The Holy People

The inspiration for this quarter’s lessons comes from I Peter 2:9-10, “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: 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.”

Thank the Lord, all through the ages of time, God has had a people. He called them out of sin and darkness into holiness and light. Our study will focus in on the qualities outlined in the scriptures that are outstanding in the lives of the holy people of God, in every era and in every part of the globe.

For the Reflection articles in this booklet, we will be sharing true stories of real people—saints who have lived faithfully and died victoriously. I trust you will enjoy these special biographies!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck

A Peculiar Treasure, a Kingdom of Priests, a Holy Nation

Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;

4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6a And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.

A Holy People, a Peculiar People

Deuteronomy 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. (Also Deuteronomy 29:13.)

Deuteronomy 26:18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;

19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.

A People Set Apart for Him

Psalm 4:3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. (Also Psalm 135:4.)

A People Near Unto Him

Psalm 148:14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.

A People Who Have His Law in Their Hearts

Isaiah 51:7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord, Sought Out, a City not Forsaken

Isaiah 62:12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

A People for His Name

Acts 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

Called to be Saints

Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Also I Corinthians 1:2, 6:1, II Corinthians 1:1, 9:1; Ephesians 1:1, 5:3; Philippians 1:1, 4:22; Colossians 1:2, 4, 12, 26; I Thessalonians 3:13; II Thessalonians 1:10; Philemon 1:5, 7, and Hebrews 13:24.)

MEMORY VERSE: 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: 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.

—I Peter 2:9-10

CENTRAL THOUGHT: God’s desire was for a people to be His own. He chose, called, and sought them out, redeemed them, led them, set them apart for Himself as a special, guarded treasure, made them holy, put His law in their hearts, called them by His own name to be a people for His name, made them a people near unto Him, whom He would never forsake, and called them to be saints—His holy people.


Exodus 19:5 “Peculiar treasure”: from a word meaning “shut up”; closely guarded treasured possession; valued property. Occurring eight times in the Old Testament; in Malachi 3:17 it translates as “jewels.”

Exodus 19:6 “A kingdom of priests”: then referring to the Aaronic priesthood which was the central part of the nation of Israel; now referring to spiritual Israel—all who are believers in Jesus Christ. “All of them both ‘kings and priests unto God’—kings as lords over themselves, equals one to another, owing allegiance to God only—priests, as entitled to draw near to God in prayer without an intermediary, to bring Him their offerings, pay Him their vows, and hold communion with Him in heart and soul. The same privileges are declared by St. Peter (I Peter 2:9) and St. John (Revelation 1:6) to belong to all Christians, who in this respect, as in so many others, are now ‘the Israel of God’” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers).

Deuteronomy 26:18 “Avouched”: openly declared. Acts 15:14 “Simeon”: Simon, or Peter.


Exodus 19. The place is the foot of Mt. Sinai. The Israelites had been gloriously delivered from Egypt and miraculously led across the Red Sea, where God destroyed the Egyptian army which had pursued them. They had murmured at Marah because of the bitter water and God had revealed Himself to them as Jehovah Rapha, the LORD “that healeth thee.” They murmured again as they came into the wilderness, and God gave them quail to eat and began the daily supply of manna. They murmured again at Rephidim, where God brought water out of the rock; He also revealed Himself to them in their battle with Amalek as Jehovah Nissi, “the LORD our victory.” Here in the wilderness camp, Moses’ father-in-law paid him a visit and wisely counseled Moses how to develop a system of legal jurisdiction over the people. Now God is visiting Moses on Mount Sinai and is preparing him and the people for the giving of His law.

He begins by introducing the concept of this people being the holy people, His chosen, guarded, valuable treasure, and describes the whole process of His deliverance as His bearing them up on “eagles’ wings.” This truly is the underlying motivation for all of God’s dealings with His people, as we can see time after time in Israel’s history. It is the reason for all of His commands to them.

The concept is reiterated in the later messages God gave to his people in the Deuteronomy passages in our lesson. David recognized it as he wrote about the godly being set apart unto God and God’s chosen heritage being a people privileged to be near to Him.

The prophet Isaiah spoke both literally of the people of Israel being delivered from their Babylonian captivity and from the sins which caused the captivity, and prophetically of spiritual Israel, the people of Christ’s kingdom, who were called out from sin and darkness to holiness and light. He spoke of them knowing righteousness and having His law written in their hearts; that truly was His desire for His people. The law written in stone could never be sufficient or powerful enough to cause people to do His will. There must be a HEART-knowing of the source of righteousness and a HEART imprinted with the very will and mind of God.

In the New Testament, Luke, the historian who wrote the Acts of the Apostles, recorded the meeting Paul and Barnabas had with the church at Jerusalem after they had been at Antioch disputing with the Judaizers who wanted to compel the new Gentile Christians to be circumcised. Gathered together with the apostles and elders, they rehearsed all that had happened on their missionary journey, declaring the wonderful conversion of the Gentiles. As in Antioch, certain Pharisees who had believed on Jesus now began to urge the disciples in Jerusalem to circumcise the believing Gentiles. Peter disagreed, reminding them of the Gentiles in Cornelius’ household who believed and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then Paul and Barnabas told of the miracles and wonders done by God among the Gentiles. James spoke of Israel’s history, using scriptures from Isaiah which prophesied of the bringing in of the Gentiles. He advised that the abstention from four things—idols, fornication, and the eating of blood and strangled animals—be preached to the Gentiles, but not any commandment to be circumcised. James mentioned this distinction about the Gentiles, that God had visited them, to take from among them “a people for his name.”

