Many people avoid the book of Revelation because of its complex symbolism and frightening imagery of the end times. Those who do talk about it tend to focus on the judgment awaiting an unrepentant world. From an unbeliever's perspective, the prophecy in Revelation is horrifying. While one of Revelation's purposes is to stir nonbelievers to repentance, this is only half of the picture. As believers we should read Revelation as the exciting finale to an epic story. It is the revelation that God will fulfill His promise to destroy sin once and for all and redeem His creation. It is the moment Jesus and Satan finally go head to toe (Genesis 3:15) and Jesus defeats evil, bringing everlasting joy and peace.
Seven symbolizes completeness in the Bible and the number seven is repeated several times in Revelation. One of those is that God announces seven blessings in the book of Revelation.
Blessing 1: "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near" (Revelation 1:3). God will bless those who read the book of Revelation. This is the only book of the Bible with such a direct promise of blessing for its public reading, hearing, and obedience to the truths it contains. In a broader sense, God will bless those who spend time reading the Bible and who follow what it says. God is not interested in the act of us simply reading His Word, but in how we apply what we have read (James 1:22). Scripture draws us closer to God by teaching us about His character, transforming our will to fit with His, and guiding us in how to live our lives (2 Timothy 3:16–17; Hebrews 4:12).
Blessing 2: "And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' 'Blessed indeed' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!" (Revelation 14:13). God promises that although we will suffer in life, there will be rest for us in heaven. Many of those who live during the tribulation will suffer awful deaths, but will be comforted in heaven.
Blessing 3: "…Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!" (Revelation 16:15). We do not know the day or hour that Christ will come back. We need to always be prepared for that day by remaining obedient in our faith and repenting of our sins. During the tribulation the believers must be alert and ready for the day of Jesus' second coming.
Blessing 4: "…Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9). The Bible refers to Jesus as the groom and the church as His bride. The marriage supper of the Lamb will occur in heaven, and God's followers from all ages will be there to celebrate. This recalls Jesus' parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1–14 and His parable of the virgins in Matthew 25:1–12.
Blessing 5: "Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6). As humans we are mortal and will all die a physical death at some point. The Bible describes various resurrections, divided into the general categories of the righteous (believers) and the unrighteous (unbelievers) (Daniel 12:2; Acts 24:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 1 Corinthians 15:12–58; Revelation 20:11–15). Those who believe in Jesus are reborn spiritually and sealed for eternity with God (Ephesians 1:3–14). They will also be raised with glorious bodies and ultimately live with God for eternity. Those who do not follow God will experience the second death and spend eternity in the lake of fire. After the tribulation and before God makes the new heavens and new earth, Jesus will reign on the earth for 1,000 years.
Blessing 6: "…Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book" (Revelation 22:7). Similar to the first blessing, those who follow God's commandments and are obedient to His Word will be blessed. As humans we will sin, but because of Jesus' death on the cross our sins will be covered with grace (1 John 1:8–9). However, we must not abuse that grace and continue to sin willingly, but instead draw near to God in order to be transformed by Him (Romans 6). Those living in tribulation times can stand firm in following God's commands even when the world persecutes them for doing so.
Blessing 7: "Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates" (Revelation 22:14). Those who put their faith in the work of Jesus on the cross have been made new. They are washed white as snow from their sins in the eyes of God. Those who are saved during the tribulation will also be reborn in Christ.
Revelation reveals the judgment awaiting our sinful world. However, it also reveals the completion of God's plan to bring salvation to the world. Believers in Christ can take away two important lessons from this book. First, God will one day bring an end to the evil in the world and fulfill His wonderful promises of eternal life for those who follow Him. Second, we are called to tell everyone the good news of Christ so that they may take part in His promises and be spared from the judgment awaiting the unrepentant.
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