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Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Welcome to Home Bible Study©
I have no announcements for the group today, so if you please open your Bible at Romans 9:27 we’ll get right to the business of studying God’s Word.
We closed last week’s lesson looking at Romans 9:27-29 and I said then there was a lot of information just waiting to be gathered from these verses if we “parked” here a while. So, I decided to return to teach on this paragraph because Paul chose to remind his kinsmen of what the prophet Isaiah preached concerning the remnant of Israel.
Evidently, these Israelites in Rome needed to hear these words again.
There are many other instances of the word remnant in the Bible similar to, as well as quite different from, the word we are looking at today. The word remnant, under our microscope, so to speak refers to those who are faithful to the LORD in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation among whom they would shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. (Philippians 2:15-16)
The best Bible passage I can think of that speaks this message the most clearly is from the book of Joel, 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 (who) survivors (Sariyd) whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:32)
The “Doctrine of the Remnant” or the “Gospel of the Remnant,” whichever phrase you prefer, is a common thread of truth that runs throughout Scripture and begins with Adam and Eve in the garden (after Adam’s sin). Then there’s Noah and His family, Abraham, Isaac, and the list goes on and on. There are at least 65 references to a “remnant” in the Bible, starting with 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…”
Some key points before we start:
The faithful remnant within Israel is composed solely of bloodline Israelites.
Entry into the remnant was never guaranteed to any Israelite. It only comes by faith in their Messiah, and always will (John 1:11-13, 3:3-7; Romans 10:11-15)
Since Israel existed, it has always been the remnant that God has used to bring forth His Word and the knowledge of the Christ first to the nation of Israel and then the world:
God sent a member of the remnant to preach His Word to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2; 3:2-4)
Members of the remnant wrote the sixty-six books of the Bible (Romans 3:1-2)
God chose a member of the remnant to give birth to Jesus (Luke 1:28-30)
It was Jesus Christ who said, “Salvation is from the (remnant) Jews” (John 4:22).
Isaiah wasn’t the only prophet of God to preach on this subject. Since Paul also chose to recall the preaching of the prophet Hosea (pronounced: Hoe-zay-uh) in v25-26, I think you’re understanding of where he’s coming from and this Bible lesson would be greatly enhanced if we take a look at God’s purpose in calling Hosea to preach His message to the northern kingdom of Israel.
Hosea was the first of the Minor Prophets. His name is related to the name Joshua, which means “salvation.” He was a young preacher and a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah and Amos. He lived during the time of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah who were kings of Judah, in the southern kingdom, and during the reign of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, the king of Israel, in the northern kingdom.
Jeroboam was one of Israel’s wicked kings and the nation of Israel was going through a difficult time with him as king. The people of the northern kingdom were “living large,” as they say today and they didn’t have time for God (sound familiar). Life was good, people were employed, there was plenty of food, and their enemies were in held in check. They were busy being busy. They rarely thought of God. In other words, the spirit may have been willing, but the flesh was ready for the “weekend.”
God sent Hosea to preach a message of unshakeable love and compassion even though His people were constantly unfaithful to Him. He also conveyed God’s anger at the failures of His people, but also His sadness. Hosea’s life was a parable, of sorts, for his message: he married a prostitute who was “unfaithful” to him, but he took her back.
The majority of the Israelites didn’t listen to Hosea’s message. He spoke of the coming judgment and chastisement and named the nation that God would send to punish them
that the prophet Amos only warned about. He told them that the LORD God was going to send the Assyrians against them to punish them, but they paid little attention, and his audience grew smaller as the days passed by. They didn’t like what they were hearing, so they moved on (sound familiar).
So, Hosea became discouraged. This is when the LORD God told him to do something strange. He said, I want you to marry a woman named Gomer, and she is going to be unfaithful to you – in fact she will become a common street prostitute. The LORD went on to say that she will give birth to three children; two boys and a girl and when they are born I will name them for you.
It was customary in Israel to teach by symbols. God often used this teaching method as well. Therefore, names were significant. God used the meanings of names to teach His people certain spiritual truths. The LORD God planned to use Hosea and his family as an object lesson for His people. So Hosea courted and then wed Gomer. Gomer means: “completion” – that is the filling up of the measure of idolatry, or ripeness of consummate wickedness.
Their first child was a boy and God named him, “Jezreel” which means – cast away.
This was a name of shame in Israel. Are you aware of the bloody story of Queen Jezebel and Ahab? Ahab cheated his neighbor out of his property and stole his neighbor's vineyard, and Jezebel was the wicked queen who put him up to it. God's judgment fell upon her. She was looking out her upper story window one day when a general, Jehu, was down in the courtyard, and he ordered the servants to throw Jezebel out the window. They threw her out, she fell onto the pavement, and was killed, and the dogs ate her. The courtyard has been called Jezreel ever since. (2 Kings 9:30-37)
Their second child was a girl. God named her, “Loruhamah” which means – not pitied.
It meant that God would no longer have pity on His people, if they continued their stubborn rebellion. In other words, His patience was wearing thin. After hundreds of years of trying to reach these stubborn people, He was now warning them that they were getting near the end (sound familiar). A time would come when He would no longer “pity them” but would hand them over to invading armies.
Their third child was a boy. God named him, “Loammi,” which means – not my people and this was God’s message – literally. But God also said: there will be a day of restoration, “I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, You are My people! And they will say, ‘You are my God!’ “(Hosea 2:23; Romans 9:25)
Even as the LORD God was announcing judgment, His grace was also being shown.
