Vision of Christ among the Lampstands: Part 1 of 6 (series: Lessons on Revelation)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Book of Revelation

By: Tom Lowe Date: 3-6-2015

Lesson: I.A.4: Vision of Christ among the Lampstands (Revelation 1:9-20)

Revelation 1:9-20 (KJV)

9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.


9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John begins this section by introducing himself. The verse can be broken down into six statements which inform his readers of three important details, namely, who he is, where he is writing from, and why he’s there. We shall take the statements one at a time:

(1) “I John, who also am your brother,” your Christian brother, a fellow-Christian. The reference here is without a doubt to the members of the seven churches in Asia, to whom the epistles in the following chapters were addressed, and to whom the whole book seems to have been sent. Here is where he begins to describe the circumstances under which the vision appeared to him. He was on a small, lonely island, to which he had been banished on account of his devotion to the religion of Jesus Christ; it was the Lord’s Day (1:10) and he was in the Spirit (1:10), that is, a state of high spiritual enjoyment. Suddenly he heard a voice behind him. When he turned around, he saw the Son of man Himself, in a form that radiated glory and standing in the midst of seven golden lamps, and immediately fell at His feet like one who had been shot.
(2) “And companion in tribulation”; your partner in troubles and sickness. He is aware that they were suffering practically the same kind of trials, on account of their religion, that he had to endure as a preacher of the Gospel. It is evident from this that some form of persecution was taking place, which brought them suffering and loss, though in their case it did not lead to banishment. He was their leader, their apostle, and though aged, he was an influential preacher of the Gospel, for which he was banished to spend the rest of

his life with only memories of the Redeemer. But there were many other forms of hardship, anxiety, misery, and suffering which those who remained at home might be forced to endure. There is no way we can know for sure what they were.
(3) “And in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” means that he, and those whom he addressed, were not only companions in affliction, but were partners in the kingdom of “Jesus Christ”; that is, they shared the honor and the privileges pertaining to that kingdom; and they were fellow-partners in the “patience of Jesus Christ,” that is, in enduring with patience whatever might result from their being His friends and followers. The general idea is that they are united because they enjoy the same privileges and cope with the same sufferings. They shared alike in the results of their love of the Savior and affection for each other.
(4) I “Was in the isle that is called Patmos.” Patmos is one of the cluster of islands in the Aegean Sea. They were called the “Sporades” in ancient times. Patmos is situated between the island of Icaria and the promontory of Miletus. It is barely mentioned by the ancient geographers. It is now called Patino or Patmoso. It is six to eight miles in length, not more than a mile in width, and the circumference is approximately fifteen miles. The landscape is definitely unwelcoming, for it has neither trees nor rivers, nor land for cultivation, except some little plots created by niches in the rocks. On approaching the island, the first thing you would notice is that the coast is high, and consists of a succession of small peninsulas that can be used as ports, some of which are excellent. The only one in use, however, is a deep bay, sheltered by high mountains on every side but one, where it is protected by a peninsula. Today, there is a town attached to this port which is situated upon a high mountain that rises immediately from the sea, and this, along with the Scala which the endless waves have deposited upon the shore, some boats (possibly a ship) and houses, forms the only inhabited site on the island.

It is commonly thought that John was banished to this island by Domitian, about 94 A.D. No other place could have been selected for banishment which would serve such a purpose better than this. Lonely, desolate, barren, uninhabited, seldom visited; it had all the conditions which could be desired for a place of punishment; and banishment to that place would accomplish all that a persecutor could want to silence an apostle, without putting him to death. It was not uncommon in ancient times, to banish people from their country; either sending them away (with the promise of severe punishment, should they return) or specifying some particular place to which they were to go. The whole narrative leads us to believe that Patmos was designated as the place to which John was sent. Banishment to an island was a common method of punishment; and there was a distinction made in favor of those who were banished. The most dishonorable, low, and vile of criminals were commonly condemned to work in the mines; the more decent and respectable were banished to some lonely island.
(5) “For the word of God” means “on account of the word of God,” that is, for having faith in and preaching the gospel. It cannot mean that he was sent there for the purpose of “preaching” the Word of God; for it is inconceivable that he had been sent from Ephesus to preach in such a little, lonely, desolate place, and what makes it even more inconceivable is the fact that there were no people living on the island. It can indicate only one thing that he was sent there during a time of persecution, as his punishment for preaching the gospel, which is in accordance with the testimony of the ancient writers.
(6) “And for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” John reiterates his reason for being on Patmos. He did not go there in order to present the Gospel to the island’s residents or to record the visions in this book, but he went because he was forced to do so as his punishment for preaching the doctrines which testified of Christ.

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