The word remnant means something left over, a remainder, as when one has a piece of fabric remaining after the rest has been used or sold. A remnant is a surviving trace or vestige and often refers to a small surviving group of people. In the Bible remnant refers to the relatively small group of Jews who have believed and will believe in the future in Jesus as their Messiah and are born again (Jn 3:3+). One dictionary says a remnant is "What is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe" which is an excellent description of the remnant of Israel, a nation which has been persecuted for the past 2000 years, most recently in the horrible Holocaust where up to 6 million Jews were savagely murdered. MacKay says remnant "is a two-sided word. In the first instance it speaks of disaster and loss ahead. Israel as a people will not emerge unscathed from the scrutiny and outpouring of divine judgment. But there is promise in it too. It will not be a total catastrophe, for there will be a divinely preserved remnant." Paul defined this preserved believing remnant of Israel as a Jew who is one "inwardly (by) circumcision (which) is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God." (Ro 2:29+) (Related topic Scriptures on Circumcision)
God Leaves a Remnant - Something remaining. In the Old Testament some passages refer to total destruction of a nation (e.g., the Babylonians in Jer. 50:26). When God brings judgment on the people, however, he does not destroy the faithful with the wicked, but leaves a remnant (Ezek. 6:8+; Mic. 2:12+). The concept of a remnant stood for that part of the nation who were faithful even though most people rejected the ways of God (Isa. 4:2-4+). The fact of the existence of a remnant is said to be due to God himself (Isa 1:9+; Zeph 3:12+). The remnant, then, is the real people of God, a concept we also find in the New Testament, “a remnant chosen by grace” (Ro 11:5+).(The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook)
Tyndale Bible Dictionary summarizes the remnant concisely explaining that it refers to a "group of people who survive a catastrophe brought about by God, ordinarily in judgment for sin. This group becomes the nucleus for the continuation of mankind or the people of God; the future existence of the larger group depends on this purified, holy remnant that has undergone and survived the judgment of God. The remnant concept is found in all periods of redemptive history where catastrophe—be it natural disaster, disease, warfare, or other instruments—threatens the continuity of God’s purposes. From the Creation account to the end of the OT, the concept is progressively sharpened. (Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)
Gary Cohen in his comments on the Hebrew word sheerith which is translated remnant writes that "in every usage, carries forward the basic root idea of sa'ar and speaks of that which has survived after a previous elimination process or catastrophe.....When applied to human survivors, sheerith can refer to Amalekites (1Chr 4:43) or heathen from Ashdod (Jer 25:20). In the vast majority of cases, however, context shows that the remnant is that which has come or will come from out of the house of Israel. Here it may further refer to a remnant out of Israel which was in existence and living during the lifetime of the biblical speaker or writer, hence a historic remnant. This is the case in such passages as Isa 37:4, where Hezekiah seven centuries before Christ asks Isaiah to “lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left,” i.e. those Israelites still surviving in Jerusalem after Assyria had earlier slaughtered and led away captive the Northern Kingdom. This remnant was still alive when Hezekiah referred to them as such, sheerith, however, finds what may be its most intriguing usage as a prophetic technical term representing the final future remnant of Israel, namely, those Jews who survive to the end of this present age (Ed: And not just the Jews who survive but who place their faith in Messiah - cf Ro 11:26-27) upon whom God showers all of the blessings which have been promised to Israel through the centuries. Thus sheerith is used in Zech 8:6, 11, 12 speaking of the remnant and residue of Israel at a time when Jerusalem shall be called “a city of truth” (Zech 8:3)… God will in the end, after great tribulation, fulfill all of his promises of blessedness to the nation out of Abraham, and he will do it by blessing the remnant, the survivors by grace of time, human cruelties, and divine judgments (so Ro 11:25–29). (TWOT)
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines remnant as "the part of a community or nation that remains after a dreadful judgment or devastating calamity, especially those who have escaped and remain to form the nucleus of a new community. The survival of a righteous remnant rests solely on God’s providential care for His Chosen People and His faithfulness to keep His Covenant promises. The concept of the remnant has its roots in the Book of Deuteronomy (Dt 4:27, 28, 29, 30, 31), where Moses warned the people of Israel that they would be scattered among the nations. But God also promised that He would bring the people back from captivity and establish them again in the land of their fathers. This concept was picked up by the prophets, who spoke of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. The concept was extended to apply also to the gathering of a righteous remnant at the time when the Messiah came to establish His kingdom." (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
J Vernon McGee has some very pithy comments on the doctrine of the "remnant" writing that
Never throughout the long history of Israel did 100 percent of the nation worship God (ED: I WOULD CALL THAT AN GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT!). Always only a remnant was faithful to Him. God always preserved a remnant. Actually, it was a remnant of those which came out of Egypt that entered the land. Practically the entire generation that came out of Egypt died in the wilderness. It was their children who entered the land. God preserved a remnant. Even in Elijah’s day God had a faithful remnant. Elijah was very pessimistic. He cried, “Lord, I only am left” (see 1Ki 19:10). But God told him, “You aren’t the only one; I have seven thousand in these mountains who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” (1 Ki 19:18, Ro 11:4+) Because they were hiding from Ahab and Jezebel, Elijah didn’t know about them....Also, there was a remnant of believers at the coming of Christ (cf Simeon Lk 2:25+, Anna Lk 2:36-38+; although the leaders of the nation rejected Him and had Him crucified, there was a remnant that received Him (Nicodemus - cf Jn 3:1-3+, Jn 7:50+, Jn 19:39+ , Joseph of Arimathea - Lk 23:51+). Later, on the Day of Pentecost, a great company turned to Christ; yet it was a remnant. (Acts 2:38-41+) It always has been a remnant. Coming down to our day, there is a remnant even in the church that bears His name. Although I have made the statement that I think there are more believers in our world than we realize, it is also true that in the church there is only a remnant of true believers in Christ! Many of us would be surprised if we knew how few church members were genuine believers even though they are quite active in Christian circles and in Christian service. Many people in our affluent society have become church members. We are living in a period that has produced a lot of pseudo-saints. They are not genuine by any means. They have not been born again (Jn 3:3, 5, 7+)....Also in our day there is a remnant of believers among the people of Israel—probably more than we realize (WATCH SOME INCREDIBLE TESTIMONIES OF JEWISH MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN).....Yet God always has His faithful remnant. The word remnant in Scripture is very important; don’t just rush over it. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
