Kedusha – the Critical Factor

Since the earthly Temple is an image of the Heavenly Temple in which Yeshua serves as our High Priest, a group of us here in Aqaba wanted to learn more about the earthly Temple, in the expectation that it would teach us more about Y’shua and His ministry.  It did!

We signed up for the highly recommended online video course offered by Joe Good [1] of Hatikva Ministries.  The course is called The Jerusalem Temple Study.  We heard nothing but ‘rave’ recommendations.   Now we understand why!

I gotta tell you, we all agree that taking this course is one of the best decisions any of us has ever made!

It turns out that the Temple is one of Abba’s primary teaching tools, and there’s tons of information available about it – even eye-witness reports from priests who served in the Second Temple before its destruction.

We are only on the fifth lesson [2], and it has already been a life-changing experience for each and every one of us.  Our understanding of God’s character, Y’shua’s ministry, our interaction with fellow believers and many other topics has been broadened, deepened, and enriched — and sometimes corrected.   The scriptures are opening up in new ways, and we are beginning to have a much clearer understanding of our place and role as both living sacrifices and as  priests under the headship of our High Priest, Y’shua.

I hope you’ll find it interesting and useful if I share with you a ‘brief’ commentary on what we’ve learned in these first five lessons.  (Be warned – we’ve learned so much that even a brief commentary is long!)

The Temple May be Gone, but Abba’s Expectations Are Not!

In the first lesson, we were astonished to learn that Abba actually expects His people to know EVERYTHING about His Holy Temple.   Here’s what He instructed the prophet Ezekiel:

Thou son of man, show the house [i.e., the Temple] to the house of Israel [3], that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern [the blueprint].  And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form [model] of the house, and the fashion [arrangements and equipment] thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof [the entry and exit gates], and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them  (Ezek 43:10-11)

Did you catch that?  When we’re shown the details of the Temple, the correct response should be repentance!!   Frankly, when Joe first shared this passage with us, we were all a little puzzled.  How could studying the Temple bring about repentance?  But we understand now!

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it was also a revelation to realize that it was God Himself who gave King David the blueprint for the Jerusalem Temple, as well as the plan and liturgy for its services.

Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern [blueprint]  of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlors thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, and THE PATTERN [blueprint] OF ALL THAT HE HAD BY THE SPIRIT, of the courts of the house of YHVH, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: ALSO for the courses of the priests and the Levites, AND for all the work of the service [this would include the liturgy] of the house of YHVH, AND for all the vessels of service in the house of YHVH.  (1Chron 28:11-13)

When we realize that some of the Psalms come from the liturgy, it dawns on us that they are literally from the Mind of God!  It was very moving to learn that the Holy Temple was not just a place where one went to worship God – It was where you went to MEET WITH God.  And He reciprocated:  Although the strict general rule was that NO ONE was permitted to turn their back on the Holy Temple (when within the Temple courts), the choir sang as they stood with their backs to the Temple, facing the people, and the priests faced the people when saying the Aaronic blessing.  The message?  The choir and priests represented Yah Himself singing to the people, ‘loving on them’ and pouring out His Heart and blessing to them in His Own Words!

We spent the first four lessons learning about the history, location, blueprint and some of the physical structure and practices of the Temple.  Sure enough, even that very basic instruction DID bring us to a place of repentance, because we began to get just an inkling that there is far more to the worship of our Great God than we had understood.

Then we got to the fifth lesson, entitled “House of Kedusha.”

Wow.

The first principle – Joe assures us that it is the most important – concerns the Temple’s KEDUSHA – its HOLINESS.  In fact, in the scriptures, the Temple is called the Beit HaMikdash, or House of Holiness.

As we learned more about kedusha, we learned more about the character of God and how He expects His people to interact with Him.  It quickly became clear that some of us had a pretty uninformed perspective on His Holiness, and we have had to do some serious repenting.  Some of us also realized that we did not have as clear an understanding of our own position as ‘holy vessels,’ ‘living sacrifices,’ and ‘priests’ in His service as we thought we had.  More repentance…  We suspect that there will be additional things to repent of in the future!!

