Are the Jews God’s Chosen people? What does “chosen” mean? Let’s find out.
The meaning of “Chosen” has changed over time and has a different meaning for different groups. The first reference to God’s Chosen people is in Exodus.
5. And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth. 6. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
Both Catholicism and Protestantism believe that God chose the Jews, but that two thousand years ago a new covenant was made with Christianity. During most of Christian history, and among Evangelical Christians of present day, Christian “chosenness” meant that only Christians go to heaven while the “non-chosen” are either placed in limbo or are damned.
The Jewish belief in being the Chosen People vastly differs from that of Christianity. Judaism believes that being God’s Chosen People has nothing to do with racial superiority or egocentrism, or even of attaining a place in Heaven, but rather, has everything to do with a sense of unique responsibility and the idea of Divine duty and obligation.
The “Chosen People” refers to Jews as “chosen,” to remind the world of Abraham’s monotheistic message and to remind the world of a moral code, and a system of ethics that has already shaped the world around us, thereby elevating humanity (Jews and non-Jews alike).
The Torah constantly reminds the Jewish people of their mistakes and of the importance of remaining a servant of God. It is through these lessons of self-consciousness that they are reminded of their mission, as Isaiah expressed, of being a “Light to the nations.”
6. I am the Lord; I called you with righteousness and I will strengthen your hand; and I formed you, and I made you for a people’s covenant, for a light to nations.
Role of the Jews and Non-Jew
Jewish tradition teaches that there are complementary roles of Jew and non-Jew integral to the notion of perfecting God’s world. Unlike other religions, Judaism is remarkably accepting to the notion of multiple paths to God.
The Talmud teaches that there are 70 original families with 70 paths within the great “family of man.” Each individual has his or her path within a path, yet, there is one unifying entity for all—the Torah, which is considered a blueprint for the life of all humankind. The Seven Laws of Noah (since all humans are descended from Noah) are laws which are the pillars of human civilization. For those who are not Jewish, adhering to these principles gains them acceptance as righteous in God’s eyes.