Bible Ballistics: Vol. 15 No. 23 What’s A Remnant???
I’ve heard a lot lately about a “remnant”, and I think I’d like to share a few things about a/the remnant that we may not have considered. The first thing I want us to consider is the English meaning of remnant.
Remnant: “a small remaining, usually small part, quantity, number or the like; a fragment or scrap; a trace; vestige .…”
For our purposes today we could even refer to ‘remnant’ as the “remainder” in the Greek language used in the New Testament; in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, it is defined also as remainder or residue (something that remains after a part is removed). So, the issue is the remainder (in general) of something, but we must let the context determine what the scripture is saying about ‘a’/’the’ remnant. And just in general, the remnant, as mentioned in the Old Testament is almost always referring to the nation and/or the people of Israel, except where it is used in a simple general way of anything or anyone that “remains” of something (sometimes specific, sometimes just a general, unspecific people or thing).
Why is this important? Because we must base our conclusions, teachings and our doctrines on the whole counsel of God, not a bit here or a bit there without continuity. We must let The Word of God speak truth to our hearts. God has made promises, that is sure and certain, but all of the promises are not for everyone—there are specific promises, that were made to specific people/s, times, events and/or nations and we must remember that “Context Is King”! So, let’s consider some scriptures and see what conclusions we can make; letting scripture interpret scripture.
Paul spent all of Romans 9-11 explaining to us the promises and future of Israel in regard to the Gospel; we’ll just consider part of chapter 9 and hear what God has to say! The context begins with Paul relating the words of Elijah—a prophet of God who had his ups and downs just like we do. (See James 5:16)
“God hath not cast away his people
which he foreknew.
Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias?
how he maketh intercession to God
against Israel, saying,
3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets,
and digged down thine altars;
and I am left alone,
and they seek my life.
4 But what saith the answer of God unto him?
I have reserved to myself
seven thousand men,
who have not bowed the knee
to the image of Baal.
5 Even so then
at this present time also
there is a remnant
according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace,
then is it no more of works:
otherwise grace is no more grace.
But if it be of works,
then is it no more grace:
otherwise work is no more work.
7 What then?
Israel hath not obtained
that which he seeketh for;
but the election hath obtained it,
and the rest were blinded
8 (According as it is written,
God hath given them
the spirit of slumber,
eyes that they should not see,
and ears that they should not hear;)
unto this day…..
11 I say then,
Have they stumbled that they should fall?
but rather through their fall
salvation is come unto the Gentiles,
for to provoke them
…20 Well; because of unbelief
they were broken off,
and thou standest
Be not highminded, but fear:…
… 25 For I would not, brethren,
that ye should be ignorant of this mystery,
lest ye should be wise
in your own conceits;
that blindness in part
is happened to Israel,
until the fulness of the Gentiles
be come in.
26 And so all Israel
shall be saved:
as it is written,
There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer,
and shall turn away ungodliness
27 For this is my covenant unto them,
when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel,
they are enemies for your sakes:
but as touching the election,
they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
29 For the gifts
are without repentance…
…33 O the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom
and knowledge of God!
are his judgments,
and his ways
past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord?
or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him,
and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him,
and through him,
and to him,
are all things:
to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Portions of Romans 11:2-36
While Paul is talking about Israel coming to faith in Jesus, that time has not yet come when Israel (as a nation) will come to Jesus, but it will! Paul refers to individual Jews who have believed, but as a nation there is a time coming when Israel will repent and believe in the Crucified Lamb! And only a diligent study of scripture will give us true insight into the times and seasons; so, we have to be careful of our conclusions and be sure that they line up with The Word! Let’s consider some passages and I’d like to simply give my opinion/conclusion of the immediate context/subject being mentioned as a/the ‘remnant’! We are living in a time of deceit and disregard of God, His Word and HIS SON!
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed,
whom the Lord shall consume
with the spirit of his mouth,
and shall destroy
with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him,
whose coming is after the working of Satan
with all power
and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness
of unrighteousness in them that perish;
because they received not
the love of the truth,
that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause
God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned
who believed not the truth,
but had pleasure
in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
While ‘remnant’ isn’t used here, Paul makes it clear that “saying so, doesn’t make it so”! There are those who claim the name of Jesus, but have not made a true commitment to Jesus, in repentance and faith—there are those (I know them and so do you) who are familiar with scripture, who have been in church their whole lives, but put off committing their lives to Jesus in saving faith. They know enough about scripture to claim that when the ‘anit-christ’ comes they will choose to follow Jesus; Paul says that won’t happen; for if they have chosen to reject (and putting off salvation is rejecting) Jesus until some other time, then God says that HE has a different plan, “for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”! They will fall for the lie because they “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”! God said it, not me—I’m simply one of the messengers! We who are God’s must look up and press on, knowing that the times are speeding upon us!
