“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church…” – Revelation 1:3a
This Sunday, I start preaching out of the book of Revelation. In case you’re wondering, that is not an admission of insanity. No, I did not reach this decision out of drunkenness. No, I do not enjoy pain. And finally, no, I did not lose a bet.
The truth is that Someone once told me that all of Scripture is beneficial for teaching doctrine, correction, rebuke, and training in righteousness. So, whatever a seven-headed dragon might happen to be, somewhere in all of that wild tale is goodies for me and you. I don’t know about you, but I like goodies.
The verse above suggests that blessing exists for the one who reads the words of “this prophecy” to the church. Let’s keep it simple at first. Someone read the words of John’s letter for the first time to those seven churches in Asia Minor. We are told that those persons are “seven stars” or the seven angels to those churches. Because of the way the Greek word for “angel” is used, it is possible that these are human beings at those churches who are messengers of John (“angelos” literally translated means “messenger” as well as “angel”). In other words, it’s possible that seven messengers were blessed by God for reading John’s letter to the churches.
If we see that as a one-time deal for those people, that’s pretty sad. The more likely reality is that a church that reads Revelation together (in community) is a church that will be blessed by God. That points back to the goodies I mentioned earlier.
That leads me to the point I really wanted to make here. Revelation is a scary book to many people. All those mysterious and outlandish symbols in the book cause most Christians to write off the book of Revelation as an impossible read. Many of those people profess to be “pan-millennials” (it’ll all “pan” out in the end) because there’s no real way of understanding its meaning.
But I come back to it again. ALL Scripture is beneficial. And the blessing comes not just from reading it but reading it as a church.
So, I encourage you to start bugging your pastor to preach Revelation. Consider diving into the book for your church’s small group or Bible study. The promise of divine blessing is hard to ignore.
Will it be a challenge? Sure. Most people acknowledge it as the toughest read in the modern Bible. Some people think it’s talking about the future. Some people think it’s talking about the past. But Revelation has a LOT of encouraging material that is about today.
Let me leave you with an example. Revelation 11 introduces two characters called the Two Witnesses. They are messengers from God who come to a world already going through difficult times. A beast has wielded power and control over many in society. These two witnesses speak against him They preach repentance of sin and surrender to God. The beast kills these witnesses and drags their body into the street on display for all to see. Then three days after they are murdered, they rise from the dead, continue their message of repentance as they ascend into the sky before disappearing altogether. As a result of their resurrection, thousands present repent and give their lives to God.
What’s the main takeaway in that story? God’s mercy to all people is ongoing. He is constantly in the business of giving people an opportunity to surrender themselves to Christ no matter how dark things get.
And that’s something I believe every human being needs to hear. I can think of no good reason why any one person should be left behind.
Read the book today. Get some people to read it with you. Talk about what you read. Write down what you say. And expect the blessings of God who always keeps His promises to us.
If you are a practicing Christian, here is something you need to hear. If your heart and mind is that the addicted, impoverished, and broken people dug their own grave and the rest of society is not responsible for their bad mistakes, then I ask you to wake up.