Revelation’s First Beatitude

Wim Malgo (1922-1992)

An interpretation of the last book of the Bible. Part 7. Revelation 1:3.

At the conclusion of Revelation’s overwhelming introduction, the first of the book’s seven Beatitudes rings out (Rev 1:3). During His earthly life, the Lord gave us 10 Beatitudes when he spoke to the people of Israel on the mountain. In Revelation, from heaven, he gave seven:

1. “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” (Rev 1:3).
2. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth” (Rev 14:13).
3. “Blessed is he that watcheth” (Rev 16:15).
4. “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9).
5. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (Rev 20:6).
6. “Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev 22:7).
7. “Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev 22:14).

It’s notable that Revelation’s first Beatitude contains a condition: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” It could actually be said to read, “Blessed are those who read the Word, while listening and retaining.”

We must be clear that most believers at that time were reliant on listening, because typography had not yet been invented. Since everything had to be laboriously copied by hand, not everyone had an Old Testament at their disposal. Apart from that, some were also illiterate. The Scriptures, and later also the Apostles’ letters, were therefore read aloud.

The English Standard Version translates the first Beatitude this way: “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.” Proper listening is presupposed in Revelation anyway, since it says repeatedly, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

We are indeed privileged to have a Bible! Are you using it? If you lack understanding, then pray about it. The Lord will grant you increased insight. Read, listen, and keep it in your heart, and you will be blessed.

Midnight Call - 01/2020

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