Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 1:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Your brother - A Christian, begotten of God, and incorporated in the heavenly family.

Companion in tribulation - Suffering under the persecution in which you also suffer.

In the kingdom - For we are a kingdom of priests unto God.

And patience of Jesus - Meekly bearing all indignities, privations, and sufferings, for the sake and after the example of our Lord and Master.

The isle that is called Patmos - This island is one of the Sporades, and lies in the Aegean Sea, between the island of Icaria, and the promontory of Miletus. It is now called Pactino, Patmol, or Palmosa. It has derived all its celebrity from being the place to which St. John was banished by one of the Roman emperors; whether Domitian, Claudius, or Nero, is not agreed on, but it was most probably the latter. The island has a convent on a well fortified hill, dedicated to John the apostle; the inhabitants are said to amount to about three hundred men, and about twenty women to one man. It is very barren, producing very little grain, but abounding in partridges, quails, turtles, pigeons, snipes, and rabbits. It has many good harbours, and is much infested by pirates. Patmos, its capital and chief harbour, lies in east Long. 26° 24', north Lat. 37° 24'. The whole island is about thirty miles in circumference.

For the testimony of Jesus Christ - For preaching Christianity, and converting heathens to the Lord Jesus.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I John, who also am your brother - Your Christian brother; who am a fellow-Christian with you. The reference here is doubtless 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. In the previous verse, the writer had closed the salutation, and he here commences a description of the circumstances under which the vision appeared to him. He was in a lonely island, to which he had been banished on account of his attachment to religion; he was in a state of high spiritual enjoyment on the day devoted to the sacred remembrance of the Redeemer; he suddenly heard a voice behind him, and turning saw the Son of man himself, in glorious form, in the midst of seven golden lamps, and fell at his feet as dead.

And companion in tribulation - Your partner in affliction. That is, he and they were suffering substantially the same kind of trials on account of their religion. It is evident from this that some form of persecution was then raging, in which they were also sufferers, though in their case it did not lead to banishment. The leader, the apostle, the aged and influential preacher, was banished; but there were many other forms of trial which they might be called to endure who remained at home. What they were we have not the means of knowing with certainty.

And in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ - The meaning of this passage is, that he, and those whom he addressed, were not only companions in affliction, but were fellow-partners in the kingdom of the Redeemer; that is, they shared the honor and the privileges pertaining to that kingdom; and that they were fellow-partners in the “patience” of Jesus Christ, that is, in enduring with patience whatever might follow from their being his friends and followers. The general idea is, that alike in privileges and sufferings they were united. They shared alike in the results of their attachment to the Saviour.

Was in the isle that is called Patmos - Patmos is one of the cluster of islands in the Aegean Sea anciently called the “Sporades.” It lies between the island of Icaria and the promontory of Miletus. It is merely mentioned by the ancient geographers (Plin. Hist. Nat., iv., 23; Strabo, x., 488). It is now called Patino or Patmoso. It is some six or eight miles in length, and not more than a mile in breadth, being about fifteen miles in circumference. It has neither trees nor rivers, nor has it any land for cultivation, except some little nooks among the ledges of rocks. On approaching the island, the coast is high, and consists of a succession of capes, which form so many 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 projecting cape. The town attached to this port is situated upon a high rocky mountain, rising immediately from the sea, and this, with the Scala below upon the shore, consisting of some ships and houses, forms the only inhabited site of the island.

Though Patmos is deficient in trees, it abounds in flowery plants and shrubs. Walnuts and other fruit trees are raised in the orchards, and the wine of Patmos is the strongest and the best flavored in the Greek islands. Maize and barley are cultivated, but not in a quantity sufficient for the use of the inhabitants and for a supply of their own vessels, and others which often put into their good harbor for provisions. The inhabitants now do not exceed four or five thousand; many of whom are emigrants from the neighboring continent. About halfway up the mountain there is shown a natural grotto in a rock, where John is said to have seen his visions and to have written this book. Near this is a small church, connected with which is a school or college, where the Greek language is taught; and on the top of the hill, and in the center of the island, is a monastery, which, from its situation, has a very majestic appearance (Kitto‘s Cyclopoedia of Bib. Literally). The annexed engraving is supposed to give a good representation of the appearance of the island,