Kedusha is the noun form, and kadosh is the adjective form of the root word קָדַשׁ (kä·dash’, Strong’s H6942). In the ancient Hebrew scriptures, when the word kadash and its derivatives appear, translators generally render it as “holy” or “sacred,” etc., so Kedusha is generally translated as “holiness”, “sanctity,” etc.  However, we learned that the words Kadash, Kadosh and Kedusha have far more complex dimensions than believers generally grasp.

Although Christians commonly refer to “holy” men and women, the words Kadosh and Kedusha are actually used almost exclusively when speaking about the Temple and its services.  Other usages pertain to things, places, or offices (like the priesthood) that are associated with the Temple.

We were surprised to learn that in the Tanakh (Old Testament), God never calls an individual person “holy”.  When He says, “Be holy (kadosh),” the command is given to the plural or group ‘all of you’, not to the individual ‘you.’  The command is to the ‘office’ of the Congregation.  The NT agrees:

God’s temple is sacred [kadosh – Holy], and you TOGETHER are that temple.  (1Cor 3:17 NIV)

This picture needs more bodies . . .

God says that the congregation is holy, the office of priesthood is holy, certain other offices are holy, the feasts are holy, the Land is holy, Jerusalem is holy, Temple Mount is holy, the sacrifices are holy, the firstborn are holy, the tools and equipment of the Temple are  holy, and of course the Temple itself is holy.  These things are kadosh, or consecrated (set apart) for the use of The Almighty ALONE.

BUT (another surprise) there are ten levels of Kedusha, based on proximity to The Holy of Holies in the Temple (where the Presence of Almighty God Himself dwelt).  These levels are revealed by the increasing number of regulations as one comes closer to the Holy of Holies.  As Joe Good points out, kedusha teaches us to “relinquish control in every sphere of life” and allow God to be GOD; and the closer we come to Him, the more control we must relinquish.

What is Kedusha?

I’m beginning to understand that the first and most basic aspects of Kedusha are these:

  • The simple definition is set-apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness; consecration to the Living God. As we shall see, this definition is sadly lacking in depth.

ALL things with kedusha belong to and are kadosh (consecrated) to God and are for His use and glory alone All kedusha originates with and emanates from YHVH. 

  • Surprise! Like Time and Space, Kedusha is a physical thing with specific properties:  It is subject to the Law of Cause and Effect.

Because YHVH’s kedusha is a physical force, it has physical consequences.  For example, a well-meaning man, Uzzah, was simply trying to prevent the kadosh Ark from falling out of a cart, but when he touched the Ark (the most kedusha-endowed thing on the planet at that time), the Law went into effect: God’s Kedusha lashed out, and Uzzah was killed.  (2 Sam 2:6-8)    When dealing with Yah’s Kedusha, good intentions are simply not enough. 

Another surprise: kedusha can be transmitted.  Yah’s kedusha is such that it has a profound effect on anything or anyone with which it comes in contact. 

When they [the priests] go out to the outer court — the outer court where the people are — they shall remove the vestments in which they minister and shall deposit them in the sacred (haKodesh) chambers; they shall put on other garments, lest they make the people consecrated [kadash] by contact with their vestments(Ezek 44:19)

And thou shalt sanctify them [the Temple vessels], that they may be most holy [kadosh]: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. (Ex 20:29)

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified [given kedusha] by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified [given kedusha] by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy [kadosh] (1Cor 7:14)

Adam and Eve LOST their kedusha when they stepped beyond the behavioral boundaries set by their Creator.

The physical properties of Kedusha mean that as we sanctify ourselves and draw closer to Yah, we begin to be positively affected by His Kedusha.  Then, when we come into physical and spiritual contact with others, we have the opportunity to influence their sanctity.

