My raisng the "mental imagery" of Patmos and caves need not seem mysterious, and I hope, not too "exotic" to you. I mean nothing strange by it. Firstly of course the website Host here makes you name your website "something" before you can create it. Hmmm, what's a person to do? Quickly coming up with a name puts a person on the spot. Someone might in a pinch name their website "noodle rats" or "gravel springs," whatever, so they can just move through that initial setup and get to work. But simple or plain and straightforward names like "Christian website" or what have you were all taken. I didn't put much thought at all into the name "Patmos Cave." It sprang to mind, it was accepted, and I just got into the work of building it.
But I will admit that I know "why" "Patmos" and "caves" probably sprang to my mind. It's no mystery to me. I admit that there are some things in the imagery that I do "relate" to a little bit. And I suppose sharing on that is not out of order:
Patmos is the island where John was exiled. You know that. Revelation 1:9.
Well I'm certainly no "John the Revelator." Another man named John, John the Baptist, once averred that he was not worthy to loosen the latchet of the Messiah's sandals. Well I will hasten to say that about John the Revelator. He is light years beyond me in Christ, and were he here today, I'd say that I am not worthy to loose the latchet of his sandals. I probably couldn't even stand in his presence, but would crumble. So do not imagine I seek anything too "lofty" to be thought of me, if I cautiously venture a few "similitudes" concerning John on Patmos. I am thinking on a different "track" than John's particular "case," and the "similitudes" if any that I draw, are on a much lower level, spiritually, than apply to holy John.
If that much is established, then I will try to share what sort of "similitudes" I do feel: First, for the sake of "historical accuracy" lest you read something out there somewhere and think me wrong about the "cave" notion, I will first get that out of the way: Up through 2000 years in Christian tradition, countless sources have held the belief or tradition that John was dwelling in a cave on Patmos when he wrote The Revelation. But do not think that I need that to be so. I am aware that some traditions have theorized otherwise, and have said that John was dwelling in a "house" and not a cave, at the time he wrote The Revelation. It is not important to me in the least, for my purposes and my uses, and my "similitudes" whether he dwelt in a cave or did not, or whether he was in a cave at one point in time, but not at a later time, nor yet whether he ever was in one.
John was in exile, and that much is solid. He was banished, isolated, cut off from "normal" society, isolated away from the commerce and "action" not only of society at large, but more significantly, from that of the Christian world. Patmos was a prison island. Whether in an actual cave or in a hut or in a normal house of sorts, John must be seen as "isolated," removed from "action." That was the very purpose of exiling him to Patmos. Isolation is in fact what exile is. Well, that is something that I relate to for myself. Not John's greatness, not his spirituality, for as I've said, I'm a pathetic worm if "compared" against holy John. But there is something in his "isolation" that resonates with me. Nothing in "exile" itself presupposes that one is "spiritual or saintly." "Regular" people, indeed bad people, have been banished or exiled for crimes, and hence have been assumed criminals for being exiles. So allow me to "relate" to the "isolation" that an exile might feel, without you thinking that I'm imagining myself anything spiritually lofty.
And there have been "hermits" who have dwelt in caves. Pardon me if I also see some "similarities" between that kind of "life" and that life John was in, on Patmos. Now hear me carefully: I am not here supporting, defending or validating religious monks living in isolation (which we sometimes call "monasticism"), but only intend to make another point: If you research "cloistered" monks and nuns, "monastic" living (as in "monasteries"), and consider monks living away from the hustle and bustle of the world and living in "cells" or caves, you can perhaps catch some the "feel" of "isolation" that I'm saying I "relate" to. Again, I insist that you realize I am not "approving" of living like "cloistered monks" do. Rather I am simply "noticing" that such a life will of necessity carry some of that "feeling" of "isolation," that "feeling" of being removed from all the action if you will. Now let me plainly state that some such monks have in fact dwelt in caves. Do I have to say again that I'm not promoting that? I do not promote it, neither endorse it, nor do I even "smile" favorably upon it. I am merely "seeing" something, merely "noticing" something, from which I can draw some useful imagery. If John on Patmos, exiled through no choice of his own, was (as many traditions say) in a cave, again, perhaps through no choice of his own, think about it; the simple fact that he was a devout Christian, a man of much prayer and meditation, and we imagine always seeking unto Christ his Lord, it paints a picture of daily life and lifestyle not altogether unlike that of a cloistered monk. Again it may not have been by any choice of his own, so I cannot "make a case for" living that way, but can you not at least "see" that John was "in" such a life? For further comparisons if you need them, you might draw upon Paul and other of the Apostles often shackled in chains, or cast into jails and dungeons. Again, they were "removed from action," isolated from other Christians out there running hither, thither and yon. When Paul was locked away from the people, he certainly felt what I have been describing. The prophet Jeremiah is probably an even greater example of this. He was imprisoned, and sometimes even in the deepest dungeon. He prayed to the Lord, "Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off. I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon" (Lam. 3:53). I have said a "cave" experience shares the traits of the "prison" experiences of the saints. So says the Bible: Psalm 142 is a Psalm of David's "prayer when he was in the cave" Ps. 142:1. He had fled to a cave and had taken refuge there. But listen to him: From within this cave he prays, at verse 7, "bring my soul out of prison." We may know that certainly David fled from his persecutors to this cave under his own steam, and he used it as a refuge and a hiding place. He was surely grateful to God for providing him with this hideout. But it was a "prison" to him in the sense that all of his troubles and circumstances had him cut off, and boxed in. He was so assailed by the circumstances as to be "forced" into this cave. It was his circumstances that "imprisoned" him, and the cave was the very symbol of it. Look, O Lord, I am reduced to hiding way out here in this cave. He absolutely was a "prisoner" for all his freedom to roam freely or to go where he would safely, was gone. The freedom to do as he'd have liked, and even to serve the Lord as he'd have liked was gone, taken from him, robbed from him. He most certainly was not at "liberty," to live "freely." So being now in this cave, he was truly in a "prison."
HERE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT THINK THAT THIS COMMUNICATES:
You should not have the "take-away" from this that the concept of "caves" is some "big deal" to me. It is not. Never was. You should not form the notion that I am "into" caves. I am not. You should not get the notion that I use caves as significant symbols of something, so that you try to grasp what that is. No. Although many great commentators in their commentaries do treat of the deep and meaningful things in the life of David when he was persecuted by Saul, and was, at times, in caves, the only inspiration and truths that I (yours truly) draw from those lessons are those from David's spiritual life, and the way the Lord works and deals and teaches, and it matters not that it was in a "cave." That is why in fact I drew "prisons" and etc. into the topic; so that you could in fact see that it's not specifically caves. And bottom line, as I explained at the outset about the "name" of the website (Patmos Cave), it was done quickly without any thought, as a "name" was required by Neocities for startup. I grabbed what popped into my mind. Simple enough? Only, having then done so, I thought I should share with you why I suspect those two words (Patmos & cave) flitted through my mind. That's all. Plus I went ahead and kept that "theme" or "motif" for the website. So, do not suppose I am "big on caves." 'Tis not the case.
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