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.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation,
The subject changes here in that John is introducing the place and the circumstances under which the Revelation was given. He first sets himself forth as a brother of the universal church, and their companion in the tribulations incident to the Christian profession in this life. Tribulation is ultimately the lot of all true followers of Christ (Matthew 10:23; John 15:20; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; II Corinthians 1:7; II Timothy 3:12). Clearly, others were suffering severe persecution at the same time as John was.
and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,
Does John really mean to say that Christians are presently in the kingdom of Christ, or in other words, that in his day Christ’s kingdom had already been set up? If this language has any reference whatsoever to the present state of things, it must be in a very limited and accommodated sense. Those who take the position that it has its application here, usually refer to 1 Peter 2:9 to prove the existence of a kingdom in the present state, and to show its nature:
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
But, as was remarked on verse 6 of this chapter, the literal reign of the saints is yet in the future. In fact, we are specifically told that it is through much tribulation that we are to enter into the kingdom of God (Acts14:22). So then, when the kingdom is entered, the tribulation is done! In other words, the tribulation and the kingdom do not exist at the same time. Add to this a supporting passage found in 2 Timothy 2:12‒also referenced in verse 6:
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.”
To put it simply, from the above we may safely conclude that though there is presently a kingdom of grace, the kingdom to which John alluded is the future kingdom of glory, and the suffering and patience are preparatory to its enjoyment. This “Patience,” or “hopeful endurance” (Gr.), under trying circumstances is a fruit characteristic of God’s people (Colossians 1:10-13; II Peter 1:4-8; see on Revelation 13:10 and Revelation 14:12) which is developed through trial and persecution (Luke 21:17-19; Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; James 5:7-11). Through faith in Jesus, John and his fellow sufferers are enduring affliction in hopeful anticipation of the reward set before them (Romans 2:7; Hebrews 10:35-37; Hebrews 12:1, 2).
was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John is in a penal colony on a small island in the Aegean Sea for preaching the gospel (Acts 7:52; Revelation 6:9).