The purpose and intent of this site is twofold:

1. Share the Word of God as found in the Bible.

2. Comment on current events as they relate to Bible prophecy

Monday, August 3, 2015

Only the Chosen Remnant


Isaiah 10:20-22 NET  At that time those left in Israel, those who remain of the family of Jacob, will no longer rely on a foreign leader that abuses them. Instead they will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.  (21)  A remnant will come back, a remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.  (22)  For though your people, Israel, are as numerous as the sand on the seashore, only a remnant will come back. Destruction has been decreed; just punishment is about to engulf you.

The book of Isaiah contains an abundance of material on many future subjects such as:  the coming Messiah; the Millennium kingdom; the wrath of God; and the return of a remnant.  This future material is generally mixed within designated chapters with short term prophecies regarding:  the invasion of Assyria to northern Israel and later to southern Judah; and the coming invasion of Babylon to Judah.  Occasional it is debated if a particular section of scripture concerns a near term prophecy or a far term prophecy regarding the end-times.

The Remnant
The Isaiah 10:20-22 scripture above is placed after an Assyrian confrontation prophecy which appears to be immediately followed by an end-times wrath of God prophecy just prior to the prophecy scripture presented above.  For all practical purposes, no remnant returned to Israel after the Assyrian conquest.  The population was either destroyed or taken as exile captives.  Isaiah lived to see the captivity of the nation of Israel, when the Assyrians destroyed Samaria and carried the ten tribes into exile up near the Caspian Sea.  This prophecy of a returning remnant may have given hope to some of Israel. It spoke of a future time when the return of Israel would occur, and the prophet Isaiah tells us specifically that only a remnant would return.  Of course, we now know the remnant will be ancestors far removed from the original captives and they will be subjects of the Kingdom of God.  Although the “sand on the seashore” represents an innumerable amount of people, it is a sad state that only a small remnant will return.  Disobedience and the lack of faith in God appears to be the constant story of the people of the earth.

An historical period when the people of Israel “will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel” has not occurred to my knowledge.  This spiritual event will only begin in the Millennium.  Isaiah writes the nation will be destroyed with “complete destruction, one that is decreed”.  Although the population of Israelites will be “as numerous as the sand on the seashore” only a remnant will return.  The “sand on the seashore” quote can be sound in Genesis 32:12 is a promise to Abraham and ultimately represents all believers who kneel to the King of the Kingdom.

But you said, 'I will certainly make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand on the seashore, too numerous to count".  (Genesis 32:12 NET)

The current population of Jews is large but perhaps not quite as large as the sand of a seashore.  However, concerning the Jews “only a remnant within them will return.” This remnant will be a small portion of the current population, which is verified by Isaiah. These are the ones who will receive the promise of God (and I should add - the promise through Jesus Christ). The Apostle Paul understood and verified this when he wrote in Romans 9:27, “And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, "Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved” (NET).

Other Isaiah scriptures speak of a returning remnant.  Isaiah 11:11-12 is noticeable in that it mentions the four corners of the earth.  The preceding material of this chapter is definitely Millennial in nature.

At that time the sovereign master will again lift his hand to reclaim the remnant of his people from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the seacoasts. He will lift a signal flag for the nations; he will gather Israel's dispersed people and assemble Judah's scattered people from the four corners of the earth.  (Isaiah 11:11-12 NET)

Prophets Speak of a Remnant
Other Old Testament prophets also speak of a returning remnant.  Joel 2:32 occurs immediately after a passage concerning the wrath of God as does the Obadiah 1:17 passage.  Zechariah 8:11-12 concerns a Millennial peace.

It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who survive, just as the LORD has promised; the remnant will be those whom the LORD will call.   (Joel 2:32 NET)

But on Mount Zion there will be a remnant of those who escape, and it will be a holy place once again. The descendants of Jacob will conquer those who had conquered them.  (Obadiah 1:17 NET)

But I will be different now to this remnant of my people from the way I was in those days,'says the LORD who rules over all, 'for there will be a peaceful time of sowing, the vine will produce its fruit and the ground its yield, and the skies will rain down dew. Then I will allow the remnant of my people to possess all these things.   (Zechariah 8:11-12 NET)

Will the idea of a “remnant” of believers be a novel construct after the wrath of God and the beginning of the Millennium?  Paul speaks of Elijah the prophet exclaiming, "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left and they are seeking my life!"  Paul continues with, “But what was the divine response to him?  "I have kept for myself seven thousand people who have not bent the knee to Baal." So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  (Romans 11:3-5 NET)  There has always just been a remnant of believers, and as written by Paul, there is currently a “remnant chosen by grace”.

Dr. Stephen Jones – God’s Kingdom Ministries:  Paul reminded his readers, and all of us today, that during the days of Elijah only a remnant of 7,000 remained faithful from several million Israelites which are referred to as those chosen by grace.

In other words, there is no justification to say that all Israelites are chosen. Neither are all Israelites part of the remnant. Only the remnant is chosen according to God’s election. An unbelieving Israelite has no right to call himself one of God’s chosen people. His genealogy has nothing to do with it. His faith is the evidence that he is chosen.

Christian Zionism today is based on the faulty belief that Jews who have no faith in Jesus Christ are yet “God’s chosen people.” Some contend that as long as they have faith in God, it is sufficient, even if they reject Jesus Christ. Nothing can be farther from the truth, for Jesus is the God of the Old Testament. Furthermore, 1 John 2:23 tells us, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also”.

No Jew who denies Jesus as the Christ “has the Father.” This was not written by an anti-Semite. It was written by the apostle John by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The idea that Jews can be saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ is one of the more recent heresies being popularized by some popular Christian Zionists.

Do Jews Need Christ?
God has not rejected the Israelites.  Actually God has not rejected anyone.  The nation of Israel refused to submit to the righteousness of Jesus, just as religious, self-righteous people refuse to submit today.  Paul used himself as an example, but does that mean submitting to Jesus is the only route to salvation?  From a New Covenant perspective the question must be answered as “yes”.  Does that mean repentance and submission to God the Father no longer is valid as some current Jews consider?  Again, from a New Covenant perspective the answer would be “yes” again. 

So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
(Romans 11:1 NET)

Some may argue that true repentance and submission to God the Father under the Old Covenant may actually be valid for the Jews of today.  That thought appears to contradict New Testament scripture, but who knows the mind of God and who speaks for God?  No one that I am aware of.

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