In Scripture the meaning of Remnant depends on the context and sometimes refers only to a physical remnant. As used in Ezekiel and many places in the OT, remnant is used in a "spiritual" sense and refers to individual Jews in the nation of Israel who over the past 4000+ years placed their faith in the Messiah (see Gal 3:8, 16+) and were reckoned RIGHTEOUS (cf Ge 15:6+). The tragedy is that the majority of Israel refused to receive Yeshua as Savior and Redeemer. However, the fact that there has always been a believing REMNANT of Israel reflects God’s faithfulness to keep His Covenant promises made to Abraham (see Covenant: Abrahamic versus Mosaic)
Jeremiah prophesies that "In those days and at that time (be alert for expressions of time, stopping and asking when? In this case it is when Messiah returns to set up His earthly kingdom and rule from Jerusalem) declares the LORD, 'search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none (because only Jews who have expressed faith in Messiah will enter the Messianic kingdom); and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I shall pardon (God's sovereign pleasure chooses to pardon some sinners instead of destroying them all) those whom I leave as a remnant." (Jer 50:20)
In Ezekiel 5 God presented a picture which "previewed" the doctrine of the remnant instructing Ezekiel to "take one third (of the shaved hair) and strike it with the sword all around the city and one third you shall scatter to the wind; and I will unsheathe a sword behind them" and then to "Take also a few in number (this suggests the remnant) from them and bind them in the edges of your robes." (Ezek 5:2-3+)
God promises Israel a remnant in Ezekiel 6 declaring “However, I will leave a remnant (yathar; see another word translated remnant - sheerith), for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries. (Ezekiel 6:8+) This declarative promise by the Covenant Keeping God reflects His sovereign choice as well as His mercy and compassion to not destroy all of Israel but to preserve part of the nation as a godly line of Abraham who expressed faith in His promised Messiah even though most rejected Him.
In Ezekiel 12 God says "But I shall spare a few of them (remnant) from the sword, the famine, and the pestilence that they may tell all their abominations among the nations (Gentiles) where they go, and may know that I am the LORD. (this latter phrase suggesting that they are not just a preserved physical remnant but a spiritual remnant who trust in Jehovah) (Ezek 12:16+)
Later God elaborates on the remnant explaining to Ezekiel that "survivors will be left (a remnant) in it who will be brought out, both sons and daughters. Behold, they are going to come forth to you and you will see their conduct and actions; then you will be comforted for the calamity which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought upon it. Then they will comfort you when you see their conduct and actions (they are a god fearing remnant who believe in God's promise of a Messiah Who is to be their Redeemer), for you will know that I have not done in vain whatever I did to it," declares the Lord GOD. (Ezek 14:22-23+)
Matthew Henry has an excellent comment (but he should be read with discernment when he comments on Old Testament eschatology [future or prophetic events] for he is prone to interpret the promises to Israel as now applying primarily to the church, which can lead to great confusion in studying the Old Testament. This same general caution applies to most of the pre-1900 commentaries! The most literal is that by Jamieson, Fausset, Brown)
Judgment had hitherto triumphed, but in these verses mercy rejoices against judgment. A sad end is made of this provoking people, but not a full end. The ruin seems to be universal, and yet will I leave a remnant, a little remnant, distinguished from the body of the people, a few of many, such as are left when the rest perish; and it is God that leaves them. This intimates that they deserved to be cut off with the rest, and would have been cut off if God had not left them… (God will leave) some who will have escaped the sword. God said (Ezek 5:12) that he would draw a sword after those who were scattered, that destruction should pursue them in their dispersion; but here is mercy remembered in the midst of that wrath, and a promise that some of the Jews of the dispersion, as they were afterwards called, should escape the sword.
Old Testament scholar Richard Patterson commenting on the remnant in Micah 2:12-13+ explains "God’s promise to preserve a segment of his people through the punishment of his divine judgment for covenant trespass introduces the remnant theme (Mic 2:12), prominent in Old Testament prophetic literature (e.g., Isaiah, who popularized the idea by naming his son Shear-jashub, or “a remnant will return,” Isa 7:3). The remnant motif implies both judgment and deliverance. The very existence of a remnant of Hebrews is based on the mercy of God. The Old Testament prophets apply the remnant motif to three types of groups:
(1) the historical remnant composed of survivors of the catastrophe of God’s judgment (Jer 23:3);
(2) the faithful remnant of Hebrews who maintain a true faith relationship with Yahweh (Amos 5:15); and
(3) an eschatological remnant of Hebrews and Gentiles who will participate in the blessing of the restored Davidic kingdom (Amos 9:12; cf. NIDOTTE 4.14–15).
Micah refers to a “remnant” (sheerith ) five times (Micah 2:12; 4:7; 5:7, 8; 7:18), and each is connected with oracles of hope (see Waltke’s discussion in NIDOTTE 4.938–939). The remnant purified, who go out strong as a lion (Mic 5:7–8), represent the eschatological remnant who will share in the blessing of the restored Davidic kingdom (cf. Mic 5:2–5). The remaining four references to the Hebrew remnant appear to combine type one (a historical remnant of those who survive the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles) and type three (an eschatological remnant who will be purified and experience the restoration of the Davidic kingdom). Such telescoping of near historical fulfillment and distant eschatological fulfillment is not uncommon in biblical prophecy.
