To share in God’s holiness is God’s ultimate goal for mankind. When He gave us His Son to be sacrificed on the cross, He confirmed His goal by let Him pay the ultimate price with His own life. Therefore, apart from YAHSHUA’S sacrifice, man can never share in God’s holiness. His death opens the way for the process of sanctification into God’s holiness. God’s plan of salvation involved the Trinity- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Peter’s letter confirms it: Peter, an apostle of YAHSHUA Messiah, to the elect exiles of the dispersion scattered abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who we chosen and foreknown by God the Father and consecrated (sanctified, made holy) by the Spirit to be obedient to YASHSUA the Messiah, and to be sprinkled with His blood may grace and peace be given you in increasing abundance. (I Peter 1:1-3). Here we see that God the Father was the Master planner of it, YAHSHUA His Son performed the plan, and the Holy Spirit took His position as the Counselor, the Helper, the Comforter the Advocate, the Intercessor when YAHSHUA ascended to heaven. He is here to continue the work YAHSHUA started. And that is of sanctification, among many other plans. YAHSHUA said, When He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness; He will guide you into all the Truth. The process of sanctification is that of molding the lives of those who are born again. Romans 8:29 says, For those whom He foreknew, He also destined from the beginning to be molded into the image of His Son, that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. When God breaks and molds the clay, He is doing the work of sanctification. Correction and discipline of God’s children are the ways in which the process achieve sanctification. My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; for the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not train and corrects and discipline? (Heb. 12:5b-7). When we reject God’s correction, we are positioning ourselves to be outside of His plan of sanctification. The in-result will be that we will not see God; and hear the hard words, “I never knew you, depart from Me.”
And Israel said to Moses, you speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die… And the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was (Exodus 20:18-24).
When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid themselves from the presence of God, at the sound of His voice while walking through the garden (Gen.3:8). A routine of the day when God would come to commune with them in the cool of the day, became a fearful experience. Peace was replaced by fear and guilt, when they made the decision to believe the serpent, instead. Sin had taken them away from the presence of God and robbed them of their relationship with Him. No longer could they feel comfortable in the presence of the holy God. What was so important to them, they lost in the decision they had made. Now, instead of welcoming God in their midst, they hid from Him as if to tell Him, leave us alone. When Israel experienced the holiness of God marked by thunders, smoking mountain, lightning, they feared Him and begged Moses to speak to them, instead. It had been three months since Israel had left Egypt in a supernatural and powerful way, when God expressed His love, His faithfulness through miracles and signs, when He walked ahead of them providing shelter from the sun and light for the night through a pillar of clouds and fire, when He opened the Red Sea and guided them through it in dry land and at the same time killing their enemies. But seemly, Israel lacked God’s holiness, and in their sinful condition, they acted like Adam and Eve – fearful.
(Exodus 19:1-20; Hebrews 12: 18-29)
“For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched, that is ablaze with fire, and to gloom and darkness and a raging storm, and to the blast of a trumpet and a voice whose words make the listeners beg that nothing more be said to them” (Hebrews 12:18-19); “but rather, you have come to Mount Zion, even to the city of the living YAHWEH, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless multitudes of angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the first born whose names have been written in heaven, to YAHWEH, who is the judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, to YAHSHUA, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things that the blood of Abel” (Vs.22-24).
The difference between the experience at Mount Zion and Mount Sinai is worth noting for us to realize the wonderful grace of God toward us. When God came down to Mount Sinai to meet the people of Israel, He came expressing vehemently His holiness through fire, in a dense and black cloud that enveloped the mountain. At that time, He declared His covenant with the people and gave them the Ten Commandments. At that time, Israel had a glimpse of the extent of the holiness of God; and not being able to bear it, they begged Moses to speak to them, instead.
(Exodus 39; 40: 34-38; I Cor. 6:16-19; II Cor. 6:16)
The ministry of Moses in the wilderness was one of sanctifying the people to present them holy to the Lord (Exodus 19:10-11). In Israel’s experience of Mount Sinai, when God descended to the Mount to meet with them, they experienced the unapproachable holiness of God: thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain…Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, for the Lord descended upon it in fire; its smoke ascended like that of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly (Ex. 19:16,18). God, desiring fellowship with men, formed the nation of Israel to be that vehicle through whom God would review Himself to the nations. They in return, would come to know the existence of the true and holy God. Forty years in the desert, a frame of time seemly long, but not in the mind of God, it took for the nation of Israel to be set apart and consecrated holy unto Him. Although they never achieved the position of complete holiness, they came to experience the extent of God’s holiness when trembling with fear, and falling back at the holiness of God, said, You (Moses) speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die (Exodus 20:18-19).
