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Throughout history, various groups of people have considered themselves to be chosen people by a deity for a purpose, such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths, like Abrahamic religions, references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People". Modern anthropology regards these claims as a form of ethnocentrism, although religious authorities would argue that this is unfounded.
In the Hebrew Bible, (or the Tanakh), called the "Old Testament" by Christians, the "Treasured People" is the exact phrase used in the text, referring to the Hebrews/Israelites. In the Book of Deuteronomy, YHWH proclaims the Nation of Israel, known originally as the Children of Israel, as his "treasured people out of all the people on the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy 7:6). As mentioned in the Book of Exodus, the Hebrew people are God's chosen people, and from them shall come the Messiah, or redeemer of the world. The Israelites also possess the "Word of God" and/or the "Law of God" in the form of the Torah as communicated by God to Moses.
In Judaism, chosenness is the belief that the Jews are a people chosen to be in a covenant with God. The Jewish idea of being chosen is first found in the Torah (five books of Moses) and is elaborated on in later books of the Hebrew Bible. This status carries both responsibilities and blessings as described in the Biblical covenants with God. Much is written about this topic in rabbinic literature.
The chosenness refers to a specific set of responsibilities beyond the Seven Laws of Noah given to all mankind. Every child of Noah (non-Jew) has the responsibility to live by the seven Noahide laws. Though not held by authority figures of the religious Jews around the world, there are people[who?] with the opinion that the acceptance to adhere to the laws and commandments of Judaism make the chosen character as one of the Jewish people choosing to be in the covenant with God and not the other way around. The usual Orthodox thinking states that even completely secular Jews are part of the Jewish nation and are 'full-fledged' Jews.
Most mainstream Christians are of the view that all people who turn to Christ as their personal saviour are 'chosen' in the context of John 15:16 whereby Jesus referred to God's plan of salvation as his great redeeming work on the cross, that all who come to faith in him does so freely and are 'chosen' to bear 'fruit that lasts'. 1 Peter 2:9 refers to these (Christians) as 'chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession' .
In traditional Seventh-day Adventist theology, the Seventh-day Adventist church is identified as the end time remnant identified in Revelation 12:17. According to this view, Adventists are "chosen" by God to proclaim the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 to the world.
In Mormonism, all Latter Day Saints are viewed as covenant, or chosen, people because they have accepted the name of Jesus Christ through the ordinance of baptism. In contrast to supersessionism, Latter Day Saints do not dispute the "chosen" status of the Jewish people. In Mormon doctrine, all people who have ever lived will have the ability to enter into this covenant during the Millennium. Mormon eschatology holds that Jews, as a chosen people, will ultimately accept Mormonism (see Jeremiah 31:31–34).
Most practicing Mormons receive a patriarchal blessing that reveals their lineage in the House of Israel. This lineage may be blood related or through "adoption;" therefore, a child may not necessarily share the lineage of her parents (but will still be a member of the tribes of Israel). It is a widely held belief that most members of the faith are in the tribe of Ephraim or the tribe of Manasseh.
Rastafaris beliefs contain six fundamental principles, including the complete chosenness of the black race in the eyes of Jah (God incarnate), rendering them supreme physically and spiritually to all other people. Many Rastas are also physical immortalists who believe the chosen few will continue to live forever in their current bodies. This idea of ever living (rather than everlasting) life is very strong and important.
Based on Jewish biblical tradition and Ethiopian legend via Kebra Nagast, Rastas believe that Israel's King Solomon, together with Ethiopian Queen of Sheba, conceived a child which began the Solomonic line of kings in Ethiopia, rendering the African people as the true children of Israel, and thereby chosen. Reinforcement of this belief occurred when Beta Israel, Ethiopia's ancient Israelite First Temple community, were rescued from Sudanese famine and brought to Israel during Operation Moses in 1985.
Sun Myung Moon taught that Korea is the chosen nation, selected to serve a divine mission and was "chosen by God to be the birthplace of the leading figure of the age" and was the birthplace of "Heavenly Tradition", ushering in God's kingdom.
- William A. Haviland; Harald E. L. Prins; Dana Walrath; Bunny McBride (2009). The Essence of Anthropology. Cengage Learning. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-495-59981-4.
- D. Stanley Eitzen; Maxine Baca Zinn (2003). In conflict and order: understanding society (10th ed.). Pearson. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-205-37622-3.
- Jonathan Sacks (2009). Future Tense: A Vision for Jews and Judaism in the Global Culture. Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-97985-3.
- Daniel H. Ludlow, "Of the House of Israel", Ensign, January 1991.
- "Genesis 44 – Joseph Tests His Brothers". lds.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Questions and Answers - The Second Coming - Rev Moon And Korea. Unofficial Notes from International Conferences for Clergy. Retrieved 10 March 2010.