The Other Beatitudes
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 10:00AM
Jeff Smith in Discipleship, Jesus Christ, Sermon Series

The Other Beatitudes (1): Introduction

The beatitudes are among the best-known teachings of Christ Jesus, even if their practical implications prove difficult to assimilate into life. Found most prominently in the sermon on the mount of Matthew chapter five, the beatitudes are either the commands of faithful discipleship or the rewards of a holy lifestyle – perhaps they are a mixture of both. In this series of lessons, we want to go beyond the obvious, to see the beatitudes in other settings and to learn just how practical and essential they are, to see them as more than rote commands, as the fruit of faithful imitation of the teaching and life of Christ throughout the Bible, including in the Psalms and Revelation.

I. Blessed Are You

A. Word Study (Matthew 5:1-11)

1. the Greek word for “Blessed” that starts each phrase in the beatitudes is makarios (pr. mak-ar'-ee-os, Strong’s #3107: μακάριος)

a. of the two Greek words which the King James translators rendered as “blessed,” this one seems to point to a sense of happiness that is mostly inward in the sense of conscience, while the other denotes happiness that derives from outward sources (εὐλογέω, eulogeō, Strong’s #2127)

b. makarios is defined as blessed or happy and is simply translated that way throughout the King James Bible, although newer translations sometimes opt for “fortunate” instead

2. the Hebrew word is 'esher (pr. eh'-sher, Strong’s #835, אשר)

a. the definition is really the same, except we learn that it was sometimes used as an interjection in the Hebrew and we will see it with that exclamatory sense behind it in the psalms among other sources

b. throughout the Bible, inspired writers promised a sense of blessing and happiness to believers in God as a product of their faithful lifestyle

3. the identifying word of the commentators, “beatitudes” is actually borrowed from the Latin beatus, meaning happy or blessed, but what we are approaching in the teaching of Christ, whose happiness surely might have been interrupted by frustration, disappointment, abandonment, and martyrdom, is something more than the transient sensation of satisfaction that follows a hearty meal or a victory on the field of play

a. it is a state of persistent contentment and welfare that accompanies the brand of faith and discipleship that gets beyond platitudes and rituals to reach the heart in a comprehensive way

b. “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph” (Deuteronomy 33:29)!

B. Happiness

1. happiness, as one half of the definition, is an emotion sought by everyone on earth – even people bent on being miserable find a perverse sense of satisfaction from self-pity, martyrdom, pessimism, conflict, and worry

2. Christians have no interest in such a perverse application of happiness, but even our blessed state of discipleship sometimes brings negative results like persecution and the forfeiture of life’s luxuries (Hebrews 10:32-39)

3. sometimes it is hard to see the blessedness of Christianity, when a believer is being ridiculed by atheistic sciences or philosophies, or is being cornered by the progression of modern morality, or is feeling deprived or tempted by one’s own desires

4. additionally, there are some disciples of Christ who betray in their faces, their words, their relationships, their lives, very little sense of blessedness or happiness – appearing to be among men most miserable, perhaps because they have insulated their hearts against the will of the Holy Spirit, the promise of Christ, the fatherhood of God, and they are not happy at all

a. the happiness of the disciple of Christ is not merely a psychological product of doing what is fun, pleasant, or instantly gratifying, nor is the philosophical stance of one who allows his brain to become his god and who simply follows the dictates of his own opinions to the nadir of self-exaltation

b. the happiness of a Christian is the hopefulness that survives temptation, ridicule, persecution, time, and adversity (Hebrews 6:9-11, 19)

C. Condition or Consequence

1. commentators tend to look at the beatitudes either as conditions or consequences, but is it really so absurd to see them as both?

a. to see the beatitudes merely as consequences is to mistake the Holy Spirit for an irresistible force, and to transfer every ounce of personal responsibility onto a God who really does present us with conditions in the form of commands

b. yet to imagine the beatitudes merely as condition is to strip away the immediate and eternal sense of happiness that should flow to the disciple, making for a false excuse when there is no joy in faith

2. if hope and happiness are intertwined, then the absence of apostasy is absolutely necessary (Colossians 1:21-23)

3. there is a way that you can pursue the ideals of these beatitudes, to pursue the blessings promised to believers, and to enjoy a form of happiness that defies everything the devil can throw at you, a shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked one (see Ephesians 6:16)

4. it is not that Christians embrace adversity, but that they accept the inevitability of testing and count it joy that they are able to bear up under such pressures as proof of their hope; “The hope of the righteous brings joy” (Proverbs 10:28)

a. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

b. we understand that, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).

