The Remnant of God: What is the Remnant in the Bible?

The Remnant of God: What is the Remnant in the Bible?Do you know who the remnant of God is? In this article I’d like to explore the question “what is the remnant in the Bible”, and why you as a Christian should know what this means for you.

What Does the Word “Remnant” Mean?

Before we start digging into the answer to the question “what is the remnant in the Bible”, I’d like to first get a better understanding for the definition of remnant. The dictionary defines the word “remnant” as:

  1. a : a usually small part, member, or trace remaining
    b : a small surviving group —often used in plural

So the word remnant essentially means a very small surviving part/group of something.

What Does the Bible Say About the Remnant of God?

Now that we have defined the word remnant, let’s start researching more into “what is the remnant in the Bible”. There’s quite a lot so I’m going to just highlight a few verses. However, please feel free to do more research on your own because they are mentioned quite frequently throughout the Bible.

It’s important to note here that throughout history there have been multiple instances of the remnant of God. Meaning, at any given time the people who make up the remnant in the Bible are not the same people. Many of the references in the Bible are obviously different people than those who are apart of the remnant now.

However, just as we are all apart of the family of God, so is this “small surviving group” the same in that way as well.

There Are Multiple Remnants, Not All Are Of God

I want to first point out that the Bible uses the word remnant a lot. But, it’s not always referring to the remnant of God. There are remnants of the enemies of God throughout the Bible as well. This is why it’s important to use discernment when studying more about who the remnant of God are.

Here is a good example of the word remnant sometimes talking about the remnant of the enemy:

“I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war…he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God….And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” – Revelation 19:11,13,21

Now, clearly Revelation 19 is speaking of Jesus riding on the horse (He is the Word). And He slays a remnant with the sword of His mouth. Obviously He wouldn’t slay the people of God. Rather, if you read the whole chapter you will see that He’s slaying the remnant of the enemy.

So when going through the Bible be sure to not take things out of context. But rather develop a bigger picture for which remnant is being spoken of in any given block of scripture.

What are the Characteristics of the Remnant in the Bible?

Let’s break down the characteristics that the remnant in the Bible have. With each scripture reference, we get a better picture of who the remnant is and what they look like.

The Remnant of God Are Those Who Return to God

In Isaiah a prophecy is spoken about the remnant of God. It says that they will be those who will return to leaning on God for protection.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty GodFor though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.” – Isaiah 10:20-22

Notice how it says that there will be many people in Israel, but only a remnant of them shall return. Paul even mentions this part of the prophecy again in his letter to the Romans:

“Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:” – Romans 9:27

If you hop on over to my article on who is Israel in the Bible this will give you a better picture of what this means, and how important of a statement this is. Basically it’s important because it means that all of God’s chosen people are not necessarily apart of the remnant.  As we read more of the characteristics of the remnant in the Bible we will begin to see how that’s possible.

The Remnant Shall Be Called Out by God

The Bible says that those who are apart of the remnant of God are those who are called by God.

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: 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

Even the New Testament mentions that there is still a remnant who are called according to the grace of God.

“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” – Romans 11:5

The Remnant of God Are Protected by God

There are several verses that prophecy that the remnant that God chooses shall be protected by Him.

“The Lord said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.” – Jeremiah 15:11

They will be treated well by the enemy, despite being their enemy. They will also escape being killed:

Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.” – Ezekiel 6:8

So this very small group of people that are called out of the family of God will be very special to God. Because He ensures their protection, even in the midst of hard times.

The Remnant Shall Be Very Few Mixed In Among The World

As with the very definition of the word remnant, the Bible tells us that those who have been called out by God to be apart of His remnant will be very few and that they will be sprinkled in among the general population of the world.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.” – Micah 5:7-8

This really makes me think of when Jesus talks about being in the world but not of the world.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” – John 17:14-16

So this remnant will be in the world, but will not be partakers of the evil in the world.

The Remnant of God Shall Bear Fruit

As Christians, we are familiar with the Fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23. The Bible speaks about the remnant as being those who will take root and bear fruit again:

And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.” – 2 Kings 19:30-31

So this remnant will re-connect with the root of the tree (which is Jesus – John 15:5) and will again start to bear fruit.

