* * *
THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL IN THE CHURCH
Theological and Practical
Considerations for the Church
Part 2: Theological Reconsiderations
Concerning The Remnant
Steven C. Ger, Th.M.,
Part 1 of this study, The Remnant in Judaism and the
Scriptures, brought out these key points:
1. The "remnant" is that continuous portion of
pre-Israel humanity, and then of Israel, which God has elected to bring to
2. It is on behalf of the remnant of Israel that God has preserved the
nation of Israel (Isaiah 10:22; 65:8).
3. According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, there is within Judaism a
parallel theological concept of “remnant of Israel” (shearith Israel)
which denotes the belief that a faithful remnant would survive whatever
divine catastrophic judgments were brought upon the community because of
4. In the New Testament, John the Baptist and Paul taught that being of
the physical seed of Abraham did not qualify one for salvation and
membership in the remnant, but that faith in Messiah did.
5. Consistent with the teaching of Isaiah, Paul taught that, despite
Israel's general unbelief, God has not rejected Israel from being His
chosen people, in part because of the remnant of believing Jews within
6. Believing Gentiles are not to boast against unbelieving Israel, but to
realize that Gentiles have been brought to faith for the purpose of
provoking Israel to jealousy that they might return to the Lord.
7. Believing Gentiles have been raised to the status of being co-heirs and
co-participants with believing Israel (the remnant) of the Abrahamic
Covenant's spiritual blessings.
8. The newly created community of believing Jews and Gentiles, the church,
does not eradicate national distinctions.
9. Believing Gentiles are not "true Israel" or "the Israel of God". These
terms refer solely to the remnant of Israel.
References: Genesis 7:23, 12:1-3, 17:19, 19:29, 28:13-15, 45:7; Exodus 32;
Numbers 14:38; Deuteronomy 30:1-10; 1 Kings 19:18; Isaiah 7-12, 10:22;
65:8; Jeremiah 23:3-6; Ezekiel 37:19; Micah 4-5; Zechariah 8:5; Matthew
3:9; Acts 15:14; Romans 2:28-29; 3:1-3; Romans 9-11, Romans 9:1-13, 27;
Romans 11, esp. vv. 1-5, 11-24; Galatians 3:28, 6:15-16; Ephesians
2:11-19, 3:6; Revelation 7:4. - Editor
Part 2: Theological Reconsiderations Concerning The Remnant
The Remnant within Classic Dispensational Theology
Dispensationalism, as with all theological systems, attempts to categorize
and systematize the revelation of God. Each particular theological
system’s weakness is revealed by what happens to that specific data which
does not neatly fit into the proposed constructs, grids and containers of
that theology. Theologians generally hate tensions, antinomies and, above
all, squishy facts that do not seem to neatly fit into one categorical box
or another. The remnant of Israel is a prime example of this unfortunate
pattern. This section, perhaps the most controversial, must begin with a
disclaimer. What I am proposing is a revisitation of a particular poorly
developed area within Dispensationalism, not Dispensationalism as a
system. These views should in no way be interpreted as advocating
Much of what is being discussed can be also found within Arnold
Fruchtenbaum’s massive and comprehensive Israelology: The Missing Link in
Systematic Theology. It was reassuring to discover that Fruchtenbaum had
arrived at many of the following conclusions ahead of this author, often
choosing the same texts from which to study.
Israel’s glorious past and future figure most prominently throughout the
traditional dispensational system, yet it seems that only the theological
equivalent of “lipservice” is given to the realities of Israel in this
Two classic, decades-long DTS textbooks will suffice for examination: Dr.
Chafer’s Systematic Theology and Dr. Pentecost’s Things to Come.
These particular works were chosen, not on the basis of being the most
contemporary presentations of dispensational systematics, but on the basis
of sustained influence as well as continued, widespread usage both within
and without the classroom setting. In Pentecost’s classic volume Things To
Come, we particularly see how the contemporary manifestation of the
remnant is conspicuously absent within foundational Dispensationalism.
|After the day of Pentecost and until the rapture we find the church… but no
spiritual Israel. After the rapture we find no church, but a true or
spiritual Israel again.
