Rev. 14:12 – This demands the perseverance of the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus. (HCSB)
This demands the perseverance of the saints
Verse 12 reads, “This demands the perseverance of the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus.” This is similar to the message of Rev. 13:10: “This demands the perseverance and faith of the saints.” In both passages, the Lord reminds the persecuted saints – and perhaps even their persecutors – that He will judge the wicked. Yes, the beast will wield great power, ascend to a worldly throne, and command people of every nationality to bend the knee to him. Yes, he will harangue, imprison, torment and slaughter those who refuse to worship him. At times it will seem that faithfulness to Jesus is unbearable and unrewarded. But those who “keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus” one day will be vindicated. Those who take Christians captive will be imprisoned themselves. Those who harass God’s people will find there is no rest for them in this life or the life to come. Those who take the sword and extinguish the lives of the faithful will long for death themselves but find it illusive as they suffer God’s wrath.
“In the fiery ordeal of persecution which awaits all who will not worship the beast, the faith and patience of the followers of God and Jesus shall be put to the test, and proved” (R. Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, D. Brown, A Commentary, Critical an Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments, Rev. 14:12).
The saints who persevere will be rewarded for their godly works at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Jesus urges His followers to lay up treasure in heaven, where it is kept safe and will endure (Matt. 6:20). The apostle Paul informs us that our works of faithfulness, like gold, silver and precious stones, will be refined in the fires of judgment and emerge purified (1 Cor. 3:11-15). And in Revelation Jesus reminds us that our faithfulness will be rewarded (Rev. 2:23; 22:12).
In fact, the New Testament mentions at least five “crowns” or rewards believers can send ahead of them to heaven:
- The crown of righteousness, for those who love the appearing of Jesus and live as if He could return at any moment (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
- The incorruptible crown, for those who persevere in their Christian walk (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
- The crown of life, or the martyr’s crown (Rev. 2:10).
- The crown of rejoicing, or the soul-winner’s crown (1 Thess. 2:19-20).
- And the crown of glory, for those who shepherd the flock faithfully (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Those who reject Christ also will have their rewards when they stand before the great white throne and are judged out of the books (Rev. 20:12). Without exception, they will be cast into hell – not because of their evil works, but because their names are not found written in the Lamb’s book of life. Their “rewards” also follow them, an everlasting reminder that no matter how evil they were, there was forgiveness available but rejected, and no matter how good they were, their righteousness was not sufficient to pay their sin debt.
Of believers in glory, Matthew Henry writes, “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; you have before seen their patience exercised, now you see it rewarded” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Rev. 14:6-12).
Next: The dead who die in the Lord – Revelation 14:13