The Commandments of God According to the Apostle John

Updated on April 11, 2018

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


© 2017 Tony Muse

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    • Tony Muse profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Muse 

      5 months ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Andrew,

      As I had mentioned to you on my Hub on the topic of the Spirit of Prophecy (https://hubpages.com/humanities/Spirit-of-Prophecy... I was raised within the same denomination that you currently attend. While I do believe that some of their "fundamental beliefs" and/or doctrines are sound, there are definitely others that I no longer hold to be true. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that we could probably save a little time here by cutting directly to the heart of the matter of why you believe that the "commandments of God" refer to the Decalogue as well as us loving God and our neighbor and not that we love God and and our neighbor. There shouldn't be a Christian out there who does not believe that we should serve no other gods, make no idols, take the name of the Lord in vain (another Hub of mine: https://hubpages.com/personal-essays/Do-We-Take-Th... kill, steal, covet, commit adultery, honor our parents or lie, correct? Thus the real issue becomes whether or not a Christian today should keep the seventh-day Sabbath, am I correct?

      Seventh-day Adventists are familiar with the concept of types and anitypes in scripture; the Sacrficial Lamb\Christ, earthly Jerusalem\the Jerusalem of above, the twelve tribes of Israel\the church built upon the twelve apostles with Christ as the Cornerstone, Moses delivered Israel from pysical bondage\Jesus delivered the world from sptiritual bondage, the earthly temple\the body of Christ aka the temple of God, national Israel\the Israel of God, etc, etc, the list goes on and on. Paul refered to the Decalogue, written on tablets of stone, as the "ministry of death" in 2 Corithians 2:7. They were of lesser glory than the Spirit that gives life. In other words, the Decalogue that was part of the statutes and ordinances of the old covenant betwen God and the nation of Israel (Deut. 5) and was inferior to what would be written on our heart, which was different and better than the old (Jeremiah 13:31-34). It was different because it was to be written on the heart instead of in stone, because it was enacted with a better promise (Hebrews 8:6). The old covenant of which the Decalogue was a part of is now obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). So, in this way the old covenant andth Decalogue were but shadows of the new covenant. Paul even uses this analogy in Colossians 2 in regards to the new moons, festivals and Sabbath days; they were but shadows of Christ. The "rest" that was represented in the fourth commandment was but a shadow of the rest that we now have in Christ. This type/antitype analogy was used in Hebrews 4.

      The Decalogue depended on the two greatest commandments, without which, they are merely works, unable to save anyone.

      May God bless!

    • profile image

      Andrew Fields 

      5 months ago

      Dear Tony,

      I praise God for your humble reply, glory to God that we can have this technology so we can share ideas in unity of our faith in Jesus Christ:)

      Brother Tony, I would have to humbly disagree, the commandments in Rev 14:12 are not referring (in a generic sense anyways) to love. Is the text referring to love in the totality of the law?? Amen! It is!

      Let´s look at the proof text for my explanation, turn with me to Matt 22:37-49, the question here is in verse 35. "Which is the great commandment in the law?" The answer is this "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Then Jesus ends with this very important point "On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets."

      The first 4 commandments are for God, the last 6 are for our fellow man. So in looking closely we see that if we truly love God we will not put any other god´s before Him, if we love Him then we won´t fashion an idol to worship...etc And if we love our fellow man we won´t steal from him/her, if we love our fellow man we won´t lie to him/her, if we love our fellow man we won´t covet his/her property...etc. So simply love fulfills the law, it´s so amazing to see the law this way, it´s a law of love! Love is merely the principle that sums up the law.

      Romans 13:8-10- Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

      It´s very important that we don´t single out meanings of words based only on the writers other letters. Remember, the whole new testament is based on the teachings of Jesus and let´s not forget their only other reference to God is the Old Testament. We can, however, compare styles between letters of the same writer to find context, but I think we have to be careful comparing their letters to single out words and determine their meaning. This is not hermeneutically sound, true hermeneutics compare the whole Bible to find context (here a little, there a little Isaiah 28:10).

      In conclusion to this topic, are the commandments love? Yes they are! Do we have to love to fulfill the commandments or the law? Yes we do! Is the word "commandment" in John´s letters/books speaking solely and generically by definition love? I would say based on what the Bible teaches, no. The word commandment is speaking directly about the Decalogue specifically, and using love to describe the principle of the law.

