This subject dovetails into many others, including predestination, but I’m only going to address this particular verse in Matt 22:14 in context for now. I don’t typically study using Strong’s because Strong’s only defines words, and studying verses by simply looking at the word meanings is the Greek way of thinking and may not necessarily reflect the intended meaning. I study Hebraically, using thematic analysis primarily.
However, in this case I had to look at the original Greek to see exactly what was penned and from that, I talk about the proper grammar usages. This sounds boring, even to me and I wrote it, but I assure you that if you read all of it, you will know that this verse is not saying what we’ve been taught that it says.
If you look up the original Greek, you’ll see that it says “few however chosen.”
“However” is a conjunction which means an opposite is about to be mentioned. “However” also means “but.”
In the sentence, “many are called, few chosen” – there are two people, or groups of people, implied in the way the sentence was spoken. The two people (or groups) are the person who calls, and the person (or people) whose choose.
The pronouns that would represent the person doing the calling (who is the subject of the sentence) and the people doing the choosing (who are the object of the sentence – the sentence is talking about them) are not there because that’s the way Yeshua spoke.
If we were to put the subject’s name in there for both parts of the sentence, then we’ll see that it doesn’t make sense using the “but” or “however.”
“Yah calls many HOWEVER Yah chose few.”
That doesn’t make sense because it’s the same person calling and choosing; and it’s not an opposite action. If the subject was the cause of both parts of the sentence, the calling and choosing, then a different conjunction would have been used, like “and.”
“Yah calls many AND Yah chose few”
That doesn’t make sense because it’s the same subject and object, but the actions are not the same, or similar. If this was an either/or situation, this would read:
“Yah calls many OR Yah chose few”
Again, this makes no sense. Same subject (Yah) and no opposing actions.
My husband gave me an analogy of why calling and choosing are not opposing actions. Let’s say that my husband was telling me that the grass needs cut and the leaves need to be raked up.
He could say, “I’ll mow the grass AND rake the leaves.” This would imply that he will do both parts of the yard work.
Or, he could say, “I’ll mow the grass OR rake the leaves.” This tells me that one of the chores will be done, but not both.
If my husband says, “I’ll mow the grass, however, you rake the leaves,” then I know that I need to do something, too.
If we took the pronouns out of this sentence, we get this:
“Mow grass, however, rake leaves.” This ONLY makes sense if my husband was planning on mowing, and expecting me to rake. Going back to the verse, “Many are called, however, few chosen,” this only makes sense if Yah was calling, and expecting those called to choose.
I know this is confusing. The Christians believe that if someone is called, they automatically choose to accept, but that’s not always true. To use today’s words, we could say,
“Many are invited, but few RSVP.” The person sending out the invites is not going to respond to them, too. When Yah calls, He’s sending out invites. He will not choose who will respond to those invitations; that decision is for the person who got the invite in the mail. This is the exact context of the parable in Matthew 22.
So, to answer the question, if the verse was translated with proper grammar, it would read:
“Many are called, however, few HAVE chosen.”
We are the recipients. We are the ones who have to respond with an RSVP. We are the ones who have to choose whether we’ll accept His invitation (because He first chose us at the foundation of the earth).
Deut 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Matt 7:13,14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”