Holy Nation

There are over fifty different things that the word of God denotes as being holy. In the next several essays we will examine those things in the scriptures that are called holy.

Recall that the word, "holy," means "to be separate." The things that are called holy in the scriptures are holy because God has made them holy and are separate for His particular purpose.

We will begin our study of holy things by looking at the phrase, "holy nation."

In Ex. 19:6 God said of Israel, "And ye shall be a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. This was in accordance to the covenant promises that God had made unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:

1. Gen. 12:2, "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.

2. Gen. 18:18, "Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.

3. Gen. 26:3, "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father."

4. Gen. 35:11, "And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins."

5. Gen. 46:3, "And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation."

From the above we see that based on God's covenant promise God made Israel a great nation in the land of Egypt. They started out as a nation in the midst of a nation. Most people who go to live in a nation are absorbed into that nation and become a part of that nation. God preserved Israel as a separate people in all their sojourning in the land of Egypt. Furthermore, at the appointed time God delivered Israel out of Egyptian bondage and made them a holy nation unto himself as we read previously in Ex. 19:6.

We normally think of a nation as a group of people united under a common government and system of laws under the rule of a common king or leader. Israel was a "holy" nation because she was a nation unto God.  God gave her, her government, laws and ordinances, and was her King (at least unto the time of King Saul). Furthermore, Israel was holy because God was in her midst and went with her:

1. Ex. 33:16, "For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth."

2. Deut. 4:7, 8, "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto him, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments, so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?"

3. Deut. 4:34, "Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war; and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?"

Thus under the old covenant Israel was an holy nation unto God, for God had by covenant purpose chosen them; given them laws, statutes, commandments; given them her government; had delivered them out of Egyptian bondage; been in their midst; and was their king.

In the new testament we read of another holy nation in I Pet. 2:9, 10, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an ‘holy nation,' a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."

This "holy nation" is God's people in his kingdom (church) who are governed by his laws, ordinances, and commandments; who recognize Jesus as their king and that the government is upon his shoulders (Is. 9:6). Furthermore, they have Jesus in their midst: Matt. 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Just as Israel was a nation by covenant promise, so are these a nation by covenant promise: Heb.8:10 12, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."

These people have all been born of the Spirit: John 3:5, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Furthermore, they pressed into the kingdom after hearing the gospel proclaimed: Lk. 16:16, "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." In addition, they have brought themselves and submitted themselves under the laws and ordinances of King Jesus: Matt. 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." They consider themselves to be citizens of the kingdom of heaven: Eph. 2:19, 20, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." They recognize Jesus as being their king: I Tim. 1:17, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." In addition, as Israel was made a nation in the midst of Egypt, so these people are a nation in the midst of the world. They consider themselves strangers, pilgrims, and foreigners in this world: I Pet. 2:11, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul..."


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