The Predestined Remnant

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l The Predestined Remnant i Omega Ministries

The importance of knowing who God foreknew and predestined to be saved by grace


l

The Predestined Remnant i Omega Ministries

I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah--how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (R 11:1-6) omans

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O

ne of the big questions that arises from the writings of Paul is the subject of predestination. It’s a subject that has caused many theological discussions and even serious divisions in the Christian world view. However, as I hope to show it’s really not that complex or confusing when Scripture is considered in it’s context. Once we establish who it was that God foreknew we will find the ones who were predestined. After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ that have been known for ages.” (Amos 9:11,12; Acts 15:16) “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:16-21) At the end of the day God wants all people to turn to him, so that they might be blessed and healed both physically and spiritually. We see from the testimony of James (the apostle) before the whole council of apostles (Acts 15), the elders and the whole church in Jerusalem that they understood God’s work of salvation was for all nations, not just for those Jews who believed first. The ‘remnant chosen by grace’ is here a reference by Paul to those Jews (part of occupied Israel in his time) who first believed in the testimony of both John and Jesus and then the teaching of the apostles post resurrection. This was all prior to the destruction of the Temple and the dispersion

of the remaining people of Israel itself (God’s judgement for apostasy and rejection of the prophets and Christ Matt 23:35). Here in the early church in Jerusalem we see (recorded in Acts 15) James pointing out that God has also accepted the Gentiles who believe on the basis of grace coming to them through the preaching of the Word (Jesus) by the apostles. By their faith in the work of the cross and the receiving of the free gift of the Holy Spirit (not by the observance of the Law from which they were excluded) other nations are also added to the remnant Jewish church, the New Jerusalem. These ‘foreign’ nations who believed the message of the Kingdom through the ministry of Paul and Barnabas (and others) are understood to be a new and welcomed addition to the ‘ekklesia’ body of Jesus (i.e. grafted into the remnant of Israel through faith in Christ). James testifies that this is proven to be God’s will by his quotation of a Scripture in Amos 9:11,12 (see left). The ‘remnant of grace’ is therefore clearly defined by the apostles as those first Jews who believed the message of Jesus as their Messiah, Saviour in that generation, whom Paul also called the ‘elect’ or ‘chosen’. These were literally ‘chosen by grace’ (that is by Jesus) and their eyes and ears were opened to know the Father by His faith, whilst the rest were hardened and ultimately judged!

“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:69-71) In Acts we see the Greeks coming to Jesus by faith at the preaching by these remnant apostles (not needing to follow the detail of the Law) and being fully accepted without needing to keep the Sabbath, tithing, food rules and festivals etc. to be justified or even to please God the Father who never

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expected this. God accepted them just for believing in Jesus as saviour from sin. Again remember this ‘remnant’ of believing Jews were those who Jesus chose before the judgement of Israel came in the first century. Knowing this fact is crucial because this means that all the Gospels and letters, except possibly Revelation, were written in this short period before the final destruction of the city. Those

he foreknew

-

understanding predestination

It’s very important to observe that when the apostles were speaking and writing about ‘predestination’ and ‘foreknowledge’ they were referring to this remnant of Jews and not Gentiles. As Paul says in Romans 11 ‘God did not reject his people whom he foreknew’. Paul is talking here about the ancestral Israelites of the past who kept the faith and did not indulge in the worship of other idol gods (Baal etc.) and whose children also maintained their true faith and purity to their present day. Only God knew who these true believers were and many of these (if not all) responded to the preaching of John the Baptist and repented of their sins. Afterwards they were looking for the Messiah whom John preached was coming.

“This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptised with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptised of him. And the Lord said,Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting

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in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying,We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children.” (John 7:27-35) We see clearly from this teaching that those who received John’s baptism of repentance had their ‘eyes’ (hearts) opened to see who Jesus really was (Messiah), thus enabling them to believe, whereas the unrepentant Pharisees and others remained ‘blind’. They could not see who Jesus really was as they clung to their religious traditions. Paul mentions this spiritual blindness in another letter explaining the unseen spiritual dynamic:

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corin 4:3-5) What further evidence do we have that those God foreknew were the believing Jews? Firstly, consider Jesus own teaching because he is the foundation of grace and truth. When Jesus came to earth to whom did he come? He gives us the answer in a remarkable incident that occurred near Tyre and Sidon on the northern coast:

