SYNOPSIS – The “Dragon” set off to wage war on the “seed of the woman,” those who have the “testimony of Jesus” – Revelation 12:17.
Having been expelled from heaven, the “Dragon” pursued the “woman.” However, his effort to destroy her was thwarted with help from the “earth.” Enraged, he went off to wage war against the “remnant of her seed,” A group identified as those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.” The two descriptions provide verbal links to other passages in Revelation.
(Revelation 12:17) – “And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, they that keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.”
Those who “keep the commandments of God.” “Keep” translates the Greek verb téreô. The phrase does not refer to keeping the commandments of the Mosaic Law, but to those who “keep” the words of Jesus recorded in the book of Revelation:
(Revelation 1:3) – “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it.”
(Revelation 2:26) – “And he that overcomes, and he that keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations.”
(Revelation 3:3) – “Remember therefore how you received and heard; and keep it, and repent.”
(Revelation 3:8) – “I know your works; behold, I have set before you a door opened, which none can shut, that you have a little power, and kept my word, and did not deny my name.”
(Revelation 22:7-9) – “And behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he that keeps the words of the prophecy of this book…I am a fellow-servant with you and with your brethren the prophets, and with them that keep the words of this book.”
The reference to “keeping” the words of Jesus provide a connection to the promises made by him to the overcoming saints from the “seven churches of Asia.” This means the faithful saints from the seven churches are included in the “remnant of the woman’s seed.”
Likewise, the “testimony of Jesus” is a verbal link to previous statements about overcoming believers, beginning with John on the isle of Patmos:
(Revelation 1:2) – “He sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John;who gave witness of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, even of all things that he saw.”
(Revelation 1:9) – “I John, your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
(Revelation 6:9) – “And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.”
(Revelation 11:7) – “And when the two witnesses have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them.”
(Revelation 12:11) – “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and bey the word of their testimony; and because they loved not their life unto death.”
In the preceding passages, “testimony” or martyria is connected to persecution and even violent death for Jesus, beginning with John, who found himself on Patmos because of his “testimony,” and always, it is “testimony” for Jesus.
Both descriptions are applied to the “saints” in the fourteenth chapter of the book, the same group that was attacked by the “beast from the sea” – the “saints”:
(Revelation 14:12) – “Here is the perseverance of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
(Revelation 13:7) – “And it was givento the beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”
What about the “remnant of her seed”? Does “remnant” point to a smaller and select contingent within the larger body of Christ? In this context, the only offspring produced by the “woman” was the “male child, a son”; that is, Jesus. When Satan was expelled and victory declared, a voice declared that the “accuser of the brethren” had been cast down – those who “overcame” the “Dragon” by the “word of their testimony.”
In short, the “remnant of her seed” is identical to the “brethren” of Jesus, those who faithfully follow the “Lamb” wherever he goes.