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« on: January 17, 2012, 11:56:35 AM »

How does Orthodoxy see the "Chosen" people.. Why a "chosen" people and what does it mean? Was Israel really the Chosen people?
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 12:23:08 PM »

Well, Israel was the people that God chose for a specific purpose, to prepare the way for receiving The Messiah, Jesus Christ, Eternal Son of God Incarnate.  As not to be seen as a people that was favored by God (as if they are more special than other people), but simply chosen for that particular task. By implication, yes, they had to be favored and they did exhibit good qualities simply because God was with them and had a plan that through them, others would come to the knowledge of Him.  As Orthodox Christians we know that God actually chooses everybody, regards everybody as His children, unless we reject Him.
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 12:47:58 PM »

Well, Israel was the people that God chose for a specific purpose, to prepare the way for receiving The Messiah, Jesus Christ, Eternal Son of God Incarnate.  As not to be seen as a people that was favored by God (as if they are more special than other people), but simply chosen for that particular task. By implication, yes, they had to be favored and they did exhibit good qualities simply because God was with them and had a plan that through them, others would come to the knowledge of Him.  As Orthodox Christians we know that God actually chooses everybody, regards everybody as His children, unless we reject Him.

It looks like they failed... The whole idea of a Chosen People sounds wrong to me... Was Israel the only chosen people untill than?Does G-d show favoritism?Is he partial? I think Peter said in Acts that G-d does not show favoritism and i think it says in the Bible that G-d is no respecter of persons.How can these be reconciled?
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 05:48:48 PM »

Well, Israel was the people that God chose for a specific purpose, to prepare the way for receiving The Messiah, Jesus Christ, Eternal Son of God Incarnate.  As not to be seen as a people that was favored by God (as if they are more special than other people), but simply chosen for that particular task. By implication, yes, they had to be favored and they did exhibit good qualities simply because God was with them and had a plan that through them, others would come to the knowledge of Him.  As Orthodox Christians we know that God actually chooses everybody, regards everybody as His children, unless we reject Him.

It looks like they failed... The whole idea of a Chosen People sounds wrong to me... Was Israel the only chosen people untill than?Does G-d show favoritism?Is he partial? I think Peter said in Acts that G-d does not show favoritism and i think it says in the Bible that G-d is no respecter of persons.How can these be reconciled?

The Scriptures speak often about Israel being the chosen people of God in the Old Testament. For example:

Deuteronomy 7:6
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 14:2
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Psalm 89:3
I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

Isaiah 41:8
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

Isaiah 43:20
The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

Isaiah 44:1
Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:

Daniel 11:15
So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.

I think you get the idea. The phrase is biblical, that much cannot be disputed.

Yet, this does seem contradictory with the New Testament. I believe you're actually thinking of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, who says:

Romans 2:11
For there is no respect of persons with God.

He also says in his epistle to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

This, at first glance, seems to be an issue. I think it's because when people hear that the nation of Israel were the chosen people, that means God cloistered Himself up with them and didn't care about the rest of the world. This is patently false. Rather, God exalted Israel as a nation of priests, to be a light to the rest of the world:

Genesis 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Exodus 19:6
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 4:6
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

The people of Israel are meant to display the glory of God to the nations. There are even some passages that speak of Jewish converts:

Exodus 12:48
And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.

Members outside of the biological "tribes of Israel" existed to the nation, and could become "Israelites." Many key Old Testament figures who are considered righteous for their deeds are also not Israelites. Many of them find their names in the geneology of Christ, such as Ruth and Rehab. God did not cast off and forget the other nations of the earth. The blessing of all nations is actually made explicit in the covenant God makes with Abraham, as I quoted above.

This has a direct correlation to New Testament practice. Christ establishes His Church, the new chosen people of God, and accepts people into it by baptism. While many Orthodox Christians are given over for baptism by Orthodox parents, anyone may join the people of God by submitting to the same baptism, then they may partake of the Eucharist as Orthodox Christians, just as a gentile could be circumcised and partake of the Passover Seder as an Israelite.
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2012, 06:22:37 PM »

Well, Israel was the people that God chose for a specific purpose, to prepare the way for receiving The Messiah, Jesus Christ, Eternal Son of God Incarnate.  As not to be seen as a people that was favored by God (as if they are more special than other people), but simply chosen for that particular task. By implication, yes, they had to be favored and they did exhibit good qualities simply because God was with them and had a plan that through them, others would come to the knowledge of Him.  As Orthodox Christians we know that God actually chooses everybody, regards everybody as His children, unless we reject Him.

It looks like they failed... The whole idea of a Chosen People sounds wrong to me... Was Israel the only chosen people untill than?Does G-d show favoritism?Is he partial? I think Peter said in Acts that G-d does not show favoritism and i think it says in the Bible that G-d is no respecter of persons.How can these be reconciled?

The Scriptures speak often about Israel being the chosen people of God in the Old Testament. For example:

Deuteronomy 7:6
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 14:2
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Psalm 89:3
I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

Isaiah 41:8
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

Isaiah 43:20
The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

Isaiah 44:1
Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:

Daniel 11:15
So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.

I think you get the idea. The phrase is biblical, that much cannot be disputed.

Yet, this does seem contradictory with the New Testament. I believe you're actually thinking of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, who says:

Romans 2:11
For there is no respect of persons with God.

He also says in his epistle to the Galatians:

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

This, at first glance, seems to be an issue. I think it's because when people hear that the nation of Israel were the chosen people, that means God cloistered Himself up with them and didn't care about the rest of the world. This is patently false. Rather, God exalted Israel as a nation of priests, to be a light to the rest of the world:

Genesis 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Exodus 19:6
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 4:6
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

The people of Israel are meant to display the glory of God to the nations. There are even some passages that speak of Jewish converts:

Exodus 12:48
And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.

Members outside of the biological "tribes of Israel" existed to the nation, and could become "Israelites." Many key Old Testament figures who are considered righteous for their deeds are also not Israelites. Many of them find their names in the geneology of Christ, such as Ruth and Rehab. God did not cast off and forget the other nations of the earth. The blessing of all nations is actually made explicit in the covenant God makes with Abraham, as I quoted above.

This has a direct correlation to New Testament practice. Christ establishes His Church, the new chosen people of God, and accepts people into it by baptism. While many Orthodox Christians are given over for baptism by Orthodox parents, anyone may join the people of God by submitting to the same baptism, then they may partake of the Eucharist as Orthodox Christians, just as a gentile could be circumcised and partake of the Passover Seder as an Israelite.


Those verses say 'a chosen people' not 'the chosen people' ... The question is what were they chosen for?Of what does the election of Israel consist?Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?Well that sounds a lot like favourism and partiality... God favouring a nation over the rest of the nations... It`s quite immoral.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 02:28:59 AM »

Is it favoritism or immoral that only one woman was allowed to give birth to God in the flesh?
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 02:36:57 AM »

ya i guess he could have revealed himself to all nations...instead of allowing them to worship false gods and deities for so long... good question...
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 02:44:20 AM »

Obviously, you haven't even read what I said.

Well, Israel was the people that God chose for a specific purpose, to prepare the way for receiving The Messiah, Jesus Christ, Eternal Son of God Incarnate.  As not to be seen as a people that was favored by God (as if they are more special than other people), but simply chosen for that particular task. By implication, yes, they had to be favored and they did exhibit good qualities simply because God was with them and had a plan that through them, others would come to the knowledge of Him.  As Orthodox Christians we know that God actually chooses everybody, regards everybody as His children, unless we reject Him.

It looks like they failed... The whole idea of a Chosen People sounds wrong to me... Was Israel the only chosen people untill than?Does G-d show favoritism?Is he partial? I think Peter said in Acts that G-d does not show favoritism and i think it says in the Bible that G-d is no respecter of persons.How can these be reconciled?
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 12:57:28 PM »

Obviously, you haven't even read what I said.

Don't feel bad, I don't think mine was actually read, either.

Those verses say 'a chosen people' not 'the chosen people'

They say "a chosen people...above all nations", meaning, the first. They also are called "my chosen", as in, excluding others as being such. I'm not going to repost all those verses again, but do let me re-emphasize and talk about a few of them:

Deuteronomy 14:2
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

God picked Israel out of the rest of the nations to be above them all.

Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Israel is the land chosen to receive the inheritance of God, not any other nation. The other verses I quoted earlier are mostly variants on these themes. But, the other questions you ask are actually more important. I answered those, too.

The question is what were they chosen for?Of what does the election of Israel consist?Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

The answer consist of some of those verses I already gave you. Look what God tell the Israelites in the giving of the Law:

Exodus 19:6
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 4:6
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

The Israelites are the kingdom of priests, those who mediate between God and the rest of the nations. God does not forsake the other nations in favor of Israel, He instead allows His glory to be manifest in him so that the nations will see it. After all, God did promise such to Abraham:

Genesis 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

I don't hear God telling the Israelites, "you are chosen above all nations...except for these guys over here, y'all are pretty much the same." Doesn't happen. Israel is the chosen of God. But, again, this isn't to show them some form of "favoritism", it is forming the role of Israel in the world, to be a kingdom of priests unto the rest of the nations and to bring about the advent of the Messiah into the world through this "kingdom of priests."

The last task to be accomplished under the Old Covenant is the birth of a holy little girl who is to be the Theotokos, who in turn submits her own will to God and allows the Son to be incarnate, of her own flesh, so that forgiveness of sins may be given to all nations. "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..." That is the role of the nation of Israel.
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 01:49:39 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Well, Israel was the people that God chose for a specific purpose, to prepare the way for receiving The Messiah, Jesus Christ, Eternal Son of God Incarnate.  As not to be seen as a people that was favored by God (as if they are more special than other people), but simply chosen for that particular task. By implication, yes, they had to be favored and they did exhibit good qualities simply because God was with them and had a plan that through them, others would come to the knowledge of Him.  As Orthodox Christians we know that God actually chooses everybody, regards everybody as His children, unless we reject Him.

It looks like they failed... The whole idea of a Chosen People sounds wrong to me... Was Israel the only chosen people untill than?Does G-d show favoritism?Is he partial? I think Peter said in Acts that G-d does not show favoritism and i think it says in the Bible that G-d is no respecter of persons.How can these be reconciled?

Sounds wrong to me..

You need to flip it, there WERE a Chosen People, and through a single descendent of that family, our Lady the Virgin Mary, God chose to become Incarnate and save the entire Universe.  This is why there are no longer any chosen people in the ethnic sense.  Jesus Christ gives His love and Grace universally to all repentant humanity.  Further, the concept of being a chosen people is not to somehow make the people better by merit because it is God who did the choosing, the Jews were not chosen by merit or worth, rather God's love and mercy, just as God chooses us.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 02:46:19 PM »

Is it favoritism or immoral that only one woman was allowed to give birth to God in the flesh?

What does one have to do with the other?
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 04:57:53 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Well, Israel was the people that God chose for a specific purpose, to prepare the way for receiving The Messiah, Jesus Christ, Eternal Son of God Incarnate.  As not to be seen as a people that was favored by God (as if they are more special than other people), but simply chosen for that particular task. By implication, yes, they had to be favored and they did exhibit good qualities simply because God was with them and had a plan that through them, others would come to the knowledge of Him.  As Orthodox Christians we know that God actually chooses everybody, regards everybody as His children, unless we reject Him.

It looks like they failed... The whole idea of a Chosen People sounds wrong to me... Was Israel the only chosen people untill than?Does G-d show favoritism?Is he partial? I think Peter said in Acts that G-d does not show favoritism and i think it says in the Bible that G-d is no respecter of persons.How can these be reconciled?

Sounds wrong to me..

You need to flip it, there WERE a Chosen People, and through a single descendent of that family, our Lady the Virgin Mary, God chose to become Incarnate and save the entire Universe.  This is why there are no longer any chosen people in the ethnic sense.  Jesus Christ gives His love and Grace universally to all repentant humanity.  Further, the concept of being a chosen people is not to somehow make the people better by merit because it is God who did the choosing, the Jews were not chosen by merit or worth, rather God's love and mercy, just as God chooses us.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

It still doesn`t make much sense to me.Which is the point of a chosen people?What is this concept suppose to teach us?

the concept of an ethnical chosen people?
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2012, 04:57:53 PM »


Those verses say 'a chosen people' not 'the chosen people'

They say "a chosen people...above all nations", meaning, the first. They also are called "my chosen", as in, excluding others as being such. I'm not going to repost all those verses again, but do let me re-emphasize and talk about a few of them:

Deuteronomy 14:2
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

A peculiar people in which sense... It does say above all the nations of the earth...

Quote
God picked Israel out of the rest of the nations to be above them all.

The question is :  Why?

Quote
Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
Quote

How do you know this Psalm is not about the Church and the faithfull in Christ?

Quote
Israel is the land chosen to receive the inheritance of God, not any other nation. The other verses I quoted earlier are mostly variants on these themes. But, the other questions you ask are actually more important. I answered those, too.

What is "the inheritance of God" ?

Quote
The question is what were they chosen for?Of what does the election of Israel consist?Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

The answer consist of some of those verses I already gave you. Look what God tell the Israelites in the giving of the Law:

Exodus 19:6
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 4:6
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

The Israelites are the kingdom of priests, those who mediate between God and the rest of the nations. God does not forsake the other nations in favor of Israel, He instead allows His glory to be manifest in him so that the nations will see it.


So he made us all inferior to the Israelits and the Israelits supperior to us?The only mediators of G-d were the Israelits?Why would he make one people great over all the people?

Quote
After all, God did promise such to Abraham:

Genesis 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

I don`t know if you are a Christian or not, but this verse refers to Christ as it is been explained in the New Testament.The seed in which all nations of the earth are blessed is Jesus Christ.

Quote
Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

I don't hear God telling the Israelites, "you are chosen above all nations...except for these guys over here, y'all are pretty much the same." Doesn't happen. Israel is the chosen of God. But, again, this isn't to show them some form of "favoritism", it is forming the role of Israel in the world, to be a kingdom of priests unto the rest of the nations and to bring about the advent of the Messiah into the world through this "kingdom of priests."

So I see, we are all handicap and second class people and we need the Israelits to mediate for us and between us and God.

Quote
The last task to be accomplished under the Old Covenant is the birth of a holy little girl who is to be the Theotokos, who in turn submits her own will to God and allows the Son to be incarnate, of her own flesh, so that forgiveness of sins may be given to all nations. "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..." That is the role of the nation of Israel.

What are you saying?Couldn`t God find a faithfull woman without an Israel?Would it been impossible for a holy woman to exist out of which Jesus would Incarnate without a chosen people?
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2012, 05:07:45 PM »

Is it favoritism or immoral that only one woman was allowed to give birth to God in the flesh?
What does one have to do with the other?