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou


son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ” (Matt 15:21-24). This passage is vital to our understanding of Jesus mission from the Father which was very specific at that time:- ‘to reach the lost sheep of Israel’ and not (at this point) the other nations - especially the Canaanites whom God had originally commanded to be destroyed (Deut 20:17). Despite this we see the mercy of Christ and his admiration of true faith, even though his mission was clear. The key point here is that the Lord’s focus was on saving a remnant of Israelites - those who believed that he was indeed the Messiah. Jesus was dealing with 3 kinds of people; those Israelites who believed, those who did not and then the Gentiles (everyone else). God’s promises were to the Israelites going back many centuries. We see that some of these Jews were looking for the Messiah. Even the Pharisees when they went to John asked him if he was the Christ:

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptise you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.” (Luke 3:15-18) Andrew, a disciple of John at the time was among the first to have recognised Jesus as Messiah:

“He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” (John 1:41) The woman at the well was also aware that the Messiah was coming:

“The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” (John 4:25) We see that these ‘Jews’ and ‘Samaritans’ were open to and expecting the Messiah (Christ), however we also see the other group who were not looking for this hope, but rather wanted to build their own kingdom in cooperation with the world power at that time - the Roman Empire. Jesus knew that His message and the powerful witness from the Father would enable these seekers to believe in him and thus be saved by his final blood sacrifice once for all upon the cross. In this sense they were ‘predestined’ because he ‘foreknew’ who these disciples would be - perhaps even four hundred years earlier! Just as John the baptist was prophesied in Malachi, we also see that the believing remnant were also prophesied in Malachi:

“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Mal 3:16-18) Wow! Those who God predestined to believe in Christ were the children of those

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that feared the Lord in the days of the rebellion back in Malachi’s day 400 years earlier! In Malachi 3 we see the prophecy of Jesus first coming and refining, separating the sheep and the goats and in chapter 4 we see that before this time God will send the spirit of Elijah to awaken them and redeem them from the judgement! (John the baptist).

“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch (AD70). But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings (Jesus); and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet (John the baptist) before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (AD70): And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers (repentance and love), lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4).

Jesus confirms that this was indeed John:

“But I say unto you,That Elias (Elijah) is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” (Matt 17:12-13)

The Malachi 4 passage is fulfilled by John and Jesus, the two witnesses to the nation in their day. This is why Jesus only spoke

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in parables, so that only those prepared to listen carefully to the revelatory understanding would grasp the secrets of the Kingdom to come. Even then, unless Jesus had to open their minds to the understanding they still could not fully grasp the truth because it is spiritually discerned. Jesus only entrusted the understanding of the parables to his closest disciples especially the Twelve who were ‘elected’ by grace, chosen by God not by their own works:

“And the disciples came, and said unto him,Why speakest thou unto them in parables?He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance (of revelation): but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath (understanding).Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you,That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Matt 13:10-17)


We must always remember to interpret the new testament writing in the correct context of the times when Jesus walked among the Jews in the ancient ‘old’ Jerusalem. He never revealed the secrets of his teaching to the Gentiles, or even to the hypocritical Pharisees! Salvation had not yet been given or released to all nations, this would only occur after the crucifixion and even after Pentecost! The early church was thus ALL Jewish converts. It’s worthy to note that Jesus had forgiven the sins of many of those who believed on him prior to the cross, simply because they believed in him! God can forgive sins, he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. Even in the old covenant he overlooked sin and gave forgiveness to those who repented based on the reality that one day the Christ would ultimately pay for all sin. David saw this and prophesied it in many of the Psalms (e.g. Psa 85:2). All that the prophets had prophesied was coming true in their day, in front of their eyes, yet only the remnant could see it, only the elect of grace predestined by the Father. Paul reveals this when grieving over his own people the Jews, because no matter how much he could preach to them if God had not chosen them they would not believe:

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Rom 9:15-16; see also 2 Corin 3:13-16)

