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Chosen One

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

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CHOSEN ONE.—This, like ‘Beloved’ (wh. see), seems to have been a pre-Christian designation of the Messiah, ὁ ἐκλεκτός μου occurs in the LXX Septuagint of Isaiah 42:1, and is there defined as Ἰσραήλ. But in the Book of Enoch ‘the Elect one’ is a common title of the Messiah (cf. 40:5, 49:2, 51:3, 5, 52:6, 9, 61:5, 8, 10, 62:1). Traces of it still survive in the Gospels, but there seems to have been a tendency to avoid its use, perhaps on the ground that it might seem to favour so-called ‘Adoptionist’ views of the nature of Christ’s relation to God. Luke 9:35 substitutes ὁ ἐκλελεγμένος (אBL [Note: L Bampton Lecture.] Ξ (I), 274mg Syr Sin a ff. 1. vg. codd. aeg. aeth.cod. arm) for Mk.’s ὁ ἀγαπητύς, and in Luke 23:35 we have ‘the Messiah of God, the Elect.’ Elsewhere the evidence is more doubtful, ὁ ἐκλεκτὸς τοῦ θεοῦ occurs in John 1:34 in א* [Note: In the Latin text (OS2 114. 7) the name is spelt ‘Chorazin’, not ‘Chorozain,’ as stated in Encyc. Bibl., where also the modern name Kerâzeh is once spelt with K, as if it were ק.] 77, 218, Syr Sin Curse, and is adopted by Burkitt, Evangelion da-Mepharreshe, ii. 309. Lastly, ‘approved Son’ is given by Syr Sin in John 3:18 for τοῦ μονογενοῦς υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ. St. Mark and the editor of the First Gospel after him seem to have avoided the ὁ ἐκλεκτός μου of the LXX Septuagint (Isaiah 42:1) in their accounts of the Baptism and Transfiguration, and to have fallen back on a Christianized version of Isaiah 42:1 preserved for us in Matthew 12:18-21, in which ὁ ἐκλεκτός μου had taken the place of ὁ ἐκλεκτός μου of the LXX Septuagint.

Connected with the use of this title of the Messiah in the Gospels is the question as to the meaning of the aorist εὐδόκησα in Mark 1:11 = Matthew 3:17 = Luke 3:22. Bacon (Journ. Theol. Lit. xvi. 136–139) urges that this means ‘(on whom) I fixed my choice,’ i.e. ‘whom I elected,’ and refers in the thought of the Evangelist to the Divine election of Christ by God (cf. AJTh [Note: JTh American Journal of Theology.] ix. 451 ff.). So far as the First Gospel goes, there is much to be said for this. We might bring together the following passages Luke 3:17, Luke 17:5 ἐν ᾦ εὐδόκησα, Luke 11:27 πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου, LUK 28:18 ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς, and possibly the ἦλθον of Matthew 10:40; Matthew 15:24, as all in the mind of the Evangelist referring to the Divine choice, endowment, and mission of the eternally existing ‘Son’ (cf. Matthew 11:27) into the world. To these should be added the citation in Matthew 12:18 ‘Behold my son (servant?) whom I adopted, my beloved in whom my soul was well pleased,’ where the aorists are most easily explained as expressing the Divine selection and appointment of the Messiah in a pre-temporal period. In the thought of the Evangelist, Jesus, born of the Virgin by the Holy Spirit, was the pre-existent Messiah (= Beloved) or Son (Matthew 11:27) who had been forechosen by God (Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5), and who, when born into the world as Jesus, was ‘God-with-us’ (Matthew 1:23). In this respect the writer of the First Gospel shows himself to be under the influence of the same conception of the Person of Christ that dominates the Johannine theology, though this conception under the categories of the Logos and the Divine Son is worked out much more fully in the Fourth than in the First Gospel. On the other hand, terms such as ‘choice,’ ‘adoption,’ which at an early period seem to have been borrowed from the Jewish Messianic doctrine to express it, and which survive here and there in the Synoptic Gospels and in the Acts (cf. Acts 9:22 [Fl. Gig.] and 2 Peter 1:17) are absent from St. John. Such terms were probably gradually dropped out of use because they could be used to support the view of the adoption of the man Jesus to be the Son of God, which they certainly did not originally express.

W. C. Allen.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Chosen One'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdn/​c/chosen-one.html. 1906-1918.
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