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Exactly who will be left standing with the Lord Jesus Christ when the last war on Planet Earth is over and the dust settles?
Will it be "the called?" Will it be "the chosen?" Will it be "the faithful?
Or will it be those who posses all three of these characteristics?
To find the answers to these important End Time questions, let's scripturally examine each of the three titles given to those who will be standing with Christ:
Many are Called
The word, "called," in the context of the above verse from Revelation 17:14, comes from #2822 in the Greek which is klētos.
This word, klētos, is defined as:
1) called, invited (to a banquet)
a) invited by God to obtain eternal salvation
b) called to (the discharge of) some office
2) divinely selected and appointed
We see then, that the "called" pertains to everyone who is invited to obtain eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
According to the Word of God, who are the ones specifically invited or called to salvation?
(15) That whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have eternal life.
(16) For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(17) For God sent not his Son into the world
to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.
The above verses from the Gospel of John clearly reveal that Jesus came to save all of the inhabitants of the world because He loved them and did not want any to be lost.
However, this passage also tells us that not everyone is going to be saved. Those who have eternal life will only be those who believe in Him (entrust their lives to Him) and believe who He really is (i.e. the preeminent Son of God Almighty).
In Matthew 9:13, Jesus calls (#2822) sinners to repentance.
In Matthew 20:8, the lord of the vineyard tells the steward to call (#2822) the laborers.
In Matthew 22:3, the servants were told to call (#2822) the people to the wedding.
In Romans 1:1, Paul was called (#2822) to become an Apostle. Paul did, in fact, become an Apostle, but the first call he got did not guarantee that he would fulfill a second call and become an Apostle.
All of these cases are obvious indications that those being called were being invited to take some specific type of action required to move them from one position to another in life.
Even though "called" may also refer to a special appointment, the word, "called," was still foremost an invitation. It did not guarantee any certain state of being. All those who are called to a specific work in the Body of Christ (i.e. appointment/ministry) must first be called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
First a person is called to salvation (i.e. has responded by repenting of sin, turning from going his own way, then dedicates the rest of his life to following Christ) and after this, as a believer, is called into a specific ministry. These are two different "calls." However, salvation must always be the first call.
Since many (i.e. everyone--all) are called, but few go on to receive Christ, we must conclude that the "few" also represent "the chosen," who have responded to the first call to salvation.
". . .and they that are with him are
called, and chosen, and faithful."
In the above verse, the "called," which are with Christ in the very end, cannot broadly refer to all of the "invited," or everyone would automatically have eternal life simply because all have been invited--or called. Instead being "called," is just the first of the three necessary steps that describe the characteristics of those who will be standing victorious with Christ in the end.
Few are Chosen
In the Old Testament, we see the word, "chosen," in the context of the Book of Deuteronomy, as it comes from #977, which in the Hebrew carries the meanings:
1) to choose, elect, decide for
a) (Qal) to choose
b) (Niphal) to be chosen
c) ( Pual) to be chosen, selected
"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." (Deuteronomy 7:6)
God reveals His method of salvation first in the Old Testament when He chooses the nation of Israel to be his "chosen" people. God is beginning to teach mankind His principles of separation. Some will be His holy people (holy = set apart for special service) and some will not have this special calling.
God has standards and laws that must be obeyed. All things must be done decently and in order. It was necessary for God to work through a nation to bring forth the Messiah and He chose Israel to take this responsibility. Israel was God's choice; they were called to carry out God's will and follow His Word and law in this matter.
We also see this illustrated in God's relationship with Moses.
When God called Moses, it was obvious that Moses did not want to be God's messenger, but God chose Him, just the same. So while Moses did not want to do what was required to be God's chosen messenger or did not believe that he had the ability to carry out the mission God wanted to give him, nevertheless in his heart he was compelled to trust that God would provide all that he needed to fulfill the position of one who is "chosen."
When the struggle in Moses' heart was over, he went forth by the power of God to do God's will. Thus we have evidence that Moses was chosen.
However while in the Old Testament, God chooses a special people and gives them the land of Israel to physically occupy forever, in the New Testament, Jesus invites everyone and anyone to enter into His spiritual Kingdom by being born again of the Spirit.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiflied. 1 Peter 1:2
Whenever anyone hears this call and responds to it by receiving Jesus Christ, that person then becomes a true believer, thereby identifying himself as one of the chosen children of God, who is now trusting Him to give them the ability to do His will.
But as many as received him,
to them gave he power
to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:
The word, "chosen," in the context of the above verse from Revelation 17:14, comes from#1588 in the Greek which is eklektos.
The word, eklektos, is defined as:
1) picked out, chosen
a) chosen by God,
2) to obtain salvation through Christ
a) Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God
3) the Messiah is called "elect," possessing the most exalted office
There is something special about the "chosen." They are not just "called," They have been given ears to hear the call of God and have responded to that call by repenting of sin and turning from it. This proves that they have been called, chosen, and predestined to be a child of God.
(14) For many are called,
but few are chosen.
Everyone is "called," but few are chosen, because few will respond to that call.
Does this prove the doctrine of predestination?
That depends on how you define "predestination."
In order to understand the called, and chosen, and faithful, we need to approach this topic, like every other topic in the Word of God and see it through the preeminence of Jesus Christ who referred to Himself as the "Alpha and Omega."
No one understands infinity completely, but we must at least realize that infinity refers to having no beginning and no end. Perhaps the word, "foreknowledge," explains this concept better.
