The blessings arising from the Beatitudes in Revelation might be shaped very differently to those in Matthew 5, but the concept of “blessing” remains the same … especially in the context of “congratulations and happiness” because you have responded positively to the ministry of the Holy Spirit as He applied the Gospel to your heart, wooing you into God’s Glorious, Eternal Kingdom. The third Beatitude is found in chapter 16:
Rev 16:15 “Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
Chapter sixteen reveals the Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath poured out. This is a terrifying experience and in a nutshell depicts all God’s wrath in Judgement throughout all time, that is, all ages in all human history. The design of each Bowl of Wrath was that people repent, believe and become saved … yet many have the mark of the beast and worship its image (v2); as they experienced God’s wrath they cursed God and refused to repent (v11); they set up battle against God in various ways (v14) and they cursed God again for the wrath they endure (21). God’s wrath stretches across all of society and human life throughout all ages … land and humans, affecting agriculture and health (v2); the sea … preventing voyage and sea food (v3); upon drinking and irrigation water … affecting the most stable source of survival … water (v4); climate change … to the point of people being burnt to cinders (v8-9); kingdoms and political powers … antichristian leaders and governments … satan’s throne (v10); the battle of Armageddon … Armageddon means the Mount of Megiddo … which is an allusion to Deborah and Barack in Judges 4 & 5. In Revelation, Armageddon symbolizes God defeating all evil governments and powers and all forces hostile towards The Triune God, His Christ, His Gospel and His Church! The drying of the River Euphrates, the gathering of the kings of the East and three evil spirits looking like frogs are loathsome pictures of the repulsive character of satan and his forces (v12-14). Then there is the final judgment, total destruction of the enemy’s empire of evil (v17-21). Chapter 16 paints a gruesome picture Judgment upon satan and his demonic forces and those they have captured and held in bondage. Listen to the angel saying:
Rev 16:5 “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; 6 for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”
7 And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”
These horrific events will shake the Children of God completely and totally if it was not for Jesus’ Words in verse 15 … “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
Jesus’ Blessed but Unexpected Arrival
In the Gospels, Jesus alludes to returning as a thief in the night … meaning, He has given sufficient notice and warning that He will return. “Behold, I come like a thief!” As a thief does not alert the householder of the time and date of his coming to steal … so Jesus does not provide us with a time and date … though He has spoken of the signs that will introduce His Second Coming. Read Matthew 24 … yes it does speak of the destruction of the temple in the First Century, but it goes on to address Jesus’ spectacular return in verse 27 and 30-31. Where no one knows the exact date and hour … readiness is urgent.
The Blessing of Spiritual Life
“Blessed is he who stays awake”. That is staying wake spiritually. Making certain you are a person of the Book and Prayer. Daily digging into the Bible in meditation and study and then applying Truth to your soul through praying about how that passage of the Bible needs to impact your soul.
Coupled to this is the importance of being in a Church where you are fed from the Scriptures through expository preaching, not forgetting being part of a Bible Study Group where the Bible is taught accurately. Spiritual life (staying awake) is key to believing in Jesus’ eminent return. How are you doing spiritually? Is there spiritual life? Is there passion and desire to read the Bible and Pray? Is there an eagerness and joy to be in God’s house to be fed week by week?
The Blessings of Spiritual Clothing
As you dress daily, meaning you put on your clothing for the day, so the effects of your spiritual diet in the Bible, Prayer, Church and Bible Study must result in you dressing yourself with the spiritual garment of holiness, righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, service … and many more. In many ways, as people see you with your daily clothes on, so God and the world sees you with you spiritual garments on … and those just mentioned create the Christian Character and Personality that people see. So let’s be provocative … what do people see when they look at you, when they witness you in your home, at school or work, amongst the neighbours and friends, at the shops … and wherever you are? Are they able to see you reflecting Jesus’ light into the world because your spiritual life influences your spiritual clothing?
The Blessing of Not Being Embarrassed
Do you recall that moment of your worst embarrassment? Do you still cringe at the memory? The picture here is of one who is Christian and caught naked and shamefully exposed! Naturally this refers to being caught spiritually lacking, unprepared, not ready as were those five virgins! This is the one who has been spiritually lazy, refusing to take time and effort to grow in Christlikeness … or it might be the one who is in a backslidden state. A Christian who has fallen into such serious sin … and Jesus comes and there is no time to repent, confess and make right with the Lord! Getting caught with the spiritual hand in the spiritual cookie jar! There are two choices … ready or not; prepared or unprepared … embarrassed or blessed. What is yours to be?
Thank You Lord for Your victory over sin and Satan. Thank You for saving my soul. Help me to be spiritually ready, wake and dressed for Your coming. Amen.