Theologically, the remnant theme is important because it mediates the tension of the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. The first “guaranteed Israel an everlasting status in God’s program of redemption,” while the second “threatened a sinful nation with death” (NIDOTTE 4.938). God’s true prophets resolved the theological tension by espousing the doctrine that he would preserve a godly remnant of Israelites through the judgment associated with the curses of the Mosaic covenant (Deut 28; cf. Dt 30:1–5).
The remnant theme testifies to God’s faithfulness in keeping his covenant promises (Ps 145:13; Da 9:4), and it displays his great mercy because He does not remain angry with rebellious Israel forever (Isa 57:16; Jer 3:12). In the NT, the remnant of Israel (i.e., the Jews) is not displaced or eliminated, but stands united with those Gentiles (or wild olive branches grafted into Abraham’s tree, Ro 11:17) called to be one people of God (cf. Ro 9–11). (Minor Prophets- Hosea through Malachi Cornerstone Biblical Commentary- Andrew E. Hill, Richard D. Patterson, Philip W. Comfort)
Isaiah records that
Unless the LORD of hosts Had left us a few survivors (a remnant), we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah. (annihilated, obliterated, blotted out)" (Isa 1:9) and later adds "In that day (at the inception of Christ's millennial kingdom reign on earth) the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel (the remnant). And it will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem (the remnant) will be called holy (solely because God has chosen them and they have expressed saving faith in the Messiah) -- everyone who is recorded for life (the remnant) in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning (those left after the washing, purging & burning will be "the remnant")" (Isa 4:2-4+).
Isaiah 10 records that a small nucleus of God’s people, preserved by His sovereign grace will form a righteous remnant in the midst of national apostasy. Isaiah in context is prophesying of Israel's coming destruction by Assyria, but moves from the near fulfillment of a physical remnant to speak of a future believing Jewish remnant…
Now it will come about in that day (the immediate context referred to the Assyrian invasion of Israel which prefigured a future day of destruction, the time of Jacob's distress, brought to an end by return of Messiah) that the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped (the remnant), will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel (Note this has yet to be fulfilled as most of modern Israel remains in unbelief in their Messiah). A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob (Israel), to the mighty God (a remnant who has placed their faith in the Messiah). For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant (those who by grace through faith are saved) within them will return; a destruction is determined (in essence "predetermined," reflecting God's sovereign control over the events of human history), overflowing with righteousness. For a complete destruction, one that is decreed, the Lord GOD of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land (referring to the Great Tribulation, the last three and one half years before Messiah returns to put an end to the ruthless reign of the man of sin, the antichrist)." (Isa 10:20-23-note)
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;
The remnant as discussed in more detail below are the true children of God, a doctrine Paul refers to in explaining what will happen to the Jews --
In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant (referring to Jews who have placed their faith in the Righteous Messiah not in their unrighteous "good deeds") according to God's gracious choice (they are saved by grace not by works lest they boast). (Ro 11:5+)
Stated another way, the remnant is a living reflection and continual reminder of the unmerited favor of Almighty God.
The number of the remnant is always small. In Zechariah 13:8 it is a third of all Israel. In Isaiah 6:13 it is only a tenth of the total and in Ezekiel 5:3 the remnant is pictured as only a few hairs wrapped in a fold of a garment.
After the siege and fall of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar
led away into exile all Jerusalem and all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. (2 Ki 24:14)
So in one sense these poor who remained in Judah were a physical remnant. There are several instances when Ezekiel mentions the remnant that would escape the destruction of Jerusalem and would be scattered from the Promised Land (Ezekiel 5:10; 11:13; 14:22).
As alluded to above, in Deuteronomy we find Moses first prophesy that Israel would be removed from "the promised land" if she proved disobedient, and yet in the same prophecy God promised that if Israel would return to Him, He would be merciful and restore her (Dt 30:1-5). Isaiah predicted the northern 10 tribes would be removed by Assyria. Ezekiel prophesies of a removal of most of the Southern kingdom, with only a small physical remnant left in Jerusalem. Israel experienced both of these removals in the Assyrian (722BC) and Babylonian (586BC) captivities as well as after the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 70AD, at which time the people of Israel were scattered throughout the Gentile nations, in fulfillment of Moses' prophecy that…
the LORD will scatter you among the peoples (the Gentile nations) and you shall be left few in number among the nations, where the LORD shall drive you. (this refers to a physical remnant of Jews who were dispersed in 70AD - even today there are only a relatively small number of Jews scattered throughout the world) And there you will serve gods, the work of man's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress (most completely fulfilled during the last half of Daniel's Seventieth Week) and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days (we are in the last days now and they will culminate in the final restoration of the believing remnant of Israel at the second coming of Christ predicted by Zech 13:8, 13:9 this believing remnant of "one-third" equating with Paul's "all Israel will be saved" - Ro 11:25-29-see note, you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice. For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them. (Deut 4:27-31).
Scofield writes that one key to unlocking prophecy is a proper understanding of the doctrine of the remnant which he summarizes as follows - In the history of Israel, a "remnant" may be discerned, a spiritual Israel within the national Israel. In Elijah's time 7,000 had not bowed the knee to Baal 1Ki 19:18. In Isaiah's time it was the "very small remnant" for whose sake God still forbore to destroy the nation Isaiah 1:9. During the captivities the remnant appears in Jews like Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Esther, and Mordecai. At the end of the 70 years of Babylonian captivity it was the remnant which returned under Ezra and Nehemiah. At the advent of our Lord, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, and "them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" Lk 2:38 were the remnant. During the church-age the remnant is composed of believing Jews - Ro 11:4+, Ro 11:5+. But the chief interest in the remnant is prophetic. During the great tribulation a remnant out of all Israel will turn to Jesus as Messiah… (Rev 7:3-8+). Some of these will undergo martyrdom (Re 6:9-11+) some will be spared to enter the millennial kingdom Zech 12:6-10+, Zech 13:8-9+. Many of the Psalms express, prophetically, the joys and sorrows of the tribulation remnant.