      Thanks for letting me comment, God bless:)

    • Jack Jenn profile image

      Jack Jenn 

      6 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Tony,

      Well it seems our views on many thing are similar, if not identical. It's a sad thing that all cults are so persuasive of which there are so many now and all believable. How true that Satan starts with the truth to disarm and then distorts and twists it to his advantage and by that time it's too late and usually, nothing short of a monumental event will change that person's view, which was my case. I would even go as far as saying the cult mentioned that I was in is a 'soft' cult, (if there is such a thing) as a lot of their doctrine agrees with what is said in scripture but nevertheless it is a cult because they like so many, openly say it is the only way. Anyway I am free of that now and it's amazing how God can and will intervene in our lives if the motives in our hearts are pure.

      You are certainly correct in saying about organised religion and that there are many good people in all of them and I believe the saddest part of that is that most in whatever religion they belong to don't read their Bible for themselves, just relying on what is preached to them - one of Satan's well known tricks. How dangerous is that?!

      Your 3rd paragraph, so, so very true.

      I mentioned ichthys.com to you in the hope you might have a look at it and in view of what you have just told me, I will try and reinforce that firstly by saying he doesn't try to conform scripture to his doctrine, he conforms his doctrine to scripture, which is sadly lacking these days.

      I can say that when I was searching for sound doctrine on the 'net I would type in specific questions and I looked at hundreds of what 'so called theologians' had written and cross checking everything I was reading with my Bible, it didn't take long to determine fact from fiction. And I promise you Tony if you allow yourself to look at it I honestly think you will agree with me about it. When I first found ichthys, it is such an unassuming site, no hoopla or razzmatazz, no glossy photos or videos, just plain facts and I first passed it by without a second look and it took me some time before I found it again. I first found it back in 2014 and there is a wealth of information there and I haven't finished it yet (nor has he) and I would suggest starting either in Peter's epistles, which aren't very long or the Satanic rebellion, which I'm sure will whet your appetite for more as it did me. Every day I thank God that He led me to it and I thank him for writing it.

      Hoping the evening goes as you hope.

      And again Tony with brotherly love,

      Jack.

    • Tony Muse profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Muse 

      6 months ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Jack,

      Thank you for sharing your background. Sorry that you got mixed with that group. It is really sad that there are those who make themselves out to be something that they are not. I had never heard of this group before so I looked them up to see what they are about. It is odd that they seem so mysterious and secretive about their organization and beliefs.

      I am with you, I have very little trust in organized religion as a whole, although I do acknowledge that there are always good people in them. I too shy away from connecting myself to any denomination or even eschatological or exegetical views, it seems like everyone focuses on one topic and disregards other facets of scripture in order to fit their own views.

      I too had to abandon the "truth" in which I had been taught all of my life and study the Bible for myself. It is funny how so many things that I once accepted as good doctrine seem so ridiculous to me now. But, I feel that I am still very far from having the understanding that I desire. It is a constant journey of study and prayer.

      I don't know much about ichthys.com, but I am always hesitant to trust completely in any website or anyone's teaching for the sole reason that I believe that scripture should be the sole source of wisdom and understanding. Our view of scripture can be greatly influenced by external sources so I am always critical and on my guard.

      I have to run now, my son is graduating from college and there is a program this evening.

      Take care!

    • Jack Jenn profile image

      Jack Jenn 

      6 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Tony,

      Just so glad to form a mutual bond of friendship with you and fellowship in the one who is so dear to us - if only others would as well.

      In this material world of Laodicea, so many are so blind as to what are the true values of what we should all be trying our very best to hold onto to receive His 'well done' at the end. Of course, we know there are some who have a long forgotten desire to serve Him one day but they also forget our days are numbered and anyone could be called home before making that choice.

      I too, love Paul's writings and there are many more we can have the hope of meeting on the other side in fellowship sweet. I am nearly 74 and unfortunately, there aren't many in my life who would even dare to call themselves Christian these days. And many of those who do call themselves Christians fall far short.

      Just to give you a little of my history - when I was about 6 years old my mother sent me to Sunday School where I learnt about God and Jesus and I held onto it up to about age 14 where, like most kids at the time, I drifted away from it. Then into my 20's and various friends invited me along to the churches they were going to but it didn't seem right - and I tried many denominations. I eventually drifted away from those as well. Then one day much later I was working for a man who kept asking me to come to his 'church' and I went along - for 11 years. It was the worse thing I could have done - it was a cult. My family knew, much to their worry but I didn't. And this cult is in your country too. It doesn't have a name as such but loosely goes by the names, the 2x2's or 'the way' and probably a few others as well. They hold meetings usually in school halls and fellowship in peoples houses. Their ministry are called 'workers' and is unpaid but supported by their followers, living in their homes. When I first started going to these meetings, I used to ask what evidence do you have that this ministry goes back to Jesus and no-one ever gave me a truthful answer, always saying you must have faith that it is.

