Oct
9

The Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus

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The Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus

Revelation 14

The Third Angel’s Message of Revelation 14 sounds a warning to the world against receiving the Mark of the Beast and describes the mission and character of God’s people in the last days, saying: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14:12.  Emphasis has been given, quite rightly, on the keeping of the commandments of God as a safeguard against being deceived into receiving the Mark of the Beast.  But what of the “faith of Jesus”?  This is the aspect of that final warning to the world that links the message of the third angel to the message of righteousness by faith in Jesus.

The Commandments of God

There is no question as to what are the “commandments of God”.  There is only one set of commandments that God himself gave, the Ten Commandments.  He spoke them audibly from Mount Sinai in the hearing of a multitude.  He wrote them with His own fingers on two tables of stone.  Some people try to get away from keeping the Ten Commandments because they find the fourth commandment, which requires us to keep the seventh day Sabbath, inconvenient.  The fourth commandment says: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”, and it indicates clearly that “the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Ex.20:8-11).

ten-commandments

Some will claim that in the New Testament dispensation it is the commandments of Jesus that matter and that Jesus did not specifically say that we should keep the seventh day Sabbath.  This is clearly spurious as Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and even anticipated that His followers should be keeping the Sabbath long after His resurrection and ascension, by warning them:  “pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (Matt. 24:20), in prophesying of the destruction of Jerusalem, which would take place in the year 70 AD.  Others say that the doing away of the glorious ministration of ancient Israel that was centred on the two tables of stone means that the commandments themselves are done away with.  This is also false as the new covenant involves writing the commandments of God in our hearts whereas the old covenant had them written on tables of stone (Heb. 8:7-10).

The final conflict will be between the keeping of the commandments of men on the one side and the keeping of the commandments of God on the other side.  Jesus warned: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9).

The world has come to a place where any form of worship is considered legitimate, once it is called worship.  But Jesus specifically indicated that it is the “true worshippers” who “worship the Father in spirit and in truth” that the Father seeks to worship Him (John 4:23).  Even in Christian worship today, it is as if the Father does not exist.  It is as if Jesus is the only one to be worshipped, as though Jesus is not the mediator to create a bridge to the Father.  Make no mistake, Jesus is the Son of God and is to be worshipped.  The Father commands us and angels to worship Him (John 5:22, 23; Heb. 1:6).  But the Father is Jesus’ God who anointed Him, as the Father said of Jesus: “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee” (Heb. 1:9).  The example set in heaven, as described throughout the Book of Revelation, is that the angels worship the Father who sits on the throne and Jesus Christ the Lamb: “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:13).

The Third Angel warns: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:9, 10)The commandments of men are not very different from the commandments of God as it relates to not killing, stealing or doing other such vices.  The one distinct sign, however, that distinguishes the commandments of God from the commandments of men is the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath.  This is God’s sign and will identify those who are worshipping God, the Creator, as opposed to those who are worshipping someone else.  God says: “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Eze. 20:20).

Many people are worshipping ignorantly, but the mission of God’s people in the last days is to call them to the worship of the true and living God who created heaven and earth.  It was as a reminder that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, as stated in the fourth commandment, that the seventh day Sabbath was given by God (Ex. 20:8-11).

And just in case someone should think that one reference is not enough to establish the keeping of God’s commandments as a mark of God’s people in the last days, the same thought as given in the Third Angel’s Message is given in the description of the remnant in the following words: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17).  Jesus said that, “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt. 18:16).

The Faith of Jesus

Along with the keeping of the commandments of God, God’s people in the last days are characterized by their keeping “the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12), which is also referred to as their having the “testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17).  But have we, unwittingly put ourselves in a position where we are unable to fully contemplate the faith of Jesus – the faith that Jesus had?  If we consider Christ, in His position on earth as being “all-knowing”, then He could not exercise faith.  As we are told: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1.   So faith is predicated on hope and holding on to things that we cannot see.  Further, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” Rom. 8:24.

The Bible is clear that Jesus did not know everything when He was on earth.  Jesus Himself declared, speaking of His second coming, that “of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no , not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32).  Those who say that the Father and the Son are co-equal need to think again.  Further, we are told that, as a child, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).  Jesus had to exercise faith – faith in His Father.

The one thing that is required of us in order for us to be saved is faith: “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8).  Further, we are told, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Rom. 4:3 (also Gal. 3:6).  If Jesus knew everything when He was here, He could not exercise faith and therefore could not be our example in the one thing, above all else, that is required of us, namely exercising faith in God.  But Jesus did exercise faith.  He did it most particularly in yielding up His life on Calvary.  He believed in God – His Father.  He trusted the love of God.  He believed that His Father would raise Him from the dead and his Father did.  We are told that it was “God the Father, who raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1).

Jesus came to earth to reveal the truth about His Father – that God is love.   He said: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” John 18:37.  He sealed His testimony with His blood.  He died not knowing what was beyond the grave.  That is the faith that we are called upon to have.  And Jesus is the greatest exemplar of that faith.  Of the saints it is said that, they will be severely tested, tried and persecuted by Satan but “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Rev. 12:11.

Our faith, today, is best reflected in our hope of the second coming of Christ.  The blessed hope of the soon return of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, sums up our faith that, in keeping the commandments of God, even to the point of death, we will not be disappointed.  The promise is that, if we are faithful, we will either be resurrected to eternal life or we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52), when Jesus Christ returns.  Jesus trusted His Father to raise Him from the dead.  We must trust that Jesus will do the same for us.  God’s counsel to us is confirmed by two immutable things: His promise and His oath, as we are told:

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:17-20).

The Loud Cry – Outpouring of the Spirit

A mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God is prophesied (Revelation 18:1 and Joel 2:23, 28-32) to take place in the last days to accompany the final warning to the world.  This outpouring is not intended to minimize the message of the Third Angel’s Movement.  Rather, it is intended to support and enhance the Third Angel’s Message and give focus to the mission of God’s remnant people in the last days.  It is the Third Angel’s Message that swells to a loud cry when the Angel of Revelation 18 lightens the earth with his glory.  We are told:

The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angels message as it swells to a loud cry. (E. G. White, The Story of Redemption, p. 399).

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