Revelation's Reader Blessings
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6. Revelation's Reader Blessings
Revelation 1.1b-3

"He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw, that is, God's word and Jesus Christ's testimony. Blessed is the one who reads aloud this prophecy's words. Blessed are those who hear and follow what is in it for the time is near." (Revelation 1.1b-3)✞

Why is reading aloud important?

Blessed in Chinese lettersThe Book of Revelation is the only Bible book that promises reader blessings. John of Patmos, also known as the Apostle John, the Gospel and Epistles' writer, says, "Blessed is the one who reads aloud this prophecy's words." It is interesting to note that today's experts believe that reading quietly to oneself is a modern development, hence the blessing of reading aloud, which was the norm in ancient times. John of Patmos affirms that God will favor those who listen to his words and do what he says.

What are Revelation's reader blessings?

Jesus Blessing ChildrenJohn of Patmos lifts his eyes to you and me and other Third Millennium readers and adds, "Blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what God has written in it." God gives you Revelation's reader blessings because you are reading Jesus' unique book. The Revelation was copied along with the four Gospels and letters and read aloud in first and second-century household churches. Revelation's message of special blessings would encourage Christians everywhere in the Roman Empire and, especially those enduring persecution.

Why should disciples stand firm?

BibleToday, as in every century, the Book of Revelation encourages Christians to stand firm in their faith. John of Patmos, Jesus' disciple, is described as "his servant John." The Early Church Fathers affirmed the Revelation's writer as John of Patmos. This same Apostle John is the writer of the Book of Revelation. Early Church leaders and those today also believe him to have written John's Gospel and the three Epistles bearing his name.

Why is Revelation important?

John of PatmosThe Council of Nicaea, in 325 AD, was a gathering of Church leaders from all around the Roman empire called together by Emperor Constantine and at his own cost. This Council confirmed that John was the Revelation's author by including Revelation, the Gospel of John, and John's Epistles in the then worldwide church's approved Biblical canon. John of Patmos was also called John the Evangelist and the fourth of the Gospel evangelists with Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The letters' tone to the seven churches shows the author's high authority as a respected leader of the Ephesus Christian community in Asia in the Second Century AD.

Where can I find insights into Jesus' nature and work?

BlessingAs you read Christ's Revelation, God brings a special blessing upon you and unique insights into Jesus' nature and work and that of the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. "Christ's servant John" was revered for his wisdom as one of Jesus' closest disciples. From as early as Justin Martyr in the second century AD, John of Patmos was the Apostle, Zebedee's son. Matthew 10.2 reads, "These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John." John was an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry, a member of his inner circle, and his friend in Israel as a young man. As an elder statesman, he had a remarkable vision of the same Jesus but this time in heavenly glory. John urged his followers to read Christ's Revelation as a book of "prophecy." He said, "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy." A "prophecy" means "a God-given vision of what lies ahead in both the immediate and long-term future."

What are the essential principles of God's character?

Trinity Sign Three CornersJohn of Patmos further emphasizes the need to carefully read Christ's Revelation and not reconstruct it according to our ideas. A prophecy is more than telling the future, for behind the predictions are essential principles about God's character. We can lose some meaning if we omit certain words, phrases, sentences, or even whole chapters to suit our own devices. As we read of Christ in Revelation, God intends us to get to know him personally and thus receive Revelation's reader blessings.

Why is Bible reading the center of any worship service?

Open BibleThose who read this Biblical book's words are blessed. The readers mentioned here are primarily people who publicly read the scriptures out loud to a congregation. The Bible reading should be the center of any worship service. Acts 13.14b-15 describes such an Early Church service, "On the Sabbath, they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, 'Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.'" Here they asked Saint Paul and his companions to explain the Scriptures they have heard. In the Jewish synagogue, seven ordinary members read the Scriptures to the congregation, although if a Priest or Levite were present, he took precedence. The later Christian Church took much of its order of service from the synagogue. The services' structure and the Scripture readings remained the essential center of every Christian worship service today.

What are the Apostles' memoirs?

ScripturesGod blesses whoever reads aloud the revelation words of this prophecy. Blessed are those who hear and take heart from it. Justin Martyr (100-160 AD), an early Christian apologist, gave us the oldest known Christian worship service account. It includes reading "the Apostles memoirs" or Gospels and the "prophets' writings" from the Old Testament." The "Reader" became in time a significant official office in the Early Church, higher than the Priest or Deacon! One of Tertullian's (160-220 AD) complaints against heretical sects in "On Prescription against Heretics 41" is how a man can speedily attain a Reader's office without training. Tertullian was a respected church leader, apologist and famous for being the earliest writer to use the term "Trinity." He wrote, "And so it comes to pass that today one man is their Bishop and tomorrow another. Today, he is a Deacon who tomorrow is a Reader."

Why is reading the Bible blessed?

Small Obedient DogJohn of Patmos writes that to "hear Revelation's words" is to be "blessed." It is a great privilege to read and study the Revelation and the whole Bible in our language. Men and women died, were tortured, and persecuted because they sought to hand on this beautiful Word of God. To this day, translating the Scriptures into other languages goes on in remote, dangerous places. I read the other day of a Bible translation into the Inuktitut language by the Canadian Diocese of the Arctic. The Bible Society also produced a new Syllabic Cree Bible for Nunavut.

Where is there a personal blessing for reading Revelation?

People who "hear the words" of Revelation in English, French, Cree, or whatever language and who keep them are "blessed." Reading is our duty, but to receive a personal blessing for doing it is the icing on the cake. There can be no authentic Christianity or, indeed, any benefit for the one who hears and forgets or deliberately disregards Scripture's message. Some heretics today contend that the Scriptures are not God's Word but that only some parts like the sayings of Jesus. The Holy Scriptures' words themselves in 2 Timothy 3.16-17 reassure us, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that God may thoroughly equip his servant for every good work." "The servant" in this verse may mean "you, a man of God" or "you, a woman of God." Those who deny that the Bible is God's word will not receive God's blessing. We have God's word on that!

What is the route to holiness?

I'm BlessedRevelation's words urge Christians to read, hear, and take to heart the seven blessings there and be filled with holiness by Jesus Christ himself. To be "Blessed" means "to be made holy or consecrated." "The Blessed" are "those who live with God in heaven." This verse in Revelation 21.1b-3 is the first of seven Revelation's reader blessings, which are like the "beatitude" or, as Robert Schuller (1926-2015), the tele-evangelist called them, the "Be-Happy Attitudes!"

What are the Be-Happy Attitudes?

The blessings of Revelation are reminiscent of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount," which says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is heaven's kingdom. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for God will fill them." Here a new set of seven blessings is drawn from different parts of Revelation.

What are the seven Revelation blessings?

1. "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart its contents." Revelation 1.1b-3

2. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." Revelation 14.12

3. "Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed." Revelation 16.15

4. "Blessed are those invited to the Lamb's wedding supper!'" Revelation 19.9

5. "Blessed and holy is he who has a part in the first resurrection." Revelation 20.6

6. "Blessed is the one who keeps the prophecy words written in this scroll." Revelation 22.7

7. "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life." Revelation 22.14

These seven Revelation blessings also remind us of an old Celtic Benediction, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless his holy name." Blessed are those who read these words.

"Have you experienced the Revelation's reader blessings?"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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