12:17 THE REMNANT
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). This text identifies the particular targets of Satan’s wrath—they are a small percentage of those who call themselves Christians. The King James translation, “the remnant of her seed” (loipon tou spermatos) is the literal translation of the original Greek text, and links this group with the many references to the “remnant” in both the Old and New Testament.
In the Old Testament the remnant was the small number of God’s people who remained after destructive judgments had come upon them because of their unfaithfulness. “Thus says the Lord God: ‘How much more it shall be when I send My four severe judgments on Jerusalem—the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence—to cut off man and beast from it? Yet behold there shall be left in it a remnant who will be brought out” (Ezekiel 14:21,22).<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> The remnant refuse to compromise with the enemy, depending wholly on the Lord: “The remnant of Israel...will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the Lord...The remnant will return to the Mighty God. (Isaiah 10:20-22).
The apostle Paul called those of Israel who accepted the Messiah a remnant: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved” (Romans 9:27). Joel prophesied that there would be a remnant at the end of time: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh…and I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth…there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:28-32).
In the history of the church as portrayed in the messages to the seven churches a remnant appears during the darkest chapter (Thyatira, the church in the Middle Ages). The message to Thyatira rebukes the majority who have compromised—“I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants” (Revelation 2:20). But there is a remnant: “To the rest [Greek loipos, meaning remnant) in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan… hold fast what you have till I come” (Revelation 2:20-25). Satan had corrupted the majority of the church, but he was not satisfied as long as there was a remnant that could threaten his kingdom. This is why “the dragon was enraged” and began to lay plans to defeat the final remnant, “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).
Continue to next section: COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, TESTIMONY OF JESUS
<![if !supportFootnotes]>  <![endif]> See also Ezra 9:14,15, Jeremiah 42:2.