WHO REALLY ARE THE GOD ‘S CHOSEN PEOPLE?
by Syarif Hidayat
Propagation or propaganda that Jews are the God’s “Chosen People” has encouraged, inspired or rather incited me to search for answers to these questions: Who really are the God ‘s chosen people? Are Jews the “Chosen People” of GOD? Are Christians the “Chosen People” of GOD? or Are Muslims the “Chosen People” of GOD? If none of them are, then who are?
Chosen people – Definition: Throughout history, various groups have considered themselves chosen by God for some purpose. Sometimes this chosenness is viewed as marking them as superior; other times it is viewed as giving this group a special responsibility or purpose.
Types of purposes: The sense of being a chosen people occurs in both religious and nonreligious contexts. The Communists, for instance, were atheist, but considered themselves chosen by fate to liberate the world proletariat. The Abolitionists, who were largely Christian, considered themselves chosen by God to bring freedom and equal rights to the slaves. The Nazis considered the Aryan race to be superior, and believed it was their mission to eliminate all races they considered “inferior.”
Many religious and charitable organizations consider themselves to be chosen by God to care for the sick and the suffering. The sense of being a “chosen people” is therefore often associated with a particular ideological movement — it is a sense of importance which drives people to further the ends of their ideology.
However, it is important to distinguish between the self-importance of a movement and the truth of its message. Movements of all types consider themselves to be “chosen” in one way or another to change the course of history. Some movements may prove to be true, and some movements may prove to be false. The truth of their message and their confidence in their message are entirely separate questions.
Chosen to receive a message: In Abrahamic monotheist religions it is believed that the God has revealed a message to a prophet or messenger. These religions, such as in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, teach that their path is the only path to salvation. In other religions, like some forms of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Wicca, and Transcendentalism, it is believed that the followers of one’s faith do not have an exclusive path to God. They hold that people of other faiths may also reach God in their own way.
Views of being a chosen people are sometimes connected with ethnocentrism. The idea of a chosen people can be used to justify or create cultural imperialism, racism, and xenophobia. On the other hand, there is no necessary link between considering onesself chosen and considering onesself superior. Many consider their chosen status to be humbling, as it requires them to live to make greater sacrifices than others.
Are Jews the “Chosen People” of GOD?
The doctrine in Judaism that God chose the people of Israel from among the nations. The doctrine of the chosen people is closely related to the notion of Covenant, the contract between God and Israel.
The concept originates with the Divine choice of Abraham and his descendants as recounted in Genesis. God’s first communication with Abraham already hints at a unique relationship with God that has implications for the rest of mankind: “I will make of you a great nation … and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you” (Gen. 12:2-3). God’s covenant with Abraham is narrated in Genesis 17, and the contractual agreement in which the people of Israel agree to keep God’s law (Ex. 19-24) is foreshadowed in God’s musing: “Since Abraham is to become a great and populous nation, and all the nations of the earth are to bless themselves by him; for I have singled him out, that he may instruct his children and his posterity to keep the way of the Lord, by doing what is just and right” (Gen. 18:18-19).
At Sinai, the entire people of Israel is invited to affirm the covenant and enter into a special relationship with God: “Now, therefore, if you will obey Me faithfully, and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; but you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation …” (Ex. 19:5-6).
Israel, in agreeing to these terms (Ex. 19:7, 24:3, 7), reconfirms Abraham’s covenant and renders it binding upon all future generations. Lest the people forget the experience, Moses, shortly before his death, reminds them: “For you are a people consecrated unto the Lord your God, and the Lord your God chose you from among all other peoples on earth to be His treasured possession” (Deut. 14:2).
The doctrine of the chosen people is presumed throughout the Bible, although nowhere does it receive systematic elaboration. No clear reason is offered for Israel’s election: on the contrary, “The Lord did not set His heart upon you or choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples—indeed, you were the fewest of all peoples—but it was because the Lord favored you …” (Deut. 7:7-8). Here and in the above citations, the Bible reiterates the unique situation whereas although the Lord is God of all the nations, Israel is nevertheless singled out.
