Our modern society has no concept of holiness. NONE whatsoever! This is because there is no fear—either reverential or dread—of Elohim. NONE! People, generally, are not only unaware of Elohim, but could care less. Live for them moment, make money and pursue the lusts of the flesh and eyes, and do what feels good is all most care people care about. And we wonder why society is ripping apart at the seams and lawlessness, anger, suicide, drug addictions, hatred and strife abound everywhere? Are we that clueless and lost as a society to be able to add two and two? Read on for the answer to these problems.
Hebrews 12:14, Holiness…see YHVH.
Holiness is the chief attribute of Elohim and the most defining aspect of his character. It has to do with the fact that Elohim is entirely good and without evil or moral defect and totally sinless. This is why the spiritual beings around his heavenly throne are constantly crying, “Holy, holy, holy” in his Presence (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). This is why one of his titles is The Holy One of Israel,which is used more than thirty times in the Tanakh (e.g. 2 Kgs 19:22; Ps 71:22; Isa 1:4; Jer 50:29). This is why the high priest who ministered in the Tabernacle of Moses and later in the temple wore a golden crown or headplate with the words inscribed on it, “HOLINESS TO YHVH.” Not only was this pointing upward to YHVH’s set-apartness, but man himself is to become holy or set-apart even as YHVH Elohim is set-apart, for we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews that the attribute of holiness is a prerequisite for a man coming into the Presence of Elohim (Heb 12:14).
YHVH Elohim made mankind in his own image (Gen 1:27), so that man could eventually become his glorified spirit children (John 1:12; Rom 8:14–15; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; 1 John 3:1–2; Rev 21:7). As part of the process of becoming an immortal child of Elohim, man must become holy as he is holy (Lev 11:44, 45; 20:7, 26; 1 Pet 1:16). This is the ultimate destiny of those who will submit to YHVH’s process of transforming man from profane or polluted, sin-ridden beings to becoming holy or set-apart. What does this process involve and how does it affect you?
YHVH Is Preparing His Saints to Be a Kingdom of Priests
In the Bible, YHVH declared that it was the destiny of the Israelite nation to become a chosen and peculiar people and a kingdom of priest—to be special and unique among the nations of the world—to reflect the character and nature of YHVH Elohim—to be holy (in Hebrew, kadosh) as he is kadosh. The Hebrew word kadosh means “sacredness, consecrated, set-apartness or separateness.” Set-apart or separate from what? From the sin, profaneness and pollutions of the world with all of its sin and rebellion against the Creator. YHVH Elohim is set-apart or kadosh in that he is transcendent or above the mundane with its sinfulness. He invites humans to transcend the pollutions of the carnal and the mundane and to come up to his level. The saints as the end times priesthood of Yeshua need to embrace and internalize this identity for themselves as we will discuss below.
Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine and you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a set-apart nation. (Exod 19:5–6)
For you are an set-apart people unto YHVH your Elohim. YHVH your Elohim has chosen you to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (Deut 7:6 cp. 14:2)
What does this have to do with me, you might ask? Everything, as we’ll see shortly.
The Israelites were unique because YHVH gave them his Torah-commandments—his instructions to show them how to live righteously and how to love him and their fellow man.
You have [distinguished] YHVH this day to be your Elohim, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: and YHVH has [distinguished] you this day to be his peculiar people, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments and to make you high above all nations which he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a set-apart people unto YHVH your Elohim… (Deut 26:17–18 cp. Isa 43:1; Tit 2:14)
As such, YHVH commissioned Israel to become a light to the heathen nations around them and by their good example to lead them to YHVH—the one true and holy or set-apart Elohim.
Therefore 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 Elohim so near to it, as YHVH our Elohim 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 Torah-law which I set before you this day? (Deut 4:6–8).
So that Israel could be a spiritual lighthouse to the world to lead them to the Creator, YHVH in his sovereignty positioned the nation of Israel at the crossroads of the major trade routes of the ancient world—between three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. He hoped that Israel’s example as a righteous, set-apart and thus a blessed nation who possessed high moral and spiritual standards would favorably influence the foreign merchants and travelers who would pass through that country. Hopefully, they would carry news of this special nation back to their own countries. In this manner, Israel would become a kingdom of priests to the nations to teach them the ways of YHVH Elohim. Where has YHVH placed you in the crossroads of humanity, so that you can be a spiritual light to those around you? What are you doing to be that light?
Sadly Israel failed in their divinely-ordained mission to be a light to the world. Instead, they allowed themselves to be influenced negatively by the heathen cultures around instead of influencing them positively. On the whole, the Israelites desired to conform to the low standards of the surrounding wicked nations rather than to conform to YHVH’s high standards of righteousness as revealed in his Torah-law. Israel chose a downward spiritual path instead of an upward spiritual path. What spiritual path are you on?
All those who come to faith in Yeshua the Messiah become children of Abraham and are thus one new man Israelites or the Israel of Elohim (Rom 4:16; 9:8–11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28–29; 6:16; Eph 2:11–19). They have been spiritually grafted into the olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:16–26). Ancient Israel never fulfilled its divine calling to be a kingdom of priests and a light to the nations of the world. What Israel failed to accomplish because of disobedience, rebellion and faithlessness has been left to grafted-in Israel—the one new man in Yeshua the Messiah—to accomplish. If you’re a born-again disciple of Yeshua, then this applies to you!
