the kingdom; and they are companions and partners with one another in them, both by enduring the same, and by their sympathy and compassion with each other; and as they go sharers in the troubles of this life, so they do, and shall in the kingdom; in the kingdom of grace now, being all of them made kings and priests unto God, and in the kingdom of Christ on earth, where they will all reign with him a thousand years, and in the kingdom of glory, where they shall reign together to all eternity; and in the mean while, they join in the exercise of the grace of patience, of which Christ is the author, exemplar, and object; they are directed by the Spirit of God into a patient waiting for Christ, or a patient expectation of his coming, kingdom, and glory: the Alexandrian copy reads, "patience in Christ"; and the Complutensian edition, "patience in Christ Jesus": this same person John, who gives this account of himself,

was in the isle that is called Patmos; but now "Palmosa"; it is one of the islands of the Cyclades, in the Archipelago, or Icarian sea, and sometimes called the Aegean sea, and had its name from the turpentine trees in it; it is, as Pliny (u) says, about thirty miles in circumference; and it lay next to the churches on the continent, and is said to be about forty miles southwest of Ephesus, from whence John came thither, and to which church he writes first; how he came here he does not say, concealing, through modesty, his sufferings; he did not come here of his own accord; Ignatius says (w), John "was banished to Patmos": by Domitian emperor of Rome, as Irenaeus says (x), at the latter end of his reign, about the year 95 or 96; and, as Tertullian (y) after he had been cast into a vessel of flaming oil, where he got no hurt: and this banishment was not for any immorality, and capital sin he had committed, but

for the word of God; for believing in Christ, the essential Word of God, and for professing and bearing record of him, both in preaching and writing:

and for the testimony of Jesus; for the Gospel of Christ, see Revelation 1:2; for embracing it, adhering to it, and publishing it: it is generally thought that John wrote his Revelation in this isle, though some think it is not to be concluded from these words, but the contrary that he had been here, but now was not, but at Ephesus, where he wrote what he had a vision of there,

(u) Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 12. (w) Epist. ad Tarsenses, p. 76. (x) Irenaeus adv. Haeres. l. 5. c. 30. (y) De Praescript. Haeret. c. 36.

Revelation 1:8
Top of Page
Top of Page