Revelation 1:3 – The Book of Revelation blesses the person who reads, hears, and obeys the message. In the early church there were, of course, no printing presses to run off copy after copy of John’s letter. There was only the original copy written by him and perhaps a few other copies that had been copied by hand to be passed among the people. Therefore, the “reading” spoken of in this verse refers to the letter being read before the whole church or before special groups within the church.
But note a critical point; it is never enough to just read and hear the Word of God. We must always do what God says, keep His commandments. This is especially true when it comes to Revelation. Why?
Note the last statement made in verse 3: because “the time is at hand.” The events are near, very near. Jesus is returning to earth very soon. The events of the end time are about to happen. They are at hand, right over the horizon. Therefore, we must read, hear, and heed the things written in Revelation.
The believer who does what Revelation says shall be blessed richly by God (John 8:51; 14:23). There are seven blesseds or beatitudes in Revelation.
1) The blessing of obedience v. 3.
2) The blessing of eternal life Revelation 14:13.
3) The blessing of watching for the Lord’s return and living a pure life Revelation 16:15.
4) The blessing of heaven, being called to the marriage supper of the Lamb Revelation 19:9.
5) The blessing of the resurrection, of being raised from the dead, Revelation 20:6.
6) The blessing of keeping the commands of Revelation Revelation 22:7.
7) The blessing of obedience, of keeping all of God’s commandments Rev. 22:14.
Three of the seven blessings have to do with obeying God, with keeping His commandments, just doing what He says. Obedience cannot be overstressed.
Note that the book of Revelation begins with a promised blessing (Revelation 1:3) and closes with a promised blessing (Revelation 22:7). Verse 3 reiterates the truth taught in Revelation 1:1, that the events depicted in the book of Revelation are imminent. The next event on God’s prophetic calendar has always been the church’s hope. We are to watch expectantly for His return: to keep our lamps lit and our loins girded and our staffs in hand like the command to Israel in Egypt. We are to be like the five virgins who were prepared for the bridegrooms coming (Matthew 25; Luke 12:35 ff; Romans 13:12).
Paul thought that he might be alive when the Lord returned we see this in the way he speaks in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18. The writer of Hebrews spoke of this in Hebrews 10:25. James also called his readers to be ready James 5:7-9 as well as Peter in 1 Peter 4:7). We live in a day where there is growing scoffing at the idea of the Lord’s soon return as Peter observed in his day 2 Peter 3:4. Yeshua will return. And His return is near.
Revelation 1:4 – Begins the great announcements to the Churches.
The primary recipients were the seven churches in Asia. They will be named and discussed later passages and represent all churches throughout the world.
There are four announcements proclaimed:
1. The announcement of grace and peace. Grace means the favor and blessings of God. It means that God takes an active role in our lives. He looks after and takes care of us and provides all the good and positive things of life for us whether physical, material, or spiritual. We don’t deserve the grace of God, but because He loves us He showers us with His grace, His favor, and His blessings.
2. Peace is the Shalom of God. It is a word used for greetings in Israel and farewell and is rooted in God’s provision. It means that we can have peace with God and men. We no longer have to feel that God is far from us or hovering over us, watching every little move that we make, seeking every chance to condemn and punish us.
God wants us to have peace, and that peace comes from our relationship to Yeshua (1 John 14:27ff). In Messiah man can now have peace with God and with each other. This peace is not found among men or on earth but it comes only from heaven, from God and His Spirit through His Son, the Lord Jesus. It is no small thing how God is described: “God who is and who was and who is to come.”
3. The attributes of God are so important for us to understand. God is eternal, unchangeable, infinite, the only living and true God. He is today as He was, and He shall be the same in the ages to come. This means that God has infinite power and knowledge. He knows that we need His grace, His care and provision, and His peace. And He has the power to give it to us. All we have to do is go to Him who is the source (Ephesians 2:4-7; Philippians 4:7;Titus 3:5-7). The “seven spirits” refers to the Holy Spirit and we understand this from Zechariah 4.