Sunday, May 3, 2015

What does it mean to "be holy"?

If you browse the Internet you will find lots of explanations of what it means to "be holy", yet when you are done reading them, you still don't know what it means!  Most attempts to explain "holy" refer to the dictionary definition which is "dedicated or consecrated to God."  Some realize there is a component of "holiness" called "set apart" meaning that when you are holy, you don't participate in the "ways of the world".  One site sums it up with:  "To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, not ourselves, and that every aspect of our lives is to be shaped and directed toward God."

So where does this idea even come from?  Why do people even talk about "being holy"?  It comes from a verse in the Bible of course!  Well, it actually comes from MANY verses in the Bible, but the one referenced most often is Leviticus 19:2.  It states:

"Speak to the entire community of Isra'el; tell them, 'You people are to be holy because I, ADONAI your God, am holy.'" (CJB)

Well, that's not exactly what it says.  In Hebrew it says: 

  דבר אל־כל־עדת בני־ישׂראל ואמרת אלהם קדשׁים תהיו כי קדושׁ אני יהוה אלהיכם׃

Which more accurately translates to:

"Speak to all the assembly of the children of Israel and say become קדשׁים [kedoshim] for I am קדושׁ [kadosh], for I am יהוה  [YHWH] your אלהיכם [Elohech'im - God]."

I don't think it's nitpicking, because the verse does not say "you people are to be holy"!  It says "become KEDOSHIM [holy people] because I am KADOSH [holy]…"

If YHWH Himself is KADOSH, and He wants us to become KEDOSHIM, then "kadosh" (holy) MUST mean something much more than simply "set apart" or "dedicated or consecrated to God ".  God is "holy"!  Is God "dedicated or consecrated to God"?  No!  He is HOLY!

So really the correct question should be "How do we become KEDOSHIM - 'holy people'?"

The answer, it turns out, is RIGHT THERE in scripture!  How to become kedoshim is described in a "snapshot" of examples in the very next verses in Leviticus 19!  Let's go through them and see if we can come away from this exercise with a good idea of just what it means to be "kedoshim" (holy people). (All verses from the CJB):

Verse 3: "Every one of you is to revere his father and mother, and you are to keep my Shabbats; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 4: "Do not turn to idols, and do not cast metal gods for yourselves; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 5: "When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to ADONAI, offer it in a way that will make you accepted."

Verse 9: "'When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don't harvest all the way to corners of your field, and don't gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters"

Verse 10: "Likewise, don't gather the grapes left on the vine or fallen on the ground after harvest; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 11: "Do not steal from, defraud or lie to each other."

Verse 12:  "Do not swear by my name falsely, which would be profaning the name of your God; I am ADONAI."

Verse 13:  "Do not oppress or rob your neighbor; specifically, you are not to keep back the wages of a hired worker all night until morning."

Verse 14:  "Do not speak a curse against a deaf person or place an obstacle in the way of a blind person; rather, fear your God; I am ADONAI."

Verse 15: " 'Do not be unjust in judging - show neither partiality to the poor nor deference to the mighty, but with justice judge your neighbor"

Verse 16:  "'Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don't stand idly by when your neighbor's life is at stake; I am ADONAI."

Verse 17: " 'Do not hate your brother in your heart, but rebuke your neighbor frankly, so that you won't carry sin because of him."

Verse 18:  "Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am ADONAI."

Verse 19:  "'Observe my regulations."

Verse 26:  "'Do not eat anything with blood. Do not practice divination or fortune-telling."

Verse 27:  "Don't round your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard."

Verse 28:  "Don't cut gashes in your flesh when someone dies or tattoo yourselves; I am ADONAI."

Verse 29:  "Do not debase your daughter by making her a prostitute, so that the land will not fall into prostitution and become full of shame."

Verse 30:  "'Keep my Shabbats, and revere my sanctuary; I am ADONAI."

Verse 31:  "'Do not turn to spirit-mediums or sorcerers; don't seek them out, to be defiled by them; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 32:  "'Stand up in the presence of a person with gray hair, show respect for the old; you are to fear your God; I am ADONAI."

Verse 33-34: " 'If a foreigner stays with you in your land, do not do him wrong.  Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you - you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God."

Verse 35-36:  "'Don't be dishonest when measuring length, weight or capacity.  Rather, use an honest balance-scale, honest weights, an honest bushel dry-measure and an honest gallon liquid-measure; I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt."

Verse 37:  "Observe all my regulations and rulings, and do them; I am ADONAI."

Need I say more?  I called this a "snapshot" because clearly it is not a complete list of what we do to become kedoshim.  Rather, it is a list of examples.  Buried with each example is a "measure" of kadosh - "behaviors" that lead us to become holy!

Did you notice how the "snapshot" examples end? "Observe all my regulations and rulings, and do them!"

Torah is your way to Holy!  

So "What does it mean to be Holy?"  It means you live your life by Torah. Simply pick up your Bible and read the Torah.  Learn to become kedoshim.  Walk as the Messiah walked (1 John 2:6).

3 comments:

  1. Amein Why is it so hard for so called Christians to understand is beyond me. If we Love YHWH with ALL our heart we would want to obey His commandments. Just because Messiah Y'shua gave His life for us doesn't negate us living by Torah.Ha Satan is wanting to deceive as many as he can in these last day. Y'shua pointed out in His words He spoke, this would happen. It is sad that so many would rather listen to teachers of unholy truth.

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  2. Yes it is sad; even worse, that so many will perish in sh'ol because they have allowed the kingdom of self to exalt itself above malchut ELOHIM. When the case of Eternal Life and Eternal separation is brought into the courts of the Kingdom; the defendant will have no (Advocate) public defender/ no high priced attorney to represent the case. They will have to give a persuasive argument; many won't recognize the prosecuting attorney, nor will they appropriate themselves before the judge, but they will appeal to the jury of there peers attempting to convince them of their innocence. When closing arguments are given, the defendant will argue with arrogance the deeds, works and exhaustive wonders. However, the jury of peers will give a simple yet profound declaration to the arrogance of the defendant: ALL have sinned and fail the glory of ELOHIM...and the wages of sin is death; then the Judge (YHWH) will give sentence, but not before giving the defendant a last statement. There final statement is provoking and hold contempt: lord, lord we have done so many things, too much to name; we have done your will in 'jesus name' for which suffice entry into your Kingdom. However, YHWH will give sentence: And then I will profess to them that from everlasting, I have not known you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.
    Excuse me, went on a tangent; back on topic, reading from TORAH portion 31 which is an extension from Shabbat reading 30. I get it: BE HOLY as YHWH is Kadosh, the INSTRUCTIONS are clear.

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  3. Yes we learn to become Kadosh, As Yahushau said we must be born again to enter the Kingdom, being born again is starting of a fresh as a baby and growing and learning to walk as Yahushua did, this is a reason YAHWEH calls us HIS children............. to be Kadosh as HE is will take a life time and more this is what grace is, as HIS children Father is too willing to forgive us when we fall, and when we come back to HIM and admit our failures........ Grace is belonging to The FATHER, Torah is HIS family rules, and Kedoshim is what sets us apart from the world.

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