“And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.” – Jeremiah 23:3

The Remnant Shall Be Those Whose Sins Are Pardoned

The Bible says that those who are of the remnant of the heritage of God will have their sins forgiven.

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” – Micah 7:18

This is a vital characteristic because who is it that came so that our sins might be forgiven?

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” – Isaiah 1:18

And through Jesus we have that very promise fulfilled:

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” – Ephesians 1:7

The Remnant of God Keep the Commandments AND Have the Testimony of Jesus Christ

The Bible tells us that those who are apart of the remnant take God’s Word very seriously. They don’t write off the commandments that God has given us throughout the Bible. They do their best to abide in the vine and maintain a holy and righteous life.

“The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” – Zephaniah 3:13

The other key factor in identifying God’s remnant is that they will also have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Revelation 12:17

I think it was this verse that really started to perk my interest about who the remnant really is. The thing that really caught my attention with this verse is the last part of it. It says that this remnant are those who BOTH keep the commandments of God AND have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

This is a really interesting statement. Because, unfortunately both non-Messianic Jews and Christians are missing one or the other of these characteristics. Which begs the question, who is this remnant spoken of in Revelation?

Is the Remnant of God Israel or the Church?

Throughout God’s word, you’ll notice that the remnant of God is often referred to as the remnant of Israel or the remnant of Judah. Does this mean that, as Christians who aren’t physically born into Israel, we are automatically excluded from this remnant?

As I mentioned earlier in this article, it’s important to determine who Israel is in the Bible. I’ve addressed this in another article, so please read that for more details.

Essentially the remnant of God is a small part (per the definition) of a larger group of God’s chosen people.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” – John 15:16

Looking at the other characteristics of the remnant of God gives us a better clue about who they are. It seems like the remnant are those who have been chosen and who also choose to obey God with all their heart.

Why would you want to be apart of the remnant?

At this point, you might be asking yourself, why should you even care about being apart of the remnant? Being a Christian is more than praying a prayer one time and going to a church gathering once a week. Giving your life to Christ should be absolutely life changing. If that hasn’t been the case for you, then it might be time to come before God in humble, submissive prayer, because you’re missing something.

But for those who have experienced that, then you might see the value in being apart of God’s remnant. Because being chosen by God for anything is so special and such an honor.

God’s remnant is spoken of as being chosen by God. Because it’s important to God that there are those who still love Him with all their heart, even if that means going against the majority opinion.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38

So if you love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul, then why wouldn’t you want the honor of being apart of His chosen remnant?

How to become apart of the remnant of God.

Being apart of the remnant of God first involves being chosen by God. Are you chosen by God?

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” – John 15:16

After you’ve been chosen by God then, through lots of prayer, God will lead you into how to honor Him with your life. But the key difference between the remnant and everyone else seems to be summed up in Revelation 12:

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Revelation 12:17

It’s impossible to do this on your own. But rather by leaning on God for the strength and wisdom to love Him through your obedience. God desires us to come to Him in all things, and sometimes He waits to move until we do:

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: 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

Through prayer you can ask God to give you everything you need to be apart of His remnant. One thing that our family prays for a lot is wisdom and understanding of God’s Word. We pray this quite frequently. And I can tell you that it has opened our spiritual eyes to so much that we never saw before. God very much desires us to pray for this and He will answer you.

The Life of the Remnant of God

Being apart of God’s remnant is both rewarding and challenging. It can also be quite lonely, even if you have your spouse or family supporting you.

It’s rewarding because God reveals so much and makes His Word so crystal clear. Your relationship with God grows continually so long as you are actively seeking Him out and striving to live Biblically. Convictions no longer become a burden, but rather a joy. Your priorities are re-ordered in such a way that what other people think doesn’t matter. But rather what will God think when you stand before Him. There’s a lot of good that comes from being called out to be so different.

On the other end of the spectrum, it is also quite lonely. Even in the midst of a crowd of Christians, you feel so different and alone in your beliefs. Following the commandments of God is actually pretty taboo in Christian circles. As sad as it sounds, most Christians don’t get why you would do that, even when you present scripture that backs it up. Many Christians will say that you’re trying to earn your salvation. They will try to make you feel guilty for being obedient to God.

But what really helps is to remember what Jesus says about how to love God:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

And that’s what being apart of the remnant of God is really all about. Loving God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

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