Predestination And The Elect
In Part 1 of this Bible study series we looked into Predestination in the Bible. The doctrine of Predestination is clearly shown in the Bible. God’s word clearly shows that God has purposed and planned from the beginning for people to be saved and have a restored relationship with Him.
The big question is who are the elect that the Bible talks about ? Who are the people that God has predestined or planned from the beginning to be saved ? In Part 2 of our series we will look into God’s word to see what it says about Predestination and the Elect.
The Elect – Greek word Eklektos
There are many Bible verses that talk about the elect. What does “the elect” mean, and who are they ? In many New Testament verses the Greek word “eklektos” is used to talk about the elect or God’s chosen ones. The Greek word eklektos appears 22 times in the New Testament. In many of these verses eklektos is used to describe the people that are “predestined” for salvation.
The Greek word Eklektos means “Chosen or appointed by God”. At first glance it would appear, when combined with the verses about predestination, that “the elect” are pre-chosen by God for salvation. But this quick glance and simple translation of these verses would cause there to be a contradiction between some verses in the Bible. Verses about predestination and the elect seemingly contradict verses such as 1 Timothy 2:4 (God wants all men to be saved) and John 3:16 (For God so loved the world…).
Some Bible Verses About The Elect
Here are some of the 22 Bible verses that use the Greek word “eklektos” or “the elect” or chosen ones.
Romans 8:33 “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect (eklektos) ? God is the one who justifies.”
Colossians 3:12 “So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
2 Timothy 2:10 “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
Revelation 17:14 “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.”
These verses and others that talk about God’s elect or chosen ones do not give a clear description or definition of who these people are. But it appears at first glance that only certain people are chosen or predestined for salvation, while others are not.
Jesus’ Parable of The Wedding Feast
We will look at another group of verses in the Bible about the elect. The Greek word eklektos is used in the final verse of this parable. In the first 7 verses of Matthew 22 Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast. Many people are invited to the wedding feast, but many do not go. The entire parable found in Matthew 22:1-14 paints a clearer picture of what is mean by “the elect” or those chosen and predestined for salvation.
Matthew 22:1-7 “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.
The people in these verses that were invited to the banquet (to salvation and God’s kingdom) are the Jews. Israel and the Jewish people are God’s chosen people, and they were the first to be invited. But most rejected the King’s invitation.
All Are Invited to The Wedding Feast
Matthew 22:8-10 “Then he *said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
In these verses Jesus is saying that all people are invited to the wedding feast, which represents the Kingdom of God. This contradicts the translation and belief that many people use that says that there are only a few “chosen ones” or “the elect” that are chosen for salvation.
Not All Will Be Able to Be In God’s Kingdom
Matthew 22:11-13 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
These verses reveal a man that was invited to the wedding feast, which represents salvation and the Kingdom of God. Jesus tells the story of how the man did not put on wedding clothes. He was in effect disobedient and did not have the “clothing” that entitled him to the wedding feast.
Many (All) Are Called – But Few Are Chosen
Jesus concludes the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:14. He says “For many are called, but few are chosen (eklektos).”
Jesus’ parable in Matthew 22:1-14 is one of the only passages in Scripture that seems to define what is meant by “chosen” or “eklektos”. In essence, “eklektos” was fulfilled only in repentance & obedience. In this commentary of Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ, to be “eklektos” seems to be predicated on human decision. The invited are not coerced to come. The invited have the choice to come freely or not. But if the invited come, they must put on the proper clothing for a wedding feast.
Many were called or invited to the wedding feast, but few were permitted in. The Parable of the wedding feast indicates that those who believe and repent/obey are of the “elect”. All others who do not believe in Jesus Christ and repent, even though they are invited, are not able to receive salvation and be a part of God’s Kingdom.
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