God's Global Village: A Glimpse of a Better Tomorrow

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God's Global Village

A Glimpse of a Better Tomorrow

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It's been said that the world is changing so fast that even the future isn't what it used to be. Predicting the future with any degree of certainty has always been problematic, but the technological and social transformation we see around us makes the future even more unpredictable. Change happens so fast that the present is ever converging with the future in an overwhelming flood of images and sound bites.

Technological advancements race forward with ever-increasing speed, forcing change at every level of the socio-economic structure. Geographic and national boundaries fade and lose meaning. Communication has become a multifaceted digital array of blurps, bytes and images that can be simultaneously received by an almost limitless number of people anywhere in the world.

The middle class has a wealth of economic resources at its disposal through the reduction of real cost and easy access to credit. Consider air travel, for example. Technological advances and fierce competition have made air travel affordable for the masses (at least in the Western world). Exotic attractions in distant places are within reach.

The world as a village

The accelerated speed at which people move and communicate with ever-decreasing cost has affected every aspect of our world—politically, socially, economically. It's a phenomenon commonly known as globalization —or, to quote thousands of sound bites, our world has become a global village.

Amazingly, this state of affairs was foretold millennia ago in the Bible. Notice these words recorded by the prophet Daniel: "But you, Daniel, shut up the words [of the amazing prophecies revealed to him], and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (Daniel 12:4 Daniel 12:4But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
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These remarkable words ring ever truer with the passing of time. Few in any previous generation could have imagined the extent to which knowledge and our ability to travel to and fro would increase. This prophecy is about our time, an era described in context as the time of the end.

End-time prophecies are often viewed with trepidation because they tell of cataclysmic events. But must that be so in this case? Are the words recorded in Scripture by Daniel inherently negative? What's wrong with the ability to travel or trade across international boundaries? What's wrong with knowledge increasing? Does not the same cherished source implore us in Proverbs 4:5 Proverbs 4:5Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
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to "get wisdom!" and "get understanding!"?

Daniel's prophecy not only states what will be at the time of the end. It also evokes images of what could have been.

Let's consider for a moment the possibilities our new ability to travel to and fro offers our global village. Shouldn't the increased mobility of the masses foster cross-cultural understanding and an appreciation for the diversity in our village? Couldn't the same vehicles that transport people to faraway places be used to share the abundance of food from the affluent segment of our village with the impoverished side of town?

What's wrong with our village?

With so many possibilities at our disposal, why do we find ourselves in a world beset with division, conflict and destructive behavior?

We see a complex problem, but it has a simple reason for it: The village dynamics have not changed. Simply put, we still behave the way we have always behaved. It's just that the neighborhood has gotten bigger—and, sadly, so have the problems.

We compete with our neighbors to be the best on the block, and we spawn trade and environmental disputes in the process. We alternatively become numb to or increasingly appalled at the incessant brawls in what we might call the "Jerusalem bar." We worry that rogue nations will turn into rioting neighborhood bullies. We spend billions on security forces to prevent enemies from entering our neighborhood and wrecking our homes. Still we sleep uncomfortably because of the gnawing suspicion that even the best security system will not prevent some foe from slipping through a dark alley to spread terror.

These problems are compounded by the real or perceived inequities in our global village of villas, ghettos and slums. The Western democracies own the majority of the world's wealth. From the perspective of the people in the rest of the world, our part of the global village is dotted with villas in which people reside in ease and pleasure, imbibing of abundance that the poor folks of the worldwide village will never achieve. The poverty-stricken people in the underdeveloped world would consider even many of our small apartments to be lavish villas. No wonder they believe there are major inequities.

What does the future hold?

What's next? Knowledge will continue to increase, and problems will keep multiplying. The elite in the villas will grow increasingly isolated, the cultural ghettos more entrenched and the squatters in the slums increasingly bitter. One final riot will sweep terror and destruction through the village, and everything will go up in smoke. This unprecedented time of terror is described in the Bible as the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
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But there is a happy ending: God will build a new, peaceful village out of the ashes!

