The Commandments of God According to the Apostle John
I have heard many times that Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 (Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus) refers to Christians who keep the Ten Commandments in the end time. The problem that I have always had with this argument is that in my view the book of Revelation is a message to the church for all ages and not just the church that exists in the end time. Throughout history mankind has either accepted to follow the ways of God or to follow after the ways of man, essentially this is the core of the difference between accepting the seal of God and the mark of the beast.
Now let's look at scripture. If the apostle John was indeed the one who penned the book of Revelation, then we need to take a look at John's writings to compare this phrase “commandments of God" Let’s start with the Gospel according to John and the words of Christ:
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments".
The context here is not the Ten Commandments or even the law, but loving one another.
John 15:9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another.
Again, the Ten Commandments are not in context, but abiding in His love is. Let’s move on to John’s epistles.
1 John 2:3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
Notice that the Ten Commandments are never in context in any of John’s writings concerning the commandments of God.
And of course, the texts that some use to state that the “true end times church” will keep the Sabbath and that Sunday is the mark of the beast, which is no way ever in context:
Revelation 12:17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
There are some who call themselves “Christian” and yet do not walk in the light as stated in 1 John 2 by loving their neighbor. And, there are those who show love and compassion upon their neighbor but do not profess to be Christian. It is my belief that Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 are those who testify that Jesus is the Son of God who came in the flesh and walk in the same light that Jesus did by loving their brother as commanded by Christ. It is my opinion that stating that these verses are talking about Ten Commandments keeping Christians, mainly for the sake of supporting the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, is taking these passages out of context.
*All passages quoted are from the NASB