“And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the people of Israel.” Exodus 19:6
A Holy Nation – What is the difference between a Jew and a Gentile? Don’t be too quick to answer. You might be surprised. The distinction between Jew and Gentile is one of the fundamental distinctions of this world. It is listed with two other demarcations that remain indisputable separations between all people. Jew-Gentile, slave-free and male-female divides all Mankind. Technically, the difference between Jew and Gentile is about birth. You and I have absolutely no say about who we have as parents. I suppose some of us wish we did, but genetics doesn’t work in reverse. At least it doesn’t seem to – until we take a very close look at this verse in Exodus and a verse from Peter’s first letter.
The Hebrew phrase for “holy nation” is goy kadosh. But goy is the word for a Gentile, isn’t it? The goyim are the Gentiles, not the Jews. Of course, in this context goy means nation, but usually Israel is referred to as a “people,” using a different Hebrew term. This verse implies that God makes these people into His holy nation, His goy kadosh. So, the real determination is God’s choice, not genetics.
Peter recognized this important revision when he wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession . . ,” quoting the Exodus passage but applying it to both Jew and Gentile followers of the Way (1 Peter 2:9). So, are you a Jew or a Gentile? Of course, you are either one or the other – and you have no choice in the matter – but, as far as God is concerned, the real distinction in life is not Jew-Gentile, slave-free or male-female. It is Israel or not Israel. All who are chosen, all who are called, all who enter into a faithful commitment to the ways of the Lord are Israel. That’s why Sha’ul can thrust away the world’s classifications: “neither Jew nor Greek . . . bond nor free . . . male nor female; for you are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28). Every follower of Yeshua is part of the goy kadosh. All other distinctions are cast aside.
Adoption into Israel is the only way into Israel. God adopted Israel at Sinai, and He continues to adopt into His family. That doesn’t erase our worldly classifications. We are still Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. Those classifications have implications for our roles and responsibilities within the goy kadosh. But none of those classifications affect God’s adoption policy. If you are Jewish, thank the Lord that your ancestors were adopted into His Kingdom at Sinai. If you are a Gentile, thank the Lord that He made a way for you to be adopted into His Kingdom too. Same Kingdom. Same process. To belong to the Lord is to be part of the goy kadosh.
Now, if this is true, then why are there so many divisions within the Kingdom? We all get there the same way. We all have the same status before the Lord. We all share the same constitution under the same theocratic government. Don’t you think we need to take our similarity seriously?
Topical Index: holy nation, goy kadosh, adoption, Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9