Search for Blessing in the Book of Revelation

3 Resources to Help You Search for Blessing in the Book of Revelation

When you flip all the pages to the back of your Bible, when you take a deep breath and begin to excavate the words of John’s Revelation, what exactly are you looking for? Are you hoping for an end times road map? A winning slam dunk in your next theological argument?

How about blessing? Have you ever gone head and heart first into the book of Revelation in search of a blessing? If not, you may be surprised to discover that the Revelation begins and ends with a blessing upon those who “hear and keep” its words.

“Blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it… Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Revelation 1:3; 22:7

If this is all news to you, Nancy Guthrie has created a resource to set you on a path toward blessing. In Blessed, you will learn that John the Apostle did not write his Revelation to be a book about the future. It was, in fact, written to encourage seven first-century churches in their very real context of persecution.

In our own divided time, John’s message may invite us to view our world through the perspective of heaven. He also assists in what may be our most crucial task in the 21st century: correcting our assumptions about what the “blessed” life looks like.

Guthrie offers big picture guidance for anyone who wants to do a comprehensive read through of John’s letter: Notice numbers. Understand that Revelation is not intended as a chronological record. Instead, it’s a repeated rehearsal of events between the first and second coming of Christ, each from a different angle.

Beatitudes, Part 2

Because of the weird mindset I have carried into my reading of the Revelation, I failed to notice that it reads like a second set of Beatitudes with its seven embedded “blessed” statements (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14). And since every single word of the book is livable, we would be wise to bring a new and improved set of questions to our reading:

  • What will it mean today for me to “hear and keep” the message of the Revelation?
  • What changes will this bring to my priorities? My passions?

John’s Revelation is not meant to scare us. “It is meant to instill confidence and hope so we will not have to face the future gripped by fear.” @NancyGuth3 #Blessed via @crossway

Two More Resources

Two additional resources have helped me in my understanding of and appreciation for John’s letters to “the seven churches that are in Asia” (Revelation 1:4).

Rachel Schmoyer’s heart for helping readers “read the hard parts” of scripture has resulted in a new devotional workbook that takes readers through Revelation in thirty days. Take It To Heart demystifies John’s writing, making it clear that, first and foremost, the Revelation was written by a pastor. We also forget that the letter was intended for actual communities of believers that existed in a certain geographic, economic, and cultural context.  
  

Read the Hard Parts of Scripture with @schmoyer_rachel! #TakeIttoHeart demystifies Revelation, making it clear, first and foremost, that it was written by a pastor.

Far from a mere catalog of future events, John’s role is to interpret what is to come in light of today’s challenges, to throw in a dash of what has already been, and to help the flock know how to live in the present.

Listening Can Be a Spiritual Act. 

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Revelation 2:7

The rhythm of this phrase thrums through the messages to the seven churches no matter what their circumstances or individual besetting sins, causing me to wonder if selective hearing could also be the root of my own failings? 

According to Annie Dillard, the greatest theological question of all times is this:  “What in the Sam Hill is going on here anyway?”  If she is correct, I may find the answer to that momentous question by opening my ears to what the Spirit is saying — through the Word, in response to my prayers, in the whisper-voice of my circumstances.

Resources for Reading in Revelation

Worship is the Ultimate Goal

A second and much older resource comes from the heart and the pen of Eugene Peterson. Reversed Thunder gently insists that worship is the ultimate goal when God reveals himself to humanity.  Twice, John is rebuked for falling at the feet of a heavenly being in worship (19:10; 22:9).  We, too, fall on our faces — easily and in the wrong direction. 

Every journey through the Revelation reminds me that Jesus is the beginning and the ending, not only because He says so, but because the book puts his magnificence on display for twenty-two chapters, from beginning to end.  When the letter is used as a reference book for our quibbling-matches about signs of the time and who’s right about the rapture, we become more of what we already are:  a distracted people.  Truly a hymnal in its own way, the Revelation reminds me that whenever I find my way into worship, I am joining with and adding to the praise that goes on continually in heavenly places.

The best news we can ever hear with our fallen ears is this: The God of Revelation invites.  The word is “come,” and the invitation goes out to all the thirsty.  Through desert times of the soul, there is an invitation to drink freely.  Here is comfort for the one who is tired of insincere offers; weary of eyes that scan the crowd in search of another more interesting companion; fed up with promises made but not fulfilled. 

Join me in taking a step back from the traditional approach to John’s Revelation. Perk up your ears and sharpen your worship as you read the text with new eyes and take in the message with confidence and understanding.

Holding You in the Light,

The best news we can ever hear with our fallen ears is this: The God of Revelation invites. The word is “come,” and the invitation goes out to all the thirsty.

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Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of Blessed to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.

51 thoughts on “3 Resources to Help You Search for Blessing in the Book of Revelation”

  1. I once read Revelation 14:13 on a stone memorial to WW1 Vets in a graveyard. And I heard a voice from heaven telling me to write Blessed are the dead that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them. I had never spent much time reading Revelation before because I thought it was so weird but that verse really moved me.