The Jews were chosen to bring the Son of God into the world. First God called Abraham, then chose Isaac over Ishmael, Then Jacob over Esau, Jacob's name was changed to Israel and his sons were the ones whose families became the twelve tribes. Circumcision was the sign of that covenant, which is fulfilled in Christian baptism. After that God established His covenant with Israel through Moses in the passover (a prefiguration of baptism) and it was after being delivered out of egypt that the law was given and God became their God and they were His people. Later on, the kingdom was split into the north (Israel) and the south (Judah and Benjamin), Judah being the tribe from which the Messiah would come. Later in this was narrowed down again to Joachim and Anna, to the Theotokos, and finally God's revelation being given through His chosen people finding it's ultimate fulfillment in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, through which all nations would be reconciled to God.

We are told in the NT epistles that God revelas himself to all men through nature and the natural law, and that when Christ descended into hades that he went for those who were disobedient and specifically mentions those who were disobedient before the flood.
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2012, 05:41:05 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



The question is :  Why?


The answer: God promised Abraham when he was just a single man that his descendants would manifest universal Salvation.  The Jews were not chosen for anything other than to demonstrate the effective loyalty of God.  God always knew that a woman would give birth to Himself, the question was who and from where? Abraham solves this equation, because Mary is a descendant of Abraham.  When God promised Abraham, God saw Mary.  When God saw the Jewish people, God saw Mary.  After Mary, the Jewish folks are like the rest of us, saved by Grace rather than peculiarity.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2012, 05:44:54 PM »


Those verses say 'a chosen people' not 'the chosen people'

They say "a chosen people...above all nations", meaning, the first. They also are called "my chosen", as in, excluding others as being such. I'm not going to repost all those verses again, but do let me re-emphasize and talk about a few of them:

Deuteronomy 14:2
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

A peculiar people in which sense... It does say above all the nations of the earth...

"Peculiar" meaning, "different, unique." Israel plays a unique role in the salvation of the world.

Quote
God picked Israel out of the rest of the nations to be above them all.

The question is :  Why?

I've answered this twice now. See the fourth quote down on this response about a "kingdom of priests."

Quote
Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

How do you know this Psalm is not about the Church and the faithfull in Christ?

Well, firstly, the Church isn't a nation. Israel is. Second, read the whole Psalm. And, for the record, this is a promise of God to the Church...because the Church IS Israel. The Chosen People of God in the Old Testament is the Nation of Israel. The Chosen People of God in the New Testament is the Church of Christ.

Quote
The question is what were they chosen for?Of what does the election of Israel consist?Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

The answer consist of some of those verses I already gave you. Look what God tell the Israelites in the giving of the Law:

Exodus 19:6
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 4:6
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

The Israelites are the kingdom of priests, those who mediate between God and the rest of the nations. God does not forsake the other nations in favor of Israel, He instead allows His glory to be manifest in him so that the nations will see it.


So he made us all inferior to the Israelits and the Israelits supperior to us?The only mediators of G-d were the Israelits?Why would he make one people great over all the people?

Why would He fashion one single Church and beckon all nations to Her? It's the same principle. Israel in the Old Testament serves the same purpose as the Church in the New Testament.

Quote
After all, God did promise such to Abraham:

Genesis 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

I don`t know if you are a Christian or not, but this verse refers to Christ as it is been explained in the New Testament.The seed in which all nations of the earth are blessed is Jesus Christ.

I'm an Orthodox Christian (it says so in my information bar on the left side of this post), and I don't dispute that Christ is the ultimate blessing being spoken of here, but Christ comes to us by way of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (later called Israel) and his twelve sons which are the tribes of Israel (specifically the tribe of Judah). Christ doesn't come into the world out of thin air. He has a lineage. He is of the Chosen People. He's an Israelite, of the tribe of Judah, born of the Virgin Mary.


Quote
Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

I don't hear God telling the Israelites, "you are chosen above all nations...except for these guys over here, y'all are pretty much the same." Doesn't happen. Israel is the chosen of God. But, again, this isn't to show them some form of "favoritism", it is forming the role of Israel in the world, to be a kingdom of priests unto the rest of the nations and to bring about the advent of the Messiah into the world through this "kingdom of priests."

So I see, we are all handicap and second class people and we need the Israelits to mediate for us and between us and God.

No, you really, really don't. Though, yes, we do have a handicap. It's usually called sin. God selected Israel to be the Chosen People, to be those through whom He shows His glory the world. In the same way, God acts through His Church today. To quote St. Peter:

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Quote
The last task to be accomplished under the Old Covenant is the birth of a holy little girl who is to be the Theotokos, who in turn submits her own will to God and allows the Son to be incarnate, of her own flesh, so that forgiveness of sins may be given to all nations. "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..." That is the role of the nation of Israel.

What are you saying?Couldn`t God find a faithfull woman without an Israel?Would it been impossible for a holy woman to exist out of which Jesus would Incarnate without a chosen people?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'm not God. The point is, He didn't. He selected a chosen people and from them came the Christ.
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2012, 05:57:27 PM »

Is it favoritism or immoral that only one woman was allowed to give birth to God in the flesh?
What does one have to do with the other?

The Jews were chosen to bring the Son of God into the world. First God called Abraham, then chose Isaac over Ishmael, Then Jacob over Esau, Jacob's name was changed to Israel and his sons were the ones whose families became the twelve tribes. Circumcision was the sign of that covenant, which is fulfilled in Christian baptism. After that God established His covenant with Israel through Moses in the passover (a prefiguration of baptism) and it was after being delivered out of egypt that the law was given and God became their God and they were His people. Later on, the kingdom was split into the north (Israel) and the south (Judah and Benjamin), Judah being the tribe from which the Messiah would come. Later in this was narrowed down again to Joachim and Anna, to the Theotokos, and finally God's revelation being given through His chosen people finding it's ultimate fulfillment in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, through which all nations would be reconciled to God.

We are told in the NT epistles that God revelas himself to all men through nature and the natural law, and that when Christ descended into hades that he went for those who were disobedient and specifically mentions those who were disobedient before the flood.

So their sole election consisted of being the people from which the Son of God would be born?Couldn`t that just be an instant moment?

Just thinking couldn`t all the verses concerning election be misunderstood and actually be refering to the age to come and the Church?


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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2012, 06:25:20 PM »


Those verses say 'a chosen people' not 'the chosen people'

They say "a chosen people...above all nations", meaning, the first. They also are called "my chosen", as in, excluding others as being such. I'm not going to repost all those verses again, but do let me re-emphasize and talk about a few of them:

Deuteronomy 14:2
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

A peculiar people in which sense... It does say above all the nations of the earth...

Quote
"Peculiar" meaning, "different, unique." Israel plays a unique role in the salvation of the world.

Does this mean that others also play a role in the salvation of the world?

Quote
God picked Israel out of the rest of the nations to be above them all.

The question is :  Why?

I've answered this twice now. See the fourth quote down on this response about a "kingdom of priests."

Quote
Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

How do you know this Psalm is not about the Church and the faithfull in Christ?

Quote
Well, firstly, the Church isn't a nation. Israel is. Second, read the whole Psalm. And, for the record, this is a promise of God to the Church...because the Church IS Israel. The Chosen People of God in the Old Testament is the Nation of Israel. The Chosen People of God in the New Testament is the Church of Christ.

well there are many Orthodox nations for one... that could be the blessing for any nation including multiple nations who have God as Lord and whom are chosen for his inheritence...

Quote
The question is what were they chosen for?Of what does the election of Israel consist?Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

The answer consist of some of those verses I already gave you. Look what God tell the Israelites in the giving of the Law:

Exodus 19:6
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 4:6
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

The Israelites are the kingdom of priests, those who mediate between God and the rest of the nations. God does not forsake the other nations in favor of Israel, He instead allows His glory to be manifest in him so that the nations will see it.


So he made us all inferior to the Israelits and the Israelits supperior to us?The only mediators of G-d were the Israelits?Why would he make one people great over all the people?

Quote
Why would He fashion one single Church and beckon all nations to Her? It's the same principle. Israel in the Old Testament serves the same purpose as the Church in the New Testament.

It`s not the same... In one fashion we are speaking of racism and in the other of singleling the church as an entity out of the world composed of all nations...

Quote
After all, God did promise such to Abraham:

Genesis 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

I don`t know if you are a Christian or not, but this verse refers to Christ as it is been explained in the New Testament.The seed in which all nations of the earth are blessed is Jesus Christ.

Quote
I'm an Orthodox Christian (it says so in my information bar on the left side of this post), and I don't dispute that Christ is the ultimate blessing being spoken of here, but Christ comes to us by way of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (later called Israel) and his twelve sons which are the tribes of Israel (specifically the tribe of Judah). Christ doesn't come into the world out of thin air. He has a lineage. He is of the Chosen People. He's an Israelite, of the tribe of Judah, born of the Virgin Mary.

He comes to those because of their virtue as an answer and reward of their virtues... But still... I don`t think there were not any other people in the world at least as virtuos as them... the whole idea of a chosen people... you know..

Quote
Could it be that there was no other chosen people by G-d at that time?

I don't hear God telling the Israelites, "you are chosen above all nations...except for these guys over here, y'all are pretty much the same." Doesn't happen. Israel is the chosen of God. But, again, this isn't to show them some form of "favoritism", it is forming the role of Israel in the world, to be a kingdom of priests unto the rest of the nations and to bring about the advent of the Messiah into the world through this "kingdom of priests."

So I see, we are all handicap and second class people and we need the Israelits to mediate for us and between us and God.

Quote
No, you really, really don't. Though, yes, we do have a handicap. It's usually called sin. God selected Israel to be the Chosen People, to be those through whom He shows His glory the world.In the same way, God acts through His Church today. To quote St. Peter:

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Could you be more explicit?

Quote
The last task to be accomplished under the Old Covenant is the birth of a holy little girl who is to be the Theotokos, who in turn submits her own will to God and allows the Son to be incarnate, of her own flesh, so that forgiveness of sins may be given to all nations. "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed..." That is the role of the nation of Israel.

What are you saying?Couldn`t God find a faithfull woman without an Israel?Would it been impossible for a holy woman to exist out of which Jesus would Incarnate without a chosen people?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'm not God. The point is, He didn't. He selected a chosen people and from them came the Christ.

What is the moral of a chosen people?
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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2012, 06:26:09 PM »

That it is easy to reject grace.
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« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2012, 06:31:04 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Is it favoritism or immoral that only one woman was allowed to give birth to God in the flesh?
What does one have to do with the other?

The Jews were chosen to bring the Son of God into the world. First God called Abraham, then chose Isaac over Ishmael, Then Jacob over Esau, Jacob's name was changed to Israel and his sons were the ones whose families became the twelve tribes. Circumcision was the sign of that covenant, which is fulfilled in Christian baptism. After that God established His covenant with Israel through Moses in the passover (a prefiguration of baptism) and it was after being delivered out of egypt that the law was given and God became their God and they were His people. Later on, the kingdom was split into the north (Israel) and the south (Judah and Benjamin), Judah being the tribe from which the Messiah would come. Later in this was narrowed down again to Joachim and Anna, to the Theotokos, and finally God's revelation being given through His chosen people finding it's ultimate fulfillment in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, through which all nations would be reconciled to God.

We are told in the NT epistles that God revelas himself to all men through nature and the natural law, and that when Christ descended into hades that he went for those who were disobedient and specifically mentions those who were disobedient before the flood.

So their sole election consisted of being the people from which the Son of God would be born?Couldn`t that just be an instant moment?

Just thinking couldn`t all the verses concerning election be misunderstood and actually be refering to the age to come and the Church?




No, because it took all those generations from Adam until Mary for Christ to become Man.  That is the way God decided to let it be and who are we to argue? We just try to reflect.

In regards to are the predictions for the future, some Christians certainly think so, but I understand Orthodox ontology to have a different approach.  The Kingdom is not in the future, it is right here and now.  It is not that the Church will become a nation of Kings and Priests, we already are.  Its not that the Church will become the Bride of Christ, we already are.  Its not that the Church will save the world, She already has and is.  So the prophecies are always being fulfilled within the Church in the present tense as we cooperate in synergy with God's Grace. 

stay blessed,
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« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2012, 08:37:16 PM »

Jews are know as "chosen" as to be the light to the world for worshipping the one true God. We are told as well to try and help bring peace into the world. This is the basic answer to your question Lost.
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« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2012, 08:39:51 PM »

"My boss is a jewish carpenter". The answer to your question is in that statement. Wink
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« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2012, 02:10:49 AM »

So their sole election consisted of being the people from which the Son of God would be born?Couldn`t that just be an instant moment?

No. God needed to work with mankind throughout human history so that we would have a way of recognizing Christ when he came. That and becasue Christ was a man, He had to be born from a woman, from a family, from a tribe, from a nation, etc.

Quote
Just thinking couldn`t all the verses concerning election be misunderstood and actually be refering to the age to come and the Church?

That too, but these aren't just written words, but a record of how God has acted within human history. Yes, they ultimately find their fuilfillment in Christ and the Church.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2012, 11:29:54 AM »

I still haven`t find a satisfying answer.. Of which did their election consist?
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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2012, 03:19:53 PM »

What is the moral of the chosen people?What does it want to teach us?
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« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2012, 02:56:13 PM »

Is Israel still the chosen people?

Romans 11:28-29 "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 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

In what is this election consisted?




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« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2012, 03:13:40 PM »

Not even one answer?

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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2012, 03:13:40 PM »

Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?

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« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2012, 09:43:02 AM »

Haven't you posted this thread before?
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« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2012, 12:30:50 PM »

Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?
Koreans are the Chosen people: they have Seoul.
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« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2012, 12:55:32 PM »

Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?
Koreans are the Chosen people: they have Seoul.

Totally off point, but they do know how to weep as when the great leader passed back awhile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSTVXanjDnY
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« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2012, 10:32:57 PM »

How does Orthodoxy see the "Chosen" people.. Why a "chosen" people and what does it mean? Was Israel really the Chosen people?

...Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?

An important early, long, and ever-controversial Jewish, apostolic, and patristic witness affirms a coming figure and purpose in the form of promise/fullfillment) -a Messiah and a trajectory of peace (shalom according to philologists meaning not simply the absence of war, but wholeness) radiating outward in our finite, contingent world into universal significance from before creation and time themselves, which we as Christians (lit those who follow the "Christ" or expected Messiah -the considerably rare phenomenon of an expected man promised one day to appear in history) identify as Jesus Christ/Messiah the eternal Logos. Regardless of the requisite controversies and qualifications that pertain to such an ever-assailed and controversial position I stand with those who affirm a Messianic trajectory was present from the time of the Promise made to Abraham onward; not only thence, but radiating from more ancient times still.

