Saturday, 10 April 2021
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12
The three angels have called out their messages. With that complete, John next writes, “Here is the patience of the saints.” Those who are alive during the tribulation period will have to endure life in a world completely at odds with them. They will be shunned, persecuted, and even put to death. These things are coming upon the whole world, and the saints will need to be patient through these times of woe.
This period is described in Daniel 12 in relation to the saints of Israel –
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.” Daniel 12:1
And again, in Daniel 12:10, it says, “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” Those who “understand” are the same group being referred to by John here in Revelation. Again, he says, “here are those who keep the commandments of God.”
Some manuscripts do not have the words “here are those.” Instead, it simply says –
“Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” NASB 1995
Either way, the focus of the patience is on those “who keep the commandments of God.” The commandments of God, as has already been noted in the Revelation commentary, are not referring to the Mosaic law. Rather, it refers to faith in Christ Jesus. The theme is referred to several times in John’s epistles. The law of Moses is set aside through the work of Christ. Adherence to God’s provision, as found in the giving of His Son, is alone what is pleasing to God. That is then restated for emphasis with the words, “and the faith of Jesus.”
This is a faith where Jesus is the object of it. He is the Prize. He is the Goal. He is the One to whom the people are to anticipate and hope for, even when it means rejecting the mark of the beast and facing certain death. This is patience of the saints.
Life application: The three messages of the three angels are summarized as –
1) The everlasting gospel.
2) Babylon is fallen.
3) Anyone who worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark, will receive eternal torment.
It might seem backwards to put the falling of Babylon before the worship of the beast, but it is done this way to show that what is coming to Babylon is assured. Its judgment is coming, and it will be final. Those who have joined Babylon through false worship and in the taking of the mark will receive the same sentence, and it will be carried out with the same finality.
Placing direction about the mark last is intended to keep it fresh on the minds of those who hear the word. As people, the consequences of our decisions affect our lives, and some of them will affect our eternal destiny as well. Therefore, the word has been given through John in the pages of Revelation, not only for the tribulation world, but for all people during the church age.
During John’s time, the Roman Empire exacted a high toll on Christians through martyrdom. During the Inquisition and much of the church age, the church itself has murdered the faithful – executing those who stood on God’s word and not on church traditions. Today, Christians around the world are being martyred by adherents to various false religions with numbers of dead in the millions. They are also being martyred by communist and dictatorial leaders.
For much of the world, the choice of following Jesus Christ means facing a life-or-death choice, but what Revelation is telling us is that such a mortal choice is insignificant in comparison to the eternal choice of rejecting the gospel. Truly, “here is the patience of the saints.”
Let us be faithful to the call and faithful to the proclamation. Let us hold fast to our faith in JESUS.
Lord Jesus, no amount of security in this life is worth the loss of eternal life in Your presence. Please help those who are facing the great and terrible decision of life or death for the sake of the gospel to be strong in their convictions and to be obedient to Your message. And should they face death because of the choice, may their reward be great when they come before You. Amen.