Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Revelation 1:9-10

I. John sets out for us the setting of the first vision

a. John identifies with the readers and their situation

i. Brother – term used by early Christians for one another

ii. Fellow partaker in three things

1. Tribulation

2. Kingdom

3. Perseverance

4. All three things are in reference to Jesus

iii. Faithful endurance is the means to sharing in kingship with Christ

b. On Patmos

i. Physical location

1. An island located off present day Turkey

2. Rocky, volcanic island at about 1,000 ft.

3. Quarries for rock

ii. Reason for being there

1. “because of the Word of God and the testimony (witness) of Jesus”

a. Word of God is reference to the gospel traditions of Jesus

b. Witness would be “testimony” regarding Jesus or by Jesus

2. Regional persecution

a. Even by John’s time of writing, no general persecution occurred

b. Regional governors had the right and authority to act against Christians

c. Punishments for various serious crimes included death and different levels of banishment

d. Tradition says John was banished to the island of Patmos for sedition

i. Tradition – stories of the church that do not have scriptural evidence yet have been attested to by the church for centuries

3. Some believe John went there to preach

4. Some believe John went there to receive the visions

c. On the Lord’s Day

i. This references early Christians’ practice of setting one day for worship

1. Other mention of Christians gathering on the first day of the week

2. Commemoration of Lord’s Resurrection

3. Offers Christians an alternative to Emperor’s Day

4. This is the first literary reference to a day set apart for worship

ii. Some believe that John is mystically removed to the Day of the Lord

1. Old Testament prophetic name for time when God would bring time to full purpose

a. Isaiah 13:6-13 – judgment

b. Joel 2:1-11

c. Zephaniah 1:14-18

d. In the Spirit

i. An ecstatic state such as in Acts 10:10

ii. Similar to the experience of Ezekiel (2:2; 3:12, 14, 24; 11:1; 43:5)

iii. Gives John’s revelation prophetic authority

II. John’s commission

a. A voice speaks to John

i. Similar to the voice that spoke to Moses at Sinai

ii. Voices in Revelation are associated with loud things

iii. The voice behind is a rabbinic tradition

1. “the voice you cannot see” – Isaiah 30:21

b. Write in a book what you see

i. Deuteronomy 31:24

c. Send it to the Seven churches

i. The message is for all 7 churches – intended that all letters were to be read in every church

ii. We are unsure of the significance of these 7 churches

1. Symbolically represents the entire Church

a. 7 symbolizes completeness/wholeness

2. It could represent a circuit of churches

a. Postal district or distribution

b. If you draw a line connecting the churches in order beginning and ending with Ephesus it completes a circle

3. John has special authority or relationship with these particular churches

4. Each church represents an aspect of persecution or problem

5. The churches represent the entire church in different ages

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