Pentecost is denying the very existence of a present remnant, proposing no
true Israel in this dispensation whatsoever, contra Paul (Rom. 11), contra
Peter (1 Peter 2:1-10). It would seem certain from their writings that
these apostles understood themselves to be the remnant.
|From the time of Christ’s rejection by Israel until the time when God
deals specifically with Israel again in the seventieth week it is not
possible to refer to a remnant of the nation Israel. In the body of Christ
all national distinctions disappear. All Jews who are saved are not saved
into a national relationship, but into a relationship to Christ in that
body of believers…There is no continuing remnant of Israel with whom God
is particularly dealing today…Because that nation is now blinded, God can
not have a remnant within the nation.
Jewish believers neither lose ethnicity nor nationality. The whole point
of what Paul argues in Romans 11 is to demonstrate that a contemporary
remnant currently is manifesting itself, as usual. Without a remnant,
there is no Israel of God (Gal 6:16) and the promises of God have been
voided, leaving God unfaithful indeed (see
It goes beyond the Biblical text to explain away Jewish believers’ current
enjoyment of the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant by denying that
they are members of the remnant of Israel. “By definition, this group
(Jewish believers) bears a dual identity as both a remnant within Israel
the people and as a particular community within the body of Christ”
(see figure 6).
When God again deals with the nation Israel, salvation will be offered on
the basis of the blood of Christ.
When has God ceased dealing with Israel? And is not salvation now
presently offered to them on the basis of Christ’s blood? One would get
the impression from reading Things to Come that within the current church
age, there are currently no Jews getting saved.
|As long as the church is on the earth there are none saved to a special
Jewish relationship. All who are saved are saved to a position in the body
Pentecost creates a false dichotomy. He is confusing believing Gentiles
with the Church. In the passion to keep Israel and the Church distinct,
Pentecost has obliterated God’s remnant in this age (see
God will first conclude his work for the Gentiles in the period of
Israel’s dispersion; then he will return to bring in the promised
blessings for Israel.
The church is manifestly an interruption of God’s program for Israel…this
mystery program must itself be brought to a conclusion before God can
resume His dealing with the nation Israel.
Jewish believers are like the tiny Whos in Whoville in Dr. Seuss’s
Hears a Who, shouting at the top of their lungs, “We are here, we are
here, we are here!” (see
figure 8). The tendency among some
Dispensationalists, who know better, seems to be to use “believing
Gentiles” and “the church” interchangeably, substituting one term for the
other at will.
Israel and the Church
Even if one yields to the preponderance of evidence of God working with
Israel through the remnant, the question then arises as to whether God is
still working with Israel outside of the remnant. Pentecost’s system
rejects both alternatives, overlooking that God is working with Jews during
this present dispensation, both within the church and even outside of it
as a national entity (see
figure 9). “Yahweh continues to be revealed in
Israel, both within and apart from the body of believers…God is still
revealed through the existence of the people of Israel, just as in times
To teach that within the present dispensation God is only dealing with the
church is declaring that God only works with one group of His people at a
time. Biblically, why should we limit God to working with one group at a
time? Does God only conduct with one hand? Is His arm too short? Is He not
Even a poor conductor can conduct different sections of his orchestra
using two hands simultaneously. If the woodwind section is currently
playing more loudly than is the string section, the conductor is still
equally conducting both sections. And if the score calls for the string
section to cease playing in the middle of a presentation so that another
group may take up the musical motif, the strings’ present silence is in no
way an indication that they are no longer under the conductor’s sway. And,
of course, it is also no indication that they have ceased playing
altogether. Unbelieving Israel is neither set aside nor on the back burner
in this dispensation. God has been steadily working his way, orchestrating
lives, generations and historical events to the crescendo level that is
presently beginning to break out. Soon enough, imminently, Scripture
indicates, all members of the orchestra will be performing at full tilt.
An alternate way to illustrate these truths would be to picture a
freshwater river flowing from west to east (see
water river is ethnic Israel. Somewhere along its course, the river
splits. The majority, unbelieving Israel, changes course, flowing
southward (Rom 11:7-10). What’s left, a mere remnant of Israel, now no
more than a mere brook, remains on course (Rom. 11:5). The brook is
suddenly intersected by a mighty saltwater river. These are believing
Gentiles (Rom 11:17). Together, the freshwater brook, the believing Jews,and the saltwater river, believing Gentiles,
flow together, mysteriously retaining both their fresh and salty
distinctiveness (Eph. 3:6). Saltwater and freshwater fish alike are able
to thrive in these waters together. This is the church, and it will flow
inexorably toward its final destination.
