How can we tell a true Christian? Or, to put it another way, what does it mean to endure? It means to live as a servant of God keeping his commandments because it is the path of blessing. And it means remaining loyal to Jesus in all the circumstances of life.
It is not clear whether verse 13 describes Christians in general or if it is a personal encouragement to those who would be put to death for their faith. Of course, the experience is true of all who reach heaven, however they reached it. The encouragement mentions four things about the heavenly experience.
First, they are conscious in heaven. They are not in a dreamy kind of experience, but are fully alert as far as their souls are concerned.
Second, they are united to Jesus, which is what ‘die in the Lord’ means. No doubt, this illustration depicts the security that dying believers have and points to the comfort that they should know when it comes to that time.
Third, they are resting, which is a reminder that heaven is the place of perfect peace.
Fourth, they will be rewarded: the activities they did for Jesus on earth will have consequences for them in heaven (the word translated labour means hard work). In heaven, we will see that everything we did for Jesus was very worthwhile. This description is of believers who are now in heaven and is not a description of their post-resurrection life.
We are not told who spoke the benediction, but we are told who makes a comment on it. The commentator is the Holy Spirit. In chapters 2 and 3, the Spirit speaks to the churches as they listen to the heavenly assessment of what they were truly like. Here, he wants believers to know the certainty of the place of bliss that they are travelling towards, even if their journey is full of pain. I suspect we should deduce from his words that he is the one who provides them with heavenly rest and rewards.