II. Sermon on the Mount

A. Setting

1. the most famous beatitudes are in the sermon on the mount, recorded by the apostle Matthew after Jesus had attracted great crowds of people, both those who required physical healing and those who sought the Lord’s spiritual insights (see Matthew 4:23-25); “Seeing the crowds, he went upon the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him” (Matthew 5:1)

2. today, the speaker generally stands while the audience sits, but it was different then; the traditional site of this sermon is on a ridge of hills near Capernaum with a marvelous view of the Sea of Galilee

3. it is unlikely that this is the same discourse that Luke records, although there are similarities

B. Beatitudes

1. depending on how you interpret Matthew’s beatitudes, there are seven proper couplets of condition and consequence, followed by a warning that persecution will accompany discipleship

2. Matthew’s account of the beatitudes promote the ideals of humility, meekness, and mercy, of repentance and reformation, of a diligent quest for divine approval that is rewarded with satisfaction, eternal exaltation, and fellowship with God

3. it is almost strange that such superior attitudes should produce the setting for persecution but there have always been those who would react bitterly at the conversion of others, feeling guilty, but unmotivated to follow (First Peter 4:12-14)

4. it should also be understood that these beatitudes are not so much a distinct section of the sermon on the mount, but a brief introduction to its character and content


Like the Pauline fruit of the Spirit, the beatitudes of Christ present the believer with a challenge to holy living, coupled with the promise of limitless reward.

Questions for Review

  1. From where did the word “beatitude” come?
  2. What is the basic meaning of the phrasing, “Blessed are …”?
  3. How is happiness possible even in the midst of adversity?
  4. What are some wrong ways people define and pursue happiness?
  5. Describe the setting of Matthew’s account of the beatitudes.
  6. Summarize the initial seven couplets in Matthew’s beatitudes.
  7. Why is it logical for persecution to follow this practice?



The Other Beatitudes (2): Christ

Besides the sermon on the mount, where we usually consider the beatitudes of Christ, a very similar, yet less prominent list, is found in Luke’s account of what might be called the sermon on the plain. The audience appears to be much the same – the diseased and possessed among a larger group of listeners – and the message is consistent, but there is much more to be learned if we treat the sermons as complementary. In Luke’s account, four beatitudes are contrasted with four woes.

I. Setting

A. Place

1. as in Matthew’s account, we find Jesus on a mountain (Luke 6:12-16)

2. Jesus was an incredibly prayerful person, both teaching his disciples a model by which to form their own petitions, and speaking to his father in moments of anguish and rejoicing

a. we learn to pray from Jesus, that prayer should be regular and personal, at least when private, and that, while “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, … the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him” (Proverbs 15:8), for “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).

b. before making the crucial selection of the apostles, Jesus spent all night in consultation with God, underscoring the place prayer should have in our most vital decisions, and the place that prayerfulness has in demonstrating the character of the beatitudes

3. when day broke, he called twelve of his disciples forward and ordained them to be apostles, and then “came down with them and stood on a level place.” (Luke 6:17)

a. it would not be the last time that Jesus would be or feel alone, but for now he has friends and allies who will stand beside him (see Luke 6:18-19)

b. the gospel will draw to you those of like, precious faith, and it will even open doors for you to share that faith with seekers and gainsayers, but inevitably, it can even serve to isolate and ostracize you, even from the people you hold dear

B. Prologue

1. his audience is not composed of Jerusalem’s nobility, its wealthy, powerful, educated, or authoritative – his audience is composed of the poor and downtrodden, the people the law of Moses was designed to protect, but who had been forgotten in the Pharisaical system