Meanwhile, the mighty freshwater river of unbelieving Israel which had so
drastically changed course has not been forgotten. God Himself is slowly
but inevitably prodding this river, ever incrementally adjusting its
course northward, until it will again intersect with the church river
(Rom. 11:26) and all will stream together into the millennium.
The Remnant and the Abrahamic Covenant
Lest it be feared that this study is focusing too intently on Dr.
Pentecost, let us turn our attention to a brief selection in Dr. Chafer’s
|All that is related to her covenants and promises are in abeyance…No
Jewish Covenants are now being fulfilled.
It should seem that the fact of Israel being back in her land after 2000
years of exile indicates that at least one provision of the Abrahamic
Covenant is currently operative.
Fruchtenbaum reminds us that the demonstration of history shows that
the Abrahamic Covenant is also still operative in that those who have
blessed the Jews have been blessed in return, and those who have cursed the
Jews have been cursed in return (Gen. 12:3).
No covenant promises of God are nullified by virtue of Jewish faith in
Christ. The Jewish believer does not, he cannot, become a de facto Gentile
in relation to the divine promises made to his ancestors. The remnant’s
membership in the body of Christ does not nullify their receipt of God’s
promises to His people. Neither do the promises somehow skip a
dispensation. The covenants are eternal and not abrogated by the church.
God has not set aside Israel, even momentarily, but has kept for Himself a
remnant of faith (Rom 11:5).
It is cavalier to argue that because not every provision of God’s
covenants with Israel is presently being fulfilled within the nation, that
all covenants are currently inoperative. Jewish believers within the
church are currently enjoying a portion of the benefits of the covenants
given to their ancestors. God’s work with the church is not mutually
exclusive of His simultaneously workings with national Israel in
preparation for her glorious future and the final fulfillment of all
covenantal promises. God’s promise, gifts, call, etc., are irrevocable,
including for those Jews who are now in the church (Rom 11:29).
|Of the various dispensations, Israel partakes of the Abrahamic, Mosaic and
millennial dispensations in a special way. The church has a partial
relationship to the Abrahamic Covenant because it is included in the
promised blessing to all nations…the church will reign with Christ, like
Israel, and will enjoy the new heavens, the new earth, and the new
Jerusalem. The distinction between Israel and the church, however, is
maintained throughout the entire program of God.
Romans 11 maintains that in addition to Chafer’s list, Israel also
partakes of the present grace dispensation. In none of the cited
dispensations did or will the entirety of ethnic Israel partake of God’s
special blessings for that period. Here, Chafer speaks as if the church
were comprised entirely of believing Gentiles. Yet the church is comprised
of believing Gentiles and believing Jews, and one cannot disenfranchise
the Jewish component of the church from the entirety of the Abrahamic
promises simply because the covenant doesn’t apply equally in every
component to Gentile brethren.
The Remnant and the Land Covenant
Israel’s dispersion and exile and contemporary partial regathering all
indicate that the Land covenant has been operational throughout the church
age (Deut. 29-30). The absence of positive results from an unconditional
covenant does not mean that the covenant is currently inactive if it is
evident that results from the negative stipulations are presently being
The Remnant and the Davidic Covenant
Although Jesus is not currently reigning on the throne of David in
Jerusalem and is not functionally the King of Israel, He is ontologically
the Jewish King and as such provides a clear beacon of hope and
encouragement on Whom the current remnant can rely in light of the
covenant with David (1 Chron. 17:10-14).
The Remnant and the New Covenant
Three final passages will suffice to demonstrate certain weaknesses
inherent to the system as outlined by Chafer and Pentecost.
|In the case of Israel the new covenant will be fulfilled in the millennial
kingdom, and in the case of the church it is being fulfilled in the
(The New) Covenant cannot be realized by Israel until God has effected her
salvation and restoration to the land…until Israel’s salvation, and this
salvation follows the return of the Deliverer… in the millennial age.
