The apostles were all dead, except the apostle John and he was an old man. The faithful Church was suffering terrible persecution and they needed a further revelation from the Lord to encourage them. John was a prisoner on the island of Patmos and along with his suffering brothers and sisters in the wider Church, was a companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that was theirs in Jesus because of the Word of God and the testimony of the Lord Jesus. (Revelation 1:9) Today the wider Body of the Messiah needs the Book of Revelation more than at any other time in history as we see Christian persecution mushrooming across the globe.
Now the Book of revelation is a book of sevens. The number seven of course is the number that represents God’s absolute perfection and signifies a perfect, complete and finished work He has accomplished, such as the six days of creation and the seventh day when He rested from all his work. In the Book of revelation you have seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls. Also there are seven specific blessings in Revelation for those who overcome Satan and all his works. What does the world “blessed” mean and what are the seven specific blessings mentioned or we could even say “the seven fold blessing?”
The word blessed means “a form of happiness that is not dependent on anything external. It is a supernatural sense of deep contentment and a happiness given by God that wells up from deep within the spirit of one who is spiritually reborn from above and that looks forward to being ultimately rewarded and the one so blessed looked upon with favour by the Lord Jesus.” What then are these seven specific blessings?
Let’s now look at these…
Blessing 1. (Revelation 1:3) “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.”
Reading the Book of revelation aloud helps cement in the heart what is read with the mouth. After all confession is part of our salvation experience. (Romans 10:9-13) The prophecies of Revelation are not to be taken lightly or dismissed but to be heard and its commands kept by those who hear it because in God’s time frame a thousand of our years on earth is as one day to the Lord in eternity where time as we know it down here does not exist up there. (2 Peter 3:8) The time is much nearer now than it was over 2,000 years ago.
God wants us to have an understanding of this revelation given to John by the Lord Jesus for His faithful Body (Church) in every age but especially in the last days in which we are now living. Many pastors and believers are neglecting to read aloud, to hear and to take to heart what is written and revealed in this Book. So then there is a definite blessing given to those who read it aloud, hear what it is saying and let it sink down deep into their heart.
Blessing 2. (Revelation 14:13) “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 labours, for their deeds follow them!”
In John’s time there were many martyrs and many who suffered in prison and were ostracised and rejected by the world and sorely tempted by the devil. The voice from heaven said “write it” in other words it was an emphatic command. Our faith is nurtured and founded on God’s unchanging Word. (Romans 10:17) No matter how we feel or what happens His Word will say the same thing tomorrow as it does today. God’s Word has been settled in heaven forever. (Psalm 119: 89) It is also written; “For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
In John’s time many had died and were dying for the Lord Jesus. All of the other apostles had died violent deaths. In our world today more are dying for their faith than at any other time in past history. Those who die in the Lord Jesus have a special blessing. It is one that gives them a perfect rest from their previous labour in the Lord on earth that led to their suffering and martyrdom. What they said and did for the Lord Jesus follows them on into eternity where they have laid up in heaven’s bank vaults a rich reward to be enjoyed for all of eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20) As the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus gets closer the suffering of His saints will get worse and become more intense. The greater suffering will bring the greater reward. So then those who die in the Lord remaining faithful to the end either through martyrdom, sickness or even through natural causes will have a rich reward and a rich rest to look forward to!
Blessing 3. (Revelation 16:15) “Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who remains awake and clothed, so that he will not go naked and let his shame be exposed.”
The Lord Jesus will come back when He is least expected and only those who have loved His appearing in history and are looking for his Second Coming will be ready for it. Even though they are passing through great tribulation in this life they will be amply rewarded in the Messianic Millennial kingdom and in eternity after that. We are commanded to stay spiritually alert at all times, to be watchful over what we say and do and to make sure we keep the garments of salvation on by walking in the Spirit according to the commands of scripture.
Nakedness spiritually speaking is to not have on the garments of salvation which most believers we are told will lay aside because of the increase of wickedness. (Matthew 24:12) Their love for the Lord Jesus will have grown cold. When the Lord Jesus comes back many will be exposed spiritually because they allowed the world, the flesh and the devil to overcome them. Sadly some will have even cast away their salvation for the temporary flesh pots of the ‘Egypt’ of this world and its ‘Pharaoh’ Satan. Demas in the Bible was one of these, “having loved this present world.” (2 Timothy 2:10)
The way to stay awake spiritually is to be reading and studying the Bible, praying, keeping fellowship with like-minded believers, anticipating the return of the Lord Jesus and seeking to obey God’s commands and statutes in His Word. So then watchfulness and walking in sanctification will bring the great blessing of Jesus’ approval when He will say “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (Matthew 25:21) What an incentive to keep the commandments of God!