Because of the covenant they made with God through Moses at Horeb the Israelites were not (and are not) their own and had to pay the price for their rebellion. Even so God is merciful and did not completely destroy them and so even today some of their descendants are turning to Christ by faith alone. (see www.oneforisrael.org) At Pentecost we see fulfilled the prophecy

of Joel, as Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit reveals, which speaks of the promise of the Spirit being poured out on all flesh (first for the Jew then for the nations), however it is notable that the conclusion of that part of the Joel prophecy is not quoted by Peter, but by referring back to Joel’s original proclamation we see more revelation regarding the remnant of grace:

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (saved): for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” (Joel 2:32) Once Jesus had preached the truth to all Israel his final work was to allow himself to be sacrificed for the sins of the wider world - the nations - so that they too could be included or grafted into the household of faith - his church, body (John 12:32). This grace was given to the nations through the preaching of the Word of God by apostolic and evangelistic outreach as Paul clearly states:

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:13-15) The message of Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins is delivered to the nations the same way Jesus originally delivered the message to the Jews - he was sent to PREACH the good news of the Kingdom and whosoever shall call upon the name (Jesus) of the Lord shall be saved. ‘Whosever’ means ‘anyone’ in ‘any nation’. This is vital because it means that

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the pagan nations were not ‘predestined’ in the way that the ‘called Jews’ (as God’s people before) had been chosen. Rather we see that the good news is offered to all as a FREE GIFT that can be received (once the blindness of Satan is removed by the Spirit) and this is now the same for Jew and Gentile (post judgement of Israel) as Paul explains to the Gentiles:

“As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election (remnant), they are beloved for the father’s sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God (Gentiles), yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. (kindness to Jews) For God hath concluded them all (Jews) in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all (mankind).” (Rom 11:27-32) The Church is to have mercy and kindness towards the Jew as they are now in unbelief as much as all the nations and this mercy will also bring them into their true inheritance of Christ, but this is by faith no longer by Law. So we see that both the remnant believing Jews and the unsaved hardened Jews have a purpose in God’s plan and we should be thankful and not critical as it reveals the power of God’s Word! The

first fruits offered up

The remnant who believed prior to the destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem and the nation, Paul, James and John also called the ‘firstfruits’ and the ‘first to believe’ (Eph 1:12; 1 Corin 15:23; James 1:18). All these Jewish believers had ‘first hand testimony’ from the 12 apostles and others who had known Jesus as a man, who were ‘eye witnesses’ of his life, death and resurrection. Paul (who only met the risen Jesus) and the other apostles state clearly that they were ‘elect’

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or ‘chosen’ and ‘predestined’ by the Father (as Jews) to form this essential foundation of the new covenant the ‘ekklesia’ (Greek) or ‘church of the firstborn’ - headed by the risen Jesus through the Spirit. This is a great mystery and can only be understood by those who have spiritual eyes to see (Heb 12:23; 1 Corin 2:13; 2 Kings 19:31). The church of Jesus is therefore not founded on the Law of Moses, but on the Law of Christ which is by his faith existent before the Law and before creation. It’s no longer about ‘Hebraic roots’ but rather on Christ alone - the branch, the eternal Rock. The

uniqueness of

God’s

people

From the time of Moses to Malachi God’s people were indeed ‘peculiar’ and specially chosen by him through both ethnicity (though not exclusively) and by the separation of Law (Torah), the Israelites were separate from all other nations culturally and religiously. God called them his ‘treasured possession’ and this was because of his favoured patriarchs Abraham, Moses, Jacob etc. (Exod 19:5). Israel became a unique nation that received unique covenants with the Almighty, but all this was for one purpose - to bring forth the living Word made flesh - Jesus Christ (Messiah) as even Moses had spoken of in Deut 18:15. Once he (Jesus) came He changed the natural Law (Torah) to the spiritual Law of Spirit (Grace) (see Heb 7:12). Initially Jesus chose the 12, then the Holy Spirit promise was given to them empowering them to preach the Kingdom in power to their fellow Jews and the world. Many things became clear to them as the Spirit of God revealed them and gave revelation about Jesus ministry and why he had to die and rise again etc. Their minds were opened to the Scriptures which spoke of him. Importantly these Jews gave up their traditions and adopted a different lifestyle given to them by Jesus. This is why they were originally called the people of the ‘WAY’ i.e. the unique Way of Christ. This new ‘way’ clearly


