The Voice of YHVH: A Gentle Stream or a Mighty River?

Isaiah 8:6–7, Waters of Shiloach/Shiloah/Siloam…waters of the River. Here the prophet is contrasting the stream that flows from the Gihon Spring and empties into the Pool of Siloam in S.E. Jerusalem with the Euphrates River. When YHVH’s people reject the gentle waters of his river of (Torah-) life and instead find their joy in the mighty river of men’s carnal and rebellious ways after which the majority seek, as a judgment, YHVH’s will allow his people to be overrun and overcome by that river in which they have put their trust.

The waters of the Gihon Spring are here contrasted against those of the mighty Euphrates River, which calls to mind two other scriptural principles as well. The straight, narrow and unpopular way of YHVH’s Truth is juxtaposed against the broad and popular way of the world, the flesh and the devil. Moreover, these contrasting symbols call to mind the still, small and gentle voice of YHVH versus the loud, demanding and brash voice of the world, the flesh and the devil. Elijah learned at the mountain of YHVH that his Creator was not in the earthquake, the wind or the fire, but speaks quietly and gently to his servants (1 Kgs 19:12). 

This is the same voice to which the psalmist makes reference when he declares, “Be still I know that I am Elohim” (Ps 46:10). On the other hand, when humans refuse to listen to the gentle voice of their heavenly Parent, Elohim is forced to raise his voice in judgment against his rebellious children at which time his voice thunders, breaks things and shakes everything (Pss 18:13; 29:1–9; cp. 32:8–9).

 

How do YOU become holy?

How does a person become holy? Does holy water make you holy? Does a robed priest sporting a goofy headdress and wearing a giant charm around his pencil neck while waving his gaunt and delicate hand over you make you holy? Does stepping into a gilded and ornately decorated church and performing some religious mumbo-jumbo exercise make you holy? NO! The Bible declares how a person becomes holy, and it’s NOT what most people think!

For starters, most well-meaning but deceived folks don’t even know what the word holy means. It comes from the Hebrew word kadash, a verb meaning “to be pure, undefiled, unpolluted, set-apart or sanctified.” The Hebrew word kodesh is the biblical adjective to describe Elohim who is totally pure and sinless and without any pollution or defilement. Kodesh also describes those things which YHVH has made holy or declared to be holy such as certain times (such as his Sabbath and feasts), certain places (such as the Tabernacle of Moses), and certain people (such as his priests and saints). No matter how elaborate and convincing the efforts humans cannot make or declare anything holy regardless of the ceremonialism and religious activities. These efforts are merely futile, vain and, quite frankly, laughable! Many unbelieving pagans see this religious charade for what it is and are not  convinced. Some even mock and scorn such efforts. Religiosity is NOT the way to bring people to Elohim—to bring unholy man into the presence of a holy Elohim.

So what is true biblical holiness, and how is it different than the counterfeit that often passes for holiness in religious circles? Let’s discuss this briefly below.


1 Peter 1:16, Be holy, for I am holy. How do we as redeemed believers initially become kadosh or set-apart? This occurs only through the blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of Elohim at the time of our salvation. 

And from Yeshua Messiah, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. (Rev 1:5)

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says YHVH. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa 1:18)

How does one stay set-apart or sanctified andstay in fellowship with a kadosh Elohim? This is accomplished by staying under the blood of Yeshua the Lamb and by confessing and forsaking sin (i.e. violation of the Torah-law of Elohim—1 John 3:4) on a regular basis:

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness [sin or Torahlessness], we lie, and do not the truth [i.e. Torah/YHVH’s instructions in righteousness], but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Messiah Yeshua his Son cleanse us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:6–9)

We also stay set-apart or holy by walking in accordance with YHVH’s Torah commandments. The Scriptures are clear on this: holiness or being set-apart from world cannot be separated from obedience to YHVH’s Torah instructions in righteousness.

Everywhere in Scripture (Exod 22:31; Lev 11:45; 19:2; 20:7, 26;  21:28; 1 Pet 1:16) where YHVH’s saints are commanded to be holy, the command is tied to obedience to his laws be they his dietary laws, the Sabbath, honoring one’s parents, treating one’s neighbor ethically, being a righteous minister, or not succumbing to the pagan practices of the world including sexual immorality, witchcraft, sorcery and witchcraft. To be sure, when we practice holiness by living according to the word of Elohim, it will set us apart and make us different from the world. We cannot be like the world and be holy, set-apart and pleasing to Elohim.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with Elohim? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of Elohim. (Jas 4:4)

Don’t forget the importance of being holy or set-apart from this world, for the Scriptures tell us that without holiness no one will see Elohim (Heb 12:14). This is pretty cut and dried!

Why is holiness so important? Simply this. Contrary to Scripture, the mainstream Christian church teaches one of two things: either holiness is equivalent to religiosity, or that love is YHVH Elohim’s chief attribute. The first notion is incorrect because the Bible teaches that holiness is about obedience to the word or will of Elohim and is not merely about religious activities. The second notion is incorrect because although the Scriptures teach that Elohim is, indeed, love, this is not his chief attribute. Holiness is. This is why the heavenly beings surrounding the Elohim’s heavenly throne are continuously declaring that he is holy. 

