John provides readers with information about when and how he received this divine revelation. He received it when he was in exile for following Jesus. Perhaps John, because he was a prominent leader of the church, had been separated from fellow believers. Yet his description of himself is one that indicates that he cannot be separated from them because they belong to the same family, serve in the same kingdom, endure the same opposition and have the same determination to continue.
Persecution was designed to crush the church, scatter its members and bring its existence to an end. Yet those who try and do so will fail because the church possesses blessings that its members cannot lose. John mentions that they belong to the family of God, that they are brothers of one another. It is impossible for them to be removed from God’s family.
While they endured together the period of persecution, it did not mean that they would lose membership of the heavenly kingdom. The rulers of earthly empires imagined that the church was composed mainly of persons with no influence. The actual case was very different. The ones with apparent little influence had permanent membership of a kingdom that will never end, unlike those who were persecuting them.
Meanwhile, what they had to do was persevere in the faith, remain loyal to Jesus, and serve him day by day. They would need encouragement to do so, and that is what the Book of Revelation is about. As they listened to what the Spirit had given John to write, they would think about the glory ahead when Jesus will fulfil the many promises of blessings that he promised to do.
We should share the same outlook and realise the unchanging blessings, shared relationships and persistent devotion that mark the followers of Jesus.