(Mekeddeshem, Mekadesh, Mekoddishkem)
YHWH Who Sanctifies You / YHWH Who Makes Holy
It may be argued that no other name more accurately expresses the bounteous nature and character of God and the requirements He places on His people than the name "Yahweh-M'Kaddesh".
Pronounced Yä-wá' (or Yod-Há-Väv-Há') M-ka'dash, the compound name itself appears only twice in the Old Testament:
- Exodus 31:13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, 'Most assuredly you shall keep my Sabbaths: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies you [YHWH-M'Kaddesh].'" (WEB)
- Leviticus 20:7,8 "'Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am Yahweh your God. You shall keep my statutes, and do them. I am Yahweh who sanctifies you [YHWH-M'Kaddesh]." (WEB)
The word "m'kaddesh" derives from the Hebrew word "qâdash" or "kadosh" and is translated in English to "sanctify", "holy", "dedicate", "consecrate", "sanctuary", or "hallow" but primarily by the word "holy", as in "the Holy [M'Kaddesh] One". "Sanctify" means "to set apart an object or person to the dedication of the holy".
The word "m'kaddesh" alone first appears in Genesis 2:3a when God sanctified the Sabbath: "God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy [m'kaddesh]..." (CJB) The word isn't mentioned again until Exodus 13:1,2 "Sanctify [m'kaddesh] to Me all of the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal. It is Mine."
YHWH our God is holy!
This was the first truth Israel learned about YHWH: Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Yisra'el: our Elohim, is one! And you shall love your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might." (TS98)
As Himself the Holy One, YHWH is separate from and exalted above all else in the universe:
- Deuteronomy 4:35 "To you it was shown, that you might know that Yahweh He is God; there is none else besides Him." (WEB)
- 1 Samuel 2:2 "There is none holy [m'kaddesh] as Yahweh; For there is none besides You, Neither is there any rock like our God." (WEB)
- Isaiah 44:6 "Thus says Yahweh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Hosts: 'I am the first, and I am the last; and besides Me there is no God.'" (WEB)
- Isaiah 45:21b "'...there is no God else besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is no one besides Me.'" (WEB)
The most fundamental, solemn, and impressive of all the attributes of YHWH is His holiness. As author Nathan Stone quoted in "The Names of God":
"It is this holiness of which an old Scottish divine writes: 'It is the balance . . . of all the attributes of Deity. Power without holiness would degenerate into cruelty; omniscience without holiness would become craft; justice without holiness would degenerate into revenge; and goodness without holiness would be passionate and intemperate fondness doing mischief rather than accomplishing good.' It is this holiness which gives to God grandeur and majesty, and more than anything else constitutes His fullness and perfection.'"
YHWH our God is holy! All the Law and the miraculous events that followed on Mt. Sinai and in the wilderness were intended to indelibly impress upon Israel the truth of the holiness of their God.
It is this holiness of which YHWH is so jealous: "for you shall worship no other god: for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous [El Kanno], is a jealous God." (Exodus 34:14) His holiness is so pure, so intense, that He cannot abide the worship of another god among His people: "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3) YHWH's people are to sanctify Him, not only in their actions, but in their hearts: "Yahweh of Hosts, Him shall you sanctify [m'kaddesh]; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread." (Isaiah 8:13); and we are to "worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." (1 Chronicles 16:29, Psalm 29:2)
YHWH wishes to impart the glory and beauty of His holiness to us....
....when He tells us, "You shall be holy [m'kaddesh]; for I Yahweh your God am holy [m'kaddesh] (Leviticus 19:2) or "I am Yahweh who sanctifies [m'kaddesh] you" (Exodus 31:13, Leviticus 20:8). As people inevitably become like the god(s) they serve, it follows then that the Holy God would require holiness in His people. As Nathan Stone wrote: "A God separate from all that is evil, too pure to behold evil, the very antithesis of all evil, requires that the people He chooses be also separate from all evil and separated to the purpose for which He chose them."
In its different translations, the word "m'kaddesh" appears ±685 times in the Old Testament. Whatever seeming differences the various English words above may suggest, the primary idea of separating or setting apart is common to them all. It is used to...
- set apart specific days for worship, rest, or celebration:
- Exodus 20:8,11 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy [m'kaddesh]. . . the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh-your God. . . . therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy [m'kaddesh]." (WEB)
- Numbers 29:12 "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy [m'kaddesh] convocation; you shall do no servile work, and you shall keep a feast to Yahweh seven days." (WEB)
- See also Exodus 12:16, 31:15, 35:2; Numbers 28:18,25-26, 29:1,7,12; 1 Samuel 21:5; 1 Kings 8:8; Nehemiah 8:9-11; Isaiah 58:13.
- emphasize the difference between the Holy God of the Bible and the many detestable pagan deities:
- Ezekiel 36:23 "'I will sanctify [m'kaddesh] My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Yahweh,' says the Lord Yahweh, 'when I shall be sanctified [m'kaddesh] in you before their eyes.'" (WEB)
- Isaiah 29:23 "'But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify [m'kaddesh] My name; yes, they shall sanctify [m'kaddesh] the Holy [M'kaddesh] One of Jacob, and shall stand in awe of the God of Israel.'" (WEB)
- set aside certain articles for service to YHWH:
- 2 Samuel 8:11 "These also did king David dedicate [m'kaddesh] to Yahweh, with the silver and gold that he dedicated [m'kaddesh] of all the nations which he subdued;" (WEB)
- Exodus 40:9 "You shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tent, and all that is in it, and shall make it holy [m'kaddesh], and all its furniture: and it will be holy [m'kaddesh]." (WEB)
- See also Exodus 28:2 & 4; Zechariah 14:21.
- set apart individuals or even an entire nation:
- Exodus 19:6a "...'and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy [m'kaddesh] nation.'" (WEB)
- Exodus 32:29 "Moses said, 'Consecrate [m'kaddesh] yourselves today to Yahweh, yes, every man against his son, and against his brother; that He may bestow on you a blessing this day.'" (WEB)
- See also Exodus 13:2, 28:36; Deuteronomy 7:6; Jeremiah 1:5.
- designate a particular place as holy:
- Exodus 25:8 "'Let them make Me a sanctuary [m'kaddesh], that I may dwell among them.'" (WEB)
- Zechariah 8:3 "Thus says Yahweh: 'I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called "The City of Truth;" and the mountain of Yahweh of Hosts, "The Holy [m'kaddesh] Mountain."'" (WEB)
- See also Leviticus 10:13; Joel 3:17; Obadiah 1:17.
Note: The lists of verses above are only a sampling of the ±685 verses in the Old Testament that use the referenced English words.
In all of these cases, the use of the word "m'kaddesh" refers to contact with the Holy God. The Sabbath day was holy because YHWH rested in it; the mountain of the Lord and the sanctuary were holy because YHWH dwelt there; the people of YHWH were to be holy because He would dwell among them and they would represent Him to the rest of the world.
Thus, the term "sanctified" or "set apart" means more than just position or relationship in regard to YHWH. It means participation in the divine nature of YHWH: His holiness, justice, omniscience, goodness, compassion, righteousness, majesty, fullness, and perfection.
But how wonderfully exciting that this holy God doesn't leave us struggling in our own strength, trying to achieve a state of holiness that's impossible to attain. No! He is "YHWH-M'Kaddesh", "The God Who Makes Holy". What we cannot do on our own, He is willing to do in us if we let Him. Praise His most glorious name!
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