Fox Byte #25: When Peculiar is a Good Thing
At this point someone might say, “Wait a minute! That old Law of Moses doesn’t apply to Christians!”
Are we really sure about that? How can we even know that Yeshua is Messiah if we don’t study the Law of Moses? After all, Yeshua Himself said:
Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47 NKJV)
If what Yeshua says is true, then Moses is a very important person in God’s eyes. Maybe we should pay more attention to him. At least we should pay attention to those parts of his writings that have to do with Yeshua. Or maybe we could start with what Yeshua taught and see where Moses taught it first. That might give us a clue as to what Yeshua meant.
Let’s start with Yeshua’s most famous teaching. It’s called the Sermon on the Mount, because He gave this sermon to people gathered on a mountainside in Galilee (Matthew 4:23-5:1). Yeshua started His sermon by telling people the character traits that would bring them blessing in this life and the next – things like being humble and pure in heart and peacemakers and earnest seekers after righteousness. Now to be completely honest, Yeshua said this ideal disciple of His would suffer a lot of trouble and persecution. And yet He said the suffering itself is a sign that His followers are doing things right, and that they would receive great rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven because of their faithfulness through it all. So already we know that He is identifying His true followers as something different from the rest of the world, something really unique and special. Did Moses ever say anything about that? Why yes, more than once. Take a look at what God told him to tell the people at the beginning of their journey out of Egypt, and then at that end of that journey:
And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You 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, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:3-6 NKJV, emphasis added)
This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken. (Deuteronomy 26:16-19 NKJV, emphasis added)
The King James translation uses the word “peculiar” instead of “special”. It means the same thing – that God chose this people as something unique for Himself alone. Yeshua’s best friend, the Apostle Peter, used that same word when he wrote this:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (I Peter 2:9-10 NKJV, emphasis added)
It seems like these two witnesses, Moses and Peter, are saying the same thing about what God is doing with the people He chose as His own. Maybe there really is a connection between Christians and ancient Israel. Maybe we should look closer to find out.