Are you Blessed? Then be a blessing!
Today’s devotional and all this week is not about the specifics of the End Times, but rather an overview of praise-worthy attributes of God, as found in Revelation 7:9-12.
The exclamation of seven “virtues” of God in this passage is different than the song of the Redeemed found in Revelation 5:9-10, which will be sung by all of those who are redeemed by the Lamb of God in heaven at the beginning of the tribulation on earth. It is also a different but very similar to the praise given to Christ, the Lamb, found in Rev. 5:12-13.
Revelation 7:12 is specifically given by the martyrs who will sacrifice their lives during the Great Tribulation, the seven years after the rapture of the church but prior to Jesus’ Second Coming when He will establish His rule on earth. These Tribulation martyrs will be clothed in white robes in heaven and hold in their hands palm branches. So, what are the seven praise-worthy attributes of God and how do they compare to Rev. 5:12?
1. Blessing (praise, NIV) (eulogia)
2. Glory (doxa)
3. Wisdom (sophia)
4. Thanksgiving (Thanks, NIV)(eucharistia)
5. Honor (timē)
6. Power (dynamis)
7. Might (Strength, NLT, NIV, HCSB) (ischys)
4. Strength or Might (ischys)
7. Blessing or praise
1. BLESSING. The first virtue or praise-worthy attribute of God listed is “blessing” or in the New International Version, it is translated “praise”. It is the final of the seven attributes listed in Rev. 5:12 sung by the 24 elders and angels. The Greek word is familiar to us: “eulogia” from which we get the English word “eulogy,” meaning good words, often spoken at a funeral. In this listing, praise or blessing is not what we receive from the Lord, but rather what we give to the Lord. It will be distinct from the fourth attribute of “thanksgiving.”
Thanking someone else shows your appreciation for that person. It shows how their goodness has blessed you. Praising someone, especially God, is different. You are simply extolling their goodness and saying "good words" about who they are. Think about times when people have said good things about you or when you have praised your child or someone else.
How is praising God for who He is can be different from thanking God for what He has done, especially what He has done for you.
All of these seven “virtues” or seven praise-worthy attributes are given to God in Revelation 7:12, but can also be reflected in our lives. There are numerous commands for us to give “blessings” to others (“Bless those who curse you,” Luke 6:28, for instance).
What are ways we can reflect the attributes of blessings or praise of God in our lives? In other words, how can we be a source of blessings to others?
Blessing and Palm Sunday. Exalting God with “good words” of praise and blessing is different from thanking God in that we are proclaiming the good virtues of God in His character. This same word can be found in a verb form specifically used on Palm Sunday in John 12:13, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel” (see also Luke 19:38 and Matt. 21:9).
Blessing and the Second Coming. When Jesus lamented over Jerusalem and the destruction that would come upon the Jewish people, He said that this phrase of “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” would not be used again until His Second Coming.
“See,” Jesus said in Matthew 23:38-39, “Your house is left to you desolate, for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
The New Testament in Rev. 1:7 states explicitly that at Jesus’ Second Coming, “Every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him.” The Old Testament in Zech 12:10 also affirms that specifically the “house of David” will see Christ when He returns, and know it was they, the Jewish people, who pierced Him: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.”
How does the fact that Jesus is coming again make you want to praise and bless Him?