God tells Moses to inform Pharaoh that the Jewish people is His first-born, not His only child (Ex. 4:22; see also Amos 9:7 and Mal. 2:10). Although the perception of a special relationship with God was at the very least a source of pride (Num. 17:6), the Bible does not spare its rebuke of the people of Israel for their transgressions, and informs them that, “I have known only you of all the peoples of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities” (Amos 3:2). Chosenness implied responsibilities towards the other nations (e.g., Gen. 12:3; Ex. 19:6; Deut. 4:6-7; Isa. 49:6), even suffering on their behalf (Isa. 52:13-53:12).
Although the doctrine of Israel’s election receives no direct expression in Maimonides’ thirteen Principles of Faith, it has been suggested that its place in Jewish consciousness always maintained the centrality of an “unformulated dogma.” The rabbis of the Talmud presumed a system of the most intimate relationship between God and the Jewish people, with R. Akiva (second cent. CE) going so far as to assert that the highly explicit love poetry of the Song of Songs was nothing less than a metaphor of the relationship between God and His people (Yad. 3:5; Tosef Sanh. 12:10).
Racial Nonsense, Spiritual Purity and Racism
According to G. Neuburger in his article: “The Difference Between Judaism and Zionism”, where the Torah tells about the creation of the first human being, the most prominent Jewish commentator, Rashi, explains that the earth from which Prophet Adam AS was formed was not taken from one spot but from various parts of the globe.
Thus human dignity does not depend on the place of one’s birth nor is it limited to one region. The greatness or worth of a person is not measured by his or her outward appearance. Jews believe that Adam was created in God’s image and that he is the common ancestor of all mankind. At this stage in human history, there is no room for privileged people who can do with others as they please. Human life is sacred and human rights are not to be denied by those who would subvert them for “national security” or for any other reason.
To begin with, a few definitions: Who is a Jew? A Jew is anyone who has a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism in conformity with Halacha, Jewish religious law. This definition alone excludes racism. Judaism does not seek converts, but those who do convert are accepted on a basis of equality. Let us see how far this goes. Some of the most eminent and respected rabbis were converts to Judaism.
Jewish parents throughout the world bless their children every Sabbath and holiday eve, and they have done it in the same way for millennia. If the children are girls, the blessing is, “May God let you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.” Not one of these matriarchs was born a Jewess; they were all converts to Judaism. If the children are boys, the blessing is, “May God let you be like Ephraim and Menashe.”
The mother of these two was an Egyptian woman who became Jewish and had married Joseph. Moses himself, the greatest Jew who ever lived, married a Midianite woman who became Jewish. Finally, the Tenach, the holy writings of the Jew, contains the book of Ruth. This woman was not only not Jewish by birth, but she came from the Moabites, traditional enemies of the Jewish people. This book describes Ruth’s conversion to Judaism and is read annually on the holiday commemorating the giving of the Torah, the “Law,” i.e. the Pentateuch. At its very end, the book of Ruth traces the ancestry of King David, the greatest king the Jews ever had, to Ruth, his great-grandmother.
Apart from the Zionists, the only ones who consistently considered the Jews a race were the Nazis. And they only served to prove the stupidity and irrationality of racism. There was no way to prove racially whether a Mrs. Muller or a Mr. Meyer were Jews or Aryans (the Nazi term for non-Jewish Germans). The only way to decide whether a person was Jewish was to trace the religious affiliation of the parents or grandparents. So much for this racial nonsense.
Racial pride has been the downfall of those Jews in the past who were blinded by their own narrow-minded chauvinism. This brings us to a second definition. Is there a Jewish people? If so, what is its mission? Let us make this completely clear: The Jewish nation was not born or reconstituted a generation ago by some Zionist politicians. The Jewish nation was born on Mount Sinai when the Jews by their response, “let us do and let us hear,” adopted the Torah given to them by God for all future generations. `This day you become a people,” though valid still today, was spoken thousands of years ago.
According to Jewish tradition, there are seven Noachide laws which apply to all human beings. Then there are the Ten Commandments which form basic standard of morality and conduct for adherents of all monotheistic religions. In addition to these, there are 613 laws obligatory for Jews, and every Jew has to observe those which are applicable to him or her according to Halacha. It is the carrying out of these mitzvoth, “commandments,” which constitutes the essence of being Jewish, and therefore of the Jewish people and their covenant with God.