I take lost to be perplexed by what I call the scandal of particularity. Did God not care for those other nations and cultures that had no Messiah? But biblically this is inaccurate. Biblically all nations and cultures do have a Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“All nations shall be blessed…” (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14).

One of the most prevalent critiques of Christianity during the Enlightenment period was the scandal of particularism/provincialism.

Israel traces the beginnings of her faith to an unusual series of promises recorded to single individual, a wandering Aramaean Nomad from Ur of the Chaldees known as Abraham. I will make you the father of many nations (Gen 17:4; Heb. gôyìm, the same Hebrew word often translated as "Gentiles" as in Is. 9:1 and elsewhere. Note that Abraham was a ger, i. e., a foreigner (“Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods” (Josh 24:2). Many names of Abraham's family, Sarah, Micah, Terah, Laban, are associated with the Moon cult in Ur; this merely places them in the context of Ur. Abraham's faith did not "develop" from the moon cult, but emerged boldly and contrastively from its midst).

Whatever the cause, Greek thought was unaware of Inter-polis relations (Gk. polis = “city state”) and, like much of ancient thought, was hostile to the foreigner (Greek mind, intelligible speech, reason, and the barbaroi (“barbarians”) who lacked ho logos (“Reason”). Categories were generally domestic rather than international, and throughout the ancient world there was an antagonism towards outsiders and strangers. Cf. also the place of the goy-goyiim in God's purpose (God's promise to bless all the nations/peoples/tribes of the globe through a descendant of Abraham (see below), a correlate to the commission to preach the gospel to all the nations (Matt 28:19ff. ethne: is literally ethnic groups; cf. “ethnology”). Until very late (possibly the 5th century BC there was no basis in classical thought for any kind of 'Internationalism' let alone for concepts of International responsibilities or transnational norms. God's ultimate promise, presence, and purpose is, by contrast, to redeem the fallen universe (Is 60-66). In Christ there is no Greek, barbarian, male, or female.

The God of the Bible is indeed not some petty provincialistic and particularistic deity as Paine claimed, blessing only his chosen nation (Paine, Age of Reason); his aim was always to bless all peoples, universally, from the very beginning (particularistic modality; universal aim/purpose):

A. A PROMISE FOR ALL NATIONS!
Gen 12:3 (Yhwh to Abram at Haran): "In you shall all of the clans of the earth be blessed."
Gen 18:18 (Yhwh to Abraham at Mamre): "All nations of the earth shall be blessed in him."
Gen 22:18 (Angel of Yhwh to Abraham at Moriah): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 26:4 (Yhwh to Isaac at Gerar): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 28:14 (Yhwh to Jacob at Bethel): "In you and in your seed all clans of the earth shall be blessed."

Some important technical points on these passages (this paragraph may be skipped without missing the sense of the post): (1) Beneficiaries of the promise are variously rendered: as clans (mishphechot) of the land ('adhamah; e.g. 12:3); expanded/clarified within the book of Genesis as all nations (goyim/"peoples"/"Gentiles") of the earth ('erets; e.g. 18:18) . Lexically, these terms might be understood either as having merely local usage, or in an unrestricted sense, if taken alone. But they are not alone. If broader canonical context (OT) is factored in, it becomes clear that they were understood by ancient biblical writers themselves taken universally rather than locally (e.g. usage of goyim in Isaiah/ so-called "prophetic universalism," etc.). (2) The Hithpael verb form of Gen 22:18 and 26:4 may be understood as reflexive, i.e. that the nations would regard themselves as blessed in Abraham's seed; however the Niphal form (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 28:14) indicates the nations will be blessed in or through Abraham in an objective sense. The Hithpael indicates a subjective sense of blessing by the recipients whereas the Niphal emphasizes the objective fact. Some translators have sought to make the sense of the verb uniform throughout all the relevant passages (some translating all passages in the sense of the Hithpael; others translating all passages in the sense of the Niphal). To this author it seems best to let each text say what it says, not what we "want it to say" (whether in a so-called "liberal" or "conservative" direction). The stems have thus been rendered above individually as they actually stand in each given narrative. (3) Contextually the possibility of an unrestricted collective meaning of seed (i.e. seed as "all the descendants") is ruled out by the continual narrowing (through Isaac but not Ishmael; through Jacob but not Esau, and so on throughout the Bible).

Ancient Jewish sources before Christ interpreted these promises Messianically; the NT interprets them so; other Old Testament authors interpret them so; the Patristic fathers interpreted them so; many thoughtful interpreters through the centuries have thought so, including our present century. The Messiah is, of course, not specifically mentioned in these passages. Nevertheless, a theme begins, one which is carefully, even meticulously, traced through some fourteen hundred years of our Biblical literature. This theme most definitely is specifically related to Messianic contexts, repeatedly, by subsequent authors in both the Old Testament and the New. It becomes not just a Messianic theme, but the Messianic theme. It is not too much to suggest that this conceptual trajectory is one of the most important and pervasive in the Bible. It comprises one of the firmest candidates for very unlikely prophecy which seems strikingly fulfilled in history. Why? It is strange, but true, that an obscure aged Aramaean nomad of the 3rd millennium B.C. named Abraham received a promise from God that he would be the fountainhead of a blessing that would extend to every nation/people of the entire world. That his name, as well as the name of the Savior who descended from him, has been carried into every nook and cranny of the earth is a matter of record today; three of the four major world religions consider this man their spiritual progenitor; there are but a few peoples remaining that have not yet received translations of these ancient promises in their own tongues.

The "seed" of Abraham cannot refer the total plurality of Abraham's descendants without restriction, since the physical line of descent indicated in these passages through which the Promise will be realized is continually narrowed throughout the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis (through Isaac and not Ishmael; through Jacob and not Esau, etc.). A "seed trajectory" does not only move forward from Abraham in Genesis; it also creeps up from behind. When the question was asked, as it often was, where this "seed trajectory" began, many through the centuries found the answer in the first mention of a "promised seed" in Gen 3:15. In that passage, "seed" can only be a "he" (masculine singular) and not possibly a "they" or an "it." It is a matter of record that, largely because of the text of Genesis, Israel ultimately watched for, waited for, a particular promised person to fulfill this trajectory: the only expected man in history. The promise trajectory continued to be carefully traced for many centuries, narrowing finally to David, to Solomon, and ultimately to the Messiah. Through a descendant born of the line of Abraham, it was long believed, one day would come a One through whom all nations and peoples would be blessed, and would find blessing in Him. (cf. also the superb article in Colin Brown, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. I, pp.76-81).

B. FOR ALL NATIONS: A MESSIANIC PROMISE!
If all Old Testament passages which comment on and/or expand this trajectory are investigated and considered as admissible evidence, denial that these passages are Messianic is simply not possible, for the OT clearly understands them so. All nations/peoples/Gentiles blessed? Why? When? Where, How? It is impossible to understand Messianic trajectory apart from this central theme. A full investigation of this is beyond the current scope, but it is important to see some of the many themes are tied in to this trajectory of the Promise of God to bless all Gentile peoples and nations:

1. The Promise to all nations in Ps 22: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to Yhwh, and all the families of the nations/Gentiles shall worship before You" (Ps 22:27). Remember what?!! What are all non-Jewish nations to one day remember which will cause them in every place to worship the God of this tiny kingdom? The deliverance of a single victim who cried "they pierced my hands and my feet..." (vs. 16). The deliverance of a single victim, who though brought "to the dust of death" (vs. 15) would nevertheless be delivered and praise the name of God in the assembly (vs. 22; cf. LXX: ekklesia/"church"). The idea that people in every nation of the world would worship the God of tiny Israel was in and of itself an outlandish enough notion when Psalm 22 was written several centuries before Christ. The idea that they would do so on the basis of remembrance of a single victim who had been delivered from death seems at least odd on the surface. How could such an event even conceivably result in the worship among all nations and peoples of Yhwh, the God of this tiny nation? How would such an event usher in the worship of Yhwh by the Gentiles? (note: the suggestion that vs. 16 might also be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" rather than "they pierced my hands and feet" is an ancient one; this translation, though rather awkward, was championed by opponents of Christianity for centuries; it seemed viable, though odd, -until recently. Unlike the 10th century A. D. Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scroll fragment of Psalm 22 dating well before Christ (which preserves the oldest textual witness to the Psalm) cannot be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" but can only mean "they pierced my hands and feet" (cf. Abegg, Martin G., Flint, Peter W., and Ulrich, Eugene Charles, Eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (San Francisco: Harper, 1999), footnote to the Psalm 22 fragment; DSS aside, the LXX ihas long been considered conclusive enough for most textual critics). Here, a full three centuries before crucifixion was invented by the Persians, we have as the specific spark igniting the flame of worldwide Gentile worship of tiny Israel's Yhwh the remembrance of a crucifixion victim.

2. The Promise to all nations in Isaiah 9: "In Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy... For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful! Counselor! Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..." (Isa. 9:1b-2; 6). The blessing of the nations/Gentiles would come through the agency of God himself, born as a child, who will minister in the geographical region of Galilee.

3. The Promise to all nations in the Servant Poems of Isaiah: The Servant Poems are also very specifically coupled with this theme of blessing to all nations/peoples. "Behold! My Servant!" (Isa 42:1) ...I will ...give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:6); Though disfigured to the point that He (the Servant) wouldn't even look like a human being, astonishing others, His actions would -nevertheless(!)- be successful (Heb. yaskil), and he would be exalted high above all others (Isa. 52:13-14)... His horrible disfigurement would result in the atonement of many nations (Is 52:15)... He would be wounded (Heb. macholal, lit. "pierced through") for our transgressions, for our iniquities; would be chastised for our peace, would receive stripes for our healing (Isa. 53:5). Though "cut off from the land of the living" (53:Cool the Servant would see; He would arise; His days would be prolonged (cf. especially Isa. 53, entire chapter; this chapter was universally acknowledged as Messianic by early Jewish interpreters); cf. also Is 61:1ff. (Jesus identified himself with this figure in Lk 4:16); the praise of the Gentiles in Isa. 61:11 and 62:2 correlates this material with the Abrahamic trajectory).

4. The Promise to all nations radiates outward from Bethlehem: "They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you were little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from eternity... He shall be great to the ends of the earth, and this one shall be peace (Micah 5:1-2, 4).

5. The Promise to all nations, the expected Son of Man, and the kingdom which will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14) "Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him" (7:14a). What?

For the sake of brevity we will confine ourselves to these admittedly cursory glimpses which properly deserve a great deal more individual scrutiny than is possible here. Many more examples could be given, and far more analysis even of the few examples which were given is desirable, but beyond the present scope.

No longer is it possible, as it was when these ancient words were written, for us to look ahead for the day all peoples in all nations will worship Yah. No longer is it possible to look forward to find what Isaiah saw, that even Kings and Princes of many nations would worship the God of one tiny nation, Judah. This truly unbelievable, inconceivable phenomenon is now our history. The God of tiny Israel is now worshipped as the Savior of the whole world, throughout the whole world; in his arms are gathered Jews, Gentiles, pagans, and the chiefest of sinners; he seeks us all. When did this happen, this incredible thing, so ubiquitous it remains unnoticed?

C. Mt 24:14: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations..." The gospel proclaimed a the tiny little band of an itinerate teacher who never wandered more than 100 miles from his place of birth will span the globe? With no cell phone, internet, or even a printing press? A teacher who left no writings? Virtually inconceivable. Coincidence?

Skepticism is incomplete until it becomes skeptical of itself.
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« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2012, 01:39:49 AM »

Somewhat sime and brief answer...

Yes, Israel are Gods chosen people... The Church is Israel, therefore we and anyone who joins his Church Re part of his chosen people.
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« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2012, 10:27:56 AM »

How does Orthodoxy see the "Chosen" people.. Why a "chosen" people and what does it mean? Was Israel really the Chosen people?

...Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?

An important early, long, and ever-controversial Jewish, apostolic, and patristic witness affirms a coming figure and purpose in the form of promise/fullfillment) -a Messiah and a trajectory of peace (shalom according to philologists meaning not simply the absence of war, but wholeness) radiating outward in our finite, contingent world into universal significance from before creation and time themselves, which we as Christians (lit those who follow the "Christ" or expected Messiah -the considerably rare phenomenon of an expected man promised one day to appear in history) identify as Jesus Christ/Messiah the eternal Logos. Regardless of the requisite controversies and qualifications that pertain to such an ever-assailed and controversial position I stand with those who affirm a Messianic trajectory was present from the time of the Promise made to Abraham onward; not only thence, but radiating from more ancient times still.

I take lost to be perplexed by what I call the scandal of particularity. Did God not care for those other nations and cultures that had no Messiah? But biblically this is inaccurate. Biblically all nations and cultures do have a Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“All nations shall be blessed…” (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14).

One of the most prevalent critiques of Christianity during the Enlightenment period was the scandal of particularism/provincialism.

Israel traces the beginnings of her faith to an unusual series of promises recorded to single individual, a wandering Aramaean Nomad from Ur of the Chaldees known as Abraham. I will make you the father of many nations (Gen 17:4; Heb. gôyìm, the same Hebrew word often translated as "Gentiles" as in Is. 9:1 and elsewhere. Note that Abraham was a ger, i. e., a foreigner (“Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods” (Josh 24:2). Many names of Abraham's family, Sarah, Micah, Terah, Laban, are associated with the Moon cult in Ur; this merely places them in the context of Ur. Abraham's faith did not "develop" from the moon cult, but emerged boldly and contrastively from its midst).

Whatever the cause, Greek thought was unaware of Inter-polis relations (Gk. polis = “city state”) and, like much of ancient thought, was hostile to the foreigner (Greek mind, intelligible speech, reason, and the barbaroi (“barbarians”) who lacked ho logos (“Reason”). Categories were generally domestic rather than international, and throughout the ancient world there was an antagonism towards outsiders and strangers. Cf. also the place of the goy-goyiim in God's purpose (God's promise to bless all the nations/peoples/tribes of the globe through a descendant of Abraham (see below), a correlate to the commission to preach the gospel to all the nations (Matt 28:19ff. ethne: is literally ethnic groups; cf. “ethnology”). Until very late (possibly the 5th century BC there was no basis in classical thought for any kind of 'Internationalism' let alone for concepts of International responsibilities or transnational norms. God's ultimate promise, presence, and purpose is, by contrast, to redeem the fallen universe (Is 60-66). In Christ there is no Greek, barbarian, male, or female.