2. it is not that all wealthy people are evil and doomed, or that there is some inherent virtue in being poor, or sick, or crippled, but that the gospel can appear to be the only resort for those who are already recognize their disadvantages and limitations, and the real answer for those who have much going for them materially, but who can acknowledge that their spirits need more than money or vigor (Luke 5:27-32)

3. Luke tells us that power was emanating from the person of Jesus Christ and that people were being healed simply by faithfully approaching him

4. that is the power that Jesus still possesses through the authority and grace of his sacrifice and his teaching – the power to heal broken hearts and correct the course of those who have strayed, to reverse the fortunes of those who are at a physical disadvantage, but who yearn for spiritual prosperity, to validate the suspicions of those in power that there must be more to life than to eat, drink and be merry

II. Beatitudes (Luke 6:20-26)

A. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God”

1. there does not appear to be much blessing in the house of one who is poor – meager rations, simple furnishings, sometimes crushing debt – but Jesus encouraged the poor among his following great wealth belonged to them, especially if evident poverty was matched with something even rarer – poorness of spirit, or the humbling that results from an acknowledgement of personal iniquity

2. Jesus had been prophetically directed by God “to proclaim good news to the poor” and “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (see Luke 4:18, Isaiah 61:1)

3. for many people, the gospel is too simple, too unscientific, too old-fashioned, too narrow to accept and it was much the same in the first century (First Corinthians 1:22-31)

4. the materially poor had little hope in Christ’s day of escaping the abuse of the rich and even the Lord’s brother spoke to the faithful poor (James 5:1-7a)

5. so much of the gospel is a reminder to the poor, but also to the middle class and even the soft-hearted rich, that true treasure is that which we deposit in heaven, where the kingdom of God will share “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (First Peter 1:4-5).

6. no doubt, Jesus provoked the hopefulness of the poor when he described many rooms in his father’s heavenly house, and described Abraham’s bosom as the reward for the poor man’s perseverance, while the rich suffered in fiery torment (see Luke 16:19-31)

7. there is no inherent virtue in poverty or evil in wealth, but “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (First Timothy 6:10).

8. regardless of our material means, we must all confront the truth that sin produces spiritual impoverishment that can only be corrected in Christ

B. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied”

1. Jesus sat before so many audiences that were hungry that he probably grew accustomed to hearing as many growling bellies as punctuating amens; two of his most notable miracles involved turning a meager picnic for one into a sumptuous feast for thousands, complete with leftovers (see Matthew 14:13-21, 15:32-38)

2. for Jesus, however, hunger and thirst were metaphors for spiritual malnourishment, felt acutely in the heart where one yearned for guidance

a. after fasting for more than a month, Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn some stones into bread, but instead, he replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

b. God’s word is the grain of life, the protein of strong muscles and the calcium of hard bones

3. Jesus could speak to that audience of the poor and pitiful over the din of their bellies and promise that, in him, they would be satisfied (John 6:35-40)

a. he became the bread of life for all who hungered and thirsted after righteousness, and in his everlasting kingdom, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat” (Revelation 7:16).

b. even the apostles were sometimes hungry and thirsty, poorly dressed, homeless, and disdained as they supported themselves by working with their hands among the common people, but Christ would lift sustain them

C. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh”

1. Jesus could see the desperation of people in his audience, some who wept from worry and others from guilt, even while the complacent laughed, perhaps at the gospel itself (James 4:7-10)

2. our self-esteem at any cost culture seeks to shield everyone from emotional pain, but if sin is its source, it is better to grieve now when it is changeable than in judgment when it is permanent

3. the unpleasant pangs of a wounded conscience produce blessing when tears are followed by restoration (Second Corinthians 7:8-11)

4. he explained to the apostles that they would suffer still more as Christians: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20).

D. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!”

1. we should not marvel if the world rejects the stands we take or causes us to suffer indignity along with Christ, but, imitate the apostles who were whipped and beaten, and “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41)

2. sometimes you will be excluded from friendships, associations, clubs, employment and more, spurned for your piety, but great is the reward in heaven for faithful prophets and Christians; woe upon those who go along to get along and value popularity over truth (John 12:42-43)


These beatitudes of Christ are full of promise, but also obligation to faithfulness and courage.

