Have you ever noticed that some people are peculiar? No, I don’t mean odd, eccentric or funny. I mean peculiar in the Biblical sense of Titus 2:14 where it speaks of God the Son having sacrificed Himself in order that He might “purify unto Himself a peculiar people.” Here the Greek word periousios is translated “peculiar” and it means: “something of special value and set apart or separated to be an exclusive possession.

     There are two groups of God’s peculiar people found in the Bible: the Nation of Israel and the Church, the Body of Christ. Concerning the Nation of Israel, God has said that they were a ‘holy people” for Himself (Deut. 14:2; 26:18; Ex. 19:5; Psa. 135:4). Likewise, the Church is to be a body of “zealous” and “purified” peculiar people, who are well-taught in good works.

     These two groups are not “peculiar” at the same time. There is a sequence that needs to be recognized here.

     First, historically and chronologically, Israel was God’s peculiar people. This was the reason why, for centuries, God gave them priority, insisting that the advantages of His blessing should be “to the Jew first” (Rom. 1:16; 3:1; 9:4). The Israelites were to be God’s earthly family and inherit the land of Canaan (now Israel) (Gen. 17:8). However, their rebellion against God and His Son (Jn. 1:11) caused them to be temporarily “broken off” from the plan of God and their privileged position (Rom. 11:17-25), and scattered among the nations (Deut. 4:26-27). The prophecy of Hosea concerning the northern Kingdom, “Loammi, ye are not My people” (Hos. 1:9), now becomes the sad reality for all Israel.

     Second, and because of Israel’s fall, the Church became God’s peculiar people. They became God’s heavenly family, and were promised “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). As such, their citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20), where they will inherit, with Christ, the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:11-23; Rom. 8:17).

     Israel, as a nation, has fallen. The Jewish people are scattered and another group of  people, the “one new man,” made up of believing Jews and Gentiles (individually) (Eph. 2:13-22), the “Body of Christ,” has become the peculiar possession of God.



      Distinctives as to:

Program = Law Grace

Calling = Earthly Family Heavenly Family

Inheritance = Material (earthly) Spiritual (Heavenly)

Times = Past Present


     Thus, we “rightly divide” without which it is impossible to understand the plan of God, and we are destined to become unapproved workmen (2 Tim. 2:15). Failure to “rightly divide” these 2 groups would be dangerous and confusing. However, having rightly divided them and acknowledged their diversity, there is a need to recognize the similarity in the way both groups are separated from the world unto God.



      Having been set apart by God as His special possession, both Israel and the Church enjoy a common family relationship. Both are called “My people” (Ex. 3:7, cf., 2 Cor. 6:16), and the “children of God” (Isa. 63:8, cf., Rom. 8:16). Here, both Israel and the Church gain the wonderful intimacy, comfort, and assurance of sonship. God is a personal Father to both.



      The experiential connection between Israel and the Church is very, very close.

¨ Israel walked by sight while the Church walks by faith.

¨ Israel lived in the shadows while the Church lives in the light.

¨ Israel lived in the ritual (Mosaic Law System) while the Church lives in the reality (Rom. 8:2).

      All that is true. But Israel’s experiences were for the Church’s instructions and their failures were for the Church’s warning (1 Cor. 10:6, 11). The Church is, thus, joined to Israel’s experience. The Law, ordinances, rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices, offerings and feast days of Israel do not literally apply to the Church; however, they have their spiritual counterpart in the present Dispensation of the Church.



      The Nation of Israel was the object of God’s electing grace. Abram was a Gentile pagan and idolater. He had nothing of which he could boast. He was not better or more worthy than others. When Abram responded to the electing  grace of God by faith. God changed his name to Abraham, changed his race from Gentile to Jew, and made him the father of a nation; thus, Israel was elected by the Grace of God (Deut. 7:6-8).

     The same similarity here between Israel  and the Church is impossible to escape. God chose the Church through belief of the Gospel. They were nothings and nobodies (1 Cor. 26-29), deserving only Hell (Eph. 2:1-10). This body of people, too, has a new identity and destiny (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:19-22).



      Israel was found by God in the bondage and slavery of Egypt. They were struggling and groaning under a harsh, Satanic taskmaster who sought to destroy God’s people. They were living under the sentence of death! God graciously sent deliverance through Moses, who, under the safety of the Passover blood that had been sprinkled on the doorposts, led them out of the tyranny of Egypt.

     The Church, likewise, was found by God while under the sentence of death, in bondage to sin and the victim of Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). At the right time (Gal. 4:4) God provided a “deliverer like unto Moses” (Rom. 11:26), and a sacrificial “Passover” Lamb for our redemption. The Church has been purchased with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:14), and separated from the world (2 Cor. 6:18-19). We belong to God. We are His peculiar treasure (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).



      Israel was “baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor. 10:2). The teaching here is that of identification. The Nation of Israel was so completely identified with Moses, the cloud, and the sea that having passed through the place of death, they stand alive, and ready to serve God on the salvation side of the Red Sea.

     This is not at all unlike what happens to the Church-age believer because of his baptism by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12-13). This baptism so completely identifies the believer with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ that he is now called upon to serve God in “newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4).



      God says that He segregated the Nation of Israel “from among all the people of the earth,” to be His inheritance. He said, “They shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (1 Kgs. 8:51-53; Num. 23:9).

     This same standard of separation from the world system, with its customs, cultures, and attitudes is applied by the Apostle Paul to the Church (Rom. 12:1-2). In 2 Corinthians 6:16-17, Paul quotes from Leviticus 26:12 and Isaiah 52:11, making this very much an operational standard for the Church (cf., Jn. 15:18-19; 17:16-17).



      God does not want His peculiar people to be defiled by the world. He wants Israel to have a glorious future, and He wants the Church to be a  “glorious Church,” not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it would be “holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). The intent of our gracious God is to teach and purify His peculiar people for a lifetime of good works.