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  2. I noticed the verses about the blessing for those who hear and keep the words of Revelation. But I hadn’t considered the other “blessings” in the book as Beatitudes. I’ll have to watch for those next time through. I’ll have to keep Nancy’s book in mind as well–I’ve enjoyed others by her. I agree, there is so much more to Revelation than fodder for end-time arguments.

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    1. I marked them in my Bible so I won’t miss those sections next time. Nancy is definitely a trusted resource person. There’s also a podcast that goes with the book, and I’m working my way through that. Probably should have mentioned that in my post…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful post! Yes when I read Revelation I do seek knowledge plus I am indeed reassured that God is the beginning… and the end. However the beatitude aspect never crossed my mind and I look forward to reading this book again from that perspective. Thank you…

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  4. This summer, our minister has been teaching on revelation – that the letters speak for the past, the letter’s present, our present, and the future. I’m readying the chronological bible in a year backwards – starting with revelation – and I was taken with the praise for what each church was doing right, followed by pointing out areas that need addressing – and the outcomes possible for them – so much blessing in store if they keep their eyes on His truth! You have me wanting to go find all the beatitudes in Revelation!

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  5. Thank you for introducing us to these three resources on Revelation, Michele. They definitely sound intriguing! If our Bible study leader at church asks for ideas for the fall (and she sometimes does), I’m going to mention Nancy Guthrie’s book. Eugene Peterson’s book can be a supplement. His books are always insightful.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your Revelation collection, Michele. Has there every been as hotly debated a book of Scripture? Nancy Guthrie authoritatively gives us a Reformed perspective which abandons her usual literal plain-sense reading and study of Scripture for allegory and symbolism and principles for all-time learned from the ‘experts’, thus bringing this radical book of prophecy into conformity with an Amillennial framework and taming it for the reader, though I believe at a great loss to the actual Blessing promised to those who ‘keep’ its prophecies.

    Rachel Schmoyer, on the other hand, while giving us devotional take-aways from Revelation has done the hard work of comparing big-picture viewpoints behind-the-scenes and on her website…(https://readthehardparts.com) helps us make sense of the comparative views and how they will affect the way we read Revelation. I appreciate that transparency.

    I have yet to read Peterson’s reflections on Revelation from a creative pastor’s heart…
    As for myself, this book has captured my attention in the last few years and is fascinating to read through in a single setting to see the trajectory and feel the triumphant ending! I believe the blessing of the book is in taking it at face value for the actual revelation of the ‘rest of the story’ that it gives us, the ‘heads-up’ of how this world will end and WHO will win! Here is strong encouragement for the saint to persevere in faith when the stakes are high and overcoming evil may require the giving of your life! This is already true in various parts of the world, and will be true for all believers on the earth when Jesus returns. We need to know these things! “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony, loving not their lives even unto death.” And it is a fearful sobering warning for the unbeliever who wonders where the world is headed…

    Also, it is a thrilling invitation to HOPE in the One who is coming on the clouds to gather the saints to be with Him forever! We’ve lost this emphasis in our churches and teaching. Revelation reminds us of the big picture and our real hope. So don’t be too quick Michele to cast off your ‘weird mindset’ brought to prior readings of Revelation. They may be more to the point that you think. After all, Revelation claims itself to be a book about things to come. I think we should hang onto that even if we don’t understand all the particulars yet.

    And I love the way you’ve brought together the actual “blessed”s of Revelation. Each bears meditation. Yes! Jesus is coming. Watch for it! ( :

    My own understanding of how Revelation fits with Jesus’ own teaching on the signs of His coming (Matt.24) was helped immensely by the Pre-Wrath Rapture viewpoint which has gained considerable traction in recent years and holds to a thoroughly Biblical, plain-sense-of-Scripture approach while comparing Scripture with Scripture in a delightfully refreshing way. It holds to a literal view of the text unless the text itself leads us to a different understanding. I like that. So here’s another work for your collection on Revelation, Michele ( : https://revelationcommentary.org/
    Thanks for wading through this long comment; Revelation lies close to my heart.
    And thanks for all the reading you do and share!
    –Linda

    .

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  7. Thank you for sharing your Revelation collection, Michele. Has there every been as hotly debated a book of Scripture? Nancy Guthrie authoritatively gives us a Reformed perspective which abandons her usual literal plain-sense reading and study of Scripture for allegory and symbolism and principles for all-time learned from the ‘experts’, thus bringing this radical book of prophecy into conformity with an Amillennial framework and taming it for the reader, though I believe at a great loss to the actual Blessing promised to those who ‘keep’ its prophecies.

    Rachel Schmoyer, on the other hand, while giving us devotional take-aways from Revelation has done the hard work of comparing big-picture viewpoints behind-the-scenes and on her website…(readthehardparts) helps us make sense of the comparative views and how they will affect the way we read Revelation. I appreciate that transparency.