Questions for Review

  1. What do disciples learn about prayer from Jesus?
  2. Who made up the usual audiences that followed Jesus?
  3. Are wealth and poverty inherently evil or good? Explain.
  4. What do we learn from the story of the rich man and Lazarus?
  5. What is the promise about Christ’s father’s house?
  6. What makes some feel rich or full or happy now when they shouldn’t?
  7. What is the reward for faithful beatitude living?




The Other Beatitudes (3): Psalms

There are even some beatitudes scattered around the Old Testament, not in a nicely ordered list as in the sermons on the mount and the plain, but found here and there in the songs of Israel. These “Blessed are” statements are just as powerful and promising to worshipers who follow their wisdom, however.

I. Beatitudes

A. Fame

1. the series of beatitudes contained in the sermon on the mount is among the most famous teaching of Christ in all the Bible

2. the words recorded later by the apostle Matthew form a theology that promises a reversal of fortunes to the downtrodden faithful of this world, as well as true exaltation to those who are physically blessed and yet not so much that they become blind to their iniquity

3. those beatitudes each begin with the phrase, “Blessed are the,” rendered in Latin by the word beatus, meaning happy or blessed

a. our generation has lost touch in many ways with the reality of blessing, confining it to the hope of material prosperity and earthly ease that was mostly missing for much of the Lord’s audiences

b. moreover, this generation’s concept of happiness is defined by self-esteem and satisfaction at any cost, even if the thing that makes one happy is wholly sinful or the standard by which one defines joy is entirely devoid of any relationship with or approval of God 


B. The Lord Sees the Hearts

1. when we read beatitudes in the sermon on the mount or elsewhere, as we will do in this study, it should be with an eye to finding happiness, contentment, and hope in spiritual prosperity and faithfulness, even and especially if material gain is no part of our experience

2. the Laodiceans looked at their bursting bank vaults and impressive trade surplus and considered themselves to be rich, prosperous and independent, but Jesus examined them more closely and found them to be spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (see Revelation 3:14-22)

3. he wanted them to become more like a population that they might have held in arrogant disdain, though they were brethren – he knew of the poverty in Smyrna, but also the disciples’ faithful perseverance under fire and pronounced them rich (see Revelation 2:8-11)

4. we must learn to judge as God judges, “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (First Samuel 16:7).


II. Beatitudes in the Psalms

A. “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

1. an anonymous psalmist addresses the Gentile kings and rulers of an ancient Earth where Israel was special to Jehovah (Psalm 2:10-12)

2. when they warred against David or one of his successors, they were really declaring war against God himself and would be better served to pay homage to the Lord’s anointed

3. the beatitude expands beyond the monarchies of Earth, however – “Blessed are all who take refuge in” the Son – David’s distant fleshly descendant and divine predecessor, Christ Jesus

4. taking refuge in Christ brings the happiness of contentment and hope and courage (Philippians 4:4-7)


B. “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.”

1. the sons of Korah composed the eighty-fourth psalm, an homage to the beauty and enjoyment of seeking fellowship for worship (Psalm 84:1-5)

2. the place and time of worship are marvelous gifts, not obstacles and inconveniences, and the true-hearted worshiper will anticipate them with hastened zeal, traveling there with the wind of God at his back

3. Christians dwell in the house of the living God, the church of Jesus Christ, composed of living stones, living souls, but also have occasions of worship to anticipate as opportunities to edify one another and praise a worthy God (Hebrews 10:24-25)


C. “Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face.”

1. the eighty-ninth psalm is the lament of Ethan, who mourned the sad condition into which Israel had fallen and recalled how much better things had been when she was faithful (Psalm 89:1, 15-16)

2. the festal shout was uttered in worship, a celebratory exclamation of praise for God above, in whose light the faithful are blessed to walk (First John 1:5-7)

3. we are blessed as Christians to walk in a light that shines ever brighter since the arrival of Christ, the light of life and the world (see John 8:12); when we let our lights shine, it is only the reflected glory, wisdom, and hope that emanate from the savior


D. “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!”

1. Jesus promised that those who hungered and thirsted after righteousness would be filled and the psalmist accordingly blessed those who sought to obey God from a pure heart (Psalm 106:1-3)

2. some people get discouraged by their imperfections and shortcomings, but if we are trying our hardest to do our best to obey God’s will, we can only become stronger and more successful over time

3. our goal is to do the right thing more frequently, more reflexively, more satisfyingly than we previously have submitted to temptation (Romans 6:16-19)


E. “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.”

1. the longest “book” in the Bible is not really a book at all, but the one hundred nineteenth psalm, a celebration of the Torah, God’s covenant instruction (Psalm 119:1-3)

2. two beatitudes introduce the song with happiness promised to those who are obedient to God’s will, seemingly to the point of flawless perfection, and yet we know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (First John 1:8).

