The Concept of Holiness -Part 1

We are going to begin to develop the concept of “Kedushah” and God is going to use the Temple to teach thi concept. In English we see it as “holiness” but in Hebrew it is known as “Kedushah” and this is given by the Lord, it cannot be earned. The calling of the priesthood was to teach this concept (Ezek 44.23). People use the concept of holiness to teach “separation” but it goes far beyond this elementary understanding. The term “kedushah” is the first concept taught in the Scriptures. In Gen 2.3 it says that the Lord “sanctified” the Sabbath day and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are two examples of this concept.

Some names for the Temple included: the Beit ha Mikdash (House of Kedushah, or sanctuary); the Kadosh (the Holy place) and the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies). In Exo 15.11 we see that the Lord is proclaimed as “kadosh” and in Amos 4.2 it says that the Lord has sworn by his “kadosh.” However, how many times have we heard people say that a person is a “holy man” or “the holy prophets” or something along that line? But, this term is never used for individuals in the Scriptures. Noah was called a “Ish Tzaddik” or a righteous man; Moses was called an “Ish Elohim” or man of God; many are called “avdi” or my servant and Samuel was called a “Ne’eman” or faithful to God, but none are called “kadosh.” There is an exception in 2 Kings 4.9, but that is what others said about Elisha and not what the Lord said about him. None of the patriarchs are called kadosh. In fact, the word kadosh or any derivative of it is only used one time in Genesis as we have said, and that was referring to the Sabbath day.

The definition for kadosh, or “kedushah” is that it means to be set apart or designated for the service of God by formal, legal restrictions and limitations. The “kedushah” of periods of time such as the Sabbath and festivals (Chaggim) are marked by limits on man’s activities of work and construction. People are not called “kadosh” and when this word is used, there are restrictions and limitations. Tithes and sacrificial objects are endowed with kedushah. As a result, they are proscribed from use in common purposes. The kohanim (priests) may not come into contact with a corpse and are restricted in their choice for a wife because they have a “kedushah” upon them. The kohanim as a group has a kedushah, but an individual kohan does not.

The term “Am Kadosh” means “a holy people” used in conjunction with keeping the Torah, but if that people does not keep the Torah there is no “kedushah.” Now, kedushah and the covenant is related in this way. The patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) stood in relationship with the Lord as individuals. The relationship between the Lord and Israel reached its pinnacle when Israel accedes to the Torah and entered into a collective relationship and bond with the Lord. God chose Israel as his own possession (Deut 7.6-7). Deut 28.9 says that Israel is a am kadosh” or holy people because of the covenant.

Exo 3.5 says that Moses was to remove his shoes when walking on ground that was “kadosh.” The Mishkan also had a kedushah, so shoes were not worn there either. The Temple mount had a kedushah and that is why observant Jews do not wear leather shoes there. In Exo 3.12 it says Moses was to lead the people to Mount Sinai for worship. Once there, they were told to build the Mishkan, or a “house of Kedushah.” So, there is a link between Mount Sinai and the Mishkan, and then eventually to the Temple. In a sense, kedushah was transported with the Mishkan.

The kohanim had a genetic status that caused them to be kadosh, and the restrictions applied to all. In Num 6.8 we learn about the “nazir” and the restrictions of the nazir set him apart. No restrictions meant no kedushah, a lesson Samson found out when his hair was cut. There is another term to know and that is “Mikrai Kadosh” or the occasions of kedushah. The Sabbath and the festivals are occasions for holiness. Objects like the tithes, first fruits and the korbanot (offerings) may be eaten only by certain people in certain places for a certain amount of time. There were restrictions in diet and sexual relations. Time, space and objects are limited to us through because as God’s covenantal partners, we must relinquish some control in these areas and reserve these things for his service. The problem is, people do not want to relinquish control.

The Sabbath has a kedushah (Isa 58.13-14) and there are hierarchies of kedushah. The High Priest has a higher level of kedushah than a regular priest. Yom Kippur has a higher level of kedushah than the other festivals. Time and space have a covenantal kedushah (Exo 31.13-17). The Sabbath and the Temple have the same messages because God sets apart people, time, space and objects and by doing this they receive a kedushah.