The prophet Daniel was also given this intriguing picture, this good news. In vision God showed him a statue built of progressively less-valuable material, including feet and toes composed of iron mixed with clay, depicting an unlikely union of 10 nations. The statue is toppled by a stone falling from heaven that grows into a great mountain. The meaning? "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever" (Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
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Did you grasp that? Jesus Christ will come down to earth to save it from its inhabitants. He will save the day by establishing a globe-girdling kingdom—a unified global village—bringing peace and prosperity for mankind.

Daniel pronounced, "The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure" (verse 45).

A change in village dynamics

The global village of tomorrow will differ in many ways from what we know today. What will it be like? Scripture reveals that God will not rehabilitate our present system. Instead He will establish an entirely new and perfect world based on universal principles and laws that will be accepted and applied with a different perspective.

God starts right at the heart of the matter. He knows that without a fundamental change in human nature no meaningful change will take place. The Bible describes the human heart as "more deceitful than all else and ... desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
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, New American Standard Bible).

This must change—and change it will! God will not attempt to medicate away the symptoms; He will replace the old and wicked heart with a new one: "Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God" (Ezekiel 11:19-20 Ezekiel 11:19-20 [19] And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: [20] That they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
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Notice that this change of heart immediately brings a change in behavior, and this change in behavior transforms the dynamics of the village. The prophets Isaiah and Micah describe this transformation as a time when nations will seek instruction from God, when weapons of war used for killing people will be recycled into agricultural tools to grow crops to feed them (Isaiah 2:3-4 Isaiah 2:3-4 [3] And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [4] And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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; Micah 4:2-3 Micah 4:2-3 [2] And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [3] And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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).

Zechariah speaks of a time when all the world's nations will go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles each year (Zechariah 14:16-18 Zechariah 14:16-18 [16] And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. [17] And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even on them shall be no rain. [18] And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, with which the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
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). Christ told His apostles He would give them thrones from which to rule the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28 Matthew 19:28And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
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; Luke 22:30 Luke 22:30That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
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). The testimony of the prophets, Christ and the apostles is consistent. A new world is indeed coming, a global village of peace, justice and prosperity for all.

The ancient prophet Ezekiel gives us considerable insight into the administrative and governmental structure of this new society, as we will see.

One village, one government

Over the centuries both idealists and despots have recognized the merits of a single world government with a universal system of laws. It's a lofty goal with immeasurable potential for both good and evil. Yet all human attempts at reaching this goal have failed, often with catastrophic results.

But, in God's global village, true unity will be achieved. At long last the whole world will truly become "one nation under God." The great God will regather "the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and ... make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again" (Ezekiel 37:21-22 Ezekiel 37:21-22 [21] And say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, where they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
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At long last the descendants of ancient Israel, scattered now among many nations, will be reunited. Or, stated better, they will be truly united for the first time. Finally they will accomplish the purpose God intended for them in the first place.

When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt and gave them His laws, He instructed them to "be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?" (Deuteronomy 4:6-8 Deuteronomy 4:6-8 [6] Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. [7] For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call on him for? [8] And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
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God delivered the Israelites from slavery and gave them His law because He wanted them to be a model nation for others to emulate. How miserably they failed; how sad the testimony of history.

Instead of becoming a model nation, they became a stumbling block to others and a disgrace to the God who saved them. God gave them the pearl of great price. He showed them the best way. Had they followed His instructions, the results would have motivated their neighbors to emulate their way of life. Imagine such a neighborhood! Sadly, this didn't happen, and our village has lacked a truly godly example to follow on a national scale.

But in God's global village, yet future, things will be different. Notice how the reunited Israelites will behave in contrast to their ancient forebears: "They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God" (Ezekiel 37:23 Ezekiel 37:23Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
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Micah records the wonderful results. All people will say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths" (Micah 4:2 Micah 4:2And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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). What a testimony to the power of God's way in action! So impressive are the results of following God's way that the Israelites' neighbors will want to emulate their lives, their actions. For once, keeping up with the Joneses will bring desirable results. The reason is simple: The Joneses are going the right way, and they will be delighted to see others share in their blessings.

