This week we are studying the “Holy One of Israel.”
Our God, the Holy One of Israel, is so multi-faceted, so unique and timeless that at times He is so difficult for our finite minds to grasp. If we truly experienced the reality of His holiness, we would die – He is so holy we could not look upon Him without it costing us our earthly lives. Yet, in the Bible there are those who clearly saw the Lord whether by vision or just in His glory revealed through a burning bush, a gentle whisper or by viewing His back as He passed on by. Shall we dig in?
What’s in the name?
Hebrew Strong’s Reference 6918
Translated in the KJV: holy
Hebrew Word: קָדוֹשׁ
Phonetic Pronunciation:kaw-doshe’Root: from Cross Reference: TWOT – 1990b
Part of Speech: adj
Vine’s Words: Holy, Sanctify (To).
English Words used in KJV: holy 65, Holy One 39, saint 12 [Total Count: 116]
or qadosh, kaw-doshe’; from (qadash); sacred (ceremonial or moral); (as noun) God (by eminence), an angel, a saint, a sanctuary :- holy (One), saint.
Hebrew Strong’s Reference: 3478
Translated in the KJV: Israel
Hebrew Word: יִשְׂרָאֵל
Root: from and , Greek
Part of Speech: n pr m
Vine’s Words: None
English Words used in KJV: Israel 2489, Israelites 16 [Total Count: 2505]
from (sarah) and (‘el); he will rule as God; Jisraël, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity :- Israel.
From Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Vine, Unger and White), Nelson Publishers, 1996. Hebrew Dictionary p. 113.
HOLY – A. Adjective.
qādôš (יִשְׂרָאֵל , 6918), “holy.” The Semitic languages have two separate original forms fo the root. The one signifies “pure” and “devoted,” as in Akkadian qadistu and in Hebrew qādēš, “holy.” The word describes something or someonee. The other signifies “holiness” as a situation or as an abstract, as in Arabic al-qaddus “the most holy or most pure.” In Hebrew the verb qādeš and the word qādēš combine both elements: the descriptive and the static. The traditional understanding of being “separated” is only a derived meaning, and not the primary.
Qādôš is prominent in the Pentateuch, poetic and prophetic writings, and rare in historical books. The first of its 116 occurrences is in Exod. 19:16: “and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
In the Old Testament, qādôš a strongly religious connotation. In one sense the word describes an object or place or day to be “holy” with the meaning of “devoted” or “dedicated” to a particular purpose: “And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel…” (Num. 5:17). Particularly the sabbath day is “devoted” as a day of rest: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing they plesaure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord…” (Isa. 58:13-14). The prescription is based on Gen. 2:3 where the Lord “sanctified,” or “dedicated,” the sabbath.
God has dedicated Israel as His people. They are “holy” by their relationship to the “holy” God. All of the people are in a sense “holy,” as members of the covenant community, irrespective of their faith and obedience: “And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?” (Num. 16:3). God’s intent was to use this “holy” nation as a “holy,” royal priesthood amongst the nations (Exod. 19:6). Based on the intimate nature of the relationship, God expected His people to live up to His “holy” expectations and, thus, to demonstrate that they were a “holy nation”: “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other peoples, that ye should be mine” (Lev. 20:26).
The priests were chosen to officiate at the Holy Place of the tabernacle/temple. Because of their function as intermediaries between God and Israel and because of their proximity to the temple, they were dedicated by God to the office of priest: “They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy. They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God. Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of they God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the Lord, which sanctify you, am holy” (Lev. 21;6-8). Aaron as the high priest was “the holy one of the Lord” (Ps. 106:16 NASB).
The Old Testament clearly and emphatically teaches that God is “holy.” He is “the Holy One of Israel” (Isa. 1:4), the “holy God” (Isa 5:16), and “the Holy One” (Isa. 40:25). His name is “Holy”: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa. 57:15). The negative statement, “There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none besides the: neither is there any rock like our God” (1 Sam. 2:2), explains that He is most “holy” and that no one is as “holy” as He is. Also the angels in the heavenly entourage are “holy”: “and the valley of my mountains shall be stopped up, for the valley of the mountains shall touch the side of it; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord your God will come, and all the holy ones [KJV, “saints”] with him” (Zech. 14:5, RSV). The seraphim proclaimed to each other the holiness of God: “and one cried unto another and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6:3).