In sum, the majority of physical Jews have been unbelieving and thus rejected by Jehovah, but grace and mercy have been given to a godly group, the remnant. There never has been nor ever will be a complete end to Israel as is spuriously taught in "replacement theology." The spiritual (believing, righteous by faith) remnant is those Jews who have in the past or will in the future place their trust in the Messiah, regardless of whether they lived before or after the Cross, for "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) When the Messiah returns to set up His righteous kingdom, He will regather and cleanse the final Jewish remnant and fulfill God’s covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
POINT OF CLARIFICATION - In the New Testament the believing Jewish remnant of Israel is what Paul referred to in Galatians 6:16+ as the Israel of God. This phrase is a synonym for believing Jews in the New Testament era, not the New Testament Church. Some teach that God is finished with the nation of Israel and that the phrase Israel of God refers to the "Church!" (See replacement theology or supersessionism) They believe that the NT Church has replaced Israel as the recipient of the Old Testament promises initially made by God to the nation of Israel. This is simply not what a literal, normative reading of Scripture teaches and the Spirit of God foreseeing that such a gross distortion would occur, inspires Paul to correct this aberration with the Word of Truth in Romans 9-11. Unfortunately, Romans 9-11 is not taught by many churches with the result that many evangelicals are not familiar with these important chapters that answer the question "What are God's plans for Israel?" If you are confused about God's plan for Israel, I highly recommend the studies by Tony Garland on Romans 9-11 in which gives a Biblical based in depth answer regarding What Will Happen to Israel? (
- Romans 9:1-5 Paul's Sorrow Concerning Israel
- Romans 9:6-13 Children of the Promise
- Romans 9:14-24 The Potter and the Clay
- Romans 9:25-33 A Remnant Will be Saved
- Romans 10:1-13 The Righteousness of God
- Romans 10:14-21 Has Israel Not Heard?
- Romans 11:1-6 God Has Not Cast Away The Jews
- Romans 11:7-15 Life from the Dead
- Romans 11:16-24 Two Olive Trees
- Romans 11:25-36 The Salvation of Israel
ALL USES OF THE WORD "REMNANT*" IN THE NASB:
Gen. 45:7; Num. 21:35; Num. 24:19; Deut. 3:11; Jos. 12:4; Jos. 13:12; 2 Sam. 14:7; 2 Sam. 21:2; 1 Ki. 22:46; 2 Ki. 19:4; 2 Ki. 19:30; 2 Ki. 19:31; 2 Ki. 21:14; 1 Chr. 4:43; 2 Chr. 34:9; Ezr. 9:8; Ezr. 9:13; Ezr. 9:14; Ezr. 9:15; Neh. 1:3; Ps. 76:10; Isa. 10:20; Isa. 10:21; Isa. 10:22; Isa. 11:11; Isa. 11:16; Isa. 15:9; Isa. 16:14; Isa. 17:3; Isa. 28:5; Isa. 37:4; Isa. 37:31; Isa. 37:32; Isa. 46:3; Jer. 6:9; Jer. 8:3; Jer. 11:23; Jer. 23:3; Jer. 24:8; Jer. 25:20; Jer. 31:7; Jer. 40:11; Jer. 40:15; Jer. 41:10; Jer. 41:16; Jer. 42:2; Jer. 42:15; Jer. 42:19; Jer. 43:5; Jer. 44:7; Jer. 44:12; Jer. 44:14; Jer. 44:28; Jer. 47:4; Jer. 47:5; Jer. 50:20; Ezek. 5:10; Ezek. 6:8; Ezek. 9:8; Ezek. 11:13; Ezek. 25:16; Amos 1:8; Amos 5:15; Amos 9:12; Mic. 2:12; Mic. 4:7; Mic. 5:7; Mic. 5:8; Mic. 7:18; Zeph. 1:4; Zeph. 2:7; Zeph. 2:9; Zeph. 3:13; Hag. 1:12; Hag. 1:14; Hag. 2:2; Zech. 8:6; Zech. 8:11; Zech. 8:12; Zech. 9:7; Mal. 2:15; Rom. 9:27; Rom. 11:5
The following list includes most of the Scriptures referring to the Jewish remnant. In some passages the reference is more to a physical remnant than to a believing remnant, one that has placed their faith in the Messiah. Click on the references link to read the passage in context. Make a list of what is readily discerned about the word remnant. A proper understanding of this truth especially developed by the Old Testament prophets can enhance your ability to properly interpret many prophetic passages which might otherwise be somewhat obscure. Note that this list is not exhaustive and there are other references to "remnant" but this should give you an excellent sense of this doctrine.
Ge 45:7 "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant (sheerith - 07611; Lxx = kataleimma - that which has been left behind, survivors, remnant) in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.
1 Kings 19:18 ( “Yet I will leave [shaar, 07604] 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
COMMENT - This passage shows that the remnant of Israel is a result of the gracious intervention of God. They are a remnant because God left them as a remnant. In short, remnant of Israel is a reflection of the supernatural work of God Who in His mercy and grace saves them and grants them entrance into the Kingdom of God (cf Jesus' words to Nicodemus - John 3:3, 5+)
2 Kings 19:4 'Perhaps the LORD your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant (ulay - 0194; Lxx = leimma = remnant, see Ro 11:5) that is left.'"
2 Kings 19:30 'And the surviving remnant (shaar, 07604) of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.
2 Kings 19:31 'For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant (sheerith - 07611; Lxx = kataleimma - that which has been left behind, survivors, remnant), and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD shall perform this.
2 Kings 21:14 ‘I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they will become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies;
2 Kings 25:22 Now as for the people who were left (shaar, 07604; Lxx = kataleipo) in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left (shaar, 07604; Lxx = kataleipo) , he appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan over them.
