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The Elect of God
Many are Called; Few are Chosen
After days of studying the King James Bible, the New American Standard Bible, utilizing the Strongs Comprehensive Concordance (the Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries), this is what my study revealed regarding this question, "Who are God's elect?"
Rev 7:4-8 identifies the elect as "those who were sealed", and here are listed the 12 tribes of Israel, which branch from Jacob (renamed Israel), the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. There are 144,000, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes as follows: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manesseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. These were eventually scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (1 Pet 1:1). These are also they who were born again (1 Pet 1:23).
It's important to note that these chosen ones are "sealed" during the Great Tribulation***, so this number does not include those who were also called the chosen (elect) in 1 Pet 1. So, as you can see, the number of the elect is far more than 144,000.
Rev 14:4 states of the 144,000, “These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” This tells us these 'elect' acknowledge Jesus as the 'Lamb of God', their Savior.
On a side note, I think it's important to clarify the error in interpretation of who the 144,000 are. Many think that they are supposedly 'virgin' males, 'undefiled' with 'women'. This interpretation would, furthermore, insinuate that sexual relations is defilement, but that's NOT what this means.
'Defiled' is the Greek word 'molýn' used of "moral soil (smut)" that defouls and besmirches the soul.
'Chaste' is the Greek word 'parthénos' - (figuratively) believers when they are pure (chaste), i.e. faithful to Christ their heavenly Bridegroom (specifically used for 2 Cor 11:2 and Rev 14:4). If being faithful to Christ meant we were never to marry or bear children...well, what does 1 Tim 4:1-3 say?
If you can receive this, the 144,000 of Revelation are those who are not of the Harlot, Mystery Babylon. They keep themselves pure in faithfulness to their Bridegroom!
If the 144,000 'elect' sealed during the coming Great Tribulation are not the same as the 'elect' addressed in 1 Peter 1:23 this brings us back to the question "Who are God's elect?" Ex 4:22 states “Israel is My son (nation), my first-born (birthright).” In these times, the first-born son received the inheritance of the family. Being the first-born, however, does not necessarily mean they will be men/nations of God. Let’s look at Cain and Abel (sons of Adam). The first-born killed the younger one who loved God and followed His ways. We also see accounts where the younger son stole the birthright from the oldest son (as with Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac).
Israel was called the 'first-born' because out of Her would come Jesus Christ, God with us, their promised Messiah. Jesus is called the "Lion of Judah" (Rev 5:5). Scripture references are Isa 42:1, Luke 23:35 and 1 Pet 2:6. Jesus Christ is of the lineage of David and of the tribe of Judah, but we will later see that all that are not part of the original tribes of Israel, but are “in Christ Jesus” are therefore, grafted in to the elect/chosen tribe of Judah and thus inherit the promises originally meant for only Israel.
Let's look at 1 Cor 15:22-23: "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power."
Let’s look at WHY God chose to include those outside of the twelve tribes of Israel. Let’s go back to Ps 106 where an account is recorded of Moses having to stand in the breach before God to turn away His wrath from destroying them. Israel, after being set free from Egypt, continued to rebel against God’s ways and thus the 10 Commandments were given as the LAW of God (Ex 31:18), followed with the Law of Moses (Deut 31:9).
Though the coming of their Messiah, Jesus Christ, was prophesied in the Old Testament, the Bible states in John 1:11 that He (Jesus, their Messiah) came unto His own (Israel), but His own received Him not. Jesus was born a Jew and came to save them. In Mat 15:24, Jesus said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." This is confirmed later, after Jesus was resurrected and the Apostles were sent out into the world to spread the good news. The Apostle Paul writes in Rom 1:15-16 “thus for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek [Gentiles].”
