Q. I have a question that I am struggling to get answered. John wrote down what he saw in Jesus’ Revelation whilst he was on Patmos. However, in Ch 1 v 9 he uses the past tense “I was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (NIV). This implies in his introduction that he is no longer on the island! If, as most commentaries who even try and address this issue think, he somehow had the letter smuggled off the island surely he would have said “I am on this island (present tense; or even present continuous tense). I know it’s a small point; but it’s bugging me!
A. It’s obvious from the text that John received the Revelation from the Lord while on the Island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9) and it’s generally assumed that he wrote it down while he was still there. The fact that he wrote in the past tense only tells us that he first received the information, either in a vision or by being transported to the end of the age, and then he wrote it down afterward. It doesn’t necessarily mean he left the island before writing it down.