Revelation 1:9 – Part 1

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Rev 1:9  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.

Introduction

In this verse we will see that the apostle John symbolizes our brother in Christ who is a “companion in tribulation.” We will see in this study that there are many symbols in this prophecy who are our “companions in tribulation and who have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” We will also learn that the people who persecute God prophets and apostles, and His elect, down through the years, have always been “they of His own household.”

Mat 10:36  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

As always we will be reminded that we are to keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book, and the words written therein:

Rev 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

This ninth verse of this first chapter is part of “what is written therein,” and it is part of “the saying of the prophecy of this book, [ and] the time is [ certainly] at hand” for us all to “keep what is written therein.”

Who does John symbolize?

Is it God’s intention that we read that “John is also our brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, and was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ,” just as an historical fact, or is it God’s intention that you and I keep these words, in our own lives? As with every word of “the sayings of the prophecy of this book, when we find out who is the principle involved, we will see that every word is for each of us individually. What we are about to see is that “our brother in tribulation,” is all who are truly in Christ. We are about to see is that those who are ” in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,” are all who are truly in Christ and have Christ in them.  We are about to learn is that the apostle John is as much a symbol in this book as are any other of the signs and symbols of this “revelation of Jesus Christ.” We will see that this revelation of Jesus Christ is the revelation of Jesus Christ within all who “keep those things which are written therein.” The apostle John, as we will see, is symbolic of God’s elect, who keep the sayings of this book.” Look at these confirming verses:

Luk 17:20  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

In other words, ‘The kingdom is already here in those who are in that kingdom.’ How else can Christ possibly say “for the time is at hand… Behold, I come quickly… This generation will not pass till all these things shall be fulfilled?” All of these statements we have just covered, when we were studying verse 4:

Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

When we studied that verse we demonstrated that “the kingdom of God is within you, and “this generation” is always referring to the time of the reading of these “words which are written therein,” words which “are, were, and will be,” words which will never pass away.

Mat 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

John tells us who he symbolizes, when he tells us that he is ‘The servant of Jesus Christ, who bares record of the word of God and that he has the testimony of Jesus Christ.” As we are about to see, these are all indicative of God’s elect.

What generation is “this generation,” and what are “the last days?”

If “All these things’ are not inward, and if “This generation” is not referring to the generation reading “this book,” then Christ lied to His disciples. But, of course Christ did not lie, and the apostles did experience “all these things,” as John explains here in Rev 1:3 and 22:7, and as Peter explains to us in the book of Acts:

Act 2:16  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Act 2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 2:18  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Act 2:19  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Act 2:20  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

Here is Peter, an apostle of Christ, telling us that the events surrounding the day of Pentecost are the fulfillment of Joe 2:

Joe 2:30  And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
Joe 2:31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Joe 2:32  And it shall come to pass, [ that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

I remember, as if it were just yesterday, telling another brother, “There were no heavenly signs on the day of Pentecost!” The whole orthodox Christian world wonders why Peter made such a statement and most all of the commentaries attempt to explain this as the beginning of “the last days, which will culminate with these “wonders in the heavens and in the earth.” They all take note that these signs were not fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and they all attempt to apply these words to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A. D.
 
Here are but a typical few of the commentaries on these verses:

“Much of the difficulty of interpreting these verses consists in affixing the proper meaning to the expression “ that great and notable day of the Lord.” If it be limited to the day of Pentecost, it is certain that no such events occurred at that time.” (Barnes)
“Act 2:19 
I will show wonders – It is likely that both the prophet and the apostle refer to the calamities that fell upon the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the fearful signs and portents that preceded those calamities.” (Clark)
“The destruction of Jerusalem, which was about forty years after Christ’s death, is here called that great and notable day of the Lord, because it put a final period to the Mosaic economy; the Levitical priesthood and the ceremonial law were thereby for ever abolished and done away.” (Henry)

 “This may refer either to the appearance of angels, and of an extraordinary star at the birth of Christ; or rather to comets and blazing stars, and particularly to that comet which, in the form of a flaming sword, hung over Jerusalem, and the forms of armies in the heavens engaged together, which were seen before, and portended the destruction of that city:” [ In 70 A. D.] (Gill).

What and where is heaven?

Barnes says “it is certain that no such events occurred at that time,” and the other three, without coming out and saying so, agree with Barnes by placing the fulfillment of these verses 37 to 40 years later at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. We will not go into all of the many scriptures on this subject at this point, but what all these commentators and all historical orthodox Christian doctrine is lacking is the realization that both ‘heaven’ and “the kingdom of God,” are within God’s elect at this time. This is not idle speculation, but it is spiritual understanding which the natural man cannot receive:

Luk 17:20  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
1Co 2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Read What And Where Is Heaven? on iswasandwillbe. com to see where the scriptures place heaven. As that paper demonstrates, God “dwells in heaven.” He  “dwells in His people” who are being cleansed and purged of sin in their lives day by day. And so we are told:

Job 15:15  Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.

