Agonizomai: Rev 1:3 - The Precious Word Is A Blessing

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rev 1:3 - The Precious Word Is A Blessing

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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.



The reading aloud of letters and documents was the common means by which the early church received doctrine, and news. The epistles were read by an elder in the presence of the congregation and copied and passed on to other congregations.

Blessedness can be taken to refer to happiness. "Happy is he who..." Some (though not I) might use the word "fortunate"; "Fortunate is the one who...." But I prefer to take the word "blessed" as a reference to something received, rather than some mere feeling generated by it. "The one who reads (or hears) has been blessed (by God)" in the very act of reading or hearing. God’s wisdom has been ordained to pass into and through the mind and lips and ears that speak and receive these very words of God. Blessed are they upon whom this providence falls.

Do we have this attitude today? Is it counted as a blessing from God Himself that we can both speak and hear the Words that spring from the Divine Mind? Do we stop and think? Do we realize the value of the treasure that is entrusted to us? Do we savor it as it passes across our lips? Do we reverence God in His words as they reverberate in our ears bringing thoughts from the eternal Mind?

In Western Society we all too often take for granted what we have available in leather-bound, gold-edged super abundance. Where we have multiple copies of the Bible in versions galore, bound up with concordances and interspersed with commentary from the sages of the ages, the very glut seems to so dull our senses that we lose all measure of the preciousness of what we have been given.

Not so in the early church where scraps of Apostolic letters were hastily copied and passed from town to town, where they were read, often in secret. People didn’t have their own private copies of Paul’s letters all bound and gathering dust on the basement shelf. What they could get they devoured reverently and hungrily. It is the same today in prisons and mission fields and in the still deep dark holes of the world where God’s precious saints crave a single page of Holy Writ and where some have a few pages that must sustain them for untold periods. Some indeed have only what they have committed to memory.

But we upon whom the riches of plenty have fallen are often exactly like the Israelites of old, who either became dissolute in times of ease, or who complained and nit-picked at the provisions God gave.

John understood when God had spoken. He understood the eternal value of God’s thoughts. He revered the God who spoke and therefore received the privilege as a blessing from God to be treasured. Today he might be considered a Bibliolater, or the worshiper of a paper Pope for such a reverent attitude towards the "words" of God. But not by me.


3 Comments:

Blogger Derek Ashton said...

Tony,

I know, I'm way behind in my reading & listening again, but I'm catching up today.

I liked your comments on the word, "blessing." My current working definition for blessing is this: "Whatever God speaks good over, or speaks well of, is blessed." This is based partly on the Greek word, EULOGETOS. It also takes into account the original blessings pronounced upon creation in Genesis 1. Awhile back, I considered writing a book called, "What the Bible Teaches About Blessings" as a corollary to Rex Andrews' "What the Bible Teaches About Mercy." The interesting thing I learned in studying this topic was that the two concepts are fundamentally linked. Blessing occurs when God SPEAKS good upon us; mercy happens when God DOES good to, in, or for us.

Since God's words have creative power, His words of blessing CAUSE the very good they contain.

Blessing, in a sense, creates a perpetual echo between what IS good and what is CALLED good. It is blessed because it is good, yet it is even more good because it is blessed. Back and forth it goes, eternally, so long as the object is never corrupted by evil. In man's case, the chain of blessing was broken, thus we were cursed. But God is thrice called "forever blessed" in the New Testament. He is "Ever blessing, ever blessed," as one hymn writer put it.

And that is GOOD for us!

Derek

11:12 am  
Blogger agonizomai said...

Derek,

You're not kidding about being behind! The rest of us have almost finished Chapter2 already! Thyatira is half done (or is it like Ephraim - a cake not turned??)

I find it a bit paradoxical that you would vote for a study in Revelation and then put the reading of it on the back burner :o)

Hold that thought about the creative power of the Word of God. Somewhere in me is a devotional piece linking Genesis 1 with the same sort of thoughts you are expressing here. One day, perhaps...

Blessings,


Tony

7:59 pm  
Blogger Derek Ashton said...

Tony,

I know, shame on me. I do have reasons for my delinquency . . . I have been completely overtaken by a VERY labor intensive home buying process (going on 2.5 months now, and still completely up in the air - which is what I get for trying to buy a foreclosure with construction issues), and also several extremely urgent work projects. I used to be able to listen to your posts while working, but then I couldn't. Today I discovered I can again, so I'm taking advantage and catching up. You may notice my own blog posts are less interesting and less original these days, and my series' are getting all mixed up. I've almost forgotten what books I'm reading and in recent history I've read only a few brief blog entries anywhere on the web, so consider yourself one of the "fortunate" (er, blessed?) few. But take heart, your posts are never wasted. Even when I'm running late, they're always perfectly timed. God has a way of doing that. This is still my favorite blog, even if I don't have time to read it!

Alas, things will eventually get back to normal, and I'll be able to keep up with your blazing pen.

Blessings,
Derek

8:16 pm  

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