COMMENT - This is an example of a remnant that is physical, not necessary spiritual (albeit some may have been believers in Messiah).
2 Chronicles 34:9 And they came to Hilkiah the high priest and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the doorkeepers, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant (sheerith - 07611; Lxx = kataloipos = rest, remaining) of Israel, and from all Judah and Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Ezra 9:8 "But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant (peletah - 06413; Lxx = kataleipo = left behind) and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.
Ezra 9:13 "And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since Thou our God hast requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us an escaped remnant (peletah - 06413) as this, (remember this is a post-exilic book)
Ezra 9:14 shall we again break Thy commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Wouldst Thou not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant (sheerith - 07611; Lxx = egkataleimma = something left as remnant) nor any who escape?
Ezra 9:15 "O LORD God of Israel, Thou art righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, (peletah - 06413; Lxx = kataleipo) as it is this day; behold, we are before Thee in our guilt, for no one can stand before Thee because of this."
Neh 1:3 And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire."
Isaiah 1:9+ Unless the LORD of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.
Isaiah 6:13+ “Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak Whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.”
Isaiah 7:3+ Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller’s field,
NET NOTE ON Shear-jashub - The name means "a remnant will return." Perhaps in this context, where the Lord is trying to encourage Ahaz, the name suggests that only a few of the enemy invaders will return home; the rest will be defeated.
Isaiah 10:20+ Now it will come about in that day that the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 10:21+ A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
Isaiah 10:22+ For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them will return; A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.
Isaiah 11:11+ Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea.
Fruchtenbaum: Concerning the regathering of Israel, Isaiah 11:11, 16 and Zechariah 8:6–7 picture it as gathering the remnant. Micah 4:7 emphasizes the Remnant’s salvation. (Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two) See Page 13I)
Isaiah 11:16+ And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.
Isaiah 28:5 In that day the LORD of hosts will become a beautiful crown And a glorious diadem to the remnant of His people;
Isaiah 37:4 'Perhaps the LORD your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant that is left.'"
Isaiah 37:31 "And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.
Isaiah 37:32 "For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this."'
Isaiah 46:3 "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth, And have been carried from the womb;
Jeremiah 6:9 Thus says the LORD of hosts, "They will thoroughly glean as the vine the remnant of Israel; Pass your hand again like a grape gatherer Over the branches."
Jeremiah 23:3 "Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and shall bring them back to their pasture; and they will be fruitful and multiply.
Jeremiah 30:11+ 'For I am with you,' declares the LORD, 'to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, And will by no means leave you unpunished.'
Jeremiah 31:7+ For thus says the LORD, "Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chiefs of the nations; Proclaim, give praise, and say, 'O LORD, save Thy people, The remnant of Israel.'
Jeremiah 46:28 "O Jacob My servant, do not fear," declares the LORD, "For I am with you. For I shall make a full end of all the nations Where I have driven you, Yet I shall not make a full end of you; But I shall correct you properly And by no means leave you unpunished."
Jeremiah 50:20; 'In those days and at that time,' declares the LORD, 'search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I shall pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.' (Lxx = hupoleipo)
Ezekiel 5:3+ 'Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you, and scatter all your remnant to every wind.
Ezekiel 6:8-10+ "However, I shall leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries. 9 “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations. 10 “Then they will know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would inflict this disaster on them.”’
COMMENT - The English of the Septuagint (Lxx) is as follows "When there are some of you escaping from the sword among the Gentiles, and when ye are scattered in the countries." The Lxx translates yathar with the verb anasozo which means to be rescued or delivered from and so to be preserved. It is the verb used in 2Ki 19:31 and Zechariah 8:7.
Ezekiel 9:4+ Then it came about as they were striking and I alone was left, that I fell on my face and cried out saying, "Alas, Lord GOD! Art Thou destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Thy wrath on Jerusalem?"
Ezekiel 9:8+ Then it came about as they were striking and I alone was left, that I fell on my face and cried out saying, "Alas, Lord GOD! Art Thou destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Thy wrath on Jerusalem?"
Ezekiel 11:13+ Now it came about as I prophesied, that Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell on my face and cried out with a loud voice and said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Wilt Thou bring the remnant of Israel to a complete end?"
Ezekiel 12:16+ "But I shall spare a few of them from the sword, the famine, and the pestilence that they may tell all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the LORD."
Ezekiel 14:22+ “Yet, behold, survivors will be left in it who will be brought out, both sons and daughters. Behold, they are going to come forth to you and you will see their conduct and actions; then you will be comforted for the calamity which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought upon it.
Joel 2:32+ "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
Amos 5:15 Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
Micah 2:12+ "I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in the fold; Like a flock in the midst of its pasture They will be noisy with men.
Fruchtenbaum:Micah 4:7 emphasizes the Remnant’s salvation. Micah 7:18–20 speaks of forgiving the Remnant’s sins. (Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two) See Page 13I)
Micah 5:3+ Therefore, He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.
Tony Garland: Scripture record’s two pregnancies in relation to Messiah. The first labor (Mic 5:3) terminates in the First Coming of Messiah (Rev 12:2-4+). The second labor terminates in the ushering in of the Millennial Kingdom. It is this second period of labor, subsequent to the going forth of Messiah from Bethlehem, which Micah 5:4 sets forth. This second labor leads to the millennial age “at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.” The time of Jacob’s trouble describes the labor pains associated with the second "pregnancy." (Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation)
Micah 5:4+ And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they (HIS FLOCK) will remain (THE REMNANT), Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth (MESSIANIC KINGDOM).
COMMENT - And He will arise - Naturally, this begs the question "Who is "He?" In context this refers to the Messiah (cf Mic 5:5a and Eph 2:14+) When Messiah returns (Second Coming), He will be the Great Shepherd (Zechariah 10:3, cf Micah 2:12+, Micah 7:14+, Jn 10:11, Mt 26:31, 1Pe 5:4+, Heb 13:20+; see Jehovah Roi = Shepherd) of the sheep (believing remnant), and will rule over the world with rod of iron (Rev 12:5+, Rev 19:15+).
