Title Post: Daring to Draw Near
Essential to healthy biblical thinking is understanding how the reality of Pentecost fulfills the purpose of Passover. There is a crucial connection between these two Spring festivals.
Because Pentecost fulfills the purpose of Passover, the second lesson I want you to master is this; the LORD redeems in order to rule.
With the exodus from Egypt we have the first mention in Scripture of the Kingdom of God—a theme which then pervades all of Scripture, right until the final chapter of the book of Revelation. God’s supernatural ruling and reigning first exhibits itself in the Exodus. You have tangible, visible evidence of his kingly sovereign power intervening supernaturally for his people.
That is why when they come across the Red Sea, Moses and Miriam give prophetic praise to God , declaring “the LORD reigns forever and ever!” (Ex 15:18). They were not saying that he is going to be king in the future. He is the king now, ruling and reigning evidenced by delivering us from the bondage of Egypt and protecting us from the pursuing Egyptian soldiers.
In Ex 19:4-6, God states what his objective is for his redeemed people.
You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.
Here, Israel is called a nation (goy). But because of God’s redemptive and ruling power, they will not be an ordinary nation. Israel is going to be a nation distinct from all the other nations.
Yes, God is the Creator and Ruler of the whole world; all nations are his and answer to him. But by his elective choice, he took this nation (which in some respects was the least of all) and said, “You are going to be a holy nation, just as I am a holy God, and you will be bearers of my image. That is why I brought you to this place. I redeemed you because I want to rule over you. And in my ruling over you, you will be a blessing to all the nations.”
Israel was not elected for special privileges. She was commissioned for special service, unique unto God and in the earth.
Those of us who’ve experienced forgiveness in Jesus need to take notice of this fact. Listen carefully to the language God uses here and nowhere else in the Old Testament—You shall be to me a kingdom of priests.
The first and foremost calling of a priest is to serve God (in New Testament terminology , a minister unto the Lord). Priests are empowered to bless, teach, judge, and bear witness. He is saying to his people, I have saved you because I have a service I want you to render. I want you to be a nation unto me. One that is set apart, that is, distinct from all other nations. Why? I want you to bear my presence that I might bless all the nations.
In Exodus 19, we see that God came down to accomplish his purpose for bringing them to Sinai. He became their teacher, giving her guidance, direction , and instruction.
According to an ancient Jewish midrash, not only Israel but every nation heard these words. The sages say a great silence fell upon the earth when God descended with fire and glory upon Sinai. Every living thing stood silent because their Creator was about to speak. The sages also said that when the voice of God went forth, it supernaturally divided into seventy languages. Why? So that everyone could hear in their native tongue! (Check out the remarkable connection with Acts 2:1-4.)
Not only did God come down to teach his people, but he also came down to dwell in their midst.
Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” - Exodus 20:18-19
Notice they saw the phenomenon and trembled. The lesson for every age is we are to walk by faith, not by sight. It is telling that they used the impersonal Elohim for God rather than the covenant name he revealed as their deliverer. Notice also how they stayed at a distance and asked Moses to speak to God on their behalf.
Rather than express anger, Moses tried to help them understand, Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin. The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. - Exodus 20:20-21
The implication of God’s reigning amid the redeemed—his kingdom of priests—is that each one can approach, can draw nigh to serve and be of service. Oh, let it not be true of you that you would rather hear from a teacher, pastor, or preacher than hear your Holy Father speak to you himself.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. - Hebrews 10:19-25
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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.
Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.
Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.