Exactly what is meant that the Jews are God's chosen people?

A thread in GD made me realize that I never actually knew what it meant that the Jews were the chosen people.

Within the contexts of modern Judaism, what do Jews today believe it means? Is there a consensus? Is it simply that God likes them better? Will get better rewards in the afterlife than the non-Jew?

On a related topic, it was my understanding that some Christians, if not the majority, also believe the Jews to be the Chosen People. Is the Christian view of what this means any different from the Jewish view? I realize a lot of Christians believe a lot of different things, but perhaps someone can describe what the major sects believe.

One possible reason.

Others sure to follow.

Ah, so it is believed they were chosen to deliver God’s message. And since the New Testament is also from Jews, no conflict with Christianity. Thanks NoClueBoy.

That’s what I got out of it, too.

Since the writers of the NT were stil natural Jews, even though they changed religions, the favor seems to have extended into the first century. However, Paul and Peter both also taught that there is no difference to God at the end. Each stands for his own actions. Or something like that.

I have no idea about modern Judaism or Church dogma on this matter. I just remembered the Romans cite.

Being a jew means, follow these rules. All of them. And the jewish people, as a whole, shall not perish from the earth.

That’s really about all the ‘chosen people’ bit means. Chosen to test, chosen to torment, but chosen to survive. Don’t know if He likes us better. Don’t really think so, we simply made a compact with Him long ago, to not die. There’s really no heaven or hell involved. No better spot, no preferred parking. In fact, it means stricter rules to follow, than those who aren’t jewish.

But, in the end, we shall not perish from the earth.

IMHO, based loosely on Scripture:

At first the Children of Israel thought themselves to be “God’s pets” – the ones He particularly liked among all the peoples of the Earth.

Then they found out the truth – they were to be His examples – the ones who were supposed to show the rest of the world what He wanted people to be, by living it out in their own lives.

The second half of the Book of Isaiah spells this out.

And now Christians are supposed to join them in being that kind of example.

Sometimes they, and we, don’t do a particularly good job of it – or even a completely abominable job. But that’s the call, the proposition, the ideal to which we’re supposed to aspire.

These NT (Christian) verses seem to uphold the view of everyone having personal accountability, but Jews, then Christians had further responsibility of being examples of good faith and bearing God’s Word to the World.

I’m curious to hear the Morman take on this. Is it Monty? And what does Catholic Catechism teach? Fundamentalists, too.

For that matter, how does Islam view this?

Catechism of the Catholic Church

(Not that the RCC has been particularly keen to remember this or act on it throughout history.)


That is an eye opener.

Thanks, Tom

Any cultural group with a strong religious identity believed themselves the chosen of their own particular view of Divinity. It was a pretty common aspect of Asian mysticism.

The Jews were the chosen of YHWH…

The Egyptians were the chosen of Horus…

The Persians were the chosen of Ahura-Mazda…


Of course, the temples of Horus and Ahura-Mazda are destroyed or museums, while the synagogues of the Jews are still operating after 2,600 years (or 3,250 years, depending on who is doing the reckoning). Maybe there was something to it? :wink:

Well, to be completely fair, Tom~, (though I agree wholeheartedly with the purport of your post), I’d have to point out that not all the temples of Ahura-Mazda are destroyed or museums. http://www.ad2000.org/profiles/parsee.htm

I can’t remember the exact spot, but somewhere in the Bible, God refers to the Israelites (and their descendents, the Jews) as His “firstborn.” It’s not that God likes them “better”, it’s that they were the first to understand the Message – that there is such a thing as morality – and so there is a special relationship. Like a parent, who has a special relationship with the firstborn child. More is expected of them, and the relationship is special because they were first.

Most highly recommend reading it yourself.

I know exactly one Morman. “Morman” is someone’s surname. It is not the colloquial name for the LDS church. I presume you mean Mormon. :wink: {Sorry, it’s just one of my pet peeves to see “Mormon” spelled “Morman.”}

FWIR, some Fundamentalist outfits teach that the Jews abrogated their covenant with the Lord by not accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

As far as the Mormon teaching goes, the Jews were the Chosen People because they entered into a covenant with God. That covenant was “to be a peculiar people,” by which is meant that they were to comport themselves by the teachings of a particular moral system. The reason we call them Gentiles is that we believe that anyone who’s not a member of the LDS church is not a member of Zion–meaning they haven’t accepted the restored Gospel. For those of us who have accepted the restored Gospel, we consider ourselves to have been adopted into Zion.

“Chosen People” doesn’t mean “Better than you.” For a good read on this, read Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out {at least I think that’s the Rabbi Small mystery where the Rabbi is teaching an introductory course in Judaism at Windemere Christian College}.

Monty: Todd Morman is an emphatically “out” gay journalist of some local repute in this area and IIRC a (fairly inactive) member of the local MCC congregation, which has a concert-level gospel choir – in token of which some of us have christened that group the “Morman Tabernacle Choir!” :wink:

FWIW, No Clue Boy, in LDS belief, Mormon was the name of the last-but-one prophet of the Nephites, the one who collected their sacred writings, which was therefore named after him. (His son Moroni was the last of the lot, and put the final touches on the book.) One or the other of them appeared to Joseph Smith as a “Resurrected Personage” (erroneously but useful for getting the idea across conceived of as “angel”) to guide him to the plates on which the Book of Mormon was engraved. (That’s from reading up on LDS beliefs about 30 years ago – one of our resident LDS folks can correct the inevitable errors.)

I think i like Polycarp’s take on the Jews as an example (and they’ve been a great one). Also, Tomndebb, Zoroastrianism is still a living religion, albeit a small one.

There is a midrashim (the Midrash is a collection of explanations of the bible written by humans) on this I believe. It has something to do with how god wanted a chosen people, so he went around to a bunch of civilizations- the Sumerians, the Egyptians, etc. and they all turned him down. He finally went to the Hebrews and they said yes. And the rest is history.

(Of course, that is a terrible adaptation. Maybe someone who didn’t vaguely overhear this midrashim while not paying attention at Hebrew school could explain it better.) The truth is this actually sparked up a debate thousands of years ago- enough for someone to put it in the Jewish Midrash, at least.

Sorry for the totally unintended slight of the LDS, Monty. I just always heard them as Mormons, so I used that term. And I can’t even spell my own name right, half the time…

I find your explanation of “The Chosen” quite interesting.
Poly, thanks for the reminder. I, too, am separated from reading the Book of Mormon by a couple of decades.

Splanky, any web sites with that? I’m doing a search as we speak, but if you have a place, I would appreciate it.