By definition, blessings refer to those things that bring us joy and fortune. The book of Revelation records seven blessings that will save us from the disorder and wickedness of the end times if we hold fast to the instructions of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So how do we obtain these seven blessings?
READ THE PROPHECY
Revelation is the last book of the New Testament, but there are also similar prophecies in the Old Testament, such as those revealed in the book of Daniel.
We can say that Daniel was probably one of the greatest men of prayer. He prayed in almost every aspect of his lifeâ€”for himself, for his country, and for his nation.
Daniel prayed so that he might understand the word of God, and we can see how fervent he was to understand the visions that he saw. He fasted for three periods of seven days, and we can see the specific content of his fasting:
I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. (Dan 10:3)
We can ask ourselves, have we put in this kind of effort to understand the word of God? Perhaps we have fasted on this level for the sake of a serious illness or the sake of our marriage, but we have probably never heard of anyone who fasted in this manner because they did not understand the word of God.
Though Daniel sought after the word of God in this manner, did He reveal anything to Daniel? In chapter 12, God did not tell him how things would come to pass in the end days.
But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. (Dan 12:4)
Seeing the situation, Daniel continued to press God to reveal the mystery of His word and said to himself, â€œAlthough I heard, I did not understand. Then [he] said, â€˜My lord, what shall be the end of these things?? (Dan 12:8).
Then God replied, â€œGo your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end?(Dan 12:9). And what is this time? It is the time in the age that we live in today.
The last verse of the book of Daniel says, â€œBut you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days?(Dan 12:13).
In plain language, we can say that God was telling Daniel that he could die in peace and not worry himself over these things. God told Daniel not to try to understand the mysteries of the end times because the time had not come.
But our time indeed is the time of the end. The book that was sealed in the time of Daniel is now opened to us, and this is why God tells us to read it. Revelation 22:10 is the exact opposite of what God instructed Daniel:
And he said to [John], â€œDo not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
This is to say that the revelation of the end times is now open.
Thus, the first blessing of the end times is an invitation to read the opened book of Revelation. So if you feel that you are lacking blessings in your life, you can begin by reading from the book of Revelation, because it is not only Godâ€™s promise but an invitation.
DIE IN THE LORD
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, â€œWrite: â€˜Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.? â€œYes,?says the Spirit, â€œthat they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.?(Rev 14:13)
The second blessing of the end times belongs to those who die in the Lord. This is actually a very unique blessing because it is a thrice-confirmed promise.
First, a voice from heaven said that the blessing is accompanied by the attestation of God. Second, John was commanded to write it down, the act of which is an authentication of the prophecy. Lastly, the Spirit spoke, reaffirming the blessing.
It is very rare that a single statement of promise is followed by three forms of attestation or affirmation.
If you went out today to look for a job, and your employee offered you a monthly salary of a hundred thousand dollars, you would laugh because it is an outrageous amount. And letâ€™s say the condition of this promise is that you will receive your salary only after you die.
I think none of us are so foolish as to take this job. But this is the case for many religions in this world. Most religions tell us to do good, be good throughout our life, and work hardâ€”strive for this and that. Upon your death, you will receive all these great things.
Many people follow this motto in their lives. They believe that if they work hard they will enter whatever kind of blessed realm they believe in. But what happens if, after death, it is not what they thought and they have been swindled?
This is where Christianity stands out. We have a very strong assurance from God, from the record of the prophet, and most importantly, from the Spirit that testifies that this is indeed the truth.
Many of us have received the Holy Spirit, and this is the greatest assurance we can have. Our hope of salvation is not one filled with uncertaintyâ€”the blind efforts of working our whole life long, not knowing whether we will receive our reward at the time of death.
Some people die for the sake of money or love, and some die for their political ideals. When we think of these people, we consider them to be noble, but when they die, they cannot take with them any of the things for which they died.
You may have easily accumulated a business empire, but can you take it with you when you die? Perhaps when you reach the gates of heaven, you may say to Jesus, â€œLord, I am the CEO of such and such company,?but do you think it is enough to enter into heaven?
We often hear the phrase, â€œWe come empty-handed.?It is true that we cannot take any of our material things with us; but the fruits of our labor, specifically mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15, are the things that we can take with us.
So think about the scene of your death. What kind of things will you take with you? What fruits have been borne of your labor within the kingdom of God? Do you have the fruits of disorder and chaos in the church?
So the second blessing in Revelation tells us that we need to die in the Lord. But we must also bring some things with usâ€”the fruits of our work.
STAY AWAKE AND KEEP YOUR CLOTHES WITH YOU
Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. (Rev 16:15)
By the time we come to this verse in the book of Revelation, the world has reached its most chaotic stage, and this is when the sixth bowl of tribulation has been poured out. When the seventh bowl has been poured out, then â€œit is done?(Rev 16:17).
We are now in the sixth bowl of tribulation, and the world is in a great state of disarray.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Rev 16:13, 14)
There are three powers which appear in the world.
The first power belongs to the dragon, and its main function is to accuse us, the believers (Rev 12:10). This is the work of Satan. It may be that such accusations will arise from within the church itself.
The second power is that of the beast. In both Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, we know that the beast represents the powers that prevail in the world. These powers are described as coming out of the sea, which warns us of political turmoil and instability.
The third power is the false prophet. We can read more of this in Revelation 13:11-15. We can say that the false prophet represents the authority of the religious world. So when we talk about false prophets, we are not talking about religions that exist outside of Christianity but also those various forms of Christianity that exist within the faith itself.
Satan knows that this three-fold power is something that is not easily broken. The combination of these three powers will bring much trouble to the true believers. As a church, we have to be even more aware and alert, because it reminds us that Jesus is coming again.
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, â€œWho are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from??And I said to him, â€œSir, you know.?So he said to me, â€œThese are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.?(Rev 7:13, 14)
We need to stay awake and take care of our garments. The white garments referred here is obtainable only from within the True Jesus Church (Rev 3:4, 7:13, 14)â€”these garments are the white robes that God has given to us by grace. We do not deserve them; rather, it is His love for us that we receive these white garments.
It is our task to guard them and make sure we donâ€™t lose or soil them. This also means that we need to stand firm in the church. Revelation 16:15 tells us that Jesus will come like a thief. Only God knows the hour of Jesus?second coming.
This is exactly why we need to stay alert and keep our robes clean, for He could come today or tomorrow.
These white robes are Godâ€™s gift of love to us, and they are given only when we receive the baptism of the True Jesus Church.
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE MARRIAGE SUPPER
Let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, â€œWrite: â€˜Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!? And he said to me, â€œThese are the true sayings of God.?(Rev 19:7-9)
Those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb will be blessed. We know that this marriage represents the final consummation of the end times. We can say that, in the end, the universe will result in this great wedding.
We know that when we go to a wedding, we do not take this occasion lightly. There was a sister who had a dream about her own wedding. At the time, she was weak in faith, and she dreamt that she was at home and heard a voice saying, â€œThe groom is coming!?/p>
So she woke up and went to the window to see. There was a great crowd making a ruckus. She discovered that she recognized many of the people in the crowd, and when she looked at the groom, she felt like she had never seen someone who was more worthy of admiration. But she could not clearly make out the features of the groom.
Even though this sister was married and had grown children, her heart was moved, not out of the ordinary sense but in her spirit, when she saw the groom. So she went out and asked, â€œWho is getting married??Quite to her surprise, the person said, â€œThe groom is marrying you!?/p>
In the dream, she was still wearing her pajamas, and she felt ashamed to be attending her own wedding in her sleep clothes. She thought to herself that she was old enough to be a grandmother, which puzzled her even more.
The dream tells us that the marriage supper of the Lamb has come and that all of us are invited to this banquet. But will we attend the feast wearing our pajamas and slippers, or will we be dressed in fine linen, bright and pure?
This white linen (Rev 19:8) is different from the white garments mentioned earlier (cf Rev 7:13, 14). When we are baptized and put on Jesus Christ, our white garments are a gift of grace, and all we have to do is preserve it.
In those days, fine linen was imported from more affluent countriesâ€”it was a cloth even more valuable than the white garments. In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man always wore robes of purple and inner garments of linen.
Revelation 19:7-9 tells us that we have been invited to the supper of the Lamb, and the fine linen we put on represents the righteous deeds of the saints. After baptism, God calls us justified, but the reality is that justification is maintained by our own works of righteousness. Although we have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, we have to constantly prepare ourselves for this supperâ€”preparing ourselves in terms of our righteousness.
It is only after God has deemed us justified that we have the ability to pursue righteousness. Because it is only then that pursuing righteousness has any meaning at all.
There are many non-Christians who have done many good things. Their deeds, unfortunately, are not works of righteousness because they were performed within a sinful nature.
Our sins, on the other hand, have been remitted by the blood of Jesus. Having been justified, we can begin performing works of righteousness, which constitutes the period of our preparation. And this is so that we may participate in the marriage supper.
Sometimes, for the sake of going to a concert, opera, or wedding, we may begin preparing ourselves many days in advance. If it is your own marriage, you would be worrying about the veil and dress you would be wearing on that day.
But have we ever taken care to notice how well prepared we are for this wedding of the Lamb? If you have thought about this, you would know that we should be clothed in garments of linen white and pure.
Therefore, this fourth blessing is ours if we prepare ourselves for the final banquet of the Lamb.
HAVE PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Rev 20:6)
This is the fifth blessing of those who share in the first resurrection.
The first resurrection occurs when one hears the word of the Son of God, believes in him, and receives baptism. This means that we have been raised again in the Spirit and become a living being (Jn 5:24, 25).
Once, there was a man who told Jesus that he wanted to follow Him, but he had to first go and bury his father. Jesus said, â€œLet the dead bury the dead.?How could the dead possibly bury the dead?
What Jesus meant was that those who have died in the Spirit but live in the flesh should be the ones to bury those who have died physically. If we look at this from a spiritual perspective, all the great people with their worldly accomplishments are dead in the spirit.
But we have been raised to lifeâ€”resurrected in the Spirit. Jesus tells us these are the people who are blessed. They are holy, and they are blessed because the second death will have no dominion over them.
The blessed will be given power according to their status. They will be priests of God and of Christ. In the Old Testament, priests were the only ones who went directly to the presence of God to serve and administer His instructions, and they could be selected only from the descendants of Aaron.
Today, all of us have become priests. Have you ever thought of yourself as a priest? The job of a priest is to offer sacrifices day and night to God. When you got up this morning, what did you offer to God?
We shall be not only priests but also kings to reign with Christ. You may think to yourself, â€œHow is it that I can be a king??If you had never been a king before and you were suddenly thrust into this position, you may feel uncomfortable and not know what to do.
Very few people go around having this idea in their head. The kind of king that is referred to here is not the king with which we are familiar. But the kingship is our ability to have control over all sinâ€”to conquer Satan and to overcome him. This means that we are spiritual kings.
In the beginning of the book of Revelation, God made us a promise. Chapter 1, verse 5 leading up to verse 6, says that God has freed us of sin with His blood. God has made for us a kingdom over which we can rule.
We can see the same idea in 5:10, where God has made for us a kingdomâ€”which infers that we are kings as well as priests. In the Old Testament, these two positions were never held simultaneously by one person. A king was forbidden to make sacrifices; in the instance that one did, such as King Uzziah, he was stricken immediately with leprosy.
Neither was there a priest who ever became a king. So the kingship referred to here is the one descended from the line of David. But Jesus Christ has connected the priestly and kingly statuses, meaning that in the presence of God, we serve as a function of the ministry to God. In this sense, we are priests. And when we look at ourselves in relation to the world of sin and the power of Satan, then we have become kings.
