In the Old Testament there is a teaching about a remnant of God’s people.
“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” – Isaiah 1:9
It is common for non-dispensationalists to associate the church today with this biblical remnant.
This is wrong. The church today is not the prophesied remnant.
A remnant is defined as something left after a separation. It is that which remains after the rest is taken away.
The biblical remnant was the remnant of Israel: those few faithful that remained after the nation was judged, purged, or had the wicked removed.
There is no remnant today because there is no Israel today.
The Body of Christ, the church today, is not something that is left after a separation. It is a new creature that was made from scratch. A unified body of both Jew and Gentile in Christ according to the fellowship of the mystery (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 3:9).
Why would people think that the church today is the remnant?
The thinking goes that since Israel failed to follow the Messiah, except for a few disciples, those few are the remnant of believers that began the church at Pentecost.
Truly, the twelve apostles (of the twelve tribes of Israel) were the prophetic remnant of Israel. They were what remained after Jesus came to divide the nation along the lines of belief.
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:” – Luke 12:51
Where the idea goes off the rails is to think that those apostles were the beginning of the church today. Wrong.
While the twelve apostles did represent what remained of the nation of Israel, a remnant, they did not represent the creation of a new creature.
That task was given to the apostle Paul, who was not part of the believing remnant, but the discarded part of Israel. He was not only an unbeliever he was anti-believer in Jesus as the Messiah.
With the dispensation Christ gave to Paul (which made him a pattern of salvation during Israel’s blindness) a new creature was made (2 Cor 5:17).
The church of today began when the Lord dispensed the mystery fellowship to the apostle Paul who became the pattern for every other member (1 Tim 1:16).
The church did not begin by the Lord dividing a people that already existed, but by the Lord creating something new: a new creature, with a new apostle.
It is impossible for the church to be a remnant.
A remnant is made by shrinking something that already exists. A remnant is always smaller than the original. Due to the gospel of grace, the church never shrinks, and it always grows! Once in, no one gets cut out. There is no such thing as the remnant of the church.
There is nothing missing from the church the Body of Christ (Col 2:10; Eph 1:3). The body is whole, lacking nothing, and continues to grow up into Christ (Eph 4:15-16).
The church is not Israel minus some people (a remnant). The church is not humanity minus some people (a remnant). The church is an entirely new people!
When members are added, it is not that they were cut off from his body at one time before and are now returning. No one ever had this fellowship with God in Christ.
Believers today were never part of God’s people, they were without God, but now they can be a part of this new man (Eph 2:12-15). Even the circumcision had to be counted in unbelief before they could qualify to be part of the Body fellowship (Rom 11:32).
One day Israel will return, a remnant will exist, and they will receive the completion of their covenant promises. We are not them (Rom 11:26-27).
Can you see now why the church cannot be the biblical Remnant?
To do so requires aligning the beginning of the church with the remnant apostles. It makes us incomplete. It hides our glorious identity in Christ.
The church today is not the remnant. We are something new in Christ.