New Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me
JOHN ON PATMOS (Revelation 1:1—5:14)
By Wayne S. Walker
As the end of the first century A. D. began to draw near, early historical tradition says that all of Christ’s apostles except one had been martyred for their faith. According to these sources, John, the son of Zebedee and brother of James, was alone left and came to live in or near the city of Ephesus. It appears that the Roman Emperor, probably Domitian, banished John to the rocky isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Asia Minor, where he wrote the book of Revelation which he addressed to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. Some scholars think that Revelation was penned earlier, before the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70, but likely the majority seems to believe that it should be dated sometime in the 90s, perhaps around A. D. 95.
As Revelation opens, John’s first vision is of voice that is as a loud trumpet. This speaker says that He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and tells John to write what he sees in a book. Then when John turns to look, He sees “One like the Son of Man” who is in the midst of seven lampstands. The voice speaks and John writes letters to the seven churches. Ephesus could not bear those who were evil but had left its first love. Smyrna was told not to be afraid but to be faithful to death. Pergamos had those who held to the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. Thyatira allowed a woman named Jezebel who called herself a prophetess to seduce Christ’s servants. Sardis had a name that they lived but were dead. Philadelphia had kept the command to persevere and was encouraged to hold fast. Laodicea was lukewarm and needed to repent.
In John’s next vision, he sees a throne in heaven. One sat on the throne surrounded by 24 elders in white robes, along with the seven Spirits of God and four living creatures who rest not day nor night, saying “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.” The One on the throne held in His right hand a scroll sealed with seven seals. At first, no one was found who could loose the seals and read the scroll, so John began weeping; but one of the elders replied that the Lion of the tribe of Judah would be able open the scroll. Yet when John looked, he saw a Lamb as though it had been slain, who took the scroll out of the hand of Him who sat on the throne. Then the four living creatures and the 24 elders, along with many angels the number of which was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, fell down to worship, saying, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
- To what rocky isle was John banished?
- To how many churches in the Roman province of Asia did he write Revelation?
- What did John hear in his first vision?
- Whom did he see in that first vision?
- In his second vision, what did John see in heaven?
- How many elders were there?
- What did the elders wear?
- How many Spirits were mentioned as being there?
- How many living creatures were present?
- What did the living creatures say?
- What did the Being whom John saw in heaven have in His hand?
- In which hand did He hold it?
- Who did one of the elders say would open this object?
- When John looked, what did he see?
- What did the living creatures, the elders, and all the angels do?