It is commonly supposed that John was banished to this island by Domitian, about 94 a.d. No place could have been selected for banishment which would accord better with such a design than this. Lonely, desolate, barren, uninhabited, seldom visited, it had all the requisites which could be desired for a place of punishment; and banishment to that place would accomplish all that a persecutor could wish in silencing an apostle, without putting him to death. It was no uncommon thing, in ancient times, to banish people from their country; either sending them forth at large, or specifying some particular place to which they were to go. The whole narrative leads us to suppose that this place was designated as that to which John was to be sent. Banishment to an island was a common mode of punishment; and there was a distinction made by this act in favor of those who were thus banished. The more base, low, and vile of criminals were commonly condemned to work in the mines; the more decent and respectable were banished to some lonely island. See the authorities quoted in Wetstein, “in loco.”

For the word of God - On account of the word of God; that is, for holding and preaching the gospel. See the notes on Revelation 1:2. It cannot mean that he was sent there with a view to his “preaching” the Word of God; for it is inconceivable that he should have been sent from Ephesus to preach in such a little, lonely, desolate place, where indeed there is no evidence that there were any inhabitants; nor can it mean that he was sent there by the Spirit of God to receive and record this revelation, for it is clear that the revelation could have been made elsewhere, and such a place afforded no special advantages for this. The fair interpretation is, in accordance with all the testimony of antiquity, that he was sent there in a time of persecution, as a punishment for preaching the gospel.

And for the testimony of Jesus Christ - See the notes on Revelation 1:2. He did not go there to bear testimony to Jesus Christ on that island, either by preaching or recording the visions in this book, but he went because he had preached the doctrines which testified of Christ.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 335

Verse 9

The subject here changes, John introducing the place and the circumstances under which the Revelation was given. He first sets himself forth as a brother of the universal church, and their companion in the tribulations incident to the Christian profession in this life.DAR 335.4

And in the Kingdom. — These words have been the occasion of no little controversy. Does John really mean to say that Christians in the present state are in the kingdom of Christ, or in other words, that in his day Christ's kingdom had already been set up? If this language has any reference to the present state, it must be in a very limited and accommodated sense. Those who take the ground that it has its application here, usually refer to 1 Peter 2:9 to prove the existence of a kingdom in the present state, and to show its nature. But, as was remarked on verse 6, the literal reign of the saints is yet future. It is through much tribulation that we are to enter into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22. But when the kingdom is entered, the tribulation is done. The tribulation and the kingdom do not exist contemporaneously. Murdock's translation of the Syriac of this verse omits the word kingdom, and reads as follows: “I John, your brother, and partaker with you in the affliction and suffering that are in Jesus the Messiah.” Wakefield translates: “I John, your brother, and sharer with you in enduring the affliction of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.” Bloomfield says that by the words tribulation and patience “are denoted afflictions and troubles to be endured for the sake, and in the cause of Christ; and ???????? [kingdom] intimates that he is to be partaker with them in the kingdom prepared for them.” He says that “the best comment on this passage is 2 Timothy 2:12,” which reads: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” From all which we may safely conclude that though there is a kingdom of grace in the present state, the kingdom to which John alluded is the future kingdom of glory, and the suffering and patience are preparatory to its enjoyment.DAR 335.5

The Place. — The isle that is called Patmos, — a small, barren island off the west coast of Asia Minor, between the island of Icaria and the promontory of Miletus, where in John's day was located the nearest Christian church. It is about eight miles in length, one in breadth, and eighteen in circumference. Its present name is Patino or Patmosa. The coast is high, and consists of a succession of capes, which form many ports. The only one now in use is a deep bay sheltered by high mountains on every side but one, where it is protected by a projecting cape. The town attached to this port is situated upon a high, rocky mountain rising immediately from the sea, and is the only inhabited site of the island. About half way up the mountain on which this town is built, there is shown a natural grotto in the rock, where tradition will have it that John had his vision and wrote the Revelation. On account of the stern and desolate character of this island, it was used, under the Roman empire, as a place of banishment, which accounts for the exile of John thither. The banishment of the apostle took place about the year A. D. 94, as is generally supposed, under the emperor Domitian; and from this fact the date assigned to the writing of the Revelation is A. D. 95 or 96.DAR 336.1

