Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chosen people

Chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2), God's holy nation of priests and kings (1 Peter 2:9), and right after saying 'Jews first, but Greeks as well' Paul adds, 'God has no favorites' (Romans 2:10-11). This can be very confusing.

What is clear to me is that God's hereditary people was the Jews. Another way of saying it, from another angle, is that the God of the Hebrews (for before they were Jews, Judaeans, they were known as the Hebrews) has turned out to be the only real God.

That may seem unfair somehow, but the selection by the Divine Nature of the 'God' of Israel to be His identity was something that He had a right to do, since God is God. He could have taken up the 'God' concept of any people and said, 'I am That.'

The Hindu religion, for example, in spite of its polytheism (which is a way of seeing the One God in His innumerable aspects), is very profound and very true, and even approaches the Hebrew concept of 'Eyheh asher ehyeh' (I am who I am) with 'Tat tvam asi' (That thou art).

Yet the Divine Nature did not choose the Hindu religion to be His self-expression. Clearly, all these expressions result from people's encounters with the Divine Nature, and the ideas and traditions grew out of those encounters, or epiphanies.

But the Divine Nature decided that the Hebrew people would be His people, He became their hereditary God, for His will to be perfectly revealed, and among other reasons we cannot know, at least so that He could come among us as a man through them.

In the same way that God took up a human race to be His chosen people—He could have chosen anyone—He took up a human literature to be the expression in written form of His Divine Word, again choosing what was ours to become His.

That literature was, at first, the books of the Old Testament. Not as cut and dried at first as they are now, He inspired the people He chose in their selection of just which books were to be included in that literature that He had chosen before they did.

Up to this point, everything I have just written could be mere conjecture, just an opinion or a speculation, or a tribal patriotism, even though myself I am no Jew, yet I adhere to it. But the final part of the story, the place where the Divine Nature enters uninvited and unexpectedly.

One people’s hereditary God is chosen by the Divine Nature to be His identity. Then one people’s religious literature is chosen by Him to be the sole expression of His Divine Word. But just as Christ said, ‘Which is easier, to say to this man, your sins are forgiven, or, Take up your mat and walk,’

and then, knowing what His critics were thinking commanded the cripple, ‘Take up your mat and go home’ (Mark 2:11), in a similar way, to those who think, ‘Anyone can say they are the chosen people,’ He proves what they think easy by performing the impossible, He becomes one of them.

It is the fact of the God-Man, Jesus the Christ, the one who said ‘I am in the Father and the Father in Me’ and who proved it, proved Himself and all things, being proclaimed the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4), that substantiates everything else believed of God.

That the Hebrews are the chosen people, that their literature is the only holy and divine scriptures on earth, was demonstrated by the intrusion into the human universe by the only living and true God that is, and not by mere teachings or even miracles, but by His defeat of death.

Now that the resurrection has occurred and continues to fill the cosmos with divine and eternal life, now that the Divine Word has taken up the human race as the vehicle and housing of the Divine Nature in time and in eternity, what has become of the chosen people?

‘As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). And as Paul further explains, we are grafted on to the original stock (Romans 11:17).

Because of Jesus Christ, the God of Israel has been revealed to be the only true and living God, the people of Israel to be His chosen people, their writings to be the only holy and divine scripture, all chosen by God, and through Christ, all of this handed over to us who have believed in Him.

The God of Israel is our God, we are one of the chosen people, the writings of the holy evangelists and apostles have been taken up into the scripture, the division that separated Jew and gentile has been erased, and death the wages of sin has been trampled down by Him who is, God as Man.

Chosen, yes, chosen, but before the foundation of the world, and hidden in Christ until the time that He was revealed, a mystery before all ages that even the angels wanted to learn about, when the Divine Word and Son of God fulfilled all hopes of all hearts from the first to the last.

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