14 March 2011 (Shanee/Matzah)|
Day #363, 5934 AM
Holy, Holy, Holy!
Properly Understanding Yah's Holiness
Continued in Part 2
Yahweh is not always easy to understand because we think after the flesh and not the Ruach (Spirit). Sometimes we react with shock when we read some of His actions in Scripture and a part of us wonders if this can really be Him. Then atheistic thoughts set in and we begin to wonder if maybe the Scriptures are wrong, if the writers of Scripture were wrong, and whether both might possibly be untrustworthy.
"The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
'Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh (Holy, holy, holy), Yahweh-Elohim Almighty, who was and is and is to come!'
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
'You are worthy, O Yahweh, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created'" (Rev 4:8-11, NKJV)
Over the years I have had each and every doubt answered one by one as I have let Yahweh explain things to me. My answers have not always been instant. Learning to have faith first is after all the foundation of spiritual living. He reveals the meaning of 'hard' things to us when we have demonstrated our trustworthiness.
Here's one example:
Here Yahweh strikes down the two sons of the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) because they didn't worship properly. Elsewhere you can read how cohenim (priests) were threatened with death if they didn't stay well-groomed of it they wandered away from the taberbacle. Liberals and atheists simply dismiss this as man's primitive view of God and therefore having no basis in reality. And even modern believers, who like to dress casually, attending church in T-shirts, shorts and sneakers, this might seem a bit stifling. Indeed, how many people do you know who argue that it's not how you appear that's important but what's in your heart? Well, Yahweh makes it very clear - by implication - that how you appear externally reveals what's in your heart, namely, irreverence and disrespect. The ancient Hebrews did not separate the inside from the outside - they viewed both parts as one...because Yahweh did too and still does.
"Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before Yahweh, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from Yahweh and devoured them, and they died before Yahweh. And Moses said to Aaron, 'This is what Yahweh spoke, saying:
"So Aaron held his peace" (Lev.10:1-3, NKJV).
'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.''
There are two important lessons that need to be learned from this passage of Scripture - one is about us and the other is about Him.
Let's start with us. In the New Covenant everyone is a cohen (priest) - or at least everyone is called to be one, men and women alike:
Not only are all 12 Tribes of Israel priests in Yah'shua (Jesus) but formerly non-Israelite Gentiles too. All are now Israelite priests! This means that not only do all the blessings of the former Levitical Priesthood devolve on true believers but also their standards of behaviour. This includes clean, respectful Yahweh-honouring dress and abstention from alcohol since we are now on duty in the temple of the flesh 24/7. This also means we are to worship properly with authentic spiritual fire and not the counterfeits.
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation New Covenant Israel), His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of Elohim (God), who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10, NKJV).
Finally let's consider Yahweh. The passage of Scripture under study tells us about Yahweh Himself. It reminds us that Yahweh is kadosh, holy, or set-apart, and not to be trifled with. Yahweh is not a 'buddy' who just wants us to feel comfortable around Him. He is our Sovereign Master.
Sometimes believers (and unbelievers alike) are under the false impression that all the Bible does is educate us in morality and ethics. Yahweh didn't give us the Scriptures to be good little boys and girls. Instead, His Word demands - not asks - that we live respectfully and worshipfully in the awesome presence of the set-apart, holy, kadosh Elohim (God). Without Yahweh's holiness, our faith entirely loses its meaning. I like the way P.T.Forsyth (1842-1921) explains it:
It's all about holiness! That's why the malakim (angels) cry out in the presence of Yahweh to one another:
"Sin is but the defiance if God's holiness, grace is but its action upon sin, the cross is but its victory, and faith is but its worship."
Let's join them, remembering that to refrain from sin doesn't make us holy, but holiness makes us refrain from sin. That's what it means to be Messianic Evangelical - evangelical because we know and preach Yah's grace, messianic because we know and seek to live His standard of Torah holiness!
"Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh (Holy, holy, holy), Yahweh-Elohim Almighty!"