Adversity, Kingdom, Endurance
Revelation Lesson #015
August 29, 2004
“Father, we do thank You for this opportunity and privilege to gather together in freedom to study Your Word. We thank you for this nation, for the freedom that we have to teach Your Word, to disseminate the gospel, to send missionaries overseas.
“Father, we pray that You would continue to provide this freedom, give wisdom to our president, to those in Congress, to civilian leadership, military leadership to carry out their duties that they might be effective in securing our borders.
“Father, we continue to pray for us as a church that we might keep our focus, recognize that we are here for the purpose of learning Your Word, learning doctrine, applying it in our lives, and advancing to spiritual maturity.
“Father, we pray that You might help us keep that focus, stay strong, provide for our logistical needs as we continue to press on to the high ground of spiritual maturity.
“Father, we pray as we study Your Word today that we would be challenged by these things and respond to the challenge. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles to Revelation 1:19. In Revelation 1:19, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has appeared to the Apostle John says, “Write the things which you have seen, and the things that are, and the things which will take place after this.” This provides the structure for the Book of Revelation.
There are three broad divisions. The first division is “the things which you have seen,” past tense. This is basically chapter 1. “The things that are,” present tense. That’s chapters 2 and 3 dealing with the cycles of history in the Church Age. Different types of churches that represent almost all churches during the Church Age.
In the third division, which is the vast majority of the Book of Revelation, “the things which will be,” future tense. This is chapters 4 through 22. This gives us the outline.
We have spent our time on Revelation 1. Chapter 1 can be divided into two sections. You have the introduction to the Book in Revelation 1:1–8. You have the divine command or commission to write down the information in Revelation 1:9–20. What we’ve done so far is just study the introduction.
In the introduction, you have a preface which introduces the Book in Revelation 1:1–3. There is a salutation. One of the things that’s different about the salutation is if you look at the Epistles, the Epistles start off and talk about the fact that this is from Paul, an apostle.
Revelation is not from Paul, an apostle. John says in Revelation 1:4, “John, to the seven churches in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come—God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
This is picked up in the eight verses we saw last with this statement of authentication where the Father says in Revelation 1:8, “ ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and was and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ”
You have the salutation. John is the writer, but the revelation of Jesus Christ comes from God the Father. This is what Revelation 1:1 says. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ—genitive of source—which God gave Him to show—to reveal, to display, to exhibit—His servants—things which must shortly take place.”
It is from God the Father more than the Epistles. John is simply writing down what he sees as opposed to the Epistles or the Gospels where a human author did research. For example, Luke did historical research for the Gospel of Luke, or writes a letter of instruction or exhortation to a congregation. This has its source in God.
We have our salutation in Revelation 1:4–5. The theme of the Book of Revelation is given in Revelation 1:7. The theme is, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of Him.”
The focus is on the coming of Christ, what we call the Second Coming. This is when He will come and destroy the forces of Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet and establish His Kingdom.
Then we have the verse of authentication in Revelation 1:8 where God the Father authenticates the message of the Book of Revelation. So that’s the introduction and that’s what we’ve covered so far.
The theme of the introduction is to establish the seriousness of this revelation, the apocalypse. This is serious. Twice the immanency of His coming is emphasized. These are revealed because these things must quickly take place and then believers are exhorted that, “blessed is he who reads—that is the expositional teaching of the Word—and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it; for the time is near.”
In other words, there’s a sense of immediacy here, a sense of importance. This is why the salutation focuses so heavily on this triune source for the apocalypse. That it’s from the One who is and was and is to come, God the Father and the Seven Spirits who are before His throne. This represents the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
And it’s from Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. This gives weight to the revelation. It comes with its own promise of blessing if we read it and heed it. However, it comes with a curse if we don’t at the end of apocalypse.
This is the importance of the return at the Second Coming of the Messiah. Every believer in the Church Age should understand the apocalypse, the revelation, and its significance to us.
This is why it’s specifically authenticated by the voice of God who is described as the One “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” in Revelation 1:8.
Let’s go back. The theme is Revelation 1:7, the salutation is Revelation 1:4, 5, and 6, and the authentication is Revelation 1:8.