The God of the Bible is indeed not some petty provincialistic and particularistic deity as Paine claimed, blessing only his chosen nation (Paine, Age of Reason); his aim was always to bless all peoples, universally, from the very beginning (particularistic modality; universal aim/purpose):

A. A PROMISE FOR ALL NATIONS!
Gen 12:3 (Yhwh to Abram at Haran): "In you shall all of the clans of the earth be blessed."
Gen 18:18 (Yhwh to Abraham at Mamre): "All nations of the earth shall be blessed in him."
Gen 22:18 (Angel of Yhwh to Abraham at Moriah): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 26:4 (Yhwh to Isaac at Gerar): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 28:14 (Yhwh to Jacob at Bethel): "In you and in your seed all clans of the earth shall be blessed."

Some important technical points on these passages (this paragraph may be skipped without missing the sense of the post): (1) Beneficiaries of the promise are variously rendered: as clans (mishphechot) of the land ('adhamah; e.g. 12:3); expanded/clarified within the book of Genesis as all nations (goyim/"peoples"/"Gentiles") of the earth ('erets; e.g. 18:18) . Lexically, these terms might be understood either as having merely local usage, or in an unrestricted sense, if taken alone. But they are not alone. If broader canonical context (OT) is factored in, it becomes clear that they were understood by ancient biblical writers themselves taken universally rather than locally (e.g. usage of goyim in Isaiah/ so-called "prophetic universalism," etc.). (2) The Hithpael verb form of Gen 22:18 and 26:4 may be understood as reflexive, i.e. that the nations would regard themselves as blessed in Abraham's seed; however the Niphal form (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 28:14) indicates the nations will be blessed in or through Abraham in an objective sense. The Hithpael indicates a subjective sense of blessing by the recipients whereas the Niphal emphasizes the objective fact. Some translators have sought to make the sense of the verb uniform throughout all the relevant passages (some translating all passages in the sense of the Hithpael; others translating all passages in the sense of the Niphal). To this author it seems best to let each text say what it says, not what we "want it to say" (whether in a so-called "liberal" or "conservative" direction). The stems have thus been rendered above individually as they actually stand in each given narrative. (3) Contextually the possibility of an unrestricted collective meaning of seed (i.e. seed as "all the descendants") is ruled out by the continual narrowing (through Isaac but not Ishmael; through Jacob but not Esau, and so on throughout the Bible).

Ancient Jewish sources before Christ interpreted these promises Messianically; the NT interprets them so; other Old Testament authors interpret them so; the Patristic fathers interpreted them so; many thoughtful interpreters through the centuries have thought so, including our present century. The Messiah is, of course, not specifically mentioned in these passages. Nevertheless, a theme begins, one which is carefully, even meticulously, traced through some fourteen hundred years of our Biblical literature. This theme most definitely is specifically related to Messianic contexts, repeatedly, by subsequent authors in both the Old Testament and the New. It becomes not just a Messianic theme, but the Messianic theme. It is not too much to suggest that this conceptual trajectory is one of the most important and pervasive in the Bible. It comprises one of the firmest candidates for very unlikely prophecy which seems strikingly fulfilled in history. Why? It is strange, but true, that an obscure aged Aramaean nomad of the 3rd millennium B.C. named Abraham received a promise from God that he would be the fountainhead of a blessing that would extend to every nation/people of the entire world. That his name, as well as the name of the Savior who descended from him, has been carried into every nook and cranny of the earth is a matter of record today; three of the four major world religions consider this man their spiritual progenitor; there are but a few peoples remaining that have not yet received translations of these ancient promises in their own tongues.

The "seed" of Abraham cannot refer the total plurality of Abraham's descendants without restriction, since the physical line of descent indicated in these passages through which the Promise will be realized is continually narrowed throughout the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis (through Isaac and not Ishmael; through Jacob and not Esau, etc.). A "seed trajectory" does not only move forward from Abraham in Genesis; it also creeps up from behind. When the question was asked, as it often was, where this "seed trajectory" began, many through the centuries found the answer in the first mention of a "promised seed" in Gen 3:15. In that passage, "seed" can only be a "he" (masculine singular) and not possibly a "they" or an "it." It is a matter of record that, largely because of the text of Genesis, Israel ultimately watched for, waited for, a particular promised person to fulfill this trajectory: the only expected man in history. The promise trajectory continued to be carefully traced for many centuries, narrowing finally to David, to Solomon, and ultimately to the Messiah. Through a descendant born of the line of Abraham, it was long believed, one day would come a One through whom all nations and peoples would be blessed, and would find blessing in Him. (cf. also the superb article in Colin Brown, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. I, pp.76-81).

B. FOR ALL NATIONS: A MESSIANIC PROMISE!
If all Old Testament passages which comment on and/or expand this trajectory are investigated and considered as admissible evidence, denial that these passages are Messianic is simply not possible, for the OT clearly understands them so. All nations/peoples/Gentiles blessed? Why? When? Where, How? It is impossible to understand Messianic trajectory apart from this central theme. A full investigation of this is beyond the current scope, but it is important to see some of the many themes are tied in to this trajectory of the Promise of God to bless all Gentile peoples and nations:

1. The Promise to all nations in Ps 22: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to Yhwh, and all the families of the nations/Gentiles shall worship before You" (Ps 22:27). Remember what?!! What are all non-Jewish nations to one day remember which will cause them in every place to worship the God of this tiny kingdom? The deliverance of a single victim who cried "they pierced my hands and my feet..." (vs. 16). The deliverance of a single victim, who though brought "to the dust of death" (vs. 15) would nevertheless be delivered and praise the name of God in the assembly (vs. 22; cf. LXX: ekklesia/"church"). The idea that people in every nation of the world would worship the God of tiny Israel was in and of itself an outlandish enough notion when Psalm 22 was written several centuries before Christ. The idea that they would do so on the basis of remembrance of a single victim who had been delivered from death seems at least odd on the surface. How could such an event even conceivably result in the worship among all nations and peoples of Yhwh, the God of this tiny nation? How would such an event usher in the worship of Yhwh by the Gentiles? (note: the suggestion that vs. 16 might also be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" rather than "they pierced my hands and feet" is an ancient one; this translation, though rather awkward, was championed by opponents of Christianity for centuries; it seemed viable, though odd, -until recently. Unlike the 10th century A. D. Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scroll fragment of Psalm 22 dating well before Christ (which preserves the oldest textual witness to the Psalm) cannot be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" but can only mean "they pierced my hands and feet" (cf. Abegg, Martin G., Flint, Peter W., and Ulrich, Eugene Charles, Eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (San Francisco: Harper, 1999), footnote to the Psalm 22 fragment; DSS aside, the LXX ihas long been considered conclusive enough for most textual critics). Here, a full three centuries before crucifixion was invented by the Persians, we have as the specific spark igniting the flame of worldwide Gentile worship of tiny Israel's Yhwh the remembrance of a crucifixion victim.

2. The Promise to all nations in Isaiah 9: "In Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy... For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful! Counselor! Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..." (Isa. 9:1b-2; 6). The blessing of the nations/Gentiles would come through the agency of God himself, born as a child, who will minister in the geographical region of Galilee.

3. The Promise to all nations in the Servant Poems of Isaiah: The Servant Poems are also very specifically coupled with this theme of blessing to all nations/peoples. "Behold! My Servant!" (Isa 42:1) ...I will ...give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:6); Though disfigured to the point that He (the Servant) wouldn't even look like a human being, astonishing others, His actions would -nevertheless(!)- be successful (Heb. yaskil), and he would be exalted high above all others (Isa. 52:13-14)... His horrible disfigurement would result in the atonement of many nations (Is 52:15)... He would be wounded (Heb. macholal, lit. "pierced through") for our transgressions, for our iniquities; would be chastised for our peace, would receive stripes for our healing (Isa. 53:5). Though "cut off from the land of the living" (53:Cool the Servant would see; He would arise; His days would be prolonged (cf. especially Isa. 53, entire chapter; this chapter was universally acknowledged as Messianic by early Jewish interpreters); cf. also Is 61:1ff. (Jesus identified himself with this figure in Lk 4:16); the praise of the Gentiles in Isa. 61:11 and 62:2 correlates this material with the Abrahamic trajectory).

4. The Promise to all nations radiates outward from Bethlehem: "They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you were little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from eternity... He shall be great to the ends of the earth, and this one shall be peace (Micah 5:1-2, 4).

5. The Promise to all nations, the expected Son of Man, and the kingdom which will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14) "Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him" (7:14a). What?

For the sake of brevity we will confine ourselves to these admittedly cursory glimpses which properly deserve a great deal more individual scrutiny than is possible here. Many more examples could be given, and far more analysis even of the few examples which were given is desirable, but beyond the present scope.

No longer is it possible, as it was when these ancient words were written, for us to look ahead for the day all peoples in all nations will worship Yah. No longer is it possible to look forward to find what Isaiah saw, that even Kings and Princes of many nations would worship the God of one tiny nation, Judah. This truly unbelievable, inconceivable phenomenon is now our history. The God of tiny Israel is now worshipped as the Savior of the whole world, throughout the whole world; in his arms are gathered Jews, Gentiles, pagans, and the chiefest of sinners; he seeks us all. When did this happen, this incredible thing, so ubiquitous it remains unnoticed?

C. Mt 24:14: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations..." The gospel proclaimed a the tiny little band of an itinerate teacher who never wandered more than 100 miles from his place of birth will span the globe? With no cell phone, internet, or even a printing press? A teacher who left no writings? Virtually inconceivable. Coincidence?

Skepticism is incomplete until it becomes skeptical of itself.

thank you for your post.

You do realize that most of the Old Testament Scripture even Genesis was composed around the 6th century BCE?

Quote
According to Christian tradition the book of Genesis was written somewhere between 1513-1440BCE, at around the time of the Israelite’s alleged exodus from Egypt. However, according to the overwhelming amount of archeological, textual and extra-biblical evidence, the book of Genesis was more than likely written some time during the 6th to the 5th centuries B.C.E, whilst the Israelites were exiled in Babylon or even after they had returned, also known as the exilic and post exilic periods. Such a fact may appear to be insignificant but it is important, especially within the context of the archeologically proven fact that the Chaldeans, Sumerians and Babylonians, all had near identical myths from the creation of heaven and earth, the fall of man, the great flood, the tower of Babel, the Ten Commandments and even a Garden of Eden, to name a few. All of these ancient Babylonian myths pre-dated the Hebrew Scriptures by over a thousand years or more.


The ‘Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies’ has the following to say regarding biblical archeology and the Babylonian origin of the myths contained within the book of Genesis:

These (anthropological responses) took various forms: cultural, religious, and historical. The cultural responses were based upon the discovery of Assyrian and Babylonian texts which resembled the biblical accounts of creation and flood and the laws of Exodus 21–4. They illuminated the cultural context of ancient Israel and disclosed the history, religion, and culture of ancient Mesopotamia as never before. One conclusion that was drawn from these discoveries was that everything that was thought to be unique to the Old Testament was, in fact, derived from Babylon (Delitzsch 1901–2).

There are a number of reasons to consider the probability that the book of Genesis was written well after the traditional date and even more reasons to suggest that it was composed in post exilic times (after the Jewish exile to Babylon).


The Hebrew Language

The first and foremost reason for considering a much later date for the composition for the book of Genesis than is held by the Judeo-Christian tradition, is the fact that the Hebrew language was not yet in existence during the period in which the book was allegedly written. There are two major forms of script in Hebrew, the ‘Ketav Ivri’, which is derived from the Phoenician (ancient Lebanese) language and the ‘Ketav Ashuri’, rooted in the Acadian or Babylonian language. Neither Hebraic Scripts originate with the actual Hebrews themselves they are borrowed languages from people who worshiped other gods. Whether the original manuscripts of Genesis were penned in the Babylonian Hebrew or the Phoenician Hebrew, one thing is almost certain and that is, the earliest possible date that the book of Genesis could have been written is no earlier than 1000 B.C.E.

With regards to the relatively late development of the Hebrew language the ‘Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages’ relates that:

No extant inscription that can be identified specifically as Hebrew antedates the tenth century BC, and Hebrew inscriptions in significant numbers do not begin to appear before the early eighth century BC.

Camels

The next reason for questioning the traditional date of composition for the book of Genesis is the presence of camels in the narrative. According to Zoological Archeologists at Tel Aviv University, camels were not domesticated until after 1000BC. There is no evidence whatsoever of domesticated camels prior to this time and following this period there is a wealth of archeological evidence regarding the domestication of camels. So why is this important?

In Genesis 12:16 Abram is rewarded by the Pharaoh of Egypt for giving the Pharaoh his “sister,” who was actually his wife/half-sister. For this gift of prostitution, the Pharaoh rewarded Abram with sheep, asses, slaves, and a camel. However, as mentioned above camels were not domesticated until after 1000BC and this story is traditionally said to have taken place before 2000BC. Therefore, the author was living in a time when camels were domesticated, which according to the archeological evidence must have been some time after 1000BC. This pushes both the story of Abraham and the book of Genesis to after 1000BC at least.

The ‘Harper Collins Bible Dictionary’ corroborates the above point, whilst disagreeing only slightly on the date of the introduction of the Camel to Canaan and Egypt. It states:

There is however no archaeological corroboration for the camel being known in Palestine or Egypt at the beginning of the second millennium B.C., as the seventeen references to the camel in Genesis might suggest, and those references are therefore considered anachronisms.

In addition 2 Jewish Rabbis, Messod and Roger Sabbah, discuss this point in their bestseller, ‘Secrets of the Exodus: The Egyptian Origins of the Hebrew People’, arguing that the appearance of camels within the narratives found in the Book of Genesis are telltale signs that the book was composed much later than previously believed:

Biblical researchers believed that the presence of camels in the story of the patriarchs was an error of the scribes. However, the scribes went into great detail, as if they wanted to pass on a message. "He caused the camels to kneel ..." (Genesis 24:11). "Rebecca looked up and alighted from the camel ..." (Genesis24:64). Presenting Biblical characters alighting from camels' backs is an anachronism that the scribes apparently wished to present.
By the sixth century BC, the camel, a symbol of wealth and power, had already been domesticated in Babylonia.
Had they forgotten that camels did not exist in ancient Egypt?
Couldn't they have presented and described Abraham's power and wealth without camels? The camels give a Mesopotamian twist to the story, which would have been pleasing to their captors.

