9 I, John, your brother and sharer in the affliction1, kingdom, and perseverance in Jesus2, was3 on the island of Patmos4 because of the word of God5 and the testimony of Jesus6. 10 I was7 in the Spirit8 on the Lord’s day9 and heard behind me a great voice like a trumpet10 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, namely the ones in Ephesus, in Smyrna, in Pergamum, in Thyatira, in Sardis, in Philadelphia, and in Laodicea.”
12 And I turned around to see the voice that was speaking11 with me, and after I had turned around12, I saw seven golden lampstands13 13 and in the middle of the lampstands there was someone like a son of man14 who had15 on a robe reaching his feet16 and had a golden belt17 wrapped around18 his chest19. 14 And his head and hair was white like wool, as white as snow20, and his eyes were like a flame of fire21. 15 And his feet were similar to fine brass as it glows22 in a furnace23. And his voice was like the sound of many waters24. 16 And he had25 seven stars in his right hand and going out from his mouth was a sharp, double- edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining26 in its full strength27 .
17 And when I saw him, I fell down at28 his feet like a dead man. And he put his right hand on me29 saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last30, 18 and the one who lives. And I was31 dead and behold, I am living forever32. And I have the keys of death and of the world of the dead33.34 19 Therefore, write what you have seen35 and what is and what is about to come to pass36 after these things. 20 The mystery37 of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands is this: the seven stars are angels of the seven churches38 and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
1 τῇ θλίψει (the affliction)
or “the tribulation”.
2 ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ βασιλείᾳ καὶ ὑπομονῇ (in the affliction, kingdom, and perseverance)
Note that all three share the article τῇ. This puts the nouns into a collective group. All of which are “in Jesus” or within the “sphere” of Jesus. The churches are in affliction, but at the same time “ruling with Jesus” and will continue to do so as long as they endure. Beale* (Pgs. 201-202).
Romans 8:17 ESV 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
We are companions and fellow heirs with Christ. As His brothers and sisters we will partake in His glory.
John was on the island for the word of God as punishment at the hands of men. But the hand of God was upon him. Out of exile on a forsaken rock comes a heavenly experience and a treasure for the Church. He was not forsaken by God. Neither are we.
The word of God and the testimony of Jesus are of the same essence, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit speak of the one God, yet we perceive the distinction of the three.
μαρτυρίαν marturia -testimony, witness The mature Christian is more able to reflect and give testimony of and to the One within.
The TR/KJV changes ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ βασιλείᾳ καὶ ὑπομονῇ ἐν Ἰησοῦ (in the affliction, kingdom, and perseverance in Jesus) to ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ καὶ ὑπομονῇ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ).
This variant probably rose up due to a mistake. The problem is that the “changes” in the Greek text changes the interpretation. This is why the translators of the KJV used “patience” instead of “perseverance” as they didn’t understand the meaning of the “changed” Greek and what “the perseverance of Jesus” could mean. Apparently, the translators decided that it meant that John and the members of the churches of Asia shared “Jesus’ patience”, but as we see from the above comment, John and the believers shared “in the affliction, the kingdom, and the perseverance” within the sphere of Jesus. They shared this because of their faith in Jesus.
It is possible to endure something without patience, and to have it. It is possible to be patient even when not enduring a hardship.
ὑπομονῇ -to me the best translation of this word may be patient endurance. If we are only able to define it with a single word, endurance would be the best. But this word appears to include the idea of an attitude which is best explained as evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit: of self control, gentleness, humility; it is those things that are signs of one "in Jesus".
It is living in the midst of hardship, yet reflecting the fruit of the Spirit as best as we can and are able. It is in Jesus that we are transferred into His kingdom. It was for the joy that Jesus saw before Him that He endured the cross. He calls us to that same journey.
I agree that the KJV rendering wanders from the Greek with the words "patience", "of", and the addition of Christ. It does change the meaning.
3 ἐγενόμην (was)
Greek: “became” or “came”.