Let’s review verses 27-29, where Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah.
27: 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; (Isaiah 10:22)
28: FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD ON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.” (Isaiah 10:23)
29: And just as Isaiah foretold, “UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY (remnant), WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH.” (Isaiah 1:9)
Paul refreshes his kinsmen’s memory to show that the preservation of the “faithful” remnant from among Israel has always been God’s intention and the means by which He will eventually turn faithful Israel back unto Him.
In v27 Isaiah compares Israel in number to “the sand of the sea” (Genesis 22:15-18), which the prophet Hosea also mentions, “Yet the number of the sons of Israel Will be like the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured;” (Hosea 1:10a)
Paul is comparing what once was a number too numerous to count, but what will in actuality be only a remnant of faithful Believers.
The Hebrew word translated “remnant” is: Sariyd (pronounced: saw-reed) meaning: left remaining; survivor. And when the ancient rabbis translated the ancient texts from Hebrew to Greek, in the Septuagint, they used the Greek word “sperma,” which means: “sperm” or “seed.”
Using this information and going back to v27 it would read like this: “EXCEPT THE LORD OF HOSTS HAD LEFT US SOME SURVIVORS, A LITTLE SEED, JUST A SMALL GROUP OF FAITHFUL BELIEVERS; WE WOULD HAVE BEEN UTTERLY DESTROYED BY THE WRATH OF GOD LIKE SODOM AND GOMORRAH!”
God knew that the majority of His people would reject His Son; their Messiah, and hang Him on a tree (Psalms 2:1-6). But God also predetermined that a remnant would be preserved from among His (elect) people and this is a major theme in Paul’s teaching of Romans 9-11.
Please turn to 1 Peter 2:8-10 where you’ll find a similar theme, which was written primarily to a Jewish audience: and, (Jesus Christ) “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you are a CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
The true Israel of God will be the remnant of Jewish Believers, whom Paul distinguished from the mass of unbelieving Jews in Rome: But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; (Romans 9:6). The Old Testament promises (covenants) made to Israel (the promised land, throne of David, restoration of Jerusalem, a nation of priests, etc.) are preserved in the believing Jewish remnant, according to God’s election (Romans 11:5).
Let’s go to verse 28.
28: FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE (finish) HIS WORD (work) ON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.” (Isaiah 10:23)
This verse is telling us that God will carry out His Word, His predicted “work” on this earth, which He prophesied concerning the sand versus the remnant of Israel.
THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY!
I think it’s a good idea to review these verses from the book of Isaiah, chapter 10.
20: Now in that day 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.
21: A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22: For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them will return; A destruction (Kalah in Hebrew) is determined, overflowing with righteousness.
23: For a complete destruction, one that is decreed, the LORD God of hosts will execute in the midst of the whole land.
The original passage, taken from Isaiah 10:21-23 indicates: the destruction shall overflow with righteousness. “Kalah” can mean annihilation. For the LORD God of hosts will make a determined end in the midst of the land.
The Scriptures say there will certainly be “destruction,” but not a complete destruction of Israel. God has set a predetermined limit so as to preserve His elect remnant.
I am reminded of what Jesus said during the last few days of His ministry, when He sat on the Mt of Olives answering His apostle’s questions concerning the last days: “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of (whom) the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:22)
Jesus Christ is referring to the time of “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:6-8) or the coming of the Great Tribulation period; the second half of the 70th week yet future, and unfulfilled prophecy spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15).
Although the book of Revelation indicates that all those living on the earth, after the rapture of the Body of Christ, and prior to the return of Jesus Christ will be involved in troublesome times; this is especially true for the Jews. This is because God applies judgment first and more fully to those who have had greater revelation and responsibility (Amos 3:2; Luke 12:48).
While it’s true that both Jew and Gentile will suffer during that time, Israel will suffer more so. The basic reason for this lies in Israel’s relationship to God as God’s first born (Exodus 4:22), therefore, Israel receives double, both in blessing and cursing. The principle that Israel receives double for all her sins is stated in Isaiah 40:1-2. It is also found in Jeremiah 16:16-18. This is why it is referred to as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.
The Old Testament Scriptures present at least five purposes for the Tribulation period:
1: The Tribulation will complete the decreed period of national Israel’s judicial hardening as punishment for its rejection of the messianic program, which the partial return from exile did not remove and which culminated in the national rejection of Jesus (Isaiah 6:9-13, 24:1-6; John 12:37 Romans 11:7-10).
2: It will produce a messianic revival among Jewish people scattered throughout the world (Deuteronomy 4:27-30; Matthew 24:14; Revelation 7:1-4).
3: The Tribulation will convince the Jewish nation of their need for the Messiah in order to produce a national regeneration (Daniel 12:5-7; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Isaiah 59:20-21; Ezekiel 20-34-38, 36:25-27, 37:1-14; Zechariah 12:9, 13:2).
4: It will end the Time of the Gentiles and affect the deliverance of the Jewish people from Gentile dominion (Isaiah 24:21-23, 59:16-20; Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Romans 11:25).
5: The Tribulation will purge the earth of wicked people in order to establish God’s Messianic Kingdom on earth in righteousness (Isaiah 2:2, 11:9, 13:9, Isaiah 24:19-20; Daniel 2:44; Ezekiel 37:23; Zechariah 13:2, 14:9-21; Luke 21:31).
(To be continued)
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