Three-Fold Fellowship

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Grace and Peace

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

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” (Rev. 1:9).

The writer identifies himself simply as “John.” He is traditionally taken as John the apostle, and for good reason. Although the Revelation is a completely different genre from the gospels, the close kinship between this book and the fourth gospel is plain.Revelation

He describes himself two ways. The first is simply as “brother.” The second is “companion,” a rendering of synkoinonos—a “partaker together with.” The apostle is a brother together with those to whom he is writing, and he also fellowships together with them, partaking together with them, in three things. The first bond of their fellowship is tribulation, the second is the kingdom, and the third is perseverance. All three are connected to Jesus Christ—they are the tribulation of Jesus, the kingdom of Jesus, and the endurance of Jesus.

John was on the isle of Patmos—a small Greek island in the Aegean. He was exiled there, as he says, “for the word of God” and because of his “testimony of Jesus Christ.” The word for testimony is marturia, which is related to our word martyr. A martyr is once who witnesses or testifies to what he has seen or experienced. Because faithful martyrs have often had to seal their testimony with their blood, the word has come to mean one who dies for his faith, as Antipas did (Rev. 2:13). But the witness who is willing to go to the point of death begins a lot earlier than that in the course of his life. The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10). John was exiled to Patmos for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and while he was there he was given the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

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