People have been asking me to teach on Revelation for more than five years and I have always avoided doing so until now. John Calvin, the great Reformer, wrote wise and perceptive commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. But he never wrote a commentary on Revelation. It is often the last book Reformed theologians will teach and write upon. And because it is such a different kind of writing than we are used to today, it can scare us away from studying it.
But the book’s introduction and conclusion tell us that hearing and doing the book will bring blessing. “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” (1:3). “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (22:7).
The Hebrew Scriptures were collected into three different groups: the Torah (Books of Moses), Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve), and Writings (Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, etc). This is the order Jesus read the Scriptures. The seams between the sections then are Deuteronomy and Joshua, Malachi and Psalms.
Let’s look at those seams for a moment:
Deuteronomy’s conclusion describes Joshua as “full of the Spirit of wisdom” (34:9). Joshua, the namesake of the first book of the Prophets, is not described as a prophet, but as a wisdom teacher. A wisdom teacher is someone who studies and teaches Scripture. Joshua begins with comments like: “This Book of the Law (Hebrew: Torah) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (1:8). There is blessing from reading aloud and doing Scripture. This is the same thing Revelation teaches us.
Malachi’s conclusion says, “Remember the law (Hebrew: Torah) of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel” (4:4). And Psalm 1 begins: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law (Hebrew: Torah) of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (1:1-2). Again there is blessing in meditating day and night on Scripture and doing it.
Scripture was written so that you would read it aloud day and night and keep it. God’s word is sharper than any two-edged sword. Don’t let that scare you away from studying it. Blessed is the one who hears and does the word of God.