      What got me out of it was a serious family crisis that I needed to devote my full attention to and after some time that was resolved. Then I found some disturbing information about it on the internet, which really hurt me as I trusted it. This is probably the reason for my complete distrust of religion today knowing their hypocrisy and trust only in my Bible, the Spirit and ichthys.com. You may have heard or know of that ministry, which is Bible based and free to all. If you don't know of it I can highly recommend it. His name is Robert Luginbill and he has many credentials to his name.

      So sad to see the degeneration of so many in the world which has led to spiritual paralysis and loose standards that is so prevalent now, particularly in the community that did things behind closed doors but is now so blatantly displayed and I shudder to think where it will lead. I wrote an article on it a little while ago but I never posted it as I knew what would come from it. They have either forgotten what God thinks and says about it but more likely, they just don't know and if they want salvation their only chance is abstention, full stop. We are told to love the sinner but not the sin. Some even profess to be Christians.

      I'll make this do for now Tony but I'm so glad to put things behind us even with differences of opinions and if you're ever in Australia there is always a place for you at our table.

      Again with brotherly love,

      Jack.

    • Tony Muse profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Muse 

      6 months ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Jack,

      No worries, my brother. I had already put all of that behind me with the hopes that we could both forge ahead in peace and brotherly love. Perhaps we both failed to adhere to Paul's advise found in 2 Timothy 2:14, but let's move forward with a spirit of constructive dialogue that will help us both to mature in the Word and better reflect the nature of Christ.

      I am honored that you have taken the time to read all six of my Hubs, thank you very much! I have been on a holiday as of late and haven't spent much time on HubPages, I hope to resume shortly as time permits.

      God bless!

    • Jack Jenn profile image

      Jack Jenn 

      6 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Tony,

      A number of things I want to say here but firstly, let me begin with saying how much I have enjoyed reading these six articles of yours - truth in every one and so much food for the mind and heart. You have a nice way of expressing yourself with the reasons of your acceptance of the written word. And without speaking face to face, the written word is the only way to understand what is being said and further, to evaluate the character of that person. We can all be guilty of perceiving another's intent wrongly, perhaps accidently and I believe both of us have done that recently in our conversations and I must admit that I judged your character wrongly and I can now see you have a delightful, humble spirit that I didn't see before.

      I hope, by a sincere apology to you we can put whatever differences of opinions aside and move forward in love and respect, not only toward each other but to others as well as I am quite sure that both of us would want others to see that we bear the marks of Christ within by our actions at all times. I know you understand we will all fall from time to time but as long as we pick ourselves up and continue so as not to lose what we are trying to hold fast. It's only when we let go of Jesus' hand that Satan gets a victory. We can all say things without first putting our brain into gear and sometimes, I could cut my tongue out - but at least I can feel remorse and have the desire to do better.

      The reason I chose this article to contact you was simply because of how you explained the love that should be poured out of us, not just to the ones we love but to others as well, which unfortunately is sadly lacking across society today. It has made me realise my own shortcomings and the need to do better.

      Will make this do for now Tony and with brotherly love,

      Jack.

    • Tony Muse profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Muse 

      11 months ago from Texas, USA

      Hi Charlie,

      I agree with you, the Decalogue was a set of civil laws given specifically o the children of Israel at Sinai. In a very short amount of time the Israelites had already proven that they had forgotten who had led them out of Egypt and these tablets of stone were the statutes and ordinances of the contract that God made with them.

      I was reminded recently that there is no conflict between the the law of Moses and the law of grace. Through Christ we now know that all of the law is fulfilled in "two words".

      Peace, my friend!

    • Tony Muse profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Muse 

      11 months ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you, Anna.

      You are correct, thank you very much for reading my article. John is one of my favorite writers in scripture. His message is simple and consistent.

      Blessings!

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      11 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      Good work brother. Th law of Moses is no longer in effect.

      the 10 are part of the law and were fulfilled with the law and were part of the last age (were temporary and given only to Israel, never to anyone else) which Jesus replaced with the current age . The age of Christ, the final age of man.

      In this age Jesus (who has been given all the authority of God until the end of this age) is all until the end when He returns all power and authority to God and God becomes the Omega. The God who is and was and is to come will have come and once again and forever will be God the only possessor of His authority.

    • Anna Watson profile image

      Anna Watson 

      11 months ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great article! Jesus often condemned the Pharisees for getting caught up in the letter of the law at the expense of the meaning behind the law. I feel we often get caught in that same snare.

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