…These to whom (the New Covenant) was primarily and originally made will
not receive its fulfillment nor its blessings until it is confirmed and
made actual to them at the second advent of Christ…Its benefits will not
be received by Israel until the second advent. 
It is not Scriptural to proclaim that the remnant of
Israel is not currently realizing a portion of the New Covenant blessings
along with their believing Gentile brethren. Jesus told his disciples at
His last supper that the new covenant was about to be inaugurated, within
the next few hours, upon his death. It is absurd to postulate that Jesus
meant to exclude those Jews physically present with him from the enjoyment
of the covenant He was about to initiate, or that He understood His
disciples to be somehow disconnected from the nation of Israel. The new
covenant is indeed being fulfilled for Israel in the present age to the
extent that the Israel of God is participating in the body of Christ. The
fact that Jewish believers are saved and indwelled in this dispensation is
incontrovertibly on the basis of the New Covenant inaugurated with the
death of the Messiah.
The Remnant within the Church
The distinction between the church and Israel is one of the three pillars
on which Dispensationalism rests. However, although well intentioned,
this emphasis as developed thus far neither recognizes nor integrates the
Biblical truth that a portion of Israel is indeed within the church.
Dispensationalism must make room not only for the traditional distinction
between Israel and the church but also for Israel in the church (see
The church is Biblically defined as believing Jew and Gentile together, a
new creation (Gal. 6:15, Eph. 3:6). Yet, as House notes, “The majority of
Christians today don’t think of the church as being made up of Jews and
Gentiles, but Gentiles alone.” There is a clear failure to recognize
that the remnant is always part of Israel and is not separated from it,
and that it is possible to be part of the remnant and part of the church
at the same time.
The remnant is the Jewish wing of the Church. The church is an airplane
that only has two wings, a Jewish wing and a Gentile wing. If one wing is
lost or ignored, the church crashes. It is uncomfortably irrefutable that
the convoluted history of the church since the second century has borne
out that illustration.
When friends in the church speak of Jewish believers assimilating into the
larger “Christian” culture, they usually mean a “Gentile” culture. For
some 1500 years, the Jewish believer has not been free to celebrate his
dual identity. On the one hand, the Jewish community has branded him a
traitor and excommunicated him, and on the other hand, the church has
demanded the renunciation of all or at least most of his Jewish cultural
practices, denunciation of his national heritage, and often disassociation
from other Jews. For 1900 years the Jewish community has attempted to
marginalize, delegitimize and stigmatize the Israel of God; for 1800 years
the church has forced the remnant to renounce their heritage and denounce
their nation and has pronounced anathema on maintenance of Jewish culture.
Jewish believers have not been allowed to retain their God-given dual
identity but have been forced to assimilate into the culturally Gentile
Based on a faulty exegesis of Eph. 2:14-16, it is feared that the
retention of cultural Jewish identity would rebuild a middle wall of
partition and lead to separatism. One can only wonder what the original
Jewish apostles would say. Would some believers actually say to Peter,
“Why do you insist on acting so Jewish?” And would he perhaps respond,
“Why do you insist on acting so Gentile?”
It seems upon even the most casual reading of the New Testament that the
apostles and disciples found no conflict between their national identity
and their faith allegiance. The witness of the book of Acts, in
particular, suggests that for the early church to have considered
themselves anything but part of national Israel, i.e. Jews, would have
been absurd and unthinkable (Acts 1:6; 3:1; 11:18; 15:1-29; Acts 16:3;
21:20-26). Any imagined identity conflicts arise from deficient
theological systems, not ontological realities.
Jewish people have no choice in their Jewishness, by definition; it is
conferred by circumstance of birth. For the majority of Jewish believers,
to ignore this God-given distinction is to disparage the rich heritage God
has bestowed upon us to share with the world. Simply because the church
has historically forced us to do so because of faulty theological premises
does not mean that in more enlightened theological eras the trend must
The question arises as to how Jewish believers, full members of both the
Church and Israel, can be both the “wife of the Lord” and the “bride of
Christ”. Although these are simply descriptive metaphors for communicating
Biblical truth and cannot be stretched too far, many of us recoil at the
incestuous implications. Obviously, some agree with the old Yiddish
proverb, “With one toches you can’t dance at two weddings.” On the one
hand, the remnant of Israel has been the wife of God from the time they
were chosen at Sinai. On the other hand, all believers are betrothed to
Jesus Christ. Do Jewish believers need to get divorced from the Lord so
that they can become the bride of Christ, and if so, at what point does
this divorce Biblically occur?
