Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.Revelation 1:3 NIV
To me, Revelation is the most difficult book to understand in the New Testament. If you were to read 20 commentaries on the book, you would likely come away with 30 different understandings of some parts of it. As a young man, I invested an inordinate amount of time in studying this book. And I thought I had it mostly figured out. As an old man, I do not invest nearly so much time in it. And I am much less confident in my interpretation.
But, as confusing as Revelation may be, and as tempting as it may be to skip over it when reading through the Bible, John cautions us against that. Blessed are those who read aloud and who hear the words of the prophecy. This was written at a time when few people would have copies of the Scriptures. Most people would just have to listen as it was read to them. But still, blessed are those who open up their Bibles to Revelation and read it. And not just read it, but also keep those words that they read.
Keeping the Words
How does one go about keeping the words of Revelation? Often ‘keep’ is used in the sense of obedience. But that would be challenging here since there is not all that much instruction for daily life. But ‘keep’ also has the sense of holding onto. Psalm 119:11 expresses it like this, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Read the words of this prophecy and hold them in your heart and mind. It may be confusing and scary in places. But if you read the ‘back of the book,’ you will find that those in Christ ultimately come out on top.