All Christian are aware of “the Beatitudes” or the Blessings of The Sermon on the Mount. It can be found in Matthew 5:3-11 where Jesus preaches and teaches a large crowd saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn! For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness! For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful! For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are they who have been persecuted for righteousness sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake.”
When I was young, the Beatitudes were required learning for all Sunday Schools and are still perhaps one of the most taught passages of the Bible.
However, Jesus spoke another set of Seven (7) Beatitudes which are less known and which I have never heard either preached or taught. They are the Beatitudes of Revelation.
What is different about the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, and those of Revelation? There are perhaps two main differences:
1) In the Sermon on the Mount, all the blessings are sequential, in Revelation, they are not.
2) In the Sermon on the Mount, while we may assume that these are the exact words of Jesus, in Revelation we know they are, because the Apostle John of Patmos records that he was instructed to “write down these words…” There is nothing secret or hidden in the Revelation beatitudes, there are open that we may be able to understand and interpret them.
Just what are the Revelation Beatitudes? They are as follows:
Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is the one who reads and hears the Words of this prophecy, and the ones keeping the things written in it, for the time is near.”
Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they shall rest from their labours, and their works follow them.”
Revelation 16:15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Revelation 19:9 “And he said to me, Write, Blessed are those who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.”
Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years.”
Revelation 22:7 “Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the Words of the prophecy of this Book.”
Revelation 22:14 “Blessed are they who do His commandments, that their authority will be over the Tree of Life, and they may enter in by the gates into the city.”
In Scripture, seven symbolizes completeness or perfection (Original Ref.). It is therefore fitting, appropriate and prophetic that these seven beatitudes are contained in the last book of the Bible, a book of open prophecy for the Church in the last days of this age; the age in which we now live. Yes, this book of Revelation was written for us and the Revelation Beatitudes are a special message for us, for the Church, which we need to recognise and act upon. Please recognise and understand that the last reference to the Church in the Book of Revelation is in Revelation 3:14. After that reference, it is no longer mentioned in existence on earth. These Revelation Beatitudes therefore should call to us loud and clear:- be prepared!
Even a cursory reading of the beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-11 in comparison to the beatitudes of Revelation reveals that the seven Revelation Beatitudes constitute a call to action for believers and highlight the key purpose of the Book of Revelation as a whole. It is a clear and unambiguous call to prepare the Church for the second coming of Christ.
Yes, the Revelation Beatitudes are a call to continually heed and act, I repeat ACT, upon all the words of Revelation; being willing to bear witness for Jesus even if it means a martyr’s death. The Revelation Beatitudes are a call to constant vigilance with regard to the promised coming of Jesus. We need to keep one’s “garments” pure from the stain of this world in order to attain to the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6), to keep the words of the prophecy, and to wash one’s garments in the blood of the Lamb.
I believe a primary purpose of the Revelation Beatitudes is not to provide us with a precise and detailed chronologies or sequences of future events, but are a call to God’s people, The Church of Christ in this age, to constant vigilance. In that vigilance we need to acquire a lifestyle of right living, bearing faithful testimony to Jesus, while living in a lost and sinful world. It is all about our actions, not our situations.
Perhaps the best verse to summarise this call to action is that of Revelation 12:11,
“….they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death…”