The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2

Page 11

As He Is

Revelation 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.

     John thus identifies himself with the members of the churches to which he was going to send his book of prophecy.  Though he was the last of Christ’s apostles, entitled to all respect and esteem, he considered himself only one of the brethren, sharing in the common persecutions which had already claimed the lives of all the other apostles, as well as countless others among the brethren.  This was in the time of Domitian, among the cruelest of the Roman emperors.  John himself was in prison, banished because of his preaching to a small barren island in the Aegean.

     His offense, he says, was exactly that of which he had been “guilty” for over sixty years, bearing witness of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ (compare verse 2).

Revelation 1:10.   I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.

     There has been much argument as to whether “the Lord’s day” here refers to Sunday or “the day of the Lord.”  If the latter, John was translated in the Holy Spirit forward to the great future day of the Lord, the subject of much prophecy in both Old and New Testaments.  His experience may have been similar to that of Paul (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

     However, there are serious problems with this interpretation.  If John meant “the day of the Lord,” he should have said so.  “The Lord’s day” is a quite different construction, meaning “the day belonging to the Lord.”  The construction is used only one other time (“the Lord’s supper” in 1 Corinthians 11:20).  Secondly, the assumption that he was translated in the Spirit forward to the day of the Lord is inconsistent with the fact that the first two chapters of his book deal with current situations in existing churches.  The assumed translation should not have taken place until after his messages to the churches.

     The main objection to the “Sunday” interpretation, on the other hand, is that the day after the Sabbath is nowhere else in Scripture called the Lord’s day.  The oldest known use of that term is 100 years after John.

     This, however, is an argument from silence.  It could well be, in fact, that this expression was applied here by John for the first time to the day elsewhere known in Scripture as “the first day of the week.”  In such a case the later use of the term, extending to modern times, could even have originated from John’s use of it here.  There certainly was ample justification for identifying the day of Christ’s resurrection with the Lord, and in two recorded instances at least the early Christians had begun to have services on this day long before this occasion (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

     Thus, although there is some uncertainty, it does seem that the weight of evidence shows that John was in a time of meditation and prayer – “in the Spirit” – on a certain day, a first day of the week, in his barren prison land, remembering his beloved Lord when he heard the great voice behind him, loud and clear as a trumpet, and he suddenly was aware that the Lord Himself had come from heaven to be with him on that great Lord’s day, to show him things to come.

Revelation 1:11.   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.

     The voice repeats the “I am.”  Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, so that this incomparable claim incorporates all existence, all knowledge, all reality.  Furthermore, it is the same claim made by God Himself three times through Isaiah (Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12).

     Then came the command: “Write what you see in a book.”  Just as there was a book of the generations of Adam (Genesis 5:1), so there is to be a book of the last generations, both serving to anchor and guide all other generations.  Initially this book (Greek biblion, from which we get our word “Bible”) was to be sent to seven churches among whom John had evidently ministered.  The churches were all in southwest Asia Minor, more or less facing the Isle of Patmos on which John was imprisoned.  They are enumerated in clockwise order, beginning at Ephesus on the coast, then northward to Smyrna and Pergamum, east to Thyatira, and southeast to Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, the latter due east and inland from Ephesus.

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