The Patient Saints
Revelation 14:12

14:12 note a
The patient saints

     "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14:12).

   What an inspiring picture after seeing the wrath to be poured out on the beast worshippers! Consider how this verse relates to what came before it. Chapter 13 is divided into two parts. At the end of the first part which describes the beast from the sea, we find another summary statement about patient saints re1310b. Although in the middle of chapter 14, our present verse is set as a response to the rest of chapter 13 and the first part of 14. You may wish to review that discussion which compares the two patient-saints verses.

Verses on the patience of saints and the tribulations help us see the flow of end-time events

Dragon's wickedness practiced through his agents
    Beast rises from sea 1301
        Granted 42 months to persecute saints 1305ff
            Tribulation for righteous
            Patient (steadfast) saints 1310

    Beast rises from earth 1311
        Permitted to give breath to sea beast's image 1315
            Intended tribulation for righteous announced by image
                Worship of beast's image demanded
                    Ultimate threat: death and isolation

God's mercy and justice announced through his agents
    Angels fly in sky
        Call to true worship; time of judgment 1406f
       Call to leave Babylon (beast worship) 1408
        Warning of wrath of God unmixed with mercy 1409
    Plagues of God's wrath, chapters 15, 16.
    Identification of the enemies of God, chapters 17,18
    Christ comes to rescue the saints, chapter 19
        The bride (saints) is found ready and righteous 1907
        Christ on white horse strikes nations with sword (word) 1911
            Tribulation for wicked (time of trouble da1201)
            Patient (steadfast) saints (predicted in 1412
            Beast and false prophet (earth beast) into fire 1920


14:12 b

   Patience, in this context, implies endurance to withstand the terrible pressure to receive the beast's mark or his name or his number. What do we mean by endurance? "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. . . . And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matt. 10:16-18, 22; Also Matt 24:13). Luke tells about the patient ones in Luke 21:19 and preceding verses.

   We certainly want to be among these faithful ones. Sadly, the majority will follow the beast just as the majority, at the time of the flood, chose to be lost. Walking into the ark was definitely not the popular thing to do. As the evil nature of the false religious system becomes clear to us, the choice seems obvious. When facing the real situation, which I believe (in 2003) is coming very soon, taking up the cross, daily will mean standing for God as we see Him through the written word. Carrying the cross means being ready to suffer or die rather than to deny our Lord. I believe if we stay close to Him He will provide the strength to face whatever comes. Instead of worrying, we need to focus on our commitment to Him and on the task of sharing His good news to everyone who will listen.
   "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory [rejoice] in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Cor. 12:9). These are the grace and the power God is ready to provide.

14:12 c
Who are the patient ones?

   "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14:12).

   The faithful ones at the end of time will hold to these two things: God's commandments and the faith of Jesus. Let's first consider obedience to the commandments. Looking at preceding verses helps clarify the situation. I suggest you read them again in your Bible.
   In verse 6, the first of three angels comes with the everlasting (unchanging) gospel. He also calls us to true worship, recognizing God as creator. This creation statement is essentially quoted from the ten commandments (Ex. 20:8-11). Reading on we see that these commandments, which are kept by the patient ones, are in opposition to the beast's false teachings.
   The second angel (verse 8) informs us that Babylon (representing the end-time religio-political power) has fallen because she made all nations drink of the wine of her angry unfaithfulness to God her perverted doctrines.
   The third angel follows the first two (verses 9-11) calling out loudly, warning that all who choose Babylon's wine will also drink God's wine His justice unmixed with mercy!
   Standing here in contrast, are those who "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" those who resist the power of the false system.
   We can be sure that the forces of evil are trying to prepare us to reject God's end-time appeal to humanity. Many really do not understand the deception at work right now. Even those of us who are committed to Christ need to be alert or some of what we think is very right will turn out to be very wrong Mark 13:22f.

The "commandments" they keep
   Might the commandments, which the faithful ones keep, be the new commandment of love which Jesus gave us? Let's look at it. "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13:34). As we have seen, this is a summary of the last six of the ten commandments which call for love for others. It was therefore not new in the sense of being a replacement, but because the disciples had lost sight of this part of the law. Compare 1 John 2:7, 8. Notice the situation which must have prompted Jesus to tell them to love each other:
   "And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them. . . . he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve." (Luke 22:23, 26). In the context of this quarreling, Jesus washed His disciples' feet and gave them the "new commandment." It was thus part of the ten commandments.
   Does this mean the disciples (or we) are free to ignore or disobey the first four of the ten commandments which show our duty to God? James would say, no. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." (James 2:10-12). This law has to be the ten commandments because two of them are given as examples.
   Our verse offers another indication of what commandments it refers to. It specifies "commandments of God" and "faith of Jesus." The commandments of God must be the ten commandments of Sinai. Otherwise the text would not have named both "God" and "Jesus." It would have said simply, "commandments and faith of Jesus."
   This obedience does not mean the law saves us. We are saved by grace through faith. (Eph. 2:8-10). Obedience is evidence of the faith necessary to accept that saving grace (Heb. 11:1, 2). At the time of the great final conflict, those faithful to God will be keeping all of His commandments. James calls these requirements the "law of liberty" because they reveal sin and point us to Christ who frees us from condemnation (Gal. 3:24, 25; Rom. 7:7; 8:1, 2). See also under Rev. 12:17.
    Let's praise God for that liberty through Christ and ask Him for a fuller measure of the grace we need to stand firm at the end of time.

