What is holy and who determines it and how to tell the difference

Leviticus 8:12, Anointing oil … consecrates [Heb. kadash]. The Hebrew word kadash signifies the state of something that belongs to the realm of the sacred, and which is set-apart for divine use and has been separated from the sphere of the secular, common or profane. The Bible often uses the term holy (meaning “set-apart”) to signify this state of being. The word of Elohim designate many things as set-apart:

  • The ground upon which YHVH is standing (Exod 3:5; Josh 5:15)
  • The people of Israel (Exod 19:6; Deut 14:21; 26:19)
  • The Sabbath (Exod 16:23; 20:8)
  • The Tabernacle of Moses (Exod 26:33)
  • The garments worn by the high priest (Exod 28:2)
  • The altar of sacrifice (Exod 40:10)
  • The offerings made on the altar (Lev 6:18)
  • YHVH’s feast days (Lev 23:2)
  • The camp of Israel (Deut 23:14)
  • Heaven as the abode of Elohim (Deut 26:15)
  • YHVH Elohim (Job 6:10; Pss 22:3; 78:4; 99:5)
  • Zion and Jerusalem (Ps 2:6; Matt 27:53; Rev 22:19)
  • The Spirit of Elohim (Matt 1:20)
  • The angels (Matt 25:31)
  • The servants of Elohim (Mark 6:20)
  • The name of YHVH (Luke 1:49)
  • Yeshua (Acts 2:27; 3:14)
  • YHVH’s prophets (Acts 3:21)
  • The saints (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 22:11)
  • The Torah (2 Pet 3:21) 

The people, times and items listed on this listed are holy because Elohim has designated them as such. Only Elohim has the power and authority to determine what is holy and Continue reading


Holiness—The Dominant Theme of Leviticus and the Bible 

The focus of Leviticus is holiness and holy living. 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 and moral defect and is sinless. This is why the spiritual beings around his heavenly throne are continually crying, “Holy, holy, holy” in his Presence (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). This is why one of his titles is The Kadosh 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, SET-APARTNESS 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).

The Hebrew word for holy and holiness is kadosh, which is defined as “sacredness, consecrated, set-apartness or separateness.” That which is holy or kadosh relates to that Continue reading


Elohim’s Chief Character Attribute and That of the Saint

Exodus 39:30, A crown of pure gold. Why were the words “Set-apart or holiness to YHVH” written on the golden crown that the high priest wore?

To answer that question, think of this: What one word best describes who YHVH is? Most Christians would say that love is YHVH’s chief attribute. But is this what the Scriptures teach? Is there an attribute of YHVH’s that is even higher than love? Think of this: What are the six-winged seraphim declaring about YHVH Elohim day and night before his throne? They are continually proclaiming to YHVH Elohim his holiness (Isa 6:5; Rev 4:8), not his love.

Now consider this. YHVH made man in his own image (Gen 1:26), and wants man to become like him in character (note Lev 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7). Now read Revelation 14:1 and compare this with Revelation 7:3. What does YHVH put on the heads of his end-times servants? What are the two noteworthy characteristics of YHVH’s end-time saints? (Note Rev 12:17; 14:12.) Holiness, Torah-obedience and a faith in Yeshua all go hand-in-hand. Now let’s bring this brief discussion full circle. As the high priest of old wore a gold crown inscribed with the words “Holiness to YHVH,” what does YHVH expect of his end-time saints? (See Heb 12:14; 1 Pet 1:15.) What does Peter call the saints of the Holy or Kadosh One of Israel? (See 1 Pet 2:9.) What will YHVH’s saints become in Yeshua’s millennial kingdom? (Read Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.)

The word holiness (Heb. kadosh) as used in the Scriptures simply means “set-apart or the state of that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred, and which is distinct from the common or profane.”

Elohim as the Creator is transcendent above his creation or that which is profane, earthly or worldly.

