How to Understand Revelation
Isle of Patmos
The final book in the Bible is Revelation. Many Bible scholars and Bible teachers look at this book through three different lenses. The first being historical, futuristic and then from the perspective of what it has to say to the individual.
The author of the book is John. He is the one known as the beloved disciple. It is John who Jesus speaks to from the cross with these words, "Son behold your mother". It is in this moment that Jesus charges John with the care of his mother Mary. Tradition holds that John and Mary settled in Ephesus and it believed that Mary finished her life out there.
John was sentenced to hard labor on the Island of Patmos at the approximate age of 90. He is place there because of his evangelism of the gospel. The book of Revelation opens with John, on the island and that it is the Lord's day. Hence John's visions take place on the sabbath.
Isle of Patmos
Patmos is the northern most of the Dodecane isand group. The landscape includes barren hills and small plateaus. The coastline is filled with bays and coves. John is to have lived in and among the caves on the island.
Tour of Cave on Patmos
Revelation 1:11 begins with the instruction for John to write the letters to the seven churches. Chapters 2-3 in Revelation includes those letters. Each church received a word from God specific to the respective church.
12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man,"[a]dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
It is interesting to note that John "turned around". It is believed that prior to this point John's ministry was primarily in speaking and this moment caused him to begin writing. The one among the lampstands is Jesus. The seven lampstands symbolize the seven churches to whom John is suppose to write. The double edged sword is the word of God. The seven stars the angels of the seven churches. This is clearly spoken of in the first chapter of Revelation.
9"Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[c] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Cave on Patmos
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