Welcome to our stepwise study of the Book of Revelation. You can access the previous lesson through this link: Revelation 1: 2 - 'Bare Record'. Today we are thus reading Revelation 1:3:
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Here a blessing is pronounced. The word 'blessed' appears many times in the Bible - 267 times according to BibleGateway.com. When pronounced it signifies one becoming redeemed/saved, forgiven, fruitful, prosperous and happy/joyous among many other positive things. Here is a classical example of Beatitudes/Blessings from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount:
The deeper meaning of hearing or hearking is closely tied to the blessing which Revelation 1: 3 pronounces to whose who keep those things that are written in Revelation. Once we read and hear about its prophecy we, automatically, ought to hold fast to what is written therein.
Finally, Revelation 1: 3 closes with this rationale: "the time is at hand". This question of (prophetic) time also puzzled the disciples of Jesus. It has been associated with the end of the world and the establishment of God's eternal Kingdom. Concerning these events the disciples thus asked Jesus prior to His death on the cross:
Even after Jesus' ressurection the discpiles thus kept asking prior to His ascension:
So, Jesus, through Revelation 1: 3, is providing the answer for the disciples of all times - "the time is at hand." This is indeed the time that is referred to by the following sucessive prophecies of the Books of Daniel and Revelation:
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt...But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased... And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end (Daniel 12: 1-9).