Eternal Lord Jesus
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8. Eternal Lord Jesus
Revelation 1.7-11

"Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all earth's peoples 'will mourn because of him.' So shall it be! Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is, and was, and is to come, the Almighty.' I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering, kingdom, and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on Patmos island because of God's word and Jesus' testimony. On the Lord's Day, I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud trumpet-like voice, which said: 'Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.'" (Revelation 1.7-11)✞

Alpha and Omega

Alpha Omega LettersLike John's Gospel, which starts with the words, "In the beginning was the Word," here John of Patmos' Revelation begins with the truth that the Lord Jesus is the eternal Lord God. Here is one of only two places where the Lord God speaks directly. God uses the first letter in the Greek alphabet, "Alpha," and the last letter "Omega" as the Lord Jesus' titles. Jesus is the "first" and the "last." Jesus is eternal in time, the "Beginning" and the "End." God describes Jesus as the constant one, the past and present"Alpha," and the future "Omega." Without Jesus, nothing eternal lasts beyond this life except for the believer's soul and God's word. John of Patmos continues, "every eye will see" Jesus Christ. Every tongue will confess Jesus' lordship, including all who reject or persecute him and his servants. Similarly, at Revelation's end, Jesus is called the "First" and the "Last." God controls all time and all our lives from beginning to end through Jesus Christ.✞

Why do we worship on the first day of the week?

Pews in a churchJohn of Patmos sees his savior in a Lord's Day vision. The Early Church marked "the Lord's Day" or Jesus' resurrection day on the first day of the week or Sunday. The seventh day was the Jewish Sabbath Day and commemorated creation's completion. Early Christians replaced the Jewish Sabbath on the seventh day with "the Lord's Day" on the week's first day. As important as the Sabbath was, Jesus' resurrection day was considered more meaningful and essential to Christians. "The Beginning" and "the End" and "the Alpha and the Omega" are responsible for causing a significant change in our weekly calendar.

John of Patmos' Martyrdom

Apostle John IconAccording to tradition, "John of Patmos" was the only original Apostle to die a natural death and not martyred for his faith. "John" traditionally suffered at the Romans' hands and even survived plunging into a boiling oil cauldron during Emperor Domitian's (51-96 AD) persecution. Legend has it that somebody even placed poison into John's wine goblet, but a snake-like head arose out of it and alerted him. John of Patmos and many other Christian believers suffered, and large numbers martyred during this empire-wide persecution. John sought to encourage survivors to persevere faithfully.

John's Imprisonment

Patmos IslandJohn of Patmos was the same disciple whom Jesus loved. He saw the Lord, whom he knew as a friend, return as a triumphant King. Towards his life's end, the Apostle John (6-c100 AD) was imprisoned on Patmos by the Romans for being an Apostle. Patmos was a small Greek island situated about 50 miles offshore from Ephesus in the Aegean Sea. The secular author Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), in his book, "Natural History," reported that banishment was a regular punishment for many offenses, including magic and astrology. The Romans viewed Pagan, Jewish, or Christian prophecy similarly. The Romans perceived John as a threat to political power and order.

Did John of Patmos have a scribe?

Image of JesusUnder the Holy Spirit's direction, John dictated Revelation to his scribe, Prochorus. Saint Prochorus, as he came to be known, was one of seven deacons chosen to care for Jerusalem's poor. Acts 6.5 records, "They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them." Saint Prochorus was also one of the seventy or seventy-two disciples, sent out by Jesus in Luke 10. He appears in Orthodox iconography as John of Patmos' scribe. Tradition adds that Prochorus was the nephew of Stephen the Protomartyr, the first Christian martyr. Saint Prochorus accompanied the Apostle Peter, who ordained him as Bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia. Tradition says he returned to Antioch and was martyred there in the 1st century. John of Patmos and Prochorus lived in a cave on Patmos Island about halfway up the mountain between Chora and Skala. Patmos was one of three Greek coastal islands to which the Romans banished political offenders. Many distinguished leaders, kings, and princes visited John seeking his advice and blessing. John's "Cave of the Apocalypse" is still a destination for many Christian pilgrims today.

The Disciple That Jesus Loved

Letters Alpha and OmegaIn his Revelation vision, John of Patmos recognizes Jesus immediately because he was close to him for over three years. John walked and talked with his friend Jesus in Galilee. He saw the radiant Son of God at the Transfiguration. He even stood at the foot of Jesus' Cross and watched him die. John described himself touchingly as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." However, here in Revelation, Jesus is not just a humble earthly teacher but God's Lamb and the glorious King. John of Patmos sees Jesus in all his honor, glory, and power! Is the Lord Jesus as crucial in your life as he was for those early Christian martyrs?✞

"Eternal Lord Jesus"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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