In the Septuagint the word hagios (“holy”) stands for the Hebrew qādôsh.
From the Lexical Aids in the Complete Word Study Old Testament, AMG Publishers, S. Zodhiates, 1994, p. 2359.
6918. Qādhôsh; this important adj. comes from qādhash (6942). It means sacred (ceremonially or morally); selected, pure, holy, consecrated, pious; (as a sub.) sanctuary, the Holy One (i.e., God, an angel, a saint). The first appearance of qādhôsh is in Ex. 19:6; “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.” All Israel was holy, a nation separated for God’s service. In other words, God had dedicated Israel as His special people. They were considered holy by their relationship to the holy God. Therefore, they were urged to keep themselves separate from other nations and unholy things to please the Lord (Lev. 20:26). Israel was to abstain from every kind of impurity (Deut. 7:5, 6; 14:2, 21; 26:19). The priests were holy before God (Lev. 21:6, 7). Aaron consecrated them (Ps. 106:16). They officiated at the holy place of the tabernacle or the temple, acting as intermediaries between god and Israel. They were completely dedicated to His service. They wore sacred priestly garments (Ex. 28:2). some things were for the priests and the Levites (Ex. 29:32, 33), but some could be given to others (Deut. 26:13). There were holy sacrifices (Ex. 30:25; Lev. 27:10). God’s sanctuary was a holy place (Ex. 36:1). The outer part was “the holy place” and the inner part was “the holy of holies” (Ex. 26:33). the altar was “a most holy place.” All these locations were varying distances from the holy God (2 Sam. 6:10, 11). God is separate from all sin, death and idolatry (Ezek. 39:25). His majestic holiness is without equal and is completely perfect (Ex. 15:11). He is “the Holy One of Israel” (Is. 1;4), the “holy God” (Is. 5:16) and “the Holy One” ( Isa. 40:25). His name is holy (Isa. 57:15), none is as holy as He (1 Sam. 2:2). Is. 6:3 says: “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts.” He is the Judge of what is right and pure (Ps. 22:2-4); Is. 6:3, 5ff.). Because God is holy, He is free from the moral imperfections and failures associated with mankind (Hos. 11:9). We can depend on Him to be faithful to His promises (Ps. 22:3-5). He is absolute separated from evil (Is. 17:7). He cannot tolerate sin. the angels, who are closely associated with Him, are called “the holy ones” (Job 15:15; Dan. 8:13). Pious worshippers of God (saints) were also called holy ones (Deut. 33:3; Ps. 16:3; 34:9). A special category were Nazarites who were as pure from the defilements of sin as possible, completely set apart for God’s purpose (Num. 6:5). Dan. 8:24 uses the term to denote Jews in general. So, the basic meaning of qādhôsh is what is intrinsically sacred and distinct (even opposed to) what is common. See the Greek terms hágios (40, NT) and hagnós 53, NT).
Strong’s Greek Reference Number 40:
Translated in the KJV: holyGreek Word: ἅγιος
Phonetic Pronunciation:hag’-ee-osRoot: from hagos (an awful thing) [cf , ]
Cross Reference: TDNT – 1:88,14
Part of Speech: adj
Vine’s Words: Holiness, Holy, Holily, Saint.
English Words used in KJV: holy 161, saints 61, Holy One 4, misc 3 [Total Count: 229]
from hagos (an awful thing) [compare (hagnos), (chag)]; sacred (physical pure, moral blameless or religious, ceremony consecrated) :- (most) holy (one, thing), saint.
Strong’s Greek Reference Number 53:
Translated in the KJV: pure
Greek Word: ἁγνός
Root: from the same as
Cross Reference: TDNT – 1:122,19
Part of Speech: adj
Vine’s Words: Chaste
English Words used in KJV: pure 4, chaste 3, clear 1 [Total Count: 8].
from the same as
(hagios); properly clean, i.e. (figurative) innocent, modest, perfect :- chaste, clean, pure.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, Victor Books, Walvoord and Zuck, 1985, p. 201, Leviticus.
