The understanding for life, human history, and the future of humanity is centered in discerning Yahweh’s eternal desire for His creation. His purpose for the ages starts to unfold with Israel as is succinctly expressed in a few verses:
Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
“My own possession” holds no human, negative connotation such as controlling or greed; rather, it is similar to how parents may feel toward their children or loving, committed spouses toward their mates.
Think about what Almighty God desired and what He offered to these people. To those God brought out of Egypt, He offer this truly exceptional loving proposal. They did not embrace His desire for them but rather continued to worship false gods; therefore, they all perished in the wilderness. However, their children were again offered the same covenant with its glorious promises. God spoke the following to the new generation:
For you are a holy people to the LORD [Yahweh] your God; the LORD [Yahweh] your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6
Almighty God, the most venerated, holy One of all, selected them out of all the peoples in the world. Could there be anything more glorious and privileged than this loving invitation? He had Moses repeatedly tell them His desire.
Yet on your fathers did the LORD [Yahweh] set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 10:15 [See also 14:2 and 26:18-19.]
History reveals that Israel’s response to their glorious calling was most often feeble and wavering, so eventually God suspended His involvement with them but maintained a promise for their future. With Jesus the Christ, a new covenant with better promises was extended to everyone who believes, not just to Israel. The prophets like Isaiah foretold of Yahweh’s plan, although no one really understood until after Jesus ascended.
But you [this future people] will be called the priests of the LORD [Yahweh]; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. Isaiah 61:6
The New Testament reveals how God’s purpose for the ages is fulfilled in Jesus and how the calling reaches out to everyone in the world. For those who respond, they become the chosen and part of the promises that were once available only to Israel. Using the same language that was spoken just to Israel, Peter explains that all people of both Jew and Gentiles may partake of God’s ages’ purpose.
But you [the saints] are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Chosen race – Those who respond to the call in Christ Jesus are the chosen. “Race” comes from the Greek word genos that means race, family, or offspring. Family and offspring may speak more precisely to God’s calling. The descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29) are a special genealogy that comprise God’s family. The saints are also those who will be raised from the dead, born again (1Peter 1:3 and 23), and thusly partakers of the new, supernatural, eternal race.
Royal priesthood – God is and will always be The King overall; Jesus the prince will return as King of kings. We too will receive the incredible honor of reigning with him as kings in the new Kingdom to come:
….For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; If we endure, we shall also reign with Him… 2Timothy 2:11 & 12
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.Revelation 1:6 (KJV) [See also 5:10 and 20:6.]
The very first time the word “priest” is used in the Bible is regarding the only godly person who was both king and priest and therefore was the type for what Jesus will be and for those of us who with reign with him in the Kingdom to come.
Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.
He blessed him [Abram] and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." He gave him a tenth of all. Genesis 14:18-20
The pattern presented consists of: 1) He blessed Abram, 2) extolled Yahweh, 3) blessed Yahweh, and 4) received Abram’s offering to God. In this brief, wondrous account, we learn the basic priestly function − that which Jesus has done, is doing, and will do in the future Kingdom. We also gain some insight into what we will do in the Kingdom and partly do now as we are in training.
The next occurrence of the word “priest” is in Genesis 41:45 and reveals that the devil mimicked Yahweh and incorporated priests into the worship of him. This greatly expanded quickly (Genesis 47:22 & 26) and remains so till this day.
The priests included in the old covenant also provide insight about Jesus and us (Exodus 28:1-6; 41-43; 29:1-ff).
- The priests were selected by Yahweh.
- They were to minister to Him.
- Their attire was designed by God and assembled “for glory and for beauty.”
- The attire consecrated them so they could “minister as priest to Me.”
- They were cleansed, anointed, ordained, and consecrated by God.
- The sacrifice needed for their consecration was provided and offered by God through Moses.
- They offered sacrifices to Yahweh in accordance with His specific instruction.
The priests of old in many ways model what we are and will be as royal priests:
- We are selected by Yahweh through Jesus Christ.
- We minister to God.
- We are clothed with power from on high, Christ within.
- God made us to be able by Christ to minister as a priest to Him.
- We were cleansed, anointed, ordained, and consecrated by God; therefore, we are holy ones (saints).
- The sacrifice needed for our consecration was provided and offered by God through Christ.
- We offer sacrifices to Yahweh in accordance with His specific instruction.
A HOLY NATION
We the saints (once either Jews or Gentiles) have become what God originally intended for Israel, that is a Holy Nation, God’s own possession (Exodus 19:5 & 6). If we remain faithful, we will be the new nation when the Kingdom of God arrives. Meantime, our citizenship is in the heavenlies (Philippians 3:20-21) and guarded by God (1Peter 1:4-5).
For you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
In view of all these blessings, how should we conduct our lives in this evil world? The verses that follow in 1Peter address this question. Look at them!