As time went on and titles were given to the groups of believers and epistles from the apostles were addressed to them, their enemies called them Christians, but the apostles used the name “saints,” meaning holy people, the very name God had started with at the beginning.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Name the three terms God used to describe His people in Exodus 19.
  2. What imagery did God use in describing His dealings with the children of Israel?
  3. Name the two terms God used to describe His people in Deuteronomy.
  4. In what three ways was God going to set His people on high?
  5. What did the Psalmist say God would do for the godly person?
  6. How did the Psalmist describe Israel?
  7. Name five ways Isaiah described God’s people.
  8. Name the terms used in the New Testament for God’s people.


I hope we can each personalize the very precious concept presented in these scriptures and, as each of the lessons in this series goes forth, begin to form a vision in our minds that is more than a creed or a set of written commands.

We have been called out, sought out, and set apart—by Him, unto Him, and for Him. As costly and rare jewels, closely guarded and treasured, God’s people are a delight to Him.

We have been redeemed, chosen and purchased; this introduces the thought that a price had to be paid for our redemption. We who were not of Jewish descent but are Gentiles, who had not been God’s people, are now called to be saints; who had not obtained mercy, have now obtained mercy—and by what means? The death of our Lord Jesus Christ. To what purpose has Christ obtained this? So He can draw us, who were far from him, near unto Him. So He can write His law, not on tables of stone anymore, but in our hearts. So we can show forth His praises and be a people for the glory of His Name.

What a special privilege it is to be a saint of God!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck

C. M. Varghese – A Saint of God who Lived in India

December 10, 1907 — October 19, 1968

C.M. Varghese was born on December 10, 1907, at Kottarakara, the oldest son of Mr. Mathai and Mrs. Mariyamma. As his father was an evangelist, he was raised as a God-fearing child. He learned the Bible through attending Sunday school classes and got saved in his childhood. He got a good education and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from college. His plan was to get a degree in law and become a lawyer or advocate and judge; but, his father, being an evangelist, did not have any interest in it and stopped him from going to law college. He asked him to do the Lord’s work to win souls to Christ. Varghese prayed about it and got the call from God to do the Lord’s work. He started to preach Christ and salvation through Christ in the streets and conducted open air meetings in the highways and hedges to win souls for Christ. His father baptized him, and God used him as a sharp weapon in His hands. One missionary whose name was Walker came to visit Kottarakara, and Varghese joined with him to do the Lord’s work for a short time. After that everybody called him “Little Walker.”

On August 28, 1930, Varghese married a godly woman, Chinnamma, who was also a spiritual partner, to help his ministry. Eight children were born to them. All are God-fearing and born again; they are Mathew, Jacob, Mary, Susamma, Samuel, John, Philip and Molly. Two of them have died, but the other six are still living.

Seeing his spiritual enthusiasm and fervency in the Lord’s work, the Bishop of Marthoma Church (an Episcopal church) advised and compelled him to join with Marthoma Church to work for the Lord. Varghese accepted that request and decided to work in that church in 1950. The bishop anointed him and appointed him as a priest and adorned him with priestly dress. He worked as a priest in the Marthoma Church in different parts of Kerala State for ten years. Finally, God called him to come out of that Babylon. As David put off the armor of King Saul (1 Samuel 17:39), Varghese put off the priestly dress and came out of the Marthoma Church in 1960. He was so happy to be free to preach the gospel of truth everywhere.

In 1960 he started a congregation in his home with the name, “Church of God,” and several people in the locality started to assemble in that church. Somehow Varghese got a copy of the Faith and Victory paper from America, and his eyes were illuminated to see the truths as he read it. He communicated with Bro. Lawrence Pruitt, who was in charge of the Faith Publishing House in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in the USA. In 1964, Bro. C.C. Carver, a missionary of the Evening Light Church of God in America, visited India and stayed one month with Bro. Varghese and traveled around in different parts of South India, starting congregations of the Evening Light Church of God in different areas. The first chapel was built at Karickom in 1965.

Unfortunately, on October 19, 1968, Bro. Varghese passed away at the age of 61, due to a sudden heart attack. He did not trust in doctors and medicines. He trusted in the Lord and believed in divine healing until his death. His last words were, “I lean on the breast of my Lord.” He said it twice and closed his eyes, smiling. At the time of his death, he was reading and meditating, his Malayalam Bible in his left hand and the English Bible in his right hand. It was a shock to the church and to the family, but God called his son John Varghese to take charge of the ministry of God which Bro. Varghese started. Bro. John Varghese obeyed that call and has been the overseer of Evening Light Church of God for the last 50 years. Praise the Lord for His wonderful dealings with His people.

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Hebrews 13:7).

—Bro. John Varghese