• Read out aloud and be heard - Revelation 1:3 | Photo creditCreative Commons CC0

The Book of Revelation – Beatitude Number One

Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer - 1 October 2019

Blessed is the one who reads aloud 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.” Revelation 1:3

This is the first of the Seven Beatitudes in the book of Revelation on how one may be: truly blessed, be full of eternal joy and enjoy divine happiness. A special Beatitude at the very beginning of the Book of Revelation.

Many people consider the Book of Revelation to be a difficult, dark, mysterious book that can better remain closed, especially since it was, and often still is, hijacked by various sects as a basis for all kinds of fantastic predictions, which amounts to eschatological science fiction.

Many people fear the Book of Revelation because of all the disasters that are mentioned in it. John Calvin for instance, the great reformer, never wrote a commentary on it. It was a closed book for him, just like the second half of the book of Ezekiel. And yet: Revelation 1:3 declares: Blessed is he who reads and hears. Jesus meant this book to be read out aloud in the Christian congregations, as a message of comfort for the Church.

A spiritual Blessing is promised to anyone wishing to make the contents of this book known, and a spiritual Blessing for those who wish to listen to it. Not just with their ears, but with open hearts and, like Mary, wishing to ponder the word in their hearts. Luke 2:19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

The Book of Revelation was to be read out aloud. Printing had not been invented. Copies of the scroll were scarce and expensive. They had to be copied accurately by hand. What a blessing that, through modern media, the Bible is now available in nearly every language in the world, so that everyone can read it for himself.

Listening to what was read out took place in church, in the congregation. From the Jewish synagogue and the Jewish people, the early Christian church adopted this practice of reading out loud.

Just some examples:

  • Exodus 24:7 “Then he [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Nehemiah 8:3 “He [Ezra] read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.”
  • Luke 4:16-17 “He [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.”
  • Acts 13:14-15 and 15:21 “On the Sabbath they [Paul and his companions] entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”…“For the Law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
  • 2 Corinthians 3:14–16 “.But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the Old Covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
  • Colossians 4:16 “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:27 “.I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.” Paul expected his letters to be read out aloud.

What is the Book of Revelation all about? It is all about the Lord Jesus Christ. He removes the veil that exists between us on earth and the One who is enthroned in Heavenly Glory. It shows how the Father gives the Son the reward, His Glorification;  how He is now surrounded by the Heavenly hosts; how He, as the Heavenly High Priest performs His duties for us, Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10 and 6:13 – 10:25.

And especially how one-day He will come back from Heaven to planet earth in Glory! It is a message of comfort to His Church during the trials and tribulations, the plagues and the judgments that we and planet earth will go through during the end times!

The Book of Revelation also shows the significance of the great ‘Day of the Lord’ as the day of judgment of unbelievers (Revelation 21:8), as a trial for the children of God, but also as the introduction to the great final victory over the powers of sin, sickness and decay, Satan and his powers of darkness. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Finally, He portrays the bodily resurrection of the dead and the total renewal of all Creation. Jesus is the Victor! He is the same yesterday, and today and forever. His Kingdom is coming! The light that is already shining in the hearts of many today will shine through everything so that darkness will no longer exist. Indeed, because all these things will certainly come to pass, the words of the prophecy of this book must be read out aloud and be heard. Forewarned is forearmed! From this Book of Revelation believers will know that however dark the world becomes, Jesus is Coming!



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