Righteous Remnant

Remnant is a word that has been increasingly mentioned in recent sermons here at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs.  The word remnant is commonly used of a small piece of leftover fabric or carpet.  In the Bible, a remnant had to do with a small group of righteous people who survived out of a larger one.  In the Old Testament, a remnant could refer to a small group of “righteous ones” who survived the judgment God brought on the entire world.  A remnant could also refer to a smaller group of “righteous ones” within the nation of Israel, who were true believers in God, and who God would keep in a coming invasion or national calamity.  These uses of the word remnant give a remarkable picture of what the Church is today.  The Church is a righteous remnant of believers in Jesus Christ; they are a light among the billions of unsaved people in spiritual darkness dwelling on earth.  However, we need to understand that there is an “invisible church,” a righteous remnant within the “visible church”; those who only have “religion” but not a “relationship” with Jesus.

The first example of a righteous remnant in the Bible is Noah and his family during the Great Flood.  In obedience to God, Noah a preacher of righteousness had prepared an ark. He preached of the coming judgment to all those wicked people around him. Perhaps they mocked and laughed at him because they certainly did not listen. God called Noah righteous when the time came to enter the ark: “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation (Genesis 7:1).

When the rains came, people’s laughter must have suddenly turned into heart wrenching screams of anguish. Torrents of water flooded the earth and those who mocked Noah perished. God saved a righteous remnant, the number out of the world’s billions was only eight. Second Peter 2:5 says: [God]did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.

Another illustration of a righteous remnant in the Bible was in the days of the Prophet Elijah.  When Elijah ran to escape the wicked Queen Jezebel, who sought to kill him, he mistakenly thought all those who were loyal to the Lord had been slaughtered by her and that he alone was the only righteous one left.

He knew not all Israelite’s were true believers in God, but he did not know that God had a righteous remnant from Israel; those who had not bowed their knee to the idols of Baal. God told Elijah:  Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

Still another example of a righteous remnant is what Paul said about Jewish Christians in his day.  In Romans 11:5, Paul says:  Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.  Many of the Jews in Paul’s day did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, but a remnant of them did.  The same is true today.  According to Paul then, those who believe in Jesus are the righteous remnant.

The idea of a righteous remnant, led Augustine to differentiate between the “visible” and the “invisible” church.  The “visible church” is the organized church that can be seen, but the “invisible church” is those who truly believe in Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus spoke of this difference when He said: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21).  Today there are many professing believers who are not truly saved, but among them is the righteous remnant of true believers.

Who is God’s righteous remnant today?  They are those in the Church who are true believers in Jesus. Like Noah and his family, this righteous remnant will be spared the judgment that is soon to come upon this earth. In 2 Peter 3:9, the Bible says that God is holding back His final judgment on the earth until the last sinner repents and is saved by grace. The prophetical clock moves… the rapture happens; and the true Church, God’s righteous remnant is snatched away in a twinkle of an eye––they were not called to wrath (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). God’s fury is poured out upon the world in a seven year apocalyptic end of times period, fully described, in the book of Revelation.  Thus begins the most horrific disasters imaginable. The days will be shortened; all flesh and the earth are eventually doomed to be destroyed by a vehement fire (2 Peter 3:10).

How close are we to these disastrous events? Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948, which tells us the prophetical calendar is winding down; all eyes are on the Middle East. In October 2015, Israel discovered a big deposit of oil in the Golan Heights, land captured from the Syrian’s during the six day war. It is still under dispute. Meanwhile Russia, Iran and Syria have deployed troops on the borders of Israel. Russia sent to Syria the world’s largest submarine armed with 200 nuclear weapons.

Disturbing developments have happened in the wake of President Obama’s deals with Iran, as his administration turned its back on Israel. On March 8, 2016, without American restraint, Iran sent two ballistic missiles fired from Iran that had this message, ‘Israel should be wiped off the earth’ written on them. As we stand on the brink of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39; the believers in Christ await the next prophetical event, the rapture of the church!

During the first three and half years the Anti-Christ will bring a false peace to the earth. Then in the next half, declaring himself to be God, he will destroy two thirds of the Jewish nation.  Yet in the midst of this turmoil, reserved for God’s purposes, a righteous remnant will arise from the tribes of Israel to share the gospel: And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed… (Revelation 7:4).

The book of Revelation gives us a picture in heaven of the righteous remnant joined from, all the ages, to finally stand in the presence of God and His Son Jesus Christ.  Revelation 7:9 tells us: After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, saying: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10).

Now picture this scene two thousand years ago when Christ the ‘Lamb of God’ came to earth. Those who saw Him humbly ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, also had palm branches in their hands: … when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,  took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (John 12:13).

As we enter Passion Week, pastors today, like Noah, will be preachers of righteousness at the pulpits across America. They will boldly proclaim the Gospel, how Jesus came, died for our sins and rose again. Those who hear them will have to make an important choice; to mock the Gospel message or reverently accept Jesus as their King!  Before you choose, take into great consideration He is the only way to escape eternal judgment. Will you not bow your knee in loyalty to the King of kings and become a part of His righteous remnant?

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days,
Will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’
Says the Lord of hosts. 
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east
And from the land of the west;
 I will bring them back,
And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
They shall be My people
And I will be their God,
In truth and righteousness.’

Zechariah 8:5-8

                                                                                      C. Wren