This was a very difficult article for me. It began as a Temple-class homework assignment, but ended as a painful self-evaluation. My study group will tell you that I was in tears as I read this to them, but they asked me to “please, please” publish this article because, as difficult as the message is, everything we’ve found in the Word (OT and NT) bears it out.
Unlike the first article about Kedusha (Kedusha – The Critical Factor), this article isn’t from Joe Good’s teaching: it’s from what I believe the Ruach (Holy Spirit) taught me using Joe’s teaching. So please don’t blame Joe Good if you think I’m way off!! 🙂 I still have a lot of study, prayer, and meditation to do before these concepts are firm, but for what it’s worth, here we go.
The Believer as Sacrifice and Priest
Since followers of Y’shua Messiah are called to be both priests and living sacrifices – both of which the Tanakh (the ‘Old’ Testament) calls HOLY to YHVH – the scriptural definition of kedusha (Holiness) has far-reaching implications for believers. This concept was forcefully brought to my attention as I read the OT verses having to do with kedusha and compared them with passages in the New Testament.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable [Greek: logikos – logical] service. (Romans 12:1)
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house [a Temple] to be a HOLY priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Y’shua Messiah. (1 Peter 2:5)
They [priests] shall be holy (Kedoshim) to their God and not profane the name of their God; for they offer YHVH’s offerings by fire, the bread of their God, and so MUST be holy (Kodesh). (Leviticus 21:6)
… and you MUST treat them [the priests] as holy (v’Kidashto), since they offer the bread of your God; they shall be holy (Kodosh) to you, for I, YHVH who sanctify (Kodosh) you, am holy (m’Kadishchem). (Leviticus 21:8)
Note: This treatment is not dependent on personal worthiness, but on God’s worthiness – HIS Kedusha. This is why Paul was so upset at himself when he realized that he had spoken disrespectfully to the High Priest in Acts 23:1-5. The High Priest was acting contrary to law, yet Paul understood that he still had to treat the man according to his God-assigned level of Kedusha. This principle has huge implications for believers today as we interact with one another.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness [kedusha] no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14 NIV)
You shall sanctify yourselves and be holy (K’doshim), for I YHVH am your God. (Leviticus 20:7)
Sanctify YOURSELVES – BE Holy
The Almighty has designated the priesthood as kadosh to Himself, but you and I are the only ones who can make that designation a continual and personal reality in our service as priests.
Yah has given us control over our bodies and minds. Yes, we are disciples and fellow priests with Y’shua, and Yah has decreed that our priestly status is kadosh to Him, but only we can do those things which will make us ‘acceptable’ in His sight and able to approach His Holy Throne. According to the laws of the Beit HaMikdash, if we do not do those things, we must be treated as a kadosh thing that is unfit for service, like the altar profaned by the Greeks.
But I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected. (1 Cor 9:27 HNV)
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin [Greek: ANOMIA: contempt and violation of The Law; Torahlessness] as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness . (Rom 6:13)
The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness [Greek: ANOMIA: contempt and violation of The Law; Torahlessness] . . . (Matt 13:41)
If anyone who has become unclean fails to cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the congregation, for he has defiled YHVH’s sanctuary [et Mikdash]. The water of lustration [purification] was not dashed on him: he is unclean. (Numbers 19:20)
For if we sin willfully [i.e., rebelliously and without repentance] after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. (Heb 10:26) … Sin is ANOMIA [lawlessness; Torahlessness]. (1John 3:4) Torah is the Truth… (Ps 119:142)
A priest’s first step was always cleansing, before he even approached the Temple Mount, let alone the Temple itself (Numbers 19:20, etc.) – which means that the priest had to first acknowledge his NEED for cleansing. He had to abandon human ways and be surrendered to God’s kadosh ways – specifically His Torah ways. (Isa 55:7-9, Isa 29:13) This is the CONTRITE HEART that will never be rejected (Ps 51:17). Only then was the priest prepared to mediate in behalf of another or to make known his own desire for relationship by offering the appropriate sacrifice (or in our case, by identifying with Y’shua’s sacrifice).
As the Word tells us:
(1) Believers are both priests and living sacrifices, and as such are HOLY to God and subject to the eternal laws of kedusha.
(2) Because priests and sacrifices are kadosh to God, they must be treated as kadosh – i.e., whether clean or unclean, fit or unfit, they must be handled in a manner appropriate to their kedusha; otherwise the kedusha of the congregation (and thus Abba’s kedusha) will be defiled.
(3) Priests must sanctify themselves (‘be holy’). Every command to ‘be holy‘ is accompanied by a command to obey the Torah instructions. Thus, sanctification involves obedience.
(4) Those who do not sanctify themselves must be “cut off from the congregation,” for they have “defiled YHVH’s sanctuary [the Holy Temple comprised of all believers – 1 Cor 3:17].”