The solution to this metaphorical conundrum is that Jewish believers, as a
result of both genealogical heritage and theological beliefs, are
Biblically considered both the wife of God and the bride of Christ. This
simply means that Jewish believers are in attendance at two weddings, one
of which serves kosher!
The Jewish believer’s membership in the church does not and cannot exclude
him from membership in Israel. As a Jew, a child of Abraham through Jacob,
and as a follower of the Messiah, the Jewish believer belongs equally to
two camps. Jewish believers, as the contemporary manifestation of the
remnant, the Israel of God, reject the demand to wear only one hat, to
hold only one membership card, to dance at only one wedding. We refuse, on
solid Biblical grounds, to be limited to the designation of Christian or
Jew. Neither is it sufficient to be considered as half of one and half of
another. Jewish believers are one hundred percent members of Israel and
one hundred percent members of the church.
Although there is now no distinction between Jews and Gentiles with regard
to salvation and access to God (Gal 3:28), there are distinctions between
Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Unity in Christ does not absolve
the diversity of the components God chose to incorporate into His church.
In other words, “oneness” does not necessarily entail “sameness.” What
then is the role of the Jewish believer today?
The distinctions are to be found within the Abrahamic Covenant. Although
Jewish and Gentile believers alike are partaking of the spiritual
blessings of the covenant as Abraham’s spiritual seed, Jewish believers
are Abraham’s physical seed as well, and additional elements of the
covenant apply specifically to them. Elements which still apply to Jewish
believers would be the divine right of possession of the land of Israel,
the reciprocal blessing and cursing on those who bless and curse Israel,
and the sign of circumcision, which, finding its foundation within the
Abrahamic Covenant, is still incumbent upon all Jews, including those
within the believing remnant (Jn. 7:22; Acts 16:3; 21:21-24; Rom. 3:1).
An additional distinction may be found within the Mosaic Covenant. This
covenant has been replaced and rendered inoperative by Christ’s death and
so is no longer obligatory (Heb. 8:13, Rom. 10:4). However, just because
the Jewish believer is not obligated to practice Torah, it does not follow
that he must not practice certain aspects of Torah. As the revealed sacred
standards of God, Paul confirms that the law is still holy, righteous and
good (Rom. 7:12). Jewish believers have liberty in Christ to observe
certain facets of the Torah as long as those particular customs do not
contradict New Testament revelation (Acts 15; 16:3; 21:21-24).
Yet when the remnant asserts its Jewishness, either culturally,
historically or practically, it seems that sometimes Gentile believers
feel threatened, as did Jewish believers in the first century when the
situation was reversed (Acts 15, 21:20-22). Yet Jews didn’t invent these
cultural and historical distinctions. In fact, most of the 4000 year
history of Israel has been spent trying to overcome the seductive yearning
to assimilate into the majority Gentile culture. It is God Who insisted on
separation from the Gentiles. And it is only the separation, not the
distinctions, which has been erased by Christ through membership in His
body (Eph. 2:14-16; Gal. 3:28).
Rather than be threatened by the Jewishness of the remnant, the church
should be celebrating the continued existence of the remnant as a
wonderful example of God’s grace and faithfulness. We should revel in our
distinctions, because then our unity is that much more captivating to an
observing world. How interesting is a monochromatic tapestry? Not very
interesting at all. A tapestry of two colors, skillfully and brilliantly
woven together, shows far greater artistry.
Many people have assumed that Jewish believers are trying to have it both
ways, that they want the privileges of dual membership in both Israel and
the church. And the assumed answer is that Jewish believers cannot have it
both ways. They must be one or the other, members of Israel or members of
the church. They have to fit into a nice, neat little theological box. Yet
Jewish believers can and do have it both ways. It is neither presumptuous
nor pretentious to claim what is in actuality ours. Jewish Christians have
an inheritance from two sources, Israel and the Messiah.
