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10-08-06 The Names of God-Jehovah M'Kaddesh

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The order in which Jehovah—The Great I AM WHO I AM—revealed His names is significant.  In Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see the beginning of sin and God revealed Himself as Jehovah Jireh the One who Provides redemption for our sin.  In Exodus, the book of redemption, He shows Himself working as Jehovah Jireh as their redeemer by delivering them from the bondage of Egypt.   Then He is Jehovah Rophe—their Healer from all the bitterness of life, and Jehovah Nissi as the One who will fight with them over the world and their flesh.  Now we come to the book of Leviticus, the book of holiness and worship, where Jehovah M’Kaddesh shows a redeemed people how they should live a holy life.

¨     Leviticus 20:7-8 (NIV) 7 “‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep My decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy (Jehovah M’Kaddesh--The LORD My Sanctifier).

Now it is obvious from reading the verses and chapters prior to this that holiness was a lifestyle God wanted for His people Israel.  In fact the major theme of the book of Leviticus is Holiness.  God gave Israel many rules regarding food, childbirth, cleanliness, skin care (to avoid leprosy), ceremonial rituals, etc.  Each time the phrase is given to them “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” While the dietary laws are no longer in force (Acts 10:9–16; Mark 7:19), God still wants his people to be holy

We must be careful when we read these scriptures to not think that holy living is only what you eat, wear, or how you act.  While it is true that our lives will reflect the nature of God as we draw closer to Him, it is not only the outward lifestyle that makes us a holy people.  I know I have to be careful here, because there are some people (e.g. Amish, Mennonite) who have adopted a strict lifestyle of separation from worldly things (e.g. electricity, television, etc) and I do not want to sound critical of them.  In fact in some ways I admire their courage to remain consistent in their beliefs.  Sadly this week we saw the killing of 5 innocent Amish girls by an outsider (English) which shows that as much as the Amish people want to be separate from the world, they truly are not exempt from the sin of the world.  However, here to me is the greatest evidence of their holy lifestyle—the fact that they could forgive the man who killed their precious daughters and reach out to the family of the murderer.  I wonder if a similar murder happened in our churches if we would be able to extend the same grace and mercy to the family of the murderer or if we would want justice and hold a bitter grudge against them?

So what does God mean when He revealed Himself to be Jehovah M’Kaddeshthe Lord My Sanctifier?  What does it mean to live a holy life?  What does it mean for God to sanctify us?  The word that is used here in the name M’Kaddesh has at it root the Hebrew word “Kadash/Kadosh”—which means “to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified.”  The primary meaning of the word is to set apart, or separate.  So Sanctification or Holiness has 2 parts—to set apart from sin, and to set apart to God.  Unfortunately, we have often focused on the first part (separation from sin) and ignored the latter part (separation to God).  So today I want to look at both parts and see if we can come to a better understanding of what to be holy really means in our daily lives.

6942 קָדַשׁ [qadash /kaw·dash/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 1990; GK 7727; 172 occurrences; AV translates as “sanctify” 108 times, “hallow” 25 times, “dedicate” 10 times, “holy” seven times, “prepare” seven times, “consecrate” five times, “appointed” once, “bid” once, “purified” once, and translated miscellaneously seven times. 1 to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate. 1a (Qal). 1a1 to be set apart, be consecrated. 1a2 to be hallowed. 1a3 consecrated, tabooed. 1b (Niphal). 1b1 to show oneself sacred or majestic. 1b2 to be honoured, be treated as sacred. 1b3 to be holy. 1c (Piel). 1c1 to set apart as sacred, consecrate, dedicate. 1c2 to observe as holy, keep sacred. 1c3 to honour as sacred, hallow. 1c4 to consecrate. 1d (Pual). 1d1 to be consecrated. 1d2 consecrated, dedicated. 1e (Hiphil). 1e1 to set apart, devote, consecrate. 1e2 to regard or treat as sacred or hallow. 1e3 to consecrate. 1f (Hithpael). 1f1 to keep oneself apart or separate. 1f2 to cause Himself to be hallowed (of God). 1f3 to be observed as holy. 1f4 to consecrate oneself.[i]

Separate from Sin:

     As God’s holy people, we are delivered from the power of sin over our lives when we get born-again.  However, there is still the flesh to contend with and the fleshly desires to fight every day as we see in Gal 5:19-21 (NIV). 

¨     The acts of the sinful nature (flesh) are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Many of these fleshly desires (hatred, jealousy, fits of rage) are thought to be normal, while we will look down upon those who are involved in sexual immorality, idolatry, witchcraft, etc.  However, as we see in this passage they are all deeds (acts) of the flesh and one is as bad as the other.

The thing that got Israel in trouble was the fact that they followed the patterns of the people around them.  There were terrible sacrifices of the children to the God Molech (Lev 20:2).  They consulted mediums and sorcerers (Lev 20:6).  They worshipped other gods and turned away from Jehovah God.  All of these things were deeds of the flesh that finally ended in the judgment of Israel.  The point of these examples is to show that although Israel had all the right religious rituals and ate the right foods, it was what was in their hearts that defiled them and destroyed them.  It was not because they didn’t do all the regulations exactly and perfectly that God judged them, but rather for listening to other voices, doing what those around them told them to, not listening to His commandments, and not trusting Him to be their all in all (as He had told them when He revealed Himself to them as Jehovah Rophe Ex 15:26).

Now God has told them that He is the One who will make them a holy people.  He will show them how to live a life of holiness if they will let Him.  He will show them that separating themselves from sin is not to take away their pleasure, but instead to protect them and keep them safe from the corrupting power of the nations around them.

¨     1 Peter 1:13-18 (NIV) Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 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.” 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear (respect, worship). 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

¨     1 Peter 2:11 (NIV) Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

You see here is the key to why we should be separate from sin—sin wages war with our soul.  If we chose to live a life full of fleshly desires there will not be any peace in our minds, wills, or emotions.  Now I know that we have an enemy who constantly wars against us, but when we are living a life separate from sin, we take away a large part of his power over us, because we don’t yield our flesh to his control.  John summarized it well

¨     1 John 2: 15-16 (NIV) 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does (KJV lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life)—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Separate to God:

I am so glad that our message is not just one of not being able to do certain things as we separate ourselves from sin.  Instead the real power of our message comes from the fact that God wants us to be separate unto Him.  If only Israel had understood this truth then they could have been spared from the years of hardship and destruction that came as a result of their turning away from God. 

W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says:  “God calls people to belong (friendship) to Him and to serve Him (laborer) in the world. He sets believers apart (holy; holiness; sanctify; sanctification), granting them access into His presence, bestowing upon them forgiveness, freedom, grace, and favor.”[ii]

Now we are beginning to see the real value of being separated as a people to God.  He calls us His people and gives us full access to His presence.

¨     1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

¨     Eph 2:18-19 (NIV) For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,

Friends, no matter what happens in our lives if we are walking with God as His friend, He will be there to take care of us. 

“Both the reason and the goal of all God’s ethical requirements is His own holy character (Lev. 11:44–45). As His followers, we should be holy because we should reflect His character. He is our Father. He has created us. He has chosen us as His own. Therefore, we should be like Him.  Also, we should be holy because He has determined to make us like Himself (Rom. 8:29–30). That is His goal in saving us: that we should be “holy and without blame” before Him (Eph. 1:4). [iii]

God has given us His very nature in our spirits so that we can be a holy people:

¨     2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV) 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate (share) in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

You see God does not want us to be destroyed by our fleshly nature, but instead gives us His very own nature to share so that we can overcome the flesh, the world, and the enemy.  God wants us to be restored to friendship and fellowship with Him to restore the image that was lost through sin.

“To be separate to God is much more important than to be separate from other things. As God’s people are separated to Him, we become more and more conformed to His image, to be the persons God intended us to be when He created the first man and the first woman in His image (Gen. 1:26, 27). Holiness in God’s people involves grace, righteousness, integrity, peace, and mercy, because these are characteristics of the God who has redeemed us and whom we serve.”[iv]


He is Jehovah M’Kaddesh—the Lord My Sanctifier.  So let’s heed the words of Paul: 

¨     Gal 5:16-18 (NIV) So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Let’s live our lives separate from the sin of the world around us, but separate to the Holy God we serve in a life of holiness.


v v: verb

TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

GK Goodrick-Kohlenberger

AV Authorized Version

[i]Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the test of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (H6942). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

[ii]Vine, W. (1997, c1996). Vine's complete expository dictionary topic finder . Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[iii]Word in life study Bible . 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Le 11:44). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[iv]Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson's new illustrated Bible commentary (Le 11:44). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

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