  • The principles and laws of kedusha apply for all time and outside of time (eternity), since “Kadosh” is quite simply the definition of THE ETERNAL ONE, Who is unchanging.  “I AM Kadosh.” (Lev 11:45, etc.)

The Temple instructions are representations of something that is presently beyond our complete understanding; therefore, we must be careful to obey their principles (since we can’t presently obey all their practical applications) so that we do not inadvertently offend the Almighty or transgress inter-dimensional physics in ways that are, as yet, unknown to us.

Uninformed, inadvertent trespass is still trespass and has severe consequences.  (Lev 5:15, Rom 2:12)  If I don’t know that a wire is electrified and I touch it, I will still be shocked – this is called Physics, or the Law of Cause and Effect.  We serve a God who is powerful and kadosh beyond comprehension.  TREMBLE!

Ps 96:9O worship YHVH in the beauty of holiness [kedusha]: fear before him, all the earth.  

Phil 2:12: . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  

  • An item/animal/person that Abba has declared holy (kadosh) to Himself and consecrated to His service alone, is eternally kadosh.  It can never be treated in any way other than what the Torah prescribes for an item/animal/person at that level of kedusha, whether clean or unclean, fit or unfit.

Some kadosh items that have been defiled can be cleansed by either water or fire, while others must be destroyed or donated to the priests for their personal use.  Kadosh humans can be cleansed by repentance and renewed obedience.  The Word gives us easy-to-follow instructions in most cases, but once in a while . . . 

When the Greeks defiled the Altar of the Temple, the priests didn’t know how to cleanse it.  They could build a new one, but they had another problem. The old Altar was Kadosh.  They could not simply throw the stones away because the stones had kedusha.   The solution? The priests found an empty room within the Temple compound that had the same level of kedusha as the Altar itself, and stored the defiled stones there “until Elijah comes” to tell them what to do.

  • Therefore, the presence of Kedusha implies accompanying restrictions. 

We learned that there are ten levels of kedusha, all based on proximity to The Holy of Holies (the Shekinah / Presence of YHVH).  The closer to the Holy of Holies, the higher the level of kedushaThe higher the level of kedusha, the more the accompanying restrictionsBut Moses said to YHVH, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and sanctify it (v’Kidashto).‘”  (Ex 19:23)

As mentioned earlier, kedusha restrictions and regulations teach us to relinquish control in every sphere of life and allow God to be GOD.  Our surrender must increase the closer we come to Him.

Believers are priests (1Pet 2:5-9)  and priests come into contact with a high level of YHVH’s Kedusha.  (You have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, right??)  Therefore, priests must observe certain restrictions in order not to defile that Kedusha and remain in a fit state for service before the HOLY God.  (It is an excellent study for the believer to review the priestly regulations and meditate on how they can be implemented spiritually and even physically in our own lives.)

Knowing our duties, our restrictions, and our privileges within these boundaries is crucial to our relationship with the Father, not to mention being crucial to our health and well-being. These restrictions are good things, protecting us from overstepping our bounds and suffering undue consequences (Korah and his compatriots serve as prime examples of what happens when we ignore the regulations – Num 16).

  • The Beit HaMikdash (the House of Kedusha, i.e., the Holy Temple) is quite literally all about kedusha.

In every aspect of its construction, existence and service, kedusha is the critical factor, determining with minute detail who can serve, what clothing they may wear and when, their specific tasks, where they can serve, when they can serve, exactly how to hold or place certain items, and much more – even where and how bodily functions are to be accommodated.

This tells us that kedusha, or obeying the command to be holy, is not something we can achieve with our own understanding.  We need to stop trying to be in control, and follow Yah’s careful instructions with the help of the Holy Spirit.

When we realize that the earthly Beit HaMikdash is meant to teach us how to regain our own lost kedusha and be fit to serve before Almighty God, kedusha becomes our goal (1John 2:6, Rom 10:4 CJB), and becomes the highest form of worship.