Now we’re in the command section. There’s a command to the Apostle John to write these things. The original command is given specifically in Revelation 1:11 where it says, “Write in a book …”
This is reiterated in Revelation 1:19, “Therefore, write the things which you have seen, the things that are, and the things that will take place after these things.”
That’s the command at the beginning and the end of this section from Revelation 1:9–1:20 you have this command to John to write. That’s the theme of this whole section, to write these things down.
Let’s get a brief outline of this section. First of all, you have the initial command in Revelation 1:9–11. You have the Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ, described in Revelation 1:12–18. Then you have the command repeated in Revelation 1:19–20. That gives you an organization for the rest of this chapter.
All of this comes under that first command to “write the things which you have seen”. By that point John has already seen these things described in the first chapter.
What is the initial command? It talks first of all about the author. Who is to write down these things? This is in Revelation 1:9a. Then we have the author’s immediate circumstances given in the second part of Revelation 1:9b–10 and then we have the command itself in Revelation 1:11.
That’s our organization for this morning. The command, the author, the circumstances, and the command itself. Let’s begin in Revelation 1:9.
I’m going to read from the New King James and then we’ll straighten some things out. “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that was called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of trumpet, saying, … ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ ”
These are the verses that set up what’s happening in the rest of the chapter. It starts off by identifying the author, “I, John”. Before we get too far, we have to make a couple of notes about the text.
In exegesis or in understanding the Word of God, the first thing you have to understand is what God said. Unfortunately, as I’ve pointed out in this first chapter over the course of time, there has been corruption of the original manuscript.
We don’t have the original manuscript. We just have a lot of copies. You’ll notice in some of your Bibles that there are notes in the margin. There’s a real difference between two sets of manuscripts and there’s a theory out there.
The way it began was the Westcott-Hort Theory although now it’s much more eclectic. The Westcott-Hort Theory basically said that the oldest manuscripts are the best. I’ve pointed out that the oldest is not the best.
If you have a document dated say AD 390 and it is a bad copy of a good document or maybe a bad copy of a bad document, then it’s not any better than say another one dated about AD 895, but it is an accurate copy of an original that was copied in AD 250 but that’s been lost.
You have one manuscript dated AD 895 and another dated AD 390, which is better? The one dated AD 895, not the newer one. Not because it’s newer, but because it’s a better copy of an original.
Another problem with the Westcott-Hort Theory or what some call the eclectic text and this is what you find in say this Greek New Testament I have here called the UBS text, which I think is UBS 3 and this is the Critical Text. If you look through here, you won’t find that in any ancient manuscript.
They looked at these differences and they weighed them and decided that one is better than the other. None of these differences affect doctrine, so I just don’t want to confuse you too much, but it does affect how you’re going to understand certain key verses.
It comes in to play mostly in some passages, like the last part of Mark, which is not in a lot of ancient manuscripts. Because it’s not in these old manuscripts, it’s excluded. It’s the same thing with the episode in John 6 with the woman taken in adultery. I’ve explained that in the John series and that section should definitely be in the text.
So, there’s that theory. Then there’s the other text called the TR, the Textus Receptus. This was based on approximately eight manuscripts, none older than about the 9th century AD.
This was what was used by Erasmus and this is what underlies the King James Version and the New King James Version. The Westcott-Hort Theory is what underlies all others, such as NIV, NASB, Century Bible, ad infinitum, all the different translations.
They’re all based on this Westcott-Hort deal, so if you’re sitting there and you’ve got a King James Version, you’ve got some stuff that’s not in the Westcott-Hort text. If you’ve got an NASB and you compare that to an NIV you’ll see some differences, especially here in Revelation.
Then there’s another view of textual criticism called the Majority Text view. If you have a New King James Version, you’re going to have the Westcott-Hort view indicated in an asterisk at the bottom with the abbreviation NU. N for Nestle-Aland text and U for the UBS text.
The TR represents the New King James, but the Majority Text often differs. In Revelation, the Majority Text many times has the same reading as the older manuscripts and differs grammatically from the TR. This is about the third time I’ve gone into this, but it seems to play a lot in this first chapter. It’s important for understanding some of the things that are said.
