Chosen people...please explain


#1

I’ve heard that Israel is the chosen people and all that. I STILL don’t quite understand what that truly, literally means. That the people in Israel will get to Heaven the easy way? I don’t understand…remember, I’m still extremely ignorant on the Bible, Catholicism and Christianity as well as religion in general.


#2

Hopefully you’ll get a more thorough answer than this, but what it means in general is:

Israel is the word used for every person descending from a particular man named Jacob. At a particular point, God basically changed Jacob’s name to Israel. In the ancient cultures, it was common to refer to a group of people by the name of a single ancestor. Thus, all of those descended from Jacob were known as Israel.

God chose Israel for a few purposes.

First, He chose them as part of His covenant family and to receive His promises. He chose Israel to be the ones in covenant with Him. The covenants can be basically understood as profound and specific promises made between man and God. God promised many things, and He promised them to Israel. He chose them to receive these promises. Ultimately, of course, we all get God’s promises, especially those fulfilled in our entrance into full union with Him in Heaven. However, throughout the early history of man, God made a number of promises specifically to Israel (that they would have certain land, for instance). Nowadays these promises don’t matter that much, but He chose them to receive these promises at the time.

Secondly, He chose them to be the bearers of His word. He gave to them His revelation. He revealed Himself to them so they would know who He was and He gave them His teachings. He gave them Moses, and the prophets, so that He could speak to Israel through them. That doesn’t mean nobody else that wasn’t a member of Israel could know about or worship God, but He gave them special graces. It’s sortof like… If I am having a yard sale, anybody can come if they want, but I give my friends a special benefit by telling them about it so they have the knowledge. It’s a loose analogy, but it works, sortof.

He also chose Israel to be the conduit for Christ’s entrance into the world. He made the geneaology of Christ go exclusively through Israel. This is a wonderful distinguishing honor, but it’s more than that. Through Christ the entire world would be saved. This includes every people and every nation. In other words, God made Israel play a major part in the salvation of the world. He chose this honor for them.


#3

Lazerlike42,

That is probably the best explaination I have seen so far. There has always been the assumption by many people that “Israel” in that context was today’s nation of Israel. I always wondered about that because while doing some research into Judaism I found an interesting and confusing piece of information. While looking through a translation of the Talmud (Judaism’s Holiest Book) on a Sacred Texts website I discovered in the opening chapter on the History of the Talmud that it is the written record of the traditions of the Pharisees and we all know how Jesus felt about them.


#4

[quote=2shelbys]Lazerlike42,

That is probably the best explaination I have seen so far. There has always been the assumption by many people that “Israel” in that context was today’s nation of Israel. I always wondered about that because while doing some research into Judaism I found an interesting and confusing piece of information. While looking through a translation of the Talmud (Judaism’s Holiest Book) on a Sacred Texts website I discovered in the opening chapter on the History of the Talmud that it is the written record of the traditions of the Pharisees and we all know how Jesus felt about them.
[/quote]

Remember that Jesus was against the Pharisees in the sense that they taught one thing but acted differently. Some of the traditions that they held were contrary to the word of God and thus Jesus condemned, but not all. Remember that He told people to do what the Pharisees said but to ignore what they did. Just as today the Church has the authority to declare binding traditions (small t), in those days the Pharisees also had this authority. This is why they spoke from the seat of Moses. There isn’t anything wrong with the Talmud in and of istself, though I’ve never read it so it may be that particular traditions contained in it are bad.


#5

Remember that He told people to do what the Pharisees said but to ignore what they did.

I do not remember him telling anyone to do everything they said. I do remember him saying to obey the law which is different.

I’ve never read it so it may be that particular traditions contained in it are bad.

You would not believe some of the traditions in there. Several tracts, especially “Sanhedrin” contain some of the most racist passages ever penned. Ironically similar to what the Nazis penned against the Jews. No doubt that these traditions are no longer taught though.


#6

I was under the impression that Israel’s chosen state was superseded by the new covenant where all Gentiles enter the Kingdom of God, and enjoy all of God’s graces. Several points in the NT Jesus gives favor to the gentiles seemingly accepting them in concert with the Jews.

True?


#7

Shouldn’t the Chinese feel left out, since they were not chosen to be a part of this family?


#8

I do not remember him telling anyone to do everything they said. I do remember him saying to obey the law which is different.

Mat 23:2 "The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses.
Mat 23:3 Therefore do whatever they tell you and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.


#9

[quote=stanley123]Shouldn’t the Chinese feel left out, since they were not chosen to be a part of this family?
[/quote]

Oh they are chosen to be a part of His family. Everyone is.

In the very, very early days of the world, even before Israel existed as a people, God said that the entire world would come into His covenant family (I’m using flowery Scott Hahn language here). He simply selected Israel as His chosen people through which this would happen.

It’s sortof like this. Say you start a club that you want everyone to be in. Unfortunately, not everyone likes you or believes in your club, so you can’t just invite everyone. What do you do? You choose a few people that do like you to be a part of your club. They are your chosen ones. Over time, these chosen ones bring other people into the club by showing that you are a good guy, and by showing that your club is a good club, and by being there to make people aware that the club even exists.