- Eternal Principle: If YHVH has proclaimed something kadosh (ex: every 10th lamb to pass under the counting rod for determining the tithe; or a sacrificial animal; or a priest) but it is or becomes blemished or flawed, it can be ‘redeemed’ from SERVICE, but it is still HOLY (sacred to YHVH): no procedure exists which allows that item/animal/person to be declared no longer kadosh.  Ex: A blemished sacrificial animal can be ‘redeemed’ (excused from service) by the substitution of another animal, but the original animal must be given to a priest, because the animal has Altar-level kedusha. (An unblemished animal cannot be redeemed, i.e. excused from service, at all.) (Lev 27:10, Lev 27:28-29, Lev 27:33)
The item/animal/person declared as kadosh will be dealt with as a HOLY, kedusha-endowed thing, whether clean or unclean, fit or unfit. This has major implications for believers.
Once declared holy (set part for the sole use of God), if one does not cleanse oneself of uncleanness (repent and return to obedience), one CANNOT serve God nor be FORGIVEN by God!! (Heb 10:26, Numbers 19:20) That person will be cut off – there is no sacrifice for him.
Joshua warned the people that once they committed to serving YHVH alone, they would be subject to the laws of kedusha, which state that a useless (broken, defiled or otherwise unfit) holy item must still be treated as holy – i.e., it must be either cleansed or destroyed.
And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve YHVH : for he is an HOLY God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake YHVH, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. (Josh 24:19-20) see also 1John 1:9
For if we sin [1 John 3:4 – “sin is anomia,” i.e. Torahlessness] willfully [without repentance] after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth [Torah is Truth], there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. . . (Heb 10:26)
Numerous other passages warn believers that their status as kadosh is very real and has very real consequences. Ex:
And the Light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon YHVH, the HOLY One of Israel, in truth [’emeth – Thy Torah is ’emeth” – Ps 119:142]. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet [only] a remnant of them shall return: the [fiery] consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. (Isa 10:17-22)
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore, every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the HOLY Spirit, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matt 3:11-13)
Thus said YHVH, Israel’s HOLY One and Maker: Will you question Me on the destiny of My children? Will you instruct Me about the work of My hands? (Isaiah 45:11)
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Y’shua Messiah. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s TEMPLE and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred [kadosh], and you TOGETHER are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. (1 Cor 3:11-17)
With this richer understanding of kedusha, the ‘weight of glory’ is just beginning to reveal itself to me. Along with the great gift and privilege that has been accorded to the believer comes a great responsibility and duty to maintain the kedusha of that gift and relationship. If we fail to do so, we WILL suffer the consequences, and we WILL negatively affect the well-being of the entire congregation.
This means that we have an obligation to learn what the requirements of kedusha are. Thankfully, our faithful and loving Abba has provided the Beit HaMikdash (House of Kedusha, or Holy Temple) and its services as the primary means by which to learn about kedusha.
Y’shua, Our Sacrifice and High Priest
As we read through all the passages having to do with kedusha, eternal Truths began to unfold for us. In my own case, this particular Temple instruction spoke volumes:
But no sin offering may be eaten from which any blood is brought into the Tent of Meeting for expiation in the sanctuary (baKodesh – holy place); any such [offering] shall be consumed in fire. (Lev 6:30)
Only ONE blood offering was taken into the Temple on behalf of the people. ONCE a year, at Yom Kippur, the High Priest brought the blood of ONE sacrifice into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat for the atonement of the sins of the people. That ceremony is a perfect picture of the sacrifice of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).
Y’shua, our High Priest, took His Own Blood into The Heavenly Tent of Meeting and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat as expiation for my sin. (Heb 9:24) He did not make a fellowship offering or peace offering, but a YOM KIPPUR SIN offering.
A Yom Kippur sin offering is never to be ‘eaten’ by the sinner or even the priest – it is never to be consumed as though it were a ‘fellowship’ offering during which we get to ‘cozy up’ to God. No, Y’shua made a SIN sacrifice. Since I must identify with Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), covered by that same Holy Blood that was sprinkled in the Heavenly Holy of Holies, I am to be CONSUMED on the Altar.
But no sin offering may be eaten from which any blood is brought into the Tent of Meeting for expiation in the sanctuary; any such [offering] shall be consumed in fire. (Lev 6:30)
He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)
I have been crucified [sacrificed] with Messiah and I no longer live, but Messiah lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
The Word tells us that Yah is eternal and He does not change. (Mal 3:6, etc.) It also tells us that He IS kedusha. All kedusha emanates from Him. If we want to obey His command to ‘be holy’, we must relinquish control and adopt HIS kadosh ways. (They truly are ‘the Law of Liberty!’ – James 1:25)
Abba’s great desire is that we will fully regain and maintain our lost kedusha so that we can live in intimate fellowship with Him. We regain it through Y’shua, but now we must learn to maintain it according to HIS standards. He designed His Temple as a means of communicating to us the eternal principles by which we must live if we desire to remain in His Presence.