14:12 d
The patient ones live by two principles

   "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the  commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14:12).

   The Greek text allows either "faith of Jesus" or "faith in Jesus" for the last phrase in our verse. Although both are consistent with the rest of Scripture and bring us to essentially the same conclusion, I prefer "faith in Jesus." This concept, added to keeping the commandments, reveals more clearly the complete picture of a saving relationship with Christ. As we explore it, we can see why the patient ones are also "saints" (holy ones). I'll explain.
   When the jailer asked Paul and Silas what to do to be saved, they told Him, ". . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:31). What did they mean by being "saved"? Saved from what? From certain and eternal death. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23; compare Gen. 2:17). Sin is rebellion against God's government of love.

So, by faith in Jesus, we are saved from death. How is this?
   As we "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" we trust Him to be our Lord our boss whose commands we joyfully obey. When, in recognition of His authority, we repent and turn from sin, He forgives us. He also cleanses us, helping us behave righteously (1 John 1:9; Col. 2:6). Then how are we saved from death? Through Christ, we are no longer condemned to death. Because we have accepted Jesus' death in our place. We are considered as not guilty either for past sins (by forgiveness) or for continuing rebellious behavior (by cleansing) because He gives a new heart and we stop our rebellion choosing "to walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:4).
   "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. . . . For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom. 8:1-4).
   The result is salvation. "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Rom. 6;22). In other words, we have been freed from slavery to our old master, sin, so we can give voluntary service to God. This relationship opens the door to everlasting life!

Considering our verse, how are these spiritual qualities seen in the patient saints who (1) keep the commands of God and (2) have faith in Jesus?
   (1) Walking, not "after the flesh [human inclination] but after the Spirit" means behaving according to the principles of happiness God has given, keeping the commandments of God. (2) We are able to do this only by the grace of God as we hold to our faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-10; Jer. 13:23). It's a complete package. Forgiveness is our passport to enter heaven while cleansing is our preparation to live there in its holy atmosphere. We call these justification and sanctification. We need both.
   Most of the religious world today, particularly non-Christians, believe that obedience to all God (or the spirits) has asked us to do brings salvation. But they do not accept the grace of Christ. We might say they keep the commandments of God, or at least try to according to their understanding. The rest of the world believes that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. However, most of this second group misunderstand this grace, believing that it replaces the commandments (Rom. 5:20 - 6:2; Matt. 23:23). They believe that the commandments were set aside after the sacrifice of Christ or that at least one of them was. Each of the two classes is half right. Is anyone completely right? The patient saints the final remnant will be. They will accept the two-part principle into their lives. Keeping the commandments is evidence of the faith in Jesus by which we accept His Grace. Faith in Jesus, on the other hand, means accepting that grace which provides forgiveness and enables us to keep the commandments, walking not according to the flesh but according to the spirit (Rom. 8:1, above). Here it is in simpler terms: Through the faith part we are empowered for obedience, while the obedience part is evidence of faith. They really can't be separated.

   Perfection in obedience is an awesome goal. Can we reach it? Yes and no. Let's talk about it next. We can praise God for the knowledge of His will and the power of His grace! Marvelous gifts through our Lord and Saviour!


Grace (gospel)
Keep commandments
Faith in Jesus

See the similar table relating these two elements to "fear God and give glory to Him" in the first angel's message go.

14:12 e

    Many today believe that it is impossible to keep God's standard of right and wrong. Are they right? Notice a special promise:
   "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13).
   "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13; also 2pe0104).
   I don't take these verses to mean that we will become as holy and perfect as God, but that, as He opens our understanding of His will, we will be able to walk ever more closely with Him pr0418, ready to die before rebelling against His authority. re1211. Coming closer to Christ, we become more aware of the rags of our own righteousness is6406.

   As God withdraws His restraining power (Gen. 6:3) and the the winds of strife (Rev. 7:1-4) begin to blow with their full fury, the wrath of evil will be like nothing has ever been (Dan. 12:1). The wicked will suffer as tormented with fire and brimstone (Rev. 14:10). The final people of God will be saved from the major physical fury but, in the absence of the Spirit who is our comforter, will be tried in the fire agonizing for their souls more than any other generation (Mal. 3:2, 3; 1 Peter 1:7). Exactly what this means about perfection, we don't know. We do know that, even if totally without fault (Rev. 14:5), we will have sinned in the past (Rom. 3:23) and and have no right to heaven except through Christ. (John 14:6; Isa. 61:10). We also know that Christ leads us as our shepherd (Ps. 23). He makes us holy as we trust in Him, picking up our cross and following (1 John 3:3; Luke 9:23).
   The saints in our verse are God's final people. We have seen them also as the 144,000 and have have discussed perfection in connection with that group. I have traced the future situation as I understand it. I invite you to look up the passages I have cited and prayerfully ask God to send His Spirit so you will not be taking my word but begin to understand it for yourself. Perfection is also explained in connection with fire and brimstone.
   Another description of God's end-time people is found in Rev. 12:17.
   What a marvelous Saviour who lifts us up from the pit of sin (Isa. 38:17)!

Rev. 14 home
Revelation home
Commentary home