A Question I Was Asked:

Does Not Revelation 12:17 Clearly Show that Christians in our Day Should Be Keeping the Ten Commandments?

Does not Revelation 12:17 clearly show that Christians in our day should be keeping the Ten Commandments?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, let us look at this:

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring - those who keep God's commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus. (Revelation 12:17).

First of all, yes, this does apply to this current church age. But allow me to say that what God's people should be doing is not only keeping His 'commands' (we will look more closely at John's use of that word in a moment), but holding fast to the testimony of Jesus, in short, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes, of course, the full details of His life, and the vital fact that He was the Son of God, things recorded for us in Scripture. The fact that my questioner here immediately puts a focus on the law part alerts me to the fact that he might be a little legalistic.

But, of course, John does not use the Greek word for 'law' in his writings at all (the word would be 'nomos'), he always prefers to use 'entolay,' which means commands, teachings, injunctions or instructions. He obviously uses the word to include all biblical instructions to the faithful, but not to specifically focus on law. So, in this context, to 'keep God's commands' takes full account of all New Testament advice and instructions as well, therefore, it is entirely incorrect to say that this is a specific reference to the 'ten commandments,' but - of course - those commandments are not suddenly bad, just that we now see that they are not wide enough; walking with Christ in faith and obedience cannot be tied down to ten specific points. So John uses the word 'entolay' (commands, teachings, instructions), but not 'nomos' (law).

By the way, these commands necessarily must include Christians loving each other:

34. "A new command ('entolay') I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35).

So, no, I don't think that Revelation 12:17 has too much relevance to the specific matter of the Ten Commandments at all, it is much wider and broader than that.

Robin A. Brace. March 14th, 2017.