The Cause of Banishment. — “For the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This was John's high crime and misdemeanor. The tyrant Domitian, who was then invested with the imperial purple of Rome, more eminent for his vices than even for his civil position, quailed before this aged but dauntless apostle. He dared not permit the promulgation of his pure gospel within the bounds of his kingdom. He exiled him to lonely Patmos, where, if anywhere this side of death, he might be said to be out of the world. Having confined him to that barren spot, and to the cruel labor of the mines, the emperor doubtless thought that this preacher of righteousness was finally disposed of, and that the world would hear no more of him. So, doubtless, thought the persecutors of John Bunyan when they had shut him up in Bedford jail. But when man thinks he has buried the truth in eternal oblivion, the Lord gives it a resurrection in tenfold glory and power. From Bunyan's dark and narrow cell there blazed forth a spiritual light, which, next to the Bible itself, has built up the interests of the gospel; and from the barren Isle of Patmos, where Domitian thought he had forever extinguished at least one torch of truth, there arose the most magnificent revelation of all the sacred canon, to shed its divine luster over the whole Christian world till the end of time. And how many will revere the name of the beloved disciple, and hang with delight upon his enrapturing visions of heavenly glory, who will never learn the name of the monster who caused his banishment. Verily, those words of the Scriptures are sometimes applicable, even to the present life, which declare that “the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance,” but “the name of the wicked shall rot.”DAR 337.1

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 570

John was cast into a caldron of boiling oil; but the Lord preserved the life of His faithful servant, even as He preserved the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. As the words were spoken, Thus perish all who believe in that deceiver, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, John declared, My Master patiently submitted to all that Satan and his angels could devise to humiliate and torture Him. He gave His life to save the world. I am honored in being permitted to suffer for His sake. I am a weak, sinful man. Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled. He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. AA 570.1

These words had their influence, and John was removed from the caldron by the very men who had cast him in. AA 570.2

Again the hand of persecution fell heavily upon the apostle. By the emperor's decree John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, condemned “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:9. Here, his enemies thought, his influence would no longer be felt, and he must finally die of hardship and distress. AA 570.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 575

In all ages God's appointed witnesses have exposed themselves to reproach and persecution for the truth's sake. Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he preserved his virtue and integrity. David, the chosen messenger of God, was hunted like a beast of prey by his enemies. Daniel was cast into a den of lions because he was true to his allegiance to heaven. Job was deprived of his worldly possessions, and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives and friends; yet he maintained his integrity. Jeremiah could not be deterred from speaking the words that God had given him to speak; and his testimony so enraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit. Stephen was stoned because he preached Christ and Him crucified. Paul was imprisoned, beaten with rods, stoned, and finally put to death because he was a faithful messenger for God to the Gentiles. And John was banished to the Isle of Patmos “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” AA 575.1

These examples of human steadfastness bear witness to the faithfulness of God's promises—of His abiding presence and sustaining grace. They testify to the power of faith to withstand the powers of the world. It is the work of faith to rest in God in the darkest hour, to feel, however sorely tried and tempest-tossed, that our Father is at the helm. The eye of faith alone can look beyond the things of time to estimate aright the worth of the eternal riches. AA 575.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 581

It was at this critical time in the history of the church that John was sentenced to banishment. Never had his voice been needed by the church as now. Nearly all his former associates in the ministry had suffered martyrdom. The remnant of believers was facing fierce opposition. To all outward appearance the day was not far distant when the enemies of the church of Christ would triumph. AA 581.1

But the Lord's hand was moving unseen in the darkness. In the providence of God, John was placed where Christ could give him a wonderful revelation of Himself and of divine truth for the enlightenment of the churches. AA 581.2

In exiling John, the enemies of truth had hoped to silence forever the voice of God's faithful witness; but on Patmos the disciple received a message, the influence of which was to continue to strengthen the church till the end of time. Though not released from the responsibility of their wrong act, those who banished John became instruments in the hands of God to carry out Heaven's purpose; and the very effort to extinguish the light placed the truth in bold relief. AA 581.3

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