The Holiness of God part 2

Author’s note: This is the second post in a short series of posts dealing with The Holiness of God. You can read the first post here.

Holiness of GodProper word study is the key to understanding the original meaning of a word the author intended, as well as the original understanding of that word by the recipient. Before we begin our discussion on the holiness of God and the implications that has on His children, we must first determine the proper understanding of the original Hebrew and Greek words used to describe God as being holy.

The original word used for holy in Hebrew is qadosh; it translates as holy, Holy One, sacred, saint, and set apart.[1] In the Old Testament, there are many terms used for holiness in the original Hebrew language. The verb qadas translates to be hallowed, holy, sanctified, consecrate, prepare, and to dedicate.[2] The verb qadas in the Qal implies the state of things that belong to the sacred.[3] In the Piel and Hiphil the verb qadas implies the act of consecration where the distinction is made between sacred and that which is profane.[4]

In addition, from the verb qadas, the Hebrew language gives us the noun qodes which carries with it the notion of apartness, holiness, and sacredness.[5] Lastly, we have the adjective qados, which gives us the description of one who is holy and the words used to describe that being, such as holy, Holy One, and saint.[6]

In the New Testament, the original Greek word is hagiazo, which translates as sanctify, hallow, and be holy.[7] It implies the idea of being separated, purified (externally, internally, and free from the guilt of sin), and dedicated to the service of God. The adjective used in the original Greek for holiness is hagios, which translates as holy, saints, and Holy One.[8] Now that we have determined that the original Hebrew and Greek words used in the Scriptures translate to indicate holiness, we turn our attention to the Bible and how it depicts God as holy.

In the Old Testament God is shown to be a holy God (Josh. 24:19). The Bible says holy is he! (Ps. 99:3; Ps. 99:5); you are holy (Ps. 22:3); the Lord our God is holy (Ps. 99:9); holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts (Isa. 6:3); holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty (Rev. 4:8). The Bible calls God the holy One (Isa. 40:25; 1 John 2:20; Rev. 16:5); the holy One of Israel (2 Kgs. 19:22; Isa. 1:4; Isa. 5:24; Isa. 10:17; Isa. 10:20; Isa. 12:6; Isa. 30:11; Isa. 30:12; Isa. 30:15; Isa. 31:1; Isa. 37:23; Isa. 41:20; Isa. 43:3; Isa. 43:14; Isa. 45:11; Isa. 49:7; Isa. 55:5; Isa. 60:9; Isa. 60:14). The Bible tells the children of Israel that their redeemer is the holy One of Israel (Isa. 41:14; Isa. 47:4; Isa. 54:5); the holy God shows himself holy in righteousness (Isa. 5:16). God says of Himself I am the Lord, your holy One (Isa. 43:15); I am God and not man, the holy One in your midst (Hos. 11:9). Habakkuk explains that God comes from Teman, the holy One from Mount Paran (Hab. 3:3) and then he extols O Lord my God, my holy One (Hab. 1:12).

In the New Testament Jesus is called the holy One of God (Luke 4:34); holy Father (John 17:11); he who is holy and true (Rev. 3:7); O Lord, holy and true (Rev. 6:10); such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled (Heb. 7:26); as he who called you is holy (1 Pet. 1:15). Jesus is unique there is no one holy like the Lord (1 Sam. 2:2); you alone are holy (Rev. 15:4); who is like you, majestic in holiness? (Exod. 15:11). Even His name is holy (Isa. 57:15; Luke 1:49); holy and awesome is his name (Ps. 111:9). The disciples came to believe and to know that Jesus is the holy One of God (John 6:69).

In the Scriptures, God is shown to be perfect in every way. In Deuteronomy 32:4 we are told, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” In 1 Samuel 2:2 God’s holiness is unique, and in Ezekiel 36:21-23 God’s name is holy. God’s dwelling place is holy, as is the case in Isaiah 57:15. David’s palace was considered holy because of the presence of the ark of the Lord (2 Ch 8:11). The Most Holy place, in the tabernacle, was off limits to all except the high priest and he entered only once a year (Ex 26:33; 1 Kings 6:16).

Everything associated with God is holy as a result of God being holy.  The Sabbath is the “holy Sabbath” (Ex 16:23); the heaven above is God’s “holy heaven” (Ps 20:6); God sits on His “holy throne” (Ps 47:8). We have explored how the Bible depicts God as holy, in tomorrow’s post we will look at two different aspects of this holiness.

[1] Strong, James. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2001.

[2] Mccomiskey, Thomas E. “1990 קָדַשׁ”. In Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1999.

[3] John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine Of God (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2001), 339.

[4] Ibid., p.340

[5] Ibid., 1999.

[6] Ibid., 1999.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.


About Peter van Brussel

Peter is the Director of For His Glory Prison Ministry. Peter holds a BA in Pastoral Studies from Southwestern College, a MA in Theological Studies, and a M.Div. from Liberty University. Peter is married to Niki, and has two children. He has been saved by grace and seeks to share the Gospel with those who have been forgotten.
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