“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
The book of Revelation often has a bad connotation attached to it. Many are afraid to read it because they have heard it said that Revelation is a difficult, if not impossible, book to understand. Because of this, many are afraid even to attempt a study into the book of Revelation. Nevertheless, remember what Christians are to know. “16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The hope is that if one would only read the book of Revelation, that one’s interest would be piqued to a deeper study of what it says.
The first two verses in this book declare just exactly what this book is and is to be. “1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw” (Revelation 1:1-2). Revelation means “uncovering; unveiling; disclosure; spoken of future events.” From the title and first verse of the book of Revelation, we are to understand that this is not a book of mystery, but a book of revealing or disclosure of things that would come to pass. Jesus told John, the Apostle, of things that would come – for John was a witness of Jesus, having walked with Him, learning from Him.
See what Jesus said of those who would read, hear, and keep these words. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3). Keep means “particularly to watch; observe attentively; keep the eyes fixed upon.” In other words, Christians are to not only read and hear the words found within the book of Revelation, but Christians are commanded to watch and observe the times and events of which this book is speaking. We can understand that the words of this book are to be read – attentively. Those who do so will be blessed (means “happy”). What an encouragement for Christians during these days in which we live!
Jesus spoke to John, directing the words to the church (whom some call the Letters from Jesus to the church). “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne” (Revelation 1:4). These words are from Jesus, who has always been and always will be, directed initially to the churches in Asia. However, these words are also directed to what is referred to as “the seven church ages” which are understood to have taken place throughout history, from the time when the church was established upon the resurrection of Jesus. See how Jesus revealed this fact. “5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6). Because of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection, He enabled Christians, those who believe in Jesus by faith, to become “kings and priests unto God”.
- Kings means “a title of distinguished honor; figuratively of Christians.”
- Priests means “figuratively, Christians also called priests unto God as offering Him spiritual sacrifices”(see Romans 12:1-2).
The Christians minister to and serve the Lord through the church – which is to whom Jesus is speaking.
Read what will happen. “7. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:7-8). One day, Jesus will come again – and all will see Him, even those who “pierced” Him. In essence, verse 8 means “Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet; in this, Jesus is speaking, assuming all the glory which belongs to God the Father as if confirming what he stated when on earth: “I and my Father are One”; Jesus is the ruler of all (Almighty) – for that is how he is presented throughout Revelation in regard to His Second Advent.”
John had been banished to the isle of Patmos to live because of his faithfulness to Christ. Church history records that John had been boiled in oil (and lived) before his banishment to Patmos. Jesus told John to write what he saw. It was for the churches to read (see Revelation 1:10-11). John recorded this for us to know and understand today.
Are you one who is able to understand Revelation because of your belief in Jesus by faith, understanding that the time of which it is written is at hand?