Being kadosh isn’t only a positional consideration, but an ethical one as well. The Torah is a reflection of the ethical qualities of Elohim, and is man’s ethical code book showing him how to be holy, set-apart or kadosh as Elohim is. Holiness in the Torah involves what we think, what we say, and what we do. This code of holiness which is a pathway to a relationship with our Father in heaven teaches us how to worship (or love) Elohim, and how to treat (or love) our fellow man. Yeshua, the Living Word or Torah of Elohim (John 1:1, 14) showed us how to walk out the Torah perfectly, and he then empowers us through his Spirit to live out the Torah’s holiness code, but this is another discussion.


To Be Holy or Not Determines the Blessing or the Curse

Deuteronomy 11:26–28, A blessing and a curse. This passage begins with the words, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if you will obey the commandments of YHVH your Elohim, which I command you this day; and a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of YHVH your Elohim, to go after other gods, which you have not known” (Deut 11:26–28). 

After this, in verse 29, YHVH instructs the Israelites that upon entering the Promised Land, they are to stop between the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, which are located at the entry point of the land. The former mountain represents a blessing, while the later represents a curse. The town of Shechem is located between the two mountains. The Hebrew word Shechem means “shoulder” or “back” (Strong’s H7927). The shoulder supports the head, which through the disposition of the mind and the direction in which the head is pointed, determines the path a person will walk whether good or evil. 

It was at Shechem, between the two mountains representing good and evil, that Israel renewed its covenant with YHVH before entering the Promised Land (Josh 8:30–35). The power of the covenant that the people made with YHVH on that day thousands of years ago is still visible in the modern land of Israel: Mount Ebal is bare and devoid of vegetation, while Mount Gerizim is lush and green with foliage. This fact stands as a loud testimony and reminder to man today to the power of blessing and cursing, and to the reality and validity of YHVH’s Torah, its covenants and its ability to bless or curse us depending on whether we obey it or not.

Israel renewed its covenant with YHVH at Shechem at the plains (or oak trees) of Moreh (Deut 11:30). What was significant about this place? This was this exact spot, at the entry point to the Promised Land, that YHVH had established his covenant with Abraham some 500 years earlier. We read about this in Genesis 12:6, “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem unto the plain [or oak] of Moreh [or teacher].” And it was to this same spot that YHVH brought Israel to renew his promises he had made to Abraham. It was there YHVH would begin to teach them to walk victoriously and righteously before him in their promised inheritance IF they would choose to obey his Torah (or his instructions in righteousness) and to turn their backs on the pagan gods and practices of the nations around them. It was at the same spot that Jacob, upon entering the Promised Land, buried all his family’s false gods and pagan accoutrements (Gen 35:4). 

YHVH is calling his people today to make the same choice as the end times saints prepare to enter into our promised inheritance as YHVH’s kings and priests ruling with Yeshua on this earth. YHVH is urging his people to come out of Babylon (Rev 18:4)­—to come out from the world and to be separate and to touch no unclean thing (2 Cor 6:17).

As noted earlier, this passage of Scripture starts with Israel having to choose between the blessing and the curse—obeying YHVH’s commands, which leads to life, or disobeying them, which leads to death (Deut 11:26; see also 30:15–20). Making the right choices as we go through life is what determines our outcome both here on earth and eternally, whether good or bad, life or death. Earlier YHVH declared that it was Israel’s spiritual destiny to become a nation of priests (Exod 19:6), and as such Israel would become an example to the nations of the world of YHVH’s righteousness and the wisdom of Torah (Deut 4:6–8). 

