Revelation 1:9 The setting for this vision was the island of Patmos the island to which John was banished. It is and island ten miles long and six miles wide. It was located only about forty miles from the great city of Ephesus. It was an isolated, barren, rocky island with hills rising to about one thousand feet. He was imprisoned on Patmos about A.D. 94 and liberated about A.D. 96.
This tells us how real his circumstances were when He received this vision from the Lord. This should remind us that in the darkest hours of our lives God is always there. God will meet us if we abide in Him and call on Him. This was true with John when he was exiled, and it was true with others in their dark exile. It was in exile that Jacob saw God at Bethel; Moses saw God at the burning bush; that Elijah heard the still small voice; and that Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord by the river Chebar; that Daniel saw the Ancient of days.
John calls himself a brother and a companion to the believers of the churches. They are brothers in the family of God, brothers to the Lord Yeshua and to one another. John had a particular experience in mind, their tribulations, trials, afflictions, persecutions, sufferings, and pressures; their common walk of day to day seeking after the kingdom and their shared patience: enduring and persevering against their trials and temptations.
Christians were hated and persecuted for several reasons. Politically, the Romans viewed them as disloyal because they refused to acknowledge Caesar as divine. That disloyalty was confirmed by their refusal to offer sacrifices of worship to the emperor. Religiously, they were denounced as atheists because they rejected the Roman gods and worshiped an invisible God, not an idol.
Socially, Christians, most of whom were from the lower classes of society (1 Corinthians 1:26), were despised by the Roman aristocracy. Christians taught that all people are equal (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11) which threatened to undermine the hierarchical structure of Roman society and topple the elite from their privileged status. Economically, Christians were seen as a threat by the many priests, craftsmen, and merchants who profited from idol worship (Acts 9:23ff).
Initially the Roman government considered Christianity a sect of Judaism (Acts 18:12-16). This quickly changed when the Jewish authorities prevailed on Rome to recognize Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism. That identified Christians as worshipers of an illegal religion. Yet there was no official persecution by the Roman authorities until the time of Nero. Seeking to divert public suspicion that he had caused the great fire in Rome (July 19, a.d. 64), Nero blamed the Christians for it. As a result, many Christians were executed at Rome.
In 95 John was sent to Patmos by persecution of Christians by Emperor Domitian. Antipas an Ephesian elder or pastor had been martyred (Revelation 2:13). The Lord sent John this revelation to comfort, exhort and discipline the church that was under siege. John identified with his readers by describing himself as sharing with them in tribulation. He also identified with his readers in their perseverancewhich literally means ” to remain under. ” It speaks of patiently enduring difficulties without giving up. Suffering persecution for the cause of Messiah and patiently enduring trials are what Believers are called to. John received his vision while he was in the Spirit;Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:2;3:12,14), Peter (Acts 10:9ff), and Paul (Acts 22:17-21;2 Corinthians 12:1ff) had similar experiences.
Revelation 1:10-11 John received his vision on the “Lord’s day.“There is debate among scholars about the meaning of that expression.
Some believe that this refers to the time of judgment called the Day of the Lord since this expression is never used in the Bible to refer to the first day of the week. (Isaiah 2:12;13:6,9;34:8;Joel 1:15;2:1,11,31;3:14;Amos 5:18,20;Zephaniah 1:7-8,14,18;2:3;Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5;1 Thessalonians 5:2;2 Peter 3:10).
Those who argue that this is a reference to Sunday cite that the Greek phrase translated the Lord’s dayis different from the one translated “the Day of the Lord ” (1 Corinthians 5:50;1 Thessalonians 5:2;2 Thessalonians 2:2;2 Peter 3:10) that here the vision is of Messiah’s present ministry in the church not the coming judgment. The phrase the “Lord’s Day”was used by early Christians as a way of referring to Sunday because the resurrection took place on a Sunday.
The loud voicewas that of the Lord like the sound of a trumpet. The Hebrew word means “bright” and “clear,” a trumpet is so named because of its clear sound. The trumpet is used to summon people together, Exodus 19:13;Numbers 10:10;Judges 7:18, etc.;1 Samuel 13:3;2 Samuel 15:10;Ezek 33:1ff. The scene is reminiscent of the giving of the Law at Sinai (Exodus 19:16). Like Moses he was told to write what he saw in a book (or scroll) what he saw.After writing the vision, John was to send it to the seven churches of Revelation 2-3.