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While it is generally thought that John was exiled to Patmos by a Roman emperor, we have only one verse that speaks about it.  Let’s read Revelation 1:9 which says, “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.”  This is the only mention of Patmos in the Bible.  It is obvious that John was on the island because of the word of God and for his testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We see that John was not on the island to preach the Gospel; he was on the island because he had preached the Gospel.  It’s a logical conclusion that John was not on the island of his own free will.  He was put there.

Historical accounts say that John was banished to Patmos by one of the Roman emperors; whether it was Domitian, Claudius, or Nero, is a point of contention among historians, but most seem to think it was Nero that sent John to Patmos to keep him from spreading the word of the Lord.  It seems that banishment was a pretty common practice to rid the nation of undesirable people.  Some say that John was boiled in oil, but since that did not hurt him, he was banished to Patmos.  We need to be very careful about putting too much confidence in stories like this.  There is no profit to be gained in these stories, so let’s put our dependence in what the Lord tells us, and that is that John “was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Even as the Lord used the Apostle Paul greatly while he was in prison; the Lord used John greatly while he was on Patmos.  Let’s read Revelation 1:10-20, “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. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”  It was to John that the Lord gave this book of Revelation.  It’s interesting to note that in His Gospel, the Apostle John never mentions himself by name.  Four times, in John 19:26, John 20:2, John 21:7 and John 21:17, John refers to himself as “the disciple who Jesus loved.”  In contrast to Peter, who was taken up with how much he loved the Lord, John was taken up with how much the Lord loved him.  So, it is to this disciple whom Jesus loved that he revealed these wonderful events, so that we might have them and learn from them.

While most of the book of Revelation is prophetic, not all of it is.  Notice what the Lord said to John in Revelation 1:19, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”  The past, present, and future were mentioned.  The ‘things which thou hast seen’ are found in chapter one.  The ‘things which are’ are found in chapters 2 and 3.  The ‘things which shall be hereafter’ are found in chapters 4-21 of this book of Revelation.  This book is so important and should be studied by all believers.  Revelation 1:3 says, “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.”