contrasted with the ‘old’ way which the Pharisees continued to promote even after the crucifixion! Now believing Jews became Christians and gave up their nationality for their new heavenly nationality the heavenly Jerusalem! This is one of the main reasons they were persecuted by their own people. Through the Spirit anointed preaching of the apostles and evangelists the saved remnant soon expanded to between 7-8,000 people. This is staggeringly small when you consider that at Pentecost there would have been upwards of 500,000 to 1 million Jews from all over the known world and yet just 7,000 believed (1 Kings 19:18). Within a few decades this tight knit body of faith was scattered by Jewish persecution after Stephen’s martyrdom seven years after Jesus ministry had begun (Acts 7). At this turning point believers in the Way spread outward and the Kingdom ministry to the world expanded through Paul and Barnabas, as recorded by Luke in Acts. It was their preaching of Scripture, first to the Jew and then to the Gentile by the power of the Spirit, that called these early believers in Asia minor. The apostles were literally like ‘Christ’ to them as Christ supernaturally dwelt in them. The size of the church was not as many people as might be thought, there being only a few house churches mentioned in Acts and the letters of Paul. Those who belong to God are therefore called but few ‘chosen’ by the Spirit of grace through faith at the preaching of Jesus crucified. So we have the Jewish remnant that God forenew and planned for from the foundation of the world, that is from Abel (as already described above), then there is the many Gentiles being grafted into this blessing later (see Luke 11:49-51) through freewill choice.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Jews). Moreover

whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30) Gentiles

are grafted into true Israel by faith in

Christ

We have seen earlier that Jesus came only to Israel and called those ‘predestined’ to believe, then he justified them and ultimately, by the Holy Spirit, glorified them and this he now does for all those Gentiles who believe the message of the cross through the preaching of the gospel (1 Corin 1:21). As mentioned other nations are subsequently grafted into this household of faith (the remnant) It must again be emphasised that this was not the case for the Jews who ‘first believed’ as they were already of the blessed root of Israel and experienced the supernatural transition from ‘natural’ Israel to ‘believing Israel’ or as Jesus refers to it ‘his church’ (eklessia). As previously mentioned this was God’s Sovereign choice because the people of Israel belonged to him by the first covenant. The true follower, that fully preaches Christ and salvation in his name alone, is a coworker with Jesus to offer the free gift of life to ALL the lost in the world while it is called TODAY. In this way grace is given to the unbeliever through the ‘foolishness of preaching’ Christ and everyone has this offer. Those who accept by freewill choice and continue to the end (of their life) keeping the faith, even through persecution or death, shall be saved. This is what Jesus, to the Jews, and Paul to the gentiles preached and witnessed by the power of the Spirit with signs and wonders. (Matt 10:22; 24:13; 2 Tim 4:6-8; 1 Pet 4:18; Gal 5:21; Rev 21:7). In

context

So then, we see at that time (Paul’s ‘present time’) the three distinct groups: 1. Israel and Judah a divided nation (plus Roman occupied)

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2. The chosen ‘Remnant church’ (Jews plus some Gentiles who believe in Jesus, known as the ‘early church’) 3. Pagan nations (everyone else). Significantly we do not see two churches develop i.e. a Jewish (messianic) church and a Gentile church, no! God even gave Peter a special revelation to accept the ‘unclean’ Gentiles and so the apostles welcomed the new converts into the ‘one body’ because God accepted them (Acts 10:10-27) they were grafted in through Jesus (the ‘sign’ of acceptance being the baptism by the Spirit). Therefore those who believe whether Jew or Greek, Slave or Free, Male or Female are also classified as the ‘body’ of Jesus Christ (Gal 3:28) both Jew and Gentile - one new man. Jesus had literally made the two into one new man, in himself - HIS church (Matt 6:18). Later this multicultural combination was simply called ‘Christian’ i.e. Christlike. This is what Jesus and Paul taught regarding the ‘Two’ becoming ONE body, something that happened THEN and not a future event as some may mistakenly assume:

“For he himself is our peace, who HAS made the two one and HAS destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Eph 2:14-17) At this crucial turning point in the early church the first apostles and elders all accepted this fact; that the remnant of Israel (which God the Father predestined to believe in Jesus) was ‘united’ with the Gentile believers in spirit by faith removing the barrier

