Summary: Seven words from The Revelation that stir God’s people to faith and faithfulness.
THE SEVEN BEATITUDES OF REVELATION
(Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14)
Big Idea: Seven words from The Revelation that stir God’s people to faith and faithfulness.
We are all familiar with the beatitudes of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). But did you know that The Apostle John has a list of beatitudes too? His are here in The Revelation.
We began looking at these last week.
Jesus and John use the same word; “markarios” and it means “happy or blessed.” Scholars tell us the word has a sense of finality that rings through it. Markarios suggests one is “supremely blessed,” “very happy,” or “fulfilled.” I think I like that word!!!
John’s beatitudes are sprinkled throughout The Revelation and are, you guessed it, seven in number.
The number seven is a big deal in Hebrew theology. It represents completeness; finality. John, like other Bible authors, often communicates more than is on the written page by using this number and that is certainly the case in this book. There are seven churches, seven lamp stands, seven Spirits of God, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, seven angels, seven heads on a very strange beast and, now, seven beatitudes. All of these indicate that John is writing about events that will, just like the seven days of creation, find fulfillment, completion and finality in the victory of God. In using the number seven John reinforces the sense of finality or completeness in his beatitudes.
John is in essence saying; “Do you want to be happy” Do you want to find a sense of fulfillment? It is found in God and these seven ‘blessings’ will direct your steps towards His fulfillment.”
But there is another layer of meaning here too. God may be saying even more than John. By placing these (and Jesus’) beatitudes in the Bible God is saying “I want you to be happy. I made you to be happy. I know how to make you authentically happy and here are some of the ingredients found in that recipe.”
I am giving you these seven beatitudes in seven words. Each of these texts has a deeper richer meaning than I can bring out in a sermon but the selected word will give you a sense of some of the nuance of each blessing.
To help us I will use the acronym B-L-E-S-S-E-D and take them in the order they are found (Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14).
Last week we looked at the first four:
B – Bravery (1:3)
L – Legacy (14:13)
E – Equipped (16:15)
S – Secure (19:9)
B = BRAVERY (1:3)
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3, NASB)
Pastor John, and the seven churches he serves, are fully aware of the storm clouds of persecution on the horizon. They know that a deep sense of faith and resolve is required. From the outset he tells his people that they will find fulfillment, energy and joy by courageously holding fast.
Hebrews 4:14-16 encourages us with: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
John says, “Those who are happy are those who hang in there, remain faithful, and trust God to the end.”
L = LEGACY (14:13)
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)
The whole nature of this book is forward looking. Oh, it is about the present but Pastor John knows that hope, resolve, and joy are found not in looking at the storm clouds but at looking past the clouds to the blue sky that follows. John wants them to see into the future. John wants them to realize that God knows their future and God takes note of their courageous, faith-full deeds. That, you see, motivates us in the “here and now.”
Real joy, John suggests, is found when we take the long look; when we look past the immediate pressure to the calm that promises to reside afterwards and allow it to provide us with calm here and now.
E = EQUIPPED (16:15)
“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” (Revelation 16:15)