  • The primary task of the priests is to be able to discern between the sacred (kadosh) and the profane (kol – common, ordinary, unconsecrated), the clean and the unclean, and to teach these things to the people. (Lev 10:10, Ezek 22:26, Ezek 44:23, etc.)  Of course, it is Torah that defines the sacred and the profane, the clean and the unclean; obviously the priests are expected to be living by those same Torah standards themselves.

This has major implications for followers of Y’shua, who are called to serve as priests within the Melchizedek priesthood.

As we studied the Word, we were a little surprised to realize that every command to ‘be holy‘ was accompanied by an injunction to follow Yah’s Torah instructions. [4] The instructions are the means by which we achieve and express kedusha!

  • The primary task of the Nation/Body is to be kadosh.  (‘am kadosh or goy kadosh – Holy Nation).  And of course that means that the people must learn the difference between the sacred and the profane, the clean and the unclean, and begin living their own lives according to those standards.  In other words, everyone is to be learning and observing the commands of Torah.

Kedusha is not an option for believers:

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  (Heb 12:14 NIV)

But the holy people [kadeshim] of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.   (Dan 7:18 NIV)

  • The Congregation is kadosh.   God’s temple is sacred, and you TOGETHER are that temple. (1Cor 3:17

Amazingly, an individual has no kedusha without the congregation, because the believer is by definition a part of the Body.  (No flying solo in Yah’s Plan!)  Therefore, it is the obligation of the members of the congregation to assist one another in maintaining the kedusha of the congregation.  Each believer must maintain his/her own kedusha.  Each believer must also treat the brethren as kadosh (because they are the personal possession and reflection of Yah Himself, and priests of the Living God), and in turn be treated as kadosh. (Phil 2:3-4Leviticus 21:8)

Think of a diamond, which has no intrinsic value, but receives its valuation from those who view it (God/Y’shua and the rest of the world).  Diamonds have the potential to reflect the light around them, but first they have to be carved by the jeweler (the Ruach), who must take into consideration the shape and characteristics of the entire stone, because a single facet cannot create the sparkle.  It takes many facets together to reflect the light and create the sparkle.  In the same way, the congregation should be reflecting  YHVH’s/Y’shua’s light.

So there you have it.  Those are the primary points that The Jerusalem Temple Study has impressed upon us.  There’s LOTS more, but this is already too long!!

Some of the principles I’ve presented here really challenged my understanding, but hard study proved them (to my satisfaction) to be valid.  What do you think?

In my next article, I’ll share my personal study results, based on what we learned.  Thanks for reading – I hope you’ll comment, too!  ❤


FOOTNOTES

[1]  Joe Good is a Torah-observant disciple of Y’shua.  His expertise regarding the structure and services of the Temple may be unsurpassed.  He has been studying the subject for more than twenty years, and is a recognized expert even among the administrators and scholars of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem.  He is a published author and a popular speaker.  His subject is gaining more and more attention from the believing public.  He and his wife, Debbie, are the founders of Hatikva Ministries.  You can view his current teaching videos through his Facebook page.

[2]  The Jerusalem Temple Study:  There are eight sets of lessons, each set including thirteen videos.  There is homework and testing and some essay writing for each of the videos, and you cannot advance to the next video until you pass the ‘quiz’ with at least a 70% grade.  It’s not an easy course, but you can do as much or as little as you want, and you can study at your own pace.  Since the folks in our study group all have rather frantic schedules and many obligations, it has taken us a full year to cover only five lessons, even though we make every effort to give this class highest priority!   The group includes two internationally known Bible teachers, but even they have had to re-watch the videos and revise their thinking somewhat.  We’ve all spent great amounts of time in reading and discussion (some of the most interesting and fruitful discussions I’ve ever had the privilege of participating in).  We’re glad that the course is designed to allow us to go at our own pace, because there is so much to learn, and IT’S SO WELL WORTH THE EFFORT TO LEARN IT!