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(John 10:16). Not only this, but also to reach those Jews scattered throughout the whole earth (John 11:51-52; James 1:1). Importantly they recognised that they were now God’s ‘new spiritual nation’ and the ‘one body’ incorporating only those who believe and are baptised into Jesus, so that in God’s sight at this time (up to 20 years after the resurrection) there was the apostate Israel and the spiritual church: 1. The occupied nation of Israel (still with a Levitical & Pharisaical priesthood) 2. The new Christian ‘church body’ a combined holy nation and new priesthood in the order of Melkizedek (see Heb 7). As Paul says, ‘His purpose was to create in himself one new man’, so we make a mistake if we try to separate this new man into Jewish (Messianic church) and Gentile (Christian church) or for that matter Anglican, Roman Catholic or Baptist etc. – IS CHRIST DIVIDED? NO! (1 Corin 1:13). The divisions in the ‘churches’ are man made and forbidden by the true apostolic teaching, our only identity should be that of ‘disciple’ or ‘Christian’. (see article in Revival Times Issue 2, page 7). Jesus

greater than

Moses

The apostles fully accepted that the work of Jesus was in fact a total fulfilment of God’s promises to Israel through Moses and all the prophets (see Luke 24:27; 2 Corin 1:20). They knew that ‘all things were made new’ a new covenant was cut in the blood of Christ himself the lamb, so that it is ‘guaranteed’ forever, there’s no going back! It was not a ‘renewed’ old covenant which some try to teach today, but a brand new deal! We see earlier in Acts 13:32 and throughout this chapter how Paul had emphasised to the Jews in other nations this very fact! He warned them to take up this offer from God lest they perish like they did under the Babylonians:


“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you (Hab 1:5). And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” (Acts 13:41) Paul teaches grace by faith and obedience to the Spirit and not by obedience to the ordinances of the Torah and exclusivity as a means to salvation and an abundant life (see Heb 3). The goal of faith however is still separation from the world system or holiness and purity in accordance with the law of the Spirit and keeping the Spirit of the Law. What changed was the means of justification and cleansing of sins. By obeying Christ’s commands example we fulfil the law by love. The

walls did come down

In Matthew 26:31 Jesus himself quotes Zech 13:8 which numbers the remnant as one third of Israel at that time (see also Rom 9:27). We previously saw that Paul calls the Law ‘the dividing wall of hostility’. Those unrepentant Jews not selected by the Father for faith in Jesus remained hardened and opposed to the truth of the faith believing that the Law (and tradition) was still the sole means of justification (thus excluding all Gentiles). Sadly many perished under the wrath of God at the hands of the Romans from AD 66-70 (approx 500,000 died and many where taken captive to Rome!). Approx 1 million survived. However after a further revolt in AD 135 a further

580,000 Jews died and those remaining were expelled from the land completely and the major cities were levelled to the ground by the Romans. The number of Christian believers who escaped the Roman armies before these events was probably in the 10,000’s by this time, they escaped by crossing the Jordan to the East in obedience to Jesus words in Luke 21:20-21. These are undeniable historical facts even recorded by Josephus, archaeologists and other historians (The Jewish War, Oxford World’s Classics, Amazon). In Christ Jesus the ‘hostility’ of the Law is removed as each side becomes a NEW CREATURE, that is a spiritual ‘Son of God’ and de facto a ‘citizen of heaven’ (forming the New Jerusalem Rev 21:2) by his Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The previous identities of Jew or Gentile are lost and thus must be fully discarded (Gal 3:28). This is proven to be true by the written testimony of the early apostles who accepted themselves as ‘Christians’ even though they had Judaic backgrounds. They taught that Christians are part of a new nation of priests in God’s eternal Kingdom and no longer part of the natural kingdoms of Judah and Israel (Phil 3:20; John 18:36) or even of this world! There is now therefore only ONE God and ONE body and significantly ONE holy nation belonging to God – the church founded in Christ (Messiah)! If this is not the case then Paul says that Christ died in vain! As a consequence of this new reality we must not consider ourselves to have ‘dual citizenship’, that is to say we have now become ‘sojourners’ or ‘strangers’ on the earth just as all who lived by faith before us (see also 1 Chron 29:15; Psalm 39:12; Heb 11:13). We should now have no investment in or loyalty to any world system of religion or government (even Judaic), because Jesus the Messiah is now our only connection to his lineage of faith - he is our only King. Just like a tree graft has only one connection to the branch we receive the nutritious sap

