The Revelation of Jesus Christ: Rev 1:9

Jeff "Miztah" Rogers By Jeff "Miztah" Rogers, 25th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ

Your Brother and Companion in Tribulation

"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." Revelation 1:9-11

We now enter the next section of Revelation chapter 1. Here in this section we have John identifying himself for the third time (see verses 1 and 4 for the previous times) and we are introduced to the primary audience of the letter; the seven churches whom John lists for us in verse eleven.

To summarize the previous sections of the chapter from verse 1-8. We are introduced to the theme of the letter; "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" (v.1). The transmission of the revelation; "He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John" (v.1) The blessing to His audience; "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what it written" (v. 3). The timing of the coming events; "for the time is near" (v. 3).

We were introduced to the tri-une God; The Father, the Spirit and the Son (v.4). We are reminded of the glorious nature of our savior in verses 5-8. In these verses, John seems to have to rely on the heavenly revelation from the angel for an apt description. A description that can only result in the worship and adoration of Christ Jesus. Again I encourage you to review this section. If your heart tends to grow cold toward worship, read and re-read these first 8 verses and gain for yourself again, a glimpse of the one who alone is worthy of all of our devotion and worship. This is a great passage to memorize and to recite to yourself anytime you are preparing for worship (among others). I believe that in taking these introductory thoughts to heart it will renew us and we will see a glimpse of Christ that is unlike any other in all of the revelation of scripture. This section has the power to change us and mold us into the image of Christ.

From this glorious vision that John allows us in the first eight verses he progresses to the theme of tribulation, suffering and endurance in suffering. I am convinced this is not by mistake. If we fully embrace this Christ in all of His glories in verses 1-8 we will be able to withstand and endure any and all suffering. But John writes to a first century audience who were already in the midst of this suffering and tribulation. He is introducing this theme of tribulation, so let's look at the scriptural background to this heavy theme for ourselves.

In verse nine John tells his audience that he is their "brother and partner in tribulation".

"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." Revelation 1:9

The Greek word translated as "Tribulation" is "θλίψει" - "thlipsis" meaning: persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation. The concept of persecution, tribulation and affliction is a common theme used all throughout the New Testament. Notice these verses below and look to see that they are all written in a first century context and directly to a first century audience.

Jesus predicted it would come:

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." Matthew 24:9

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Matthew 24:21

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but (you) be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only." Acts 11:19

"Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;" Romans 5:3

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

I will stop here with the examples, but there are 45 uses of this word "thlipsis" by Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. I would encourage you to get a concordance and look up all of the New Testament references to affliction, suffering, persecution and tribulation. They all are happening to the saints of the first century. Jesus warned them that tribulation, affliction and persecution was going to come to them. John is saying, that he is sharing in that tribulation with them.

In the sampling of verses above, please note my highlights. I highlighted all of the pronouns to whom this tribulation applied: "You", "Ye", "Us", "We", "They" etc. All of these are identifying that the original first century audience who first read these words need to take heed of these warnings for themselves.

I believe that our modern day theologians do a disservice to the scripture when they tell us today that these passages apply to us. It has the effect of making the historic tribulation and persecution that actually happened in fulfillment of Christ's words and those of the Apostles to be absolutely meaningless.

We also must note that this is not something new that was unexpected. The Old Testament as well warned that when Israel came to their "Latter Days" they could expect this tribulation to commence. All the way back to Moses this was made known to the nation of Israel.

"When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;" Deuteronomy 4:30

Jeremiah clearly places this tribulation and affliction in the days of the first century, when the Gentiles would come to God.

"O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit." Jeremiah 16:19

We could study for many many sessions the promises of suffering that were made upon the nation of Israel in their "latter days".

"For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended." Deuteronomy 31:29-30

In this passage from Deuteronomy we see that Moses (keep in mind that he is speaking directly to, and only to the nation of Israel) is again warning them of suffering and affliction in their "Latter Days". This is followed by chapter 32 which is called the "Song of Moses". The song really is a dirge; it is a litany of all the judgments that will come upon Israel for having broken the covenant and for rejecting their messiah. I believe you would benefit from a thorough study of this whole section, but let me highlight two verses near the end of the chapter.

"Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly." Deuteronomy 32:35

Here in verse 35 we see that Moses declares that God will take vengeance and repay (recompense) his people for their sin. This interpretation of these words of Moses is confirmed to us by the use of this passage by the writer of Hebrews.

"Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:28-31

This is a direct quote of Deuteronomy 32:35 with New Covenant, Holy Spirit inspired commentary and application to the first century audience. Paul also quoted this verse in Romans 12, in the direct context of first century suffering. (See Romans 12:12-21).

But these hopeless and fearful words are, (thankfully) not the last word on the subject. In the very next verse in Deuteronomy Moses declares that God will vindicate and deliver his people, (those who believe by faith), as opposed to those who are the wicked, from this tribulation.

"For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond or free." Deuteronomy 32:36

From here we make the complete circle back to our text in Revelation 1:9. John declares that this tribulation, in which he was their partner, was something to be "patiently endured". John even alludes to his participation in this suffering as he reminds them that he was in exile on the island of Patmos due to his own life and testimony of Jesus. He brings up the tribulation here in verse 9, but this is only by way of introducing the theme of tribulation. Later in the book he shows how the faithful are being vindicated and delivered from this very tribulation, just as Moses predicted.

"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7:13-14

The elders are asking John in this passage who are these in the white robes and where did they come from? His answer is that these are the ones who have been delivered out of great tribulation.

"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:9-10

In the letter to the church at Smyrna, Jesus commends them for their woks and the fact that they were enduring the tribulation. He promises that as they come through the persecution they will be inheriting a crown of life.

"Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds." Revelation 2:22

This mention here in Rev 2:22 is from the letter to the church at Thyatira, He is telling the saints he was not happy with their tolerating of the women "Jezebel", who calls herself a "prophetess". When we get to this passage I will show you that the prophetess Jezebel that Jesus is making reference to is none other than the first century Christ rejecting leaders of rebellious Israel. This is a clear fulfillment of Moses words from Deuteronomy 32:35, where he says, "Vengeance is mine...etc".

Jesus also gave us words that point us to the persecution coming from the first century Jewish leadership.

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee,..." Matthew 24:29-37

This is a horrible and damning indictment. Here we find Jesus predicting that the scribes and Pharisees would and did kill the prophets and them that were sent to them, just as their fathers have done throughout their history as a nation. This all happened in the first century and was continuing up to and even after the time of John writing the Revelation.

"Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:" Luke 11:49

Lest you think it was only prophets that they killed, here we have Jesus word that they would also be killing the apostles. And we see that God finally avenges his apostles and prophets on first century Jerusalem (as represented by Babylon) in Revelation chapter 18.

"Rejoice over her (Jerusalem-or-Babylon), thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her." Revelation 18:20

There is so much more I could add to this study. The theme of suffering in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, the suffering that was getting worse and worse as the day of judgment for Israel drew near. All of this was happening in the first century. My intent in this study was to introduce you to the theme of suffering as it pertains to the last day events of the first century leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I wanted to give you this introduction and background since that is what John is doing in this passage. He is introducing to his audience that he is aware of this ongoing tribulation, he knows its source and its ultimate end.

If some or even most of this is new to you, I would strongly urge you to go to those Old Testament passages particularly Deuteronomy chapters 28-32 and study about the promise of judgment and vindication of God upon the people of Israel for their covenant breaking, messiah rejecting and prophet/apostle persecution/killing.

None of this is brand new with the writing of John. John is writing to bring all these themes to their ultimate climax. He is declaring that these things which were spoken of by Moses and the prophets, by Jesus and his apostles were all coming to a head and that his first century audience was about to witness their ultimate and dramatic fulfillment.

Stick with us, it only gets more and more exciting from here.

Tags

Affliction, Israel, Suffering, Tribulation, Vengeance

Meet the author

author avatar Jeff "Miztah" Rogers
Lived in many places in the U.S.. Served in the Air Force for 21 years. retired from active duty in 2002. Traveled extensively, lived 8 years in Europe. I write about the bible, faith, and new ideas

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
5th Dec 2011 (#)

Thanks for this page, Miztah. As long as you are writing, I am reading. I am definitely becoming more aware.

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