Saint, in the Hebrew is KADOSH, which is translated SEPARATED. Jehovah, the god who revealed himself as god, said to the people of Israel: “You shall be holy; for I Jehovah your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2). That means the same as: “You shall be set apart; for I Jehovah your god am holy”. It is evident that Jehovah was set apart from all the other peoples and so Israel would also have to be set apart, in other words, holy. Jehovah spoke again, saying: “You shall be holy to me: for I, Jehovah, am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Lev. 20:26).
Jesus Christ is holy, too, for the angel Gabriel said to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Peter said to the Jewish people that he had joined him because of the healing of a crippled man: “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you” (Acts 3:14). When Jesus taught in a synagogue in Capernaum, there was a man with an unclean spirit who exclaimed, saying: “Ha! What do we have to do with you, Jesus, you Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24).
Jehovah and Jesus are holy. This can lead us to the conclusion that they are the same person, and that the god of the Old Testament is the same god of the New Testament. Let us take a look at this:
Jesus, being holy, is set apart from this world. He declared this himself to the Pharisees: “You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world” (John 8:23). And why is not Jesus of this world? That is because he testified that the works of this world are evil (John 7:7).
Jehovah, on the contrary, is not set apart from this evil world. The men who lived before the Flood were evil. They were so evil that Jehovah destroyed them all, except Noah’s family. The Assyrians were wicked, the Egyptians were wicked, and Jehovah declares that his people were worse then them. And Jehovah established his kingdom in this world. At Mount Sinai, he said to his people Israel, before delivering the law: “You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). What is even worse than that is that it is written that Jehovah rules over the nations of this world. Jehovah rules over the nations because the kingdom belongs to him (Ps. 22:28). “For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations. God sits on his holy throne” (Ps. 47:7-8). How can Jehovah, being holy, rule over the wicked and idolatrous nations? If he is holy, he is set apart from them and cannot ever rule over them.
Jesus is consistent in this area, for he declared that his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
When he is connected to this world Jehovah is not holy. He was the one who commanded the armies of Assyria. Isaiah said: “Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings upon them the mighty flood waters of the River: the king of Assyria and all his glory. It will come up over all its channels, and go over all its banks” (Is. 8:7). Jehovah Tsebaoth was the commander and the leader of the Assyrian armies. Jehovah was politically connected to those warrior nations and promoted the wars; therefore he is not set apart or holy. Speaking of world politics, Jehovah declared centuries later: “I have made the earth, the men and the animals that are on the surface of the earth, by my great power and by my outstretched arm; and I give it to whom it seems right to me. Now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the animals of the field also have I given him to serve him. All the nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the time of his own land come: and then many nations and great kings shall make him their bondservant” (Jer. 27:5-7). It is Jehovah who delivers the nations to be slaves in the hands of a tyrant. And he also delivers the nations as slaves in the hands of a tyrant. And he also declared that the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar was his servant, and was pleasing in his eyes. And, if Nebuchadnezzar was pleasing to Jehovah and was also his servant, Jehovah was never holy, but worldly, for the Chaldean people was aggressive, conqueror, and cruel. Whoever wishes to know what the Jews went through in Babylon can simply read the five chapters of the book of Lamentations. To have an idea of the cruelty of Nebuchadnezzar, Zedekiah, king of Judah ran away, but was caught, and his children were beheaded before his eyes, and they put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:5-7). There in Babylon the king roasted Zedekiah in the fire (Jer. 29:22).
Besides the cruelty, the Babylonians, as to their religion, were idolaters. Their two main gods were Bel, the Sun, and Milita, the Moon. Milita was the goddess of providence and fertility. The temple of Milita was vast, and all the women had to serve as priestesses for one whole year. During this period the priestesses prostituted themselves with anyone that went by the temple. The married women who wished so could serve Milita as sacred prostitutes for the period of a year. After that they returned to their homes.
Jehovah called the king of Babylon his servant, said that he was pleasing in his eyes, and also that, for this reason, he had delivered all the kingdoms to serve him, and, if by any reason, any nation or kingdom did not serve Nebuchadnezzar and did not put his neck under the yoke of this cruel king, Jehovah himself would visit this nation with the sword, with pestilence, and with famine until they were totally consumed (Jer. 27:8). And Jehovah delivered Judah to this monstrous king (Jer. 27:12-13).
This is what the holiness of Jehovah is like. That is to say, instead of being set apart from the low human behavior, he is the head of this baseness himself. The unbelievable fact is that he does this while declaring that he is holy. Jehovah and Jesus are not alike. Their concepts on holiness are different.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira