|This is the first of
seven “blesseds” in the book of Revelation -- a point of structure to note.
|First, blessed is
the reader. In John’s time, this would
not mean what it does today, for the average person could not read. Instead, a reader would mount a pulpit (as
is still done in many older churches today -- a pulpit on each side, one for
the Gospels, one for the Letters, one for the Old Testament, one for the New
Testament) and read aloud to the congregation the Word. Such a person was worthy of blessing not
only because they shared their learning with the congregation, but because of
the risk they ran of becoming a martyr.
This was a very public act of worship, and the martyrdom reader was probably
viewed as a key to extinguishing the church.
|Next, blessed is the
hearer. The only people who today can
understand this quite like John’s original audience are those who listen to
cassette tapes of the Word, either because they are blind, or because this is
a profitable way to use commuting time.
It is interesting to note that when English translations such as the
Great Bible were placed in churches, usually chained to a pulpit, crowds
would wait for hours to get in to hear the word -- read by anyone who
could. Blessed is the hearer.
|Finally -- and most
important -- blessed is the doer, the one who takes these words to
heart. James put it this way:
NIV) But the man who looks intently
into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not
forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he
|Why? Because the time is near. Again, subject to different
interpretations, but always because the prophecy is about to be fulfilled.