Before we get any further into this, let’s just make sure that we straighten out the way it should read in terms of the text. In Revelation 1:9 the King James and the New King James have the word “both”. There is no syntax structure for this in the Greek. It’s just “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation, kingdom, and perseverance which are in Jesus.”
The Majority Text in the King James Version all have Jesus Christ in both places and it should read, “which are in Jesus Christ.”
It’s on the island of Patmos “because of the word of God” and should also read “because of the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The preposition is repeated twice in the Majority Text so it should read, “On the island that is called Patmos because of the Word of God and because of the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Now we have the text right. What’s being said here? John introduces himself for the third time to make sure we know who the writer of this revelation is or who was the one writing this down.
We have studied him in the past and we know this is the disciple John and later the Apostle John who was a second or third cousin of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the youngest of all the disciples.
He was called in the Gospel of John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. He had a very close relationship with Jesus Christ. He was the last disciple to die. As far as we know, he was the only disciple who died of old age. He lived to about the year AD 100 or some even say AD 105.
He lived into his 90s, so he lived for approximately five or ten years after he wrote the Book of Revelation. After or just before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 he left Jerusalem and according to legend or tradition, he took Mary, the mother of Jesus, with him.
Mary was still alive. Remember on the Cross Jesus looked at John and Mary standing there at the foot of the Cross and said, “Woman, behold your son” and “John, behold your mother.” He put the care of his mother into John’s hands.
The view is that Mary went with John to Ephesus. John pastored in Ephesus for a number of years. He oversaw the churches in that area. These churches are mentioned in Revelation as well as others in that province of Asia that was on the western coast of Turkey.
Mary lived there until she went to be with the Lord. At that time in the early 90s there was a persecution from the Roman emperor, Domitian, and because of that persecution, John was exiled to a small island off the coast of Turkey.
This is the John that is being written about here. Later on, several centuries later, another theory came up that this was another John that differed from the John of the Gospel of John and the John of the Epistles. But this is the same John.
It’s interesting how he describes himself. He doesn’t describe himself as an apostle. He doesn’t describe himself as the elder as he did in 2nd John and 3rd John. He describes himself in his relationship to the reader, not in terms of his position of authority.
Why is that? It goes back to what I pointed out in the introduction. This is the revelation from Jesus Christ which God gave Him, that is Jesus Christ. John is recording the revelation, but it is not originating from his own apostolic authority. This is not his message to the church. It is the message from Jesus Christ to the church.
The issue here isn’t John’s authority. It’s the authority of God. That’s why you have this verse at the end of the introduction. It seems to just be stuck in there. It just comes out of nowhere saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and was, and is to come the Almighty.”
This doesn’t seem to fit anything else, but it is the stamp of authority and authentication on the introduction.
John is simply giving the circumstances now of his commission to write down the things that he sees in these visions in the Book of Revelation.
“I, John, your brother and your companion.” That’s a corrected translation. There’s no “both” there. “Your brother and companion.” The word for brother is the Greek word ADELPHOS, which simply means your brother. It can refer to a physical brother, but in the Scripture it is frequently used to refer between one member of the body of Christ and another member of the body of Christ.
There’s no sexism there. It’s recognizing the fact that we are all sons of God. This is a technical term. This isn’t a sexist term. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re not a son of God. You have to understand the Bible in terms of the time in which it was written.
In the time in which it was written, to be an adopted son meant you were an heir of the one who adopted you. This is legal terminology and it indicates the high status given to every single believer as an adopted child of God, an adopted son of God. A daughter in those days did not have that privilege under the Roman Empire, so we have to understand this in the time in which it was written.
John says he’s their brother and companion. The word “companion” here is an interesting word. It is used many times by the Apostle Paul, but it’s also used by other New Testament writers.
Again, we have a slight variant in different manuscripts. What we have in the Majority Text is KOINONOS. This means partner, related to the word for fellowship. It is someone who is a joint participant in something and someone who shares in something.
If you want to over emphasize this idea of being a joint participant or partner, then you can add the preposition “SU” where the “n” becomes a “g” here and it looks like this SUGKOINONOS. Some manuscripts have just KOINONOS. Others have SUGKOINONOS, but the meaning really doesn’t differ.