Because all are "called," when a person is "called," it does not have any specific significance, other than to reveal that God has made salvation available to every single person ever born.
But when a specific person is "chosen," we will see that timing is involved because at some point in time, the chosen person will respond in order to identify himself as one who is "chosen." Once this happens, we now have proof that the person was also "predestined."
This is illustrated in the life of Saul of Tarsus, who later became the Apostle Paul.
God knew who would be chosen all along, but the person did not know. The person had to decide to respond--he had to use his free will to do so, yet God knew from the beginning those who would come to Him.
In this way, God does not select some for Heaven and some for Hell. Each person exercises his own will and desire. Nevertheless, God knew from before the foundation of the world, those who would belong to Him.
(29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate
[those He did "foreknow" = those He did "predestinate"]
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
(30) Moreover whom he did predestinate,
them he also called: and whom he called,
them he also justified: and whom he justified,
them he also glorified.
This verse makes it clear that those God did "foreknow" were the same ones He did "predestinate" and whom He "predestinated," He also "called."
Let's use Euclid's Law to understand what this is saying:
Those God did foreknow = Those God did predestinate = Those God did elect = Those God did foreknow. . .etc.
The controversy regarding predestination versus freedom of choice can only be reconciled through the preeminence of Jesus Christ as Alpha and Omega, because when we look at it from the perspective of infinity, the time frame regarding being born again does not matter. This is because all are saved throughout history retroactively through the sacrifice of Christ at the time of His death on the cross and while each person must make the decision to become a believer, God knows who they are. Even before they were born, God gave their eternal seed to His Son to plant into the earth and promised that none would be lost.
"He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;" (Matthew 13:37)
(22) And except those days should be shortened,
there should no flesh be saved:
but for the elect's sake
those days shall be shortened.
(23) Then if any man shall say unto you,
Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
(24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets,
and shall shew great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible,
they shall deceive the very elect.
In this passage, the "elect"/"chosen" of God refers to all true believers since Jesus is warning them that in End Times a great deception will occur that will be so strong that, if it were possible,even the very chosen of God could be led astray.
Is it possible that the chosen of God could be led astray?
(27) My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me:
(28) And I give unto them eternal life;
and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
(29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
We see in the above passage that all who really belong to Jesus and the Father--those who are really "chosen"--will never perish and that it is impossible for anyone to take them out of God's hand.
While we may see many "professing" believers ultimately being deceived in End Times, genuine believers will not ultimately be deceived.
Here Jesus describes the gathering of all true believers by His angels, referring to those being gathered as "elect/"chosen" again.
(31) And he shall send his angels
with a great sound of a trumpet,
and they shall gather together his elect
from the four winds,
from one end of heaven to the other.
Finding the Faith to be Faithful
". . .and they that are with him are
called, and chosen, and faithful."
Those who are "called" (and destined to be "chosen") come out from among all of mankind because all are called.
But there is something different about these specific "called" ones, they are also the "chosen" because they have responded to the call. When the rest of mankind has ignored the call, the "chosen" have made a choice. The spiritual response this choice requires includes specific action. It is necessary to repent of our sin, turn from our own philosophy and going our own way, to committing ourselves to obey God's Word and His will.
When this choice is made by the "called" individual, he comes into agreement with God, uniting himself with God's will, causing his position as "chosen" to be sealed through his relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The "chosen" one then goes on to also qualify as "faithful," because to be chosen, he had to trust God to provide the power or ability to be faithful. He had to have the faith to be faithful; believing that God would provide all that he needs to endure to the end.
(8) For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God:
(9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Where is this faith to be faithful going to come from?
So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.
Faith to be faithful comes from the power of the Word of God--the Living Word, Jesus Christ who shed His blood and died on our behalf, rose from the dead, and now indwells true believers with the presence of His Holy Spirit.
The faith to be faithful also comes from the written Word of God in which the Holy Spirit resides to bring the person of Christ into our lives. As we assimilate that Word, it teaches, leads, corrects, convicts of sin, and comforts us while we endure to the end and until we will (one day soon) see Jesus Christ face to face.
Yes, many are called but few are chosen. Many are on the broad way to destruction, while few are on the narrow way that leads to eternal life.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof
are the ways of death.
(13) Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
(14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.
(15) Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
There are really only two ways--two roads--the broad way and the narrow way. While the broad way may have many tributaries, they all ultimately merge and flow into the one broad way that leads to destruction. On the other hand, the narrow road--the narrow way, leads to life, peace, and happiness with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom He is preparing for those who love Him and are genuinely the "called, and chosen, and faithful."
Let's do the math:
= Genuine Believer
Take note of Jesus' warning and beware of false prophets. Many in ministry today claim that they have been chosen or called into ministry, but it is impossible to receive a second call to ministry when one really has not taken the first step and responded to the first call by entering into a real viable relationship with Jesus Christ. A diploma from a seminary does not guarantee that any minister is a genuine believer in Jesus Christ.
Some asume and presume that being in ministry proves that they are among the called, and chosen, and faithful, but if they have failed to take the first step, all of their good works are in vain, the Bible tells us.
Our works are a result of our position in Christ.
Our works do not create our position in Christ.
We must take responsibility for our own ultimate destination. Do not entrust any person or any religion with your precious eternal life. Take care to only place your eternal future in the hands of Jesus Christ for He alone has adequately made provision for your eternal life. No one else has the power to give you eternal life.
You will find everything you need in Jesus Christ and in His Word, the Holy Bible. (KJV recommended).