1Ki 8:30  And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

God’s dwelling place in in heaven. Where is that “dwelling place?”

1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

So both God and His kingdom are “in heaven,” within His people, and w hen the apostle Peter quotes the prophet Joel and tells us ” This is what was spoken of by Joel, “And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come,” Peter did not say, ’40 years hence, this is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel.’ Peter knew that Christ has said ” This generation shall not pass away till all these things shall be fulfilled.” A generation is not forty years later. Christ Himself taught “The kingdom of God is at hand… it is within you.” Not one orthodox commentator is aware of these plain Biblical truths which reveal that the prophecy of Joel is, was, and will continue to be fulfilled within the hearts and minds, and in the inward heavens and the inward earthen vessels of God’s elect:

2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

“This treasure, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God,” is not billions of miles away. It is “within you,” if you are in Christ and He is within you.
So who does the apostle John symbolize? He tells us who he symbolizes. The apostle John symbolizes ” your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” Where is that kingdom? It is within you, and that is why you and I are instructed to “keep the words that are written therein.”
John symbolizes our elect brothers, who have “the testimony of [ the true] Jesus.”
How important is it to be “patient in the kingdom” of God within you at this particular time? Here is just how important is “the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ”  at this time:

Luk 21:16  And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
Luk 21:17  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
Luk 21:18  But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
Luk 21:19  In your patience possess ye your souls.

The unknown, “is, was, and will be,” character of the Word of God

So “They will cause some of you to be put to death… but there shall not an hair of your head perish?” That is kind of like saying “There is none righteous, no not one.. god is not mocked, what a man sows he will reap… we are all by nature children of wrath even as others,” and then in the same breath, telling us that we are called to be “saved from the wrath to come.”  But that is the character of God’s word which while “revealing the invisible things of God, even his godhead, by the things that are made,” yet teaches only by understanding those “things that are made” as spiritual types of spiritual realities.

1Co 2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because t hey are spiritually discerned.

“Not an hair of our heads shall perish,” simply because we will be given life through death.

Joh 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

He saves us from the fiery furnace through that fiery furnace; for the lion’s den, through the lion’s den; from the flood, through the flood, from death “through death;” and He saves us from the wrath to come by going through wrath first.

Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Rev 15:8  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled

It should be obvious that all these apparently contradictory situations are primarily spiritual statements which will always produce an outward manifestation. If you really are dying daily to the flesh, then you will automatically find that you simply do not fit into the affairs of this age. This predicament requires “the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, [ and] in your patience possess ye your souls.”

Who exiles John to Patmos?

Where will this place us in regards to our closest “brothers, kinfolks and friends?” We were just told in Luk 21, who was responsible for sending John, the symbol of God’s elect, to the isle that is called Patmos:

Luk 21:16  (a) And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends…

Who killed Abel? It was his own brother! Who persecuted the son of the free woman? It was his own brother! Who sold Joseph into slavery? It was His own brothers! Who killed Christ? It was you and me, His own brothers! Who then is responsible for the exile of  the man who was apparently the last remaining of Christ’s 12 original apostles? Was it the Romans? Was it the Jews, or was it John’s own spiritual brothers in Christ, “coming behind in no gift… yet carnal?” (1Co 1:7 and 3:1-4). It was, no doubt, the very people to whom John had been ministering.

Conclusion

Todays study has been a preparation for the revelations we will cover next week. We have begun to see that the apostle John is as much a sign as any other word in this book of signs and symbols. We have begun to see that the apostle John is typical of our all of “our brothers and our companions in tribulation,” in Christ who have the testimony of the true Jesus Christ.

Rev 1:9  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.

In order to follow through with understanding who John symbolizes it was necessary to be reminded of  what the scriptures mean by the phrase, “this generation,” and what is meant by the phrase “the last days,” and what the scriptures mean by the word ‘heaven.” Not understanding these phrases and words, keeps the words of this prophecy from being understood as these symbols are all meant to be understood.
We have also only begun to understand who it was that exiled John, a type of you and me, to the Isle of Patmos, which is but another way of saying that “the bodies of God’s witnesses lie dead in the streets of that great city.”  Next week we will discover much more of the depth of where understanding these symbols leads us. What we will learn is what we always learn in God’s Word. We will learn that these things must all take place within us and that we must “live by and keep, every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” It is a wonderful, beautiful revelation which brings forth a glorious spiritual life at the expense of all things of the flesh.

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