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.

 

What does it take to be YHVH’s “special, peculiar treasure”?

Exodus 19:5, If…then. (See also Exod 23:22.) This verse shows the conditional nature of the Mosaic Covenant. The blessings of YHVH upon the people are conditional upon their obedience to his commandments. 

Peculiar treasure. This term or treasured people (Heb. am segulah) is used several times in the Torah. Here (Exod 19:4–6) YHVH betrothed himself to and married the people of Israel and they became his am segulah or treasured possession among all the peoples of the nation, a kingdom of priests and a kadosh or set-apart nation. Later Moses restates this same idea to the younger generation Israelites about to enter the Promised Land (Deut 14:2); and finally in Deuteronomy 26:18 (see also 7:6) he again calls Israel his “treasured people” and admonishes them to keep his Torah-commands that he might “make you high above all the 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.” In the Testimony of Yeshua, this theme is again picked up by Peter in his first epistle (1 Pet 2:9) when he refers to the saints as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a peculiar people.” 

Am segulah means “possession, treasure, valued property, peculiar treasure.” The basic meaning of the word is “personal property.” Well attested in Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Aramaic, the Akkadian sakalu, ‘to acquire property’ and sikiltum ‘personal property’ are also doubtless related. While the word occurs only eight times, it is filled with theological and spiritual treasures. The preacher in Ecclesiastes reports that the accumulation of the finest of personal possessions is sheer vanity. Those who fear the Lord become his peculiar possessions whom he will never forget, even in that time of great judgment (Mal 3:16–18, see TWOT).

“Israel was God’s personal possession (Ps 135:4). Moses reminded Israel that God chose her and redeemed her from bondage not because of her goodness, but solely because he loved her and was faithful to the promises given to the patriarchs. Israel should reflect God’s holiness and live out his commandments (Deut. 12:2ff), reflecting his standards in a life of wholehearted compliance with the terms of the covenant made at Sinai (Ex. 19:5-6) and renewed at their entrance into Canaan. Then would they have good success (Deut. 26:16-19). So it should be with all believers. These verses are doubtless alluded to in Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9” (Ibid.).

How do you view yourself spiritually? How does Elohim view you? How are these two views different from each other? How you view yourself should be determined by what the Scriptures say about you. What does Elohim’s Word say, and do you believe it?

  • I am complete in Yehshua who is the head of all principality and power. (Col 2:10)
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Without Holiness, No One Will See Elohim! Holiness Is YHVH’s Chief Quality

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.

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Want to be a holy and peculiar people? Obey Elohim!

“Who me?”

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. (1 Pet 2:9)

Deuteronomy 21–25

This section of the Torah (Deut 21:10–25:19) contains 72 commandments, which is more than in any other Torah portion. In this passage there are rules pertaining to all aspects of human relations showing that the “Torah deals with the real world. It does not present a world where all people get along with one another or rush to take care of one another’s property. Instead, it ‘takes into account the grim reality that people do not achieve the desired observance of “you shall not hate others in your heart”’” (A Torah Commentary For Our Time vol. 3, p. 150). 

In studying this portion, one can easily miss the point of a particular command if one views it strictly in its pashat (most literal) meaning. For these commands to have relevance in our day, one must view them as principles that have a broad range of applications. The specific examples Torah gives are merely representative of one of but many life situations to which the principle behind the example could apply. Keeping this in mind, this Torah portion will give you much to ponder pertaining to your day-to-day walk (or halakhah).

In these chapters we see a plethora of laws concerning many seemingly small details regarding human life. Many people in the church have the tendency to broadly sweep away these commandments with such dismissive cliches as, “We’re now under grace …” or “We’re not under the law anymore …..” But please observe how many of the civil laws of our nation regulating actions between various members of society are based upon YHVH’s laws found in the Torah. 

As many of us make our way back to a more biblically-based lifestyle and orientation, we begin to see that (a) YHVH cares about the details of our lives and (b) these laws, while sometimes hard to understand, are for our own well-being and blessing. Do you still nurse a “pick and choose” or “have it your own way” mentality with regard to YHVH’s biblical commandments choosing to follow the ones you want and making excuses why you can’t (or don’t want to) follow the rest? By doing so, what blessings are you depriving yourself of, and how are you hindering your love relationship with YHVH?

