Continuing with Revelation 17:14, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful”, we know the faithful are with the Lamb, who is the Lord of lords and King of kings, when He returns to war with the beast and his army.
But who are these faithful, the faithful of today?
The Bible shows us the lives of many faithful. One such man is Stephen. His story is found in Acts 6-8:1. Chosen to oversee the needs of the people as the disciples continued to give themselves to the word of God, he is described as, “…a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost…And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.”
Stephen’s testimony infuriated the religious powers of that day, so much so they stirred up the people against him and finally , “…came upon him and caught him, and brought him to the council.”
After leveling charges against Stephen, they asked him, “…Are these things so?”
If they didn’t want to hear the answer, they should not have asked the question. Stephen had an out. He could have denied everything, begged for mercy, and promise to quit speaking for Jesus. Instead, he said, “…Men, brethren, and fathers hearken…” In other words, “Listen up, for this is my answer.”
Stephen began at the beginning relating the history of God’s faithfulness to his covenant people, reminding them of who God is, “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS MY FOOTSTOOL: WHAT HOUSE WILL YE BUILD ME? SAITH THE LORD: OR WHAT IS THE PLACE OF MY REST? HATH NOT MY HAND MADE ALL THESE THINGS?”
He proceeded to remind them of their faithlessness. “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of who ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”
The word Stephen spoke, convicted them, cutting them to the heart, but did not convince them to bring about conversion. Instead of clinging to truth, they chose to cast Stephen out and stoned him even as he called on God saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Saul consented to his death.
Both descriptions of Stephen call him a man full of faith. Herein is the definition of the faithful. Being full of faith, Stephen held to the deep conviction of the truth of the Gospel, even when faced with unjust accusations, insults, and death.
The faithful then and today are among those who have heard and received God’s call to be chosen for a personal relationship with Him. He is their God and they are His people. They persevere by His Spirit within them. Jesus defines the faithful and the faithless with this picture in Matthew 24:45-51. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing…But…that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming: And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come…in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The faithful will hear at the end of their journey their Lord say, “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matt. 25:21.
How do you define faithful? Are you among them?
Heavenly Father, may each who read this be among the called, the chosen, the faithful, if not now, then upon hearing your word, for faith comes by hearing. Amen.