The emphasis here is that there is a certain partnership, a certain commonality between John and every believer that’s reading this. In other words, it’s written just as much to John and it’s just as much a challenge in his personal, spiritual life as it is to you and to me.
That’s the emphasis here. So John uses these two terms: “brother” emphasizing that he is just like the rest of us as an adopted child of God in the family of God, royal aristocracy in the Church Age, but he is also a “partner” or co-participant or joint-participant in the spiritual life.
That’s on the one hand, but it’s modified and explained by a prepositional clause. That prepositional clause has three nouns as its object. “In the kingdom,” “In the tribulation,” and the “kingdom of patience from the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s tribulation, kingdom, and patience.
It might be easy to take a look at these three terms and say those refer to three different events. However, in the Greek you have a definite article here right after the preposition, which let me tell you is very rare. Usually a preposition replaces the article, but by including the article which is “PE” in English there’s an emphasis on the fact there’s one article which governs all three nouns.
In the Greek this represents an idiom, a rare idiom, called a hendiatris. Some of you have heard me mention before this idiom, a hendiadys. This means two. Hendiatris is three. See, you have three nouns here, so it’s a hendiatris.
In a hendiadys or a hendiatris it’s the use of two or three words with only one thought intended. In other words, these three nouns are so closely related in the mind of the author in terms of what he’s trying to communicate, not that they’re synonymous, but they all work and tie together as one thought.
The best way to translate this is to translate it as adversity-kingdom-endurance. That’s what the words mean. The word translated “tribulation” is the Greek word THLIPSIS. I prefer translating it adversity because it’s easy to look at this in light of the general message of the Book of Revelation talking about the Great Tribulation, that seven-year period known in the Old Testament as the period of the time of Jacob’s Trouble or Daniel’s Seventieth Week.
We talk about the Tribulation. That’s become sort of a technical term for us in English, but too often people get the crazy notion that if we believe in the Rapture, then we don’t believe believers go through tribulation.
Sure we go through tribulation. We go through tribulation, suffering, and adversity. It’s not the same as the Great Tribulation or the Tribulation Period, that seven-year period that precedes the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom.
So, we should translate THLIPSIS here as adversity, because this is just talking about the special kind of adversity that comes into every believer’s life.
Then the second word is “kingdom” and it should be translated kingdom. I heard someone say maybe this should be translated “power”. No, it should not be translated power. That word is DUNAMIS. It is true that the concept of BASILEIA can refer to the power, it’s the power of the kingdom. It’s not isolated spiritual power. You can’t separate it from the basic meaning of BASILEIA, which means kingdom or dominion or the power exercised by that dominion.
It’s focusing on the fact that the Kingdom here is the future coming Kingdom, the future Messianic Kingdom that is coming in when Jesus Christ returns. We’re not in it now in any way, shape, or form. There’s no partial kingdom. There’s no kingdom that is gradually coming in, that is already here but not fully yet here. There is no Kingdom at all here.
Jesus Christ is not on the Throne of David. He is on the Father’s throne, seated at the right hand of the Father and the kingdom does not begin until He returns at the Second Coming.
Then the word translated patience here is the word HUPOMONE. It’s from a compound of HUPO meaning under and the Greek word MENO meaning to stay. It means to remain under or to stay under pressure, to stay under adversity, to be steadfast.
It’s not just the idea of patience. That’s usually the word longsuffering and it’s a completely different word. This has the idea of endurance. These three ideas are deeply related in the idea or thinking of the writer.
John is focusing on the fact that where this is all headed in history is that we’re going to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and we are currently being prepared. We go back there where I taught in the previous verse, Revelation 1:6, that He has made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father. We will rule and reign as priests in the Millennial Kingdom. We’re in our training ground right now and our training ground involves adversity and we have to endure by applying doctrine consistently in the midst of adversity. That prepares us for the Kingdom.
In the mind of John, at this point all three of these ideas are inter-related. He speaks of them as one grammatically. It is the adversity-kingdom-endurance that we all share.