“And when these things begin to come to pass,
then look up,
and lift up your heads;
for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28
And while the time is late, you can still respond to God’s convicting call on your heart; but remember, that time will not go on forever. As God also told Noah:
“And the LORD said,
My spirit shall not always strive with man,
for that he also is flesh:” Genesis 6:3a
It is only God’s grace that has given us the time that we have.
“The Lord is not slack
concerning his promise,
as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering
that any should perish,
but that all
should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
God is ever working to bring men and women, boys and girls to Himself, but we must understand and recognize that the enemy of men’s souls is ever at work to ‘steal..kill…and destroy’, and He uses lies and deceit to fool and blind the eyes of mankind and keep them from the cross. So, we must be careful what we believe and always measure our beliefs by God’s Word! In other words, let The Word of God be your plumbline. God will lead us into truth if we will but “study to shew thyself approved unto God”! (See 2 Timothy 2:15 & 3:15-16). Satan is ever at work sabotaging truth—God’s truth; but his time is short!
“For such are false apostles,
into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel;
for Satan himself is transformed
into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing
if his ministers also
as the ministers of righteousness;
whose end shall be
according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
The apostle John addresses an issue, reminding us that “saying so, doesn’t make it so”! Are you following the world, or Jesus? Do you just have ‘words’ or do you have the Savior?
“For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
is not of the Father,
but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away,
and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.
18 Little children,
it is the last time:
and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come,
even now are there many antichrists;
whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us,
but they were not of us;
for if they had been of us,
they would no doubt have continued with us:
but they went out,
that they might be made manifest
that they were not all of us.
20 But ye have an unction
from the Holy One,
and ye know all things.” 1 John 2:16-20
Even as Jesus said in Matthew 7:
“Wherefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day,
have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you:
depart from me,
ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:20-23
I love what the author of Hebrews challenges us to pursue, the life of focus—focus on Jesus not the world. And our lives can be encouraged by the testimony of those who have gone before us—and our lives ore to be an encouragement to those who are following in our footsteps. Where are your footsteps leading those around you? If there is a remnant of the faithful, are you part of it? Or are you failing to lead down the narrow way? Will you run YOUR race or God’s?
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside
and the sin
which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run
the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus
of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down
at the right hand
of the throne of God.
3 For consider him
that endured such contradiction of sinners
lest ye be wearied
and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3
We can endure! We can lead others to the cross where Jesus still saves, and changes lives today! Today is the day of salvation! Will you come to HIM? If you are already HIS, won’t you live for HIM— by HIS power today. There is a lost and dying world that needs to see Jesus in you and me!
as workers together with him,
beseech you also that ye receive not
the grace of God
2 (For he saith,
I have heard thee in a time accepted,
and in the day of salvation
have I succoured thee:
behold, now is the accepted time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.)”. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
It is by HIS Power we are saved; and it is by HIS power that we are kept in HIS ways, and whatever God may say about a remnant, we can walk close with HIM by HIS power, and for HIS glory! Don’t be one of those who walks away to be made manifest “that they were not all of us”! For God knows, no matter what others may think!
“Nevertheless the foundation of God
having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them
that are his.
And, Let every one that
nameth the name of Christ
depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:9
“Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a good work
will perform it
until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6
“Now unto him that is able
to keep you from falling,
and to present you
faultless before the presence of his glory
with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour,
and ever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25
And just for reference sake, here are some New Testament passages on ‘remnant’ for you to consider. Let’s base our conclusions on God’s Word/words and “stand fast in the evil day” so that “having done all” we may stand and be found faithful!!! If you are interested, you can find others with the aid of a concordance. Most of the Old Testament references are either specific to Israel or used in general reference and conversation of persons or things other than Israel.
Romans 11:5– (a remainder) of Israel
Romans. 9:27—of Israel
Matthew 22:6–(Remaining ones) parable—in general
Romans 9:27–of Israel
Revelation 11:3.–Of Israel & General
Revelation 12:17—of Israel @ tribulation
Revelation 19:21—of the ‘beasts’ army” & general
I hope this will bless you and encourage you to consider studying God’s Word regularly, always keeping context in mind for “Context IS King”!
Amen and Amen!