Lesson 11

The Remnant

(Genesis 6, Romans 11, Revelation 12)
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Introduction: God has a history of working through a people He selected. For example, in the Old Testament we see God working through Noah, then Abraham and then Israel. Jesus worked through His 12 disciples. Is there a select group today through which God works? If so, are you a part of it? Let's dive into our lesson and find out!

  1. Noah's Remnant


    1. Read Genesis 6:11-13. What parallels do you see between Noah's time and our time?


      1. Had all the people of the world become corrupt in Noah's time, or did it only seem that way?


      2. Is God going to destroy our earth because of sin? (2 Peter 3:3-11 speaks of the Lord destroying the earth with fire just as He destroyed the earth in Noah's time with water.)


    2. Read Genesis 6:18 & 7:1. What kind of special relationship did God have with Noah? Why did that relationship exist? (Although it seemed that everyone had become corrupt, God had a "people," a "remnant" in Noah who God found "righteous in his generation.")


  2. Early Church Remnant


    1. Read Romans 11:2-5. Do you remember this story about Elijah, King Ahab and the fire that came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice to God? (This story of the glorious victory of God, and His prophet Elijah, over Baal and his prophets, is found in 1 Kings 18.)


      1. After this glorious victory, Elijah became depressed and went to God with his problem. 1 Kings 19:10 initially records Elijah's grievance and it is repeated it in 1 Kings 19:14. Let's read 1 Kings 19:14-18 to get the complaint and God's answer. What is God's answer? (Among other things, God assured Elijah that he was not alone.)


      2. What do you think Paul is saying to his audience in Romans 11:5 when he refers to the Elijah story and the remnant? (That God has His faithful remnant people then too.)


        1. Did you notice the number of the remnant reported in the Elijah story ( 1 Kings 19:18)? Do you think 7,000 has any importance? (Perhaps God is not referring to a specific number so much as He is a "perfect" group - since 7 is a number for perfection in the Bible.)


    2. Let's read on in Romans. Read Romans 11:5-6. How is the "remnant" chosen? (By grace.)


      1. What does that mean? Is it a different method of choosing the remnant than in Elijah's or Noah's time? (I don't think so. The description of the remnant in Elijah's time was that they had not "bowed the knee to Baal." ( Romans 8:4) Noah was referred to as one who "walked with God." ( Genesis 6:9) This attitude of allegiance to God is salvation by grace.)


  3. Today's Remnant


    1. Read Revelation 12:13-17. Who is the dragon that is hurled to earth? ( Revelation 12:7-9 identifies it as Satan.)


      1. Who is the male child? (I believe this refers to Jesus. Earlier in Revelation 12, verse 5 refers to this Son and says He will "rule all the nations with an iron scepter." Compare this with Psalms 2:9 - which is a Messianic prophecy which speaks of Jesus ruling with an "iron scepter." In addition, the reference in Revelation 12:5 to the child being "snatched up to God and to His throne" leaves no doubt in my mind.)


      2. Who are the "rest of the offspring" (KJV "remnant of her seed")mentioned in Revelation 12:17? (The saints. The "remnant" through whom Jesus works today!)


      3. What are the characteristics of this remnant? Are you a part of it? Do you fit the profile? (They obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.)


    2. When we speak of carpet "remnants" we are talking about what is left over. If someone told me I was like a carpet remnant, I would not be complimented. Do you want to be part of this remnant mentioned in Revelation 12:17? Remember, that Satan is making this remnant the target of his war efforts!


      1. Read Revelation 12:10-12. Who is Satan attacking? Who wins? (Satan is attacking the saints! But we win by overcoming Satan with Jesus' blood and by the word of our testimony(v.11). Bottom line - we want to be part of this remnant!)


  4. Characteristics of the Remnant


    1. We read in Revelation 12:17 that one characteristic of the remnant is that they obey God's commands. How do you reconcile that with Paul telling us in Romans 11:5-6 that this is a remnant of grace? (This is the same concept we discussed last week in reconciling the apparently contradictory "standards" for judgment found in John 5:24 and John 5:28-29. We are saved by grace (our belief in Jesus), but true belief results in a change in our life. The saved are a group who are serious about keeping the commandments of God.)


    2. Revelation 12:17 reveals the second characteristic of the remnant is that they "hold to the testimony of Jesus." What does this mean? Who is doing the testifying here? Jesus or the remnant? (The Greek word translated "hold" by the NIV is "echontoon." Thayer's Dictionary tells us it means "to have, that is, to hold." One of Thayer's definitions of this word is to "lay hold of a thing, to adhere or cling to, to be closely joined to a person or thing." Thus, I think this means that the remnant will cling to their faith in the words of Jesus.)


      1. Read Revelation 12:11. Again we have those who are saved described as overcoming the dragon "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." We then read that this group "did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." What do you think is being described here about the testimony of the saints? (I think this last phrase is an important clue. The saved are willing to confess Jesus even when their lives are threatened as a result.)


      2. Do you think the description of the saved in Revelation 12:11 and 12:17 are linked? (I think verse 11 gives us a clearer view of what is meant by the phrase "testimony of Jesus" in verse 17. These are people who cling to the words of Jesus and are not afraid to confess them to others. Putting these two texts together also gives us a clear picture of the righteous. They: 1)Overcome by the blood of Jesus; 2)Obey God's commandments; and, 3)Testify about Jesus.)


        1. How do you fit into the description of the righteous?


    3. In analyzing what is meant by the "testimony of Jesus" our lesson directs us to Revelation 19:10. Let's read Revelation 19:10. Do you think 19:10 ("the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy") gives us a complete description of the "testimony of Jesus?"


      1. What is the context for Revelation 19:10? (John, the Revelator (and the author of Revelation), sees an angel and falls down to worship him. The angel tells him to stop it for two reasons. What are those? (1) God alone is to be worshiped; 2) The angel is "just like" John in that they both are testifying about Jesus.)


        1. How is John testifying about Jesus? Does the reference to the "spirit of prophecy" have anything to do with John?(Yes! The angel tells John that he is in the same line of work as the angel because John is testifying about Jesus through his work as a prophet (and reporting it in the book of Revelation).)


        2. A number of churches claim to have modern day prophets. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)have Joseph Smith and believe that their First Presidency is a prophet. The Roman Catholics believe that the Pope can speak "Ex Cathedra" (for God). The Christian Scientists have Mary Baker Eddy and the Seventh-day Adventists have Ellen White. Would it be good Biblical scholarship to claim that one of these prophets proved one of these churches was the "remnant?" (I think this is poor scholarship for two reasons. First, this text ( Revelation 19:10) specifically refers to John. Second, holding to the testimony of Jesus is a personal thing. The question to answer, if you want to be part of the remnant, is do YOU testify about Jesus? Having a member of your church, a next door neighbor, or a great aunt who is a prophet, does nothing to determine if YOU personally are part of the remnant.)


        3. Is it reasonable to believe that the "spirit of prophecy" will be demonstrated among the last day remnant? (Absolutely! Joel 2:28-31 predicts that the Holy Spirit will be poured out "on all people" in the last days with the result that "sons and daughters will prophesy." Peter repeats this prediction and says it is coming to pass in Acts 2:16-18.)


    4. Friend, there is a remnant through whom Jesus works here on earth. Although they are attacked by Satan, the good news is that the remnant wins as part of Jesus' victory. Do you want to be a part of that select group? Jesus invites you to join today!


  5. Next Week: The Days of the End

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