Revelation 1:2-3 and the Blessings of the Book

(2)  who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 

                   Here John provides some of his identity and his credentials, and his identity is his credentials. He was a personal witness to the Lord. A servant (v.1) of God. One who has proven himself beforehand as providing record of “all things that he saw.” He did it in his life and teachings; he did it in His gospel account of Jesus; and he is about to do it all over again in this Revelation. He was not going to spare details but provide his readers with “all things that he saw.”

(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. 

There are three parts to this verse:

  1. He that reads aloud. Many of the newer English translations make the distinction from the Greek that the one who reads is reading the prophecies “aloud.” It is important to consider that this letter was intended to be read aloud. So, this first blessing is given to the one willing to read this book to others.
  2. He that hears. The second blessing is for the hearer of the message which the messenger read aloud.
  3. The keeper. The third blessing is for those who keep “those things which are written.” This has the possibility of including both the reader and the hearer. This statement clarifies that the following book is not intended to be just predictions of the immediate future, but something to be applied to their lives. The information therein will show them their lack and their need to be completely faithful to the Lord.

There is a sense of urgency in the blessings when he says, “for the time is at hand.” This timing statement correlates well with the “shortly to come to pass” of verse one. The book never loses sight of the immediacy of its content and context: 1:1; 2:5, 16; 3:11; 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20. This verse shows how the blessing is “for” (because) “the time is at hand.” So, if one would read the prophecies aloud, and others hear the reading of the prophecies, and they all “keep those things,” then they will be blessed. They will have their name in the book of life, instead of being blotted out. They will be on victorious! What a blessing! God provided his people with what they need for victory.

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