A Protestant lady visiting my church asked why we keep Saturday as the Sabbath. I explained that we love Jesus, and Jesus said if we love Him to keep His commandments. (See John 14:15) She responded indignantly, “But you can’t keep the commandments!” I should have been surprised, but I had heard such a response before from others. While many professed Christians say we can’t keep the law or commandments, my Bible says otherwise.
And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Revelation 12:17 NLT
The author of Revelation sees people keeping the commandments. So it must be possible. Later John sums up the three angel’s message by saying,
This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. Revelation 14:12 NLT
Again John sees people obeying. He also sees how they obey. Faith makes them obedient. Faith does not do away with obedience. It leads to obedience! Now let’s look at a text where many see a great discrepancy, but I don’t see any real discrepancy. Revelation 22:14 in the King James Version says,
Blessed are they that do his commandments…
However other versions like the NIV and NLT read,
Blessed are those who wash their robes… Revelation 22:14 NLT
So which is it? Do His commandments or wash their robes? Are the NIV and NLT making an attempt to do away with the law, by saying “wash their robes” instead of “do the commandments” as some suggest? Is this some sort of conspiracy to do away with the commandments? While KJV proponents suggest that the KJV “Do His Commandments” is the more accurate reading, I see no discrepancy, because all those who wash their robes will be keeping the commandments. Just like Revelation 14:12 showed us, all those who have faith keep the commandments. Revelation 7 is talking about the law and the seal of God. Here John describes those sealed with the law in Revelation 7:14 KJV ,
These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Here even the KJV describes those who have been sealed with the law of God as those have washed their robes, just like the NIV and NLT describe later in Revelation 22.
I conclude that “Do His Commandments” and “Wash their robes” are not contradictions, but rather mean the same thing. In Revelation 14:12 we see those who have faith keep the commandments. You can’t separate the two. And by comparing Revelation 22:14 with the NIV, NLT and KJV we see that all those who have washed their robes keep the commandments. You can’t separate those two either. By keeping the two concepts together, we are reminded that we cannot keep the Commandments on our own, but only through the power of Jesus Christ working in and through us. In Genesis 2:15 God told Adam to “keep” the garden. What He meant was to cherish it and protect it. Care for it. So when Jesus tells us to “keep” the commandments He is simply telling us to cherish and protect them. In Luke 7:50 Jesus tells a woman who had just washed His feet that her faith had saved her. That faith was more than a mental acknowledgement of truth. It was a love response. By washing Jesus’ feet and anointing Him with perfume she was cherishing and protecting Him. When we literally cherish Jesus, it produces a literal faith, which literally washes our robes from sin and lawlessness, which turns us into literal doers of the law and commandments. If my theory is correct, perhaps it could explain why Jesus, speaking of the woman who had washed His feet, said,
Wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” Matthew 26:13 NLT
Did He mean that He intended for this woman’s story to go right along with the Good News about the seal of God and the three angels’ message?