You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy. Leviticus 19.2
After the Israelites were freed from Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus, the Most High revealed the details of how man could approach and maintain fellowship with Him in the Book of Leviticus.
This is where the Jewish people’s fascinating journey started: The Holy God would dwell among the people, who would also be holy, using a Holy Word to teach, with the help of priests and a holy service, so as to conquer and preserve their Holy Land. But, for this to happen, there would have to be holiness.
Throughout Scripture holiness is emphasized as a necessity for those who want to walk with God. In the Old Testament (OT), this word appears more than 400 times. Though, in Leviticus, some related words are used more than 90 times. Purification, for example, is used more than 70 times. We can say that the main subject of this book is Holiness to the Lord, and it is not expendable in the New Testament (NT) either, like many Christians believe.
In the NT, the book of Leviticus is mentioned about 100 times, making it evident that God yearns to manifest Himself in man, not only with His power, through signs and miracles, but above all with His glory, which over the years has only been revealed to a few.
From the various definitions for the terms holy and holiness, we can determine the most important are “separate”, “dedicated”, “devoted”, “pure”, “sacred” and “worthy of fear and reverence”.
Therefore we understand that in the past, it was not the laws or the ritual that cleansed, it was when they were put into practice. The person’s conscience should be awakened so that he knew he was not in the presence of a mere man. It was up to man to have the fear not to play around and be careless with anything that was sacred. The laws pertaining to worship, sacrifices and vows, the earth, the priests, the people, feasts, among others, were established with one goal, which was to separate the nation of Israel from all the other nations.
This is why each detail was distinct – even the clothes worn to work in the Tabernacle were carefully chosen by God. Each piece was unique and had an important meaning. When they were worn, it was impossible not to notice you weren’t before a common person. God wanted to be revealed in every way, in the interior and the exterior, like an alliance: “I am going to show everyone that I AM with you, and in turn, you show everyone that you belong to Me.”
The last item of the high priest’s garments, for example, revealed to everyone, but mostly to himself, that the given honor had a price: to live a life apart from impurities and in consecration to the Lord God.
You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: Holiness to the Lord. Exodus 28.36
This plate was like a headdress containing a Divine engraving and would be used continuously on his forehead, in front of the miter.
According to neuroscience, it is in this region, which is called the frontal lobe, that complex decisions are made, along with the plan of action connected to their intentions. That plate attached to the forehead, from ear to ear, was to remind the priest that all his thoughts and choices should be subjected to a spiritual concept. This would be a kind of holy crown, a paradox to the world.
Unlike kings, who display their towering crowns on top of their heads, on the forehead of God’s servant, in a visible manner to God and men, should be printed the sole purpose of his life: to live in holiness to the Lord.
Nowadays, unfortunately, the bad testimony of some who occupy sacred functions has been so great that it is necessary to strengthen newly converted people and warn them not to look at a man, because men are extremely imperfect. Instead, they should look to God because only He is perfect.
This teaching has been thoroughly explained due to multiple scandals caused by the lack of fear and holiness. The Lord Jesus is the Foundation of His Church, but His servants should be the columns that support the structure with their testimonies of fear and loyalty.
Thus, holiness is manifested in a person’s character, it is the daily zeal they have with their spiritual life: for the single, it’s in the way they behave when dating someone; for the married, it’s how they behave in their marriage. It is also revealed when choosing a friendship, in the measures taken to obtain benefits, etc. In other words, it is not limited to the impeccable behavior shown in Church, but, most importantly, outside of Church.
For this reason, only after the high priest was dressed and using the plate on his forehead, he was anointed and received authority. The value of his garments exceeded any monetary value, after all, who could put a price on the trust and privilege granted by God himself?
Today, those who think that grace is the passport to a service without order or discipline are mistaking, because the priesthood of Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood. The old covenant, signed into Law, was transitory and inferior to the new covenant we live in today, because it is eternal and superior. The Law was a preparation for the perfect capacitation that would come through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. A new covenant was made, not with the blood of bulls or goats, but with the blood of the Lamb of God, which makes our responsibility to Him incomparably greater.
If the original purpose required such holiness, with the involuntary sacrifice of animals, what can we say about the offering of the Son of God, which was surrendered voluntarily? (Hebrews 10.7)
Our service has to be much greater today, because we are training for what we will be doing in heaven (Revelation 22.3). That’s right, the New Jerusalem, the work continues!
In conclusion, to live in holiness is to live in a new dimension and have new objectives. Like Moses, who dared to ask to see the glory of God. He had already seen mighty manifestations of His power, but now he desired something else (Exodus 33.18-23).
Nowadays, we do not have theophanic manifestations of God, like in the past, where He revealed Himself through clouds, fire, voice and visions. However, He manifests Himself in a more powerful way, giving man the opportunity to know Him and receive His Holy Spirit.
This is why holiness requires surrender. In the past, the high priest could not enter the Holy Place without first passing through the sacrificial altar and the bronze laver to cleanse himself. Today, and forever, this is the rule for those who want to serve Him.