4 According to Osborne***, Patmos was not a penal colony. “Life there was not too harsh, as indicated by its decent-size population and two gymnasia as well as a temple of Artemis. Thus John would have lived a fairly normal life as an exile on that island.” (Pg. 81).
5 Some scholars believe that this phrase means that John was on Patmos in order to receive the word of God, but the Greek doesn’t support that. John was on the Island “on account of” the word of God. That is part of his “tribulation” that he is a sharer in with the churches in Asia.
6 A parallel phrase of 1:2.
7 ἐγενόμην (was)
Greek: “became” or “came”.
8 Under the influence of the Spirit. Although the text doesn’t say it, John was probably worshipping or praying or both. According to Beale*, this passage contains allusions to Ezekiel 2:2; 3:12, 14, 24; 11:1; 43:5 (Pg. 203).
9 ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ (on the Lord’s day)
Probably a Sunday (Mounce**, Pg. 76), but we can’t be sure. It was most certainly a day that was set aside by John for worshipping God.
This word implies a rising and blending of John’s spirit with the Holy Spirit, like a bubble rising in the water that joins the air at the surface.
Even in a desolate place one can be in the Spirit. Any given day can be the Lord’s day if we give it to Him. However, the vision here is an unfolding of a coming time and future events. A common reference to these days is the Day of The Lord.
10 σάλπιγγος (a trumpet)
Since John understood what the voice was saying, then he may mean that the great voice was as loud as a trumpet. With that said, John may also be alluding to Exodus 19:16, 19-20 where Yahweh revealed himself on Mount Sinai. Beale* (Pg. 203).
Osborne*** says that the trumpet in the NT almost always signifies the coming of “the day of the Lord”. He goes on to say that the trumpet has three aspects of OT use that would allow it to be used eschatologically in Revelation: 1. to signal warfare, 2. heralds for the kind, and 3. in cultic worship during festive processions or sacrificial offerings. (Pg. 84).
If John was in anyway influenced by Paul’s letters (see note on verse 4), then the association with Jesus to Yahweh really makes sense. See blogs on Yahweh = Adonai = Kurios = Jesus here.
This signifies the majesty of the Lord and onset of the word that comes. Not only is the Lord’s voice regal and mighty, but there is little doubt as to who is speaking. No longer is this a small voice within, but to voice of the One that brought forth creation.
Individual messages are contained for the churches, but it is a message for all the churches, and to the Church.
11 ἐλάλει (was speaking)
The verb is in the imperfect tense and carries a continual aspect. It was probably written like this to indicate that the voice was still speaking as he was turning around to face it.
John certainly didn’t turn to see “a voice”, he turned to see who was speaking.
12 καὶ ἐπιστρέψας (and after I had turned around)
Greek: “and after turning around”.
It is when we turn to Him that we are able to see. What John sees is the very word of God, the light of the world.
13 ἑπτὰ λυχνίας χρυσᾶς (seven golden lampstands)
They were lampstands, not candle sticks. Candles didn’t exist yet.
Mounce** (Pg. 77). The imagery comes from Zechariah 4:2, 10.
14 The messianic image in the vision was human-like. Osborne*** (Pg. 88).
Emmanuel - God with us.
Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man. At times the Old Testament prophets were addressed by God this way. Jesus was not only the object of prophesy, but embodies the Spirit of prophesy.
15 ἐνδεδυμένον (who had on)
Greek: “having put on”. This participle is in the perfect tense, so robe
was already on him before John saw him.
16 The robe reaching the feet would have been considered more of a priestly robe than a kingly robe (Beale*), but Osborne*** says that the phrase ἐνδεδυμένον ποδήρη (who had on a robe reaching his feet) occurs in Ezekiel 9:2 (LXX) and depicts divine judgment on the ungodly.
17 or golden sash. Osborne*** says “The day laborer wore the sash around the waist, in order to tuck in a tunic for work. The aristocrat wore it around the chest, as here, to indicate high rank.” (Pg. 89).
His garment reflects His position as our High Priest and King.
