The Remnant of Israel -
January 2002 By Asher Intrater
I must confess that I have a great love for the Body of Messiah in Israel, which I see as the spiritual remnant of the nation of Israel. The very existence of this remnant has great prophetic significance.
The general Body of Christ in Israel has three parts. The first is the international Christian community. This is made up of representatives of every denomination and ethnic group in the world, living in Israel primarily on visa status. Israel as the "Holy Land" is a second home to Christians everywhere.
The second part of the Body of Christ is the Arab or Palestinian Christians. This group is very dear to us. They live in the difficult circumstances of being almost overwhelmed by the militant Islamic culture around them, and torn by the political conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The third group is the messianic Jews, those who are Israeli citizens, believers in Jesus and at least partly Jewish by birth. This group numbers around 7,000 people today at the turn of the millennium. It is this group that I am primarily identified with and which I am speaking of in this article.
After Yeshua (Jesus) was raised from the dead, his disciples asked him if He was then to restore the kingdom of God to the nation of Israel (Acts 1:6). Yeshua said that before that could happen they must preach the gospel to the whole world. During that time of preaching to the Gentile nations, Israel would also be punished as a nation by destruction and exile (Luke 21:24 and Luke 19:42). When the gospel would be finished being preached to all the nations, Israel's time of punishment and exile would also come to an end (Romans 11:24). At that time the nation would be restored, Jerusalem rebuilt, and the people would start believing in Yeshua again.
The plan of redemption throughout the entire Bible is presented through and together with the history of the people of Israel. The covenant plan unfolds through the history of the covenant people. In the first century with the spread of faith in Messiah Jesus to the Gentiles and with the imminent destruction of the nation of Israel, a certain problem arose as to how to understand the biblical calling of the nation of Israel. This is the question that Paul addresses in Romans 11.
Paul asks the question as to whether the prophetic purposes and divine destiny of the nation of Israel have been made void. His answer is, "Certainly not!" (Romans 11:1). But how could the destiny of Israel not be canceled, considering the rejection of the Messiah and the punishment from God? Paul's answer is quite clear: The Remnant.
He says that throughout history there was always just a minority of true believers within the greater nation of Israel. Despite the sins of the nation, that believing remnant carried within it (perhaps in seed form) the prophetic destiny of the nation.
Every nation, in fact, has a prophetic calling from God. That calling is not seen in the total population of the nation, but in the community of saints (the remnant) found within the nation. The prophetic calling of the United States is not seen in motion pictures from Hollywood. That of South Africa is not seen in the racial problems. Of Germany, not in Nazism; of Russia, not in communism, etc. The destiny of a nation and its covenant with God are found with the true believing church within the nation.
The same is true in Israel. The source of its destiny is not in Tel Aviv discos, nor in the political parties, nor in the rabbinic councils. It is in Yeshua, and in the community of citizens that believes in Him. In many ways, the Messianic Jews are the weakest element of the Israeli society (I Corinthians 1:26). We have virtually no leaders yet from our midst in government, business, or the arts. We are socially estranged, financially oppressed, and often psychologically damaged. Yet, by the grace of God, His light and the very hope of our nation are found in our midst.
Paul says that the way to understand God's plan for Israel and the nations is to compare the faithful remnant in the time of Elijah to the Messianic Jewish community of his day.
Romans 11:2, 4-5
What does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Even so as it was in the time of Elijah, so it is today. The destiny of Israel and God's plan for the nation is found within the remnant. In Elijah's time, in Paul's time, and even so AT THIS PRESENT TIME. There is still a remnant. And how many were in that remnant? 7,000.
In the time of Elijah, there was a remnant of 7,000 who carried with them the destiny of world redemption. In this present time (another "age of Elijah" as it were), there is also a remnant of Israel numbering 7,000. Amazing. Grace! Do you see it?Part Two to follow.
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