What I find most fascinating is that God has elected people who can be traced back to the descendants of Noah, (Gen. 10-11). From the Hebrew lineage God elected Abraham to receive salvation by grace through faith. (Gen. 15:6, cf Eph:2:8). Then in God’s perfect preordained timing He made Abraham the father of the nation of Israel. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.” (Gen. 17:5). One immutable act of God was to uniquely and permanently elect the nation of Israel as His covenant nation. “… you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” (Ex. 19:5, 6, c.f. Deut. 7:6-7). The Divine Creator of the vast and measureless universe is the same God who elects people for His divine purpose and glory.
What is election? “The decree of election is the free and sovereign choice of God, made in eternity past, to set his love on certain individuals, and, on the basis of nothing in themselves but solely because of the good pleasure of his will, to choose them to be saved from sin and damnation and to inherit the blessings of eternal life through the mediatorial work of Christ.” (A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth, Biblical Doctrine, MacArthur and Mayhue, 2017, pg. 493).
The word “elect” in the Hebrew language is “bahar” or “bachar” pronounced “baw-kar”. It is found nearly 170 times. In this context, it is God’s divine examination, a deliberate choice, well thought out, with exhaustive scrutiny from beginning to end, of deep theological consideration. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Harris, Archer, Waltke). In short it is God’s omniscient and sovereign choice of a person or nation, for His purpose and glory. In fact the world “elect” is found in Deuteronomy 30 times alone as Scripture delineates God’s divine election of Israel.
There is no other nation which God has elected; Israel has been set aside, to become a distinct people. “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deut. 7:6-7). Out of all people, God set His unending love on Israel.
After years of Egyptian slavery, through God’s miraculous intervention He brought the children of Israel out to receive the Promised Land, where God would bestow His love, protection and blessings upon them. (Ex. 3:10).
Before God created the heavens and earth He predestined and chose Israel as His “firstborn” nation, as Scripture is clear that He did not choose Israel for anything they did. “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5).
What’s more fascinating is that after Israel returned from Babylonian captivity, less than 50,000 Jews returned and to their land dominated by Gentile rule. However, throughout history God has divinely protected His elected nation whereas every other ethnic group in ancient biblical times was eradicated. For example the powerful nation of the Hittites has been removed from the face of the earth. Despite all odds through thousands of years of mistreatment, persecution, Anti-Semitism and holocausts, the Israelites are scattered all over the world. Remarkably, even though they are being temporarily chastened by God, since their return to the land of Israel in 1948, they are flourishing. But God has even greater plans for His elect nation.
Consider how many times Scripture reveals God’s tender affection for His elect nation, it is intimate, warm, loving, endearing language, such terms as, “My people”, “kingdom of priests”, “holy nation”, “I formed you”, “children”, “special treasure”, “you are Mine” ,“My servant” ,“the apple of His eye”, “His own possession”, ect. (Ex. 3:7-9, 19:5-6; Deut. 7:6,7, 14:2, 21; 26:19; 1 Ki. 8:16; Ps. 135:4; Is. 43:1, 44:1, Zech. 2:8; Mal. 3:17).“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My first-born.”’ (Ex. 4:22).
God’s incomprehensible love is on display for the world to see when He set His love upon sinners to receive faith by grace. (Deut. 7:7-6; Eph. 1:4). Undeniably, Scripture reveals that God’s love and affection for Israel is eternal. (1 Kin. 10:9, 2 Sam. 7:13, 16, Ps. 136; Rom. 11:26). For once God predestined Israel He knew His plans would be fulfilled even if it took thousands of years. “ For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29-30). God never chooses people because of their works, but rather to display His mercy and compassion. (Rom. 9:10-16). God will bring Israel from election to glorification.
Currently Israel is temporarily being chastened for rejecting her Messiah. And since the majority of Jewish are hardened for their unbelief, Israel has been cut off from blessings and protection. “From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers” (Rom. 11:28). However, that chastisement is temporary for God is a covenant keeping God and He will save and restore His “beloved” and choice nation. “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom. 11:29).
During the church age individual elect Jews are turning to their Messiah having heard the Gospel proclaimed. (Rom. 11:5,7; Hab. 2:4, Eph. 1:4, Rom. 1:17, 9:4, 8, 11:5). It is an almost incomprehensible thought that when God restores the nation of Israel, blessings for non-Jewish people will be far greater than during the church age. “Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!” (Rom. 11:12). God’s plan of salvation is far greater than we can image, for in spite of Israel’s spiritual idolatry and adultery, God promises to redeem Israel. (Hos. 3:1; Mal. 1:2, 2:11; Rom. 11:26). “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.” (Zech. 13:1)
The church age will be but a “vapor” (Jam. 4:14), compared to God’s vast and glorious eternal plans for all His elect. “Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven the…dwell in safety. “And they shall be My people, and I will be their God…And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. “And I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.” (Jer. 32:37-41)
No man can fully comprehend the unique experience of God’s chosen Israel, as God’s divine presence and shekinah glory was manifested in the tabernacle and temple. (Ex. 25:8, 40:34-38; 1 Ki. 8:16). Israel has always known their faith and worship of God in and through the land God has given to them. Every moment was shared on their land, together, as a nation. And as exceedingly intricate, detailed and fine were the buildings God commanded them to build, God promises that one day the future temple will be far more glorious, where Jew and Gentile will worship the Messiah in His millennial kingdom. (Ezek 40-48; Isa. 2:2-4; Zech. 14:20-21; Rev. 21:3). “After these things I will return, And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, And I will rebuild its ruins, And I will restore it, In order that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’”(Acts 15:14-17, cf. Ezek. 40-48).
The entire world will finally recognize how deeply and perfectly God’s covenant love for His elect nation Israel is, when Jews will be the greatest evangelists. “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”‘ (Zech. 8:23).
At His second coming Jesus will fulfill all He promised the Apostles before He ascended to Heaven. “And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28). During the millennial kingdom all of God’s elect, Jew and Gentile will reign. “And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” (Rev. 5:10).
Imagine, the glory of the Lord which departed from the Temple long ago (Ezek. 8-11) will return– never to depart again. “The glory of the LORD entered…He said, Son of Man this is the place of My throne…I will dwell among the Israelites forever” (Ezek. 43:4,7).
The Messiah will judge from His throne in Jerusalem, fulfilling the words the angel Gabriel said to Mary. “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:32, 33, cf. Ps. 89).
The elect of God will surround King Jesus as He administers perfect justice from His Holy City. Israel will finally be the witness nation God had intended them to be, as all the nations of the earth will come to Jerusalem to worship our Lord. (Zech. 14:17-19; Ps. 2:6-9; 22:23; Is. 2:2-4; Matt. 23:39; Acts 3:19-21). “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples”. (Gen. 49:10).
In closing, election is the biblical and historical doctrine which is the basis and foundation to the entire structure of biblical theology. As fervently as Calvinists hold to election for individual Christians, they must recognize God will never violate or abrogate His electing love for Israel. “…and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” (Rom. 11:26-28).