It’s this whole matrix of the spiritual life. That’s what he’s talking about here. We are all joint participants in the adversity-kingdom-endurance of Jesus Christ. That is part of our role in Jesus Christ.
Actually, it’s not translated “of Jesus Christ.” It should be translated “in Jesus Christ.” It’s EN, which indicates it’s part of our responsibility as members of the royal family of Jesus Christ.
John emphasizes who he is here. He is a fellow member of the body of Christ. He is a fellow member of royal aristocracy. He’s emphasizing his position as any other believer as a brother and a co-participant in this dynamic of spiritual growth.
Let’s review briefly the doctrine of adversity and stress.
First point, there are two kinds of pressures in life. There’s adversity and there’s stress. Let’s distinguish between them. Adversity is the inevitable outside pressure of life that attacks and seeks to disrupt the soul.
On the other hand, stress is the optional inside pressure of the soul caused by reaction to the external pressures. When you put a piece of metal through a stress test what you’re doing is you’re applying external pressure to reveal internal flaws.
That’s what God does for us. He puts us under the pressure of outside circumstances in order to reveal our human frailties and inabilities so we will learn to trust Him and not try to handle problems on our own. So, there is the outside pressure of adversity and the inside pressure of stress in the soul.
Point number two, there are two categories of adversity. The first is general adversity as a result of the law of volitional responsibility. We make bad decisions and the result is we get into adverse circumstances. This is true for everyone, believer or unbeliever.
The principle for this is Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked for whatever a man sows this he will also reap.”
The second category of adversity is a category of adversity that relates to believers only. We go through adversity which we classify as suffering for blessing or adversity for blessing. This is where God is specifically tailoring certain negative circumstances for your life and my life for the purpose of knocking off our human viewpoint arrogance and building in us the character of Jesus Christ.
That’s the idea Paul has here. This is the adversity-kingdom-endurance matrix. This is not the general adversity that any unbeliever can face, or a believer may face as divine discipline. This is that adversity that is specifically tailor-made for you and your spiritual life to get you to grow and accelerate your spiritual growth.
That spiritual growth is going to be the basis for your rewards and blessings both in time and eternity and it is designed to prepare you to be a leader, a ruler, and a priest in the coming Kingdom. It is developing in each of us that personal sense of our eternal destiny.
We have a destiny to rule and reign with Jesus Christ, but if we don’t prepare for that now then we will forfeit those rewards and those blessings in the coming Kingdom. We’ll still be there, but we’ll forfeit those responsibilities we would have had because we do not have the capacity to rule and reign with Jesus Christ because we failed in the Christian life.
So you have two categories of suffering. One is just general adversity, which comes from living in the cosmic system, the law of volitional responsibility. The second category is adversity directed to the believer to accelerate spiritual growth.
Third point, adversity is what the outside circumstances of life do to you. Stress is what you do to yourself.
Point four is that adversity is unavoidable, but stress is optional. Adversity is outside. It’s eternal. We can’t control it. We recognize it’s inevitable. You can’t avoid going through problems and heartaches and adversity in life because number one, you’re living in the cosmic system and number two, as a child of God, God is going to use that to advance your spiritual growth. However, stress is optional. Stress is what you do to yourself.
Let’s review those. Adversity is what outside circumstances do to you. Stress is what you do to yourself. Adversity is inevitable. Stress is optional.
See, stress is the result of your trying to handle life’s problems with human resources. Stress is trying to solve life’s problems based on the sin nature. Stress is the result of reacting to life’s circumstances through mental attitude sins, sins of the tongue, and overt sins. It’s trying to use human good to solve your problems.
Stress of the soul fragments your soul. It destroys your happiness and it will lead to a failure in the Christian life. Stress is the result of sin nature control. If it continues, you will degenerate in your spiritual life, which may cause you to forfeit rewards and crowns in the Millennial Kingdom and in eternity.
Point number six, stress perpetuated in the soul results in failure to glorify God and spiritual failure in this life under sin nature control. You continue to react. Now we’re all going to some degree react instantly. Worry. Anger. Whatever it is, but we can instantly say that’s wrong, confess the sin, claim the promise, move on, and move forward in the spiritual life.
