“JOY is the flag that flies over the castle of our hearts announcing that the King is in residence today.” ~ William Knight.
I and my wife are die-hearts when the Olympic games come every four years and the XXX Olympiad in Great Britain was no exception. We spent hours watching American television commentary on the variety of events presented. But what I really enjoyed was seeing London’s historical landmarks and the surrounding countryside.
I particularly was interested in one historical fact and custom: When her Majesty the queen was in her residence, the royal flag was raised and flown over the castle signifying her presence. Now this detail might be ‘old hat’ to the native citizens but to an uninformed American…it certainly was revelation to me!
The Revelation to John:
“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies–the church] the word of this prophecy; and blessed are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near” (Revelation 1:3 AMP).
HAPPINESS IS AN ILLUSIVE THING:
Happiness or JOY is hard to hold on to at times with all the things that are happening around us and our family. Tim Hansel observed, “If you have to move even ten inches from where you are now in order to be happy, you never will be.”
Another writer spoofed, “You should do something every day to make other people happy, even if it’s only to leave them alone.”
It might surprise you some that The Book of Revelation begins with the word BLESSED=Makarios- Greek word, meaning “large, lengthy” and hence denotes “to pronounce happy, blessed.” You might be thinking right now, How in the world can this prophetic book make us happy? One answer might be because it reminds us that our King is on the throne!
Believers Should Be Joyous/Blessed By This Book.
“John to the seven assemblies (churches) that are in Asia: May grace (God’s unmerited favor) be granted to you and spiritual peace (the peace of Christ’s kingdom) from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits [the sevenfold Holy Spirit] before His throne.” [verse 4]
“And from Jesus Christ the faithful and trustworthy Witness, the Firstborn of the dead [first to be brought back to life] and the Prince (Ruler) of the kings of the earth. To Him Who ever loves us and has once [for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood.” [verse 5]
(Revelation 1:4-5 AMP).
Because it’s God’s revelation. God speaks to His Church in His Fullness:
GOD THE FATHER IS,
THE ONE WHO IS !
THE ONE WHO WAS !!
THE ONE WHO IS TO COME !!!
Literally our Father is,
THE ONE BEING
THE ONE WHO ALWAYS WAS and…
THE ONE WHO KEEPS ON COMING TO BE !
Back to (verse 3) for OUR RESPONSE–
God has revealed Himself in His fullness and His church responds with JOY (v.3). OUR JOY (blessedness), comes from understanding and practicing what God has to say about Himself.
We are BLESSED when we read the words.
The word READ comes from the Greek word anaginosko (Vine’s COMPLETE Expository Dictionary). It primarily means “to know certainly, to know again, recognize.” In the little Dutch town I live in: Lynden, Washington USA, there is an old saying “If you’re not Dutch you don’t know much.” I know and certain that no matter what the weather is like tomorrow, the sun will certainly rise! That is anaginosko!
The word is often used in the New Testament in reading the Bible in PUBLIC WORSHIP. 1 Timothy 4:13, the apostle Paul says,
“Till I come, devote yourself to [public and private] READING, to exhortation (preaching and personal appeals), and to teaching and instilling doctrine.”
This isn’t READING for the sake of just reading. Years ago in the public school system, we had a Weekly Reader program that earned points for the most books read. Since volume was all that mattered, most students picked all the short books that a person could find. They weren’t reading for understanding.
Christ’s Church is BLESSED in reading His words carefully. In the same way we are BLESSED when we HEAR the words. That WORD means to hear with understanding:
“This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand. 
In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive. 
For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. 
But BLESSED (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear. 
Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men [men who were upright and in right standing with God] yearned to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” 
(Matthew 13:13-17 AMP).
The MESSAGE wasn’t just for His disciples!
We in the church are also to keep those things which are written in our hearts. The church at Sardis READ and HEARD God’s Word but failed to keep it (Revelation 3:3).
The emphasis of the words are two-fold:
ALL 3 words are Present Participles–
We are BLESSED and full of JOY if…we keep on reading, hearing, and keeping of these truths.
JOY IN KNOWING HIS PURPOSES [verses 5b-8].
His Purpose in the Past (VERSE 5):
“To Him Who ever loves us and has once [for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood.”
Not only is God’s character revealed here but so is His PURPOSE: CHRIST LOVED US! Jesus is the picture of God’s love for us:
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even]
gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in
(trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him
shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have
eternal (everlasting) life.
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to past sentence on)
the world, but that the world might find salvation
and be made safe and sound through Him.
Matthew 3:16, 17
Comprehending, Understanding the Extent of God’s Love for us. (Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP):
“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love. That you may have the POWER and be STRONG to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]. [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!”
After reading those verses in Ephesians, if that doesn’t make you joyous, then you must be dead! You better pinch yourself just in case.
HIS PURPOSE IN THE PRESENT (VERSE 6):
According to the words in Revelation 1:6, Christ Jesus has made His Church “kings and priests.” TRUE BELIEVERS should be happy by this knowledge! If you are lacking confidence in your faith right now, being a king or priest in God’s Kingdom NOW…should make you want to scream and shout with self-confidence.
Matthew Henry says this about Christians, overcomers:
As kings, they govern their own spirits, conquer Satan, have power…
with God in prayer, and shall judge the world.
He hath made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them
to enter into the holiest and to offer spiritual and acceptable
sacrifices…and for these high honours and favours they are bound
to ascribe to Him dominion and glory for ever.
HIS PURPOSE IN THE FUTURE (VERSE 7):
Christ is returning for His Church! The timing might be debated but the FACT of His coming back is not debatable!! Why is He returning for His overcomers? Because we know He loves us; He washed us from our sins, made us a part of His Kingdom and we will gladly receive Him.
We look forward to Christ’s return because His revealing will be our revealing:
“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also; heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!” (Romans 8:16-18 AMP).
We know JESUS lives inside of us and we will live forever but the world can’t see that. How BLESSED will be that day when what we are on the inside will be revealed to ALL the world to see on the outside. While the Church is BLESSED with JOY by the thoughts of Christs’ return. The LOST WORLD will mourn with His return because they rejected Him (Revelation 6:15-17).
Does the thought of God being with you bring you JOY or FEAR? Your answer to the question reveals what your RELATIONSHIP to Him is.
One Final Question to Ask.
Are you finding JOY in your walk with God, or are you chasing happiness in the things that you can never truly be satisfied with?