18 περιεζωσμένον (had it wrapped around)
Greek: “having wrapped it around”. This participle is in the perfect tense, so the belt was already wrapped around his chest before John saw him. The whole verse is an echo of Daniel 10:5.
19 πρὸς τοῖς μαστοῖς (his chest)
Greek: “to the chest or breast”. Chest here is in the plural indicated both
sides of his chest.
20 This echos Daniel 7:9 where the Daniel describes παλαιὸς ἡμερῶν (The Ancient of Days). White hair was seen as one who had accumulated much wisdom during a long life.
An image that alludes to the Ancient of Days, the pre-existence of Christ, and the oneness of God.
21 An echo from Daniel 10:6. In Daniel, this depicts that God sees everything and will act in fierce judgment against the ones who will not obey him. Osborne*** (Pg. 90).
22 πεπυρωμένης (glows)
Greek: “having been burned”. The participle is in the perfect tense, so the fine brass has already been burned, but John sees the result of it being burned, that is the glowing of the brass. The echos are from Daniel 10:6 and Ezekiel 1:7.
His feet have been refined in the furnace of His suffering on earth. There He learned obedience, was tempted and tested, and was found worthy.
23 The passage represents the purity of Jesus. The burning process refines metal to a pure state.
24 An echo from Ezekiel 43:2. The sound of many waters would be a noise of roaring.
His voice roars and is heard in the moaning of all creation. It finds echo in the mutterings of man trying to express this reality we call God and our longing for Him.
25 ἔχων (he had)
26 A possible allusion to John 1:5. The verb φαίνω (to shine) is the same. It certainly can be a reference to Matthew 17:2 καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος (and his face shined like the sun), but the verb is there is λάμπω.
No one can be snatched from the hand of Jesus, for He is the mighty and strong arm of God. In His hand is protection and He is in control.
From His mouth comes the word of God, that is able to penetrate between bone and marrow, even to the heart. It is the sword of truth.
27 ἐν τῇ δυνάμει αὐτοῦ (in its full strength)
or “in its power”. When the sun is shining its brightest.
28 Or “to”.
29 Jesus putting his hand on John could mean two things: 1. It was for comfort and provided a “calming” effect for John. That seems to fit the context best. 2. The placing of the right hand on a person could also be done in a commissioning. That can be in view as well. Osborne*** (Pg. 94) and Mounce** (Pg. 80).
30 This phrase derives from Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, and 48:12. Osborne*** (Pg. 95).
Again, reference to the light. The bright morning star increases to the full light of day.
31 ἐγενόμην (was)
Greek: “became” or “came”.
This implies in the middle voice that the subject of this verb initiated this state that was brought about. We are reminded that He died because He allowed it to happen. It was necessary for salvation.
32 εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων (forever)
Greek: “into the ages of ages”.
Christ has returned to the eternal Godhead, of which He has always been. The singularity of Jesus the Son takes its place in the community which is God.
33 τοῦ ᾅδου (of the world of the dead)
Greek: “of Hades”. The place of the dead. It is the Greek version of the Hebrew "Sheol".
34 The passage shows Christ’s power not only over death, but over the realm of the dead as well. The promise of Christ is to receive eternal life. The imagery here depicts that idea.
Behold the gate, the key of David, the promise to Abraham, the way, the truth, the life, and the first-fruits of the harvest to come.
35 Or “saw”.
Remember when they came to take Jesus prisoner before the crucifixion? When Jesus said, “I am He”, they fell to the ground. John had little choice in his response. This may add insight to the knowledge that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus. See blogs on
Jesus says to not be afraid, reaches out and places His hand on John’s shoulder. His touch is there for all of us.
36 γενέσθαι (to come to pass)
or “to become”.
37 τὸ μυστήριον (The mystery)
The meaning of “mystery” was different in ancient times than it is now. In the 1st century, it meant “hidden secrets kept from the people of the past but now disclosed by God”. Osborne*** (Pg. 98).
