The Called and Chosen and Faithful

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” —Revelation 17:14

THE symbolic beasts of the Bible represent the powers of evil which through the ages have been arraigned against the Lamb and those associated with the Lamb. Prior to the 17th chapter of Revelation these unholy beasts, each representing some aspect of Satan’s effort to destroy the seed of the woman, are usually shown to be victorious over the people of God. In the Book of Daniel it is said that one of these evil forms of government shall “wear out the saints of the Most High.”—Dan. 7:25

But beginning in the 17th chapter of Revelation the scene changes. Here, while certain of these evil forces “make war with the Lamb, … the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14) In other words, in this prophecy both the Lamb and his true followers who are with him are victorious over the forces of evil.

It is significant to note that when the time comes for the saints to be able to resist the forces of evil that endeavor to destroy them, and are completely successful in this resistance, they are with the Lamb. The Lamb overcomes those who wage war against him, and those who are with the Lamb share in that triumph over Satan’s evil forces. They are with the Lamb because they had been called of God, chosen of God, and faithful to the terms of their call and choosing. A similar sequence of facts is presented to us by the Apostle Peter. He is urging the brethren to be faithful, and to be zealous in adding to their faith virtue, “and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love.” (II Pet. 1:5-7) To this Peter adds, “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”—vss. 8,9

Then Peter gives the climax of what this effort toward righteousness really means in a Christian’s life when he says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” (vs. 10) The “calling” referred to here is the same as the calling referred to in Revelation 17:14. Peter’s use of the word election has essentially the same significance as the Revelator’s use of the word chosen. The Revelator concludes his thought with the word faithful—the called, the chosen, the faithful. Peter suggests the same thought when he urges the brethren to give all diligence. If we give all diligence it means that we are faithful, and the great objective is to make our calling and election sure, or to be among the called and chosen and faithful.

The Calling

What is this calling to which the Scriptures give such great emphasis? Paul answers in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” We see from this that for one thing the calling of God to his people during the present Gospel Age is a very high one. In Hebrews 3:1 we read, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”

Thus we see that this high calling referred to by Paul is “high” because it is a heavenly one. It is a calling which involves an exaltation from earthly things and an earthly home to heavenly things and a heavenly home. It is a high calling also because those who attain to it will enjoy not only a heavenly home but also glory and honor and immortality (Rom. 2:7), and joint-heirship with Jesus in his future kingdom, which will be God’s instrument for blessing all the families of the earth.

How Called

How does this high calling reach those for whom it is designed by God? How can they be sure that they are indeed called? Certainly it is not a trumpet sounding in the sky, but rather, reaches those for whom it is intended through the Word of truth—the Bible. The Bible, of course, is circulated on a very wide scale. Millions read it who know nothing about this high calling. The reason is that their hearts are not attuned to the message of truth which it contains. Those who are looking for God’s leadings in their lives and studying the Scriptures to ascertain what place the Heavenly Father has for them in his great design respond to the invitation involved in this high calling.

We also find their hearts willing to accept the conditions attached to the calling, which are very rigid indeed. Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1) Another condition is that we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. The Master said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) The way of the cross leads to death. It is a narrow way, a difficult way, one that tests the determination of all who undertake to walk in it. Its present reward is suffering and privation, and finally death. It is only at the end that the way leads to the fruition of the Christian’s hope of heavenly glory and joint-heirship with Christ.


It is only after demonstrating to the Lord that we are willing to adhere to the terms of the calling that we are chosen for a position in this lofty aspect of his great plan. The Apostle Peter wrote that the follower of Jesus is “elect [chosen] according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience.” (I Pet. 1:2) Peter is not here supporting the Dark-Age theory of the arbitrary selection of some to be saved and all others of mankind to be lost. He is, rather, writing from the standpoint of Paul’s explanation found in Romans 8:28,29. We quote: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Thus we see that when Peter speaks of being “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” he is referring to the fact that God predestinated that all who would be chosen for exaltation in the kingdom of Christ must be conformed to the character image of his Son. That is why Peter emphasizes that if we give diligence to make our calling sure, we will be adding to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. And it is only, as noted, if we are diligent in this that we can be truly assured we have been chosen (or elected) to be a part of this little flock to whom the Lord will give the kingdom.—Luke 12:32

Together for Blessing Others

The Lord’s called and chosen and faithful people not only participate with him in certain aspects of the time of trouble at the end of the age, but they are also to be with him in the kingdom work of blessing all the families of the earth. These are the ones referred to in Revelation 20:6, in which we see them living and reigning with Christ as priests and as kings. And we know that the purpose of that thousand-year reign is to uplift mankind from sin and from death. What a glorious privilege this is to which all of us who are following the Lamb can look forward! How it should stimulate us to greater faithfulness in the doing of his will!

One of the basic promises concerning the work of blessing to be accomplished through the reign of Christ and his church is the one made to Abraham that through his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. Paul said, “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29) What a wonderful heirship this is—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ in the outworking of God’s loving plan to uplift mankind from sin and death, and to pour out blessings of health and life upon all who will receive them! This great joy was set before Jesus, and it enabled him to endure the cross and despise the shame, and he is now set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. It is a joy which will also enable us to endure the hardships and trials of the narrow way, that we too, like him, may be exalted to glory, honor, and immortality, and live and reign with him a thousand years.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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