The name Yahweh (Yeho’vah) m’Kaddesh occurs only twice in the Bible. The first time in Exodus 31 and the second time in Leviticus 20. The word ‘ka’dash’ is used many times, but as a name, only twice.
Exodus 31:13, ‘But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “You shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.’
This command that God gave to His people was to make sure that they observed the Sabbaths that He instituted for them because they were a part of the sanctification process for them.
The Hebrew word is ka’dash and it means to sanctify, to hallow, to dedicate, make holy and prepare, to consecrate, appoint and to make purified.
The Sabbath as we know was a day of rest for the people, this was for EVERYONE in the land of Israel…from the King to the peasant to the slave, to the animals and to the land itself. Everyone had to observe the Sabbath. Why?
Yes, rest was important, but like everything else God required of His people, the Sabbath set them apart from the rest of the nations. Israel was unique in the ancient world because everyone got rest and this day was special because it was a time for the people to focus on God, in a deliberate and specific way without distraction.
No distractions were allowed: No cooking, no cleaning, no working, no mending, no preparations, no gathering, no sowing, no ploughing, no NOTHING. Rest and focus on God. This set them apart and differentiated them from all other nations.
This time was sacred and holy and because God was the primary focus on this single day each week, it helped the people give attention to what was important. And their role and calling among the nations of the world is a very important role, whether they like it or not.
Leviticus 20:8, “You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.”
Again, the word used here for sanctifies is ka’dash. This time the focus is on observance and obedience to the Law, the statutes that God gave them. In other words, through God’s Law, His Word, His Statutes and Precepts, comes sanctification.
Sanctification is very important for God’s people, not only His nation, chosen people, the Jews, but also those who are adopted and grafted in, together both Jew and Gentile believers make up the ‘One New Man’. (Ephesians 2:15)
So for the Jewish people, God established many things they are required to do, throughout their generations, two of which are the keeping of the Sabbath and the other is the obedience of God’s Law. This would be the mechanism by which God would sanctify them – set them apart and establish them as a Holy people to Himself.
What about Gentiles?
Well, we’re grafted in to the natural olive tree despite the fact that we’re a wild olive branch. (Romans 11:11-24)
We’re grafted into the covenant that God gave His people, the Jewish people, but we’re not ethnic Jews and don’t have to behave like them. The requirements for us are similar but certainly not identical.
But what does the Bible say about how we’re sanctified, because we can’t keep the Law of God as it was originally given. There are no ritual blood sacrifices anymore, there is no Temple and we have no official priesthood.
When we come to faith in Jesus, we’re saved. Then begins the process that we call ‘sanctification’ where we change from what we were to what He wants us to be. What does He want us to be? He wants us to be like Him. How does this happen?
John 17:13-18, Jesus was praying for His disciples shortly before His arrest. “I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I’m still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them. I’ve given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they’re not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that You take them out of the world, but that You protect them from the evil one. They’re not of the world even as I’m not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I’ve sent them into the world. For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
God’s desire is to sanctify us, transform us from the sinful creatures we were, into the mirror image of His Son and He does it through the power of His Word because His Word IS absolute truth. The Word of God combats and dismantles the philosophies and societal trends of the world that chop and change according to the whims and fads of the masses. God’s Word never changes, His standards, His absolutes, His ethics, His morals…they never change.
Romans 12:2, ‘Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.’
This means that if our views and standards are aligned with the world, then we change our views and standards so that they agree with the Word of God. That change then impacts our lives; how we dress, talk, think; how we conduct ourselves and how we interact with others. We’re supposed to conform to the Word of God, not try to conform the Word of God to the world, so that it suits our preferences or makes the world like us.
This is how God our Sanctification makes us more like Him.