Some of the laws in these chapters may be hard to observe nowadays. With others, due to our church background, we may have the tendency to spiritualize them away, thus, in essence, rendering them of non‑effect in our lives and thereby placing ourselves above YHVH’s Torah-law and thus becoming a law unto ourselves. Is this not humanism: every man doing what is right in his own eyes instead of obeying YHVH whatever the cost? Who is the Master of your life? You or YHVH? 

How do you view laws about women wearing men-type clothing, wearing fringes on the corners of your garments, mixed certain types of fibers in clothing, lending without interest, caring for the widows and orphans, personal hygiene, family purity laws (e.g. men not having sexual relations with their wives during their monthly cycles), removing blood from all meat before eating it, men wearing beards, faithfully tithing, following the biblical dietary laws, and observing YHVH’s Sabbaths (weekly and annual), etc.? These are lifestyle-changing laws, many of which go contrary to the mores of our society. 

Are we not called to be a kadosh or holy, set-apart, special and peculiar (i.e. treasured) people before YHVH? Following these laws to the best of our ability will help us to be the people that YHVH has called us to be. What progress are you making to bring your life into conformity to his standards of righteousness?

 

What is holiness?

1 Peter 1:16, Be holy, for I am holy. (See also Exod 22:31; Lev 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7, 26;  21:28; 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)

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)

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:

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.

 

Leviticus 12–15 Explained and Made Relevant to YOU

Leviticus chapters 12 through 15  are some of the most distasteful and difficult to explain in the whole Bible, much less to relate to and to apply to our lives. After all, who wants to talk about diseases, disgusting molds and mildews, and bodily discharges? And who can relate to leprosy? Yuk!

Yet the Torah contains these subjects for a reason. Yes, sanitation, cleanliness and our physical good health is important to our Creator for obvious reasons, but lurking behind this distasteful and, at times, even revulsive subject is a much deeper issue: the disease of sin. When we view sin in terms of a contagious spiritual disease, suddenly we gain a new and deeper understanding of its destructive nature.

Even though the old adage, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not in the Bible, it is a biblical truism. Our cleanliness at all levels, body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit are vital to a right relationship with Elohim. He is holy or set-apart (i.e. from the pollution, filth and defilement of this world), and without holiness, no one can see Elohim (Heb 12:14). In essence, holiness is nothing more than spiritual cleanliness. This is the deeper meaning behind Leviticus chapters 12 through 15.

Please take the time to read these chapters in Leviticus, then return to this blog and read my commentary on them. The goal of this discussion is to attain a higher level of spiritual holiness and cleanliness resulting in a closer walk with YHVH Elohim, our Creator, resulting in restored relationships with our fellow man as well. How great is that?

Overview of Parshiot Tazria-Metzora (Lev 12–13 and 14–15)

Often these two parshiot (the plural of parashah meaning “Torah portion” in Hebrew) are combined in the yearly Torah reading cycle depending on how the biblical calendar falls for the year. Their combining is likely due to the fact that each is relatively short and deals with related subjects: namely, the ritual purity laws. 

As we shall see, the causes of ritual impurity involve sin issues. As a remedy to this problem, the Torah prescribes procedures that the afflicted person had to follow in order to be deemed cleansed and thus be readmitted into the camp of Israel after having been temporarily expelled because of ritual impurity. All the ritual cleansing laws prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross.

These two parshiot dealing with diseased and unclean persons immediately come after the laws concerning clean and unclean meats (Lev 11). What the Israelites ate as well as Continue reading


 

The Real Story Behind the Biblical Kosher Laws—Holiness!

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.”

When most people think of word kosher, the biblical dietary laws come to mind. This is only part of the picture that the Bible presents when it comes to the subject of kashrut. The biblical kosher laws involve not only clean and unclean meats, but many other areas as well 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/RAF (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 Continue reading