Since we have this kingly status, let us depart from the bondage of sin because we have already taken part in the first resurrectionâ€”we are kings and priests.
KEEP THE WORDS OF THE PROPHECY
Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. (Rev 22:7)
When the Bible uses â€œBehold,?it alerts us to the work of the Lord, which entails something marvelous and wonderful. It is also a warning to us that Jesus is coming. If we recall the first blessing, it is to hear and read the Word.
If we are still just merely listening or reading by the time we reach the end of the book of Revelation, then the blessing has dissipated. Rather, the verse above says we have to keep and do the work of this book.
And this is very similar to Jesus?Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 7:24: Those who hear must likewise do. Hearing is one act, where something you encounter is imprinted in your mind. If all you did was listen but not act, you would be a very imbalanced person.
This is the same for our spiritual state. We need to know as well as need to do. Otherwise, we would be some kind of strange spiritual creature. If we listen too much, our heads might figuratively grow too large for our body, and so we have to do according to its word.
WASH YOUR ROBES
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may go through the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14)
In this last blessing, we have been brought into a realm that is quite beyond our imagination.
We can say, as an example, that there are often cases where someone has grown sick in the spirit, meaning that they have become weak in some ways. If we saw this happening, we would go and encourage them out of love.
Paul says in his letters that using gentleness and tenderness to exhort and encourage someone is a good thing. And we know and see these things within the community of the church.
But we need to be careful, because this period of grace will be open for a limited period of time, and this is the opposite kind of spirit that is found in the gospel books, in which is the commission that the Lord Jesus left for us to save souls and practice love.
Revelation 22:10, 11 foretells a different time in the future where things will be very different:
And he said to me, â€œDo not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.?
If you are sick in your spirit, we should just let you continue in your sickness. If you are dissatisfied with the condition of the church, then itâ€™s for you to continue onwards; this is a fatalistic view of things. If you donâ€™t want to believe in Jesus Christ, then this is your choice, go your way.
This is the spirit of this verse: just let people be the way that they are already are. The filthyâ€”let them just be filthy. If someone has done wrong under this set of circumstances, let them continue in it.
Of course, we need to remember that this verse is taken specifically in the context of a future time, not our time. And if someone stops coming to church, we shouldnâ€™t let him or her go without admonishment; we should not follow that spirit in our time now.
But there will come a time when that spirit will apply, and that will be the time when people reach the point where they are already set in their ways.
In a time of great tribulation and persecution, the ministers will be trying to save themselves from falling, much less worry about you or others. So it is in such circumstances that make one say, â€œThings have gotten to this point, just let things remain as they are.?/p>
At that moment, we need to take care that we donâ€™t fall sick spiritually and that we should not fain spiritual sickness. Let the righteous still do right, and let the holy continue in holiness.
Those who wash their robes will be blessed. This is the last blessing, and it is given to those who wash their robes in this most difficult and darkest of times. And we will be blessed as we strive for spiritual perfection to wash our robes.
There will come a period in the future of such chaos and tribulation that you see people falling all around you, even in church, and there will be nothing you can do about it.
Sometimes, in our present situation, we might say, â€œI am not coming to church because that person said something that I didnâ€™t like?or â€œSome brother or sister in church slandered me in front of others.?
Maybe that might still work today but in the end times, as written in the last chapter of Revelation, the situation is such that if you donâ€™t come back to church, then you will simply be left behind.
So, the emphasis here is that we have to wash our own robes and train and cultivate our own spirituality. We must be responsible for everything we do ourselves rather than looking around to see what other people are doing. If you are able to do this, then you will be blessed. This is an extremely difficult time in which to live.
Of course, we have not reached that time, so we should not take this verse and apply it to our situation just yet. We are still in the time when we need to heal and make strong those who are weak spiritually.
There will come a time in the future where someone who is weak or dying will be left weak and dying. If we can hold on to our own faith till the very end, then we will be blessed.