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Who are the 'chosen people'?

Submitted: 11/20/2005
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Question: While we keep in mind that all people of all nations and 'races' are included in the 'whosoever will,' we wonder if the Body of Christ, the Church, is God's replacement 'chosen people'? Or are the Old Testament Scriptures referring to the Israelites still describing only Jewish people? How pertinent to endtime prophecies are current events in the mideast?

Answer: Ephesians 2:11-22 describes the current reality concerning the composition of the Church. Some highlights are: 'Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh...at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise...But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near...For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one,...that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross...Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God...'

This passage is telling us that those of us who are Gentiles in the flesh have been added to the commonwealth of Israel through the new birth. Galatians 3:27-29 reiterates this idea: 'For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.'

It is on this basis that Peter writes: 'But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation' (1 Peter 2:9). The entire body of born again believers, both Jews and Gentiles, are the chosen people of God. We are God's elect!

Having said this, we must also consider what Paul wrote in Romans 9:6-8: 'For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, In Isaac your seed shall be called. That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.'

Not everyone who is part of Israel by lineage is part of the spiritual Israel. We can therefore differentiate between the nation of Israel as a race of people living in the Middle Eat and the Church, which consists of Jews and non-Jews. Some portions of God's Word pertain to the nation and others to the spiritual body. Some pertain to both, having both a temporal and an eternal application.

If you have questions about specific passages, please feel free to post them and we will attempt to answer them.