3. the Christian’s goal is holiness of lifestyle and while that requires constant, diligent effort, and allows for no excuse-making in failure, it leaves plenty of room for grace upon the sincerely penitent (First Peter 1:13-17)


F. “Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!”

1. the sweet psalmist of Israel, the shepherd king, David, is credited with writing the one hundred forty-fourth psalm, which closes with a pair of beatitudes upon people whose love God (Psalm 144:15)

2. the blessings he describes in the song include refuge, deliverance, and sustenance, the very things that we continue to count on from our God today, so that we need not be burdened with worry and anxiety

3. this is the same poet who wrote, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing” (Psalm 37:25-26).

4. Paul wrote the Philippians, “ I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).



The psalmists’ beatitudes are surely as promising to the Christian as the ones found in the sermon on the mount, but they also require an element of trust, of faith, to be practical and genuine. The beatitudes are full of hope, but only to the ones who have learned to put their trust in the Lord.

Questions for Review

  1. How do many in this generation misdefine happiness and blessedness?
  2. How does the Lord judge things differently from men?
  3. Contrast the Laodiceans and Smyrnans.
  4. What are some synonyms for refuge?
  5. Why don’t people always look forward to worship?
  6. What is the modern version of a festal shout?
  7. What is the role of obedience in holiness?




The Other Beatitudes (4): Revelation

We have all long appreciated the beatitudes of Jesus, spoken in the sermon on the mount, but there is another set of beatitudes in the Bible that sadly goes neglected. They are found throughout the book of Revelation and number seven. These beatitudes had direct meaning for the original audience of people suffering Roman persecution in the late first century, but the import of these words is not lost on our generation, which anticipates the blessed return of Jesus.

I. Beatitudes

A. Definition

1. we have attached the word “beatitude” to the numerous conditional blessings given by Jesus in Matthew five because the word “blessed” comes from the Latin beatus

2. a beatitude is simply a blessing, but the word tends to make us think of our attitude and all the beatitudes are meant to affect our attitude about certain things – can we be truly happy if these biblical beatitudes accurately portray our lifestyles and ambitions, or do we still require material advancement to be content?


B. The Revelation Beatitudes

1. we must remember that the seven beatitudes in Revelation are part of a larger effort to encourage Christians suffering intense governmental persecution in the late first century Roman empire

2. they point to the Lord coming in judgment upon the old Roman empire of that day, as well as encouraging the faithful to remain steadfast in light of the final judgment still to come

3. we have no way of anticipating the downfall of nations today, but we may honor these beatitudes by considering our own date with eternity at the last judgment


II. The Seven Beatitudes of Revelation

A. “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. the first Revelation beatitude appears as part of John’s prologue to a book of signs and symbols, offering hope to beleaguered believers (Revelation 1:1-3)

2. the prophecy that makes up the book of Revelation had serious and immediate meaning to our early brethren suffering tribulation at the hands of a brutal and unfriendly ruler

a. God was in the process of answering their prayers for deliverance, but considered it best to transmit to them this message of hope and encouragement in the meantime

b. the book of Revelation had personal importance to those who first received it

c. whether they read it themselves or heard someone else do the reading, it was a blessing

3. Paul told Timothy to devote himself “to the public reading of Scripture,” with the intent of keeping the will of God before the people’s minds, but submission has always been an essential response to reading and hearing (James 1:21-25)


B. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”

1. faithfulness – belief plus obedience and penitence – sometimes resulted in martyrdom in those dangerous days of Roman persecution, but it remains true today that dying in the Lord is a blessed state regardless of the painful circumstances (Revelation 14:12-13)

