Monday, February 1, 2016

The Called and The Chosen

I have been musing on these terms recently and have discovered two interesting verses.
Jesus said, "For many are called, but few are chosen."
[ Matthew 22 : 14  NKJV ]
On the other hand ... 
Paul said, " ... those he predestined, he also called; ...
[ Romans 8 : 30  NIV ]
Notice the reverse order: "called then chosen" in the first .. versus .. "predestined (chosen) then called" in the second. Why the difference?

Jesus was addressing Israel's leaders and forecasting that from all those who belonged to this specially called-out nation only a few would be chosen.
Chosen for what?
Israel had been called to live under God's provision and direction, demonstrate that life and its value to the rest of the world, and was destined to reign with God in the future kingdom. 
However, only a few of them were chosen by God to receive the faith necessary to believe in Jesus, their Messiah, and the message of forgiveness and reconciliation that he brought.

Sadly, only a relatively few of Israel will live during the coming age, and reign with Christ in his kingdom.
"Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few will find it," Jesus told them. { Matthew 7 : 14  NIV ]

Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles.
His message was to an audience that had not been seriously considered to have any part in God's reign.
However, God's plan right from the start was to choose others, from the Gentile nations, to add to the faithful few from Israel to create the Body of Christ that would reign with Christ during that coming age.

The mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
[ Ephesians 3 : 6  NIV ]

As a result, those who would rule with Christ in the kingdom age had already been chosen by God before they were even born, and will be called during their lifetime on this planet.
These are the early believers, which we mention from time to time.
These previously chosen (predestined) will be called, and will be trained by the indwelling Holy Spirit for their co-ruler role in the future age.

But Paul's message of "chosen then called" has an even wider, more general application.
From before the foundation of the world, we were all chosen for salvation, for fellowship with God.

Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose.
[ Ephesians 1 : 4, 5  GNB ]

In all his wisdom and insight God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.
[ Ephesians 1 : 9, 10  GNB ]
The whole creation has been chosen, so we will all be called eventually - some as early believers by faith and some as later believers by sight.

God's amazing plan, decided at the beginning, hinted at by the prophets, mentioned by Jesus, and fully described by Paul, should be celebrated from the rooftops by churches across the world.
What a different view and appreciation of God that would produce !
Blessings, Barry


  1. Hi Barry, great website and the book looks very interesting and insightful too. Have you considered that when you say above: "Sadly, only a relatively few of Israel will live during the coming age, and reign with Christ in his kingdom." that Jesus was NOT talking to Israel, but to Judah? Israel(the northern Kingdom) had been taken away into Assyria in 735BC or thereabouts, and from there migrated across to western Europe, and have long since forgotten who they are/were.
    Few of those from Judah shall enter the Kingdom...but many from Israel have already entered ahead of them. We whose ancestors came from Scandinavia to Scotland and Britain and Ireland and Germany are most likely descended from the tribes of Israel. We are those "not my people" Hosea speaks of...who have become His people by faith in the King of Judah. That State over there in Palestine, is not Israel, but is Judah. Jesus told them that they will never produce fruit again- being the fig tree He cursed. They have only produced leaves, by which we know that His return is near. Leaves are symbolic as a covering to hide the shame of our nakedness. This describes the condition of all those who still have not accepted the One true covering for sin- Jesus the Lamb of God slain for us all. If those who say they are Jews want to come into the Kingdom, they need to receive Jesus ben joseph as Messiah. Then they will bear fruit pleasing to God.

    1. Hi Dennis.
      Thanks for your comment; great to have your input.
      No, I had not considered the distinction between the northern and southern kingdoms in this post, but was loosely using the name Israel generically as Paul seems to do in Romans 11 : 1 and Philippians 3 : 5 when describing his heritage.
      Blessings, Barry

  2. Hi Barry,
    I'm enjoying reading your thoughts here. I was struck by how you suggest that few of Israel would live in the coming age. I can say see how that can be drawn by the "few is chosen" verse.
    I do wonder if perhaps the "few is chosen" is more in context with the Old Covenant. I can easily see how under the Old Covenant one can argue Israel had the word of God and plenty of prophets to drive the points home. Few in Israel/Judah were able to respond. In the current age there are many of Israel who do live, but are not really part of the Kingdom. It is probably fair to say this is the age of the Gentiles, where probably the minority in the church are of Israelite descent.
    As Dennis has alluded, there may be more of the lost 10 tribes in the mix than we realise. We can't really know. Without grabbing my Bible and doing an in-depth search, I think there is reference to those coming back from Babylon to rebuild the temple who represented descendants from all the tribes, and not just Judah/Simeon/Benjamin. When the Kingdom split under Rehoboam, some may have migrated south from the northern tribes. It is extremely subjective, but always interesting. :)

  3. I'm adding some further thoughts to the point about the identity of Israel and the lost 10 tribes. I've just read in 2Chron 30 and 31 numerous references to people from the northern kingdom of Israel who remained behind after the Assyrian invasion and exile. Many were actively involved with the temple and worship re-dedication of Hezekiah. It is not necessarily conclusive of anything specific, but does allow for questioning ideas that the identity of Israel cannot be found with the Kingdom of Judah that remained.


All relevant comments are most welcome. However, please express any disagreement you might have without being disagreeable and with grace towards those who might not hold your point of view.