Who are the elect?

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said, the angels “will gather his elect”. The word “elect” is translated from the Greek word “eklektos.” The Greek word “eklektos” is recorded 24 times in the New Testament manuscripts and it is translated either "the elect" or "the chosen." So, who are the elect that Jesus is referring to in the Olivet Discourse?

Some believe "the elect" is Israel others believe "the elect" is all believers.

Whenever we have a question regarding what God means, we should always ask God for the answer. We do this by searching His Word to see what else He says on the topic. So, let’s examine Scripture to see what God says about His elect.

For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect [eklektos] those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect [eklektos]- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. "Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect [eklektos] from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other (Matthew 24:21-31).

If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, [eklektos] whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.  At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect [eklektos]--if that were possible… And he will send his angels and gather his elect [eklektos] from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens (Mark 13:20-27).

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen [eklektos] (Matthew 20:16).

"For many are invited, but few are chosen [eklektos]" (Matthew 22:14)

And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen [eklektos] ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:6-8)

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen [eklektos] One" (Luke 23:35)

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen [eklektos]? It is God who justifies (Romans 8:29-33).

Greet Rufus, chosen [eklektos] in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings. I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them (Romans 16:13-17).

Therefore, as God's chosen [eklektos] people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful (Colossians 3:12-15).

I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect [eklektos] angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism (1 Timothy 5:21).

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect [eklektos], that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10).

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect [eklektos] and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness (Titus 1:1)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect [eklektos] strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance (1 Peter 1:1-2).

As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen [eklektos] by God and precious to him-- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:4-10)

The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth--and not I only, but also all who know the truth-- because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever… The children of your chosen [eklektos] sister send greetings (2 John 1:1-2, 13).

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen [eklektos] and faithful followers" (Revelation 17:14)

As we can see in God’s Word “eklektos” is used to refer to Jesus’ disciples, Jewish believers, Gentile believers, the angels of God, members of the Church and even for Christ Himself.

Therefore, when Jesus says - “for the sake of the elect,” “to deceive even the electand “ they will gather his elect- He is referring to all believers.

Therefore, Jesus was describing what "the elect" see during the Great Tribulation before His angels gather them at the trumpet call.

For those who still believe "the elect" is Israel, not the Church, God's Word says.

What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did (Romans 11:7).

Richard H Perry