A UNIQUE PROMISE
3] “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
“Read… Hear… Keep”: From a total of 66 books in our Bible, this is the only book with a special promise if you do these three things. But if all 66 books are highly anointed and inspired by God Himself, then why is He making the statement that specifically the Book of Revelation is the one Book that will cause someone to become blessed in some way?
Notice this statement is being made right at the very beginning of this book. Through the blessing, God is encouraging all of us to read and assimilate what is in this last book. Most Christians, including many pastors, are afraid to try and get into this book and to make an attempt to fully understand it. Some feel it is too hard to try and fully understand the content while for others, it is just too frightening due to the extreme events that will be taking place in the end times. They prefer to keep their heads buried in the sand and not face the fact that God will be releasing His wrath and fury on this world in a way that the world has never seen before and will never see again. They are the same people who also reject the reality of the Great Tribulation, which will be the last 7 years on this earth before Jesus comes back to set up His Millennium Kingdom from the city of Jerusalem. Many even disagree on the fact that Christ will reign on earth, from the throne of David for a thousand years although it is mentioned six times in Revelation 20.
There are three main reasons as to why God wants us to read this last book, and then attempt to fully grasp and assimilate the knowledge and revelation that it contains:
- As the last book in the Bible, it is the climax to our whole story in the Lord. As such, each Christian should know exactly how everything will eventually play out and what our final ending is going to be in the Lord. Ironically, many Christians believe in what the Bible teaches about the beginning but reject what it teaches about the ending thereof.
Many Christians only know that when they die and depart from this earth, “they will go straight to Jesus, where they will live with all of their saved loved ones forever and ever up in heaven.”
They have no understanding of the rapture of the Church and what it really means when 1 Thess 1:10 says, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Luke 21:36 says, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Yet, sadly those without proper Biblical knowledge so often attack the doctrine of the rapture of the Church.
Unless you have read (and study) the book of Revelation and all of the other prophetic Scripture that pertain to these coming end time events in context, you will not know that there are three more chapters that will play itself out before you die or after you had already died and entered into heaven.
After the rapture, the next thing that will occur is that all of the saints who have been living with Jesus up in heaven will be coming back down with Him to rule this earth during His Millennium Kingdom. This Millennium Kingdom will last 1000 years.
After this 1000 years has passed, the next, last, and final event will be God the Father creating a New Heaven and a New Earth where He will then bring both Himself and the city of New Jerusalem down upon our new earth where He and Jesus will then rule this new earth from this new holy city of Jerusalem for the rest of all eternity. The New Heaven and New Earth will be our final resting place with the Lord, and this information and knowledge can only be found in the Book of Revelation.
- The second key reason that every Christian should be fully armed with knowledge on this topic is because it provides a good idea of the season that we are living in. The generation that sees these things starting to happen, will be the one that will live through all of these end time events if not saved. (Matthew 24:34, “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”)
Once these end time events start taking place, your knowledge on this subject, your blessed hope and your faith in the Lord will be the only three things that will help get you through until the rapture. You will need to know exactly how everything is going to play out. If not, you could easily lose your faith in the Lord due to the extreme activity that will be occurring during these perilous times (2 Timothy 3). This is why the Lord wants to give all of us more than enough fair warning on exactly what will be coming down the road, so we can properly prepare ourselves to be able to handle all of it once it does start to come our way, until our redemption.
Many teachers on this subject in this day and age believe that there is a very good possibility that our current generation may be the generation that will see the return of our Lord back to this earth. No one obviously knows the exact date or hour of our Lord’s return back to this earth, but there is no question that the end time events prophesied to occur from our Bible are all starting to come to pass. As such, each and every Christian should have some basic fundamental knowledge on this part of our walk with the Lord.
- The last of the three key reasons is the sharing of knowledge, even with the lukewarm and the unbeliever. The Bible of the Christian faith is the only holy book on earth that contains prophecies for which fulfilment is measurable and evident. This in itself proof that the God of the Bible is real, and His Word is alive. Through prophecy, eyes could thus be opened, God willing.
There is also a second advantage in sharing our knowledge with the lukewarm and the unbeliever. As we read in the book of Revelation, many will turn to Christ subsequent to the rapture of the Church. These are called Tribulation Saints. In their darkest hours the will most probably remember what was shared with them and then study the book of Revelation. It should guide them through this terrible time and also encourage them to hold fast to the truth and their redemption.
THAT THIS IS NOT THE ONLY BLESSING …
There are in fact seven beatitudes (blessings) found in the book of Revelation ( Revelation 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14.)
As we saw in part 1 of this series, seven is the predominate number in the book of Revelation. “Blessed” is the Greek word “makarios,” meaning happy, fortunate, or blessed. The seven blessings in Revelation are:
- Revelation 1:3 as discussed above. This echoes Psalm 1:2. It is God from whom all blessings flow.
- Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
God pronounces this blessing just before the seven bowl judgments of Revelation 16. People who become believers and die during the tribulation will find rest and reward with the Lord. While they pass through many troubles – even death itself – it is all temporary. God’s blessings are eternal.
- Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
This reminds us of many other pieces of Scripture regarding the coming of Christ (cf. Matt 24:42-43; Luke 12:39-40; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3). In Revelation 16:15, Jesus warns those in the tribulation, just prior to the Battle of Armageddon, that He will soon come as a thief. He encourages the Tribulation Saints to endure until the end. As believers, the Bible instructs us to be watchful, and to be spiritually clothed with the Word of God and the rest of the armor of God (Eph 6:12-18).
- Revelation 19:9, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
The marriage supper of the Lamb is the feast of all feasts (Matt. 22:2; Luke 14:15; 22:16; cf. Isa 25:6). Note the contrasts between this blessed feast and the horrific feast of Revelation 19:17-18. More will be said about the marriage supper, later in this series.
- Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Daniel 12:2 summarizes the two different fates facing mankind: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Everyone will be raised from the dead, but not everyone will share the same destiny.
Revelation 20:4-6 mentions a “first resurrection” and identifies those involved as “blessed and holy.” The second death (the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14) has no power over these individuals. The first resurrection, then, is the raising of all believers before the thousand years when Christ will reign on earth. It corresponds with Jesus’ teaching of the “resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14) and the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29). Unbelievers will only be raised at the end of the thousand year reign, when the White Throne judgement takes place.
- Revelation 22:7, ” Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”
There is a relationship between the one who heeds (Rev 1:3) and the one who keeps (Rev 22:7) the “words of this book” (Rev 22:10, 18, 19). Reading and hearing the Word is not enough, if not followed by obedience. John clearly calls this book “prophecy,” not history (compare the unbiblical hyper-preterism view, which views the book mostly as past history). Later in this series we will look at the consequences for adding to, or taking away from this book of prophesy (Revelation 22:18-19).
- Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
Salvation comes from having one’s robes washed in the Lamb’s blood (Revelation 7:14). Only blood-washed believers have the right to partake of the tree of life from which mankind has been barred since the Fall. Only those with robes of righteousness are able to do His commandments and have access to the Holy City (see Psalm 118:20; Isaiah 35:8).