In what way are the Jews a “chosen people”? Every Jewish man anywhere and at any time when called to the reading of the Torah says, “Who has chosen us from all the peoples and gave us His Torah.” This is the way in which the Jews are chosen. The Jewish people are chosen not for domination over others, not for conquest or warfare, but to serve God and thus to serve mankind. “And the hands are the hands of Esau,” has been traditionally interpreted to mean that while “the voice is Jacob’s,” the hands- – symbolizing violence – are Esau’s. Thus physical violence is not a tradition or a value of the Jews. The task for which the Jewish people were chosen is not to set an example of military superiority or technical achievements, but to seek perfection in moral behavior and spiritual purity.
The Zionists use the Jewish chosenese for propaganda purposes. Of all the crimes of political Zionism, the worst and most basic, and which explains all its other misdeeds, is that from its beginning Zionism has sought to separate the Jewish people from their God, to render the divine covenant null and void, and to substitute a “modern” statehood and fraudulent sovereignty for the lofty ideals of the Jewish people.
One means of misleading many Jews and all too many non-Jews is the Zionist misuse of names and symbols sacred in Judaism. They use the holy name Israel for their Zionist state. They have named their land acquisition fund with a term that traditionally implies the reward for piety, good deeds, and charitable work. They have adopted as a state symbol the menorah (candlebrum). What hypocrisy, what perversion it is to have the Israeli army fight under an emblem, the meaning of which is explained in the Tenach (on the occasion of a previous return to the Holy Land) as, “not with armed force and not with power, but in My spirit says the Lord of Hosts.”
Jostein Gaarder in his article: “God’s Chosen People,” says: We need to get used to the idea: The State of Israel, in its current form, is history. We don’t believe in the notion of God’s Chosen People. We laugh at this people’s capriciousness and weep at its misdeeds. To act as God’s Chosen People is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity. We call it racism.
We do not believe in divine promises as a justification for occupation and apartheid. We have left the Middle Ages behind. We laugh uneasily at those who still believe that the God of flora, fauna and the galaxies has selected one people in particular as his favorite and given it silly, stone tablets, burning bushes and a license to kill. We call baby killers “baby killers” and will never accept that people such as these have a divine or historic mandate excusing their outrages.
Are Christians the “Chosen People” of GOD?
Supersessionism (or replacement theology) is the belief that Christian believers have replaced physical Israelites as God’s Chosen People.
In this view, Israel’s chosenness found its ultimate fulfillment through the message of Jesus; Jews who remain non-Christian are no longer considered to be chosen, since they reject Jesus as the Messiah and son of God. Christians who ascribe to supersessionism rely on Biblical references such as Galatians 3:28-29 to support their position that followers of Jesus, not Jews, are the chosen of God and heirs to God’s promises to Abraham today: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The Jews had corrupted the Bible: Let us look at what GOD Almighty said to the Jews in the Bible: “`How can you say, “We [the Jews] are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?’ (From the NIV Bible, Jeremiah 8:8)”
The Revised Standard Version makes it even clearer: “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. (From the RSV Bible, Jeremiah 8:8)”
In either translation, we clearly see that the Jews had so much corrupted the Bible with their man-made cultural laws and fabrications, that they had turned the Bible into a lie! See Also Deuteronomy 31:25-29 where Moses peace be upon him predicted the corruption/tampering of the Law (Bible) after his death.
The Book of Moses predicted that the Law (Bible) will get corrupted. The Book of Jeremiah which came approximately 826 years after did indeed confirm this corruption.
Roman Catholicism: Roman Catholicism has traditionally taught that all non-Christians would not be saved. Today many within the Roman Catholic Church teach that salvation is not ruled out for those who have not had the Gospel proclaimed to them, nor the possibility of asking to be baptized.