2. dying in the Lord is a poetic phrase that describes a person who goes to the grave with grace in his heart and heaven on his mind (First Thessalonians 4:13-17)

3. they rest from their labors and their works follow them (Hebrews 9:27-28)


C. “Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed.”

1. the Lord reminds us that he is coming like a thief, first to execute wrath on Rome, but also in our anticipation to execute wrath on the world and deliver the saints into heaven (Revelation 16:15)

2. this beatitude originally applied to the early Christians’ hope for deliverance from the godless empire; we glean a slightly different lesson and application from it – it is a lesson about vigilance and preparation (First Thessalonians 5:1-11)

3. “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (First John 3:3).


D. “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

1. in his ministry, Jesus had used the image of a wedding to describe a union with his disciples, that the church would be his bride, and how he returns to that metaphor to reestablish its certainty in the face of persecution (Revelation 19:6-9)

2. Paul described his relationship to the church in Corinth as having betrothed them as a pure virgin to Christ, their spiritual husband (see Second Corinthians 11:2)

3. yet in one of his most enduring parables, Jesus exposed the folly of making excuses that eventually prevent someone from even attending the marriage supper of the lamb – this is the climactic moment in the history of the universe and in each soul’s existence and the majority will have no part in it because they are too preoccupied by less significant matters (see Luke 14:15-24)


E. “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection!”

1. Revelation approaches its climax as Jesus foresaw the binding of Satan that occurred during the gospel age – a time in which Satan’s power lies diminished, yet not extinct (Revelation 20:4-6)

2. John describes the martyrs of those early centuries who were faithful unto death as safe from a second, more enduring, spiritual death that can only be equated with eternal punishment (Second Thessalonians 1:5-10)

3. this second death is reserved for “the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, … murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars” and is compared only to “the lake that burns with fire and sulfur” (Revelation 21:8).


F. “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

1. later, Jesus began to bring the long Revelation to a conclusion by reminding his readers and listeners that perseverance was required of them to avoid the second death and stamp their invitations to the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 22:6-7)

2. it was not that the second coming was imminent as John prepared to put down his pen, but that the series of events that would close the period of Roman persecution was about to begin, eventually leading to the disputed conversion of the Roman emperor, Constantine, and the official recognition of the church in the fourth century

3. the beatitudes are the consequences of faithful living, the conditional aspect (Matthew 7:21-23)

4. this is a prophecy that needed to be heeded by our first and second century brethren, and there are principles that hold true in any age, including ours where persecution is only beginning perhaps to intensify as society degrades


G. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.”

1. depending on the translation, the final beatitude either sounds completely predictable or like a strange Hebrew idiom; the washing of robes is idiomatic for keeping God’s commandments in remorseful rededication (Revelation 22:14-15)

2. the tree of life, forfeited in Eden, is reclaimed in Heaven by Adam’s seed, the sons and daughters of Abraham, the brothers and sisters of Christ

3. the martyrs of Revelation had washed their robes, not in soap, but in Christ: “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).

4. no one today craves martyrdom, but every believer should be prepared to choose it over apostasy; we wash our robes in the cleansing blood of Christ at conversion and through constant repentance; “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (Second Corinthians 7:1).



There are many beatitude statements in the Bible, blessings and promises of happiness if the believer reorients his expectations and ambitions toward spiritual things. Never, however, do these promises stray from the essential aspects of abiding faithfulness and even obedience as a harbinger of hope.

Questions for Review

  1. Why won’t the beatitudes be enough for most people?
  2. What was the setting and original audience for Revelation?
  3. What did James say about non-doing hearers?
  4. What is required to die in the Lord?
  5. Describe the bride of Christ.
  6. In what do Christians wash their robes?
  7. What is our responsibility in the beatitudes?
Update on Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 3:58PM by Registered CommenterJeff Smith

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Update on Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 12:52PM by Registered CommenterJeff Smith

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Update on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 1:28PM by Registered CommenterJeff Smith

Download Sermon MP3 Audio of Lesson Three

Update on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 1:21PM by Registered CommenterJeff Smith

Download Sermon MP3 Audio of Lesson Four

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