by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5 September 13, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
9 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:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1901 ASV Translation:
9 But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
I. The Characteristics of the "Living Stones".
A. The background.
B. A chosen generation.
C. A royal priesthood.
1. The specific words used in this phrase are both Petrine and used only in this paragraph. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says it comes from the Septuagint in Exodus 19:6.
a. The word "royal" derives from the typical term for "king" and is only used here in the New Testament.
b. The word "priesthood" derives from the typical term for "priest" and is only used here and in 2:5. It is not the specific term used by Luke in 1:6 or by the author of Hebrews in 7:5, 12, 14, or 24.
2. The question is whether Peter conceived of the "priesthood" as "serving a king" or as "priests who rule as kings" in the sense of Revelation 1:6; 5:10 and 20:6. The terminology is not easy, but the 20:6 text says that all who are raised in the first resurrection will "reign with Christ for a thousand years". Since this millennium will host a composite of resurrected and unresurrected saints, it seems that the "resurrected" will serve in the actual positions of "rule" over the unresurrected. However, all of that is post-resurrection and if that is Peter's meaning, it takes away any sense of the identity of his readers in the present. The problem with that is that both the 2:5 text and this one claim that the "identity" is for some very real present activities ("offering up spiritual sacrifices" and "showing forth the praises of Him Who hath called you"). Thus we conclude that we engage in "priestly" functions now apart from the "kingly" ones as a preparation for our future duties as "priests and kings".
a. Hebrews 13:15-16 tell us of the kind of "spiritual sacrifices" of which Peter wrote in 2:5: continual praise; thanksgiving; doing good; and "communicating".
b. Philippians 2:17 and 4:18 also identify these "spiritual sacrifices" as "martyrdom" and "material gifts to Paul".
c. Romans 12:1 highlights the greatest of these "spiritual sacrifices": one's own body.