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Chosen to be Choice

Elect of God: LXX

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old testament

Category C: Chosen to be Choice

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]S[/dropcap]ome years have passed since the happy honeymoon mentioned above.  The young lady is not as young anymore.  A few kids have entered the scene, and she expends a tremendous amount of energy trying to keep up with them.  Often, when her husband returns home at the end of the day, she is worn out and sometimes even a little bit grouchy.  She tries to give him a smile when he comes through the door, but sometimes she just wants to dump the kids on him and wander through the peaceful palace gardens.

Her husband is a good man and is not discouraged by her change from the vibrant young lady of his youth.  Some of his wife's youthful attributes which first attracted him have faded in the passing of time and amongst the responsibilities of life, but his heart is not drawn away from her by the lovely young ladies in the courts of the palace.  She probably would no longer qualify as a contestant in a beauty pageant, but he lovingly treasures her above all other women in the kingdom: as far as he is concerned, she is the choicest of women for she is the woman whom he chose to be his own.

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]T[/dropcap]his simple illustration demonstrates a nuance clearly distinct from Category A, in that the wife does not, in a general sense, possess the characteristics that typically attract young men to the young ladies.  It is also distinct from Category B, in that her position as wife is not a position of broad authority.  However, she is honored and treasured by her husband as though she had richer qualities of excellence than all other women, due to his deliberate choice of her as his wife.  One could say she is choice to him because he chose her to be his.

This nuance of G1588 occurs only ten times in the LXX.  One time it was applied to David, but the other nine times it was applied to the nation of Israel.  Sometimes it referred to the nation as a whole, sometimes to a remnant.

Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
O seed of Israel His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
Remember His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel for an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,”
When you were few in number,
Indeed very few, and strangers in it.
When they went from one nation to another,
And from one kingdom to another people,
He permitted no man to do them wrong;
Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes,
Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”
(1 Chronicles 16:11-22, Psalm 105:4-15)

These extensive quotes from these mirror passages of 1 Chronicles and the Psalms illustrate the richness of God's favor expressed towards the nation of Israel.  Notice how G1588 was not being used to describe a nation of excellent qualities, for they were a nation that had often been rebellious.  Nor is it describing a nation chosen for a position of authority over other nations, for they were often weak.  Instead, it corresponds to the deliberate G1586 choice of the nation of Israel as the people of God.  It described a people who were chosen by God to be His own, and were treated by God as though they possessed the highest qualities of excellence even though they frequently were lacking in excellent qualities.

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]T[/dropcap]he other passages where G1588 acted as a descriptor of Israel also carried the same flavor of choice-ness surrounding the chosen people of God.

That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, that I may glory with Your inheritance.  (Psalms 106:5)

The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen.  (Isaiah 43:20)

For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.  (Isaiah 45:4)

The Old Testament writers clearly indicated that it was counted a blessing and privilege to be among the group of people whom God chose as His own.  They saw that the kindnesses of God towards Israel came as a direct result of God's selection of the nation as His people.

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]O[/dropcap]f the nine times that G1588 described Israel in the context of God's favor, six times it was speaking of the nation as a whole.  The covenant God made with Abraham was that He would be God to both him and his descendants, on the condition that they maintained the rite of circumcision.  For an Israelite to be included among God's chosen ones, he needed to be circumcised.  If he were not, he would be cut off from his people.  Because the Israelites were religiously faithful in performing the rite of circumcision, the entire nation was counted as God's chosen people, God's elect.

Notice how the whole nation was counted as God's elect, regardless of their personal standing before God.  While it is true there were many righteous people in the nation, it is also true that there were many ungodly.  The nation contained both godly and ungodly Israelites, but as a whole, they were the chosen people of God.  Thus, in the case of Israel, we see that being one of God's elect was not synonymous with being made righteous.  God did not choose them for salvation, but chose them to be His people.  As God's chosen people they were often treated as if they had an abundance of excellent qualities.

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]F[/dropcap]or many generations, circumcision was the primary requirement to be counted among the chosen.  However, in the prophecy of Isaiah 65, a change was foretold from the elect consisting of the whole nation to the elect consisting of only a particular group of people.

"I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there.  Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me.

“But you are those who forsake the Lord, who forget My holy mountain, who prepare a table for Gad, and who furnish a drink offering for Meni.  Therefore I will number you for the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear, but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.”  (Isaiah 65:9-12)

The prophecy revealed that much of the nation had long forsaken the Lord and continually chose the very things He hated.  For this reason, they, as a nation, would fall from being God's elect.  There would be a new elect comprised of people who sought God.  In other words, God would take as His people only those who sought after Him.  He would no longer be God to those who forsook Him, even though they were descendants of Abraham and circumcised.

Isaiah's prophecy indicated a significant and profound change.  For many generations, God had been the God of a stiff-necked people who were continually rebellious against Him.  Isaiah foretold that this time would come to a close and God would be the God of a humble people who were of a contrite (repentant) spirit.

Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool.  Where is the house that you will build Me?  And where is the place of My rest?  For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord.

“But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word."  (Isaiah 66:1-2)

For a person to be one of the elect in the day which Isaiah foretold, he would need to be a spiritual descendant of Abraham.  Not merely a physical descendant, but having the same faith as Abraham and of a humble and contrite spirit.  Simply put, Isaiah spoke of a day when only those who had true hearts before God would be God's elect: these alone would be the people of God.

Notice how Isaiah did not say that God would choose certain people, and as a result, they would become humble and contrite.  If that had been the case, then the nation of Israel would not have been a stiff-necked and rebellious people, for God chose them.  Instead, Isaiah plainly declared that God would look upon the people, and He would show abundant kindnesses to those who had a humble and contrite heart; they would be His chosen people, His elect.

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]A[/dropcap]lthough this nuance of G1588 is distinct from Category A nuance, yet we can see a connection between the two.  Category A described objects as having excellent qualities, and in Category C we see people selected to be treated as though they had excellent qualities, regardless of whether they had those qualities.  In other words, God chose them and in His sight they were choice.  Thus, it appears a good definition of this nuance of the word might be as follows:

Elect: The chosen (and choice) people of God.