The Island of Patmos and Reading Revelation Differently

Patmos – Where John Wrote the Book of Revelation

The author of the Book of Revelation was exiled for his faith to the island of Patmos. It was there he had a vision of Jesus who had a message to 7 churches in Asia (modern day Turkiye).

The message was to encourage those persecuted for their faith that in the end all things will be made right when Jesus returns. The heavenly battle will end with a new heaven and new earth unified – God’s redemptive plan for humanity fulfilled!

If you are unfamiliar with Revelation (not Revelations), you should know this is a very unique book and very unique type of literature. It’s called “apocalyptic” literature and it uses imagery of beasts and dragons to convey the point.

If you are familiar with Revelation, then I want you to read this differently than you’ve likely been taught.

As we read it, consider this first and foremost: what is Revelation showing me about how to live as a follower of Jesus in a world that opposes Him?

Most read it as if it’s just a timeline for the end times. If that was the only reason for the letter, then it’s been less than helpful for 2000 years. Instead, it is actually a remarkable guide in how to live as a dissident disciple while living in Babylon, and it assures us that in the end God will make all things right.

The evil nation of Babylon represents any nation which goes its own way rather than honor God and His ways. For the original churches reading this letter, Babylon was Rome.

Other resources to consider Revelation for the Rest of Us by Scot McKnight, Revelation for Everyone, and the videos on Revelation by the Bible Project. We can learn to live in a Babylon in a way that Babylon doesn’t live us.

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