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the YHVH of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isa 6:3)

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, YHVH Elohim Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (Rev 4:8)

Elohim created humans with the potential to be holy as he is holy, so that he, a holy Elohim, can spend eternity with holy glorified humans. No unholy or sinful beings can remain in his presence.

 

Where is the fear of YHVH Elohim?

The Bible declares that the fear of Elohim is both the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov 1:7; 9:10; Ps 111:10. Therefore it can be reverse reasoned that where there is no fear of Elohim, foolishness and ignorance will abound to one degree or another.

Look around yourself and what do you see from the highest level of human institutions (religious including the mainstream Christian church, government, education, science, the arts, the media, entertainment et al) to the lowest level? Point proved! Such ignorance and foolishness not only confounds those people with a modicum of intelligence and common sense, but all the more the saints who walk in the true light and fear of YHVH Elohim.

Let’s now discuss the reverence and fear of Elohim a bit below.


Numbers 3:38, The the outsider who comes near.This verse teaches the principle of the fear and reverence of YHVH when approaching his divine Presence. Other scriptures that teach our need to be careful when approaching him include Psalms 15:1–5; 24:3–5 and Ecclesiastes 5:1–2 (see also Gen 28:16–17; Exod 3:5; Lev 10:3; Josh 5:15; Ps 89:7; Heb 12:28–29). 

As YHVH didn’t permit the Israelites to come near to him except through the intermediary of the Aaronic priests, similarly we can only come to our Father in heaven through the intermediary of Yeshua the Son of Elohim, and our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14), who is the spiritual door and way to the Father (John 14:6). 

Although, YHVH permits his set-apart ones (the saints) to come boldly before him through the agency of Yeshua’s high priesthood and his blood (Rev 5:6–8) to obtain mercy and grace in time of need (Heb 4:16), let’s not forget two things. First, we come to YHVH Elohim in human weakness needing help and grace from him who is greater than us; therefore, we need to maintain a humble disposition (see Isa 66:2). 

Second, our Elohim is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29); therefore, we need to serve him with reverence and godly fear (Heb 12:28), since in his hands he holds the power of life and death (Matt 10:28). Fire is a biblical metaphor for judgment, and YHVH will judge all people including his own people (Heb 10:30–31) for all that they have done while in the flesh whether good or bad to determine levels of rewards and punishment (Matt 5:19; 16:27; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:12; 22:12). In fact, Peter admonishes us to conduct our lives in the fear of Elohim and to be holy as he is holy who will judge each man according to his works (1 Pet 1:17).

 

Leviticus 16:1—The Protocols for Coming Into the Presence of the Almighty Creator

How do humans come into the presence of YHVH Elohim? There is one proper way to do so, and many improper ways. The Torah’s discussion pertaining to the rituals associated with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) reveal to us what the proper protocol is and also alludes to the fact that there is an improper way to approach the Almighty Creator as well—something which brings disastrous results.

Now YHVH spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before YHVH, and died… (Lev 16:1)

Elohim killed Nadab and Abihu because they came into the holy of holies in the Tabernacle of Moses (a representation of Elohim’s heavenly throne room) in a careless and indifferent manner. Not only were they intoxicated with alcohol, but they failed to follow the proper ceremonial protocols outlined by YHVH Elohim to come into his presence. The next few verses lay out what those protocols are to come before the King of the universe. To not follow those protocols brings the death penalty on the person. Such a person is entering illegally as an unauthorized trespasser.

Before exploring how to enter the presence of Elohim properly, let’s bring this abstract concept down to a level we can understand. For example, who hasn’t seen signs on private property that say something like this: “Private Property, No Trespassing,” “Government Property, No Trespassing,” “Unauthorized Entrance Prohibited,” “Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law,” or “Violators Will Be Shot”? What happens to an uninvited intruder who climbs over the fence around the White House or over the walls of Buckingham Palace? He’s arrested if not shot on the spot. Similarly, there are penalties for coming into the throne room of the Almighty YHVH Elohim illegally.

…and YHVH said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. (Lev 16:2)

YHVH Elohim doesn’t allow humans to casually saunter into his presence anytime and in anyway they want. Though he is our loving Heavenly Father, he is holy (set-apart) and is the Creator of the Universe who is to be feared and respected. He has the power of life and death; he gives life and can take it away. Humans (especially Christians) would do well to know their place before the Almighty, to treat him with the respect he is due and to follow his instructions in all areas of their relationship with him. Indeed, YHVH wants humans to come before him, but in the proper way.

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Who or What is the Word of Elohim/God?

John 1:1, The Word was Elohim.Is Yeshua or the Father the God (Elohim) of the Old Testament (Tanakh)? For many believers in Yeshua, there is confusion as to who it was in the Godhead who interacted with the Israelites in the Tankah. Was it the Father or the Son? In the minds of the apostolic writers, there was no confusion about this. Yeshua, in his preincarnate state, was the One that YHVH Elohim the Father used to both create (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3), and then to interact with mankind. He was the Word of YHVH Elohim, the Father, who become flesh and dwelt among men (verse 14). This truth is easily confirmed in several passages in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament).