Fruchtenbaum: Micah 5:7–8 says that the Remnant will spread God’s Word among Gentile nations. (Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two) See Page 13I)
Micah 5:8+ And the remnant (Septuagint = hupoleimma) of Jacob Will be among the nations, Among many peoples Like a lion among the beasts of the forest, Like a young lion among flocks of sheep, Which, if he passes through, Tramples down and tears, And there is none to rescue.
Micah 7:18+ Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. 19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.
Fruchtenbaum: Micah 7:18–20 speaks of forgiving the Remnant’s sins. (Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two) See Page 13I)
Zephaniah 2:7 And the coast will be For the remnant of the house of Judah, They will pasture on it. In the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down at evening; For the LORD their God will care for them And restore their fortune.
Fruchtenbaum: The Remnant will also possess the land (Zephaniah 2:7, 9; and Zechariah 8:12). (Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two) See Page 13I)
Zephaniah 2:9 "Therefore, as I live," declares the LORD of hosts, The God of Israel, "Surely Moab will be like Sodom, And the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah-- A place possessed by nettles and salt pits, And a perpetual desolation. The remnant of My people will plunder them, And the remainder of My nation will inherit them."
Zephaniah 3:13+ "The remnant of Israel will do no wrong And tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue Be found in their mouths; For they shall feed and lie down With no one to make them tremble."
Fruchtenbaum: They (REMNANT) will be sinless in the land and live in security (Zephaniah 3:13). (Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two) See Page 13I)
Haggai 1:12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD.
Haggai 1:14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
Haggai 2:2 "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying,
Zechariah 8:6 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?' declares the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 8:11 'But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,' declares the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 8:12 'For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.
Zechariah 9:7 And I will remove their blood from their mouth, and their detestable things from between their teeth. Then they also will be a remnant for our God, and be like a clan in Judah, and Ekron like a Jebusite.
Zechariah 13:8+ "And it will come about in all the land," Declares the LORD, "That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
Comment - The remnant of the third of Israel is those Jews who respond to Zechariah 12:10-14+ and are born again (Jn 3:3+), whose hearts are circumcised, who enter into the everlasting covenant in Jesus' blood. This "third" constitutes the "all Israel will be saved" (Ro 11:26+) which in context is clearly all those in Israel who humble themselves, repent and believe in their Messiah. It is those who will be saved and who will enter into the Kingdom of the Messiah.
Malachi 2:15+ “But not one has done so who has a remnant (Septuagint = hupoleimma) of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth.
Malachi 3:16;17+ Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. And they will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
Romans 9:6+ But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;
COMMENT - The phrase not all Israel refers to the physical descendants of Abraham who are not believers in the Messiah. Those who are in fact "all Israel" represent the believing remnant of Israel.
Romans 9:27+ And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE AS THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;
Mattoon - Isaiah prophesies what will take place among God's people. Only a remnant will be saved. Isaiah was burdened about this! He cried for Israel. The word "crieth" is from the word krazo which means "to cry out with great emotion or to scream with anguish." Only a remnant would be saved (vs.27). Paul was not surprised with Jewish unbelief and resistance to the Gospel. The Jews are still resistant today, but a remnant have trusted Christ as Savior as Isaiah prophesied. If it were not for the saving grace of God, Israel would have been wiped out as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. If it were not for the saving grace of God, we too would burn in Hell.
Romans 11:17+ But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
COMMENT - The phrase some of the branches were broken off indicates that not all of Israel will be "broken off" and those that are not broken off constitute the remnant of Israel.
Romans 11:25+ For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
COMMENT - Partial hardening indicates not all of Israel will be spiritually hardened to the Gospel and those that are not hardened would constitute the remnant of Israel.
COMMENT - See preceding note on the Israel of God.
Revelation 7:4+ And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand (PART OF THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL) sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
TONY GARLAND COMMENTS - (CLICK FOR HIS FULL COMMENT) In our discussion of Interpreting Symbols, we noted the tendency of many interpreters to ignore the literal meaning of numbers whenever a cherished theological viewpoint makes the literal value given in the text unpopular. Perhaps the two most abused numbers in the entire book of Revelation are the 144,000 sealed individuals here and the 1,000 years of the millennial reign (Rev. 20‣). Although this passage goes to great lengths to make plain the literal nature of what is being conveyed, this hasn’t stopped many from flights of interpretive fancy which substitute subjective conjecture for the plain facts:
(FOR EXAMPLE A. R. FAUSSET WRITES) "Twelve is the number of the tribes, and appropriate to the Church: three by four: three, the divine number, multiplied by four, the number for world-wide extension. Twelve by twelve implies fixity and completeness, which is taken a thousandfold in 144,000. A thousand implies the world perfectly pervaded by the divine; for it is ten, the world number, raised to the power of three, the number of God. [emphasis added]
(ED: NOTICE THE "NUMERICAL GYMNASTICS" FAUSSET HAS TO INVOKE TO MAKE A ROUND PEG FIT IN A SQUARE HOLE. ABERRATIONS LIKE THIS ARE FOUND IN VIRTUALLY EVERY NON-LITERAL COMMENTARY OF REVELATION WHICH HELPS EXPLAIN WHAT MOST PEOPLE THINK NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND A BOOK WHOSE VERY NAME "REVELATION" SPEAKS OF GOD'S DESIRE TO REVEAL, NOT TO CONCEAL OR CONFUSE! MEN WILL BEND HERMENEUTICS HERE THEY WOULD NOT DARE "BEND" WHEN INTERPRETING NUMBERS LIKE RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY, DOING SO TO "PROTECT" THEIR BRAND OF SYSTEMATIC INTERPRETATION WHICH IS ALWAYS HEAVILY DEPENDENT ON SUBJECTIVE ALLEGORICAL "GUESSES." )
Arnold Fruchtenbaum has an interesting note regarding "the four groups of Jews" during Daniel's Seventieth Week - During the Great Tribulation period four distinct groups of Jews will exist. The first group can be called the Apostate Jews. These are the many of Daniel 9:27 who will enter the seven-year covenant that will begin the Tribulation. They will comprise about two-thirds of the nation, and will die in the worldwide persecution in the Tribulation (cf Zech 13:8,9). The second group is known as the 144,000 Jews. They are part of the one-third that will survive the Tribulation. These are the Jews who will be saved and sealed sometime after the Rapture of the Church. They will be evangelists during the first half of the Tribulation, conducting a worldwide revival. (Ed: Although the 144K is almost always referred to as evangelists, the Scripture does not state specifically that this is their function. Nevertheless, it seems to be a reasonable supposition.) The third group can be designated as Other Hebrew Christians. These are Jews who will receive the Messiah via the preaching of the 144,000, the Two Witnesses or some other way. The fourth group is called the Faithful Remnant. They are the key group involved in the second half of the Tribulation, so they require separate discussion. (See Reference)
Revelation 12:6+ Then the woman (THE BELIEVING REMNANT OF ISRAEL) fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days (DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION - TIME OF JACOB'S DISTRESS = Jer 30:7+).
