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Revelation 1:1-3 (ESV):

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

When John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote verse 3 of the book of Revelation, did he have Christians of all ages in mind or only those Christians that would manage to read/hear the words of this prophecy before A.D. 70 (as some may interpret based on words and expressions such as soon and the time is near)?

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    I very much doubt there will be an hermeneutic response to this question, nor am I sure that there can be one, since it involves a prophetic book full of visionary imagery. SE-C might be better for this, I feel.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 14 at 21:21
  • What would the alternative be? Is there any inspired scripture that is not a blessing for the people of God to read?
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 14 at 22:30
  • @curiousdannii - if Revelation was already fulfilled by A.D. 70, what would be the point of keeping what is written in it in order to be blessed (for the time is near) given that everything was already fulfilled almost 2K years ago? Jul 15 at 3:27
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator An excellent reason for why almost all Christians think Preterism is very, very wrong.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 15 at 3:57
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Rev 1:3 is one of the seven benedictions of the book of revelation - each one is directed to a specific group of people in the Christian era:

  1. Rev 1:3 - Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and obey what is written in it, because the time is near.
  2. Rev 14:13 - And I heard a voice from heaven telling me to write, “Blessed are the dead—those who die in the Lord from this moment on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds will follow them.”
  3. Rev 16:15 - “Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who remains awake and clothed, so that he will not go naked and let his shame be exposed.”
  4. Rev 19:9 - Then the angel told me to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
  5. Rev 20:6 - Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
  6. Rev 22:7 - “Behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of prophecy in this book.”
  7. Rev 22:14 - Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates.

While each of these blessings is pronounced on specific groups of people, a moment's reflection will reveal that each is different description of the faithful group of Christians at any period in Christian history as a comparison with other NT statements is easy to show.

A special note about NT culture - very few of the early church members were literate and thus, at church gatherings, someone who could read would stand and read part of the Bible to those who could not understand. (I note that in many churches today, this habit has continued despite the generally much higher literacy rate.)

Thus, Rev 1:3 is a general blessing on anyone who reads the prophecy of John the Revelator. In view of the promises of Ps 119:105, 2 Tim 3:16 and many more, the reading of God's word always attracts a blessing from God.

Note the comments of Matthew Henry -

1:1-3 This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; the whole Bible is so; for all revelation comes through Christ, and all relates to him. Its principal subject is to discover the purposes of God concerning the affairs of the church, and of the nations as connected therewith, to the end of the world. These events would surely come to pass; and they would begin to come to pass very shortly. Though Christ is himself God, and has light and life in himself, yet, as Mediator between God and man, he receives instructions from the Father. To him we owe the knowledge of what we are to expect from God, and what he expects from us. The subject of this revelation was, the things that must shortly come to pass. On all who read or hear the words of the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed who search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear, but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture more fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin.

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Revelation 1:3

Is the promise of Revelation 1:3 for Christians in all ages?

In short to your answer is: YES

We have not observed any of the prophecies being fulfilled during the 19 centuries since the death of the apostle John, so we must turn our attention to our times and the future.

Because " the time [of fulfillment] is near."[for God to execute judgment upon Satans world] we need to make a conscientious effort to understand the message in the book of Revelation and to act on it. Why, the verse states :

Amplified Bible Rev. 1:3

3 [a]Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who reads and
those who hear the words of the prophecy, and who keep the things
which are written in it [heeding them and taking them to heart]; for the time [of fulfillment] is near.

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The book of Revelation describes a vision of the Lord's Day, or Day of the Lord, at the end of this age.

For the relatively few people that are still alive just before this time, the End Times truly are near.

But for the vast majority of people, those that have died before this time, the End Time will begin for them at their resurrection, either the first general resurrection (of the saints), or the second general resurrection (of everyone else).

From their perspective, one instant they are alive or dying, and a blink of an eye later, they are suddenly alive and well. So, with their subjective experience of time, the End Time is also near.

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The entire OT is understood by the authors of the NT as prophetic of the life and times of the Messiah, up to c. 70 AD/CE. The entire NT is intended to fulfil, in a Middle Platonic way, the OT. The Revelation is a graphic description of what was (prior to that time), what "is" (at that time) and what was to very soon take place. So from our point of view, entirely history. It ends with the descent of the New Jerusalem to Earth, on Mount Zion which is all metaphor for the destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem and the Jewish theocracy, and the establishment of the New Covenant People aka the Israel of God aka the True Vine aka the City on a Hill aka the New Creation aka the New Man, etc.

So it is as inappropriate to read it as speaking of the 21st century as it would be to think that the Bible is telling you to bring Paul his coat and scrolls.

I support this here.

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