YHVH is calling his people today who have put their faith in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, to be a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9), and to prepare to reign with Yeshua as kings and priests in his millennial kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).  But first they must learn to reign over the kingdom of their own lives by overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil. To be a priest of YHVH Elohim requires choosing righteousness over wickedness, the holy (set-apart) over the profane (that which is defiled, polluted or worldly, see Ezek 44:23; 22:26). One cannot represent a holy, set-apart, sinless and righteous Elohim before the nations of the world unless one is set-apart (from the world) oneself. Yeshua told his disciples that though they were in the world, they were not to be of the world (John 17:11, 14). YHVH admonished his people to be holy or set-apart as he is holy or set-apart (Lev 11:44 and 45), and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares, “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see YHVH” (Heb 12:14).

One cannot choose that which is holy (kodosh or set-apart) from that which is unholy (defiled or polluted) unless one knows what is holy and what is not. YHVH, not man, determines what is holy. In the rest of this Torah portion, YHVH outlines various times, places, things, actions and foods that are holy to him by which his people can enter into holiness and holy communion with him. There are holy times (the weekly Sabbath, YHVH’s annual festivals and the sabbatical year), holy places (where YHVH places his name for his people to gather to worship him), holy food (clean verses unclean meats), holy income (our material income is sanctified or made holy through our tithing a portion of it to YHVH), holy lips (YHVH’s people are forbidden to allow the names of pagan deities to come on their lips, and to take YHVH’s name in vain), and YHVH’s people are to destroy any pagan, corrupting, defiling influences (the false gods of the heathens) by putting these things out of their lives. 

Being holy or set-apart is the saint’s mission and destiny as YHVH’s set-apart people, and it all depends on the choices we make, for good or for evil, to obey YHVH or to disobey him.


Some Reflections on the Biblical Dietary Laws

Leviticus 11:1–47, The biblical dietary laws are about holiness. Let’s briefly discuss the subject of clean and unclean meats. The focal point of biblical dietary laws are holiness and separation. There are other issues here that need to be explored as well. How serious are you about obedience to YHVH’s commands, or is your belly your god? (See Phil 3:19; Rom 16:18.) Do your taste buds or the Word of YHVH rule your life? Remember, Torah covers all aspects of life: physical, spiritual, emotional, relational, civil, agricultural, political, jurisprudence, religious and economic. ­Torah is a very holistic handbook on life. Are you one who takes the (humanistic) pick-and-choose approach to Torah-obedience? “I’ll obey only the biblical laws that suit me.” Such an approach is akin to what the serpent told Adam and Eve when he said, “You can have it your way … YHVH didn’t really mean what he said when it comes to obedience.”

The biblical kosher laws involve many areas such as health issues, holiness (not defiling the body, the temple of YHVH’s Set-Apart Spirit), and separation issues—how we’re to act, live, eat, worship, think, dress and talk differently than the heathens around us. The word kosher derives from the Hebrew word kasher (Strong’s H3787) meaning “to be straight, right, acceptable” (see Est 8:5; Eccl 11:6; 10:10). YHVH has called his people out of this world and sanctified (set-apart) them to be “straight, right and acceptable” to him. Therefore, YHVH hasn’t give us the liberty to act, speak, dress, eat and live the way the heathens do. He has called us to a higher moral and spiritual standard. We can’t expect to be called the children of the Most High, and still live like the children of the world. We must choose whom we are going to serve (see Josh 24:15): YHVH or mammon and this world (Matt 6:24).

Leviticus 11:4, 47, Unclean. The word unclean is the Hebrew word tameh meaning “defiled, impure, polluted ethically, ritually or religiously” and the word clean is the Hebrew word tahor meaning “pure physically, ceremonially, morally, ethically.” In verse 43, YHVH says that in eating unclean meats one becomes abominable (or detestable, filthy). In Ezekiel 22:26, YHVH rebukes his people because, “Her priests have violated my Torah-law, and have profaned my set-apart (Heb. kadosh) things: they have put no difference between the set-apart and profane, polluted or common, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.” In Leviticus 11:45, the Torah states, “For I am YHVH that brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim. You shall therefore be set apart, for I am set apart/holy.” 

