“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy,
and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart
what is written in it, because the time is near.”
Thoughts… John promised God’s blessings upon those who read and acted upon the words of his prophetic revelation. The same double blessing applies to all of God’s Word—both Old and New Testaments alike.
Today, when you read the Bible, there is a blessing that will be upon you. You are not just reading another book, you are reading God’s Book. You hold in your hand the very revelation of God himself, inspired by God, revealing God’s nature, God’s will for all of mankind—which includes you—and God’s plan for the ages.
To all who read with an open heart and a humble spirit, God’s favor will rest. But there is another, even greater blessing: It is for those who not only read the Word of God; it is for those who act upon it. Divine blessing awaits those who translate their belief into behavior.
As you read this portion of Scripture, the Revelation of John, what behavior is required of you? Simply this: Since this prophecy concerns God’s plan for the end of time, you must seek to apply it in readying yourself for Christ’s return.
So then, how do you actually live such a ready life? First, you must live with an end-time perspective. Verse 7 says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds…” Jesus is coming soon, and everything you think, say or do ought to be lived in the light of his return.
Second, you must realize that you have been redeemed to be both a king and a priest in God’s eternal reign. Verses 5-6 remind us, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father…” You are going to rule and reign with Jesus in the eternal kingdom soon, so you ought to act like a king and priest now!
And third, until then, you must patiently endure trial and tribulation. In verse 9, John reveals himself as “your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus…” John was able to endure great hardship—harder than you will ever face, most likely, because he knew what was coming. When you know the end of the story—that you win—you can put up with anything in your present circumstances.
Reading and receiving the blessing promised in this book requires you to adjust your beliefs and your behaviors to it. So develop an eternal perspective, act like the priest of God’s kingdom that you are, and patiently endure difficulty, and you will be handsomely rewarded for it!
Prayer… Dear Lord, I have read the opening words of your Revelation of end-time events. Now bless me, I ask. And even more, strengthen me to put it into practice this day—and everyday until you return.
One More Thing… “Looking forward to the eternal world is not…a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.” —C.S. Lewis