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. (Exodus 19:5-6)

When did God establish the covenant with Israel? Many think it was in the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and thus equate (or at least highly correlate) the Ten Commandments with the covenant with Israel. However, if we read Exodus 19 immediately preceding the giving of the law in the verses above, we find God establishing a covenant between Himself and the Jews. There are terms (obey my voice and keep my covenant) and promises (ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people…a kingdom of priests…a holy nation).

This promise was not peculiar to the Jews.

…I’ll repeat that.

This promise was not peculiar to the Jews.

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ…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 marvellous light: (1 Peter 2:5,9)

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:6)

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:17)

In fact, the connection is so close between this promise in Exodus and in the New Testament, that the Septuagint translates “kingdom of priests” as “a royal priesthood.”

God sets us apart. Though He has right to all of creation as Creator God, He gives special privilege to His people with whom He makes covenant. God providentially works in all things, yet by a special act of providence He covenants with man. See Westminster Shorter Catechism questions 11-12 for this distinction.

Given that these promises occurred under both covenants (the Mosaic and the New) and that we see there is one covenant of grace by which God exalts us, by His grace and mercy, above all nations. Read Hebrews 3:14-4:2. The same term (“hearken unto my voice”) was given to the people in the time of Moses and is given to us today – to receive the Gospel. The same covenant term is given: to obey the call of God. And we see throughout the New Testament that the promise is the same, that we are set apart as kings and priests unto God. Christ, who is both King and Priest and the only Mediator between God and Man, makes us Kings and Priests through our union with Him. By His grace and the Spirt of the Son working in us, we are transformed into the image of Christ to do the work of being Kings and Priests, a holy nation.

I am a Reformed Presbyterian. I offer all content as my own personal reflections. I am not a licensed minister.