We have to remember, point number seven, that the only solution is the divine solution. The human solution is no solution. 2 Corinthians 12:8–10. In verse 9 God said to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you.” That means it’s more than enough. God supplies everything we need to handle any difficulty or problem in life no matter what it is.
God knew about it in eternity past and He gave us the resources today to handle that situation. It is designed to teach us to depend upon His strength and not ours. Revelation 1:9 states, “My grace is sufficient for you for power is matured in weakness.”
Paul says, “Most gladly therefore I would rather boast about my weaknesses that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with stresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
John picks up this idea and says we’re all co-participants. We all share in this same situation. This is part of the Christian modus operandi. We are involved in this adversity-kingdom-endurance matrix in Jesus Christ.
So that’s who John is. That’s the first part of the outline. John is the author. He is looking on himself, not as an authority figure but as another member of the body of Christ advancing to spiritual maturity who must also apply the same spiritual principles in his own spiritual life.
He says, “I, John, your brother and partner in the adversity-kingdom-endurance which are in Jesus Christ was on the island called Patmos.” This is his circumstance. He’s in exile. Patmos was a small island. It’s crescent shaped. It’s a beautiful Greek island, part of a group of Greek islands called the Dodecanese, which are off the western shore of Turkey.
It is crescent-shaped. Two ends of the crescent point eastward so this provides a harbor, a safe harbor in times of storm. It was a port even in ancient times. If you were traveling by ship from Rome to Ephesus, it would be the last place you stopped before you came to Ephesus. If you were on the way from Ephesus to Rome, it would be the first place you would stop.
When we took our trip this last year, we stopped off at Patmos about seven in the morning. We went up on a hillside and sat where allegedly the Apostle Paul sat when he received the Revelation and we heard Dr. Ed Hindson do a talk where he took us through Revelation in forty-five minutes. Ed does a great job of that, it was a great survey. We sat there on that beautiful hillside with a beautiful blue sky and the Aegean Sea, a tremendous location.
This was a harbor even in ancient times, a safe place to put in in times of storm. After we left there, we were in Ephesus within two hours. It’s forty miles to the coast and so it wasn’t very far. In ancient times, of course, that would have been a good day’s sail and it would have gotten John out of a place of influence in Ephesus. He was exiled there by Domitian.
John was on the island that is called Patmos and then the text gives the reason for his being on the island. It uses the same preposition in the Greek twice, the preposition DIA plus the accusative, which should be translated “because”. This indicates the reason for something or the cause.
John says he was there because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Now we have a similar phrase to this back in verse 2. Here we are finishing out the thought of verse 1.
We’re told that Jesus Christ communicated the revelation by sending His angel to His servant, John, who bore witness to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. In that verse “word of God” and the “testimony of Jesus Christ” referred to the content of the Book of Revelation, but that’s not what is indicated in verse 9, even though you have the same word.
If that were true, then what the text would be saying is that John was on the island for the purpose of receiving the revelation. He wasn’t on the island for the purpose of receiving the revelation. He was on the island because of his persecution and exile.
It was while he was on the island that he received the revelation. These terms, the “Word of God” and the “testimony of Jesus Christ”, are used elsewhere in the Scripture to refer to the teaching of doctrine.
John is on the island of Patmos because he taught the Word of God and because he gave testimony about Jesus Christ. Even though they’re similar phrases to what you have in verse 2, they don’t have the same import here.
Here it’s talking about the fact that it was an apostle and a pastor who was teaching doctrine and for that reason, he was exiled to the Isle of Patmos.
That gives his geographical location, the Isle of Patmos, but it doesn’t give his spiritual situation. Revelation 1:10 says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” Here’s a difficult phrase to try to understand.
In the Greek it looks like this, EN PNEUMATI. This is a dative case for PNEUMA, the word for “spirit” and this is a preposition meaning “by”, “with”, to indicate instrumentality, to indicate location. These are the two main ideas, instrument, which would be means or location.
Most of the time in the Greek New Testament, EN PNEUMATI, which we’ve seen many times, indicates instrumentality. Walk by means of the Spirit. Be filled by means of the Spirit.