COMMENT - Here John refers to the remnant of Israel that is saved and is protected by God during the 3.5 years of the GREAT TRIBULATION.
TONY GARLAND - The connective, “Then,” indicates a sequence between the catching up of the child and the fleeing of the woman. But are these two events necessarily closely correlated in time? How soon must the flight be to the catching up of the child? Some interpreters relate this flight to that of the Jews from Jerusalem in the destruction by Rome in 70 A.D.29 Yet even that flight was approximately 4 decades after the ascension of Christ. Nor was there any indication of supernatural assistance as this passage describes (Rev. 12:14‣). Certainly nothing like the Exodus occurred in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. which would allow for the use of similar phraseology involving “wings of a great eagle.” Here we are faced with one of the characteristics of prophetic passages: events which appear side-by-side in the text can often be separated by long ages. (ED: SEE DISCUSSION OF TIME GAP) This occurs because the prophetic vision has two characteristics which we need to be aware of. First, the prophets were only shown important highlights of the final development (1Pe. 1:10-11). Second, the full range of history was often collapsed in their view, much as when looking through a telescope. “Somewhat as a picture lacks the dimension of depth, the prophecy often lacks the dimension of time: events appear together on the screen of prophecy which in their fulfillment may be widely separated in time.”30 There are numerous examples of this phenomenon. The First and Second Coming of Christ are juxtaposed in numerous passages (Isa. 61:1-2; Zec. 9:9-10; Mal. 3:1-2; Mal 4:5-6; Luke 4:17-19). Yet history has shown these events to be separated by at least 1900 years. The first and second resurrections are juxtaposed (Dan. 12:2‣; John 5:28-29), yet they are separated by no less than 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4-6‣). We have a similar sequence before us: The child is caught up and the woman flees. The child was caught up over 1900 years ago and the woman has yet to flee in the sense of this passage. (See complete commentary on Revelation 12).
Revelation 12:17+ So the dragon was enraged with the woman (ISRAEL), and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Related Resources on The Believing Remnant of Israel:
- The Remnant and the Future based on Micah 5:7-9 - S. Lewis Johnson (Other articles by Dr Johnson that mention the remnant)
- The Doctrine of the Remnant and the Salvation of Israel in Romans 9-11- Steve Lewis
- The Remnant from a Jewish Perspective - Tony Garland
- The Remnant and the Salvation of Israel in Romans 9-11 - Steve Lewis
- Romans 9:25-33 - A Remnant will be Saved - Tony Garland
- Romans 11:1-6 - God Has Not Cast Away the Jews - Tony Garland
- Israel remnant Diagram - Tony Garland
- Journal Articles on The Remnant
- Remnant by George Livingston
- Doctrine of Remnant - Arnold Fruchtenbaum
- I Dolphin's article The Concept of the Remnant
- The Jewish question by A C Gaebelein - 157 page book
- The Jewish Problem by Jewish believer David Baron (1891)
- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Remnant
- Baker Evangelical Dictionary Remnant
- Thompson Chain Reference Remnant of Israel
- Holman Bible Dictionary Remnant
- Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Remnant
- Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Remnant
- King James Dictionary Remnant
- Morrish Bible Dictionary Remnant
- Vines' Expository Dictionary Remnant
- Webster Dictionary Remnant
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Remnant
- The Jewish Encyclopedia Remnant of Israel
Answer: A remnant is a left-over amount from a larger portion or piece, whether it is food, material from which a garment is fashioned, or even a group of people. Although remnants could be looked upon as worthless scraps, and many times are, God assigned high value to those of His people whom He had set aside for holy purposes, those He labels as “remnants” in several places in the Bible. To begin, in Isaiah 10 the story is told of the Lord’s judgment upon the Assyrians. In verse 12 God says, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.” He continues in verses 17-18: “The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briars. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields I will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away.”
God then relates how His people will turn back to Him as a result of this tremendous display of His strength—His utter destruction of most of Assyria: “In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God” (Isaiah 10: 20, 21). He goes on to assure the remaining Israelites that they need not fear the Assyrians, for soon He will destroy them.
There are other remnants—those left over from a larger group—in the Bible, even though the word remnant isn’t used to describe them. Noah and his family were the remnant saved out of the millions on the earth before the flood (Genesis 6). Only Lot and his two daughters survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a very small remnant, indeed (Genesis 19). When Elijah despaired that he was the only one left in Israel who had not bowed down to idols, God assured him that He had reserved a remnant of 7,000 “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him" (1 Kings 19).
