“Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12
Well, where are they? Yes – where are they “that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”? There is probably no Biblical text in the word of God more familiar to us as Sabbath-keeping people as Revelation 14:12. It is used by us in our publications, sermons, Bible studies, and conversations – and in reference to ourselves as a church.
Furthermore – God’s denominated people – who are these? Those witnesses to their loyalty – who are these? The answer is: Those “who kept the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. Moreover, what is God’s sign? The Lord spoke unto the children of Israel, saying, “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord who doth sanctify you.” (Exodus 31:12 – 17)
Now the second angel that John saw announces the fall of Babylon (described in Revelation 17 and 18), and the third angel utters a judgment upon all those who worship the beast and his image. The warning is to the churches to come out of Babylon, as idolatry has crept into the churches. It is by the preaching of the true gospel, attended by the Holy Spirit, that men are turned from idols to serve the living God, as the “Creator of the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”(Revelation 14:7)
After fair warning given by the word of Providence, those who refuse to come out of Babylon when thus called, and resolve to partake of her sins, must receive of her plagues; and the guilt and ruin of such incorrigible idolaters will serve to set forth the excellence of the patience and obedience of the saints. These graces shall be rewarded with salvation and glory.
When the treachery and rebellion of others shall be punished with everlasting destruction, then it will be said to the honour of the faithful: “Here is the patience of the saints.” (Revelation 14:12). You have before seen their patience exercised, now you see it rewarded. Adventists believe that this is a promise that, in the last days, only those will be received who are acceptable to God; who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12), and that this is a call to men to honour the true Sabbath of God, the seventh-day Sabbath of the Decalogue.
Ezekiel, the priest and prophet, was to sustain the faith of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the forehead of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4
Ah! But it is not always easy to persuade others to accept the truths of the Bible. The public in general, friends, and relatives do not agree with us in our application of the opening text. And, why? Well, it is not difficult to explain. It might be because they do not see the characteristics referred to in that text, in all our members!
Some could say: You profess to keep the commandments, but where is the patience of the saints revealed in your people, the very first qualification of the text? Moreover, where is the faith of Jesus manifested among you? And where are the mighty works which are natural for such a faith? (James 2:17). And brethren, we need to be able to say, “Here they are – behold them.”
Meanwhile, the world is rocking on its axis, both figuratively and literally. It is engulfed in a great flood of moral and spiritual darkness. Conditions have never been worse; in fact, they are appalling! Satan, the evil one, has come down with great power, knowing that he has a very short time, although he is still prince of this world. He knows he has lost the war, and consequently, is destroying as many souls as he can. We know that when God proposes to do a great work on Earth, it is Satan’s plan to fight it with a vicious abandon!
God’s work for this time must be done; He is waiting patiently for us to do it and the time is passing by very fast! Some have great expectations and plans for the future, but neglect their present duties.
But, we have to know the enemy’s plans and movements! Satan is bringing rapidly to the front line of this battle his: 1. Deceptions, 2. Counterfeits, 3. Infidelity.
God’s great work, which is to shake the world and lighten it with His glory, is still, from outward appearances, in seclusion! Why? Why is it that God’s work seems to be so far behind and “masked?” Well, the answer is very simple. Part of the reason is that the Lord can do little for His people if they have limited faith. “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20
The Lord Jesus took the occasion to show the disciples the power of faith, that they may not be as slow in faith in the future, as they were at the present time. It is good for us to be diffident of ourselves and of our own strength; but it displeases Christ when some distrust any power derived from Him, or granted by Him.
Prayer and fasting are proper means for the bringing down of Satan’s power against us. Fasting is of use to put an edge on prayer. If you have an active growing faith, you will be able to “move mountains.”
The pastors, priests and ministers in fallen Christian churches have not presented Jesus Christ in His fullness to the people, but “masked” Him – presenting merely the Person and not His message. Consequently they do not have an intelligent faith but a whimsical, feeble, and dumb faith!
In summary, God’s work is hindered by a failure of the ministers in the fallen churches to preach Christ in His fullness and the Law. The Apostle Paul’s success in the work of God was in his determination to “know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”(1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:2). However, to these professing “sentinels on the walls of Zion,” it is a too narrow and confining theme. Many go from one Christian church to another, seeking, being bewildered. Others try to broaden out into wider fields and greener pastures (e.g., praying for dead spirits, searching for something new and exciting, possessed with “itching ears,” especially in the haunts of Africa or Asia).
And all of this is happening when the gruesome seven last plagues are about to come and God’s people are preaching: “Get ready. The time is later than you think!” (Revelation 16). The first plague will come – noisome, grievous, foul-smelling, stinking sores! The suffering because of the plagues will be hard to bear – harshly severe! Again, why? People were busy with their personal affairs before – they had no time; taking care of their oxen, building houses, and having been newly married (Matthew 22). They have no interest in listening to the straight and cutting truth brought by God’s people. They want to go the “easy” way to heaven that the modern-day Christian preachers are teaching them.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. Also, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. Another favorite verse, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
The church, you see, “is as the gate of heaven.”– My Life Today, p. 286. “Christ is the head of the church.” Ephesians 5:23. The communion of saints is a great help and privilege, and a good means of steadiness and perseverance; hereby their hearts and hands are mutually strengthened; and to observe the approaching of the time of trial and thereby be quickened to greater watchfulness and diligence.
When we feed on the Word of God it becomes to us, like it did to Job, more than our necessary food; when we meditate upon it day and night as David did, when we pray as Daniel did. “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” Malachi 3:18. Then we shall begin to believe it in a way that will be Faith! Don’t turn traitor – turncoat – but stand unflinchingly for Faith. Misery often brings a person to his knees and to Faith.
We shall receive it – not as the word of man, but as it is in the truth–the Word of God. “Thy law is the truth.” Psalm 119: 142. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17. And receiving it as His Word we shall be so burdened by its importance that we shall always be communing with Him about it. Understand?
Then we shall talk it over with God until:
His message shall be our message.
His work shall be our work.
His faith in His Word shall be our faith in His Word.
And that is the faith of God . . . and that is the faith of Jesus. And when we deliver this message of His in His way, He will be speaking directly through us!
And that is the testimony of Jesus Christ and that is the Spirit of Prophecy, which every one of the remnant seed will have, who keep the commandments of God. (Revelation 12:17; 19:10)
In closing, my fondest wish is, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1:17
These are – THE SAINTS! A hearty Amen!