19:1-2. This chapter is not addressed to a few ascetics but to the entire assembly of Israel, the whole nation. The underlying motivation for holiness is expressed in what can be considered the motto of Leviticus-Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. This statement weds ethics to theology forever. Human morality must ultimately rest on the unchanging nature of God. “Every biblical statement about God carries with it an implied demand upon men to imitate Him in daily living” (R. E. Clements, “Leviticus,” in The Broadman Bible Commentary, 2:51). God called Israel to be a holy nation (Ex. 19:6).
There is so much here to process. Let’s just take a moment and pray.
Lord God, You are the Holy One of Israel. Define that for us today, define it in a way that it becomes real and not just an abstract idea of what it means that your are the Holy One, and how it applies to our inheritance as the spiritual seed of Abraham. Holy Spirit come and reveal yourself to us, allow Your holiness to define us, change us and grow us closer to You and through that reveal more of Yourself to a lost and fallen world. Change us Lord, that we may be more like You. We long to find You Lord, we are seeking You in Your Most Holy Place. We ask these things in Jesus Name, Amen.
God is our Holy God, we are the spiritual seed of Abraham and so a part of the nation of Israel and God’s eternal inheritance. His promises for Israel apply to us as well as His protection and calling. It is our spiritual inheritance as Believer’s in Christ. Let us journey forward with Spiritual Eyes and Spiritual Ears and Hearts inclined to know the will and the Word of God on this matter.
Psalm 22:1 (NIV). “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 4 In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.”
Here David is crying out to the Lord, he feels forsaken and inadquate. He is discouraged, under duress. David is crying to the Lord both day and night, and he has not seen an answer come to his distress. Verse 3 takes us to a different place, it is like David makes a paradigm shift from his dismal circumstances to the Holiness and Uniqueness of God. He recognizes his praiseworthiness, and the faithfulness of God to the generations past.
In this passage David acknowledges that though he cannot see it, he knows that God is the God of Israel, holy and faithful. He recognized and sites a precedent before the Lord crying out to Him for deliverance and redemption. The next verse takes us back to David’s perspective: “But I am a worm, and no man; I am the scorn of men, and despised by the people.” ~ Psalms 22:6 (AMP).
When considering God’s Holiness, we must always consider His justice and His righteousness. He is Holy beyond measure and far beyond our comprehension. When we have this perspective of the absolute nature of God’s Holiness, our own plight, and sinful existence becomes a vast contrast for us. He alone is God, He alone is Holy – He alone is the source of our redemption and righteousness. Without the sanctifying work of His Word and His Holy Spirit through the Salvation of His Son, we are nothing but worms. Dust of the earth that will soon return to it.
Psalms 71;18-23 (AMP). “Yes, even when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not, [but keep me alive] until I have declared Your mighty strength to [this] generation, and Your might and power to all that are to come. 19 Your righteousness also, O God, is very high [reaching to the heavens], You Who have done great things; O God, who is like You, or who is Your equal? 20 You Who have shown us [all] troubles great and sore will quicken us again and will bring us up again from the depths of the earth. 21 Increase my greatness (my honor) and turn and comfort me. 22 I will also praise You with the harp, even Your truth and faithfulness, O my God; unto You will I sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips shall shout for joy when I sing praises to You, and my inner being, which You have redeemed.”
In this passage, again the Psalmist is asking God to bring forth His holiness and glory in the life of his servant. The chief desire of the writer is to have his life be a living testimony to the greatness, the glory, the redeeming power and the holiness of the Living God. He asks God to give him a long life, favor and honor before men so that the Glory of God will be revealed in those who witness his life and his legacy. The praiseworthiness of God and the inner joy that comes from the glory of salvation is an appropriate place to stand before the Lord and declare His glory and His redemption before the nations of men. All of these things are true because our God is Holy.
Isaiah 5:23-25 (AMP). “Who justify and acquit the guilty for a bribe, but take away the rights of the innocent and righteous from them! 24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as the dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root shall be like rottenness and their blossom shall go up like fine dust—because they have rejected and cast away the law and the teaching of the Lord of hosts and have not believed but have treated scornfully and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people, and He has stretched forth His hand against them and has smitten them. And the mountains trembled, and their dead bodies were like dung and sweepings in the midst of the streets. For all this, His anger is not turned away, but His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].”
