YHWH M’Kaddesh and Elohim Kedoshim
Names of God—Part 35
The LORD who sanctifies and the Holy God
YHWH is God’s actual name which he revealed to Moses from the burning bush, it implies the personal nature of God.
The second part of the name here is how God relates to us:
Most of these names so far have been relational, how God relates to people or people to God. This one, YHWH M’Kaddoshim is from the Law, the book of Leviticus:
Keep My decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy. Leviticus 20:8
A warning to keep Gods law, because God makes us holy. That is right, God makes us holy, you and me. But having to follow laws to be holy is just a tad legalistic, isn’t it?
The book of Leviticus is all about holiness. God wants his people to be sanctified or made holy, two different ways of saying the same thing. God wants his people to be holy, and that is just as true today as it was then. God wants a people who are holy which means set apart for him, and that is anyone who will turn to him, you and me, in fact, everyone.
God is holy, which is the meaning of the El form of this name, Elohim Kedoshim. The Holy God wants us to be like him. He created humans in his image, and he is making those who follow him to be like him in holiness. Romans 8:49 says we are being transformed into the image of Christ, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says we are being changed into Christ’s likeness and reflect his glory. We have to be careful when reading the rules in Leviticus that we do not get sidetracked into thinking that what we wear, eat or act will make us holy, it is about transformation done by God. God is separating us as holy people but that does not mean not engaging with the world. There are two parts to God’s transformation, being set apart from sin and being set apart to God.
God told the Israelites that He is the One who will make them a holy people. He will show them how to live a life of holiness if they will let Him. He will show them that separating themselves from sin is not to take away their pleasure, but instead to protect them and keep them safe from the corrupting power of the nations around them.
God is not a vindictive God who will zap us if we do not measure up, his joy is in protecting us from becoming so tainted by the world that we become no use at all and indistinguishable from everybody else. We all get tainted. We go along with the ideas of the world. But we can come to God for cleansing. In the end, it is all about God not about us.