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Holiness: in the Old Testament

A great background on holiness by Jon Huntzinger, professor of Biblical studies at The King’s College and Seminary.

Although I’m not sure why he needed to use the word “ubiquitous” in the beginning. Did they really not want this book to be read by the church world-wide? I hope this doesn’t end up being a book where really intelligent people try and prove how intelligent they are.

Thankfully, his need to prove his intellect is not ubiquitous in his chapter. Although it is still full of great references/thoughts on holiness “in the beginning”. That creation is “good”, and is representative of God’s nature. That God created a garden (gan) where man (created in God’s good image, to reveal God’s holy nature) could live, worship, and enjoy his divine provision…a priest of a worker and keeper of the Garden.

The rest of the Old Testament tells of the journey of God’s people as they move away from that Holiness, and “of the holy God who is active in bringing humanity back to an original place of worship of him.”

He brings out the OT definition of holiness variously as “separation, wholeness, and otherness.” Seeing it through the lens of divine goodness, he states:

“holiness is that state or relationship of goodness
that is in equipoise (another word to make me feel stupid –
it means “equilibrium, or counterbalance) with the purpose of God and
is reflective of his presence.”

To realize that, by the giving of the laws, and by acting upon the lives of Israel to reach the world, God was thrusting his own holiness (which we had walked away from) back into humanity. He was drawing his creation back to himself…which points really well to the coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was being pointed to in the OT.

When they created a temple (a space that was “more” holy) they were echoing God placing a “garden” in the midst of his creation. When they celebrated the Sabbath (time that was “more” holy) they were echoing the difference between when Adam named animals (Gen. 2:19-20), and enjoyed God’s personal presence (3:7).

And then…as Jesus comes later on…we see the fulfilling and echoing of all of these things in his life, and his teaching. The Lord’s prayer, for one, says “Holy is your name.” It is the very nature of the God we serve…the God who is here with us, transforming our lives even now…


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