“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’ ” (Revelation 14:12-13).
Have you ever thought: “I need patience and I need it right now”! Patience is a much needed virtue that is needed for our journey of faith (cf. 2 Peter 1:6). Patience is needed because this life is full of trials and persecutions that we have to endure as Christians. The virtue of patience helps us to cope with these trials by maintaining our faith in God and trusting in His ability to see us through.
The opening passage above speaks about “the patience of the saints” (Revelation 14:12). It must be remembered that the book of Revelation is highly symbolic in nature (Revelation 1:1). It is filled with symbolic language by which God “signified” the things which would shortly take place and how these things would affect His people. God’s people would need patience as they endured these things.
Earlier in the book Jesus speaks to the church at Smyrna about their need to patiently endure the trials they were about to face: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). It is interesting that even those saints that had passed on from this life struggled with patiently waiting for the Lord to avenge their blood that had been shed (Revelation 6:10-11).
However, patience is not easily acquired. It does not come to us all at once because we cry out for it, but is acquired through the testing of our faith (James 1:2-3). Patience becomes a part of who we are as we endure the trials we face while keeping our eyes fixed on God and His promises.
For example, earlier John writes about how Satan, who is symbolized as a great dragon, will use others to persecute God’s people and even to “overcome them” (Revelations 13:1-8). Some of God’s people would go into captivity and others would fall by the sword, but then he adds, “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:10). In other words, Christians would need to have patience and keep their faith in God’s promises even as they were being enslaved and killed!
The patience of the saints will be rewarded. John records, “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’ ” (Revelation 14:13). John sees a vision of a Lamb (i.e. Jesus) on Mount Zion and with Him were 144,000 (Revelation 14:1-3). Who do these symbolize? “These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:4-5). Their patience had been rewarded and they rejoice in God’s faithfulness to keep His promises as they sing, “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints” (Revelation 15:3).
I realize I need to grow in patience. I pray that God may help me keep my eyes fixed on Him and His promises as I endure the trials life brings and look forward to the day my patience is rewarded!
“By your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:19).