Thursday, April 4, 2013

Our resounding Amen!

Unlike Adam I never got to experience the garden,
But like Adam I’ve wasted opportunities more than golden,
Typical of men to blame it all on the women,
So like Adam I never wanted to pay the cost of my burden,

Condemned for my sin, with no hope of even a glimpse of heaven,
My yoke is hard my burden heavy, with guilt I’m heavy-laden,
Plagued by the curse of sin, among its victims I’m bedridden,
If I was thrown with the lions, I wouldn’t survive a night in their den,

But Christ the promised Seed, who would save the downtrodden,
The promise of salvation from the Judge, to Adam and his children,
Deliverance from eternal death, I’ll never experience the burning oven,
The Judge of sin the Savior from sin, so with God I’m now even,

Hope of eternal future with Christ, better than the best of Eden,
Can’t wait to be with Christ, thank God the rapture will be sudden,
He came and will return for me, in His kingdom we will be brethren,
Coheirs with Christ, eternal victory, our resounding Amen!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Holiness of God in Leviticus


The main biblical words for holiness/holy are the Hebrew ‘qados’ and ‘qodes’ in the Old Testament, expressing ‘separation’ or ‘cutting off’, applied to the separation of a person or thing to divine use. In the Old Testament holiness is designated of places, things, seasons, and official persons, in their connection with the worship of God. Holiness signifies a relation that involves separation from common use and dedication to a sacred one (DOUGLAS, 1962:530).

In reference to God, holiness denotes His separateness from creation and elevation above it. It thus sets forth His transcendence. Holiness is a term for the moral excellence of God and His freedom from all limitation in His moral perfection (Habakkuk 1:13). The word also denotes relationship, and signifies God’s determination to preserve His own position relative to all other free beings. It is His self affirmation; the attribute by which He makes Himself the absolute standard of Himself (DOUGLAS, 1962:530).

Revelation of God's Holiness

The holiness of God was expressed through such symbols and types as the holy nation, holy land, holy city, holy place, and holy priesthood (BERKHOF, 1941:74). Holiness is the one attribute which God would have His people remember Him by more than any other. Hence it is His image in the entire Old Testament (EVANS, 1949:37, 38). In Leviticus, the phrases: “I am the LORD” and “I am holy” are used over 50 times. His holiness is manifested in His Law. The Law forbids sin in all of its modifications: in its most refined as well as grossest forms, the intent of the mind as well as the pollution of the body, the secret desire as well as the overt act (PINK, 1975:42).

The Law was designed to impress upon Israel the idea of the holiness of God and the necessity of leading a holy life. It was revealed in the manner in which the LORD rewarded the keeping of the Law, and visited transgressors with dire punishments (BERKHOF, 1941:74). The holiness of God can be revealed in the four sections of Leviticus as follows:

1.       The Sacrificial Offerings (chapters 1:1-7:38)

2.       The Consecration of the Priests (chapters 8:1-10:20)

3.       The Consecration of the People (chapters 11:1-17:16)

4.       Guidelines for practical holiness (chapters 18:1-27:34)

1.       The Sacrificial Offerings (1:1-7:38)

During the Old Testament period, sacrifices were emphasized as they were the most important activity of formal worship. The covenant relationship between God and Israel was related to sacrifices in three ways: it was a gift; a means of communion or fellowship; and perhaps the most important, they served to heal violations in the covenant relationship (LONGMAN III & DILLARD, 2007:85). Without these offerings man would incur the wrath of God because His holiness and His wrath are inseparable (TOZER, 1961:106).

To sanctify means to ‘make holy’, and is used in the Old Testament with reference to both the Levitical offerings and to the people to whom the offering applied. It meant to set apart for a holy purpose (GUTHRIE, 1983:89, 90). Whenever the covenant relationship was broken, Israel would seek forgiveness from God by offering sacrifices as substitutions for the penalty for their sin.

The five types of sacrifices were: burnt offerings (chapter 1), which served to compensate for sin; grain offerings (chapters 2), which served as a gift; peace offerings (chapter 3), which were offered for fellowship; sin offerings (chapter 4:1-5:13), for the removal of sin; and guilt offerings (15:14-6:7), offered for offences against the things of the LORD.

2.       The Consecration of the Priests (8:1-10:20)

God’s holiness can be seen through His interaction with the priestly office of the Levites. The priests spend most of their time in the presence of the Holy God; hence during their ordination they were consecrated (set apart) for holy service as was evident in their special priestly clothing and anointing with oil (chapter 8). They also offered sacrifices for their own sins, and in this way, they stayed holy as well.

After ordination the priests were charged with maintaining holiness in the camp through sacrifices (Leviticus 1-7, 9). They themselves were to adhere to a very strict conduct. An example is when Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu offered ‘strange fire’ before the LORD and were immediately consumed (10:1, 2). Moses reminded Aaron that, “By those who come near Me (the LORD) I will be treated as holy, and before all people I will be honored (10:3).”