Kedushah is linked to the commandments. The Ark of the Covenant is called the “Aron Kodesh” or “holy Ark” and it contains the commandments. It is placed in a room called the “Kodesh ha Kodeshim” or “Holy of Holies.” The Temple has a kedushah and places within it are given more “kedushah” than in other levels. So, the Kodesh ha Kodeshim links all this together. Sinai has moved to Moriah because the commandments are there.

Creation and the building of the Mishkan are linked:
*Gen 1.31 with Exo 39.43
*Gen 2.1 with Exo 39.22
*Gen 2.2 with Exo 40.33
*Gen 2.3 with Exo 39.43
*Gen 2.3 with Exo 40.9

Creation was extended in the Mishkan. Level One says that creation ended on the Sabbath. Level Two says creation was only concluded once the Mishkan was built, and was seen as the “atzeret” or conclusion. From the Mishkan there are eight “phases” that will be done. We have the Mishkan in the wilderness, then it moved to Gilgal. Then the first Temple was built and destroyed. The second Temple was initiated beginning with Zerubbabel, then continued with the Hasmoneans and finished by Herod, but then destroyed. Next we have the third Temple that will stand in the Birth-pains and we are in that phase right now. Finally, we will have the Messianic Temple as seen in Ezekiel. So, the creation process in Level Two.

Further links with the Sabbath and the Temple include:
*Prov 3.19-20 with Exo 31.2-3
*The first Temple was dedicated on Sukkot (1 KIngs 8.2) which is the seventh month, for seven days and the seventh festival.
*Solomon gave seven petitions in his dedicatory prayer.

The concept of “rest” is not the cessation of rigorous activity but a state of being that comes from “completion.” God has placed a kedushah on the commandments and we are separated to him, but this has to do with a completion, then the entering into a “m’nuchah” or “rest.” Psa 132.8 and 14 talks about God’s resting place. 2 Chr 6.41 says the same thing. When the Ark came to rest when it moved in the wilderness Moses said, “Return thou, O Lord, to the myriad thousands of Israel. This speaks about the return of Yeshua to Israel.

What we have seen are levels and sanctities and their applications called kedushah. Why did the Lord want a Temple or a “house of kedushah” in the first place? It is because he wanted us to understand the concept of holiness, or kedushah. What is taught in the non-Jewish Torah (Messianic movement) world is not teaching this concept and Christianity does not have a concept of it, either. There has been a substitution and we have missed the boat and have given “holy and sanctified” a different meaning. That is why the kohanim were to teach this concept to the people (Ezek 44.23). We have already seen that there are levels of sanctity like the High Priest over the other priests, the priests over the people and the festivals over other festivals like Purim and Chanukah. We have seen that there are levels of holiness, or kedushah, in the Temple. There was a certain kedushah over where the people were to gather. Deut 17.8-14 talks about “the place which the Lord your God chooses” which is Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple. As a result, the Temple had the highest court called the Sanhedrin.

In the Mishnah there is a tractate called Kelim, which means “vessels.” In Kelim 1.6-9 there are levels of kedushah listed: Israel over other lands when it comes to tithes, offerings, first fruits and the Omer, etc; cities surrounded by a wall (in the time of Joshua); within Jerusalem; the Temple Mount; within the Temple walls;; Azarah of the women; Azarah of the kohanim; between the porch and the altar; the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies. Now, the kohanim were called to teach the kedushah. Excavations at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount has uncovered what is called “the trumpeting stone” with an inscription. Charles Warren in the 19th century sank a drill in the 1860’s and cracked a section off of the stone and the inscription. The conclusion of the inscription was never found, but what was found says, “l’beit ha tekiah” or “belonging to the house (place) of trumpeting.” It was erected above the roof of the priests chambers, at the point where it was the custom for one of the priests to stand and to give notice by the sound of a trumpet in the afternoon of the approach, and the following evening at the close of every Sabbath. This was done to announce to the people the hours for ceasing work and for resuming their labors (Josephus, the Jewish War, Book IV, p 580-583).

In Part 2 we will pick up here because they have found more than this. We will continue to discuss the concept of holiness and then give some examples on how knowing this concept will actually tell you where the Ark of the Covenant is most likely hidden.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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