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of God’s Spirit by faith because Jesus is true spiritual vine, the life giving Spirit in heaven. He is like the Rod that budded and he is now before the throne interceding for us continuously in heaven itself! (Num 17:8). Knowing him and the Father personally through the indwelling Spirit is the good news of the Gospel, we are not to be guided by man’s ideas, but by his Spirit of love. This was Paul’s experience and that which Jeremiah prophesied would come through the Messiah (Gal 1:1, Jer 31:34). This is not replacement theology because the Jews are still recognised by God as his firstborn, but the spiritual kingdom and power of God was taken from them and now resides with Christ as the High Priest and his new priesthood - Christians. The symbolism reveals that Jesus is therefore the complete fulfilment of all the promises because everything has been given to him and those with him (Eph 1:22). The ‘first

fruits’ were harvested

We can confidently say therefore that the ‘Nation of God’ post Christ’s resurrection (as Paul states in Rom 2:28; 9:6) are those remnant Jews who ‘believed’ in their hearts the message of Jesus – their true Messiah – and were grafted in through baptism (replacing outward circumcision). He is the Branch that grew up from the stump of Judah whom God had cut down (Isaiah 11:1, Zech 3:8; 6:12). They called themselves the ‘firstfruits’ (Rom 11:16) and implied that at some time in the future (after many Gentiles had believed) God would continue to give dispersed ‘Israel’ another opportunity in the last days to accept the message of Jesus before His return (Rom 11:25-27), so that they have the first and the last offering. In the 20th century many Jews and Arabs came to know Jesus. This is still happening around the world where Jews have been dispersed. 1948 and the return of Jews to the land of Canaan was a powerful sign that we have entered the last part of this age. However as before only a remnant of Jews will return to the land

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The Predestined Remnant

as a sign to the church and world. Many believe that Israel will rebuild the temple, but Scriptures reveal that this cannot happen as God has declared that the old HAS gone the new HAS come (Jer 3:16; 1 Corin 3:9; Heb 8:13). The ancient temple mount has even been capped by the anti-Christ, anti-Jew Islamic dome in 691–692—some 55 years after Muslim armies captured Jerusalem (the abomination Matt 24:15) now some 1,243 years! (allowing for 88 years of Crusader control 1099-1187 and Jewish control since 1968!). Only international pressure keeps Israel from rebuilding the Temple structure with new features. However we must accept God’s final decision not to allow it, because to bring back the old temple would make Christ’s work of no effect and would prevent the Jews from turning to the true Messiah which is His purpose in bringing them back to the land! As followers of Christ it must be our love and kindness towards them (and all mankind) in their own land that brings them to repentance and faith.

“And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more,The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.” (Jer 3:16)


The

last great harvest is

NOW

The salvation of many Jews in these days is surely one of the real signs of Christ’s imminent return (Israel and the United States account for 83% of the Jewish population, while a total of 98 countries host the other 17%). He will do this not because they deserve it, but because of his promises to the patriarchs. At the present time they are in ignorance (Rev 2:9; 3:9) as indeed are all other religions in the world. However, because they are under the curse of the ‘Law’ they are no longer a ‘Holy’ nation in the old sense, because the holy priesthood was transferred from the Levites to Judah (Messiah) and His body the Ekklesia (church) into the order of Melchisedec which is everlasting:

“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Heb 7:11). The priesthood and the Law have changed in God’s sight. In fact it has changed so much so that the Jews are even called ‘enemies’ of the Gospel of the Kingdom by Paul and they did cause him a great deal of persecution. As an ‘ethnicity’ they are spiritually blinded by the old Law (2 Co 3:14) and so remain deceived until they also repent and believe in Jesus’ work of grace, as indeed all nations must believe. Surprisingly many modern Jews have never heard the true Gospel message! The Rabbinic traditions prevents them from reading the New Testament or even Isaiah 53. They must be grafted back into the Olive Tree to be saved from the second death. Paul tells us that for this reason they are indeed in the same spiritual position as any other nation in the modern world today (Rom 11:32;

