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The fourth name of God revealed in Scripture is Jehovah-Mekaddishkem, “Jehovah that sanctifies you.” Exodus 31:13-15 says,
13 But as for you, speak, to the sons of Israel, saying, “You shall surely observe My sabbaths [shabat, “intermission, to cease, desist, rest”]; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 14 Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy [qodesh] to you… 15 For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy [qodesh] to the Lord…”
This name of God is repeated in Lev. 20:8 and 22:32. Mekaddishkem is based on the word qodesh, “holy” (sanctified) and the verb qadash, “to sanctify.” To sanctify (qadash) is a verb that means “to set apart, consecrate.” The noun form is qodesh, usually translated “holy.” So Mekaddishkem (m’qodeshkim) is to sanctify, or make holy, to separate, distinguish, and set apart for divine service.
Sabbaths are days that are set apart, or “sanctified.” About the Hebrew word shabat, Gesenius’ Lexicon says,
“To take rest… The primary idea appears to be that of to sit down, to sit still.”
This is done by the principle of rest. Hence, after laboring six days, one enters into rest. Likewise, the feast days are Sabbath-rests as well. Every seventh year is also a land-rest Sabbath, and after 7 x 7 years is a Jubilee, where all debts are canceled. Hence, there are different ways in which the holiness of Sabbaths is to be expressed.
In fact, in the end, the whole earth will be holy, for Isaiah 6:3 says, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is Jehovah-Sabaoth, the whole earth is full of His glory.” Yet God has been starting small and has been sanctifying the few to bless the many in an ever-increasing manner.
This Sabbath principle is most clearly explained in Hebrews 3 and 4, where the author comments on Psalm 95:8-11,
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, 9 when your fathers tested Me. They tried Me, though they had seen My work. 10 For forty years I loathed that generation, and said they are a people who err in their heart, and they do not know My ways. 11 Therefore I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My rest [m’nuha].
This is quoted in Heb. 3:7-11. Entering into God’s rest was seen in terms of entering the Promised Land. When the generation of men with hardened hearts refused to enter the Promised Land, they failed to sanctify God’s rest. Hence, they died in the wilderness, being forbidden from entering God’s rest. God’s rest is the Jubilee, which ends all debt to sin, under which Adam labored (Gen. 3:19).
Even the next generation—those who entered the land under Joshua—fell short of His rest, for we read in Heb. 4:7-10,
7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest [sabbatismos] for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
The author of Hebrews makes the point that in the time of David, “today” was centuries after the time of Moses when God swore that the Israelites would not enter His rest. He interprets this to mean that the generation that Joshua led into the Promised Land did not truly enter God’s rest, even though they crossed the Jordan and occupied the land of Canaan. Their entry into Canaan was only a prophetic type of something greater yet to come. It was insufficient, for the real purpose of God was to change hearts, not merely to give them a piece of land.
Note also that verse 9 says, “there remains a sabbatismos for the people of God.” so when David wrote about entering God’s “rest” (m’nuha), the word is synonymous with shabat, “Sabbath.”
In fact, m’nuah is also spelled Manoah (the father of Samson in Judges 13:2). A shorter version is Noah, whose name means “rest.”
A generation of Israelites entered the land of Canaan without entering God’s rest. Many people rest without entering God’s rest. To go through the physical motions has some value, but this is not what God has in store for us. The same can be said about resting on the Sabbath. Many have been diligent in keeping their Sabbath as a rest day without entering into God’s rest.
This goes far beyond the question of which day is the Sabbath.
Heb. 3:15 says, “Today if you will hear His voice.” This is the core issue that determines whether or not we are entering into His rest. Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17), so faith is not possible without hearing. The Hebrew word shema means “to hear, to obey.” The evidence of hearing is an obedient response. Those who respond to the voice of the Spirit in the way that Abraham did are the children of faith.
The connection between hearing and obedience is illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the two sons in Matt. 21:28-31,
26 But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, “Son, go work today in the vineyard.” 29 And he answered, “I will not;” but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, “I will, sir;” but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?...
There is no hearing without obedience.
There is also more than one level of faith, for Paul says in Rom. 1:17 that “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Likewise, the disciples asked Jesus to “increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Jesus also spoke of faith “like a mustard seed” (Mark 4:31), saying that it can grow to become “larger than all the garden plants” (Mark 4:32).
In my view, there are three main levels of faith, one for each of the three main feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Passover faith is the size of a mustard seed, which, in spite of its small size, is able to move mountains (Matt. 21:21). It is the type of faith that believes that what God has promised, He is able to perform (Rom. 4:21).
Pentecostal faith is of a higher order, for it grows by multiple experiences in our wilderness journey. God is not overly concerned by our successes or failures but by our growth.
Tabernacles faith is the highest level of faith, for it signifies being in agreement with what we have heard from God. Pentecostal faith obeys even though the flesh may disagree with God. Tabernacles faith agrees with God and responds without resistance. When Tabernacles faith is mature and complete, we enter fully into His rest. Until that time, our level of rest is incomplete and limited.
The purpose of a Sabbath is to enter into God’s rest. This is accomplished in three phases, as revealed in the feast day Sabbaths: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. It is revealed in another way by the three levels of Sabbath: the Sabbath day, the Sabbath year, and the Jubilee. These correlate with the three feasts.
Heb. 4:10 says,
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
The author was referring to revelation of the prophet in Isaiah 58:13, 14,
13 If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, 14 then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
In other words, we are to follow Christ’s example, doing only what we see our Father do, and speaking only what we hear our Father say. Jesus said in John 8:28, “I do nothing on My own initiative.” Jesus said again in John 14:10, “I do not speak on My own initiative.” Jesus is the Amen of God (Rev. 3:14), the perfect double witness of the Father, because during His entire life, He desisted from His own ways, from seeking His own pleasure, and from speaking His own words.
This is what it means to cease from one’s own works. If anyone succeeds in doing only what the Father does and who speaks only what is given by divine revelation, he or she has entered into God’s rest. This is the purpose for creation and the goal of history.
But meanwhile, God has been working with the few to bless all nations with the blessing of Abraham. These called-out ones, the remnant of grace, are holy to Jehovah-Mekaddishkem who sanctifies them, separating them from among the masses. They are first fruits unto God that sanctify the creation harvest (James 1:18).
Paul tells us in Rom. 11:16 (KJV),
16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
When the first fruits offerings were presented to God and were found acceptable, the entire harvest was sanctified. First fruits were like a cross-section of the harvest. First fruits represented the rest of the harvest. Hence, when the first fruits were pronounced holy, the entire harvest also became holy, allowing the people to harvest and eat of the new crop.
Christ was the first fruit of the barley harvest at the time of the wave-sheaf offering. The church was to be the first fruits of the wheat harvest at Pentecost, sanctifying the creation. However, not all believers allow the baptism of fire to kill the leaven in the Pentecostal offering, as required in Lev. 23:17. Hence, only the remnant of grace (overcomers) are qualified to move to the next level as the first fruits of the feast of Tabernacles.
All aspiring overcomers should learn to hear God’s voice and do so without heart idols. I explained heart idolatry in chapter 2 of my book, Hearing God’s Voice. Overcoming heart idolatry, along with sharpening our ears, is evidence of maturing spiritually. The remnant of grace have been given revelation that opens their eyes, ears, and hearts, while “the rest were blinded” (Rom. 11:7, KJV).
So we ought to appeal to Jehovah-Mekaddishkem to mature us in this way, so that we may live up to our “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9) as part of the remnant of grace.