By Tyson Thorne

December 13, 2018

NoG ElohimKedoshim Large

From the time of Abraham God had purposed to build a nation of people who would be his own, apart from all the other nations. The Hebrew word used to describe them was kedoshim, a people set apart with respect to their way of life and interaction with YHWH. If this sounds familiar, it should. In English the word translates to "holy". Both people and things may be holy, but the holiest of all is the Lord God Almighty. It is little wonder then that we come across the name Elohim Kedoshim in Joshua 24.19, Holy God.

In it's most basic usage, "holy" means "set apart". I used to joke with friends in college that in my home was a holy dish. It was old, and set aside for a special use. No member of my family, nor even I myself, ever used this bowl. It was reserved for only one member of our household and we called it the "dog dish". While this meets the basic definition, it does nothing to help us understand the intensity of the term as applied to God.

God is Elohim Kedoshim, holy, separate from everything and everyone, unique and pure. There is no measure of uncleanness in him, and nothing can make him greater than he is. It is for this reasons the holy angels sing before the Lord day and night, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty" (Revelation 4.8). It is a part of who God is, and why he commanded his people Israel to be holy (Leviticus 19.2). And in case you think this command may not apply to the church, I give you 1 Peter 1.14-16:

Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”

Israel was chosen to be a holy nation “among the other nations”, and we too are meant to be holy among the unholy. Being holy doesn't involve a list of do's and dont's, rather it is an intention about how one lives. When our joy of life is found in God, we know we have attained an identifiable measure of holiness. When you love someone, joy is felt when you hear their voice, see their visage, or are in their presence. This is the joy of knowing God too. One can mentally acknowledge the existence of God, believe the Bible is his word, and follow commandments without loving God. We know we love God when reading or memorizing his word is a joy, when prayer seems to make us complete, when fear submits to our need to tell others about Jesus. This is our joy being made complete in God.

Holiness is one of the few ways we can be like God; it builds a powerful connection between the created and the creator. We will never have complete knowledge, possess all power, or understand what it is to have no beginning or end, but we can be holy.

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