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Revelation 14 and End-time Endurance

Endurance in the End

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

 

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:13

 

The Bible testifies that, immediately prior to Christ’s Second Coming, the saints will be notable for their patience. And Jesus speaks of a salvation that comes at the culmination of an experience of endurance. Why doesn’t He use the word “saved” to describe them before the “end”?

 

In this three-part article I will try to show, first, that endurance is everywhere in scripture a condition of unending bliss; second, how men, unconscious of their jeopardy, mistakenly conclude that they are already safe; and third, how the exceeding difficulties of the final events on earth will prove by experiment that the Christian faith can endure.

 

Endurance is everywhere in Scripture a Condition of Unending Bliss

 

The angels that sinned were once pure and holy. Though innocent of any wrong, they were not secure against falling. And this is proved simply by the fact that they did fall. Their fall changed their condition and, ultimately, excluded them from heaven.

 

God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. 2Pe 2:4

 

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jude 6

 

Adam, though created in the image of God, had no security in that condition except as he continued to walk in faithfulness to his God.

 

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. Ge 3:22-23

 

The Israelites, though saved from Egyptian bondage and miraculously guided towards Canaan, failed to enter the Promised Land. Those that were saved by miracles at first were destroyed in the wilderness at last. Only two souls were excepted, and these were the men whose faith endured trial.

 

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. Jude 5

 

If young widows in the church begin to wander from Jesus and seek consolation in forbidden marriages with unbelievers, they will be casting off their first faith. Their condition will be perilous.

 

But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 1 Ti 5:11-12

 

When men seek after God and, by knowing Him, partake of the Divine Nature and overcome the lusts of the flesh, they have been delivered from a mighty foe. Yet, unless they keep those defeated lusts in abeyance they may be overcome again. In that case, it would have been better if they had never known the way of righteousness. Though they have been washed, they are dirty again.

 

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. . . .

[But] if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2 Peter 1:3-4; 2:20-21.

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1Co 9:27

 

When men believe, they do well. But to be Christ’s disciple truly, there is need of continuing in the believing experience. There are further truths to accept, higher attainments to reach in spiritual living. Faith and endurance are necessary if a man is to enter the Promised Land.

 

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. Joh 8:31

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Heb 10:36

 

When Paul preached in Corinth the believers accepted his words, stood in the faith, and rejoiced in Christian hope.  But unless they were to be attentive and keep their mind full of these soul-softening ideas, their past experience would be vain to save them. Notice the word “if”.

 

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2.

 

When we think of our Savior’s character, there are two virtues that ought to be considered simultaneously. On one hand He is so very good to those that are believing. On the other hand Jesus exercises severe discipline, excommunication, on those that fall from their faithfulness.

 

We may receive the blessing today and, by unbelief, warrant the severity tomorrow. We may repent of our unbelief and receive the grace of re-fellowship the day following. Standing by faith today is not proof of future favor with God. Endurance is required.

 

This is illustrated in the experience of Jews that rejected Jesus.

 

Because of unbelief [in Jesus, the Jews] were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. Ro 11:20-23.

 

Men may think of themselves as a home for Jesus. He knocks at the door of their hearts. Rev. 3:20. He lives in their hearts by faith. Eph. 3:17. Men may also be a home for evil spirits. The evil spirit may be compelled to leave his human house. But will he find Jesus living there if he returns at a later date? Not necessarily.

 

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Lu 11:24-26.

 

On what condition may a man’s heart be Christ’s home? The faith, manifest in courageous and hopeful expressions, that inviting our Savior to enter must be held “firm unto the end.”

 

Christ [is] a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Hebrews 3:6.

 

No obscurity veils the doctrine of required endurance. The saved, according to the passages cited already, are those that “endure unto the end.” They profit from the falls of Lucifer and Adam and the escaped Israelites. Those casting off their “first faith” have “damnation.” Though filled with the Divine nature they may fall “as sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” Those hoping to be Christ’s disciples “indeed” must “continue” living by His word. Endurance is needed to receive “the promise.” Those standing in the light of the gospel they have learned from Paul may believe “in vain” if they do not keep the gospel facts fresh in their “memory.” Those saved by faith must not be “highminded.” They should consider that temporary faith brought the “severity” of God on those that “fell.” We, the believers, may be the spiritual temple of Jesus on condition of holding “fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

 

Then how did men get the idea that those that live by faith have eternal security already? When those living by faith turn back from their faith, they turn back to destruction.

 

Some have stumbled over the Bible’s assertions that we may “know” that we have in heaven an eternal reward waiting for us. They can not see how we can be “knowing” this if there is danger of losing it. But a careful reading of Hebrews 10 shows that our “knowing” must be combined with a will to be faithful.

 

[You] took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Heb 10:34-39.

 

The people in church, however, are uncomfortable with a “knowing” that is conditional. And preachers brought up among them, believing and thinking like them, can be found to preach “smooth things” to a church that is ripe for judgment. In the end these preachers will console men who should rather be warned of the need to prepare for Christ’s Coming. God does not countenance such preaching.

 

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

 

Though we are in this time of pleasing fables there will be men that see the light. Just before the harvest of the earth in Revelation 14, just after the warning against receiving the Mark of the Beast, we find the beautiful promise that heads this article.

 

The word translated “patience” is a Greek compound word. The two parts mean literally “under” and “abiding.” Together they mean to hang on when under pressure. Elsewhere in the New Testament the word is translated “endurance.”

 

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

 

PART II

 

True and False Security

Part 2 of 3

 

Last month we considered the promise and prophecy of Revelation 14:12 that, just prior to Christ’s coming, the endurance of the saints will be notable. We concluded by showing that a false message of “peace and safety” would be given by preachers who know better how to please their congregations than how to teach scriptural truth.

 

This month we will consider how men, and preachers, may be beguiled into fulfilling the “peace and safety” prophecy.

 

The problem with the peace and safety message is not its content, but rather, its audience. The Bible does offer both peace and safety to the penitent believers. But to speak of these gifts as if they belong to those whose lives are not conformed to gospel order is wrong.

 

They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. Jer 23:17

 

Men whose lives are centered on pleasing self and who expect to be blessed of God because of some prior experience may hear the curses prophesied on the impenitent and conclude that those terrors are for others. How does God relate to such men? If a man hears the curses yet blesses:

 

“himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:’ The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. Deuteronomy 29:19-20

 

The names that are written “under heaven” are those found in the “book of life.” The very fact that names can be blotted out of this book ought to create an interest in the Biblical judgment.

 

Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Ex 32:32-33.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Re 3:5.

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Re 21:27

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Re 22:19

 

The Bible indicates, in the passages above, that a name may be inscribed in the Lamb’s book of life only to be blotted out at a later date. Our promise was that, this month, we would examine verses used by men who try to prove by scripture the opposite, that a man in right relation to God can never be lost.

For a Word Document, Rev_14_-_Endurance_in_the_End

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