Part 1 of 2

The Seven Beatitudes of Revelation

“Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” —Daniel 12:12

ONE of the means by which the Lord has tested the faith and devotion of his consecrated people is by permitting them to wait patiently for the fulfillment of his promises. There has never been any delay in the outworking of God’s plan. Every feature of it has developed exactly in due time, as planned by the divine Architect. But God has not always revealed the time feature of his plan to his servants in advance, with the result that in many instances it has seemed to them that the vision has tarried.—Hab. 2:3

There were many long centuries of waiting before the promises of God concerning the coming of a Messiah began to have a fulfillment in the first advent of the Master. And even to the disciples of that time there seemed to be a delay. Following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, when he appeared to his disciples for the last time before the ascension, they inquired, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) The very wording of this question seems to breathe their deep yearning for a more speedy fulfillment of God’s promises concerning the messianic kingdom.

But while the due time had arrived for the coming of Christ as the Redeemer of the world, there were still to be days of waiting for the fruition of all the hopes engendered by the promises of God concerning him. Through the angel, God had said to his servant of old, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:9) Jesus knew of this sealing of the vision, so he replied to his anxious disciples, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”—Acts 1:7

We are not to understand from this statement that the Lord was displeased with the desire of the disciples to know the times or seasons; nor that his people would never understand more concerning the time features of the divine plan. It was merely that then it was not the divine will for them to comprehend. The time features of the plan pertaining to the establishment of the kingdom were still sealed, shut up till the time of the end, and the time of the end had not yet come.

The Scriptures admonish the Lord’s people to watch, with the expectation that when the due time arrives for them to understand more clearly where they are on the stream of time as it relates to the plan of God, this knowledge would be granted to them. That due time was not in the days of Daniel, nor of any of the prophets of the Old Testament. Through Habakkuk the Lord declared, “The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”—Hab. 2:3

At the end it shall speak—blessed assurance is this, reminding us that though Daniel was told to shut up and seal the vision, it was merely to be until the time of the end. But even so, there is nothing here to indicate that the time features of the plan would be revealed with any degree of clarity in advance. It is largely a matter of the truths pertaining to any particular period becoming understandable when that time arrives. There was promised a great unfolding of the vision of truth at the time of the end, and the fact that this vision is made plain constitutes one of the principal proofs that the time is at hand.

The entire church class, from Pentecost down to the present, has been a waiting class—waiting and watching to discern the meaning of the vision which had been sealed. It was not given to the Early Church to be blessed with the knowledge which later was to be made plain upon tables. Nor were those of the middle ages favored with this much-desired understanding. The days of waiting embraced also the Reformation period, during which many searched diligently to know the times and the seasons which the Father was continuing to keep shut up and sealed.—I Thess. 5:1

As the due time approached a little nearer, the faithful watchers were permitted to glimpse into some of the time features of the plan, and indistinctly they saw that the end of the age was indeed approaching. Misapplying what they saw, it was erroneously supposed Jesus was to come in the flesh, and the earth was to be destroyed. These watchers were permitted to make mistakes, but through them, nevertheless, attention was called to important prophecies, which in the light of subsequent developments and the providences of God, contributed in a large manner to the unsealing of the vision when God’s due time arrived.

Three time measurements had been recorded by the prophet, all having the same starting point: 1,260, 1,290, and 1,335 ‘days’, or years. The year 539 A.D. was the common starting point for each of these divine measuring rods. From that date, the 1,260 years reached to 1799 A. D., which was the end of Papacy’s power to persecute the true church. The 1,290 years reached to the beginning of the cleansing of the sanctuary (Volume 3, pp. 86-120); and the 1,335 years to 1874 A.D., the time when in fulfillment of the promise the Lord’s faithful watchers began to experience the blessedness promised to those who would be watching when that time was reached.

And what was the blessedness which came to the Israel of God at the close of the 1,335 ‘days’? It was the unfolding of the vision which had been sealed. It was then that this vision, long shut up and silent, began to speak. Centuries had passed, and to many of the consecrated it undoubtedly seemed as though the vision had tarried. Particularly was this true of Brother Miller, and others who verily believed the consummation of all things was due in 1884. But now God’s great time clock had ticked off the additional symbolic days. The end of the 1,335 years had been reached, and the vision opened to the entranced view of the watchers.