This passage in Isaiah defines the way God’s holiness demands justice when His children persist in their sins. His judgment rests upon us like the weight of death – even in our salvation we can still carry the dead weight of unconfessed sin. We must always weigh our thoughts, our words and our actions in contrast to God’s holiness.
Since God cannot tolerate sin’s presence, we must realize that though we are saved, when we sin against God we separate ourselves from His presence and activity in our lives. We break fellowship and it can only be restored if we come before Him in confession and repentence. Applying the atonement again and again to the areas of our lives afflicted with sin. When we confess, we appropriate the atonement of Christ for our sins and restore ourselves to a purified and devoted state to the Lord. Often times, the most difficult thing for a sinner saved by grace is the appropriation of forgiveness after we have confessed. We often will surrender a confession but never acknowledge the receipt of forgiveness.
The inability to forgive ourselves often leads to self-defeating and destructive behavior because we deny the truth: that God deemed us worthy of forgiveness through His Son’s death on the cross and that alone is why we deserve the grace that paid a price so high we could never meet its demands. His holiness demanded a price. His holiness rendered it paid and we forsake His promise each time we refuse to receive the forgiveness that was paid for in the blood of Christ.
Isaiah 57:15-16 (AMP). “For thus says the high and lofty One—He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin]. 16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I be angry always, for [if I did stay angry] the spirit [of man] would faint and be consumed before Me, and [My purpose in] creating the souls of men would be frustrated.
God is not just Holy, His name is Holy. Holiness defines who God is. Everything about Him reflects His holiness. The fact that He dwells in eternity, in the high and holy place and yet our high and holy God calls His Son, who is also fully God to be a thoroughly pentitent and humble spirit. His heart was so bruised with sorrow for sin, He had to act in humility to redeem those He had created in His own image. Verse 16 promises us something very important – this earthly existence for us is not eternal. It will end at some point, and so will God’s wrath against mankind. He tells us here that indeed to be in His presence is to be consumed – this is why we must ensure we are clothed in the imperishable – Jesus Christ – and walk according the purpose He ordained in creating us.
As I review these passages I am struck that every quality of the names of God we have studied to date are tied to His holiness. Because of His holiness, His zealous, unconditional love for us would consume us without the presence of Christ in us to protect us from the consuming, unquenchable fire of God.
Today as we conclude this lesson on the Holiness of God weigh the Word by contrasting the fruits of the Flesh against the fruit of the Spirit. Our God is holy and He has not only called us to be redeemed – He calls us to be Holy as He is holy. A high calling and one completely unattainable without a daily, consistent relationship with Him through prayer, worship and His Word. An opportunity not to be bound by the restrictions or demands of law but to be free from the Law by living in accordance with the Spirit and Grace. I don’t know who really says this, and it woudl completely shame my daughters to hear me utter these words… Still this post begs me to say it: AIN’T God Good?
Freedom in Christ
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you
let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of
no value to you at all.
3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself
be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the
4 You who are trying to be justified by law have
been alienated from Christ; you have fallen
away from grace.
5 But by faith we eagerly await through the
Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision
nor uncircumcision has any value. The only
thing that counts is faith expressing itself
7 You were running a good race. Who cut
in on you and kept you from obeying the
8 That kind of persuasion does not come
from the one who calls you.
9 “A little yeast works through the whole
batch of dough.”
10 I am confident in the Lord that you will
take no other view. The one who is throwing
you into confusion will pay the penalty,
whoever he may be.
11 Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision,
why am I still being persecuted? In that case the
offense of the cross has been abolished.
12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go
the whole way and emasculate themselves!
Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the
sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
14 The entire law is summed up in a single command:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other,
watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify
the desires of the sinful nature.
17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to
the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the
sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other,
so that you do not do what you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:
sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord,
jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions,
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and
the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those
who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things
there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified
the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step
with the Spirit.
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and
envying each other.
(New International Version)