The Jewish Remnant






Benjamin Wills Newton




(This article was originally published as the second part of No 18 (now out of print) in the ‘Time of the End’ series of booklets.  It was compiled from notes of a message given by Mr Newton.  The former part of the whole article - entitled ‘The Christian Remnant’ - was included in the previous issue of ‘Watching and Waiting’).



At the time that Jewish worship in much outward acknowledgement of Jehovah will be re-established at Jerusalem; and when many a Jew, like Paul before his conversion, will stand in advantageous contrast to the blaspheming infidel who follows in the train of Antichrist, it might be deemed by many, that God would recognise at such a season even this Jewish acknowledgement of His Name.  But no!  The word still remains ‘If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins’ (John 8: 24), and though many will be bowed and cry in agony (see certain psalms), yet they will never be owned as His until they have looked in contrition upon Him Whom they pierced; and this will only be when He appears for their national deliverance.



The means whereby they are humbled and finally brought into millennial blessing and the contrast between their history and that of the ‘Christian remnant’ is clearly defined; as, when they are planted in the earth, the Christian remnant will stand upon the sea of glass; for they who suffer with Him shall reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12).



That there should be a spared ‘remnant’ among Israel, preserved through the fires of the Day of the Lord’s appearing but who will not acknowledge Him until then, is necessary to the order which God has been pleased to prescribe to Himself in his dealings.  They are intended to be the nucleus of Millennial Israel in the earth, and will be preserved from worshipping Antichrist or they could never be forgiven (Revelation 14: 11).  They must therefore have an intermediate standing.  Not antichristian, or they would be consumed.  Not [overcoming]* Christian, for they would be reigning with Jesus.  Whereas they are destined, after having passed through the fires, to be God’s witnesses in the earth, ‘to blossom and bud, and to fill the face of the world with fruit’ (Isaiah 27: 6).  Zechariah 13: 9 and 12: 9-10 show, that having rejected testimony during the ‘acceptable time’ they are left to the refining of the fire, and will not believe until the ‘day of visitation


[* Luke 22: 28-30; Rev. 2: 26; 3: 21; 20: 4-6. cf. Heb. 10: 35-39; James 1: 12. 1 Thess. 2: 12; 2 Thess. 1: 4b, 5.]


Again, it must be remembered that it will be in their national character as Jews that this remnant will believe.  At present, when a Jew believes, he is added to the heavenly Body where there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek his citizenship being heavenly only.  This remnant on the contrary, will never believe except nationally; and as a believing nation will be accepted and owned.  Accordingly in Isaiah 66, they are spoken of as ‘a nation born at once and are mentioned as trembling and bruised in heart and therefore despised by their self-righteous brethren (verse 5), but not comforted until the Lord come.  Their condition is one of darkness and bitter anguish up till then.



Yet it must not be understood that God will bring no power to bear upon their souls before.  Many have been conscious of a subduing power keeping conscience in the fear and reverence of God and His Word, long before they have apprehended the ways of His grace in forgiveness through the Blood of Jesus.  Such will peculiarly be the case with the ‘remnant’ of Israel.  Truth - terrible truth - will act upon their consciences, and their hearts will be bruised; but such a condition must not be confounded with ‘acceptance in the Beloved



Accordingly in those Scriptures which describe the experience of that ‘remnant’ during the time of their sorrow when brought low, we find expressions of righteous indignation at the abounding blasphemies and also of deep distress and anguish, but no thought of fellowship with Jesus!  Their lamentations refer partly to the outward dealings of God in the circumstance of Israel’s desolation - by which they are perplexed, as not knowing what the end will be - and partly to their own dark and mournful condition, in which they recognise the wrath and indignation of the Lord (Psalm 89: 38; 74: 1; 79: 5).  In this, they stand in marked contrast to the Christian remnant; for, while saying, ‘We see not our signs, etc,’ they find in those self-same events the very signs and landmarks of their certain way - the indication that ‘their redemption draweth nigh



At the very moment when this poor ignorant Jewish remnant (though beloved for their fathers’ sake) are using the words of Isaiah 59: 9-11 and Lamentations 5 – ‘we walk in darkness, etc,’ - the Christian remnant will be walking in the very noontide light of the prophecy of Him Who has made them ‘understanding ones’ and taught them to ‘lift up their heads, for the time of their redemption draweth nigh



But it is not only in their estimate of the external circumstances that there is a contrast, but also in the character of the sufferings through which they pass and their experiences in them; accordingly in Isaiah, Psalms, etc. we find the distinction clearly marked between those who suffer under the rebuke of God for their iniquities and those who suffer for righteousness' sake, in conscious fellowship of spirit with God.



