“I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9).

It must be a lonely experience to be banished from one’s home and refused permission to return on pain of imprisonment or death. One of the most famous people sent into exile was Napoleon Bonaparte, the emperor of France, who was forced to live on the Mediterranean island of Elba in 1813 after several major defeats. He managed to return home and gain back his power but was then defeated and exiled again, this time to the island of St. Helena.

Many people choose to go into exile to avoid paying taxes or to deal with other legal matters. Some authors or musicians who make large amounts of money look for a tax haven by moving to another country. The British-Canadian writer Arthur Hailey moved to the Bahamas after writing two runaway novels. The English rock band the Rolling Stones left Britain and moved to France for a period of time. Eduardo Saverin, one of the founders of Facebook, renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Singapore in order to avoid paying taxes.

The apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation while banished from his homeland, wasn’t attempting to avoid paying taxes. He was forced into exile. He was shipped to “the island that is called Patmos
for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9). Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea that has an area of about thirteen square miles and is now part of modern-day Turkey. Though John was expelled to a life of solitude, God used this “tribulation” to communicate messages about the end of time that are a source of encouragement to Christians from the apostle’s day until now.

If you are experiencing any type of exile or loneliness because of your faith, read the book of Revelation. Remember the words of Jesus, who said, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Heavenly Father, no matter in what circumstance I may find myself, I know and believe that You will never forsake me.

For Further Study: Revelation 1; Genesis 28:15; Jeremiah 29:13, 14

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