Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh
קדשׁ / קדושׁ
qâdôsh set apart (holy)
“One called out to another, and said: “Holy, holy, holy, is Adonai-Tzva’ot! The whole earth is full of His glory.” Isa 6:3 TLV
I admire the words of speaker and writer Dwight Pryor in this passage. Regarding the voice of the angels in this passage, he writes:
No other attribute of Y/H/V/H is emphasized in such a three-fold repetition of praise and adoration. Nowhere, for instance, does the Scripture declare the LORD to be “gracious, gracious, gracious” or “omnipotent, omnipotent, omnipotent”. Only “kadosh” is accorded this triple Hebraic intensification. Why? Because holiness is not just one of God’s many and glorious attributes. “Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh” signs the very ground and the grandeur of his Being, the very mystery of who he is, in and of himself.
Only He is holiness intrinsic. For everything or anyone else, holiness is derivative. Whether it be in space, time or people, holiness comes only in relationship with the Holy One of Israel, by being set apart from the common for his exclusive purposes, privileges, and presence.
Set apart. That is the root meaning of qâdôsh. It has been translated as “holy” for so long that holy now has a meaning of its own, like “He is a holy man of God” referring to a position as pastor, or because of a style of clothing, a backwards collar, or some other sign, symbol or practice that gains recognition.
Jeff Benner of the Ancient Hebrew Research Center defines this word for us.
Qadosh literally means “to be set apart for a special purpose”. A related word, qedesh, is one who is also set apart for a special purpose but not in the same way we think of “holy,” but is a prostitute (Deut 23:17). Israel was qadosh because they were separated from the other nations as servants of Elohiym . . . While we may not think of ourselves as “holy,” we are in fact set apart from the world to be Elohiym’s servants and his representatives.
How then do you and I represent him? The first creative act of YHVH (the consonants of his name in Hebrew) was to make a separation.
“then God said, Let light be! And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God separated between the light and darkness.” Gen 1:3-4 LITV
That separation occurred because it is in his nature as he exists not because of how he acts as “only he is holiness intrinsic.” Light and dark do not mix in him and since his words are who he is (just like our words reveal who we are) the same is revealed in them. “And this is the message which we have heard from Him, and we proclaim to you: God is light, and no darkness is in Him, none!” 1 Joh 1:5 LITV
Since that is his nature, then whatever he speaks and teaches is light also. “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” Prov 6:23 KJV
KJV has the translation correct here with one generalization. The word “law” is the Hebrew torah which means teaching and instruction. Torah contains law but it is not only law, it is much more. This then refers to everything we would consider to be a biblical revelation. It does not say “torah is like a light” or “it is one kind of light.” It says literally two words, אור ותורה vetorah ‘or – “and torah light.” Hebrew uses no being verbs so we add “is” when we translate. “Torah is light” just like “God is light.”
And we cannot separate ourselves from either without attempting to mix in darkness.
That is the nature of compromise. This is illustrated in detail in 2 Kings 17 where it is summed up as “So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.” v. 33 ESV
The people feared YHVH but served their own gods.
I cannot think of a better example and illustration of compromise. Fear the LORD but serve whomever. Fearing is what calls us to be set apart like YHVH is set apart as who he is and what he teaches. The first family failed to do that when they listened to the hiss of the shining one (nachash in Hebrew as an adjective, as a noun rendered snake because they are shiny) and violated the command regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
At the heart of their compromise was defining good and evil for themselves. The idea was to walk with God, spend time with him and then instruct him on what is light and what is darkness.
And then the torah – teaching and instruction – became flesh and walked among us and told us this: “For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. But whoever practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be made known that his deeds have been accomplished in God.” Joh 3:20-21
“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Psa 119:160 How do you define light, truth, and darkness?
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