The Common Service pairs Isaiah 10 with Romans 10 because it talks about the remnant of Israel. When people hear this, what do they usually think? They think it must have something to do with the physical nation. Is that true? What does it mean?
Israel is the name God gave Jacob. But Jacob still gets called Jacob throughout Genesis. Moses seems to be using the names in this way: when Jacob is acting out of unbelief, he’s Jacob, but when he’s acting out of faith, he’s Israel. So Israel has nothing to do with physical descent. It never did. People like to think of it that way, but that name Israel has nothing to do with anything physical. It’s all about the spiritual. Israel is those who believe what Israel believed. If Israel has a remnant it’s believers, no matter who their ancestors are.
This is what the Apostles teach us. St. James quoted a passage from Amos 9 at the Synod in Jerusalem, Acts 15. He was making the point that God had visited the Gentiles to take for them a people for His Name. The words he quoted say this: “After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My Name, says the Lord, Who makes these things known from of old.”
Who is Israel’s remnant? St. James says you are. But you aren’t descended from Jacob? It doesn’t matter. You believe in Christ. Israel believed the promise of the Messiah. That made him Israel. You believe Messiah has come. That makes you Israel. Whoever believes in Jesus is part of Israel. An Israelite is a believer in Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.
So we are not afraid. The world is very evil. We see that every day. The Faith is despised. Yet we do not despair. We proclaim His saving Gospel in word and deed. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come” to pray that He would keep bringing His Israel to us and keep us in it through His Means of Grace. We pray Him to even use us, whether through our prayers and offerings and our words, to bring that kingdom to others. We pray that He will return soon so we will live with Him forever in His kingdom that knows no end.