A brother and companion tribulation
(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 the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and sent 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." Revelation 1:9 - 11.
The apostle John was an old man who was badly injured but I can see why God sent him to Patmos. His whole life revolved around getting the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a dying world. It is interesting that the Roman Empire could not stop John and they did try but to no avail. It is possibly (I am not sure) that the Romans were fearful to make John a martyr because he was so effective and bold for Jesus Christ under persecution. They exiled him in boiling oil but little did they know that these letters from John to Christians would unleash greater power than all the combined might of all the empires in the history of mankind.
I know I sometimes say, "Lord you really let me down" but that is an impossibility. John never said this because the Bible says, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day ... so even in the middle of all this suffering he was guided by the Holy Spirit. I can learn much from this passage. When things fall apart I can become very anxious but God is Sovereign. I need to take this lessons from the apostle John.
This apostle was in the Spirit and he never felt sorry for himself nor did he curse his circumstances. Since God is Sovereign the Holy Spirit will always assure us that we are right where God desires and He has us in a place for a wonderful purpose. We do not know the future but we do know the One who knows the future.
We should be under the control of the Holy Spirit all the time. When this passage says John was in the Spirit that means he became uniquely dominated by the Spirit of God at this time. This also means he became infallible in what he saw and recorded. I did not say the apostle John was infallible. The truth of the matter is every writer of Scripture experienced the same domination by the Holy Spirit and they not only penned the ideas that God desired people to know but the exact words God desired for these biblical principals to be explained in the Bible. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Ho'ly Ghost." 1 Peter 1:21.
When the apostle John was in the control of the Holy Spirit he heard behind him a loud voice. It was the sound of a trumpet. For the most part trumpets in the Bible signify important messages from God. When we go up in the rapture a trumpet will sound to call forth His people to heaven. Seven trumpets will sound during the judgments of the seven year tribulation period. There is also a great trumpet which will sound when Jesus Christ returns to the earth. Obviously trumpets generally have had a prominent place in the battlefields of world history.
Whatever this apostle saw he wrote in a book. This gives more validity to the book of Revelation and it emphasizes the fact that John did see the things he wrote down so the point is he did not dream this in his head. In fact God is so dogmatic about this issue that these events that John really saw are mentioned seven times in the first chapter of Revelation.
There were hundreds of churches in the first century but the angel signifies that this book should only be sent to seven churches. They were sent out for a specific purpose. These were the churches that had problems which were typical of congregations everywhere at that time and through the ages. The order of these seven churches are presented in Revelation chapters two and three parallels the changing conditions of the church through the centuries from Jesus Christ to the rapture of the church. The people in these churches would not have even remotely understood these parallels but this makes us all the more responsible and accountable before God. This biblical and historical perspective of church history is so valuable because we can learn important lessons from their failures and successes and apply it to our lives for the glory of Jesus Christ. We can also identify the period of time that we are in now because the condition of the church in our day would correspond to the church of Laodicea.
John called himself a brother and companion in tribulation. I need to ask myself, "Am I a brother and companion in tribulation to my brothers and sisters in Christ." We as people tend to be head strong but are we heart strong? The longest few inches we will ever travel is from our heads to our hearts. I never said this is easy but it is the will of God for our lives.
In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. How patient has Jesus Christ been to us? The truth of the matter is we do not know the answer to this question. We are all children regarding this question. In fact the Bible says unless we come to God as a little child we will not even go to heaven. To give you the answer in general terms the Son of God has been overwhelmingly patient with us regarding our sins and faults.
John was exiled for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. He was faithful to what the Bible taught with conviction but also testified of Him that saves a person who is Jesus Christ. We should follow the good example of the apostle John because we serve the Alpha and Omega who is the first and the last. I read all of the books that John wrote and he was very specific to the word of God. When we testify of Jesus Christ by our words and life this gives God the Father honor and glory. God does require us to be obedient to the Bible and testify of what Jesus Christ did for us in our life. I am almost never shy in doing this but I am not going to say I did not miss opportunities to minister to other people. We will all feel bad when we are shown in heaven the missed opportunities but if our heart is in the right place God will strengthen our spirit with more conviction to reach out to a needy person in one way or another. They may have physical needs or they may have spiritual needs but the question is how much compassion do we have in our hearts?
John said I am your brother and companion in tribulation but if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ He desires to be your brother and companion in tribulation. He is a very patient God who has given us the Bible. As John was guided by the Holy Spirit you can also be led by the third Person of the Trinity. If you desire to accept the Alpha and Omega into your heart now may be a good time to repent of all your sins and invite Jesus Christ into your life. I think about the God I serve who is the Alpha and Omega. There is not one thing God does not know and He is Almighty. If you chose to make that all important eternal decision let Jesus Christ be your brother and companion in your life. This honors the Son of God. I can count the true friends that I have on one hand. The apostle John was the rare individual who saw himself as a brother and companion to his fellow believers in Christ. You may not come across to many believers that have this spirit. Jesus Christ does have this heart for us.
God bless you,