In this second part, I want to tease the issue of the Jewish community today in the plan of God. We will come back to that issue in a future post in this series.
Meanwhile, I will define and set up the theology of the remnant here.
God has created in this world a people of grace and blessing. The Bible talks about this people in many different ways and with different images. In one place this people is said to be like LEAVEN in the world.
There is a people that God has used and is using as a starter for his plan of grace a blessing. Just like leaven, the life within this people spreads to the rest of the peoples.
Israel has been the leaven from which the world has come to know God. To Abraham came the blessing and the covenant of promise. To Moses came the teaching and the covenant of faithfulness. Through Psalmists and Prophets and Wise Men these ideas were spread into poetry, preaching, and instruction. The great Israel of the PAST is one way God has used Israel as leaven.
And the Israel of the FUTURE will certainly again be leaven to start this world up again. Jerusalem will again become the center of all that is important in this world. The Temple and offerings and worship of Israel will become the place for all nations to be.
In general, a large number of Bible readers have no problem believing in the leaven of Israel PAST and Israel FUTURE. But what about Israel PRESENT? What about Judaism and the Jewish people here and now? Is God still using Israel as leaven? Has the people of Yeshua replaced Israel or simply come alongside Israel to be God’s leaven?
I believe we will find the answer in the Biblical concept of the REMNANT, the remnant of Israel. The Remnant of Israel is a theme that runs through the Bible from Genesis to Romans.
The Meaning of the Term
Remnant, usually from שְׁאֵרִית she’eireet.
1. Survivors of a war or disaster.
2. A chosen people being preserved among the peoples of the earth.
3. Believers in a world of unbelief.
Examples of Usage
Survivors of a war or disaster:
2 Kings 19:30 (same as Isa. 37:31) And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
A chosen people to be preserved among the peoples of the earth:
Gen. 45:7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.
Believers in a world of unbelief:
Rom. 11:5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
As we continue to explore the biblical theme of God’s remnant, we will find it is always used of a remnant of Israel. Though the believers from the nations are also, in a sense, a remnant on the earth, the remnant theme always concerns the Jewish people specifically.
Furthermore, there is always an actual remnant and a potential remnant. By actual remnant, I mean those who are presently following God, in the knowledge of his plan and promises. By the potential remnant, I mean a people being preserved for a future restoration. In the present, this potential remnant may be missing out on part or even all of God’s plan. Yet this remnant is preserved, made to survive as God waits for the remnant to return in full.