This mystery is beyond human reasoning alone, but by God can be known. Jesus bridged the gap between the natural and supernatural. The Holy Spirit cements and seals us in the promise until He returns.
In earlier verses we were told of the seven spirits before the throne of God. Here, Jesus is in the midst of the lampstands. Jesus enables the Church to enter the presence of God. We can come before Him with the confidence that only comes from the righteousness of Christ.
38 Beale* and other scholars say that these angels are literal angels and are to be considered “guardian angels” of the churches. Mounce** and other scholars say that the angels are “personified spirits” and represent the churches’ “spiritual character”. Osborne*** sees them as a combination of the two. (Pgs. 98-99).
NT = New Testament
OT = Old Testament
ESV = English Standard Version
KJV = King James Version
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV)
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)
The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)
(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger
(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)
*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale
**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce
***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne
+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace
++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule
+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick
A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)
Ἀποκάλυψις 1·9 Ἐγὼ Ἰωάννης, ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὑμῶν καὶ συγκοινωνὸς ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ βασιλείᾳ καὶ ὑπομονῇ ἐν Ἰησοῦ, ἐγενόμην ἐν τῇ νήσῳ τῇ καλουμένῃ Πάτμῳ διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ. 10 ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ ἤκουσα ὀπίσω μου φωνὴν μεγάλην ὡς σάλπιγγος 11 λεγούσης· ὃ βλέπεις γράψον εἰς βιβλίον καὶ πέμψον ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις, εἰς Ἔφεσον καὶ εἰς Σμύρναν καὶ εἰς Πέργαμον καὶ εἰς Θυάτειρα καὶ εἰς Σάρδεις καὶ εἰς Φιλαδέλφειαν καὶ εἰς Λαοδίκειαν.
Ἀποκάλυψις 1·12 Καὶ ἐπέστρεψα βλέπειν τὴν φωνὴν ἥτις ἐλάλει μετ ̓ ἐμοῦ, καὶ ἐπιστρέψας εἶδον ἑπτὰ λυχνίας χρυσᾶς 13 καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῶν λυχνιῶν ὅμοιον υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου ἐνδεδυμένον ποδήρη καὶ περιεζωσμένον πρὸς τοῖς μαστοῖς ζώνην χρυσᾶν. 14 ἡ δὲ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ αἱ τρίχες λευκαὶ ὡς ἔριον λευκὸν ὡς χιὼν καὶ οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς φλὸξ πυρὸς 15 καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὅμοιοι χαλκολιβάνῳ ὡς ἐν καμίνῳ πεπυρωμένης καὶ ἡ φωνὴ αὐτοῦ ὡς φωνὴ ὑδάτων πολλῶν, 16 καὶ ἔχων ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ ἀστέρας ἑπτὰ καὶ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ ῥομφαία δίστομος ὀξεῖα ἐκπορευομένη καὶ ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος φαίνει ἐν τῇ δυνάμει αὐτοῦ.
Ἀποκάλυψις 1·17 Καὶ ὅτε εἶδον αὐτόν, ἔπεσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ὡς νεκρός, καὶ ἔθηκεν τὴν δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ ἐπ ̓ ἐμὲ λέγων·
μὴ φοβοῦ· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος 18 καὶ ὁ ζῶν, καὶ ἐγενόμην νεκρὸς καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶν εἰμι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων καὶ ἔχω τὰς κλεῖς τοῦ θανάτου καὶ τοῦ ᾅδου. 19 γράψον οὖν ἃ εἶδες καὶ ἃ εἰσὶν καὶ ἃ μέλλει γενέσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα. 20 τὸ μυστήριον τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀστέρων οὓς εἶδες ἐπὶ τῆς δεξιᾶς μου καὶ τὰς ἑπτὰ λυχνίας τὰς χρυσᾶς· οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀστέρες ἄγγελοι τῶν ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησιῶν εἰσιν καὶ αἱ λυχνίαι αἱ ἑπτὰ ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαι εἰσίν.