The Remnant of Israel: The Remnant of Israel in Romans 9-11 Part 1 Lesson # 2
There are only three major passages in the New Testament which refer to the doctrine of the remnant of Israel, namely Romans 9-11 and Revelation 7 and 14. Matthew 3:7-10 and Luke 3:7-9 allude to this doctrine.
In Romans nine Paul addresses primarily God’s dealings with Israel with regards to her past election whereas Romans ten addresses Israel’s present rejection of Jesus Christ as Savior and then in Romans 11, he teaches of the future restoration of the nation.
In chapter nine, he is defending the character of God by demonstrating that Israel’s past history actually magnified the attributes of God.
In this chapter, he mentions five attributes: (1) Sovereignty (2) Faithfulness (3) Justice (4) Mercy (5) Omnipotence.
Therefore, in Romans 9, the apostle presents God electing Israel in the past.
In verses 1-3, Paul expresses the intensity of his love for the nation and then in verses 4-5, he enumerates the various privileges bestowed on his nation.
In verses 6-13, he addresses God elected them and then in verses 14-18, he deals with God’s freedom to elect them.
In verses 19-29, Paul teaches them concerning God’s mercy to Israel and then in verses 30-33, he writes concerning God’s mercy towards the Gentiles.
In Romans 10, the apostle addresses the issue of the nation’s present rejection of Jesus Christ, their Messiah.
In verses 1-7, he presents the reason why God has set aside the nation at this present time in history.
In verses 8-15, Paul presents the remedy for their rejection and then in verses 16-21, he writes concerning the nation’s present unbelief.
In Romans 11, the apostle teaches concerning the future salvation of the nation.
In verses 1-10, he says that this rejection of Christ by Israel is not total and then in verses 11-24, Paul says it is not final either.
Then, in verses 25-32, Paul teaches that Israel’s restoration is assured and then in verses 33-36 he closes the chapter by praising God’s for His infinite and eternal wisdom.
In Romans 9-11, Paul addresses how the sovereign will of God co-exists in history with the volition of men and in particular the individuals who compose the nation of Israel.
The nation of Israel with the exception of a remnant in the nation rejected Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah.
It was therefore, the nation’s fault and not God’s fault that Israel rejected the gospel and chose to achieve their own righteousness rather than receive His righteousness through faith as the patriarchs of Israel did.
Therefore, in these chapters Paul sets forth the unfaithfulness of Israel or lack of faith and God’s faithfulness to the nation.
There is volitional responsibility on the part of Israel.
The majority in the nation have rejected the Messiah and yet this does not make God unfaithful and indicate that He has forever rejected the nation.
Quite to the contrary, He will fulfill His promises to the nation of Israel despite the present rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah by the majority of individuals in the nation.
In these chapters, Paul attempts to reconcile for his readers the problem of the nation of Israel rejecting Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah whom he proclaimed to both Jew and Gentile and the privileges that the nation of Israel was given by God.
Paul in these chapters attempts to demonstrates that the Gentile acceptance of the gospel and Israel’s rejection of it does not mean that God has permanently set aside Israel, nor does Israel’s rejection of the gospel cancel out the nation’s unique privileges or the four unconditional covenants and promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the nation itself.
In Romans 9:6-29, Paul teaches on God’s sovereign freedom whereas in Romans 9:30-10:21, he teaches that human beings are responsible for their decisions especially in relation to accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior.
In Romans 11, he instructs his readers that all God’s promises to the patriarchs of Israel and the nation itself will be fulfilled.
Thus, Paul makes clear that God has not totally abandoned the nation of Israel and that in the future she will be restored.
Therefore, in Romans 9-11, the apostle defends the righteousness of God in His dealings with the nation of Israel in the past (9), present (10) and future (11).
The teachings in these chapters make clear that the church and Israel are separate entities in the plan of God.
They make clear that the church is not Israel.
In Romans 9-11, Paul demonstrates that his gospel is consistent with the promises of the Old Testament and in particular covenant promises to the patriarchs of Israel.
Paul mentions this remnant of Israel doctrine in Romans 9:6 and then develops it further in Romans 9:27-29.
In Romans 9:6, he taught that the nation of Israel’s rejection of Jesus of Nazareth does not imply that God promises to the nation have been nullified because those who descended in a racial sense from Israel, aka Jacob are never considered by God to be spiritual Israel.
In Romans 9:27-33, Paul instructs his readers that the prophets of Israel had foretold this rebellion against the Lord and that only a remnant would be delivered from eternal condemnation in the lake of fire.
That a remnant has always been preserved by God in Israel is demonstrated during the church age where only a small percentage of Jews have trusted in Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah.
There will only be a remnant that will be saved during Daniel’s Seventieth Week and at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, in Romans 9:27-33, Paul continues to demonstrate his premise in Romans 9:6.
Romans 9:27-33 reconciles the promises of God to Israel with the small number of Jewish Christians and serves to substantiate the premise found in Romans 9:6.
So the doctrine of the remnant taught by Paul in Romans 9:27-29 serves to support his premise in Romans 9:6.
By doing this Paul is actually defending his gospel since its failure to attract the majority of Jews in his day to trust in Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah was undoubtedly used to discredit it.
Just as Israel was at fault in the past for rejecting her prophets sent to her by God, so during Paul’s day Israel was at fault for rejecting the greatest of her prophets, Jesus of Nazareth as well as Paul’s gospel.
Paul alludes to this remnant doctrine in Romans 10:16.
The concept of the remnant appears in Romans 11:5, where it refers to the “remnant” of believers in Israel in Paul’s day, in the first century.
In fact, Paul’s teaching in Romans 9-11 is emphatic that God always leaves a believing remnant in Israel in every dispensation and every generation of history and He will continue to do so because of His unconditional promises to the patriarchs of Israel.
Specifically, the doctrine of the olive tree in Romans 11:16-23 teaches that there will always be a remnant of believers in Israel.
In fact, in Romans 11:25-32, Paul refers to the remnant of Israel which will worship Jesus Christ during His millennial reign.