Mud on the Wall: Brainstorming the Apocalypse (XXIII)

April 8, 2010

When I say “Beatitudes,” most Christians will automatically think of Matthew 5:3-10.  However, if you are one of those believers who think of that passage only, I would hasten to point out that there are also seven blessing statements (i.e., beatitudes) in the Book of Revelation.

Why, you might ask, would there be blessing statements in the Apocalypse?  There is no obvious, clear-cut answer.  However, it is certainly possible that it’s because the use of “Blessed” is intended to cause the reader to think of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5—at least two aspects of what is found in Matthew 5: 1) the fact that the Sermon on the Mount is written primarily to “disciples” (5:1-2); and 2) that the background of the promises in the Sermon on the Mount is the “kingdom of heaven” (5:3, 10).

As will be seen, the seven beatitudes spread throughout Revelation do indeed refer to aspects of discipleship and, as I developed in several recent posts, the “kingdom” is also a topic of major significance.  Also, if the idea of the “overcomer” in the Apocalypse is related to discipleship, and it is recalled that the promises to the overcomer at the end of every one of the letters to the seven churches relates to the future kingdom of God, you can make a strong case that there are multiple fairly direct parallels between the beatitudes in Matthew and those in Revelation.

Having proposed that perspective for consideration, let’s take a quick initial look at the wording of the seven beatitudes in Revelation (all citations are from the HCSB):

1. (1:3) “Blessed is the one who reads and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, for the time is near!”

2. (14:13) “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”

3. (16:15) “Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed, so that he may not go naked, and they see his shame.”

4. (19:9) “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!”

5. (20:6) “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection!”

6. (22:7) “Look, I am coming quickly!  Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic words of this book.”

7. (22:14) “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life so that they may enter the city by the gates”

As I work with these seven passages in the following posts, many helpful questions will be addressed (and answered) and, as often happens in research, “one thing (i.e., insight) leads to another.”  That is why I plan to “camp” here for some time.  And, I believe that, by the time I am finished exploring their interrelationships and the implications for meaning and application, you will be amazed at the treasures to be unearthed.

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