By way of illustration, it is as if the believing Gentiles and Jews were
two sons in a blended family. They share the same father yet have
different mothers. Both sons receive an equal inheritance from the father.
Yet the first son will also receive an inheritance from his mother. Should
the second son be jealous because the first son received an additional
extra inheritance? Of course not. The inheritance wasn’t from the second
son’s mother; the inheritance didn’t belong to him. Just because the
Gentiles only have an inheritance from one source, Messiah, doesn’t mean
that God has to make it all “fair” and remove one source of the Jewish
believer’s inheritance. Does God treat all his children equally? When it
comes to divine access and salvation, of course He does. The Bible says
there is no favoritism, and that God is no respecter of persons. Yet the
distinctions He has made have not been erased (Gal.3:28). In point of
fact, it’s not as if anyone, Jew or Gentile, actually deserved his or her
inheritance. And it’s not as if the inheritance we the church receive is
not more than enough for an eternity of eternities. In this illustration,
both sons are Rockefellers.
Considering the above theological reconsiderations and practical
implications, it is proposed that we endeavor to exhibit another of the
three pillars of Dispensationalism, that of the glorification of God,
specifically, by believing Jews and Gentiles seeking to glorify Him through
the common celebration of our God-ordained cultural distinctives. While
there are many and numerous culturally Gentile customs, programs and
celebrations currently practiced within the church, certain additions of
Jewish origin can only prove profitable to the vitality of the body of
Christ. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, primarily on the
local corporate church level but also on the regional and denominational
level. It is important to note that none of the following suggestions
necessarily leads to the creation of separatism, ethnocentrism or
so-called “judaizing,” when executed with correct intent and proper
* Activate programs and creative ideas for Jewish evangelism. The Jewish
community, in America and abroad, is still a largely unreached people
group, despite their historic and cultural nearness to the gospel.
Although Jesus taught that “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22), and
Paul taught that the reason Gentiles are saved is to evangelize Jews
(Romans 11:11), the overwhelming majority of churches exhibit neither
interest nor energy in reaching Jewish people.
* Actively pray for the safety and salvation of the Jewish people. The
only recorded prayer for the unsaved in the entire New Testament is Paul’s
prayer for the salvation of the Jewish people (Rom. 10:1). Blessing is
promised for those who pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122).
* Support Jewish missions and teaching ministries. Although many churches
are located within reasonable distance from Jewish communities and contain
believers who have personal contact with Jews through family, friends,
business, and local services, many churches are removed from such intimate
contact. Regardless of proximity, all churches can participate in Jewish
evangelism by supporting a Jewish parachurch ministry. Paul not only
taught the priority of Jewish evangelism (Rom.1:16) but also the
obligation of Gentiles to give generously to the support of Jewish work
* Plan a church Israel tour. Experiencing the land promised to the chosen
people can greatly enhance a believer’s love and concern for the Jewish
* Celebrate the messianic fulfillment of a Jewish festival such as
Passover or Tabernacles. These are spiritually profitable (Col. 2:16-17)
and often prove an enormous catalyst in exciting believers about their
faith. Invite a Jewish ministry (such as Sojourner Ministries) to lead or
assist in the implementation.
* Visit or even financially help support a local messianic congregation.
Be selective here, however, as the messianic congregational movement is
fairly new and there is a great deal of theological variety between
individual congregations, which may or not correspond to your local
* Invite the worship team from your local messianic congregation to play
in your church one Sunday. It is usually easy to coordinate this as most
messianic congregations worship on Friday or Saturday. One caveat: only
explore this suggestion if your church is prepared to “rock your world.”
Messianic music is generally of the energetic strain.
* Encourage the Jewish believers in your congregation. Many Jewish
believers who, rather than join a messianic congregation, have joined a
predominantly Gentile church, often feel isolated, lonely and generally
“out of synch” with their Gentile brethren. They are often a tiny minority
of one or only a few and perceive themselves as being “between two worlds,”
not fully accepted for who they are in either arena. Although these Jewish
brethren might never vocalize their isolation, some general encouragement
can go a long way when incorporating any minority members into the church
whole. This, of course, assumes there is at least one Jewish member of
your local body. (And if there isn’t, go out and find one!)