Nowadays, everyone is a member of His covenant family. Obviously a Hindu might not believe in Him. They are welcome in the family if they decide to come along, though.

Also, before the time of Christ, anybody could be in His family too if they sought Him out in their hearts and did as much of what He wanted as they knew.


#10

[quote=Paris Blues]That the people in Israel will get to Heaven the easy way?
[/quote]

At least originally, the descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) were chosen to receive not heavenly blessings but earthly blessings (such as, the fertile land of Canaan (modern Israel), abundant children, good weather, unfailing crops and abundant livestock, and freedom from enemies) and in exchange the descendants of Israel were supposed to giving up their false gods and idols and other abominable practices and begin worshiping only God and keep his commandments.


#11

[quote=awalt]I was under the impression that Israel’s chosen state was superseded by the new covenant where all Gentiles enter the Kingdom of God, and enjoy all of God’s graces. Several points in the NT Jesus gives favor to the gentiles seemingly accepting them in concert with the Jews.

True?
[/quote]

Not to my understanding. I believe this is controversial but the Jews role as the chosen people is not yet over. Only when the Jews are converted, following all the Gentiles, will Christ come again.

In other words, the Jews role in salvation is a continuim. Evidence to this is the failure of the holocaust to eliminate the Jews from the earth. Further evidence is the Jews return to Isreal in 1948. The unvailing of the Jews will occur prior to Christ’s coming again.

How this coincides with RCC teaching I am not certain. Although I’d love to be enlightened on this. From my underestanding the Church does not take a definitive stand on the scripture that can be interpreted to agree with the statements I have made.

True?


#12

Evidence to this is the failure of the holocaust to eliminate the Jews from the earth.

What are you saying here? The Holocaust never was an attempt to eliminate the Jews from the earth, only from the German sphere of influence. The Nazi government was trying to ship them off to anywhere they could for years but no country would accept them. Their survival in that context is proof of nothing. I am not even sure what you are trying to prove.


#13

[quote=Lazerlike42]Mat 23:2 "The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses.
Mat 23:3 Therefore do whatever they tell you and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.
[/quote]

Ah yes, very good. But if the Talmud is the written record of the traditions of the Pharisees, how would a Jewish person today know which to follow and which to ignore? If they follow the teachings to the letter they are “doing as they say AND as they do” which would go against the word of God as Jesus said about what the Pharisees “did”. Very confusing stuff.


#14

[quote=2shelbys]What are you saying here? The Holocaust never was an attempt to eliminate the Jews from the earth, only from the German sphere of influence. The Nazi government was trying to ship them off to anywhere they could for years but no country would accept them. Their survival in that context is proof of nothing. I am not even sure what you are trying to prove.
[/quote]

2Shelbys, 2Points

1st, I posed my post more of a question. Certainly not an article of fact. Therefore I am not “tryin to prove” anything. I am trying to further my knowledge. I’d ask you to read my post again and please attempt to notice how I used terms such as “not my understanding”, “this may be controversial” “true?”…

2nd, As I stated I am not trying to prove anything. What I have read, and what I state here is what I understand to be a hypothosis of an interpretation of scripture.

The Jews play a role in the second coming. (Without looking it up) I believe scripture makes reference to the Jews being unveiled (or no longer blinded) as to Christ being the Messiah. This event will happen just prior to the second coming. Therefore the dangerous state we see the Jews in during the time of the holocaust, and now, being surrounded by Muslim nations, could be an attempt by Satan to thwart the plan of God. Simply put, if there is no Jewish nation there is no second coming.

I would simply like to know if this is a widely held hypothosis of scripture, heresy, or none-of-the-above.


#15

Therefore I am not “tryin to prove” anything.

You used the word “proof” so I thought you saw their survival of the Holocaust as proof of something, I just did not know of what.

Simply put, if there is no Jewish nation there is no second coming.

This can not be true because there were Jews before there was a Jewish state and there would still be Jews even if the Jewish state was gone. The State of Israel is only a political entity. The Biblical references to “Israel” are references to a people, not a political entity. Also, many Jews do not follow the same “Judaism” that is taught in Israel. As you can see by the discussion between Lazerlike42 and me there is some question about whether or not strict Rabbinical Judaism, which strictly follows the Talmud which is the written traditions of the Pharisees, partly goes against the word of God as the actions of the Pharisees did. It is a very complicated question but one thing that is clear to me is that the second coming does not depend on the existance of the State of Israel though it certainly may depend on the involvement of the Jewish people.

I would simply like to know if this is a widely held hypothosis of scripture, heresy, or none-of-the-above.

I have never heard anyone say that the second coming had anything to do with the State of Israel, only with the Jewish people so I would say “none of the above”.