Many of the laws in Leviticus were directed toward the priests so that they might preserve their holiness (Leviticus 21-22). It was also part of their duty to teach the Israelites the Law so that they could protect God’s holiness in the camp (Leviticus 10:11). Thus the main function of the priesthood in Leviticus was to protect the holiness of God (LONGMAN III & DILLARD, 2007:85).

3.       The Consecration of the People (11:1-17:16)

God’s people must be seen to be distinctive in their way of life, and as free as possible from any evil pollution of body or spirit (HARRISON, 1980:132, 133). The Israeli camp had to be kept pure (clean) because God was present among them. At the center of the camp stood the tabernacle in which the ark, the primary symbol of God’s holy presence, dwelt. From this spot different levels of holiness were represented.
Only the current high priest could enter the most holy place; only Levitical priests from Aaron’s family were allowed within the tabernacle; the rest of the Levites formed a perimeter around the tabernacle; the other Israeli tribes were spread within the camp surrounding the tabernacle; and lastly, unclean individuals and Gentiles stayed outside the camp. This shows that there was a clear distinction between the clean and unclean, and further that God by His holy nature commanded who could come close, and how close they could come, to the tabernacle.

The priests were delegated the responsibility of declaring who could be within the camp or not by determining who was clean or not in order to avoid offending Gdo. In commanding cleanness, God regulated matters such as: 1) Food, by prescribing the animals they could and could not eat (chapter 11); 2) Child birth, by declaring the number of days a woman was to be unclean after birth, and that the child if male, should be circumcised on the eighth day (chapter 12); 3) Skin diseases, by giving the conditions of how the infected should be treated and declared clean (13-14), and 4) How a man was to be cleansed after discharge (15), among others.

Day of Atonement

Also significant in this section of consecrating the people was the annual Day of Atonement (chapter 16). ‘Atonement’ means ‘a making one’, and points to a process of bringing those who are estranged into a unity (DOUGLAS, 1962:107). On the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri, October/September), Israel observed its most solemn holy day. All work was forbidden and a strict fast was commanded upon the entire nation. The Day of Atonement served as a reminder that the daily, weekly, and monthly sacrifices made at the altar of burnt offering were not sufficient to atone for sin. Even at the altar of burnt offering, the worshippers stood afar off, unable to approach the Holy presence of God who was manifest between the cherubim in the Holy Place. Atoning blood was brought into the Holy Place by the high priest as the representative of the people (DOUGLAS, 1962:110).

Also, in Leviticus 17:11 the principle of substitutionary atonement is outlined, that is, atonement is made by a victim that takes the place of a sinner that sheds its blood in the sinner’s stead (TIDBALL, 2005:213). In the verse God states, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” 

4.       Guidelines for Practical Holiness (18:1-27:34)

Justification is an act of God about the state of a man’s person; but sanctification is the work of God about the nature of a man (RYLE, 2001:166). And it is these guidelines on practical holiness that were given for man’s sanctification. Alderson (1986:20) wrote, “The Moral Law reflects God’s own essential attributes. Since God is holy, His Law is holy.”

Such laws included guidelines on: sexual relations (18); social order (19); the priesthood (21, 22); the Sabbath and feasts (23); Sabbatical and Jubilee years (25); penalty for idol worship, cursing parents, sexual sin (20), and blasphemy (24); redemption of gifts devoted to God (27); and the blessings and curses of obedience and disobedience respectively (26).

As seen in Leviticus, because Israel was in a covenant relationship with the holy God, they were challenged to live holy lives on earth as they worship Him. Thus the meditation of J. C. Ryle (2002:53), arguably the Church of England’s last Puritan, suffices, “Suppose for a moment you were allowed to enter heaven without holiness. What would you do? What possible enjoyment could you feel there? To which of the saints would you join yourself, and by whose side would you sit down? Their pleasures are not your pleasures, their tastes not your tastes, their character not your character. How could you possibly be happy, if you had not been holy on earth?”



  • ALDERSON, R. 1986. No Holiness, No Heaven! Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust
  • BERKHOF, L. 1941. Systematic Theology. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
  • DOUGLAS, J.D. 1962. The New Bible Dictionary. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press
  • EVANS, W. 1949. The Great Doctrine of the Bible. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute
  • GUTHRIE, D. 1983. Hebrews: An Introduction and Commentary. (In_Morris, L. ed. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press)
  • HARRISON, R.K. 1980. Leviticus: An Introduction and Commentary. (In_Wiseman, D.J., ed. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press)
  • LONGMAN III, T. & DILLARD, R.B. 2007. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press
  • PINK, A.W. 175. The Attributes of God. Michigan: Baker Book House
  • RYLE, J.C. 2001. Holiness: Part II – Its nature, hindrances, difficulties, and roots. Pensacola: Mount Zion Publications
  • RYLE, J.C. 2002. Holiness: Its nature, hindrances, difficulties, and roots. Idaho: Charles Nolan Publishers
  • TIDBALL, D. 2005. Leviticus. (In_Motyer, J.A., ed. The Bible Speaks Today. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press)
  • TOZER, A.W. 1961. The Knowledge of the Holy. New York: HarperCollins Publishers