Latter Day Saints: In Mormonism, the Latter Day Saints are viewed as a chosen people. In contrast to supersessionism, Latter Day Saints do not dispute the “chosen” status of the Jewish people. Indeed, some Latter Day Saints view themselves as chosen because they are Israelites, in one of two ways: (1) some European and Asian Latter Day Saints claim literally to have Israelite blood, usually from the lost tribe of Ephraim; (2) others claim that when they accept Mormonism, they become an adopted Israelite.
Christian Identity groups: Christian Identity groups, based on a fusion of Nazi ideology of white supremacy and fundamentalist Christianity, have developed a theology which holds that God hates the Jews, and that only white Christians are God’s chosen people. These groups are rejected as non-Christian by the great majority of mainstream Christian churches.
As an example, The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord is a Christian Identity movement which preaches that “Jews of today are not God’s chosen people, but are in fact an anti-Christ race, whose purpose is to destroy God’s people and Christianity through its Talmudic teaching, forced inter-racial mixings, and perversions.”
An example of this type of thought is exhibited in the Christian writing, Phillipians 2:5-8: “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.
Also, some Christian denominations have considered themselves to be the “true” Christians, at some time or another, rejecting other believers as not belonging to God’s chosen ones, also called the Elect. The Book of Revelation refers to 144,000 who will be chosen from the tribes of Israel as the Elect. They are mentioned three times:
– Revelation 7:3-8—”Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads. And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel.”
– Revelation 14:1—”Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
– Revelation 14:3-5—”And they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
For it is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.” These numbers are variously interpreted in traditional Christianity. Some, taking the numbers in Revelation to be symbolic, believe it represents all of God’s people throughout history in the heavenly Church.
Others insist the number 144,000 is literal. Some believe that they are literal descendants of Jacob who will have a distinct role at the time of the end of the world, while others believe they are a special group of Christians symbolically referred to as Jews. Some Calvinists believe the number, though not necessarily literal, refers to a finite number of Christians who have been predestined to salvation. Still others take the Book of Revelation to refer to the times in which it was written, and not to any current or future era.
Other Christians reject supersessionism and believe that members of other religions can also reach heaven. They cite verses such as Romans 2:6-11, “For God will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil and honor and peace to everyone who does good. For there is no partiality with God.
Are Muslims the “Chosen People” of GOD?
Are Muslims the “Chosen People” of GOD? If not, then who are? No race, color or gender are chosen by GOD (Allah) Almighty in Islam. Everyone is evaluated by his or her Good Deeds.
In the Name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful.Allah Almighty said in the Noble Al Qur’an: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things).” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujarat, Verse:13)
Muslims believe that the idea of “Chosen People” is a Jewish lie that was fabricated and inserted into the Bible to make the People of Israel be the Superior over all nations.“Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood and conceal the Truth while ye have knowledge?” (Al Qur’an SurahAl-i-Imran, Verse:71).
The Bible, however, admits that it got corrupted by the Jews themselves, thus making their bogus claims get easily evaporated into the air. The Jews had corrupted the Bible: Let us look at what GOD Almighty said to the Jews in the Bible: “`How can you say, “We [the Jews] are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?’ (From the NIV Bible, Jeremiah 8:8)”
Some Muslims believe Islam is Exclusive, and some do not. Muslims who believe that Muslims, Christians and Jews all serve the same God cite Quranic verses such as:
“Say, ‘People of the Book! come to a proposition which is the same for us and you – that we should worship none but Allah and not associate any partners with Him and not take one another as lords besides Allah.’ If they turn away, say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.’ “(Al Qur’an Surah Al ‘Imran, Verse:64)
This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are Believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time, when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). (Al Qur’an, Surah Al-Ma’ida, Verse:5)
Among the people of the Book there are some who have iman in Allah and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and who are humble before Allah. They do not sell Allah’s Signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord. And Allah is swift at reckoning. (Al Qur’an Surah Al ‘Imran; Verse:199)
Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided. (Al Qur’an, Surat an-Nahl; Verse:125)