God’s sovereign choice as to whom He will save and whom He will not can also be seen in the New Testament, as carried through from the Old Testament: “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out His sentence on earth with speed and finality’” (Romans 9: 27-28). This implies that great multitudes of the Israelites would be cast off. If only a remnant was to be saved, many must be lost, and this was just the point which Paul was endeavoring to establish. While the word remnant means “what is left,” particularly what may remain after a battle or a great calamity, in this verse, it means “a small part or portion.” Out of the great multitude of the Israelites, there will be so few left as to make it proper to say that it was a mere remnant.
Of course, the most blessed remnant is that of the true Church, the body of Christ, chosen out of the millions who have lived and died over the centuries. Jesus made it clear that this remnant would be small when compared to the number of people on the earth throughout history. “Many” will find the way to eternal destruction, but “few” will find the way to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). We who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can, with great peace, rest in the fact that we belong to the “remnant. (from recommended website - Gotquestions)
The remnant is that part of Israel that believes. In the Tribulation, there will also be a believing remnant.
(1) The Remnant of Israel During the Tribulation
All individual Jews who become believers during the seven years of the Tribulation are part of the Remnant of Israel. These include the 144,000 Jews. These also include those Jews of Jerusalem who become believers in the middle of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:13). It includes all individual Jews who become believers as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 or the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11. it includes the remnant of Revelation 12:17 whom Satan will attack in a particular way.
(2) The Faithful Remnant
There will be a large segment of the Jewish population who will become members of the Remnant of Israel only at the end of the Tribulation. These can be called the Faithful Remnant. Based upon all the passages involved, this group will comprise the majority of the one-third of the nation that will survive the Tribulation. Throughout the Tribulation they will be unbelievers as far as the Messiahship of Jesus is concerned and also unbelievers as far as the Antichrist is concerned. These are the “nonmany” of Daniel 9:27 who will refuse to have anything to do with the covenant. They are the ones who shall not be in haste of Isaiah 28:16. They are “faithful” in the sense that they will believe in the God of Israel to the extent of Old Testament revelation and this is their trust. However, at the end, they will come to know Jesus as Messiah.
(a) The Fact of the Remnant
The fact that the remnant will survive is found in Isaiah 10:20–23:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and they that are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again lean upon him that smote them, but shall lean upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people, Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return: a destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness. For a full end, and that determined, will the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, make in the midst of all the earth.
Verse 20 states that unlike the rest of Israel, they will lean on the Holy One of Israel, In verse 21, Isaiah declares that ultimately they will return to the God of Israel, a return that can only be accomplished by faith in the Messiah Jesus. Verse 22a points out that in spite of the numerical strength of the Jews, only the remnant will return to God. Verses 22b–23 talk about a decree of destruction that has been determined upon the whole earth which the remnant will survive, The words used here are much the same as those found in Isaiah 28:22 where the decree of destruction is issued with the signing of the seven-year covenant beginning the Tribulation. Synthesizing these two Isaiah passages together, it is clear that the remnant will survive the persecution of the Jews and the massive destruction of the earth during the Tribulation. Hence they are referred to as the escaped of Israel here and in Isaiah 4:2; 37:31–32; Joel 2:32; and, Obadiah 17.
(b) The Protection of the Remnant
Another section of Isaiah, 41:8–16, records the protection of the remnant by God’s presence with the remnant:
But thou, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, thou whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from the corners thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away; fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that are incensed against thee shall be put to shame and confounded: they that strive with thee shall be as nothing, and shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contend with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I Jehovah thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith Jehovah, and thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I have made thee to be a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in Jehovah, thou shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
This is a promise to preserve the remnant in the midst of tremendous persecution during Satan’s campaign to destroy the Jews.
(c) The Provision for the Remnant
According to Isaiah 41:17–20, just as in the wilderness of Sinai God miraculously provided food and water for Israel, He will do so again in the Tribulation when the Jews flee to the wilderness:
The poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst; I Jehovah will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, and the myrtle, and the oil-tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the pine, and the box-tree together; that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Jehovah hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
These miraculous provisions will cause them to reconsider their relationship to God.
In another passage, Isaiah 65:8–16, the prophet describes how on one hand God will supply for the Faithful Remnant, whereas He will withhold provisions from the apostates:
Thus saith Jehovah, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me. But ye that forsake Jehovah, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny; I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be put to shame; behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall wail for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen; and the Lord Jehovah will slay thee; and he will call his servants by another name: so that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
This passage makes clear that while the apostates will be allowed to suffer and die, the Faithful Remnant will be divinely protected and provided with food and water. By this means the Faithful Remnant will be able to survive the persecutions and devastations of the Great Tribulation. (Israelology - Part 4 of 6)
If you are still somewhat confused about the doctrine of the remnant, don't be discouraged as this truth is analogous to the "solid food" the writer of Hebrews refers to (see note Hebrews 5:14) and it does take some familiarity with eschatology (study of future events).
By far the most excellent course available on eschatology (in my humble opinion) is the offering by Precept Ministries International, specifically beginning with the 20 week study of Daniel
- Daniel 1-6 - Part 1 - Living Out a Biblical Worldview;
- Daniel 7-12 - Part 2 - Gaining Understanding of the Time of the End
Then following up with the 4 part 51 week course on the Revelation of Jesus Christ
- Revelation 1-3 - Part 1 - Jesus' Message to the Church;
- Revelation 4-22 - Part 2 - The Unveiling of the Book of Revelation;
- Revelation 5-22 - Part 3 - What is the Sign of His Coming and the End of the Age?”;
- Revelation 5-22 Part 4 - Interpreting Revelation in the Light of Biblical Prophecy
Yes almost a year and a half is a lengthy investment, but I can assure you that if you are diligent and complete this study, you will have an understanding of end time events that is unshakeable and which will allow you to discern accurately the signs of the times and to live accordingly