Read Revelation 1:9. What does John tell us of the circumstances in which he received the visions of Revelation?
Patmos is a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea; it is ten miles long and six miles across its widest part. The Romans used it, together with other surrounding islands, as a penal colony for banished political offenders.
Early Christian authors living relatively close to the time of the writing of the book of Revelation state unanimously that Roman authorities had banished John to Patmos because of his faithfulness to the gospel. On Patmos, the aged apostle surely endured all the hardships of Roman imprisonment. He probably was treated as a criminal, chained in fetters, given insufficient food, and forced to perform hard labor under the lash of the whip of merciless Roman guards.
“Patmos, a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, had been chosen by the Roman government as a place of banishment for criminals; but to the servant of God this gloomy abode became the gate of heaven. Here, shut away from the busy scenes of life, and from the active labors of former years, he had the companionship of God and Christ and the heavenly angels, and from them he received instruction for the church for all future time”. – Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 570, 571.
What other Bible characters have endured hardship, even despite (or maybe even because of) their faithfulness to God? See Dan. 3:16-23, Acts 7:54-60.
The followers of Christ should never forget that whenever they find themselves in circumstances similar to those of John, they are not left alone. The same Jesus who came to John with the words of hope and encouragement in the midst of his hardship on Patmos still is present with His people to sustain and support them in their difficult situations.
|How can we understand the difference between suffering for Christ’s sake and suffering for other reasons, including our own wrong choices? Or what about suffering for reasons we cannot fathom? How can we learn to trust the Lord in every situation?|