In 2 Corinthians 6:16–17, we read:

And what agreement does the temple of Elohim have with idols? For you are the temple of the living Elohim; as Elohim has said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate,” says the Master, “and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (emphasis added)

The issue of clean or pure and unclean, polluted or abominable meats is not simply a dietary or health consideration, but a spiritual issue with YHVH. Both Moses (Lev 19:2) and the apostolic writers had a clear sense of the fact that without holiness no one will see YHVH (Heb 12:14), and that holiness or being kadosh or set-apart from the ways, lifestyles, ideologies of this world (i.e. from spiritual Egypt) is an absolute requirement of YHVH for his people. Is it possible to spiritualize away the concept of set-apartness and still be true to the Word of Elohim? Can one be spiritually sanctified (set-apart) through the atoning work of Yeshua at the cross, but then have a polluted lifestyle? Can one profess a righteous lifestyle and be set-apart without walking out that lifestyle? Can one follow the spirit of the law and violate the letter and still be acceptable to YHVH? What did James say about faith without works (Jas 2:20)? What did Yeshua teach at the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5–7) about uniting the letter and the spirit of the law and practicing both? (Specifically read Matt 5:21–48 for the answer.)

Leviticus 11:10, 20, 23, 41, 42, Abomination. Heb. sheqets (Strong’s H8263) meaning “a detestable thing or idol.” It can also mean “to make abominable” or “contaminate.” This word is also used in connection with idolatrous practices, either referring to the idols themselves as being abhorrent and detestable in Elohim’s sight, or to something associated with the idolatrous ritual (The TWOT, pp. 954–955; e.g. Jer 16:18; Ezek 5:11; 7:20; 2 Chron 15:8). Not only are the idols an abomination, but those who worship them become detestable as well (Hos 9:10). In fact, the word abomination in “abomination of desolation” as mentioned in Daniel 9:27 and 12:11 is the same Hebrew word. It is generally viewed that this prophecy was fulfilled when Antiochus Ephiphanes (a prophetic foreshadow of the Antichrist) set up an idol of Zeus in the Jerusalem temple (ibid.). It should be clear that when YHVH uses sheqets (or its cognates) in relationship to certain practices (e.g. eating unclean meats or idol worship) that he is attempting to impress upon his people the extreme gravity of the sins they are committing against him. 

Leviticus 11:44, Be holy [Heb. kadosh], for I am holy [kadosh]. (See also verse 45; Lev 19:2; 20:26; 1 Pet 1:16.) 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 and stay 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)


22 Practical Tips to Walking in the Presence of Elohim


It’s time to extricate YHVH Elohim from our religious boxes to which we have confined him. These boxes are the times and places where we go and do our “God-thing.”  This can be church or other religious services, grace at meals, and even our personal devotional times. After having thrown a bit of religious ritualism at Elohim, too often we toss our hair back, adroitly slip him onto the back burner and then go our way as if he weren’t much of a part of our lives. In this way, we keep Elohim confined to a few small boxes that we have labeled “religion.” It ends up that we live our lives how we want to without having to think too much about him. In this way, we keep him trapped in these closet prisons of our own contrivances, when, in reality, he wants and demands to be part of every aspect of our lives. Too many of us have no problem with  Elohim being our Savior—but being the Lord and Master over every area of our lives all the time, well, that’s another thing! To experience the blessings and riches of Elohim’s river life, each of us must immerse ourselves in his river and stay in it continually. The following tips will help you to do that.

