Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Forgotten Commandment : Be Holy

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy (Qa-Dosh).

There's a commandment that is so central to Christianity but if you ask people to recite the ten commandments they will never mention it. It's the forgotten commandment - to "Be Holy"

 [Old English hālig, hǣlig; related to Old Saxon hēlag, Gothic hailags, German heilig; see hallow]

 To Be Consecrated.

It is interesting that the old english form hale, means "whole."  To be Holy, is to become whole because if you are not Holy a piece is absent of your life - the spiritual.

To BE HOLY is the first thing Peter offers up in his first letter. Peter 1:13 devotes a section to it. We have so few direct writings of Peter all too often we learn of Paul's trips and travels and letters. But now Peter writes a letter to his new growing flock. First he declares "A Living Hope"

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

But right after his most important subject, the FIRST THING he tells his flock... is to BE HOLY

Be Holy13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

In 1st Peter and also in Hebrews they both proclaim "Be Holy" in the reference to Leviticus. And that commandment is often lost or unknown to people. Because the commandments are given in Exodus, while the order to Be Holy is given in Leviticus not with the declaration of the ten commandments.

For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.  For I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. - leviticus 11:44-45
Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy - lecviticus 20:7

God tells us the first step is to CONSECRATE ourselves. To CONSECRATE is to make or declare (something, typically a church) sacred. This is to make ourselves SACRED. But it is only the FIRST STEP to being Holy, not being holy in and of itself!

Here we see it driven again in Hebrews:

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. - hebrews 12:14

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; - Peter 1:13for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” - Peter 1:16


Everyone? YES EVERYONE. But how? What about angry people? Yes with them. What about armies that are attacking me? Yes with them. What about with sinners? Yes with them. WITH EVERYONE. 

This "Be Holy In All You Do" is very important. It does not mean "Be Holy on Sunday" or "Be Holy When You Come to church". It does not mean "Be Holy when you Pray or are in Fellowship with Christ". It says IN ALL YOU DO. All the Time! 

In Numbers, we get the directive to both keep the commandments and be holy

Numbers 15:40New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and you shall be holy to your God.

What does this mean "Be Holy"? Lets look at the Latin:

Leviticus 11:44-45Biblia Sacra Vulgata (VULGATE)

44 ego enim sum Dominus Deus vester sancti estote quoniam et ego sanctus sum ne polluatis animas vestras in omni reptili quod movetur super terram
45 ego sum Dominus qui eduxi vos de terra Aegypti ut essem vobis in Deum sancti eritis quia et ego sanctus sum

So we have "Ego Sanctus"  Be Sanctified. And earlier to the Hebrew:
    to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate


Now, there is KAW-DASH and there is KAW-DOSH.

In the hebrew it says "Be Ye HOLY (KAW-DASH), For I am Holy (KAW-DOSH)" Lev 11:45

In the Hebrew sense, you must be SET APART so that you can become MORE like God. They tell us to be KAW-DASH. NOT to be KAW-DOSH. They take great care to use two different words.

This is parallel to our tradition of saying to "Sanctify" as a verb versus to "Be Holy" as a state.

In biblical Hebrew qadash and qadosh are two different grammatical forms of the same verb ("to be holy": the perfect and the participle)

Much of the Jewish teaching dealt with maintaining separation to be Holy. But be careful because this CHANGED with the Christian teaching. To this day Judaism remains a carefully held separate people while Christian teaching is available to everyone. And part of this happened and part of this change can be seen in the sense that we understand this commandment to "Be Holy"

Paul, working closely with the gentiles in establishing the remote churches was one of the first who started to preach more inclusion.  Jewish purity rules made Jews reluctant to eat with Gentiles. How could Paul hold dinners with those who did not follow or know anything about it?
"The question was, should the purity rules be maintained, or should they be discarded. This may seem trivial, but it was in fact a profound question: were the early Christians going to remain a sect of Judaism, or were they going to create a new and universal religion?
The issue was complicated by the fact that in Jerusalem the Christian communities had to take great care not to offend the Jewish authorities, and it would be difficult if not downright dangerous for them to share meals with Gentile Christians. When Peter later visited Antioch, Paul insisted on disregarding the law that forbad Jews to eat with Gentiles." -
At the time, it was the source of much argument between the Jerusalem church and the outlying converts and their new churches. [Note: One big debate was the requirement of circumcision which was no longer necessary in the new church].

But the change was deeper than that still. And it had to do with the old covenant being imperfect. Because Moses was a man, and the sacrifice was simply of this earth. Man could not achieve Kaw-Dosh. But Jesus, being both the perfect high priest and the perfection of God, man could now be holy like god.

So, in Leviticus we have "BE HOLY" including a meaning of being SET APART. This meaning moved into our modern meaning of Sanctuary and Sanctify - from the Latin sanctificare (sanctus"holy," and ficare, "to make").

Now when we say "BE HOLY" we mean "KAW-DOSH" or LIKE GOD IS HOLY.

1 Thessalonians 5:23New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound[a] and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So we "Be Holy" and are sanctified entirely so that our spirit may be kept Sound and Blameless. 

And do not be "Stiff Necked" ;*>
2 Chronicles 30:8
Do not now be stiff-necked as your ancestors were, but yield yourselves to theLord and come to his sanctuary, which he has sanctified forever, and serve theLord your God, so that his fierce anger may turn away from you.

We get more instruction in Acts...

Acts 26:18to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

So now, we can begin to think a bit different about "BE HOLY" because we also have the concept of SANCTUARY

To come into that SANCTUARY  that place of protection that safe place. When we are holy we are DEDICATED and if we are not holy we will never be able to see theLord.

Hebrews takes up this point of the Earthly Sanctuary - which was the first Temple, and the Heavenly Sanctuary

When we are holy, and sanctified, our ... being ... is now a sanctuary, a sanctified place we have marked off like any church - wherein we dwell as Holy and can finally be Holy Like God - KAW-DOSH (קָדוֹשׁ)

I hope you enjoyed reading this.


Hebrews 9 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Earthly Sanctuary

Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Limitations of the Earthly Service

Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sinscommitted in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

The Heavenly Sanctuary

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,[a] with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

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