* Create and implement a circumcision celebration within the church. This,
of course, is only to be done as needed – don’t conscript a volunteer!
Although this is to be implemented only by the spiritual and physical seed
of Abraham, Jewish believers, it should be celebrated by the entire church
family. To corporately recognize that God is not yet through with the
Jewish people by publicly implementing the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant
is a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of God. This suggestion should
meet no opposition particularly within churches which practice the
traditional customs of baby dedications or infant baptisms. As has
occasionally been said in support of various church programs, “If it was
good enough for Jesus (or Paul, or Peter, et al.), it is good enough for
me!” (Lk. 2:21; Phil. 3:5). This slogan is particularly apt regarding
* Similarly, create and implement a Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah celebration
within the church for Jewish believing 13-year-olds. Confirmation
catechisms and the like need not substitute for following the Biblical
customs of our ancestors.
By implementing the above suggestions, churches would allow Jewish
believers to express themselves as Jews instead of feeling compelled to
exchange their customs, their heritage for post-Biblical Gentile
counterparts. The liturgy of most church traditions, of “high” or
“low” orientation, is replete with substitutions, equivalents and copies
of traditional Hebrew customs and ceremonies. If the ancient Jewish
customs are shadows of things to come and all have their essence in Christ
Himself (Col. 2:16-17), their enactment can only be of benefit to the
church (Eph. 4:12-13).
The greatest example of God’s historic and ongoing faithfulness is to be
found in the preservation of a believing remnant. From the times of the
patriarchs through the coming future tribulation, the principal evidence
provided for all believers, Jew and Gentile, to confidently place their
trust in Him to keep His promises and bring His program to completion is
His sovereign and gracious preservation of the remnant (Rom. 9-11). It is
the enduring, organic and growing remnant of Israel, the very Israel of
God, which is the luminous beacon of God’s faithfulness throughout history,
past, present and future.
The purpose of this work has been to demonstrate that a correct
understanding of the concept of the remnant of Israel is essential to
appreciating the faithfulness of God. The remnant concept has been traced
through both Old and New Testaments. Certain theological weaknesses
inherent to Dispensationalism have been examined. Several practical
implications of that examination have been discussed and several corrective
This work will conclude by joining with Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his call
for a new entry to be added to our systematic theologies as a necessary
corrective. It is imperative for dispensational studies to offer a
comprehensive theological curriculum. Therefore, the addition of the
category of Israelology would be decidedly strategic.
Figure 5 (above)
return to text
Figure 6 (above)
return to text
Figure 7 (above)
return to text
Figure 8 (above)
return to text
Figure 9 (above)
Figure 10 (above)
return to text
Figure 11 (above)
return to text
 “Remnant of Israel.” Encyclopedia Judaica. vol.14: p70 Walvoord, John F., Donald K. Campbell and Roy B. Zuck, eds. Chafer
Systematic Theology – Abridged. Wheaton: Victor, 1988. This edition,
although greatly abridged, is the one currently in greater circulation.
 Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974.
 Pentecost p199
 ibid. pp293-94
 Zaretsky p37
 Pentecost p273
 ibid. p214
 ibid. p110
 ibid. p201
 Zaretsky p54
 Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Systematic Theology. Vol. 6:p83. As quoted in
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology. Tustin: Ariel, 1993.
 Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Israelology. Tustin: Ariel, 1993. p630
 Walvoord, et al. Vol. 2: p243
 ibid. p417
 Pentecost pp120-21
 ibid. pp126-7
 These pillars are a literal hermeneutic, upon which rests the
distinction between Israel and the church. The third pillar is the
glorification of God. See Charles C. Ryrie,Dispensationalism Today.
Chicago: Moody, 1996. p44
 House, H. Wayne. Ed. Israel the Land and the People. Grand Rapids:
Kregel, 1998. p10
 Fruchtenbaum p564
 Seif, Jeffrey L. The Evolution of A Revolution. Lanham: University,
Common Yiddish wordmeaning “posterior”.
* * *
Reprinted by permission of Steven C.
Thank you, Steven.