[3]  Thou son of man, show the house [i.e., the Temple] to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: (Ezek 43:10This passage is directly addressed to the Ten Tribes (aka The House of Israel) who rebelliously forsook Torah and refused to worship in Jerusalem at the Temple as commanded.  This makes the passage even more critical to modern believers, particularly those of us (1) who think the Temple is past history, and/or (2) who recognize our position as either bloodline or ‘adopted’ / ‘grafted-in’ Israelites and who understand the need to repent for our own sins and the sins of our spiritual forefathers.  (Lev 26:40)

[4]  Every command to ‘be holy‘ is accompanied by a command to obey Yah’s Torah instructions.  For example,  Ex 22 is a set of instructions finishing up with 22:31 – “be holy“; Lev 11 gives instructions for clean eating and in vs 44-45 tells us to “be holy” and not to defile ourselves because HE is holy, emphasizing at the end that we are to discern the clean from the unclean; Lev 19 begins by instructing us to “be holy” and then tells us HOW to be holy (obey Torah); Lev 20:22 tells us to obey His commands, ending with the injunction in vs 26 to “be holy . . . for I am holy“; Numbers 15:40 states “That ye may remember, and do all my commandments [mitzvot: specific regulations], and be holy unto your God.” Etc., etc., etc.


© Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2017.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt  and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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9 thoughts on “Kedusha – the Critical Factor”

  1. Sue, this is very enlightening! The first passage you quoted (Ezekiel) shows that God’s people knew the significance of each detail in the Temple–which most of us now do not. I also thought before that the blueprint that King David had was just his own (as per my understanding, the design of the second Temple was different and the one from God–unlike the first one wherein some of Solomon’s private rooms had been adjacent to the Temple). On ‘Yah Himself singing to the people’–I am reminded of Zephaniah 3:17!

    And thanks for discussing “kedusha” (especially the inter-dimensional physics)–the passages you mentioned were really a puzzle to me before, but now they make sense!

    Looking forward to your next posts when you discuss this more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the great comments! And thanks for finding Zeph 3:17 – I was hunting for it but couldn’t remember enough of it: “YHVH thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing post, Sue! I’m just starting Joe Good’s Temple course. This week, I’ve been working on a teaching for the upcoming new moon (4th month -Tammuz) and your post struck a strong cord in my heart. Traditionally, the “Three Weeks” (from 17th of Tammuz – 9th of Av) are set aside for the mourning of the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples. Most of us returning to Torah just don’t “get” this, not in its depth. Your post breaths fresh air on this most important and HOLY topic — YHWH’s House!! I’m in the reader now and don’t see the reblog button, but I’d love to reblog this in honor of the upcoming new moon. (:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on GRACE in TORAH and commented:
    In honor of the new moon of the fourth month, Tammuz, and the beginning of the traditional “Three Weeks”, of which I’ll be posting about later tonight or tomorrow, I had to repost this very thought provoking article by Sue at The Lamb’s Servant.

    The Holy Temple is not only the place where YHWH meets with His people, but it’s instructions are the heavenly blueprint for proper worship. The holiness of the Temple transcends time and space. Like Sue, I have begun Joe Good’s class on the Temple, and as a result I’m struck to the core of my being. There is a reason why Jews pray the Avodah three times a day for the restoration of this glorious edifice.

    Today, worship is often aligned with one’s likes and dislikes. Believers attend services that appeal to their comfort zones and preferences. Pastors, teachers, singers, and musicians are critiqued based on their performance and quality of the hearer’s experience. This is NOT the blueprint for the House of Prayer for All Nations.

    In the days of the Holy Temple, people had to stringently prepare themselves to enter this holy space and offer a gift and/or sacrifice. The set-apartness was like none other. Souls pouring into the courtyard of the Temple were not there to judge other servants, but to become acceptable before a just and holy God. On this Rosh Chodesh (new moon), I hope you’ll take the time to consider Sue’s words and the Kedushah (Holiness) of the House of Elohim (God).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kisha, for this truly insightful comment, and for sharing the article with your readers. May we all learn to walk in holiness and give Abba the honor He deserves! May your celebration of His Rosh Chodesh be filled with blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

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