Chapter 18: How Does One Define the Remnant?


One of the most difficult portions of scripture for me to comment upon is the point that “all Israel will be saved.” Does that mean that the saints of Israel as well as sinners will be saved? Does it mean the family of those who married “outsiders” will be saved? Does it mean only those who obeyed the laws of God and faithfully worshipped Him will be saved? Gratefully, neither you nor I have to make that call.

The scriptures teach two major themes regarding the redemption of the Jews, throughout the Bible. The first point is frightening, in my opinion. Only a remnant will be saved. Listen to one occasion where God’s word makes that point.

2 Kings 21:12-15 (NKJ)

12 “therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle.
13 ‘And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.
14 ‘So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies,
15 ‘because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.’ “

Then the prophet Ezra scolds Israel. The time was “then” but the sense is “now.”

Ezra 9:6-15 (NKJ)

6 And I said, “O my God: I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.
7 “Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day.
8 “And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.
9 “For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments,
11 “which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity.
12 ‘Now therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.’
13 “And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this,
14 “should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor?
15 “O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”

The Scriptures say, in many places that all Israel will be saved. If you read long enough you also see that only a remnant will be remain faithful. Listen to an “all Israel” account.

Isaiah 45:15-19 (NKJ)

15 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!
16 They shall be ashamed and also disgraced, all of them; they shall go in confusion together, who are makers of idols.
17 But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever.
18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Since neither you nor I have to judge who will enter the Kingdom (and under what conditions), it becomes incumbent on us to focus on our own personal relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Will you be part of the remnant? Will the Father say to us, “come unto your rest, good and faithful servant?” That becomes the only question that matters.

As a personal aside, I believe that many will be in the Kingdom, but not all will have the same rewards. We don’t serve the Lord for our “rewards.” We serve Him in response to His love for us and what He has done to reconcile our spirit with His Spirit. I would never suggest that you are able to rely on God’s mercy if you deny the Messiah, don’t honor God and are not filled with the Holy Spirit. God may be merciful in one or more of those cases but why would you test His mercy? Our Lord wants us to honor Him in every sense of the word, right now, and to not put off responding to His love.

Finally, if some Jews are not “saved,” who decides on those who will comprise the remnant? That is not a question you and I should try to answer. Judgment, has been given by God, to the Messiah. Listen.

Isaiah 11:1-12 (NKJ)

1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
3 His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.
6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”
11 It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.
12 He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

The first 5 verses tell us the basis of the judgment to come. Read them carefully for they teach you the simple truth about judgment. No comment is necessary, but note that the “rod of His mouth” is a reference to the Word of God. Listen to these two quotes.

Revelation 1:16 (NKJ)

16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

This reference to the Messiah then leads you to this quotation in Hebrews, one that I believe you should commit to memory.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJ)

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

If you haven’t yet figured out how to get to know God, at the most personal level, it is the absence of His Word in your daily life that is handicapping you. Reread these two verses, again and again, until the truth sinks in. This “commentary” is intended to serve a single purpose. Go to the Word of God as a starving soul and He will feed you as only He can.

Regarding Isaiah 11:1-2, above, Christians believe, and the scriptures confirm, that the genealogy of Jesus, on the human level, is traced to Jesse, the father of David and that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Listen to this quote. It is one of hundreds that make the same point, over and over again throughout the scriptures. I beg you not to stop reading.

John 5:19-47 (NKJ)

19 …”Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
20 “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
21 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
22 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
23 “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
26 “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
27 “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 “and come forth– those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.
32 “There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.
33 “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.
34 “Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.
35 “He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
36 “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish– the very works that I do– bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
37 “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
38 “But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.
39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
40 “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
41 “I do not receive honor from men.
42 “But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
43 “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
44 “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
45 “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you– Moses, in whom you trust.
46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
47 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

These are the words of Jesus Christ, the One who was sent by the Father to be our Savior and to be the Lord of our life, the One who sent the Holy Spirit to fill us with the peace, wisdom and love of God. This business of who is part of the remnant and who is not can be set aside right now. You need not wonder any longer. Acknowledge the promised Messiah and accept the certainty that He offers, now. Every verse is important but read verses 24-27 again


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