The Bride of CHRIST has never experienced such extent of God’s holiness; we have never realized the awfulness of sin and its power to destroy us, or we would have hated sin. In His holiness, the Son of God completed, paid in full the price of our redemption, satisfying His Father once and for all, so that we would be regenerated unto holiness and ultimately unto glorification. Living to satisfy the flesh’s sinful desires, defeats the purpose for which YAHSHUA died on the cross; Like Israel in the desert, the bride of CHRIST is left here for as long as God’s determined purpose of holiness will be accomplished in every believer’s life. For that reason, the Promised Holy Spirit came to earth to sanctify Christ’s bride and present her blameless and holy unto the Lord. As we think on how holy our God is, we find ourselves undeserving of His love and undeserving to come close to Him. As the Holy Spirit guides us, Moses guided the people to do what was right through their pilgrimage through the desert. When Israel chose to satisfy their fleshly desire instead, Moses faithfully stood before God to intercede for them, saying, Oh, these people have sinned a great sin and have made themselves gods of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin- and if not, blot me, I pray You out of Your book which You have written! Moses, as a go in between, offered to take the punishment of the people, so that they would not have to suffer the consequences of their doing. This is a true picture of what was to come in the Son of God, when He took yours and my place on the cross. Even though Moses’ ministry was not that of a substitutional ministry, He was a prototype of what was to come in the person of the HOLY SPIRIT. Until his death, he led the people in the direction God had shown him – the direction to God’s holiness.
I am the Lord your God… you shall have no other god before Me (Exodus 20:2). And now, Israel, what does the Lord God require of you but to fear the Lord your God – to walk in all His ways and to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with you entire being to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deut. 10: 5, 12.13)
The Law showed the nation of Israel the holiness of the Lord, the need for them to desire it for themselves through obedience to God’s commandments as their part of the covenant. No one outside the Law’s requirements was able to please God’s holiness. In holiness, our God is righteous, and righteousness is the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14a). From the beginning men adopted many gods to satisfy their spiritual hunger, since they were created with a spiritual need for God. The Law was given with the purpose to point men to the One True God and His attributes. There are two aspects of the Law: ceremonial and moral. The ceremonial rituals served to point to the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son, ending all the sacrifices of animals for the atonement of men’s sin. The blood of God’s Son poured out for the forgiveness of sin was more than sufficient to ratify the agreement of the new covenant- covenant of blood.
The Prophet Ezekiel was one of the prophets who received from YAHWEH difficult tasks to represent the spiritual conditions of the nation Israel. He grew up in the environment of the temple, having been born in the priestly family. Unlikely some prophets, he grew up knowing the things of God firsthand. He was only thirty years old when YAHWEH called Him while he was in the midst of idolatrous surroundings of Babylon. In chapter one of his book, he describes the vision given him. He starts by saying, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God (Ezekiel 1:1). After seeing the vision in its completeness, he was instructed in three things: to hear what YAHWEH was telling him; not to be like those rebellious people, and to eat the words given him. Meanwhile, the Lord warned him that the people were not going to listen to his message, for they were a rebellious nation. Ezekiel’s responsibility, however, was to warn them, listening or not, otherwise, he would be held responsible for the blood of that person. The instructions how to deliver YAHWEH’S message were difficult for one to follow. Ezekiel, however, had no complaint, except for one. He willingly did exactly what the Lord commanded Him. Arise, YAHWEH told him, go forth into the plain and I will talk with you there (Ezekiel 3:22b).
(Isaiah 6; Job 42:1-6)
The Prophet Isaiah saw the holiness of God in a supernatural manner that only God Himself could appear to him. He said, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the skirts of His train filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim, each had six wings: with two covered his face, and with two covered his feet, and with two flew. And one cried to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory! And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke (Isaiah 6: 1-4). With that, the Prophet Isaiah experienced the full expression of heavenly worship, pure and truthful done by sinless and holy angels. That was a heavenly moment offered to Him, when God Himself opened heaven while worship service was taking place. It was an awesome and indescribable experience. Before the holiness of God, all Isaiah could say was, Woe is me! For I am undone, and ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! (Isaiah 6: 5) In chapter 3: 8 the Prophet Isaiah describes the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel mainly Judah at that time: For Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of His glory and defy His glorious presence.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you is darkness, how dense is that darkness! (Matt. 6:21-22)
In this teaching YAHSHUA covered several subjects including fasting, treasure and mammon. It is important to understand that the eye is the entrance to the soul. It is through the eyes that we perceive. When the treasures of this world are often desired and we lust after them, we will go a distance to acquire them. They become gods when our time is primarily spent seeking and obtaining them. The Christian people are not exempted from this and many have left the way for them. YAHSHUA said, Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be (Matt. 6:19-21). What was the meaning for our Lord YAHSHUA to connect the eye with earthly treasure, and what has one to do with the other?
(Daniel 10:5-9; Exodus 33; Revelation 1: 17a)
While Adam remained in covenant with God, he remained in fellowship with Him. But when he broke it, he became spiritually and physically separated from God and His holiness. He lost the light from God which clothed him. Once that was gone, he entered into darkness and did not want his darkness to be exposed, so he hid it from God and the light from His holiness when he heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden, in the cool of the day.