The New Exodus Priest

by Nathan Elliot #NPLShawnee


A priest is a mediator, a representative of God and to God. The author of Exodus focuses his story on the Word of God to set apart His nation of priests. God used Moses to display his power among all of Egypt and the Pharaoh who oppressed and enslaved the nation of Israel. Through many signs and wonders Israel was set free and God provided water, food, and victory in battle as they traveled. 


God instructed Moses to remind the Israelites of what He did to the Egyptians and how He carried them out to bring them to Himself. God was effectively saying, “I did this to bring you into my family!” This reminder would instill gratitude, trust, and fear. [1] God’s grace-filled redeeming nature is always proclaiming “you are saved by God” not yourself. God introduces a covenant of obedience designed, not to secure Israel’s salvation, but to enable Israel to serve in the special role God intended. [2] Out of all creation, the Creator selected this seemingly insignificant nation to enjoy the benefits of the covenant. [3]


Simply put, God makes himself known to the world in character and presence through the priesthood of his faithful people. Israel was set apart as a nation for the purpose of rendering priestly service. In obedience, they would reflect the character of God to the nations. [4] The entire nation was positioned to act as a mediator of God’s grace to the nations of the earth, even as Abraham was promised through him and his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. [5] Unfortunately, the people declined the privilege of God’s ambassador and in fear pleaded with Moses to take their place in the presence of God. They centralized the power of a nation and consolidated the responsibility. 


The typical American church has done the same. We often try to push our priesthood off on the educated and paid “few.” The “few” who will never be able to reach the multitude of nations the way a kingdom of priests can. Even Moses overwhelmed by the task of leadership, on the advice of his father-in-law, took steps to redistribute responsibility through empowering leaders down to even handfuls of families. In the same way, we must takes steps to return to our heritage. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).


Christian, you are saved by God to display God. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for God works which God prepared ahead of time for us to do (Eph. 2:10). As Hebrews said, the Old Testament was given to us as an example. Ambassador, a representative, a priest, is God’s intention for every believer. We can reach back to the example of Exodus, take hold of His intent for His people, and stretch forward to the coming restoration. Be who God created you to be.


[1] Blackburn, W Ross, 2012, The God Who Makes Himself Known: The Missionary Heart of the Book of Exodus, New Studies in Biblical Theology, (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic), 88.

[2] Carson, D A, NIV Zondervan Study Bible: New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 153.

[3] Merida, Tony, Exalting Jesus in Exodus, Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary, (Nashville: Holman Reference, 2014), 121.

[4] Blackburn, 87.

[5]  Kaiser, Walter C, Exodus, Vol. Rev. ed. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2008).

[6]  Exodus 20:18


Nathan Elliot serves voluntarily as a leader in the #NoPlaceLeft Shawnee network with Dr. Bruce Carlton and a host of Oklahoma Baptist University students. Working full-time in logistics with the military and keeping up with a house full of girls, including his wife, takes up the rest of his time.



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