…You will find the people most affectionate to those who have iman are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’ That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. (Al Qur’an, Surat al-Ma’ida, Verse:82)
Only argue with the People of the Book in the kindest way – except in the case of those of them who do wrong – saying, ‘We have iman in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him.'(Al Qur’an, Surat al-‘Ankabut; Verse:46)
…There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite Allah’s Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They have iman in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the salihun. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. Allah knows those who have taqwa. (Al Qur’an, Surah Al ‘Imran: Verse:113-115)
Those with iman, those who are Jews, and the Christians and Sabaeans, all who have iman in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Al Qur’an, Surat al-Baqara; Verse:62)
Muslims who believe Islam is in an adversarial relationship with Christianity and Judaism, cite other verses such as: “O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al Maidah, Verse:51)
“Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood and conceal the Truth while ye have knowledge?” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al-i-Imran, Verse:71)
“Can ye, o ye men of Faith, entertain the hope that they will believe in you? Seeing that a party of them heard the Word of God and perverted it knowingly after they understood it.” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah, Verse:75)
Islamic views of chosenness: According to Islam, the leaders of both Judaism and Christianity deliberately altered the true word of God, and thus led all of their believers down a false path: “Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood and conceal the Truth while ye have knowledge?” (Al Qur’an SurahAl-i-Imran, Verse:71); Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: “We hear and we disobey”; and “Hear, may you not hear;” and “Ra’ina”; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said; “We hear and we obey”; and “Do hear”; and “Do look at us”: it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe. (Al Qur’an, Surah An-Nisaa, Verse:46).
Some parts of the Quran attribute differences between Muslims and non-Muslims to tahri fi-manawi, a “corruption of the meaning” of the words. In this view, the Jewish Bible and Christian New Testament are true, but the Jews and Christians misunderstood the meaning of their own Scriptures, and thus need Al Qur’an to clearly understand the will of God. Other parts of Al Qur’an teach that many Jews and Christians deliberately altered their scripture, and thus altered the word of God in order to deceive their co-religionists. This belief was developed further in medieval Islamic polemics, and is a mainstream belief in much of Islam today. This is known as the doctrine of tahrifi-lafzi, “the corruption of the text”.
According to Al Quran, Prophet Mohammed PBUH charges the Jewish people with “falsehood” (Surah 3:71), distortion (Surah 4:46), and of being “corrupters of Scripture.”
“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say: “This is from God”, to traffic with it for a miserable price! – Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah, Verse:79)
Based on Al Qur’an, Islamic supersessionism retroactively rewrites the role of Abraham, and presents Muslims as the only people chosen to carry the true word of God. “Ibrahim was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah’s (which is Islam), and he joined not gods with Allah.” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al-Imran, Verse 67).
“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject Faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al Qur’an, Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 3).
Some people asked Allah’s Apostle (Prophet Muhammad PBUH), “Whose Islam is the best? i.e. (Who is a very good Muslim)?” He replied, “One who avoids harming the Muslims with his tongue and hands.” -Hadith narrated by Abu Musa, as related by Al-Bukhari. Who is the true Muslim? “A true Muslim is the one who does not defame or abuse others; but the truly righteous becomes a refuge for humankind, their lives and their properties.” -The Prophet Muhammad PBUH, as narrated by Abd’Allah bin Amr.
Once the Prophet Muhammad PBUH was asked, “Who are the chosen people of God?” He replied, “The truthful and the pure-hearted.” “O Prophet of Allah,” they said, “truthful we understand, but who are the pure-hearted?” “Those who neither fall into sin, nor transgress, who neither deceive nor bear malice. Such are the pure of heart.” – Hadith reported by Abd’Allah bin Amr .
God kindles the fire of love in the hearts of the chosen, so that their carnal selves are consumed. Once ignited the fire of longing never dies. That is the flame about which the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “When God wills the good of his servant, He kindles a light of faith in his heart.” When they asked him what were the signs of that fire, he replied, “Deviation from the abode of vanity; progression toward the Eternal.” – Abu Sa’id, “Rabi’a the Mystic” (HSH)
1. Encyclopedia of Judaism: Chosen People.
8. “The Difference Between Judaism and Zionism” by G. Neuburger.
9. “God’s Chosen People” by Jostein Gaarder
10. The Holy Qur’an Tafsir by Muhammad Khan and Yusuf Ali.