[Column] Holy God

It is said that you can tell people’s nationality by the question they ask when buying goods. Americans ask, “Is this most expensive?” Germans ask, “Is this most durable?” French people ask, “Is this the latest?” Koreans ask, “Is this real, not fake?” After all, what good are expensive price, durability, and trend if the product you purchased is a counterfeit? The same goes for the faithful. What truly matters is whether or not they are real. Jesus Christ said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). In other words, sanctity is the necessary condition for entry into heaven. There are those who are Christian only in words, not in thoughts and deeds. Such people do not truly understand whop God is.

The Bible describes God as seated on His Holy throne (Psalms 47:8; 99:5), from which flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder emanate (Revelation 4:5) to manifest His divine magnificence. Also, four living creatures and cherubs before the throne unceasingly say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8, Psalm 99:3). Because God is holy, a sinful man who stands before Him is destroyed by the all-consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). For example, Aaron’s two sons were killed for offering unto God strange fire and Uzzah who touched the Ark only to steady it from stumbling oxen was immediately killed. If one truly understands the holiness of God, he or she in reverence and fear cannot sin. The paradox of the fear of God is that it causes us to fear nothing in the world while lack of it causes us to fear everything in the world.

The priests in the Old Testament had to put on sacred vestments to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving in the holy place and worship God. Prior to wearing vestments, the priests had to bathe in water. Especially, high priests were required to wear seven pieces of clothing. First, they had to wear undergarments to cover their lower body (Exodus 28:4). Second, they had to wear the robe made of blue cloth with golden bells attached to its hems (Exodus 39:22). The third piece was an ephod; the fourth piece the breastplate with Urim, Thummim, and twelve jewels; the fifth the waistband to be worn inside the ephod (Exodus 28:39); the sixth piece the headband (Exodus 28:40); and the seventh piece “the plate, the sacred diadem, out of pure gold and engraved on it, like an inscription on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD” (Leviticus 8:9; Exodus 39:30). What is the true meaning of the vestments of the high priests? It is that they are to be “Holy to the Lord” for only the holy can come before God. While it was customary for a high priest to wear these vestments in the holy place, there was an exception to this rule. On the tenth day of seventh month also known as Yom Kippur, Jewish Day of Atonement, a high priest was to wear white linen garments instead of an ephod and enter the holiest of holy (Leviticus 16:32). These linen garments represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament times, only the priest had authority to enter the holy place. This privilege was not granted even unto the Levites. In the New Testament times, however, God called us saints and appointed us as priests. Thus we can come before the throne of God through the blood of Christ. The word “holy” in Greek is hagios meaning “set apart” or “sacred.” It is no coincidence that the Spirit of God is referred to as the Holy Spirit, the people of God as saints, the temple of God as a sanctuary, and the Word of God as the Holy Bible.
The Bible explicitly states that God chose us to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4). Implicit in this statement is our responsibility to be holy and blameless. An indolent sinner cannot enter heaven. If such deadly beasts as wolves, leopards, lions, bears, and snakes must become tame to enter the kingdom of God (Isaiah 11:6-8), how much more should we become cleansed and sanctified to enter it? God cannot use us as His vessels unless we remove our sinfulness in our lives (Proverbs 25:4). Our Holy God once said, “I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him” (Psalm 89:20). May this message apply to all of us. Let us read this verse aloud replacing David with our own names. “I have found Joshua my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him.” God is holy and we need His sacred anointing. May we become holy saints just as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

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