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In the parable (Mt. 22:1-14), those who had been invited refused to come. However, the wedding hall was filled with guests nonetheless. Of the many in the hall, only a man (not wearing wedding clothes) was kicked out of the banquet hall. So, how can verse 14 be understood in the context of the parable?

Text: Mt. 22:14 - For many are called, but few are chosen.(ESV)

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  • By his behaviour (not respecting the purpose of the calling) he proved he was of the many and was not one of the few. I don't see any difficulty, here.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 20, 2022 at 8:41

4 Answers 4

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In [Matthew 22], Individuals who are :

ἐκλεκτός "eklektos" (Chosen)
to join the "γάμος" gamos (wedding) of the Prince are described as :
"anakeimai" ἀνάκειμαι (Guests)
which "duolos" δοῦλος (servants) have "kletos" κλητός (called) to Wear a particular:
"gamos endyma" γάμος ἔνδυμα (Wedding Garment)

[WHAT] is the ἐκλεκτός Chosen γάμος ἔνδυμα Wedding Garment, in [Matthew 22]?

The בִּגְדֵי יֶשַׁע "Garments of Salvation" from [Isaiah 61:10] are the robes of צְדָקָה "Tsedakah".

  • Only a Few consistently exhibit צְדָקָה Tsedakah (Justice/Charity/Righteousness).
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This verse is, of course, part of Jesus ’parable of the wedding feast that describes the relationship between the Christian church and Jesus. Several interpretations have been put forward. It is often thought that Jesus here means "many" are Jewish people but "few" are Gentiles. However, it is important not to draw too direct conclusions.

Pulpit Commentary states:

The rejected guest is a type of a numerous class (see Matthew 20:6). All the Jews had first been called; then all the Gentiles; many were they who obeyed not the call; and of those who did come in, many were not of the inner election, of those, that is, whose life and character were worthy of the Christian name, showing the graces of faith, holiness, and love. --

It would not make sense to think that either of these words would only apply to a particular group. It could simply mean that there were many invited from the nation of Israel to become members of Christ’s "bride", that is a christian congregation, but only a few natural Israelites were chosen. Jesus preached primarily to the Jews. It was not until after his resurrection that the message was extended to the Gentiles. It does not also indicate that the majority of those who are actually 'invited' would prove unfaithful and have to be replaced. I think it is clear that there is a simple idea behind the verse; Many hear the message of Christ but quite a few actually accept it.

This was a royal wedding, and it is likely that a special garment was provided by the royal host for his guests on an occasion such as this. If so, the failure of one of the guests to be clothed with the marriage garment indicated that he had spurned the garment provided by the king when it was offered to him.

Just as a uniform or special attire identifies one as belonging to a certain organization or supporting a certain movement, so clothing, as used symbolically in the Bible, indicates the identification of a person by the stand he takes and his activities in harmony with it, as in the case of Jesus’ illustration of the marriage garment.

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Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges commentary states:

As of the other parables of the Passion, the primary intention of this regards the present and the immediate future. The parable falls into two divisions, (1) Mat 22:1-7; (2) Mat 22:8-14. In the first (1) the servants are John Baptist and the first disciples of Christ; the feast is the Kingdom of God, or the Christian Church; the invited guests, who refuse to come, are the Jews; the vengeance taken was literally fulfilled at the siege of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. (2) This division relates to the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. As in the Net (ch. Mat 13:47) or in the Corn-field (ch. Mat 13:24), worthy and unworthy are mingled until the King separates.

The primary invitees represent the Jews (Rom 1:16, 9:4-5), the secondary invitees are the nations, the Gentiles. Even some Gentiles fail to qualify for the conditions to be worthy of the feast, in failing in the required dress code, which must represent holiness. The punishment clearly shows hell.

"For many are called, but few are chosen." means the Good news of salvation through repentance and faith is preached to many, but only few qualifies to its conditions, i.e. only few among the believers win the crown of life in heaven. See Matt 10:22; Mark 13:13; Luke 8:15; Rom 2:7.

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The question involves a query about the interpretation of Matthew 22:14 'For many are invited, but few are chosen'. In the banquet, only one guest is expelled, should it be many are chosen, and few are expelled?

Who are the "many" (invited) and "few" (chosen)?

The Jews might be able to perceive the parable of the Banquet referred to the feast of salvation in the End Times, if they remembered the book of Isaiah;

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines. (Isaiah 25:6 NIV)

Whether they understood the people in Matthew 22:10 refers to the Gentiles is not known. So many are called, but the parable doesn't say how is one to be chosen. The parable just give a hint there is one who doesn't dress properly is expelled. So this one is a typical figure to many who would be expelled. In other words, "many are invited" does not equal to "many are chosen". The invitation is just the beginning, each guest has to be justified their qualification.

In Revelation, we see who is chosen, the one who is victorious

The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. (Revelation 3:5 NIV)

We see the 24 elders are dressed in white (Rev 4:4); the great multitude are also wearing white robes (Rev 7:9), white robe that was given (Rev 6:11). So the chosen one is one who is victorious and is given white robe to wear.

The word 'few' in the statement 'For many are invited, but few are chosen' has not been fully revealed in the parable, but it is clear as a warning to the invitee avoid to be one of the 'many'.

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