Who are the Remnant?

Remnant is a word that is used in many different ways.
In a sewing environment the remnant are the pieces of material that are left over from cutting cloth, the bits that are not used, the pieces that are off cuts are called remnants.
Remnants can be anything that are left over after the main job has been completed.
Remnant: noun

1.a part or quantity that is left after the greater part has been used, removed, or destroyed.

2. In Christian Theology: A small minority of people who will remain faithful to God and so be saved (an allusion to biblical prophecies concerning Israel).

In the Bible the word “remnant” is used in many different ways also.
eg.  In the Old Testament it is used to describe the remnant of items, the pieces that are left or not used during certain ceremonies.

Exodus 26:12 And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle.

Leviticus 2:3 And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.

Leviticus 14:18 And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD.

It is used in identifying the remainder of certain people.

Deuteronomy 3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
Deuteronomy 28:54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:

Joshua 23:12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:

2 Samuel 21:2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)

1 Kings 22:46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.


However, in the Old Testament it is mainly used to identify the part of the Nation of Israel that is kept by the providence of God.

(The Remnant of Israel)

Remnant: The concept of remnant can be Biblically defined as that continuous portion, be it large or small, of the community of ethnic Israel which has been supernaturally preserved and redeemed through various divine judgments throughout various dispensations. This
preservation is on account of God’s sovereign choice, or election, and not by virtue of human effort. Although not selected for salvation on the basis of merit, the remnant does, however, necessarily exhibit faith in the object of God’s provision and will receive ample future divine blessing.

Those Jews who exhibit saving faith are called “the remnant of Israel” and are a continuous and distinct subset within the nation. They are, a small minority of people who will remain faithful to God and so be saved.

There are numerous verses in scripture that prove that the remnant in a Biblical sense refers to a part of national Israel.

Genesis 45:7 "God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.

2 Kings 19:31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.

2 Chronicles 30:6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.

2 Chronicles 34:9 And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.

Isaiah 10:21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.

Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.


The question from a Biblical aspect is this.
Is the remnant referring only to that part of the nation of Israel, or does it also refer to the church?

Historically, there have been two main theories regarding the Church's relationship to Israel.
In Replacement Theology, the Church replaces Israel such that Israel has no redemptive future.

In Separation Theology (an aspect of dispensationalism), while God has a future for Israel, there is a distinction between Israel and the Church that is preserved throughout all time, with no overlap of the two.


Replacement Theology.
This is the teaching that Israel generally rejected their Messiah and because of this, God has abandoned Israel and given salvation and all the promises made to Israel to the church, which is made up of all those who accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile.
So now the church has replaced Israel.
This includes all the promises made to Israel whether conditional or unconditional.

Separation Theology.
This is the teaching that says that whilst God will return His attention to the nation of Israel, sometime in the future and will also fulfil all the promises made to them. However there is a distinction between Israel and the church.
Any Gentile that is converted to Christ, never will be a Jew or part of ethnic Israel.
Any Jew that accepts Christ as the Messiah (Messianic Jew) will never become a Gentile.
There is a distinction between Jew and Gentile and the Saved and Unsaved, (Christian and Non Christian).

The third way of understanding this:

Spiritual Israel. (aka, The Israel of God – Children of the Promise - Heirs of the Promise).
The phrase spiritual Israel is used in two primary contexts. The first is as a reference to the entire body of Christian believers, both Jew and Gentile, in distinction to the political or racial people of Israel. 

Galatians 6:16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Paul is making it quite clear here, that there is no distinction between a saved Jew and a saved Gentile.

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 
Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 
Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 
Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 

All Christians are “fellow citizens” and members of the house of God, according to Ephesians 2:12–13 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.


Whether one is a Jew or Gentile, if he is in Christ, he is Abraham’s seed and part of the Israel of God. (Spiritual Israel).

So, who then are the “remnant”?

Well! There is a remnant of ethnic Israel:
A large or small, part of the community of ethnic Israel which has been supernaturally preserved and redeemed through various divine  judgments throughout various dispensations.

This includes all those down through the ages who were justified by faith, in the same way that Abraham was:

Genesis 15: 6 Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness. 

Also, all those that have fallen sleep in Christ and those that are still coming to faith in Christ, until Jesus comes again.
Then there are also all those that will come to faith, when He appears and those who look on Him whom they pierced.


Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
John 19:37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

The term Remnant can also be used to describe all the faithful that persevere to the end,  all those born again Christians that do not take part in the great apostasy, (The great falling away).

2 Thess 2:1 - 3  
1. Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 
2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come
 unless the falling away comes first, 


There exists a great professing Christian church made up of all denominations including, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Anglican and many other denominations and religious groups, all professing faith in Jesus Christ.
However, not all professors are possessors. Those that are not genuine Christians will be part of the great apostasy and will fall away from “the faith”.

Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’


In the last days, it is as though God will sieve those who claim the name of Jesus Christ and there will be left “a remnant” of true believers, both Jews and Gentiles.

At the second coming of Jesus Christ, (when Jesus returns with the clouds, ) all those believers who have died physically (the first resurrection (the Anastasia) and all those believers who are alive at His coming (the remnant church) will be raptured, (Harpazo) and gathered together with Christ (the Episunagarge).

After this, Christ will return to stand on the Mount of Olives,

Zechariah 14:4:
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

It is at this point that the scripture will be fulfilled that says: “they shall look on Him whom they pierced”.

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

At this time “the remnant” of the Nation of Israel shall accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah and so all Israel shall be saved.

Romans 11:25 – 27:
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of
this mystery, brothers, so that you will not be conceited: A hardening in part has come to Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 
26 And so 
all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come from Zion; He will remove godlessness from Jacob. (Israel)
27 And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.”…

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

So, in conclusion, the remnant refers to all those believers that hold to the promises of God, those that accept the Messiah. All those that  expressed faith in the promised Messiah , throughout the Old Testament times. Men and women of faith that looked forward to the sacrifice of the Christ, which was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.
Also, all those that believed in Jesus since Calvary and have put their trust in Him for salvation.
So, as the scriptures say in :

1Th 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 

1Th 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 

1Th 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 

1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

1Th 4:18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 

The Remnant is made up of all those who come to God through Jesus Christ. Those that looked forward by faith and those that look back in faith.

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

It is by Grace through Faith:

Eph 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 

Eph 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

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