Instrumentality doesn’t fit here. “I was by means of the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”? That doesn’t fit. We have to make a decision here. Some people say what this means is that he was filled with the Spirit. Yes, he was filled with the Spirit, but that’s not what this means.
He was filled with the Spirit because he was in a sphere where he was given revelation. He was in fellowship with God because of what’s going on here, even though we know that it’s not the import of this. It’s not instrumentality. See “filled with the Spirit” is really “filled by means of the Spirit,” EN plus the dative, in Ephesians 5:18. This is not an instrumental use of the dative here like it is in Ephesians 5:18, so it has to be something else.
It probably has a locative sense because what we’re talking about is a special kind of revelatory circumstance. If you were here earlier, we talked about the fact that in Acts 10 Peter has a trance where it is a revelation. This is the same idea. There is this opening or unveiling of the eyes, as it were, so that John no longer looks at just the physical realm, but he is now able to see into the spiritual realm.
He is able to see that other reality so that God is able to reveal to him what is going to take place.
In the original Greek you don’t have capitals or lower case as we do to indicate whether it’s human spirit, Holy Spirit, or just the sense of the word PNEUMA there.
If you look in your Bible and there’s an upper case there, the translator made an interpretive decision and decided this had to do with the Holy Spirit. We know it has to do with the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is the Agent of divine revelation, but that doesn’t mean that this use of spirit is talking about the Holy Spirit.
We’ve seen that the word PNEUMA itself even refers to spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 14, so the word has a broad range of meaning. The idea here, and I think it was an idiomatic use, was that John was in this spiritual realm where he was going to be given special divine revelation.
It’s not the same as the filling of the Holy Spirit that you and I experience. It’s not the same as walking by the Spirit. It is in a situation where he is receiving divine revelation. It’s on the Lord’s Day, which is the first day of the week.
It’s Sunday and he heard behind him a loud voice. He didn’t hear a trump, but he heard a loud voice that was so loud and so attention-grabbing that it’s like a trumpet. In the ancient world the trumpet was used like our bugle to grab someone’s attention, to announce something.
He hears this loud voice that strikes him like a trumpet. It grabs his attention; it catches his attention. The voice says … Here we have another textual problem. If you’re looking at a King James Bible it says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last.”
That’s only in the Textus Receptus. The Majority Text doesn’t have it. The Critical Text doesn’t have it. It was inserted later. This is a poor reading, so delete that if you have a King James Version or a New King James Version.
The voice says simply that what you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches. The phrase “which are in Asia” in the King James isn’t in the original. That’s added. It’s already designated that back in Revelation 1:4.
In John 1:11 the loud voice simply says, “What you see write in a book and then send it to the seven churches.”
He’s going to write everything down and send everything to the seven churches, not just the seven letters to the seven churches, but the entire Book of Revelation is to be written down and sent, one complete copy, sent to each of these seven churches.
To Ephesus, to Phrygia, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. If you put those on a map, you’ll follow a clockwise rotation. This wasn’t the normal way you would travel between them.
Each of these was a central city and the center of their postal district so there’s a purpose behind this. Each of these, as we’ll see, represents a certain type of church in the Church Age. Also, each of these is important because of its role within that particular postal district.
John emphasizes here that he is to write down what he sees, his vision. The word “to see” is used 56 times in the Book of Revelation, emphasizing this visionary aspect of Revelation.
We’ll see what he saw next time when we begin with Revelation 1:12.
“Father we do thank You for this opportunity to study Your Word today and to be challenged with these things, to be reminded that in our own spiritual life, we’re no different from an apostle.
“We face adversity and we’re to handle it with Your Word that we might grow and advance to spiritual maturity in preparation for Your coming Kingdom.
“Father, we pray if there’s anyone here this morning that is unsure of their salvation or uncertain of their eternal destiny, that they would take this opportunity to make that both sure and certain.
“All they need do is put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. It’s not a matter of works. It’s not a matter of joining a church. It’s not a matter of doing anything other than simply believing Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins and that alone, His work on the Cross alone, is sufficient to give you eternal salvation, to justify you, and to provide forgiveness for sin.
“Father, we pray that You will challenge us with the things that we study today. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”