First, Yeshua himself claims to be YHVH or the I Am of the burning bush (see John 8:58 cp. Exod 3:14). The Jews viewed Yeshua’s claim to be deity as blasphemous, which is why they picked up stones to kill him (John 8:59). Next, Yeshua in declaring to the Jewish religious leaders that “I send you prophets, wise men and scribes: some you will kill…” (Matt 23:34), he is claiming the rights and prerogatives of YHVH — a right and role that solely belonged to YHVH in the Tanakh.

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Why use the Hebrew names for deity?

Exodus 23:13, Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth. (See also Ps 16:4.) Not only is YHVH against the worship of pagan deities and wants their names to be destroyed (Deut 12:3), but he says that he will take from the lips of his people the names of pagan deities (Hos 2:17), and eventually, he will restore a pure language (presumably one that is free of pagan names) to his people (Zeph 3:9). 

Obeying this Torah principle today is difficult, since so many common words such the days of the week and some of the months of the year are named for pagan deities making normal communication without using these names difficult. Nevertheless, the redeemed righteous of YHVH will endeavor to be mindful of this command and speak as cleanly as possible. 

Since this commandment immediately follows commands regarding the weekly Sabbath and the biblical feasts, which are times YHVH has commanded his people to assemble, this is a clear remez or hint that YHVH’s saints should guard against mentioning the names of pagan gods when they gather together to worship Elohim. To mention the names of pagan deities is a slap in the face of the one and only true Elohim!

If one trains ones mind and mouth to use the biblical Hebrew names of “God,” then one will be fulfilling this command. Here is a list of the common English names for deity and their biblical Hebrew equivalents:

  • God = Elohim, El (for short)
  • LORD = YHVH (pronounced Yud Hey Vav Hey), Yah (for short)
  • Lord = Adonai
  • Jesus = Yeshua
  • Christ = Mashiach (or Messiah)
 

Let’s go up to the mountain of Elohim…

Psalm 121:1, Lift my eyes to the hills. Hills is the Hebrew word har and also mean “mountain.” This psalm is a Song of Ascents. Ascents is the Hebrew word ma’alah meaning “elevation, that is, the act (literally a journey to a higher place, figuratively a thought arising), or (concretely) the condition (literally a step or grade mark, figuratively a superiority of station); specifically a climactic progression (in certain Psalms).” There are 15 ascent songs recorded in the psalms (from Psalm 120 through 134) that were song as the priests were climbing the steps to the temple; there was one song for each step. This first verse along with its title teaches us several things.

First, for the Israelites, coming into the set-apart or kadosh presence of Elohim was viewed as an upward, progressive movement, one step at a time like climbing a mountain. This was a slow, reverent, thoughtful and deliberate process accompanied by songs of worship and praise at each step. They literally “enter[ed] into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Ps 100:4).

Second, YHVH Elohim’s kadosh presence was metaphorically represented as being located on a mountain, which is the highest place on earth that represents heaven. This is why the temple was located in Jerusalem, which was the located on the highest geographical point in the land of Israel (with the exception of Mount Hermon in the extreme north). For this reason, when traveling to Jerusalem, Scripture almost always refers to it as “going up to Jerusalem,” for this is where the physical dwelling place of Elohim among his people was locate—at the highest point in the land of Israel. 

The laborious act of going up, like climbing a mountain, required physical exertion—especially since travel in ancient times was by foot. Whichever direction the Israelite pilgrim was traveling to Jerusalem from whether coming from the western coastal plains along the Mediterranean Sea or from Jordan Valley at the Dead Sea—the lowest point on earth, or from any other direction, the journey required hard work, perseverance, determination and endurance; all physical obstacles and gravity and fleshly limitations had to be overcome one step at a time. 

This journey to Jerusalem is an apt symbolic picture of the saints spiritual journey against the downward pulls of the world, the flesh and the devil that is required come into the heavenly presence of Elohim. Yeshua likens it to climbing a ladder—Jacob’s ladder (John 1:51).

The idea of Elohim’s presence being on a mountaintop was not lost on the heathens, who, in their perennial attempt to counterfeit the truth of Elohim and subvert humans to their own devilish religious systems, typically located the temples to their demon gods on mountains. 

This psalm, by contrast, enjoins YHVH’s people to lift their eyes up to him and view his presence as symbolically being on a mountain, rather than looking to demon gods, false religious systems and men’s governments and human institutions, which are often also located on hills or mountains. In this light, think of the Vatican located on its seven hills of Rome, or Mount Olympus, the Acropolis in Athens, the mountains of Tibet for those into Buddhism, the stereotypical guru is perched on some mountain top somewhere, Capital Hill in Washington D.C. as well as many churches and hospital complexes. These can all serve as false gods to which many people lift their eyes instead of the one true God of the Bible, YHVH Elohim.