Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
A Sacred Nation
by Jory Steven Brooks
Question: God divorced Israel, it then follows he must have been married to her. Can you tell me scripture where he married Israel and took her to himself as a peculiar people? -- J.C., Yakima, Washington
Answer: The nation of Israel was born at Mount Sinai shortly after the exodus from Egypt. We read about this event in Exodus 19:5-6, "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." This is alluded to in several New Testament passages as well: 1 Peter 2:9;Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.
John Trapp's Commentary says, "The arrival of the people at this place is the climactic point of the entire Book of Exodus. Everything else is prelude; what follows is postlude. Sinai is the scene of the sealing of the covenant, and the establishment of a continuing relationship between God and Israel." That relationship is likened to a national marriage covenant. Adam Clarke said, "Thus they should be both a kingdom, having God for their governor; and a nation, a multitude of peoples connected together." John Peter Lange's Commentary says, "According to the Hebrew text, the kingdom as a unit, or the realm as a body of citizens, is a nation of priests. The individuals are priests; the unity of their commonwealth is a kingdom, whose king is Jehovah...a typical people, a typical kingdom of God, a typical law, a typical sacrifice."
With all of the modern arguments over a literal versus Spiritual Israel, it is important to note that Israel was BOTH: "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Israel has an important priestly role, carrying the Word of the LORD to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). What people have done the Gospel work that Israel was prophesied to do? Christian writers have also ignored the fact that latter-day Israel was to be a kingdom ruled by kings. The Pulpit Commentary tells us that in their secular role, Israel was "intended to exercise lordship over the heathen." The Bible Knowledge Commentary concurs, saying, Israel not only became a nation, but God's covenant "would give Israel an exalted position among the nations."
Perhaps the best explanation of latter-day Israel's kingdom role is given by the Biblical Illustrator Commentary: "The destiny -- the calling and election -- of the nation of Israel was higher and holier than the destiny of any other nation. So long as national distinctions and national characteristics exist at all, there must exist along with them corresponding national duties and national responsibilities. What is it, then, for England and for us? It may be said that it is the manifest destiny of England to colonize and subdue the earth, to girdle it with rails of iron and steel, and lines of telegraph wire. It is in words like these -- Duty and Justice -- in the response which they awaken in our hearts, that we English people find the revelation of our national calling and election of God. As a nation, we are called, in a special sense, to be just and dutiful. And if our children are to go out into distant lands, and among subject peoples, to be models of duty and justice there, they must be nursed and trained in those principles first at home...and so to uphold the true glory of the English name, in whatever circumstances we may be placed -- whether at home, or amongst strangers and foreigners in some far distant land. It was so with the heroes of England in the past."
Yes, in their consecration as a nation, we have two distinguishing marks of latter-day Israel: a nation of kings and a God-fearing (i.e. Christian) people. As Barnes Commentary says, "a Sacred Nation."
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