    I have yet to read Peterson’s reflections on Revelation from a creative pastor’s heart…
    As for myself, this book has captured my attention in the last few years and is fascinating to read through in a single setting to see the trajectory and feel the triumphant ending! I believe the blessing of the book is in taking it at face value for the actual revelation of the ‘rest of the story’ that it gives us, the ‘heads-up’ of how this world will end and WHO will win! Here is strong encouragement for the saint to persevere in faith when the stakes are high and overcoming evil may require the giving of your life! This is already true in various parts of the world, and will be true for all believers on the earth when Jesus returns. We need to know these things! “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony, loving not their lives even unto death.” And it is a fearful sobering warning for the unbeliever who wonders where the world is headed…

    Also, it is a thrilling invitation to HOPE in the One who is coming on the clouds to gather the saints to be with Him forever! We’ve lost this emphasis in our churches and teaching. Revelation reminds us of the big picture and our real hope. So don’t be too quick Michele to cast off your ‘weird mindset’ brought to prior readings of Revelation. They may be more to the point that you think. After all, Revelation claims itself to be a book about things to come. I think we should hang onto that even if we don’t understand all the particulars yet.

    And I love the way you’ve brought together the Blessed’s of Revelation. Each bears meditation. Yes! Jesus is coming. Watch for it! ( :

    My own understanding of how Revelation fits with Jesus’ own teaching on the signs of His coming (Matt.24) was helped immensely by the Pre-Wrath Rapture viewpoint which has gained considerable traction in recent years and holds to a thoroughly Biblical, plain-sense-of-Scripture approach while comparing Scripture with Scripture in a delightfully refreshing way. It holds to a literal view of the text unless the text itself leads us to a different understanding. I like that. So here’s another work for your collection on Revelation, Michele ( : revelationcommentary.org
    Thanks for wading through this long comment; Revelation lies close to my heart.
    And thanks for all the reading you do and share!
    –Linda

    Like

    1. Look for an email, but wanted to thank you for your global perspective on Nancy’s work. I have done a bit of reading on the Pre-Wrath perspective, and certainly do see how it fits with the narrative arc of Scripture. It’s going to be quite a REVELATION to us in the long run when we see His face and all the viewpoints and theories fall away.
      I ALWAYS appreciate your thoughtful comments and insights, Linda, so no need to apologize!

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  8. I’m actually doing a study on Revelations at the moment Michele.
    I enjoy reading & studying this complex message. Something I’ve done many times throughout my walk with the Lord.
    I enjoyed reading the differing perspectives of each author above.
    Thank you! ☺️
    Jennifer

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  9. i love this encouragement to look for the blessings instead of trying to figure every last word out. i always appreciate seeing God’s Word as His love letter to us and not simply a theological manuscript. thanks, friend.

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  10. Revelation feels so strange to us in our modern world that we often want to avoid it altogether. But yes, there are such treasures to be found in it if we’ll get brave and tackle it. 🙂 I don’t claim to understand it all, but I do know I have found blessings in it. Thanks for sharing these resources, Michele.

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  11. Thank you for these resources and thoughts on Revelation. This is one book of the bible that I know very little about. Nancy Guthrie’s book sounds like a good resource. I am going to look at the Book of Revelation in a different light after reading your post.

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  12. Michele, our pastor taught verse-by-verse through the book of Revelation beginning last year and into this year. I’ve read Revelation many times, and I have done an inductive Bible study on this book. Somehow I missed (until our pastor pointed it out) that those who read and live out the precepts of God and what He’s shared in Revelation will be blessed. Wowowow. I love how you remind us to look for those blessings in our reading. Thanks for this reminder!

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    1. Somehow blessing just never comes to mind when I read with a focus on all the horrible things that come rolling out in judgment, and yet this is a perspective altering truth that I want to carry forward!

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  13. I knew Revelation promises those who read it will be blessed. But I never recognized the seven (perfect number) of times it gives blessings. I want to read it from that perspective. Thanks for sharing these resources.

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  14. Thank you for posting these resources. Revelations can be very difficult to read. It can be intimidating but your resources are helpful in understanding that we should not fear the revelations of God. Thank you for sharing at #ohgww. See you next week. Tweeted.

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  15. I’m adding Nancy Guthrie’s book to my short list of books to read. The other 2 sound very intriguing, too. The first time I really studied Revelation, I remember being struck by the grace of God throughout. As you pointed out, there is grace that should encourage us now. But, also, grace in the events whenever they occur as if God is pulling out all the stops to get people to repent before it’s too late.

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  16. Wonderful post. Our preacher had a sermon recently on how many people do not read the book of Revelations because they find it uncomfortable, but there really are many blessings to be found in it. Thank you for sharing this with us at the Homestead Blog Hop. Please come back again soon!

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