Chaldea

Further, the book of Genesis describes Abraham’s birthplace as being in Ur in Chaldea, which as previously mentioned, is more popularly known today as Babylon. At Genesis 11:28, 31 and 15:7, the Hebrew word ‘Kasdim’ (Eng. Chaldee) is used to describe the ancient region of Babylonia. The problem with the use of the word ‘Kasdim’ is that it was not used to describe ancient Babylonia until the 6th century BCE, which is known as the Neo-Babylonian Period. Before this it was known as ‘Sumeria’, yet the account given in Genesis refers to this region as Chaldea. This fact provides further evidence that the book of Genesis was more than likely written sometime during or after the 6th century BCE. According to Messod and Roger Sabbah, the story of Abraham was a 6th century composition constructed to pander to the Jew’s Babylonian captors and masters. They say:

Although the city of Ur existed in Sumeria, the name "Chaldea" (Chaldees) does not appear until sometime around the sixth century BC. Chaldea has never yielded any archeological proof of the existence of the great patriarch, Abraham. In order to survive and for their traditions to survive as well, the Yahuds introduced anachronisms into the history of the Patriarchs. They made the story compatible with sixth-century Babylon. They recast a large part of their history at that time, probably under considerable restrictions. The new text of the story had no historical reality at all.

Moreover, the ‘Harper Collins Bible Dictionary’ informs us that:

“In the OT, Ur is mentioned four times (Gen. 11:28, 31; 15:7; Neh. 9:7), in each instance as the home of the patriarch Abraham before his migration to Harran and Canaan, and in each instance the Hebrew phrase “Ur Kasdim” is used. Kasdim here almost certainly indicates the "Chaldeans" (cf. already the Septuagint), which suggests that the phrase as a whole refers to the southern Mesopotamia!! Ur of the period of the Neo-Babylonian/Chaldean Empire. To be sure, this period is much too late for Abraham…”

It appears that the accounts of Abraham’s birth and travels were created no earlier than the 6th century B.C.E, which seems to indicate that the writer was either in Babylon during the exile or had already returned to Israel. Either way, one thing is almost certain, and that is that the authors of the Hebrew Scriptures had ample opportunity to copy and re-script the mythologies of the ancient Babylonians to suit their own social and theological needs.

Kings in Israel

Genesis 36:31 says;

And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.

The obvious implication of this statement is that at the time the author was writing this passage, there had been numerous kings who had reigned in Israel as evidenced by the term used, ‘any king’.
The very first king of Israel was Saul and his reign has been dated from 1020BCE-1000BCE. Thus, the author must have been writing the account in Genesis following this period. There may well be good reason to suggest it was long after this period, due to the fact that the author says; “before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.” Use of the phrase, ‘any king’ implies that he was aware of more than one king. If only one king had reigned it would have made more sense for the author to name that king, or if there were two, to use the phrase ‘either king’, or ‘both kings’, or use their names, but it definitely seems as if there had been many kings which preceded the account. This evidence coupled with the textual and archeological evidence showing that Saul was the first king of Israel in the 10th century B.C.E, seems to indicate that the account in Genesis was written well after this date.

Bozrah in Edom

The next clue to the late composition of the book of Genesis can be found within the reference to an Edomite king by the name of Jobab ruling in place of King Bela who was reported to have died. Jobab’s father was Zarah, a king from Bozrah. (Genesis 36:33)
Recently Bozrah was excavated by Archeologists who discovered that it came into being no earlier than the 8th century B.C.E.

The archeologist responsible for excavating Bozrah, Bennet said:
"There is no archaeological evidence to support the story of the king of Edom refusing passage to Moses, or for a powerful kingdom of Edom in the time of David and his son Solomon. Biblical traditions such as Genesis 36:31 and Numbers 20:14 probably reflect 8th-6th century BC conditions. The evidence for a very impressive occupation and a city with all the appetencies of prosperity is overwhelming during the Neo-Assyrian period and is supported by the records in the Assyrian annals, and 8th century BC biblical references to Bozrah (especially Amos 1:12)."

The ‘Harper Collins Bible Dictionary’ supports this conclusion, stating:

Excavations by Crystal-M. Bennett reveal that it flourished in the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. and probably continued into the fourth.
As is the case with other Edomite sites, it does not appear to have existed before the eighth century B.C., which raises serious questions about the historical accuracy of the Edomite king lists in which it is mentioned (Gen. 36:33; 1 Chron. 1:44).

In providing evidence contrary to the alleged conquest of Canaan by Joshua, the Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies discounts the existence of Bozrah, prior to the traditional date of Joshua’s alleged conquest, reporting:

Thus the traditional picture of Israel’s ‘conquest’ of Canaan has been dramatically revised as a result of archaeological excavation and survey in the hill country.
The evidence from Canaanite cities, formerly used to support the conquest theory, no longer works; certain cities named in the conquest narratives—Jericho, Ai, Heshbon, and Arad—were not Late Bronze Age cities. The kingdom of Edom, mentioned as an obstacle to Israel’s migration in Num. 20: 14–21, did not yet exist, as was shown by the excavations of Bennett at Umm el-Biyarah, TaWleh, and Busayra and the surveys of B. McDonald…

One clue which seems to suggest that the account was written in the post exilic period is that the author, if living within the 7th century would have known that, contrary to the account given in Genesis (36:31), there were kings in Israel before there were kings in Edom. Quite a lot of time would have to elapse before this fact would be forgotten by the people of Israel and the author or authors of Genesis. As a result of this historical inaccuracy, it may not be unreasonable to suggest that the book of Genesis could have possibly been written as late as the 6th to 5th centuries B.C.E.

Nineveh

Yet another piece of evidence which seems to show that Genesis was written in either the exilic or post exilic period is the primary reference to Nineveh, listed first and foremost amongst the cities of Babylonia. During the period in which Genesis was traditionally believed to be written, the capital city of Babylon was Asshur, yet there is no mention of this city, instead we see three major cities listed; Nineveh, Rehoboth and Calah.
Genesis 10:11-12 lists the cities of Babylonia as follows;
…Nineveh and the city Rehoboth and Calah.
And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
The fact that Nineveh is the first mentioned city is of great importance from a literary point of view. It seems to indicate that it was the most significant city, probably the capital. Moreover, in verse 12 it is given first place again over the city of Calah. The issue here is that it did not become the capital city until the 7th century BCE.
According to the Harper Collins Bible Dictionary:

Ninevah was the capital of Assyria at its height from the time of Sennacherib, who assumed the throne in 705 B.C. to its fall in 612 B.C.

There is little doubt that the author of Genesis saw Nineveh as the chief city of Babylon, leading him to give it pride of place as the first city mentioned and that in so doing demonstrated that he belonged to a period later than the 6th century B.C.E.

Finally, with regards to the late composition of the book of Genesis, referring to the ‘Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies’, we are able to establish the probable truth that the book of Genesis was written during and more than likely after the 7th century B.C.E:

Attempts to identify Abraham’s family migration with a supposed westward Amorite migration at the collapse of the Early Bronze Age c.2100–1800 bce, or to explain personal names, marriage customs, or laws of property by reference to fifteenth century Nuzi or Mari documents have failed to convince. Abraham’s life-style is no longer seen as reflecting Intermediate Early Bronze/Middle Bronze bedouin, or donkey caravaneers trading between Mesopotamia and Egypt, or tent-dwellers living alongside
Middle Bronze Age cities in Canaan; rather, with its references to Philistines and Aramaeans, Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, Ishmael and his descendants Kedar, Nebaioth, and Tema, Assyria and its cities of Nineveh and Calah, camel caravans and spices, Genesis reflects the first millennium world of the Assyrian empire. With its emphasis on the southern centres of Hebron and (Jeru)salem (Gen. 14: 18) and the northern centres of Bethel and Shechem, the Abraham story reveals knowledge of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (cf. Gen. 49: 8–12, 22–6), in its present form probably deriving from Judah’s Floruit in the seventh century bce.

A future promise after supposed thousands of years does not vallue squat.What happened with the Gentiles untill Jesus?The God of the Old Testament does seem like a provincialist and a particularist and not different than other provincialist pagan gods.

Of which did the election of Israel in the Old Testament consisted?

Is the people of Israel still chosen by God?Are their election now different than it was on the Old Testament?
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« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2012, 10:27:56 AM »

How does Orthodoxy see the "Chosen" people.. Why a "chosen" people and what does it mean? Was Israel really the Chosen people?

...Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?

An important early, long, and ever-controversial Jewish, apostolic, and patristic witness affirms a coming figure and purpose in the form of promise/fullfillment) -a Messiah and a trajectory of peace (shalom according to philologists meaning not simply the absence of war, but wholeness) radiating outward in our finite, contingent world into universal significance from before creation and time themselves, which we as Christians (lit those who follow the "Christ" or expected Messiah -the considerably rare phenomenon of an expected man promised one day to appear in history) identify as Jesus Christ/Messiah the eternal Logos. Regardless of the requisite controversies and qualifications that pertain to such an ever-assailed and controversial position I stand with those who affirm a Messianic trajectory was present from the time of the Promise made to Abraham onward; not only thence, but radiating from more ancient times still.

I take lost to be perplexed by what I call the scandal of particularity. Did God not care for those other nations and cultures that had no Messiah? But biblically this is inaccurate. Biblically all nations and cultures do have a Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“All nations shall be blessed…” (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14).

One of the most prevalent critiques of Christianity during the Enlightenment period was the scandal of particularism/provincialism.

Israel traces the beginnings of her faith to an unusual series of promises recorded to single individual, a wandering Aramaean Nomad from Ur of the Chaldees known as Abraham. I will make you the father of many nations (Gen 17:4; Heb. gôyìm, the same Hebrew word often translated as "Gentiles" as in Is. 9:1 and elsewhere. Note that Abraham was a ger, i. e., a foreigner (“Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods” (Josh 24:2). Many names of Abraham's family, Sarah, Micah, Terah, Laban, are associated with the Moon cult in Ur; this merely places them in the context of Ur. Abraham's faith did not "develop" from the moon cult, but emerged boldly and contrastively from its midst).

Whatever the cause, Greek thought was unaware of Inter-polis relations (Gk. polis = “city state”) and, like much of ancient thought, was hostile to the foreigner (Greek mind, intelligible speech, reason, and the barbaroi (“barbarians”) who lacked ho logos (“Reason”). Categories were generally domestic rather than international, and throughout the ancient world there was an antagonism towards outsiders and strangers. Cf. also the place of the goy-goyiim in God's purpose (God's promise to bless all the nations/peoples/tribes of the globe through a descendant of Abraham (see below), a correlate to the commission to preach the gospel to all the nations (Matt 28:19ff. ethne: is literally ethnic groups; cf. “ethnology”). Until very late (possibly the 5th century BC there was no basis in classical thought for any kind of 'Internationalism' let alone for concepts of International responsibilities or transnational norms. God's ultimate promise, presence, and purpose is, by contrast, to redeem the fallen universe (Is 60-66). In Christ there is no Greek, barbarian, male, or female.

The God of the Bible is indeed not some petty provincialistic and particularistic deity as Paine claimed, blessing only his chosen nation (Paine, Age of Reason); his aim was always to bless all peoples, universally, from the very beginning (particularistic modality; universal aim/purpose):

A. A PROMISE FOR ALL NATIONS!
Gen 12:3 (Yhwh to Abram at Haran): "In you shall all of the clans of the earth be blessed."
Gen 18:18 (Yhwh to Abraham at Mamre): "All nations of the earth shall be blessed in him."
Gen 22:18 (Angel of Yhwh to Abraham at Moriah): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 26:4 (Yhwh to Isaac at Gerar): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 28:14 (Yhwh to Jacob at Bethel): "In you and in your seed all clans of the earth shall be blessed."

Some important technical points on these passages (this paragraph may be skipped without missing the sense of the post): (1) Beneficiaries of the promise are variously rendered: as clans (mishphechot) of the land ('adhamah; e.g. 12:3); expanded/clarified within the book of Genesis as all nations (goyim/"peoples"/"Gentiles") of the earth ('erets; e.g. 18:18) . Lexically, these terms might be understood either as having merely local usage, or in an unrestricted sense, if taken alone. But they are not alone. If broader canonical context (OT) is factored in, it becomes clear that they were understood by ancient biblical writers themselves taken universally rather than locally (e.g. usage of goyim in Isaiah/ so-called "prophetic universalism," etc.). (2) The Hithpael verb form of Gen 22:18 and 26:4 may be understood as reflexive, i.e. that the nations would regard themselves as blessed in Abraham's seed; however the Niphal form (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 28:14) indicates the nations will be blessed in or through Abraham in an objective sense. The Hithpael indicates a subjective sense of blessing by the recipients whereas the Niphal emphasizes the objective fact. Some translators have sought to make the sense of the verb uniform throughout all the relevant passages (some translating all passages in the sense of the Hithpael; others translating all passages in the sense of the Niphal). To this author it seems best to let each text say what it says, not what we "want it to say" (whether in a so-called "liberal" or "conservative" direction). The stems have thus been rendered above individually as they actually stand in each given narrative. (3) Contextually the possibility of an unrestricted collective meaning of seed (i.e. seed as "all the descendants") is ruled out by the continual narrowing (through Isaac but not Ishmael; through Jacob but not Esau, and so on throughout the Bible).

Ancient Jewish sources before Christ interpreted these promises Messianically; the NT interprets them so; other Old Testament authors interpret them so; the Patristic fathers interpreted them so; many thoughtful interpreters through the centuries have thought so, including our present century. The Messiah is, of course, not specifically mentioned in these passages. Nevertheless, a theme begins, one which is carefully, even meticulously, traced through some fourteen hundred years of our Biblical literature. This theme most definitely is specifically related to Messianic contexts, repeatedly, by subsequent authors in both the Old Testament and the New. It becomes not just a Messianic theme, but the Messianic theme. It is not too much to suggest that this conceptual trajectory is one of the most important and pervasive in the Bible. It comprises one of the firmest candidates for very unlikely prophecy which seems strikingly fulfilled in history. Why? It is strange, but true, that an obscure aged Aramaean nomad of the 3rd millennium B.C. named Abraham received a promise from God that he would be the fountainhead of a blessing that would extend to every nation/people of the entire world. That his name, as well as the name of the Savior who descended from him, has been carried into every nook and cranny of the earth is a matter of record today; three of the four major world religions consider this man their spiritual progenitor; there are but a few peoples remaining that have not yet received translations of these ancient promises in their own tongues.

The "seed" of Abraham cannot refer the total plurality of Abraham's descendants without restriction, since the physical line of descent indicated in these passages through which the Promise will be realized is continually narrowed throughout the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis (through Isaac and not Ishmael; through Jacob and not Esau, etc.). A "seed trajectory" does not only move forward from Abraham in Genesis; it also creeps up from behind. When the question was asked, as it often was, where this "seed trajectory" began, many through the centuries found the answer in the first mention of a "promised seed" in Gen 3:15. In that passage, "seed" can only be a "he" (masculine singular) and not possibly a "they" or an "it." It is a matter of record that, largely because of the text of Genesis, Israel ultimately watched for, waited for, a particular promised person to fulfill this trajectory: the only expected man in history. The promise trajectory continued to be carefully traced for many centuries, narrowing finally to David, to Solomon, and ultimately to the Messiah. Through a descendant born of the line of Abraham, it was long believed, one day would come a One through whom all nations and peoples would be blessed, and would find blessing in Him. (cf. also the superb article in Colin Brown, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. I, pp.76-81).

