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Patience of the 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)

The patience of the saints is a term used twice in the book of Revelation.

He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10).

On each occasion it is associated with faith and on each occasion it is associated with the great destructive acts of those bent upon the destruction of God’s people. Thus the “patience of the saints” refers to a special characteristic of those who, through keeping the faith of Jesus, shall be victorious against the fearsome assault of the arch enemy of truth.

It is clear that this word patience does not possess the limited connotation of its present-day meaning. Here is a description that is reserved for but a few of earth’s teeming masses. It is a characteristic that denotes strength, unshakable confidence in Christ, irreversibility of life’s direction, and irremovable resolution in the face of the most unbearable opposition and persecution, with a steadfast allegiance to the Creator and Redeemer.

Paul, like John, links patience and faith.

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12)

Here patience is contrasted with slothfulness. In relating this to the experience of Abraham, Paul notes that the great promises of God reach fulfilment only when God’s people endure with patience.

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” (Hebrews 6:15)

In living the three angels’ messages, this patience must be an active rather than a passive principle of life. The saints have resisted all efforts by men and demons to enforce the worship of the beast and his image. They have demonstrated their invincible loyalty to their Creator by cherishing and keeping His sacred Sabbath day of rest. Thus they have received the seal of the living God and are free from Satan’s mark of obedience.

In contrast to the fearful pronouncements made by God upon those who worship the beast and his image, the saints are declared to be blessed. Those who have died during that history of the world are fully approved by God.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

Also those who go through the severest test ever experienced by man will have the rich reward of the redeemed.

“ ...and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1)

It is at this time that these faithful, patient saints are redeemed into God’s kingdom.

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” (Revelation 14:14-16)

The Greek word hupomone, translated patience in the King James version, has a meaning that is much fuller and deeper than the modern meaning of patience. It has the meaning of endurance, of constant and unwavering waiting. Such a characteristic in the face of the most devastating persecution in the history of mankind cannot be achieved by human strength. Such unswerving loyalty to God and His commandments results from receiving the faith that Jesus had – in an unbroken communion with the Father. Thus a number of other times the New Testament writers link this patience with faith.

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:” (2 Thessalonians 1:4)

But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,” (2 Timothy 3:10)

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.” (Titus 2:2)

I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works” Revelation 2:19).

However, it is James who most explicitly relates patience with faith (and also with works).

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:3,4)

Here we see that steadfast endurance results only from faith and leads to the perfecting of the saints. Thus the character of God’s saints is linked with their unwavering perseverance as they wait for their Lord. This faith of Jesus enables the saints to patiently endure to the end as they mature in Christian perfection.

“Adventism Proclaimed” by Standish and Standish, pp 163-165.