by Amir Tsarfati with Dr. Rick Yohn
Jesus is the central figure in the book of Revelation. Yes, the book talks about the end times, but the first chapter begins with Jesus and the last chapter ends with Jesus. Chapter1 sees Him making a surprise appearance, and chapter 22 calls out for Him to make a surprise reappearance.
The book, though, isn’t just about Jesus showing up unexpectedly, although He does do that several times. It is also about Him bringing judgment upon the world. You might say, “Come on, Amir, Jesus is all about love. He’s not about judging and punishment.” You’re right, He is all about love. That is why His return is still yet to come. The desire of God is that all will come to Him. Paul wrote, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy2:3‑4).
Sadly, there are those who, despite the loving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins, will choose to reject God. For them, there only awaits judgment. And who is the One designated to bring about that judgment? Jesus, the Righteous Judge. Speaking of Himself, Jesus said, “The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (John5:22‑23).
God made us, so He knows how we think and what it takes to motivate us. That is why when He asks us to do something, often He includes a carrot dangling at the end of a stick. “This is what you should do because it is in keeping with My holiness. And, for a little incentive, I’m going to include this reward for your obedience.” That is what we find in Revelation 1:3:
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Why should we read the words of this prophecy? What should be our motivation to hear these words and to keep the commands written in it? Because it’s God’s Word. That should be enough. But like a father who loves to give treats to his child when they are doing the right thing, He says, “By the way, when you do what you should be doing, I’m going to bless you to pieces.”
This blessing comes in many forms. Among them is the fact that we can know what is coming for this world. God wants us to be aware of what is ahead. He wants us to prepare ourselves and our families for His return. In Israel, we have sirens that sound when our unhappy neighbors to the south and to the north decide to fire rockets into our country. When we hear their wail, we all scramble for the nearest shelter until the danger passes. Thus, we become doubly blessed—we have knowledge of the attack, and we have safety in the shelters.
God has given us 2,000+years to prepare for the coming storm that will sweep the entire earth. When that happens, there will be no place to hide. Plagues, earthquakes, hail, fire, and starvation will run rampant throughout the globe. COVID will seem like a case of the sniffles in comparison to what people will be exposed to during the seven‑year global catastrophe. “Blessed” almost feels like an understatement for those who will escape this time.
But safety doesn’t come by standing there and listening to the sirens go off. Saying, “Uh‑oh, rockets are coming” does absolutely nothing to protect us from bombs landing on our heads. We’ve got to get to shelter. That’s where the last part of the verse comes in. It is not enough just to read and hear the words of this letter. We must “keep” them. The Greek word there is tereo and means “to guard, watch, protect, keep.” The one who does this will take the central message of this letter and hold on to it with all they’ve got.
What is the central message of this book? It’s Jesus. Remember, He is the Author and focus of this letter. Those who make Jesus their Savior and Lord by repenting of their sins and giving their lives to God will receive the wonderful blessing of shelter from the devastation. But this shelter will not be in an underground bunker. It will be in heaven with our Savior in the place that He promised to go and prepare for us (John 14:1‑4).
Excerpted from Amir Tsarfati with Dr. Rick Yohn, Revealing Revelation (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2022), 21-22.
Amir Tsarfati is a native Israeli and former major in the Israeli Defense Forces. He is the founder and president of Behold Israel—a nonprofit ministry that provides Bible teaching through tours, conferences, and social media. It also provides unique access to news and information about Israel from a biblical and prophetic standpoint. Amir is married with four children, and resides in Northern Israel.