Some of the psalms in their primary interpretation belong to the Lord Jesus only, but they have a secondary application to all who suffer, not indeed for the same end as the Lord - Atonement - but who nevertheless suffer for righteousness’ sake - Herod, Pontius Pilate and the Gentiles being specially marked in Scripture as types of the Antichristian confederacy of the latter day (Acts 4: 25-27).  Such psalms would be vain and idle words in the lips of the ‘Jewish remnant



They do not suffer as Christians.  Their most advanced state will be one of waiting for mercies to be shown them when the Lord comes, not of rejoicing in those already received.  This distinguishes psalms which belong to Christians from those belonging to the ‘remnant of Israel  We never find in the latter the present enjoyment of God, but only future expectation.



It may be asked, ‘Do these two remnants co-exist in Jerusalem up to the end No!  To apprehend this, it is needful to distinguish between the early period of Antichrist’s dominion in Jerusalem and the last 1260 days of his open blasphemy, when he shall have planted ‘the abomination of desolation’ there.  It would appear from Daniel 9: 27 that he comes in peaceably with smooth and flattering words; making a covenant with them for seven years and seeking – Absalom-like - the favour of the nation of Israel; promising them security under his protection in the worship of Jehovah.



During this season Christians remain in Jerusalem, because they are only commanded to leave when the idol is set up (Matthew 24: 15).  Consequently, we conclude the ‘testimony of grace’ does not wholly leave Jerusalem until then. The Spirit of Christ continues to yearn over the city up to a very late period of its progress towards the climax of evil.  How many in Israel may have their eyes open to the message we cannot tell, but we know that the ‘spared remnant’ will reject it and will be reserved for the testimony to and for the sight of judgment.



Whenever the crafty power of Satan has succeeded in bringing the nation close up to the point of apostasy which, when once reached, renders forgiveness hopeless (Revelation 14: 9-11), then the power of God will certainly be put forth in restraining those whom it is His sovereign purpose to save.  Their consciences may revolt at the abominations and their hearts sicken at the trampling down of Jerusalem by her Gentile masters, but they will see yet more terrible things; for the Lord will spend His arrows there, and they will suffer, at least in part, under these judgments!  Having rejected grace, they must taste of the cup of righteous judgments (Psalm 73: 10).  It is necessary they should truly say ‘we are brought very low and these sorrows will doubtless greatly tend to the final prostration of their spirits before the Lord.



But there will be another kind of instrumentality God will use - the ‘sackcloth testimony’ of the two witnesses (Revelation 11: 3).  Testimony to grace will leave Jerusalem as soon as the obedient disciples - the ‘Christian remnant’ - flee.  These two will testify, not to ‘the acceptable year of the LORD’ but to ‘the day of vengeance of our God to a testimony of grace rejected and gone, and to utterly destroying judgments at hand, of which the miracles they are empowered to work are the precursors and signs.



Their relation to the apostasy will be like Elijah against Ahab and Moses against Pharaoh: both Israel’s false religion and Gentile pride combined.  Their relation to the ‘spared remnant’ will be to convict them of their transgressions - a ministration of righteousness - which, though it may break, can never heal.



Yet this doubtless, will be in the Lord’s hands the great instrumental means whereby He subdues and makes ready a people who will tremble at His Word; humble themselves and cry unto Him: and thus be prepared for Him when He cometh.  They must cry and that by affliction, before He will consent to hearken, for it is only when He sees their power is gone, and they plead ‘Spare Thy people and give not Thine heritage to reproach’ that He will pity and have mercy on them.  Then and not till then will He pour upon them the spirit of grace and supplication, and cause them to trust in the Name of the Lord.



The ministry of John the Baptist made ready a people prepared for the Lord; but his disciples, though taught to respect the Messiah, were not avowedly placed under the shelter of His grace until He Himself came and received them.  So again will it be with the remnant of Israel.  They will fear God and tremble at His Word, and His grace will spare them; yet they will not be added to the church or formally recognised as belonging to the saved, until they have passed through the fires of ‘the day of His appearing’ and confessed His Name at the hour of His manifestation in glory.