We must say just a word yet about the prophetical prediction of God concerning Israel when they stood at the nether part of Mount Sinai, after coming from Egypt’s cruel and tyrannical bondage.
The LORD, Who is faithful to His elect people, tells them that if they walk in His ways, and obey His voice as they hear this in the Decalogue, the covenant words, then they shall be a peculiar people unto Him. It is a matter of keeping God’s covenant. Contrary to the teaching of Dispensationalism it was not a mere keeping of a dispensation of law, which really never existed. The teaching of a “dispensation of law” is pure fiction. The “Covenant” of God was the new redemptive relationship in which Israel is set by sovereign grace. And this Covenant must be kept; it must be kept by Israel the redeemed people of God, the blood-sprinkled people (Ex. 12:1-17; Ex. 24:8; Heb. 9:18, 19).
Now the Covenant shall be in the generations of those who keep it. Yea, those who by grace fear the LORD shall be a “peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth in Mine” (Ex. 19:5). They shall be the people, who were bought with a great price. Of these the Holy Spirit says through Peter, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation,a peculiar people, that you should shew forth the praises of Him, Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9).
Only when we interpret Exodus 19:5 in the light of the infallible application of I Peter 2:9 do we hew , to the line of all the teaching of Scripture, and do we not try making a clever biblical mosaic of our own human invention. We must for our very life’s sake teach the pattern of sound doctrine in these matters. We must not be wise in our own conceits. We must follow the searchlight of the prophets and walk in the light of the more sure prophetic word which shines in a dark place, till the daystar arises in our heart, the hope of the blessed eternal morning (II Peter 1:19, 21).
It is well to take sharp notice of the term “peculiar people.” ‘The Dutch translation is volk des eigendoms te zijn. Likewise the German translation is Eigenthum sein vor alle Volkern. And Israel is to be this in distinction from the nations (Goiim) which too are the possession of God. Israel is the “elect” generation in sovereign predestination. We see this explicitly stated in Deuteronomy 4:37, 38: “And because He loved thy fathers, therefore He chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in His sight with His mighty power out of Egypt, to drive out nations before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance; as it is this day.”
Here we see unfolded before the eyes of Israel the mystery of God in their salvation and deliverance into the eternal rest. Israel is God’s peculiar possession because of sovereign love and election. They were not loved because they were greater or better than the nations who were destroyed before them (Deut. 10:12-15). What moving words Moses speaks in the plains of Moab to Israel, when he “Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also with all that therein is. Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.”
It is in the heartfelt conversion, the putting off of the old man in true godly sorrow for sin, and the putting on of the new man, that Israel can “circumcise the foreskin of their hearts,” whether male or female! To keep the covenant of God is thus as far from a “principle of law” as the east is from the west.
Furthermore, the keeping of the covenant was to be of an antithetical nature. They were to remember the word of James, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Israel was to be God’s peculiar possession; they were to gainsay and destroy all that which was contrary to God’s covenant of grace. They were to cut down the idolatrous groves, destroy their altars, and burn their graven images, and only worship God in the shadows and types which pointed to the Lamb of God (Judges 6:27, 28). Thus they would be in the world, yet not of the world (Deut. 7:6, 7, 8).
For the LORD tells Israel that they shall in this way prove themselves to be a “kingdom of priests.” They would stand in God’s house and temple forever, singing God’s praises and harping as harpers with the harps of God (Rev. 5:8; Rev. 14:2; Rev. 15:2), They will dwell in God’s temple forever more, when the tabernacle of God shall be with men (Rev. 21:3).
Such is the prophetic perspective here at the foot of Sinai. For those who keep God’s covenant are they who prove themselves to be anointed with a heavenly anointment of the office of all believers. No, they shall not merely be a people in whose midst the Aaronic priesthood stands in the earthly temple, which priesthood was done away forever in Christ’s death on the Cross, but they shall all be “priests” in God’skingdom, the kingdom of heaven. Of this kingdom both .John th Baptist and Christ spoke when they preached and heralded “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:1, 2; Matt. 4:17; Dan. 2:44). The time had come that all might be made kings and priests unto God (Rev. 1:5, 6).
That such is the prophetic perspective here in the Word of God, Who proclaims the end from the beginning, is evident from I Peter 2:1-10. I suggest that you read this entire section carefully and prayerfully from your own Bible. I would meanwhile call your attention to the following elements here.
In the first place, let it be noticed that this holy priesthood is composed of newborn babes, who are born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. These are they who have been brought efficaciously to conscious faith by the Gospel preached (I Peter 1:23-25, 2:2). These are not under a “dispensation of law,” no more or less than was Israel at the law-giving at Sinai.
In the second place, these are they who have tasted that the LORD is good, and full of kind compassion. Are they not elect of God the Father through sanctification of the Spirit unto the obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus? (I Peter 2:4) This holy priesthood, thirdly, are they who have not rejected the chief cornerstone laid in Zion, as did reprobated and unbelieving Israel, who would not keep God’s covenant but rather establish their own righteousness of the law. They came unto this Stone laid in Zion, elect and precious of God (I Peter 2:5-7).
These are priests both out of the Jew and the Greek. And these priests are, therefore, the church universal which the Son of God gathers, defends, and preserves out of the whole human race, elect unto everlasting life in the unity of faith! These are they who have come out of the great tribulation, and who have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb. Always they kept God’s covenant, loved His law and His precepts, and kept them as a great and precious treasure in their hearts.
Yes, Hosea foresaw this as a prophet of the Lord. It was a time when the reprobate shell of Israel, the children of the flesh, utterly had forgotten the LORD’S covenant, and the great confession of Israel: “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.” Of these fleshly Israelites, who never kept God’s covenant, but are evil fish in the Net of the Kingdom of heaven, Hosea writes that they are no more considered with the commonwealth of Israel, but are hence forward no more God’s beloved, but they shall be called bothLoruhamah and Loammi, neither beloved nor My people (Hosea 1:1-9). They are cut off from the Vine as dead branches (John 15:1-10; Rom. 11:17).
But the promise of Abraham stands. His seed shall be as the stars in the heavens and as the sand by the seashore innumerable. (Gen. 12:3; Gen. 15:5). And this promise of God did not fail (Rom. 9:6). It is only a remnant that shall be saved (Rom. 9:27; Is. 10:22).
The true Israel did not rashly vow that they would do all the covenant words of the Lord. Scofield taught that Israel here at Sinai “rashly” left go of the promise to be placed under a law-principle. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For, as we have already pointed out, God’s word to Israel is His sure covenant word that He will one day have a perfect church, which is His peculiar possession, about all the nations of the earth.
Dispensational teaching does not believe all the prophetic Scriptures! This is not a matter of method of interpretation, the literal versus the spiritual, at all. It is a matter of simply taking God at His Word and interpreting Scripture in the light of Scripture in childlike obedience of faith in the holy Scriptures. For these are all covenant words, priestly words in God’s holy temple, the church the temple of the living God.
Dispensationalism does not believe really the doctrine of God’s sovereign election, as this is woven into the very pattern of Sacred history. Their teaching lacks the foundation stone of the Cor Ecclesia, the heartbeat of the church. Only this faithful teaching of the Scriptures will keep us on the rock-bottomness of the “Nevertheless, the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal: the LORD knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Tim. 2:19).
They who teach the doctrine of elective love can only give heed to the injunction, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).
Let us cling to the Bible, and shun vain and profane babblings.