B. FOR ALL NATIONS: A MESSIANIC PROMISE!
If all Old Testament passages which comment on and/or expand this trajectory are investigated and considered as admissible evidence, denial that these passages are Messianic is simply not possible, for the OT clearly understands them so. All nations/peoples/Gentiles blessed? Why? When? Where, How? It is impossible to understand Messianic trajectory apart from this central theme. A full investigation of this is beyond the current scope, but it is important to see some of the many themes are tied in to this trajectory of the Promise of God to bless all Gentile peoples and nations:

1. The Promise to all nations in Ps 22: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to Yhwh, and all the families of the nations/Gentiles shall worship before You" (Ps 22:27). Remember what?!! What are all non-Jewish nations to one day remember which will cause them in every place to worship the God of this tiny kingdom? The deliverance of a single victim who cried "they pierced my hands and my feet..." (vs. 16). The deliverance of a single victim, who though brought "to the dust of death" (vs. 15) would nevertheless be delivered and praise the name of God in the assembly (vs. 22; cf. LXX: ekklesia/"church"). The idea that people in every nation of the world would worship the God of tiny Israel was in and of itself an outlandish enough notion when Psalm 22 was written several centuries before Christ. The idea that they would do so on the basis of remembrance of a single victim who had been delivered from death seems at least odd on the surface. How could such an event even conceivably result in the worship among all nations and peoples of Yhwh, the God of this tiny nation? How would such an event usher in the worship of Yhwh by the Gentiles? (note: the suggestion that vs. 16 might also be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" rather than "they pierced my hands and feet" is an ancient one; this translation, though rather awkward, was championed by opponents of Christianity for centuries; it seemed viable, though odd, -until recently. Unlike the 10th century A. D. Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scroll fragment of Psalm 22 dating well before Christ (which preserves the oldest textual witness to the Psalm) cannot be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" but can only mean "they pierced my hands and feet" (cf. Abegg, Martin G., Flint, Peter W., and Ulrich, Eugene Charles, Eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (San Francisco: Harper, 1999), footnote to the Psalm 22 fragment; DSS aside, the LXX ihas long been considered conclusive enough for most textual critics). Here, a full three centuries before crucifixion was invented by the Persians, we have as the specific spark igniting the flame of worldwide Gentile worship of tiny Israel's Yhwh the remembrance of a crucifixion victim.

2. The Promise to all nations in Isaiah 9: "In Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy... For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful! Counselor! Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..." (Isa. 9:1b-2; 6). The blessing of the nations/Gentiles would come through the agency of God himself, born as a child, who will minister in the geographical region of Galilee.

3. The Promise to all nations in the Servant Poems of Isaiah: The Servant Poems are also very specifically coupled with this theme of blessing to all nations/peoples. "Behold! My Servant!" (Isa 42:1) ...I will ...give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:6); Though disfigured to the point that He (the Servant) wouldn't even look like a human being, astonishing others, His actions would -nevertheless(!)- be successful (Heb. yaskil), and he would be exalted high above all others (Isa. 52:13-14)... His horrible disfigurement would result in the atonement of many nations (Is 52:15)... He would be wounded (Heb. macholal, lit. "pierced through") for our transgressions, for our iniquities; would be chastised for our peace, would receive stripes for our healing (Isa. 53:5). Though "cut off from the land of the living" (53:Cool the Servant would see; He would arise; His days would be prolonged (cf. especially Isa. 53, entire chapter; this chapter was universally acknowledged as Messianic by early Jewish interpreters); cf. also Is 61:1ff. (Jesus identified himself with this figure in Lk 4:16); the praise of the Gentiles in Isa. 61:11 and 62:2 correlates this material with the Abrahamic trajectory).

4. The Promise to all nations radiates outward from Bethlehem: "They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you were little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from eternity... He shall be great to the ends of the earth, and this one shall be peace (Micah 5:1-2, 4).

5. The Promise to all nations, the expected Son of Man, and the kingdom which will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14) "Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him" (7:14a). What?

For the sake of brevity we will confine ourselves to these admittedly cursory glimpses which properly deserve a great deal more individual scrutiny than is possible here. Many more examples could be given, and far more analysis even of the few examples which were given is desirable, but beyond the present scope.

No longer is it possible, as it was when these ancient words were written, for us to look ahead for the day all peoples in all nations will worship Yah. No longer is it possible to look forward to find what Isaiah saw, that even Kings and Princes of many nations would worship the God of one tiny nation, Judah. This truly unbelievable, inconceivable phenomenon is now our history. The God of tiny Israel is now worshipped as the Savior of the whole world, throughout the whole world; in his arms are gathered Jews, Gentiles, pagans, and the chiefest of sinners; he seeks us all. When did this happen, this incredible thing, so ubiquitous it remains unnoticed?

C. Mt 24:14: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations..." The gospel proclaimed a the tiny little band of an itinerate teacher who never wandered more than 100 miles from his place of birth will span the globe? With no cell phone, internet, or even a printing press? A teacher who left no writings? Virtually inconceivable. Coincidence?

Skepticism is incomplete until it becomes skeptical of itself.

also are you saying that the Gentiles lacked "reason"?you are probably unaware of the greek, hindu, buddhist, chinese , etc philosophies...

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« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2012, 10:43:10 AM »

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« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2012, 10:50:51 AM »

So their sole election consisted of being the people from which the Son of God would be born?Couldn`t that just be an instant moment?

No. God needed to work with mankind throughout human history so that we would have a way of recognizing Christ when he came. That and becasue Christ was a man, He had to be born from a woman, from a family, from a tribe, from a nation, etc.

Quote
Just thinking couldn`t all the verses concerning election be misunderstood and actually be refering to the age to come and the Church?

That too, but these aren't just written words, but a record of how God has acted within human history. Yes, they ultimately find their fuilfillment in Christ and the Church.

this is a good answer and a logical one...
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« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2012, 03:04:50 PM »

I still haven`t find a satisfying answer.. Of which did their election consist?

How do you determine whether an answer is satisfactory?
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« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2012, 03:09:07 PM »

When I was in school, my professor in a Jewish Studies class, a rabbi, said the Jewish people were called 'chosen' in the OT not in the sense that God didn't love anybody else, but that He 'chose' them to be his first example to the world of a new ethical code, the Ten Commandments. Christians believe that the Church eventually inherited that mantle, as the followers of Jesus became God's new people.
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« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2012, 03:55:47 PM »

This is kind of how I've seen it. As a chosen people they certainly had their share of hard times. I would say many people during the time period were more prosperous than they. I've always seen the Jews as the people chosen to prepare the way for Christ. They were also the record keepers of God's revelation to man before Christ. I think God was working with all people before the New Covenant. It was on a case by case bases and was not chosen to be recorded revelation. It was too specific to certain needs to be universal. We shouldn't speculate on how it happened but we should be aware that God has always worked through all peoples and still does. The Jewish story has been chosen as the universal story before Christ. Since the New Covenant the Church, Holy Tradition, and the Bible have become God's chosen revelation to man. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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« Reply #40 on: February 04, 2012, 06:36:10 PM »

Apologies to mods and readers; I'm reposting the previous as I messed up the quote tags

How does Orthodoxy see the "Chosen" people.. Why a "chosen" people and what does it mean? Was Israel really the Chosen people?

...Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?

An important early, long, and ever-controversial Jewish, apostolic, and patristic witness affirms a coming figure and purpose in the form of promise/fullfillment) -a Messiah and a trajectory of peace (shalom according to philologists meaning not simply the absence of war, but wholeness) radiating outward in our finite, contingent world into universal significance from before creation and time themselves, which we as Christians (lit those who follow the "Christ" or expected Messiah -the considerably rare phenomenon of an expected man promised one day to appear in history) identify as Jesus Christ/Messiah the eternal Logos. Regardless of the requisite controversies and qualifications that pertain to such an ever-assailed and controversial position I stand with those who affirm a Messianic trajectory was present from the time of the Promise made to Abraham onward; not only thence, but radiating from more ancient times still.

I take lost to be perplexed by what I call the scandal of particularity. Did God not care for those other nations and cultures that had no Messiah? But biblically this is inaccurate. Biblically all nations and cultures do have a Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“All nations shall be blessed…” (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14).

One of the most prevalent critiques of Christianity during the Enlightenment period was the scandal of particularism/provincialism.

Israel traces the beginnings of her faith to an unusual series of promises recorded to single individual, a wandering Aramaean Nomad from Ur of the Chaldees known as Abraham. I will make you the father of many nations (Gen 17:4; Heb. gôyìm, the same Hebrew word often translated as "Gentiles" as in Is. 9:1 and elsewhere. Note that Abraham was a ger, i. e., a foreigner (“Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods” (Josh 24:2). Many names of Abraham's family, Sarah, Micah, Terah, Laban, are associated with the Moon cult in Ur; this merely places them in the context of Ur. Abraham's faith did not "develop" from the moon cult, but emerged boldly and contrastively from its midst).

Whatever the cause, Greek thought was unaware of Inter-polis relations (Gk. polis = “city state”) and, like much of ancient thought, was hostile to the foreigner (Greek mind, intelligible speech, reason, and the barbaroi (“barbarians”) who lacked ho logos (“Reason”). Categories were generally domestic rather than international, and throughout the ancient world there was an antagonism towards outsiders and strangers. Cf. also the place of the goy-goyiim in God's purpose (God's promise to bless all the nations/peoples/tribes of the globe through a descendant of Abraham (see below), a correlate to the commission to preach the gospel to all the nations (Matt 28:19ff. ethne: is literally ethnic groups; cf. “ethnology”). Until very late (possibly the 5th century BC there was no basis in classical thought for any kind of 'Internationalism' let alone for concepts of International responsibilities or transnational norms. God's ultimate promise, presence, and purpose is, by contrast, to redeem the fallen universe (Is 60-66). In Christ there is no Greek, barbarian, male, or female.

The God of the Bible is indeed not some petty provincialistic and particularistic deity as Paine claimed, blessing only his chosen nation (Paine, Age of Reason); his aim was always to bless all peoples, universally, from the very beginning (particularistic modality; universal aim/purpose):

A. A PROMISE FOR ALL NATIONS!
Gen 12:3 (Yhwh to Abram at Haran): "In you shall all of the clans of the earth be blessed."
Gen 18:18 (Yhwh to Abraham at Mamre): "All nations of the earth shall be blessed in him."
Gen 22:18 (Angel of Yhwh to Abraham at Moriah): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 26:4 (Yhwh to Isaac at Gerar): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 28:14 (Yhwh to Jacob at Bethel): "In you and in your seed all clans of the earth shall be blessed."

Some important technical points on these passages (this paragraph may be skipped without missing the sense of the post): (1) Beneficiaries of the promise are variously rendered: as clans (mishphechot) of the land ('adhamah; e.g. 12:3); expanded/clarified within the book of Genesis as all nations (goyim/"peoples"/"Gentiles") of the earth ('erets; e.g. 18:18) . Lexically, these terms might be understood either as having merely local usage, or in an unrestricted sense, if taken alone. But they are not alone. If broader canonical context (OT) is factored in, it becomes clear that they were understood by ancient biblical writers themselves taken universally rather than locally (e.g. usage of goyim in Isaiah/ so-called "prophetic universalism," etc.). (2) The Hithpael verb form of Gen 22:18 and 26:4 may be understood as reflexive, i.e. that the nations would regard themselves as blessed in Abraham's seed; however the Niphal form (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 28:14) indicates the nations will be blessed in or through Abraham in an objective sense. The Hithpael indicates a subjective sense of blessing by the recipients whereas the Niphal emphasizes the objective fact. Some translators have sought to make the sense of the verb uniform throughout all the relevant passages (some translating all passages in the sense of the Hithpael; others translating all passages in the sense of the Niphal). To this author it seems best to let each text say what it says, not what we "want it to say" (whether in a so-called "liberal" or "conservative" direction). The stems have thus been rendered above individually as they actually stand in each given narrative. (3) Contextually the possibility of an unrestricted collective meaning of seed (i.e. seed as "all the descendants") is ruled out by the continual narrowing (through Isaac but not Ishmael; through Jacob but not Esau, and so on throughout the Bible).

Ancient Jewish sources before Christ interpreted these promises Messianically; the NT interprets them so; other Old Testament authors interpret them so; the Patristic fathers interpreted them so; many thoughtful interpreters through the centuries have thought so, including our present century. The Messiah is, of course, not specifically mentioned in these passages. Nevertheless, a theme begins, one which is carefully, even meticulously, traced through some fourteen hundred years of our Biblical literature. This theme most definitely is specifically related to Messianic contexts, repeatedly, by subsequent authors in both the Old Testament and the New. It becomes not just a Messianic theme, but the Messianic theme. It is not too much to suggest that this conceptual trajectory is one of the most important and pervasive in the Bible. It comprises one of the firmest candidates for very unlikely prophecy which seems strikingly fulfilled in history. Why? It is strange, but true, that an obscure aged Aramaean nomad of the 3rd millennium B.C. named Abraham received a promise from God that he would be the fountainhead of a blessing that would extend to every nation/people of the entire world. That his name, as well as the name of the Savior who descended from him, has been carried into every nook and cranny of the earth is a matter of record today; three of the four major world religions consider this man their spiritual progenitor; there are but a few peoples remaining that have not yet received translations of these ancient promises in their own tongues.

The "seed" of Abraham cannot refer the total plurality of Abraham's descendants without restriction, since the physical line of descent indicated in these passages through which the Promise will be realized is continually narrowed throughout the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis (through Isaac and not Ishmael; through Jacob and not Esau, etc.). A "seed trajectory" does not only move forward from Abraham in Genesis; it also creeps up from behind. When the question was asked, as it often was, where this "seed trajectory" began, many through the centuries found the answer in the first mention of a "promised seed" in Gen 3:15. In that passage, "seed" can only be a "he" (masculine singular) and not possibly a "they" or an "it." It is a matter of record that, largely because of the text of Genesis, Israel ultimately watched for, waited for, a particular promised person to fulfill this trajectory: the only expected man in history. The promise trajectory continued to be carefully traced for many centuries, narrowing finally to David, to Solomon, and ultimately to the Messiah. Through a descendant born of the line of Abraham, it was long believed, one day would come a One through whom all nations and peoples would be blessed, and would find blessing in Him. (cf. also the superb article in Colin Brown, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. I, pp.76-81).