Here are 22 practical tips for bringing YHVH into every aspect of your daily life:

  1. In all thing, be thankful to YHVH (1 Thess 5:18). Throughout the day, be aware of all your blessings and thank YHVH for them. Even thank him for the trials.
  2. Pray in the Spirit (in your heavenly prayer language, 1 Cor 14:2, 15, 18).
  3. Meditate on a Bible verse (Pss 1:2; 119:78, 148).
  4. Prayerful intercede for people during the course of the day as they come to your mind.
  5. Ask YHVH questions and then wait for him to bring you the answer. He may download the answer into your mind, or it may come through someone else or in some other way.
  6. Pray for divine appoints each day and then wait for them to come and give YHVH thanks when they come. A divine appointment is a “chance” meeting of someone with whom you can share the word of Elohim or in some way be a spiritual light to them by pointing them to Elohim.
  7. Worship and praise YHVH throughout the day by singing songs to him.
  8. Pray before and after meals, or even after taking a drink of water. Before the meal, praise and worship YHVH. After the meal, thank him for the meal you’ve just had (Deut 8:10 cp. Matt 14:19; 15:36; 26:26; John 6:11; Acts 27:35).
  9. View yourself as an ambassador for the kingdom of Elohim in everything you do and say that involves others. Endeavor to be salt and light to those around you for the glory of Elohim (Matt 5:13–16; Eph 5:8; 1 Thess 5:5).
  10. Practice the 16 attributes of YHVH’s love as found in 1 Corinthians 13 — especially when you find yourself in difficult situations where being loving is hard to do.
  11. Live each moment and day as if it were your last.
  12. Express joy in the face of adversity.
  13. Endeavor to plant spiritual seeds wherever you go.
  14. When bad things happen to you, count your blessings, express joy, be thankful, bless your enemies, pray for those who despitefully use you (Matt 5:44).
  15. Always practice the golden rule (Matt 7:12).
  16. Practice being a peacemaker especially in difficult situations when you want to defend yourself, or fight back (Matt 5:9; Rom 12:18).
  17. Do something selfless or altruistic for someone each day. It’s more valuable spiritually if it cost you something and no one knows you did it.
  18. Do everything including the most minimal task for YHVH’s glory and out of love for him. Work as if you were working for YHVH, not for men.
  19. Read your Bible and pray after you get up in the morning and as you’re going to sleep each night even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  20. Put the audio Bible on your iPod, smart phone or similar electronic device and listen to it during your day.
  21. Wear biblical tzitzits or fringes on the four corners of your garments as the Torah commands to help remind you of your relationship with YHVH and to obey his commands (Num 15:37–41; Deut 22:12).
  22. Fast periodically even if it’s only for a meal or two. Among the many spiritual benefits of fasting, when you feel the hunger pangs, it will remind you to think about YHVH Elohim and the need to grow closer to him by controlling and sublimating the carnal appetites.

The Terms and Conditions for Coming into the Presence of the Almighty

When coming into the Presence of Elohim, let’s never forget how high and set-apart he is and how low and defiled we are!

Exodus 19:10, Consecrate them today. How did Israel, as a bride-to-be, prepare herself to meet with YHVH? How are YHVH’s people now to be preparing themselves for their spiritual marriage with Yeshua? (Compare Exodus 19:10 with Revelation 19:7–9.) What is the righteousness of the saints (mentioned in Rev 19:8)? Righteousness is defined in Psalms 119:172 as, “… all thy [Torah] commandments are righteousness.” If what the Scriptures define as righteousness (i.e. the Torah) was “nailed to the cross,” as is popularly taught, then who is in error? The Scriptures or those who teach against YHVH’s Torah laws?

Discussion A. Why is it essential to study the example of the children of Israel preparing themselves to come into the presence of YHVH in Exodus 19? After all, if Yeshua did it all for us, we can just come boldly before the Father’s throne anytime, anyway we want, right (Heb 4:16)?

Let’s explore this concept a little to see what the Bible has to say about it.

Paul says in I Corinthians 10:11,

Now all these things happened to them [i.e. the children of Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (See also Rom 15:4.)

The writer of Hebrews has something similar to say in his prefatory remarks to his statement in Hebrews 4:16 about coming boldly before the throne of YHVH through the merits of the sinless righteousness of Yeshua our High Priest. In the preceding several Continue reading