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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Rev 1:9-11 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. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 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.

Although there is doubt among some bible scholars as to the author of The Revelation, it seems convincing that John, the apostle of Jesus, is its author, since he identifies himself at the beginning of the lesson text for the third time (Also see John 1:1; 1:4). He even closes this book by identifying himself for the fourth and fifth times in Revelation 21:2 and 22:8. John further identifies himself as your brother. Those that have been scripturally born again by water baptism are added to the church of Christ, and are known, collectively, as the "brotherhood," as it is referred to in 1 Peter 2:17.

The church, then, as the body of Christ, is an association of both men and women who have been united together under a common spiritual doctrine, working toward a common interest of eternal salvation of their souls, teaching others, through love, to do likewise, and supporting each other with encouragement and edification, to continue to serve God, through their spiritual leader, Christ Jesus. As such, John was a Christian brother to the members making up to brotherhood of the seven churches to whom he wrote this prophetic letter.

To the members of these churches, John was their companion in tribulation. Although the persecution, trials, and tribulations of members of the church of Christ have been more extreme at times, and much less at others, tribulations have been, and still are, experienced by all bodies of Christ. Certainly at the time of this writing, persecution of the members of the church, and especially its teachers, was extreme under the tyrannical reigns of the Roman rulers. The apostle John was currently exiled to the isle of Patmos for teaching the doctrine of Christ, which serves as sure testimony, proving much tribulation was brought upon the church of Christ. Having suffered much persecution himself, John, as their brother in Christ, had a deep compassion for the tribulations the members of the body of Christ were suffering at that time, and would suffer in the future. Not only did they mutually share the suffering of trials and tribulations, as brothers and sisters in Christ, they also, and more importantly, were companions in sharing the wonderful blessings that God promised to His obedient children within the kingdom of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

John tells us assuredly that he was in the isle that is called Patmos at the time he wrote this book called The Revelation. It was the message he received through the angels of Christ, but originated with God. According to Speakers Bible Commentary, John was banished to this island prison in the fourteenth year of the reign of Domitian (probably A.D. 94 or 95), was recalled and freed by the succeeding Emperor Nerva in A.D. 96, and traveled to Ephesus where he taught the gospel of Christ for an indeterminate number of years.

While exiled on the isle of Patmos, John came under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, and while under His direction, John received the visions that he recorded in this book of Revelation. He began to receive his spiritual guidance through this messenger of God on the Lord's day, the day established in New Testament doctrine, and set aside for God's children to worship Him in spirit and in truth (See Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). This day is known in the secular world as the Christian Sabbath, the first day of the week known as Sunday. On this day, and through the Holy Spirit, John heard a great voice, as of a trumpet. John heard the recognizable voice of Jesus, which he doubtlessly remembered, as clear, loud, and distinct as the sound of a trumpet. Just as Jesus announced Himself in verse 8, so He does at this time 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.

John was to see prophetic visions, and these he was commanded to put into words, write them in a book, and send them to the churches of Christ in the Asian cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. In doing so, The Revelation became the last book of the New Testament, God's inspired word left to edify churches of Christ of all ages.