Of course, positive results do not just happen. Unity can be achieved only with leadership and singularity of purpose. Christ will lead the way with an administration of tried-and-true servants who are committed to Him (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
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). Their motivation will not be political, but to serve, guide, instruct and correct for the benefit of all. Think of how much more can be accomplished when the energy that is usually expended in political maneuvering, debate and self-serving is redirected to planning, managing and building a better village for all.

God's global village will move forward with Jesus at the helm. He is called in the Bible the "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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). God will resurrect David, the shepherd boy who slew Goliath and later became the faithful king of Israel, to serve as king and prince under Christ forever:

"David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever" (Ezekiel 37:24-25 Ezekiel 37:24-25 [24] And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. [25] And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelled; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
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; see also Jeremiah 30:9 Jeremiah 30:9But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up to them.
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Christ-centered, divine leadership will provide unity and stability in this globe-encompassing village, where peace and justice for all will be the norm.

Equitable ownership for all

The great disparity between the villas of the wealthy and the slums of the impoverished, which now spawn tension and terror in our village, will finally be resolved. In God's global village there will be fair and just ownership for all.

God explains through Ezekiel how the village will be zoned. The focus begins with the village center, where Jesus Himself will reside. Ezekiel is instructed to "set apart a district for the Lord, a holy section of the land," that is 25,000 cubits [seven to ten miles depending on the cubit measurement used] long and 10,000 cubits [about three to four miles] wide (Ezekiel 45:1 Ezekiel 45:1Moreover, when you shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, you shall offer an oblation to the LORD, an holy portion of the land: the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about.
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). Inside this district is where the sanctuary of the temple will be, and it will also be home to the priests who minister to the Lord (Ezekiel 45:1-4 Ezekiel 45:1-4 [1] Moreover, when you shall divide by lot the land for inheritance, you shall offer an oblation to the LORD, an holy portion of the land: the length shall be the length of five and twenty thousand reeds, and the breadth shall be ten thousand. This shall be holy in all the borders thereof round about. [2] Of this there shall be for the sanctuary five hundred in length, with five hundred in breadth, square round about; and fifty cubits round about for the suburbs thereof. [3] And of this measure shall you measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the sanctuary and the most holy place. [4] The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests the ministers of the sanctuary, which shall come near to minister to the LORD: and it shall be a place for their houses, and an holy place for the sanctuary.
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Adjacent to the district of the Lord is an area the same size that will belong to the Levites who serve in the temple (Ezekiel 45:5 Ezekiel 45:5And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand of breadth shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house, have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers.
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). On the side opposite, also bordering on the Lord's district, is what we might call the village commons. This area is ceded to the public, assuring that all the villagers have access to the Lord at all times (Ezekiel 45:6 Ezekiel 45:6And you shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long, over against the oblation of the holy portion: it shall be for the whole house of Israel.
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God will give the leaders their portion with emphasis on a notable change: "My princes shall no more oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel, according to their tribes" (Ezekiel 45:7-8 Ezekiel 45:7-8 [7] And a portion shall be for the prince on the one side and on the other side of the oblation of the holy portion, and of the possession of the city, before the oblation of the holy portion, and before the possession of the city, from the west side westward, and from the east side eastward: and the length shall be over against one of the portions, from the west border to the east border. [8] In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes.
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Contrary to the elite of today and the nobility of old, those of the "ruling class" in God's global village will not be allowed to take from the commoner to enrich themselves or their families: "Moreover the prince shall not take any of the people's inheritance by evicting them from their property; he shall provide an inheritance for his sons from his own property, so that none of My people may be scattered from his property" (Ezekiel 46:18 Ezekiel 46:18Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession.
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How different from the village of today, where the rich and powerful at times oppress the poor and impoverished to expand their interests and feed their personal fortunes.

The beauty of Ezekiel's prophecy is that it is not just a treatise on religion. Rather, it is a textbook of applied social science for the village of tomorrow. From the priest and the Levite, from the prince to the commoner, all will be given a fair inheritance in the land. Ezekiel describes with painstaking detail how the land will be divided until everyone will have a fair portion (Ezekiel 47:13-23 Ezekiel 47:13-23 [13] Thus said the Lord GOD; This shall be the border, whereby you shall inherit the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions. [14] And you shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers: and this land shall fall to you for inheritance. [15] And this shall be the border of the land toward the north side, from the great sea, the way of Hethlon, as men go to Zedad; [16] Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazarhatticon, which is by the coast of Hauran. [17] And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan, the border of Damascus, and the north northward, and the border of Hamath. And this is the north side. [18] And the east side you shall measure from Hauran, and from Damascus, and from Gilead, and from the land of Israel by Jordan, from the border to the east sea. And this is the east side. [19] And the south side southward, from Tamar even to the waters of strife in Kadesh, the river to the great sea. And this is the south side southward. [20] The west side also shall be the great sea from the border, till a man come over against Hamath. This is the west side. [21] So shall you divide this land to you according to the tribes of Israel. [22] And it shall come to pass, that you shall divide it by lot for an inheritance to you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be to you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. [23] And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojournes, there shall you give him his inheritance, said the Lord GOD.
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; 48:1-29).

In the end everyone will "sit under his vine and under his fig tree," a simple way of saying that each will have an unencumbered home to call his own. "And no one," the prophet Micah continues, "shall make them afraid"! (Micah 4:4 Micah 4:4But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
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). What a beautiful picture of a village that works.

The Scriptures have much more to say about God's global village. Suffice it to say here, it is the antithesis of our present-day global village. Instead of conflict, violence and terror, there will be peace, compassion and love. Instead of cultural and ethnic ghettos engendering racism and hatred for others, there will be appreciation for the talents and abilities of others, all within a culture based on God's values and standards.

This beautiful picture will be made possible by real and tangible change in village dynamics. The villagers will be given new hearts, new leadership and a new set of standards to live by. The reason all these positive dynamics come about is succinctly stated in the last four words of Ezekiel's description of the village: "The Lord is there" (Ezekiel 48:35 Ezekiel 48:35It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.
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Where do you fit?

Perhaps you're thinking: That's great! The future looks bright, and God's global village is the solution. But what about today? What about now?

That's a good question and one that has an encouraging answer. God has already started preparations for the village of tomorrow.

The apostle Peter writes of a select group of people—those God is working with now—whom Peter refers to as a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people" (1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
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Peter's language—words such as royal priesthood, holy nation, special people—echoes that of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel in describing God's global village. It also reminds us of the phraseology of Moses in Exodus 19:3-6 Exodus 19:3-6 [3] And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. [5] Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.
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. But Peter is writing to a New Testament Church audience, "who once were not a people but are now the people of God" (verse 10). This aptly describes the Church of God, both in apostolic times and today—a small but select people, from all nations and cultures of this world, who have joined efforts to "proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (verse 9).

As such, those in the Church have become a "holy nation"—God's global village in the making—from a group of unlikely candidates. Collectively, they have a global focus that transcends political and national boundaries as they boldly proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God to today's global village. Individually, all the members recognize that their calling and citizenship is in heaven and focus on their role as ambassadors for Christ and His coming Kingdom.

What is it all about?

For what purpose? Peter explains: "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles" (verses 11-12). God calls members of this select group with the expectation that they model today the behavior that will be universal in His global village tomorrow. This brings new meaning to the term "sojourners and pilgrims" on this earth. They live in the village but don't run with the crowd.

Peter warns that this won't be easy and will elicit negative reactions from the other villagers. They will "speak against you as evildoers" (verse 12). However, the "good works which they observe" will ultimately cause them to "glorify God in the day of visitation," when He establishes His village throughout the earth (1 Peter 2:12 1 Peter 2:12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
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It is an amazing but truly sensible plan. God is preparing individuals from all around the world today to learn His village plan now. Then, when the words of Isaiah and Micah come to actual fulfillment, many nations shall come and say: "Come let us go up to the 'village of the Lord,' to the house of the God of Jacob—He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths." The people who go up will find others in God's global village who understand why and for what they have come.

Are you prepared to answer God's call to this awesome responsibility? GN