The Saints Are Called to Be a Set-Apart (Holy) Nation
If you have repented of your sins, been washed in the blood of the Lamb and been spiritually regenerated by Elohim’s Set-Apart Spirit, then you are part of his set-apart priesthood, even as ancient Israel was called to be. This is your identity according to Scripture. Get this into your spirit and every day live out the reality of it!
You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to YHVH by Yeshua the Messiah…But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a peculiar [purchased, acquired, i.e. YHVH’s purchased possession (purchased/ransomed by the blood of his Son)] people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet 2:5, 9–10, emphasis added)
The concept of a set-apart nation of being priests is YHVH’s ultimate destiny for his people. For what purpose? To bring glory to YHVH who has called his people out of spiritual darkness and sin (lawlessness or Torahlessness, 1 John 3:4) into the glorious light of his truth, which is the Torah (Ps 119:142, 151), to show the ways of YHVH to the world! The saints are called to show forth the praises of YHVH or, in other words, to be YHVH-praisers. Not only that, the high priest who ministered in the Tabernacle of Moses and later in the temple wore a golden crown or headplate with the words inscribed on it, “HOLINESS TO YHVH.” Not only was this headpiece pointing upward to YHVH’s set-apartness, but teaches us that man himself is to become holy or set-apart even as YHVH Elohim is set-apart, for we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews that the attribute of holiness is a prerequisite for a man coming into the Presence of Elohim:
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see YHVH. (Heb 12:14)
The Seven Steps to Consecrating a Levitical Priest
If it is the modern-day saint’s spiritual duty and prophetic destiny to become YHVH’s kingdom of priests that ancient Israel never become, then how do we become a priest? The Torah lays out the seven steps to becoming a Levitical priest. These seven steps are similar to those a follower of Yeshua must take to become apart of Yeshua’s royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9).
The seven steps that YHVH in his Torah instructed the priests of old to go through to become priests in the Tabernacle of Moses are found in Exodus 28 and 29. As servants of and co-laborers with Yeshua our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14), we must also go through these same steps in a spiritual sense as we shall now see.
- The priests were taken from among the children of Israel (Exod 28:1). This prefigures divine election. YHVH calls or chooses each person. Yeshua called his disciples. They did not call or choose him, but they did have to respond to his calling.
- They were brought into the door of the tabernacle (Exod 29:4). The door of the tabernacle is Messiah Yeshua who is the spiritual door through which all must come into a spiritual relationship with YHVH Elohim, the Holy or Kadosh One of Israel, which leads to eternal life. No man comes to the Father except through Yeshua (John 10:7–9).
- They were washed (Exod 29:4). Upon accepting the work and Person of Yeshua, one must be immersed or baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:28) and to identify spiritually with the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua (Rom 6:3–14). As they study the Word of Elohim, it will then wash and clean them (Eph 5:26).
- They were clothed in their official garments (Exod 29:4-9). The disciple of Yeshua must put on the robes of righteousness (Gal 3:27 cp. Isa 61:10). Paul talks about fruits of righteousness through Yeshua in Philippians 1:1. The Bible defines righteousness as Torah obedience (Ps. 119:172). Righteousness and Torah-obedience is a mark of the end times saint (Rev 12:17 and 14:12) and of the bride of Messiah (Rev 19:8).
- They laid their hands on the head of the animals which were sacrificed, blood was shed and sprinkled on Aaron and his sons and unleavened bread was waved and burnt and they ate the flesh of the ram and the unleavened bread (Exod 29:10–26, 32–33). Each saint must take personal responsibility for his own sins and place his faith in Yeshua by accepting his death on the cross in their place, and receiving him as the spiritual bread of life (John 6:35–58). This involves repentance from sin and turning away from sinfulness and turning to righteousness or obedience to YHVH’s commandments (1 John 1:9; John 14:15; Deut 10:12–13).
- They were anointed with oil (Exod 29:21). Each person must receive the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim.
- They were sanctified or set-apart for a special, divine purpose (Exod 29:44). After the saints have gone through the preceding steps, they are now consecrated by YHVH to be his royal priesthood.
Only on the basis of following the steps as outlined above can one have fellowship with the Father. And what is the result? One becomes a special person with a unique relationship with the YHVH Elohim! Let’s read Exodus 29:44–46,
And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their Elohim. And they shall know that I am YHVH their Elohim, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am YHVH their Elohim. (emphasis added)
This can be accomplished only through Yeshua living in us spiritually. When this happens, we become part of his spiritual house. He is the Chief Cornerstone of our faith or spiritual house (Eph 2:20).
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of Elohim, and precious, you also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to Elohim by Yeshua the Messiah. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Tzion a chief corner stone, elect, precious, and he that believes on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious, but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a peculiar people; that you should shew forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of Elohim, which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Pet 2:4–10)
Our faith in Yeshua stays alive and vibrant because of the sacrifices of devotion and praise we offer up daily, morning and night. We are called to do the same work the priests of old did, but in a spiritual or fulfilled sense.
About 2 years ago, I composed a song on that very issue. Its chorus goes like this:
Our God is holy and we must be holy, set apart for Him.
Our God is holy and we must be holy, to show the whole world His glory.
I have come to realize that most Christians do not know what the word ‘holy’ means in its fullness. I didn’t either in the past.
Thanks for a great teaching.