The Seven Blessings

And oh, the blessedness that came with the opening of the vision! In the beginning of the age Jesus indicated certain blessings which would come upon those who were to represent him in the earth throughout the age. These are commonly referred to as the Beatitudes. (Matt. 5:1-12) All the Lord’s people in every part of the age who have complied with the conditions upon which these blessings were to be available, have experienced the joys which they have contained. But there is another set of Beatitudes, or blessings, which belong only to those who live in the end of the age following the end of the 1,335 days. These are the blessings foretold in our text, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh” to this time.

There are seven of these beatitudes of present truth, all having to do with the unfolding of the vision and the consummation of the divine plan for the church and also for the world. They are blessings which come to the Lord’s people when the days of waiting are over; when the mystery of God is finished; when the time is at hand. They are recorded in the Book of Revelation, and properly so, for this marvelous book of the Bible is what we might call the sum of all the prophecies. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ—his unfolding of the vision to those who at the proper time would be patiently waiting and earnestly watching for the unfolding of the divine plan.

The first of these dispensational beatitudes is that of Revelation 1:3: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” In the opening verse of this chapter we are informed that the purpose of the book was to reveal things which must shortly come to pass. In a general way the book deals with the experiences of both the true and the counterfeit church throughout the entire age. These experiences began to come to pass ‘shortly’ after the book was written. Indeed, in a limited way, they were already in course of development. The mystery of iniquity already had been working.

But while the history of both the true and the false church is recorded in the Book of Revelation, little was understood of its real meaning until the time of the end. True, it served to reveal and identify the Antichrist to some of the reformers, but its dispensational truths pertaining to the divine plan, and what to expect when the consummation of the age was reached, remained shut up until after the 1,335 days had been reached. We cannot say even now that all the symbols of this book are clearly understood; but the plan of God which it reveals has been made plain. Truths which pertain to the saints and the divine will for them in this harvest time at the end of the age, have been unfolded. The great blessing of this knowledge has been experienced by him who reads, and by all who have heard the words of this prophecy.

And what is this knowledge which was sealed up until the time of the end? When the vision of present truth began to open, the Lord’s people were able to understand the mystery of Christ and the church—that the “body is not one member, but many.” (I Cor. 12:12,14) The inspiring promises of the Master, recorded in chapters two and three of Revelation, took on a new and blessed meaning in the light of this knowledge concerning the true position of the church in the plan of God.

The throne scene of divine glory set forth in chapter four, has real point in the light of the divine plan of the ages, and reveals the perfect blending of God’s wisdom, justice, love, and power. And oh, how meaningful is the fifth chapter of Revelation, setting forth as it does the great fundamental truth concerning the sacrifice of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) How we rejoice to know that the time is coming when every creature in heaven and on earth will be praising “him who sitteth upon the throne,” and also giving glory to the Lamb—honoring him even as they honor the Father!—Rev. 5:12,13; John 5:23

The Holy and Unholy Cities

Because the time is at hand for the vision to be unsealed, we are now blessed by knowing that the efforts of fallen man to establish the kingdom of Christ have resulted merely in the building of an unholy city, which the Revelator calls mystic Babylon. (Rev. 17:5) But oh, the joy to realize that with the downfall of Babylon there comes from God out of heaven a holy city, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Abraham looked for this city, but was not privileged to see it. Daniel foretold the God of heaven would establish a kingdom, but the details of that kingdom, and the rich blessings which were to result from its setting up in the earth, Daniel was not privileged to see.

But now the time is at hand! At last the city of God is in the process of establishment! The powers of the old heavens are being shaken, and the symbolic earth of Satan’s creation is being removed to make way for the new heavens and the new earth wherein will dwell righteousness. (II Pet. 3:13) We now see, and are entranced with the vision, that in the new heavens and new earth there is to be no more death; that tears will be wiped away; that all things will be made new.

Now we see that our great adversary, the devil, who goeth about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, is soon to be bound. We know what it means to be beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God, and are inspired with the hope of sharing in the joys of the first resurrection, to live and reign with Christ a thousand years. By faith we rejoice to see the millennial throne, white and pure, set up; and the dead, small and great, granted a standing before God and enlightened by the knowledge revealed through the open books.