— Believers (as priests) will either sanctify themselves for service in the Temple, or they will be cut off from the congregation and from service to The Holy One. Sanctification is achieved through observance of Torah regulations.
— Believers (as living sacrifices) will either be consumed on the Holy Altar by abandoning their fleshly nature and living by the principles of kedusha and Torah through the power of the Ruach (so that they are fit to enter the presence of The Holy One), or they will be ‘cut off’ and consumed by eternal fire as befitting one that is kadosh but unfit, according to Messiah’s righteous judgment.
NONE of this eliminates the amazing Work of Grace that Abba has accomplished for us through Y’shua! On the contrary, this understanding of Y’shua’s role as both Holy Sacrifice and High Priest clarifies and explains His expectation that I, too, am to identify with Him by being a living sacrifice and a priest. His Grace and the provision of regeneration through the Ruach gives us both the means and the obligation to walk as He walked.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:8)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matt 16:24-27)
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. [We do not practice lawlessness.] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments [entolē – Torah commands], is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning [arche – the beginning of all things; creation]. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. (1John 2:3-7) 
Faced with the Flesh
We in the Body need to take seriously our obligation to understand Yah’s perspective on Holiness and begin LIVING by it – seriously and without making excuses for ourselves. We WILL answer to Y’shua, and His judgement WILL be righteous.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matt 7:19-23)
Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God! (Ps 119:115)
 The first article: Kedusha – The Critical Factor
 Leviticus, Chapter 27 explains that a person can voluntarily sanctify (devote to God) anything he desires, and he can even redeem such an item (value + 20%), because its kedusha was not assigned by God, but by man. However, a person CANNOT redeem his unblemished firstborn sacrificial animals or firstborn male children or the tithe, because God Himself has declared them kadosh. (Lev 27:26) In any case, whether an animal/item/person is redeemed or not, it remains kadosh to God, and is merely excused from service.
When God Himself declares something as holy (ex: the 10th lamb to pass under the shebet (shepherd’s rod) for determining the tithe, or a sacrificial animal, or a priest, etc.), but it is or becomes blemished or flawed, it is still HOLY and cannot be redeemed. It must be destroyed. (Lev 27:10, Lev 27:28-29, Lev 27:33) Compare this to Ezekiel’s prophecy about the Last Days (Ezek 20:36-37), in which Yah says “I will cause you to pass under the shebet [shepherd’s rod], and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me . . .”
A seeming exception to the law of non-redemption was set in place when all the tribes except Levi were rebellious, and Abba declared that the tribe of Levi would henceforth have the honor of serving in the Temple in the place of the firstborn sons. He had each father “REDEEM” his son from service in the Temple by giving the priests five shekels [i.e., about 100 grams of pure silver, a rare commodity in ancient times. Joseph, Rachel‘s firstborn son and a ‘picture’ of Y’shua, was sold by his brothers for twenty silver pieces, the equivalent of five shekels]. What is not spelled out (because it was understood by the people of that time) is that those firstborn sons were STILL KADOSH to YHVH; they were simply unfit for service in the Temple – they were blemished by sin. Their ‘redemption’ fee was in essence a tangible admission of sin and a reminder of guilt. And we recall that none of that generation who was 20 years old or older was permitted to enter the Kingdom….
Note that while ALL of the sons of Jacob are equally “valued” at 1/2 shekel (for purposes of the Temple Tax, Ex 30:15, etc), the one-time redemption fee for the sinful firstborn of the Wilderness Generation was FIVE shekels. (In scripture, the number 5 symbolizes God’s Grace, goodness and favor toward humans!) This was, in comparison, an exorbitant amount, and was paid by the male’s father. It creates a beautiful picture of the heavy price our Heavenly Father paid to redeem us and put a worthy priest (Y’shua) at the Heavenly Altar to serve in our behalf. (John 14:11)
A similar (and just as beautiful) example, is that of Ex 13:13 – And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck. The donkey is the only unclean animal to which Torah gives ‘firstborn status.’ A donkey could not be brought to the Altar for sacrifice because it is an unclean animal. Donkeys are stubborn, rebellious creatures (just like most of us believers), but even so, a first-born donkey was always and forever kadosh. As a kadosh thing, it HAD to be either redeemed with a lamb or destroyed. The same goes for us, and we rejoice because we have been redeemed through the Lamb of God!!!
 The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning [arche – the beginning of all things; creation]. (1John 2:3-7) Please see my article, Evidence That Torah Was Given to Man at Creation.
© 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.