Upon His ascension into heaven, Jesus told His disciples, which were now Apostles (ambassadors of the gospel, commissioners of Christ) in Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Acts 1:8 is another account of this same “commissioning”: “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
It was most shocking to the Jews (the circumcised believers) when the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles (the uncircumcised believers) in Acts 10:44-48. Chapter 18:5-6 state, "But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, 'Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.'" Now, some don't know this, but Paul was from the chosen tribe of Benjamin (Rom 11:1). He also was not one of the original twelve disciples/Apostles. God sent Paul as an Apostle to the Gentiles; he wrote the majority of the New Testament we live by!!
Indeed, even those who are not of God’s original elect (in this case, Gentiles) are grafted in to their inheritance as the “first-born”. In Rom 11:17-24 we see the parable of how the branches of the “wild olive tree” (Gentiles) are grafted into the “cultivated olive tree” (Israel-Jews). It’s very interesting to note here that though some of Israel‘s cultivated olive branches were broken off (because they rejected Jesus Christ and his message of salvation), they can be grafted in again to that tree (upon acceptance of Jesus Christ and salvation through Him).
We also see that Rom 9:25 restates what was prophesied in the Old Testament in Hos 2:23: “I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE’, AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.’” Verse 30 states, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith”.
Gal 3:28-29 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither is there slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring (the father of the elect/chosen), heirs according to promise.”
Earlier, we read that the 144,000 were "those who were sealed"; however, are they the only ones sealed?
Eph 4:30 tells us, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Notice this verse was addressed to the Ephesians, who were GENTILES. Amen!
This is confirmed in 2 Cor 1:21-22 "He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come".
Eph 2:17-22 is where Paul quotes the prophesy of Isa 57:19 “AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both [believing Jews and Gentiles] have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you [Gentiles] are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” Here's a clue on "heaven", which is written about in my hub Our Heavenly Home.
Some faiths believe only 144,000 will reign with Christ and/or be included in the first resurrection. We can obviously see through scripture that Jesus sent His Apostles out to the entire world to preach the gospel, the message that Jews and Gentiles alike can be saved = joint heirs. For we know that we are saved by grace through faith, and that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. I truly believe all who hear this gospel and believe on Him will be included in the first resurrection (1 Thes 4:13-17; Rev 20:5).
1 Thes 4:16 "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first." Are there only 144,000 that have died in Christ?
Rev 20:4-5 "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection." Keep in mind that God appears to protect the 144,000 from harm during the Great Tribulation period (Rev 9:4).
So what does it mean then in Mat 22:14, “Many are called, but few are chosen?” Well, we now know who the chosen are, and look again in Rev 7:4-8 (listing the 144,000 chosen); the next verse (verse 9) states, "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;". You will also note in verse 14 that these also are those who come out of the great tribulation***, which may very well indicate the multitude of believers that have endured great tribulation since the beginning of creation ~ why? Because the population of the earth is certainly countable at this time.
In Revelation 17:14 we read "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful."
Who are "the called"? Greek #2822 kletos (klay-tos’); invited, i.e. appointed, or (spec.) a saint:-called. Jesus said in John 12:32 He would draw ALL men unto Himself, if He be lifted up from the earth. He was lifted up!! All are invited, but not all will respond. Read Matthew 22 (beautiful)!! Those who DO accept the invitation become the "few CHOSEN" (grafted in) - also known as 'the elect'!! Those who don't are the "many called", but not 'chosen'. (Cross-reference this with Mat 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.")
Who are "the faithful"? First, those who were called, believed and entered the Covenant relationship with God (chosen), and lived according to that faith (Abraham in Romans 4; Hebrews 11), and everyone who is/has been saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9) ~ faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Because Jesus is the ELECT (the first-fruit), ALL in HIM are the elect of God!
"What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did." (Rom 11:7). This confirms that the elect reaches far beyond the twelve tribes of Israel.
For a more exhaustive summary, see Who Are The Elect?
WE TRULY ARE ONE NATION OF BELIEVERS UNDER GOD; INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL! PRAISE GOD!
If you are being called to receive salvation today, know this; Jesus said in John 6:37, "the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." May I invite you to read my hub Come to JESUS: Salvation...