B. FOR ALL NATIONS: A MESSIANIC PROMISE!
If all Old Testament passages which comment on and/or expand this trajectory are investigated and considered as admissible evidence, denial that these passages are Messianic is simply not possible, for the OT clearly understands them so. All nations/peoples/Gentiles blessed? Why? When? Where, How? It is impossible to understand Messianic trajectory apart from this central theme. A full investigation of this is beyond the current scope, but it is important to see some of the many themes are tied in to this trajectory of the Promise of God to bless all Gentile peoples and nations:

1. The Promise to all nations in Ps 22: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to Yhwh, and all the families of the nations/Gentiles shall worship before You" (Ps 22:27). Remember what?!! What are all non-Jewish nations to one day remember which will cause them in every place to worship the God of this tiny kingdom? The deliverance of a single victim who cried "they pierced my hands and my feet..." (vs. 16). The deliverance of a single victim, who though brought "to the dust of death" (vs. 15) would nevertheless be delivered and praise the name of God in the assembly (vs. 22; cf. LXX: ekklesia/"church"). The idea that people in every nation of the world would worship the God of tiny Israel was in and of itself an outlandish enough notion when Psalm 22 was written several centuries before Christ. The idea that they would do so on the basis of remembrance of a single victim who had been delivered from death seems at least odd on the surface. How could such an event even conceivably result in the worship among all nations and peoples of Yhwh, the God of this tiny nation? How would such an event usher in the worship of Yhwh by the Gentiles? (note: the suggestion that vs. 16 might also be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" rather than "they pierced my hands and feet" is an ancient one; this translation, though rather awkward, was championed by opponents of Christianity for centuries; it seemed viable, though odd, -until recently. Unlike the 10th century A. D. Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scroll fragment of Psalm 22 dating well before Christ (which preserves the oldest textual witness to the Psalm) cannot be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" but can only mean "they pierced my hands and feet" (cf. Abegg, Martin G., Flint, Peter W., and Ulrich, Eugene Charles, Eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (San Francisco: Harper, 1999), footnote to the Psalm 22 fragment; DSS aside, the LXX ihas long been considered conclusive enough for most textual critics). Here, a full three centuries before crucifixion was invented by the Persians, we have as the specific spark igniting the flame of worldwide Gentile worship of tiny Israel's Yhwh the remembrance of a crucifixion victim.

2. The Promise to all nations in Isaiah 9: "In Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy... For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful! Counselor! Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..." (Isa. 9:1b-2; 6). The blessing of the nations/Gentiles would come through the agency of God himself, born as a child, who will minister in the geographical region of Galilee.

3. The Promise to all nations in the Servant Poems of Isaiah: The Servant Poems are also very specifically coupled with this theme of blessing to all nations/peoples. "Behold! My Servant!" (Isa 42:1) ...I will ...give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:6); Though disfigured to the point that He (the Servant) wouldn't even look like a human being, astonishing others, His actions would -nevertheless(!)- be successful (Heb. yaskil), and he would be exalted high above all others (Isa. 52:13-14)... His horrible disfigurement would result in the atonement of many nations (Is 52:15)... He would be wounded (Heb. macholal, lit. "pierced through") for our transgressions, for our iniquities; would be chastised for our peace, would receive stripes for our healing (Isa. 53:5). Though "cut off from the land of the living" (53:Cool the Servant would see; He would arise; His days would be prolonged (cf. especially Isa. 53, entire chapter; this chapter was universally acknowledged as Messianic by early Jewish interpreters); cf. also Is 61:1ff. (Jesus identified himself with this figure in Lk 4:16); the praise of the Gentiles in Isa. 61:11 and 62:2 correlates this material with the Abrahamic trajectory).

4. The Promise to all nations radiates outward from Bethlehem: "They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you were little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from eternity... He shall be great to the ends of the earth, and this one shall be peace (Micah 5:1-2, 4).

5. The Promise to all nations, the expected Son of Man, and the kingdom which will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14) "Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him" (7:14a). What?

For the sake of brevity we will confine ourselves to these admittedly cursory glimpses which properly deserve a great deal more individual scrutiny than is possible here. Many more examples could be given, and far more analysis even of the few examples which were given is desirable, but beyond the present scope.

No longer is it possible, as it was when these ancient words were written, for us to look ahead for the day all peoples in all nations will worship Yah. No longer is it possible to look forward to find what Isaiah saw, that even Kings and Princes of many nations would worship the God of one tiny nation, Judah. This truly unbelievable, inconceivable phenomenon is now our history. The God of tiny Israel is now worshipped as the Savior of the whole world, throughout the whole world; in his arms are gathered Jews, Gentiles, pagans, and the chiefest of sinners; he seeks us all. When did this happen, this incredible thing, so ubiquitous it remains unnoticed?

C. Mt 24:14: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations..." The gospel proclaimed a the tiny little band of an itinerate teacher who never wandered more than 100 miles from his place of birth will span the globe? With no cell phone, internet, or even a printing press? A teacher who left no writings? Virtually inconceivable. Coincidence?

Skepticism is incomplete until it becomes skeptical of itself.



thank you for your post.
Thanks for your reply.

You do realize that most of the Old Testament Scripture even Genesis was composed around the 6th century BCE?
To the contrary, that is not my personal realization; that notion is not the universal conclusion of all major contemporary OT scholarship by any means, but represents, rather, the conclusion of the radical minimalists. My own views are closer to those of Egyptologist/ancient Near Eastern scholar Kenneth Kitchen:

http://www.amazon.com/Reliability-Old-Testament-K-Kitchen/dp/0802849601

I can only say as someone who has personally poured over such arguments in considerable detail over many years that to regard the conclusions of the radical minimalists as unquestionable fact with no further ado is not something I find particularly compelling, and many fine scholars would agree with me on this point. You are free to disagree, of course (and I think there are fine scholars on all sides of these questions), and I think none the less of you personally whatever your current views are.

(nor BTW/for the record do I suppose it follows that someone with more radical views of OT composition and history cannot be Orthodox, but that is another discussion, nor would such a view necessarily vitiate the notion of an ancient Messianic trajectory, the relevance of prophetic universalism re. the charge of particularism etc.).

Quote from: lost
A future promise after supposed thousands of years does not vallue squat.
Orthodox Christians do not regard the future promise as of squat value; quite to the contrary...

Quote from: lost
What happened with the Gentiles untill Jesus... Of which did the election of Israel in the Old Testament consisted?

Is the people of Israel still chosen by God?Are their election now different than it was on the Old Testament?
Israel was the name given to Jacob, who was chosen as the progenitor, or epynomous ancestor if you prefer a more liberal view, of the promised seed that is Christ.

There are many uses of the election word groups (Heb and Gk LXX/NT).  Cyrus the pagan Persian king was also called God's elect; the usage there is an example of the category of election to service. Israel was also described as the servant of Yhwh in the OT, so election to service also plays some role in Israel's election (albeit not exhausting the semantic range of the terminology in and of itself). One thing election terminology does not necessarily entail (as others here have also said), and which at times it appears you may(?) be presuming, is the notion that those who are not within the purview of the particular election of Israel are ipso facto on something on the order of a divine "reject" pile. This notion is something one finds e.g. in the Augustinian-Calvinist notion of "double election" (of the elect to salvation and the non-elect to perdition), however that is a notion Orthodox Christians vehemently reject, and one that most Christians (classical Calvinists being a decided minority today) reject. The particular election of Israel, for example, no more entails the rejection of all Persians than the election of Cyrus the Persian would entail the rejection of all non-Persians including Israel. The question is not election/rejection but what election is about, and the answer to that is as diverse as the biblical usage of the concept, which is no monolith.

All the Gentiles before Christ of whom you ask were certainly not lost; to the contrary we have examples like Rahab the Canaanite harlot who is cited as an example of faith in the book of Hebrews. I would think that one would need to prove they were all discarded as refuse before the election of Israel would be something on the level of a moral atrocity of some sort. Such a view seems more akin to that described as having been held by the prophet Jonah in the OT book by his name, for which he is depicted as being chastened by God:

3:1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:  “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.  4:1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

As another example, Isaac was "chosen" whereas his half-brother Ishmael was not to be the bearer of the Promise, yet God's special blessing was also upon Ishmael and his mother who were not selected within the Promise-trajectory to whom an angel was sent. There are countless other examples like these.

Quote from: lost
also are you saying that the Gentiles lacked "reason"? you are probably unaware of the greek, hindu, buddhist, chinese , etc philosophies...
To the contrary; I think you may have mistaken my earlier reference. Admittedly the sentence structure was convoluted (for which I apologize): I was citing the example of how early *Greek* thought referred to barbaroi (“barbarians”) who lacked ho logos (“reason”) within the context of how the category of foreigner was viewed in the ancient world and to which prophetic universalism and a promise to all (foreign) nations formed a unique and singular exception; it was not an account of my personal view about Gentiles (I am one myself). Rather than having been a view about Gentiles lacking reason, it was a view held by Gentiles/ ancient Greeks about foreigners/barbarians. Also I am actually quite aware of, and have long been an avid student of world religions. You might find the thoughts of St. Justin on the logos spermatikos in pre-Christian / extra-Jewish trajectories of interest to review for further discussion (if it interests you). Perhaps your real concern is with the fate of those who were/are not Jews or Orthodox Christians rather than with the idea of election being objectionable per se(?).




("To the Unknown God," Paletine Rome, c. 100 BC)

"Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens [Timothy and Silas] his spirit was provoked as he saw the city was full of idols. So he disputed in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Certain philosophers of the Epicureans and Stoics also conversed with him. And some said 'What does this babbler wish to say?' Others said 'He seems to be a preacher of strange gods" because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection... Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagas, said: 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship. I found also an altar with this inscription: 'To the Unknown God." What therefore you worship as Unknown, this I proclaim to you (Acts 17:16-18, 22-23).



(Areopagus Hill/Athens, Greece)


Thanks again for your reply.

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« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2012, 04:01:10 PM »

What is the moral of the chosen people?What does it want to teach us?

It is a prefigurement of the Church as the people of God.
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« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2012, 06:21:56 PM »

What is the moral of the chosen people?What does it want to teach us?

It is a prefigurement of the Church as the people of God.

Isn`t Israel(the Hebrew people) still the chosen people of God?What do you think of Rom 11:28-29?
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« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2012, 06:40:20 PM »

Apologies to mods and readers; I'm reposting the previous as I messed up the quote tags

How does Orthodoxy see the "Chosen" people.. Why a "chosen" people and what does it mean? Was Israel really the Chosen people?

...Can`t anyone explain me the philosophy of the chosen people?This subjects offends me a lot and because of this subject I`m having strong difficulties in believing that the biblical G-d is the true G-d.I feel like Marcion.. Because of this subject I am on the merge of becoming an agnostic/atheist.. What morality in heaven`s name shall we draw from G-d having a chosen people?

An important early, long, and ever-controversial Jewish, apostolic, and patristic witness affirms a coming figure and purpose in the form of promise/fullfillment) -a Messiah and a trajectory of peace (shalom according to philologists meaning not simply the absence of war, but wholeness) radiating outward in our finite, contingent world into universal significance from before creation and time themselves, which we as Christians (lit those who follow the "Christ" or expected Messiah -the considerably rare phenomenon of an expected man promised one day to appear in history) identify as Jesus Christ/Messiah the eternal Logos. Regardless of the requisite controversies and qualifications that pertain to such an ever-assailed and controversial position I stand with those who affirm a Messianic trajectory was present from the time of the Promise made to Abraham onward; not only thence, but radiating from more ancient times still.

I take lost to be perplexed by what I call the scandal of particularity. Did God not care for those other nations and cultures that had no Messiah? But biblically this is inaccurate. Biblically all nations and cultures do have a Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“All nations shall be blessed…” (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14).

One of the most prevalent critiques of Christianity during the Enlightenment period was the scandal of particularism/provincialism.

Israel traces the beginnings of her faith to an unusual series of promises recorded to single individual, a wandering Aramaean Nomad from Ur of the Chaldees known as Abraham. I will make you the father of many nations (Gen 17:4; Heb. gôyìm, the same Hebrew word often translated as "Gentiles" as in Is. 9:1 and elsewhere. Note that Abraham was a ger, i. e., a foreigner (“Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods” (Josh 24:2). Many names of Abraham's family, Sarah, Micah, Terah, Laban, are associated with the Moon cult in Ur; this merely places them in the context of Ur. Abraham's faith did not "develop" from the moon cult, but emerged boldly and contrastively from its midst).

Whatever the cause, Greek thought was unaware of Inter-polis relations (Gk. polis = “city state”) and, like much of ancient thought, was hostile to the foreigner (Greek mind, intelligible speech, reason, and the barbaroi (“barbarians”) who lacked ho logos (“Reason”). Categories were generally domestic rather than international, and throughout the ancient world there was an antagonism towards outsiders and strangers. Cf. also the place of the goy-goyiim in God's purpose (God's promise to bless all the nations/peoples/tribes of the globe through a descendant of Abraham (see below), a correlate to the commission to preach the gospel to all the nations (Matt 28:19ff. ethne: is literally ethnic groups; cf. “ethnology”). Until very late (possibly the 5th century BC there was no basis in classical thought for any kind of 'Internationalism' let alone for concepts of International responsibilities or transnational norms. God's ultimate promise, presence, and purpose is, by contrast, to redeem the fallen universe (Is 60-66). In Christ there is no Greek, barbarian, male, or female.

The God of the Bible is indeed not some petty provincialistic and particularistic deity as Paine claimed, blessing only his chosen nation (Paine, Age of Reason); his aim was always to bless all peoples, universally, from the very beginning (particularistic modality; universal aim/purpose):

A. A PROMISE FOR ALL NATIONS!
Gen 12:3 (Yhwh to Abram at Haran): "In you shall all of the clans of the earth be blessed."
Gen 18:18 (Yhwh to Abraham at Mamre): "All nations of the earth shall be blessed in him."
Gen 22:18 (Angel of Yhwh to Abraham at Moriah): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 26:4 (Yhwh to Isaac at Gerar): "In your seed all nations of the earth shall regard themselves as blessed."
Gen 28:14 (Yhwh to Jacob at Bethel): "In you and in your seed all clans of the earth shall be blessed."