And how truly blessed is it to see by faith the river of life flowing from underneath the throne of God and of the Lamb! (Rev. 22:1) And what a glorious incentive to faithfulness is the hope of soon being united with our heavenly Bridegroom, and of having the privilege to say to a dying world, “Come and partake of the water of life freely.”—Rev. 22:17,18

These are some of the glorious features of the truth which have brought blessings to the class which has waited for the culmination of the 1,335 days. Blessed indeed are those who read, and those who hear these truths, an understanding of which is now given to the faithful watchers because the time is at hand.

“Their Works Do Follow”

The second dispensational beatitude is recorded in Revelation 14:13. We quote: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” The truth set forth in this beatitude could apply only following the 1,335 days. This, together with Paul’s statement regarding the last members of the body of Christ, are the only scriptures which indicate that a Christian in dying does not remain unconscious in death. (I Thess. 4:15-17; I Cor. 15:51-53) The Apostle Paul said of himself, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Tim. 4:8) Paul did not expect to receive his reward immediately at death, neither did the other apostles.

However, Paul did write that when the trump of God begins to sound and the Lord descends from heaven, “the dead in Christ shall rise first,” and indicated also that those who would be alive at that time and remain in the flesh, would be caught up to meet their Lord and their brethren in the spiritual phase of the kingdom. (I Thess. 4:16,17) Paul also, in writing concerning the resurrection, explained that those who die after the last trump begins to sound would be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. (I Cor. 15:51,52) These scriptures harmonize with the second beatitude of Revelation, which; in explaining the matter further, tells us that when the time is at hand those who die in the Lord, while ceasing from their labors, do not remain inactive in death, but continue their service beyond the veil. What a blessing it is to know we are now living in the time when this is true.

What are the works which continue beyond the veil, following the cessation of the labors of individual saints this side the veil? To find the answer to this question we need only to go back a few verses in the same chapter, and there we read, “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come. … And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen.”—Rev. 14:6-8

In addition to the work of preaching the everlasting Gospel and declaring the hour of God’s judgment is come, and that Babylon is fallen, the saints of this period also warn against the dangers of worshiping the beast and its image. The Revelator then adds, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” In other words, John is telling us those who preach the everlasting Gospel, who declare the hour of God’s judgment is come, who proclaim Babylon is fallen, and warn against worshiping the beast, are the ones who exercise the true patience of the saints, and are faithful in keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Laboriously, yet with joy, they patiently continue in the work which the Holy Spirit commissioned them to do, the glorious work of proclaiming glad tidings unto the meek; of binding up the brokenhearted; of proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord; and now, when the time is at hand, the day of vengeance of our God—the time of his judgment having come. (Isa. 61:1,2) It is a blessed privilege, a labor of love indeed, by which the consecrated prove their devotion to God, and demonstrate by their zeal they are truly inspired by the faith of Jesus and are filled with his Spirit, that they are glad to be beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God. (Rev. 20:4) And oh, the blessedness to realize that because we are living in the time of the end, when they have finished their sacrificial labors this side the veil, their works do follow them!

“I Come As a Thief”

The third beatitude, and one which is rich with blessings for those who wait and watch at this time when the vision is no longer sealed, reads: “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Rev. 16:15) Here is a blessing which is dependent upon faithfulness in watching. When the disciples asked Jesus concerning the signs of his second presence and the end of the age, he explained to them that no man then knew the day nor the hour, but he admonished them to watch, in order that they might know of his presence when the time did arrive.

Paul wrote that the day of the Lord would come upon the world as a “thief in the night,” but added, “Ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” He then adds, “Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”—I Thess. 5:1-6

It becomes apparent, then, that those who are faithful watchers at the end of the age are truly blessed, because to them it is given to know that the Bridegroom is present—as a thief to the world, but to them he is the Chief Reaper of the harvest, the one who has come to reckon with his servants, and to serve meat in due season. Knowing this, they keep their garments of righteousness well girded about them, and unspotted from the world. Failing to watch, they are left in darkness. Instead of being blessed and protected, they become exposed to the errors and blinding influences of Satan which Lead still further into the outer darkness of the world. Truly “Blessed is he that watcheth”!

Click here to go to Part 2
Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |