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Names of God #8

Jehovah-M'Kaddesh


THE NAMES OF GOD

by Nathan Stone


JEHOVAH-M'KADDESH

     THE NAME Jehovah-M'Kaddesh is found in Leviticus 20:8. It
means Jehovah who sanctifies. "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and
be ye holy: for I am Jehovah your God.... I am Jehovah which
sanctify you" (Lev. 20:7,8). Its appearance in the Book of
Leviticus is most appropriate. The order in which this name
appears in the revelations of the name Jehovah, and the
particular point of the people's experience when it was revealed
are most striking and suggestive. The order in which all these
names appear show purpose and progression, and are evidently
designed to meet the developing spiritual life and need of the
people.
     Genesis, the book of beginnings, reveals the beginning of
sin. It therefore also reveals the provision of redemption from
sin under the name of God, Jehovah-jirehGod will provide. Exodus,
as the book of redemption, first exhibits the meaning of
Jehovah-jireh in the Paschal Lamb of redemption, by which Israel,
Jehovah's people, were redeemed from bondage in Egypt, which is
the type of our redemption from sin. In Exodus was also revealed
the name Jehovah-rophe, Jehovah who heals life's wounds and
sweetens its bitter experiences, as signified by Israel's
experience at Marah. Then came the revelation of God as
Jehovah-nissi at Rephidim, where Amalek, the enemy, opposed and
fought against Israel-Jehovah, the banner over His people in that
holy warfare which all God's people must wage both within
themselves and without, in a hostile world.
     Leviticus is the book of life, or walk and worship of a
people already redeemed. Therefore sanctification is its most
appropriate and important theme. It could not appropriately be
presented till redemption was fully accomplished. It has been
pointed out that the first mention of God as sanctifying is at
the completion of Creation, when God sanctified the Sabbath day
(Gen. 2:3). But that day's rest was broken by the entrance of
sin, and its privilege lost. The word sanctify is not mentioned
again till in Exodus 13:1,2 Jehovah commanded Moses: "Sanctify
unto me all the first-born ... among the children of Israel," the
Israel of whom Jehovah had already said, "Israel is my son, even
my first-born" (Exod. 4:22). The point is that only when
redemption from that sin which had broken the sanctification and
rest of the creation Sabbath had been accomplished, even though
only in type, could sanctification be resumed. For Israel itself
is evidently typical. As the firstborn in Israel were a figure of
all Israel, and accepted in behalf of all Israel, so Israel
itself is typical as the first-born among the nations for whom
God will accomplish redemption. The Book of Leviticus therefore
sets forth that holy way in which a people already redeemed
should walk worthy of their calling (Eph. 4:1), and the spiritual
worship which Jehovah demands of them. Thus in connection with
their moral and spiritual purity this title of God is repeated
six times in the two chapters in Leviticus following its first
appearance.

THE MEANING AND USE OF THE TERM "SANCTIFY"

     The term sanctify occurs frequently in the Old Testament
Scriptures. The Hebrew word which it translates is also
translated by other English words such as dedicate, consecrate,
sanctuary, hallow, and holy, but especially by the word holy, and
often by Holy One. In its various forms it appears some 700
times. It has not been transferred or transliterated in our
English Bibles as have other names studied, such as
Jehovah-jireh, Jehovahrophe, and Jehovah-nissi, and consequently
it has often escaped attention as one of the compound names of
Jehovah. Yet certainly there is no more important word in the Old
Testament: nor does any other name more truly express the
character of Jehovah and His requirements of His people than this
name Jehovah-M'Kaddesh -Jehovah who sanctifies.
     Its primary meaning, however, is to set apart or separate.
This idea is most nearly rendered by the words sanctify or
hallow, and the word holy stands for that which is hallowed or
set apart. Whatever differences the various English renderings
may suggest, the primary idea of separating or setting apart is
common to them all.
     As setting apart, the word is applied to times and seasons.
God sanctified the Sabbath (Gen. 2:3; Exod. 20:8,11), that is, He
set it apart from other days. It was to be a different day. The
great feasts and fasts of Israel with their deep spiritual and
dispensational significance were times specially set apart and
celebrated by holy convocations of the people (Lev. 23). That
most wonderful of ancient Hebrew institutions, the year of
Jubilee, coming after the seventh sabbaths of seven years, on the
great Day of Atonement, ushered in with a great blowing of the
trumpet, and proclaiming a new beginning of redemption and
liberty for all, was also thus sanctified or specially set apart
(Lev. 25:10).
     The word sanctify in this sense was applied to places: the
camp of Israel, the hill of Zion, the city of Jerusalem, the
altar, the tabernacle, the Temple. The word so frequently used of
both tabernacle and Temple is mikdash, so similar to this name of
Jehovah, and meaning sanctuary. Thus it is a place set apart for
the special presence and worship of Jehovah, who sanctifies. The
Holy Land itself is thus a land set apart.
     The word is again used in the setting apart of persons.
Individuals were set apart from birth or even before birth. So
Jeremiah was sanctified to Jehovah's service as a prophet to the
nations (Jer. 1:5). The firstborn of Israel was set apart (Exod.
13:2). Upon the head of the high priest as the crowning mark of
his high office was that perpetual sign of his setting apart to
Jehovah: Holiness (Kodesh) to Jehovah (Evod. 28:36). And not only
the priesthood but all the people were sanctified or set apart to
Jehovah (Deut. 7:6).
     The point involved in all these instances of the use of this
word is contact with God. The Sabbath day was holy because God
rested in it. The day was set apart by Israel as a pledge that
God had sanctified this people to Himself (Exod. 31:13) ; and the
mountain of the Lord of hosts was to be called the holy mount
because Jehovah would dwell there (Zech. 8:3). The sanctuary
itself was so named because it was the dwelling place of Jehovah
among His people.

ITS APPLICATION TO JEHOVAH

     This leads us to the second point of our discussion. As
Himself the Holy One, Jehovah is apart from and above all else in
the universe. "Jehovah he is God; there is none else beside him"
(Deut. 4:35). "Thus saith Jehovah the King of Israel, and his
redeemer Jehovah of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and
beside me there is no God," says Isaiah (44:6); "a just God and a
Saviour; there is none beside me" (Isa. 45:21). And I Samuel
adds: "There is none holy as Jehovah: for there is none beside
thee" (2:2). The most fundamental, the most solemn and impressive
of all the attributes of the Deity is His holiness. John truly
says, "God is love." But John is speaking here in a context which
emphasizes the quality of love. And besides, that "love that God
hath to us," of which John speaks, is that sacrificing, redeeming
love of God, the very purpose of which is to make us fit for His
holy presence. It is this holiness of which an old Scottish
divine writes: "It is the balance ... of all the attributes of
Deity. Power without holiness would degenerate into cruelty;
omniscience without holiness would become craft; justice without
holiness would degenerate into revenge; and goodness without
holiness would be passionate and intemperate fondness doing
mischief rather than accomplishing good." It is this holiness
which gives to God grandeur and majesty, and more than anything
else constitutes His fullness and perfection.
     Certainly it is the most important lesson about God in the
Old Testament. In the key verse of the Book of Leviticus, which
teaches how we may approach a holy God and walk in a manner
approved of Him, it is written, "For I Jehovah your God am holy."
In the vision that changed Isaiah's life and made him a great
prophet, there is that wonderful description of Jehovah, "Holy,
holy, holy is Jehovah of hosts" (Isa. 6:3). In the presence of
that awful holiness, even the seraphim, creatures of burning
purity themselves, cover their eyes as if afraid to behold or
desecrate that holiness with their gaze. Ever after, Jehovah is
to Isaiah the Holy One of Israel. This phrase is peculiar to
Isaiah and occurs some thirty times in his prophecy. The prophet
Hosea also speaks of Jehovah as "the Holy One in the midst of
thee" (11:9).
     The Spirit of God is called the Holy Spirit. "Take not thy
holy spirit from me," pleads David (Ps. 51:11). In a striking
passage in which he speaks of Jehovah as Israel's Saviour and
also as the Angel of the Presence, Isaiah also speaks of His Holy
Spirit-truly a Trinity (Isa. 63:8-11). "They rebelled, and vexed
his holy Spirit."
     The holiness of God is especially made clear in contrast to
the heathen deities, and the impurity and corruption of their
nature and worship. It is because of this that Israel is
repeatedly and strongly urged: "Thou shalt have no other gods
before me" (Exod. 20:3). In contrast with them Jehovah is not
corrupt in justice nor a respecter of persons (Dent. 10:17) . In
fact, they are really no gods, for the word idol in Psalm 96:5
and other places is "a thing of nought." "Shall a man make gods
unto himself, and they are no gods?" says Jeremiah (16:20). But
they did sanctify to themselves gods, the work of their own hands
and the creatures of their imaginations. The gods of the heathen
were a depraved lot, caring only and busy about their own
pleasures, lusts, and quarrels. Cruel and unspeakable crimes were
committed in their worship. "Their villainy upon earth gave them
a title to a niche in the Pantheon of heathenism." Contrast the
awful but beautiful holiness of God who is of purer eyes than to
behold evil and cannot look upon iniquity (Hab. 1:13), holy and
reverend is His name (Ps. 111:9; Luke 1:49).
     It is in His transcendent holiness that the glory and beauty
of Jehovah consist. In the great song of triumph sung by Moses
and the children of Israel after their passage through the Red
Sea (Exod. 15), which is also that song of Moses and of the Lamb
sung by those who gain the victory over the beast and over his
image (Rev. 15:3), the greatest tribute paid to Jehovah is in the
words: "Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah ... glorious in
holiness." The cry of the seraphim, who veil their eyes in the
presence of God's holiness, is "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of
hosts": and then, "the whole earth is full of his glory." It is
against the glory of God's holiness that all have sinned, for
this is what Paul meant when he said: "All have sinned, and come
short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
     So also the beauty of the Lord is seen in His holiness. When
the psalmist expresses the desire to behold the beauty of the
Lord, it is in the house of the Lord, His Temple, the place of
His holy presence that he expects to do so (Ps. 27:4). The beauty
of the Lord is perfect. But beauty is a product of something, and
the perfect beauty of the Lord is the product of His perfect
holiness. A noted English preacher, J. D. Jones, has clearly
illustrated this by calling attention to the fact that "the most
striking feature in Swiss scenery, the glory and boast of
Switzerland, is the vision of its mighty mountainpeaks clothed
ever in their mantles of snowy white. Take the mountains away,
and you have destroyed the beauty of Switzerland. And in much the
same way you destroy the 'beauty of the Lord' if you forget His
holiness. The basal thing in God's character is His 'awful
purity.' We need to lift our eyes to these shining and snowclad
peaks of the divine holiness if we are ever to be moved to say,
'How beautiful God is.'"
     The Lord our God is holy-this was the first truth Israel
learned about Jehovah. The law and the aweinspiring circumstances
connected with its giving on Mount Sinai were all intended to
indelibly impress upon them this truth of the holiness of their
Jehovah. It is this holiness of which, Moses reveals (Exod.
34:14), God is so jealous. His name is Jealous-that is, His
holiness is pure and burning, and He cannot allow the worship of
another in His people. "I will be sanctified in them that come
nigh me," He declares (Lev. 10:3). His people are to sanctify Him
in their hearts (Isa. 8:13), and to worship Him in the beauty of
holiness (I Chron. 16:29; Ps. 29:2).

ITS APPLICATION TO GOD's PEOPLE

     It is the glory and beauty of His holiness that God wishes
to impart. It is no idle prayer the psalmist utters when he says:
"Let the beauty of Jehovah our God be upon us" (Ps. 90:17). It is
a God-implanted desire, and it finds its answer in the words of
Peter that we are made "partakers of the divine nature" through
great and precious promises made to us (2 Peter 1:4). It is God's
desire that the man whom He made in His own image, who corrupted
that image through sin, should be restored to that image which is
"righteousness and true holiness," putting on that new man which
is after God (Eph. 4:24).
     When God began a new experiment, so to speak, in His purpose
for man's redemption by first selecting a people, He set them
apart or sanctified them to that purpose saying: "Speak unto the
congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye
shall be holy: for I Jehovah your God am holy" (Lev. 19:2). A
holy God demands holiness in His people. A God separate from all
that is evil, too pure to behold evil, the very antithesis of all
evil, requires that the people He chooses be also separate from
all evil and separated to the purpose for which He chose them.
Hence the emphatic command, first of all, that they serve no
other gods but Himself, for a people become like the gods they
serve. This is abundantly demonstrated in Israel's history.
Then again this people was to be apart, separated from all the
peoples round about them in order to avoid the contagion of their
corruption. All the institutions of ancient Israel's economy, its
whole social and spiritual structure, its ceremonies and rites,
the prohibition of certain foods and of intermarriage were
designed to insulate them for a while from the rest of mankind,
and to make them the best possible instrument for God's purpose.
Perhaps it was also, as one writer has suggested, to show them
even under the best circumstances and surroundings, that fallen
man's "heart is deceitful above all things and desperately
wicked"; that his defilement is from within himself also; that
there is no hope of redemption and holiness apart from God. "Ye
shall be holy for I Jehovah your God am holy" was the magnificent
ideal placed before Israel. To be God's peculiar treasure and the
instrument of His holy purpose was Israel's grand destiny.
Jehovah Himself was the model of separateness, of holiness, ever
before them in striving after this destiny.
     The term sanctified or separated, however, means more than
position or relationship in regard to Jehovah. It means
participation in the nature of Jehovah, His character and works.
It is not without grounds that the word holy, although primarily
meaning set apart, has come to represent moral and spiritual
qualities. To be separate and apart from all evil and wickedness
is not merely to be negative but to be good. They were commanded
not only not to do "after the doings of the land of Egypt,
wherein ye dwelt ... and after the doings of the land of Canaan,
whither I bring you ..." but "ye shall do my judgments, and keep
my ordinances, to walk therein" (Lev. 18:3,4). Holiness is also
positive and active. The people of God, therefore, must be holy
in practice as well as separated in position. The one is
meaningless without the other. This sanctifying or separating of
His people is, on the part of Jehovah, an act; but the practice
of holiness in His people is the working out of that act for
themselves. "I am Jehovah which sanctify you," but we read in the
preceding verse, "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy"
(Lev. 20:7). God has endowed us with free will. He recognizes
that prerogative of free will. He commands His people to be holy
but He will not force them to be so. He placed within Israel, on
the basis of redemption, the power to be holy, and provided them
with every incentive to holiness, but man must of his own free
will exercise that provision and power. Jehovah would have man's
free and willing separation and holiness, otherwise it is no
holiness at all, for without free will it loses its moral
character. Therefore this holiness is a process, not an act
accomplished once for all. It lasts as long as man shall live and
calls for his continued exercise and choice. 'This exercise was
to make for growth in the holiness that a holy God required of a
separated people.
     Jehovah, as apart from and above all creatures, as
sanctified and holy, is immeasurably transcendent; but as the
Sanctifier of His people, setting them apart to Himself and His
purpose, He becomes immanent, indwelling and empowering them by
His Holy Spirit to live holy and acceptably before Him. What
Jehovah was to His people in the Old Testament, as Jehovah the
Holy One who sanctifies, the Lord Jesus Christ is in the New
Testament.
     As to Himself, He was from His very conception and birth the
Son of God and the holy child born to the Virgin Mary by the
power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). As the only begotten of the
Father, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His
person, He perfectly manifested the glory and beauty of the
Father. This, it was shown, is chiefly expressed by the perfect
holiness of Jehovah. So the Lord Jesus, the Jehovah-Jesus, was
altogether holy and spotless in His life. He was "in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). In contrast
to the Aaronic high priesthood, He became our High Priest "who is
holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher
than the heavens" (Heb. 7:26). He was made sin for us, in His
redeeming love, but He Himself knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21).

     He set Himself wholly apart as the Son and manifestation of
the Father to do the Father's will, and surrendered Himself
completely to it. "Lo, I come, as it is written in the volume of
the book, to do thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:7-9). He became our
Sanctification as Paul says (I Cor. 1:30). "We are sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all"
(Heb. 10:10), and by this offering "he hath perfected forever
them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14).
     What Israel was meant to be nationally we also are to be as
a Church and personally. Peter quotes the very words of Leviticus
in urging this. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be
ye holy in all manner of conversation [or living, as the A.S.V.
more clearly puts it]; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I
am holy" (I Peter 1:15, 16). For we are, he continues, "a chosen
generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people; that ye should show forth the excellencies of him who
hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (2:9).
To such holiness, or separateness, we have been elected. "The God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" has "chosen us in him before
the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love" (Eph. 1:4). We are called with a holy
calling (2 Tim. 1:9).
     As in the Old Testament, so in the New, we are set apart or
sanctified on the basis of our redemption in Christ. "Who hath
saved us, and called us with an holy calling" (2 Tim. 1:9). "We
are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all" (Heb. 10:10) . "That he might sanctify the people
with his own blood," he "suffered without the gate" (Heb. 13:12).

     This sanctification or separateness of life is accomplished
by the Word of His truth: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy
word is truth," said the Lord Jesus in His great prayer (John
17:17), for they were not of the world even as He was not of the
world (v.16). He is our example in this: "For their sakes I
sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the
truth" (v.19). But He has also empowered us to this through the
Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of holiness and power. He is the
Author of this our holiness, who makes our bodies the temples of
His presence and produces the fruit of the Spirit, the love, joy,
peace, goodness, faith, etc., of which Paul speaks in Galatians
5:22,23.
     Here we are reminded of the truth that, as in the Old
Testament sanctification was not only with regard to our position
in Jehovah, but with regard also to life and practice, so also in
the New Testament; for after speaking of the fruit of the Holy
Spirit in a believer, Paul continues: "If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25). And if we walk in
the Spirit we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
     Again and again we are exhorted to sanctification of life.
Our bodies are to be presented a living sacrifice, holy to God
and acceptable (Rom. 12:1,2). Contrasting their former mode of
life, Paul addressed the Corinthians: "Such were some of you: but
ye are washed, but ye are sanctified ... in the name of the Lord
Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (I Cor. 6:11). Our new man
is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). We are
Christ's workmanship created in Him unto good works in which we
are to walk (Eph. 2:10), and which we are to maintain (Titus
3:8).
     The chastenings of the Lord also are to this end, that
we might be partakers of His holiness, that "holiness, without
which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:10,14). Only the pure
in heart can see God.
     It is the Church's glorious destiny to be presented holy and
spotless to her Lord, a glorious Church. And in what does this
glory consist? It is in "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph.
5:26,27); and that we shall be like Him when He shall appear.

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself. even
as he is pure" (I John 3:3).

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification" (I Thess.
4:3), the sanctification of the whole spirit and soul and body
blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Thess.
5:23).

                          ......................


To be continued


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