ID #1012

Who are the elect? The church, Jews, or something different?

To answer this question I need to address it in two parts: First, the terminology of “the elect” vs. “the church,” and then who are “the elect.”

 The Elect vs. The Church

Matt 24:21 (NIV) For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ´Look, here is the Christ!' or, ´There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. (emphasis added)

Matt 24:30 (NIV) "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (emphasis added)

Mark 13:20 (NIV) If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ´Look, here is the Christ!' or, ´Look, there he is!' do not believe it. 22 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect--if that were possible. (emphasis added)

Mark 13:26 (NIV) "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. (emphasis added)

Romans 11:5 (NIV) So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.  7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened (emphasis added)

2 Tim 2:8 (NIV) Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (emphasis added)

Titus 1:1 (NIV) Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— (emphasis added)

1 Pet 1:1 (NIV) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (emphasis added)

I believe the word “elect” is used because it is unambiguous.  There is no question who is being referred to in these verses – these are the true born-again believers and the bride of Christ.  Now the question arises why use the word “elect” and not “the church.”

Some have used this distinction to try to argue that the reason the church is not mentioned in these passages is because during the 70th week of Daniel when these events are happening the church will have already been raptured.  But this is only assumption and has absolutely no biblical support.  Furthermore, this is using a word sense to derive a teaching from the scripture that is not there in the normal simple reading of the passage.

So, why use the term “elect” rather than “the church.”  There are several passages of scripture which teach that not all that call themselves “the church” ARE the church.  For instance, Jesus said…

Matt 7:22 (NIV) MANY will say to me on that day, ´Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ´I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (emphasis added)

In this passage, Jesus points out that there will be MANY people who will claim even supernatural works to prove that they are the “elect.”  They are apparently in the church, but they do not have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. 

The seven churches of Revelation draw a picture of the church that is increasingly compromising with the world.  To Ephesus Jesus says that they had left their first love.  To Pergamum He says that they hold to the teaching of Balaam who enticed the Israelites to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual immorality.  Thyatira had a woman in the church the scripture calls Jezebel who is misleading the church by her worldly teaching.  Jesus calls Sardis dead.  He warns Philadelphia to “hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.” Laodicea is a church that exhibits total compromise with the world – they are rich and increased with goods not realizing that in Jesus’ eyes they are poor, blind and naked.  I have heard it said that there are some churches where Jesus could return and they would never realize it.

Therefore the distinction in these passages referring to the elect is that not all of the church is the elect.  Therefore there are certain events and promises that are made specifically to the elect. 

Now, who are the elect?

The elect are the true bride of Christ.  This has nothing to do with race, religion, or anything else.  The whole point to the final judgment of God is to bring the Jews to recognize that Jesus IS the Messiah.  Prophecy proclaims that…

Zech 12:10 (NIV) "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

The elect are ALL true believers in Jesus Christ – Jew, Gentile, slave or free.  Where there can be some question about whether all of the church will be in heaven, there can be no doubt that all of the elect will be there!

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Last update: 2008-11-25 17:04
Author: Elbert Charpie
Revision: 1.0

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