“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” Rev 14:12-13
This follows the three proclamations which the angels make: 1) the everlasting Gospel preached to every nation, 2) the fall of Babylon, or the kingdoms of this world, 3) the warning that the end of those who refuse to be marked with the name of YHVH, and instead receive the mark of the name of the beast, will be plagues, fire, brimstone, and torment for ever and ever. During the time that these three events are happening, which have been occurring since the Reformation, the saints will need patience. In other words, it will not all be accomplished in one month or one year or ten years. We will need patience until we come to the end of the kingdoms of this world, and until we come to the end of those who receive the mark of the beast.
There is an interesting translation issue in verse 12. The phrase, “here are those” is not in the Greek. The sentence would read, “Here is the patience of the saints who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” There are the two witnesses again – those who keep the commandments of God, who is Judah, and those who keep the faith of Jesus, who is Ephraim.
It is in fact NOT God’s plan that the two remain separate forever. At some point in time, according to Ezekiel, the two witnesses will be made one:
Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand. And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” Eze 37:15-23
This is one of the unfulfilled prophecies remaining in Scripture. It immediately preceeds the chapters in Ezekiel which describe the battle of Armageddon. God intends to make Judah, the Jews, those who keep the commandments of God, and Ephraim, the Christians, those who keep the faith of Jesus, into one people in His hand.
In that day, Ephraim will be careful to not defile themselves with transgressions and detestable things – in other words, they will also keep the commandments of God. And in that day, Judah will acknowledge their king, who is David their king forever and forever – in other words, they will also keep the faith of Jesus. There will be ONE people of God as there is ONE God.
Because the two people becoming one, as spoken of in Ezekiel, is echoed here, in that the saints of God are those who BOTH keep the commandments of God AND the faith of Jesus, I believe the events of Ezekiel: the dry bones living, God’s people becoming one, and the battle of Armageddon, parallel what we are reading from now on in Revelation.
Christine’s book The Revelation of Jesus Christ Revealed, based on these studies but greatly expanded, is now available at Revelation Revealed Online. You may also be interested in reading the Book Extras and joining in on the Discussion.