Blessing 4. (Revelation 19:9) “And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Every believer has been invited to the great marriage feast that the Lord Jesus will have with his bride being His faithful followers. We see this alluded to in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. They were all pledged to be married to their spouse as are all believers pledged to be married to their bridegroom the Lord Jesus when He comes back for His bride, the faithful Body of the Messiah.
The wise virgins are those believers that keep the oil of the Spirit flowing into the lamp of their spirit and have light to see in the darkness and are ready for the Lord Jesus when He comes back. The foolish virgins are those believers that neglect to keep the oil of the Spirit flowing into the lamp of their spirit and do not have enough light and are not ready for the Lord Jesus when He returns. They have neglected to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit. If we keep our relationship fresh with the Lord Jesus everyday then in our resurrected glorified bodies we will enjoy the marriage feast with the Lord Jesus after He has returned. (Matthew 8:11) (Revelation 19:7-8)
Blessing 5. (Revelation 20:6) “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.”
When we were born again we entered into this first resurrection spiritually and this is the foreshadowing of our physical resurrection at the return of the Lord Jesus and after this we will reign with Him for a thousand years. The rest of the unsaved who are dead will be resurrected at the end of the thousand years and be physically resurrected for sentencing where they will be consigned to the second death which is the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8) This second death has no power over those who have overcome Satan, his beast empire and have not taken its mark of ownership or worshipped its image.
Those who have overcome the world, the flesh and the devil will co-reign with the Messiah over the surviving nations and will be priests of God and the Messiah and co-reign with Him for a thousand years. We may be afflicted now but the afflictions we receive in this life will never be equal to the rewards, the joys and the weight of God’s glory and splendour we will experience in the age to come and then for all of eternity.
If anyone suffered for his faith it was the apostle Paul yet he wrote; “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
In this life, humanly speaking, Paul’s suffering was anything but a light and momentary affliction. His focus was on what was unseen and eternal, not on what was seen and temporal and this gave him strength to patiently endure to the end in order to receive the crown of life! So then this blessing of co-reigning with the Messiah as a priest will be for all who overcome and added to this they will never experience the second death being the lake of fire.
Blessing 6. (Revelation 22:7) ““And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
The Book of revelation was revealed to John to comfort and strengthen the faithful Body of the Messiah in their war with Satan and enduring persecution at his hands. The Lord Jesus wanted to reassure His faithful beleaguered saints that He had everything under control. In today’s world, as we see society breaking down, the nations in turmoil, the persecution of faithful believers and the signs of the Lord Jesus’ Second coming increasing in frequency and intensity, we need to be taking to heart the words of this prophecy of Revelation. Once again those who do what it says will be blessed in their doing of it.
Blessing 7. (Revelation 22:14) “Blessed are those who wash their robes or do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”
The greatest blessing for those who overcome will be access to the tree of life and to all of the knowledge of the universe and access to things that go far beyond what we can even ask of think or even dream of. When the apostle Paul was caught up to the third heaven, being the very throne room of God and where His heavenly council sits, Paul could not even describe what he saw there. It literally “blew his mind.”
Added to this those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and clothed with His righteousness and have diligently sought to keep His commandments in the power of the Holy Spirit, will experience life in abundance and be filled with the awe and splendour of God Himself for all of eternity. Not only will they eat from the Tree of Life but have open access to the New Jerusalem, the Eternal City of God which is going to come down from heaven to earth. after the thousand years has ended. (Revelation 21:1-4)
These seven blessings or the seven fold blessing then are for all of God’s saints who, despite feeling a sense of spiritual poverty, experiencing persecution, affliction, trials, temptations, persecution and even martyrdom, overcome the devil and everything he has thrown their way. These are all those who obey God’s commandments and hold fast to their testimony to Jesus their Lord. (Revelation 12:17)
We need to read aloud publically and privately and to study the Book of Revelation because it reveals what is going on behind the scenes in our world today and reassures us that the Lord Jesus has everything under control and is coming back again to take us to himself, to annihilate all resistance to His kingdom and to inaugurate his Millennial reign on earth! He is saying to us in these last days; “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. ” (Revelation 22:12-13) What He starts He intends to finish!