COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, TESTIMONY OF JESUS
The remnant “keep the commandments of God,” not as a means of salvation, but as a demonstration of their love for their Savior. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Our love for others, expressed in the keeping of God’s commandments, proves our love for God: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2,3).
Satan has a particular hatred of God’s law because it condemns his aspirations. The first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) directly opposes his expressed goal, “I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14). The second commandment, forbids the worship of idols, the chief means that he uses to trick people into worshiping him. The fourth (Sabbath) commandment is based on the fact that “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them” (v. 11), a claim that Satan cannot make. The commandments not to murder and lie condemn his primary means of achieving his goals. The tenth commandment not to covet strikes at the heart of what he wants most: a position that he has not been appointed to (“I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”, Isaiah 14:13).
Satan does everything he can to get rid of the law, because “sin is lawlessness” and “the devil has sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:4,8).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> He even brings the doctrine of lawlessness into the church with “new covenant” theology that claims that the law of God was “nailed to the cross”<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> But Jesus himself said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law…but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>
The Remnant are also a threat to Satan and "his property" (the world that he holds in captivity) because they “have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The “testimony of Jesus” is defined as “the Spirit of prophecy”(Revelation 19:10). “Prophecy” does not just mean telling the future—“He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3). The prophet has a specific message from God for individuals or for the church. “If all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed: and so falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” (vs. 24,25). Through prophecy people can become aware of the strongholds of Satan in their lives and escape from them.
According to Ephesians 4:11-15, the gift of prophecy will be present in the church until sin, division, and misunderstanding of God have ceased—in other words, until Christ returns. The apostle Paul exhorted that we should “earnestly desire the best gifts… Desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy… I wish… even more that you prophesied… Desire earnestly to prophesy” (I Corinthians 12:31, 14:1,5, 39).
These verses show us that the gift of prophecy is a specific spiritual gift that Paul tells us to “desire.” He makes it clear that not all Christians will be prophets,<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> but a clear mark of God’s Church is that the spirit of prophecy is active in it.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> However, even if many Christians are not prophets themselves, the “spirit of prophecy,” in other words, the Spirit that filled the prophets, should be present in every born-again believer. Having special messages from God should not be the exclusive domain of a few “super Christians”, but should be a characteristic of all of God’s people as they learn to hear His voice and share what He says.
Some Christians have comforted themselves with the thought that they are members of the “Remnant Church” that “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”. But we should be clear that belonging to a church that teaches the keeping of God’s commandments does not make one a part of the remnant.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> It is the remnant people who “keep the commandments of God.” Belonging to a church that has prophets, or having a bookshelf full of books by prophets does not make one a part of the remnant.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> It is God’s Spirit, the same Spirit that filled the prophets, that empowers each person who is a part of God’s remnant to obey the messages of the prophets, in other words to "keep the commandments" and to share “the testimony of Jesus.” As we will see in the next chapter, Satan has a well-laid plan to force the remnant to break God's commandments and to silence their testimony.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> Although legalism (the attempt to be saved by keeping the law) is incompatible with saving faith, the answer to legalism is not to throw out of the law. God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin; He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:3,4). Paul asked, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Rom 3:31). Why? Because “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20) and “the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). The law has never been a means of salvation, but it does reveal our sinful condition, showing us our need for Christ, and thus bringing us to Jesus that he might save us.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> The text quoted is from Colossians 2:14 and reads, “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” This cannot refer to the Ten Commandment law because “handwriting” shows the human element in its production, whereas the Ten Commandments were “written and engraved on stones” by the finger of God. In addition, these “requirements” are “against us” and “contrary to us” whereas “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law that is against us is “the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2) which says, “the soul that sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). This law was delineated in “the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb” (Deuteronomy, 29:1). This “second” covenant meets the specifications of Colossians 2:14. It was handwritten: “You shall set up for yourselves large stones and whitewash them with lime…and you shall write very plainly on the stones all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 27:2,8). It had many requirements: “Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image…Cursed is the one who moves his neighbors landmark…Cursed is the one who takes a bribe” etc. (vs. 11-28). It promised punishment: “If you do not obey…all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, all these curses will come upon you” (28:15). It was “against us”: “When Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book… Moses commanded,…‘take this book of the law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you” (Deuteronomy 31:24-26). The curses associated with this law were nailed to the cross with Jesus: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> In contrast to many modern theologians, Jesus and the New Testament writers continually emphasized keeping the commandments. See Matthew 5:17-19, 7:12, 15:3-6, 22:36-40, 23:23, Mark 7:8,9, 10:17-19, Luke 10:26-28, 16:17, 23:56, John 14:15,21, 15:9-14, Romans 2:12-14, 3:20,31, 7:7,12-14, 8:3,4, 13:9, Galatians 3:24, Ephesians 6:2,3, 1 Timothy 1:8,9, James 1:25, 2:8-12, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 1 John 2:3,4,7, 3:22-24, 5:2,3, 2 John 1:4-6, Revelation12:17, 14:12, 22:14.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> In 1Corinthians 12 Paul makes it clear that there are a variety of spiritual gifts, (vs. 8-12), that the Spirit decides who will receive a specific gift (v.7,11), that each gift is essential for the whole body of believers (vs. 14-25) and that they are for corporate rather than individual benefit (v. 7).The gift of prophecy may be emphasized in the last-day remnant because at that time special messages from God will be more essential than ever and there will be many deceptive messages supposedly from God (Matthew 24:5,11,23-26).
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> A careful comparison of Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:9 shows that the “spirit of prophecy” is the gift of prophecy. The remnant has the “testimony of Jesus” (the spirit of prophecy)” (Revelation 12:17 19:10), and this means that they have people among them with the gift of prophecy (Revelation 22:9).
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> The Greek word for remnant (loipon) is plural, showing that Paul is referring to people rather than a single organization.
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> Many denominations have institutionalized the rejection of some of God’s commandments, such as the second which forbids idolatry and the fourth which requires the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath. Other denominations reject the idea that there could be prophets in the church today. Believers will need to come out of these churches in order to be a part of the remnant.