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Patmos
(Posted September, 5, 2013)

The name of this insignificant Greek island may be short. But is also memorable, and for good reason. From these shores came the last book of the Bible, called Apokalipsis in Greek, and Revelation in English. One thousand nine hundred and some years ago, John the Apostle received the Revelation from His Lord and Savior in a vision “on the Lord’s day”.

 
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LAND AHOY: Sailing into the harbor at Patmos.  [PHOTO: Claude Richli]
Today, we went up to the cave, some by bike and others by bus, where John received the vision. A small monastery and chapel have been built around the cave. I imagined a cave of some depth, a hiding place of sorts, and a place well hidden. Instead, I found a rocky outcrop jutting out from the side of the hill, over a smooth and level slab of granite, perhaps three meters deep and 10 to 15 meters in width. Not much of a hiding place. In fact, it hardly offers shelter from the wind, which can be pretty fierce around here. It does offer some shade from the sun and certainly, a quiet place to lie down to rest and meditate, but not much more than that. Over the centuries, it has been embellished by the devotions of countless pilgrims, and widened by a small chapel. Nobody can prove that this is THE cave, but there is small consequence to arguing the point. So, like many of those around me, I feel strangely moved at the thought of my Lord and Savior meeting His servant John here, to give Him a vision that became a source of hope for His Church throughout the centuries.

I have been a keen student of the book of Revelation, and millions of Adventists around the world have been too. In fact, our Church would probably not exist had it not been for the role the book of Revelation played in its theology, its development and its mission. The contrast between this humble island, this almost unnoticeable rocky outcrop overlooking the harbor, and what emerged from it is hard to grasp. But so is the meaning of the book and what it still holds for us to discover.   





 

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