Some important technical points on these passages (this paragraph may be skipped without missing the sense of the post): (1) Beneficiaries of the promise are variously rendered: as clans (mishphechot) of the land ('adhamah; e.g. 12:3); expanded/clarified within the book of Genesis as all nations (goyim/"peoples"/"Gentiles") of the earth ('erets; e.g. 18:18) . Lexically, these terms might be understood either as having merely local usage, or in an unrestricted sense, if taken alone. But they are not alone. If broader canonical context (OT) is factored in, it becomes clear that they were understood by ancient biblical writers themselves taken universally rather than locally (e.g. usage of goyim in Isaiah/ so-called "prophetic universalism," etc.). (2) The Hithpael verb form of Gen 22:18 and 26:4 may be understood as reflexive, i.e. that the nations would regard themselves as blessed in Abraham's seed; however the Niphal form (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 28:14) indicates the nations will be blessed in or through Abraham in an objective sense. The Hithpael indicates a subjective sense of blessing by the recipients whereas the Niphal emphasizes the objective fact. Some translators have sought to make the sense of the verb uniform throughout all the relevant passages (some translating all passages in the sense of the Hithpael; others translating all passages in the sense of the Niphal). To this author it seems best to let each text say what it says, not what we "want it to say" (whether in a so-called "liberal" or "conservative" direction). The stems have thus been rendered above individually as they actually stand in each given narrative. (3) Contextually the possibility of an unrestricted collective meaning of seed (i.e. seed as "all the descendants") is ruled out by the continual narrowing (through Isaac but not Ishmael; through Jacob but not Esau, and so on throughout the Bible).

Ancient Jewish sources before Christ interpreted these promises Messianically; the NT interprets them so; other Old Testament authors interpret them so; the Patristic fathers interpreted them so; many thoughtful interpreters through the centuries have thought so, including our present century. The Messiah is, of course, not specifically mentioned in these passages. Nevertheless, a theme begins, one which is carefully, even meticulously, traced through some fourteen hundred years of our Biblical literature. This theme most definitely is specifically related to Messianic contexts, repeatedly, by subsequent authors in both the Old Testament and the New. It becomes not just a Messianic theme, but the Messianic theme. It is not too much to suggest that this conceptual trajectory is one of the most important and pervasive in the Bible. It comprises one of the firmest candidates for very unlikely prophecy which seems strikingly fulfilled in history. Why? It is strange, but true, that an obscure aged Aramaean nomad of the 3rd millennium B.C. named Abraham received a promise from God that he would be the fountainhead of a blessing that would extend to every nation/people of the entire world. That his name, as well as the name of the Savior who descended from him, has been carried into every nook and cranny of the earth is a matter of record today; three of the four major world religions consider this man their spiritual progenitor; there are but a few peoples remaining that have not yet received translations of these ancient promises in their own tongues.

The "seed" of Abraham cannot refer the total plurality of Abraham's descendants without restriction, since the physical line of descent indicated in these passages through which the Promise will be realized is continually narrowed throughout the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis (through Isaac and not Ishmael; through Jacob and not Esau, etc.). A "seed trajectory" does not only move forward from Abraham in Genesis; it also creeps up from behind. When the question was asked, as it often was, where this "seed trajectory" began, many through the centuries found the answer in the first mention of a "promised seed" in Gen 3:15. In that passage, "seed" can only be a "he" (masculine singular) and not possibly a "they" or an "it." It is a matter of record that, largely because of the text of Genesis, Israel ultimately watched for, waited for, a particular promised person to fulfill this trajectory: the only expected man in history. The promise trajectory continued to be carefully traced for many centuries, narrowing finally to David, to Solomon, and ultimately to the Messiah. Through a descendant born of the line of Abraham, it was long believed, one day would come a One through whom all nations and peoples would be blessed, and would find blessing in Him. (cf. also the superb article in Colin Brown, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. I, pp.76-81).

B. FOR ALL NATIONS: A MESSIANIC PROMISE!
If all Old Testament passages which comment on and/or expand this trajectory are investigated and considered as admissible evidence, denial that these passages are Messianic is simply not possible, for the OT clearly understands them so. All nations/peoples/Gentiles blessed? Why? When? Where, How? It is impossible to understand Messianic trajectory apart from this central theme. A full investigation of this is beyond the current scope, but it is important to see some of the many themes are tied in to this trajectory of the Promise of God to bless all Gentile peoples and nations:

1. The Promise to all nations in Ps 22: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to Yhwh, and all the families of the nations/Gentiles shall worship before You" (Ps 22:27). Remember what?!! What are all non-Jewish nations to one day remember which will cause them in every place to worship the God of this tiny kingdom? The deliverance of a single victim who cried "they pierced my hands and my feet..." (vs. 16). The deliverance of a single victim, who though brought "to the dust of death" (vs. 15) would nevertheless be delivered and praise the name of God in the assembly (vs. 22; cf. LXX: ekklesia/"church"). The idea that people in every nation of the world would worship the God of tiny Israel was in and of itself an outlandish enough notion when Psalm 22 was written several centuries before Christ. The idea that they would do so on the basis of remembrance of a single victim who had been delivered from death seems at least odd on the surface. How could such an event even conceivably result in the worship among all nations and peoples of Yhwh, the God of this tiny nation? How would such an event usher in the worship of Yhwh by the Gentiles? (note: the suggestion that vs. 16 might also be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" rather than "they pierced my hands and feet" is an ancient one; this translation, though rather awkward, was championed by opponents of Christianity for centuries; it seemed viable, though odd, -until recently. Unlike the 10th century A. D. Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scroll fragment of Psalm 22 dating well before Christ (which preserves the oldest textual witness to the Psalm) cannot be translated "like a lion my hands and feet" but can only mean "they pierced my hands and feet" (cf. Abegg, Martin G., Flint, Peter W., and Ulrich, Eugene Charles, Eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (San Francisco: Harper, 1999), footnote to the Psalm 22 fragment; DSS aside, the LXX ihas long been considered conclusive enough for most textual critics). Here, a full three centuries before crucifixion was invented by the Persians, we have as the specific spark igniting the flame of worldwide Gentile worship of tiny Israel's Yhwh the remembrance of a crucifixion victim.

2. The Promise to all nations in Isaiah 9: "In Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy... For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful! Counselor! Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace..." (Isa. 9:1b-2; 6). The blessing of the nations/Gentiles would come through the agency of God himself, born as a child, who will minister in the geographical region of Galilee.

3. The Promise to all nations in the Servant Poems of Isaiah: The Servant Poems are also very specifically coupled with this theme of blessing to all nations/peoples. "Behold! My Servant!" (Isa 42:1) ...I will ...give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:6); Though disfigured to the point that He (the Servant) wouldn't even look like a human being, astonishing others, His actions would -nevertheless(!)- be successful (Heb. yaskil), and he would be exalted high above all others (Isa. 52:13-14)... His horrible disfigurement would result in the atonement of many nations (Is 52:15)... He would be wounded (Heb. macholal, lit. "pierced through") for our transgressions, for our iniquities; would be chastised for our peace, would receive stripes for our healing (Isa. 53:5). Though "cut off from the land of the living" (53:Cool the Servant would see; He would arise; His days would be prolonged (cf. especially Isa. 53, entire chapter; this chapter was universally acknowledged as Messianic by early Jewish interpreters); cf. also Is 61:1ff. (Jesus identified himself with this figure in Lk 4:16); the praise of the Gentiles in Isa. 61:11 and 62:2 correlates this material with the Abrahamic trajectory).

4. The Promise to all nations radiates outward from Bethlehem: "They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you were little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from eternity... He shall be great to the ends of the earth, and this one shall be peace (Micah 5:1-2, 4).

5. The Promise to all nations, the expected Son of Man, and the kingdom which will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14) "Then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him" (7:14a). What?

For the sake of brevity we will confine ourselves to these admittedly cursory glimpses which properly deserve a great deal more individual scrutiny than is possible here. Many more examples could be given, and far more analysis even of the few examples which were given is desirable, but beyond the present scope.

No longer is it possible, as it was when these ancient words were written, for us to look ahead for the day all peoples in all nations will worship Yah. No longer is it possible to look forward to find what Isaiah saw, that even Kings and Princes of many nations would worship the God of one tiny nation, Judah. This truly unbelievable, inconceivable phenomenon is now our history. The God of tiny Israel is now worshipped as the Savior of the whole world, throughout the whole world; in his arms are gathered Jews, Gentiles, pagans, and the chiefest of sinners; he seeks us all. When did this happen, this incredible thing, so ubiquitous it remains unnoticed?

C. Mt 24:14: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations..." The gospel proclaimed a the tiny little band of an itinerate teacher who never wandered more than 100 miles from his place of birth will span the globe? With no cell phone, internet, or even a printing press? A teacher who left no writings? Virtually inconceivable. Coincidence?

Skepticism is incomplete until it becomes skeptical of itself.



thank you for your post.
Thanks for your reply.

You do realize that most of the Old Testament Scripture even Genesis was composed around the 6th century BCE?
To the contrary, that is not my personal realization; that notion is not the universal conclusion of all major contemporary OT scholarship by any means, but represents, rather, the conclusion of the radical minimalists. My own views are closer to those of Egyptologist/ancient Near Eastern scholar Kenneth Kitchen:

http://www.amazon.com/Reliability-Old-Testament-K-Kitchen/dp/0802849601

I can only say as someone who has personally poured over such arguments in considerable detail over many years that to regard the conclusions of the radical minimalists as unquestionable fact with no further ado is not something I find particularly compelling, and many fine scholars would agree with me on this point. You are free to disagree, of course (and I think there are fine scholars on all sides of these questions), and I think none the less of you personally whatever your current views are.

(nor BTW/for the record do I suppose it follows that someone with more radical views of OT composition and history cannot be Orthodox, but that is another discussion, nor would such a view necessarily vitiate the notion of an ancient Messianic trajectory, the relevance of prophetic universalism re. the charge of particularism etc.).

Quote from: lost
A future promise after supposed thousands of years does not vallue squat.
Orthodox Christians do not regard the future promise as of squat value; quite to the contrary...

Quote from: lost
What happened with the Gentiles untill Jesus... Of which did the election of Israel in the Old Testament consisted?

Is the people of Israel still chosen by God?Are their election now different than it was on the Old Testament?
Israel was the name given to Jacob, who was chosen as the progenitor, or epynomous ancestor if you prefer a more liberal view, of the promised seed that is Christ.

There are many uses of the election word groups (Heb and Gk LXX/NT).  Cyrus the pagan Persian king was also called God's elect; the usage there is an example of the category of election to service. Israel was also described as the servant of Yhwh in the OT, so election to service also plays some role in Israel's election (albeit not exhausting the semantic range of the terminology in and of itself). One thing election terminology does not necessarily entail (as others here have also said), and which at times it appears you may(?) be presuming, is the notion that those who are not within the purview of the particular election of Israel are ipso facto on something on the order of a divine "reject" pile. This notion is something one finds e.g. in the Augustinian-Calvinist notion of "double election" (of the elect to salvation and the non-elect to perdition), however that is a notion Orthodox Christians vehemently reject, and one that most Christians (classical Calvinists being a decided minority today) reject. The particular election of Israel, for example, no more entails the rejection of all Persians than the election of Cyrus the Persian would entail the rejection of all non-Persians including Israel. The question is not election/rejection but what election is about, and the answer to that is as diverse as the biblical usage of the concept, which is no monolith.

All the Gentiles before Christ of whom you ask were certainly not lost; to the contrary we have examples like Rahab the Canaanite harlot who is cited as an example of faith in the book of Hebrews. I would think that one would need to prove they were all discarded as refuse before the election of Israel would be something on the level of a moral atrocity of some sort. Such a view seems more akin to that described as having been held by the prophet Jonah in the OT book by his name, for which he is depicted as being chastened by God:

3:1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:  “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.  4:1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

As another example, Isaac was "chosen" whereas his half-brother Ishmael was not to be the bearer of the Promise, yet God's special blessing was also upon Ishmael and his mother who were not selected within the Promise-trajectory to whom an angel was sent. There are countless other examples like these.

Quote from: lost
also are you saying that the Gentiles lacked "reason"? you are probably unaware of the greek, hindu, buddhist, chinese , etc philosophies...
To the contrary; I think you may have mistaken my earlier reference. Admittedly the sentence structure was convoluted (for which I apologize): I was citing the example of how early *Greek* thought referred to barbaroi (“barbarians”) who lacked ho logos (“reason”) within the context of how the category of foreigner was viewed in the ancient world and to which prophetic universalism and a promise to all (foreign) nations formed a unique and singular exception; it was not an account of my personal view about Gentiles (I am one myself). Rather than having been a view about Gentiles lacking reason, it was a view held by Gentiles/ ancient Greeks about foreigners/barbarians. Also I am actually quite aware of, and have long been an avid student of world religions. You might find the thoughts of St. Justin on the logos spermatikos in pre-Christian / extra-Jewish trajectories of interest to review for further discussion (if it interests you). Perhaps your real concern is with the fate of those who were/are not Jews or Orthodox Christians rather than with the idea of election being objectionable per se(?).




("To the Unknown God," Paletine Rome, c. 100 BC)

"Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens [Timothy and Silas] his spirit was provoked as he saw the city was full of idols. So he disputed in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Certain philosophers of the Epicureans and Stoics also conversed with him. And some said 'What does this babbler wish to say?' Others said 'He seems to be a preacher of strange gods" because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection... Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagas, said: 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship. I found also an altar with this inscription: 'To the Unknown God." What therefore you worship as Unknown, this I proclaim to you (Acts 17:16-18, 22-23).



(Areopagus Hill/Athens, Greece)


Thanks again for your reply.

[/quote]

There are many indications pointing to an late Genesis composition... Like names of the cities, reference to certain kings, domesticated camels ,language,etc(i included them in my precedent post)... It is also believed that the book of Deuteronomy(Devarim) is the book of the law Josiah the kinh found and that the people of Israel were not aware of.I think modern scholars do not believe Moses wrote the whole Pentateuch.

The whole world being outside of God's favour for 3000 years means a lot.God chose Israel over the whole world..What happened after 3000 years has no relevance to the people that were living during that period.The Gentile cases in the Tanakh are extremely isolated, you can count them on the fingers.

I see you referencing Ismael, are you saying that the Gentiles were chosen also?How and for which?And how is their election different than that of Israel?I am speaking strictly of the era before Jesus.

Are you saying that Israel was not chosen and that this chosen people sentiment was something like that of the Greeks and other pagan religions and cultures?


I have a problem with the idea of subjective election.





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« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2012, 06:40:20 PM »

When I was in school, my professor in a Jewish Studies class, a rabbi, said the Jewish people were called 'chosen' in the OT not in the sense that God didn't love anybody else, but that He 'chose' them to be his first example to the world of a new ethical code, the Ten Commandments. Christians believe that the Church eventually inherited that mantle, as the followers of Jesus became God's new people.

how many prescriptions to murder and isolation did this new "ethical" code have?
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