John 6:63) and so have equal opportunity to

accept the GRACE of God through Christ and this is a good thing! Sadly, as an earthly nation, they still reject Jesus as their true Messiah - but this will change. We are called to respect and love them even as the Father does for the sake of the faithful patriarchs and their example to us of God’s judgments. Even so it’s an error to think that they are still acceptable to God by simply being Jews alone or that they should be given special treatment by God because of their natural inheritance. Paul states clearly that the inheritance is not by the flesh:

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.That is,They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom 9:6-8) The Holy Nation - Global The ‘church’ or ‘body’ of Messiah is now called ‘the holy nation’ (1 Pet 2:9) where the two (Jew and Gentile) have become one body, one faith. Jesus is called the second Adam and so a whole ‘new race’ comes from him by faith through the cross (the cutting of a new covenant in His blood). He is now the true vine and we are the true branches who believe and feed on his words. This nation was ‘born’ on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit came in power (fire) and the ‘people’ became God’s new dwelling place (the new temple Isaiah 65:1; 66:8). God has shown that His blessings and anointing are now no longer restricted to a specific land mass i.e Canaan / Israel / Palestine etc. He can be found anywhere in the world – and church history testifies to this. For this reason the Land of Israel is now not an essential prerequisite for God

The Predestined Remnant 13


to give blessings to His servants, indeed the focus has moved away from material blessing as the main benefit of faith. Jesus said ‘store up treasure in heaven’, and so just as Abraham we look for the city to come, the new Jerusalem of heaven, of which we are already members by faith, what Paul called the ‘household of faith’ (Gal 6:10). Material blessings are not a sign of holiness otherwise the rich and godless men of the world have nothing to fear and the poor are doomed! Praise the Lord that the Gospel of the Kingdom is FREE for those prepared to humble themselves, crucify the desires of the flesh and follow His Words! Our

example to the Jews

Paul states that the best way for the church to witness to the dispersed Jews of the world, then and now, is for them to see how ‘loving’ and how ‘free’ we are in the faith of Jesus (Rom 11:14) this will somehow stir them to think again with a holy jealousy. Sadly, through history the ‘apostate church’ has failed to be this good example of sincere love and has hardened Jews even more against the Gospel message. Because of this most orthodox Jews still look for a politically powerful leader who will rule the world with temporal power like a human king. This opens them up to deception and manipulation by politicians and keeps them blind. The

end is now

We must be careful not to show favouritism towards any man or nation when preaching the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The priority of the Body of Christ is to reach those nations which have not had opportunity to hear the message (Matt 24:14; Rom 15:20). The Jews were the FIRST to hear the good news and so fulfil the Scriptures, that the Messiah would come to them and begin a new age of GRACE. The offer still stands for any Jew in today’s world. They truly are the most stubborn of all nations!

14

The Predestined Remnant

(Exodus 32:9). For the end to come the Gospel of the Kingdom must reach all other nations, and this has not yet been achieved. Despite this more have been reached than at any other time in history. With apostolic and evangelistic teams starting to reach out globally this goal will soon be achieved! Current estimates are that 2025 will see all nations and tongues reached with the Kingdom message. In a strange twist this has been made possible by the advent of new technologies some of which were invented by Jews! Conclusions In our world today the ‘church’ appears to be full of division and confusion because it has been entangled by the traditions of men and deceived by riches and the legalism of the old Law. However God is again reserving for himself a ‘remnant’ of those who rely purely on GRACE and the law of the Spirit in these final days, ‘His Bride’ pure holy and known by Him alone. These are those disciples who do not go back to the principles of the world or of law for justification, but who take hold of Christ alone and, just as Paul, consider everything else as rubbish. We MUST forget what is past and strain heavenwards where our hope comes from – this earth and it’s wicked inhabitants remain doomed and just like Noah we will soon escape its destruction as Jesus and the Father come with fire – not just to mount Sinai but upon the whole earth!

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Php 3:2-14). Now more than ever it is time to let go of


the past and to press on for the goal that Jesus calls us to – a church without spot or wrinkle, a bride prepared for her husband, this will take all of our focus, energy and prayers, may Jesus dwell in you to this end.

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which

pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:7-8)

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The Predestined Remnant 15


Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ISAIAH 40:28-31

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