Let us who know Him not take His Holiness for granted, but let us strive to know Him deeper and better by drawing near unto Him in prayer, worship, and by studying His Word.
In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:1-3 (NASB)
In the English translations of the Old Testament when we encounter the word “Lord” we are actually reading the Hebrew word “Adhōnāy.” On the other hand, when we read the word “LORD,” it is is completely different Hebrew word, “Yehōwāh.” “Adhōnāy” is actually a title for God meaning “sovereign one.” “Yehōwāh” is the sacred name of God. It was the name He used to reveal Himself to Moses at the burning bush. “Yehōwāh” is the unspeakable name, the holy name of God. The Hebrew scribes wrote it as “YHWH.” Therefore, it is referred to as the sacred tetragrammaton, the unspeakable four letters. “Adhōnāy” is the plural noun form of “Ādhōn,” which, when used in reference to God, means Lord. However, “Adhōnāy” is plural but singular in meaning. This speaks of the Holy Trinity, i.e. One God in three persons.
O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! Psalm 8:1 (NASB)
In this passage we see both “Yehōwāh” and “Adhōnāy.” David was actually saying, “O Yehōwāh our Adhōnāy, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Or in a word for word translation, “O God, our sovereign one, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” Psalm 110:1 (NASB)
Our Lord Jesus quoted this passage in Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, and Luke 20:42 using it in reference to Himself as deity thereby making sure the Jewish leaders understood that the Messiah is God since they understood this passage to be Messianic. Here we again have both “Yehōwāh” and “Adhōnāy.” This is saying, “God says to my sovereign one: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, viewed God speaking to his Lord, the Messiah. Therefore, the Jews were wrong in believing that the Messiah was simply a descendant of David. Our Lord Jesus is both God and man.
Who is like You among the gods, O LORD?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders? Exodus 15:11 (NASB)
The Hebrew word translated as “holiness” in this passage is “qōdhēsh.” It is a masculine noun that means, “apartness, holiness, sacredness.” It is derived from the Hebrew word “qādhash,” which means, “to be clean, make clean, pronounce clean.” The Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, used the word “αγιος” or “hágios” for holiness. This is the Greek word meaning chaste or pure. What does this tell us about the Holiness of God? Moses used the word “majestic” to describe God’s Holiness. Other translations use “glorious” here. God’s Holiness sets Him apart from creation. Creation is not holy. It is fallen because the focus of this creation, man, fell in Genesis 3. God’s Holiness not only sets Him apart from the ways of man who is sinful, it is the reason God is glorified in all He does.
The Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the box that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices that day to the LORD. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned to Ekron that day.
17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a guilt offering to the LORD: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages. The large stone on which they set the ark of the LORD is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite.
19 He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck down of all the people, 50,070 men, and the people mourned because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 The men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of the LORD; come down and take it up to you.” 1 Samuel 6:15-21 (NASB)
Count the number of times that the writer of 1 Samuel used the word “Yehōwāh” in this passage. I counted 8. Let’s focus on v20, which says, ‘The men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?” ‘ The Hebrew word translated as “holy” here is “qãdhōsh.”It is an adjective and used here to describe “Yehōwāh.” It means sacred, selected, pure, holy, consecrated, pious. It is used here to describe God, being completely separate from sin, therefore, He is the righteous judge of what is right and pure. Men do not determine these things, Our Holy God does. The Septuagint here renders “qãdhōsh.” as “hágios,” further enhancing the purity and perfect righteousness of “Yehōwāh” for those who know Him.