#16

[quote=2shelbys]Ah yes, very good. But if the Talmud is the written record of the traditions of the Pharisees, how would a Jewish person today know which to follow and which to ignore? If they follow the teachings to the letter they are “doing as they say AND as they do” which would go against the word of God as Jesus said about what the Pharisees “did”. Very confusing stuff.
[/quote]

No if they followed the teachings to the letter they wouldn’t be doing as they say and as they do, just as they said. The point was that the pharisees did not follow their own rules. They didn’t practice what they preached. The things in the Talmud are what they preached. The actions they tookd (like praying on street corners to seem holy) are what they did.


#17

[quote=Paris Blues]I’ve heard that Israel is the chosen people and all that. I STILL don’t quite understand what that truly, literally means. That the people in Israel will get to Heaven the easy way? I don’t understand…
[/quote]

Lazerlike42 has supplied you with three good reasons why the Jews are God’s chosen people: (1) according to Divine Covenant; (2) through them came Moses and the prophets speaking God’s Word to Israel and the world; (3) through them came the Messiah/Savior according to the flesh. As Jesus said, “…salvation is from the Jews” (Jn. 4:22).

But Lazerlike42 errored when he said God’s covenant promises to Israel no longer matter. When, in fact, God made four unconditional covenants with national Israel that are yet to be literally fulfilled by Him: (1)The Abrahamic Covenant - which promises to Abraham’s physical descendants through Isaac and Jacob (a) to be a great nation on this earth; (b) the land of Canaan forever, and (c) that through them all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3; (2) the Davidic Covenant - which promises them a King and a Kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:11-16; cf. Ps. 89:19-37); (3) the Land Covenant - which reiterates God’s promise to the Jews the land of Canaan found in the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant (Deu. 30:1-10); (4) the New Covenant - which promises Israel’s national regeneration and forgiveness of sins while dwelling in their promised land (Jer. 31:31-39; cf. Jer. 32:36-44; 33:7, 15-26).

Jesus was not only born to be the Savior of the world, but He was born “King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2). And as “King of the Jews” He will return to this earth (Rev. 19) to fulfill ALL the unconditional promises made with that people and nation. It’s one of the main reasons Jesus is coming back to this earth (see Zech. 8:1-8, 13, 22-23; 9:9-11; 12:10; 14:9, 16). This same earth that once rejected and crucified Him will be ruled by Him and worship Him. This will be achieved through national Israel. It is no fluke or mistake that Israel is back as a nation again. It is sign of the end of this Church age.

Both Catholicism and parts of Protestantism adhere to what is called “Replacement Theology.” An unbiblical notion that the Church has replaced national Israel, i.e., that national Israel is forever “cast off” and the Church now inherits the covenant blessings, while Israel inherits the curses. But the Church for the first 400 years was predominately Premillennial. That is, it believed, according to the Scriptures, that Jesus would yet return to this present earth to set up His righteous, promised Kingdom, reign as King over Israel and the Gentile nations from Jerusalem. Exactly as the ancient Hebrew prophets literally predicted and was told to Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:32-33).

Both Catholicism and various Protestant denominations have errored historically in their eschatology through their arrogance toward God’s chosen people. Hence they fail to understand the true Biblical significance of the Jews and the formation of national Israel today. Though God has severely chastened His covenant people because of their idolatrous ways and rejection of their Messiah, nevertheless, contrary to popular opinion, He has not forever abandoned them (see Jer. 30:11). And He has promised by unconditional covenant that He will NEVER cast them off:

“If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the Lord, “Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the Lord, “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the Lord" (Jer. 31:36-37).

Paris, have the fixed order of the sun and moon departed? Has anyone measured the universe? Has anyone explored the foundations of the earth? No!!! Then Catholicism and many Protestant denominations are in error and God has not forever cast off the Jews and national Israel. The Church has not replaced Israel. They are still God’s chosen people and will be demonstrated during the earthly, Millennial reign of Christ when it is said that:

  • "…many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, 'In those days ten men from the nations of every language will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, “Let us go with you for we have heard that God is with you*” (Zech. 8:22-23).

#18

The things in the Talmud are what they preached. The actions they tookd (like praying on street corners to seem holy) are what they did.

That is not true based on what I read in the section of the Talmud on it’s history. It includes all of the traditions of the Pharisees, not just their oral teachings so following it to the letter would be doing as they did as well as doing what they taught.


#19

the whole ‘chosen ones’ teaching used to confuse me too, but the way i have come to understand it, with help from a friend who is a conservative Jew - the chosen ones doesnt mean they are better than anyone else or get into heaven easier, but rather, when God decided it was time to reveal Himself, He chose Isreal and His descendents to bring His word to the world, the Torah - the law. people should follow this law to obey God, which i believe is their 7 precepts of Noah (something like that), meaning that non - Jews who obey the Torah can also be reunited with God. They were responsible for teaching the world essentially how to live, which could explain the many conquests of the ot. they were to begin to prepare the world for the messiah, the fulfillment of the prophecies, when all people would know and worship Israel’s God. obviously, we believe that with Jesus, God fulfilled his promises, all people were invited to worship God more fully, to be fogiven of their sins, and to understand the Lord, and no longer had to be seperated from non - Jews by diatary restrictions and other laws laid out to seperate the chosen ones.

i hope that made sense :thumbsup:


#20

Judaism isn’t a race.


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