I was doing some reading and flipped back into Ezekiel. I landed on Chapter 43 so I decided to read this chapter once more. And I caught something that I didn’t catch on my initial read through. A verse that I think is very important. Especially when someone asks why there is so much detail regarding the temple or the tabernacle, or even the laws given to Israel.
“Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, and they will be ashamed of what they have done. Describe to them all the specifications of the Temple including its entrances and exits and everything else about it. Tell them about its decrees and laws. Write down all these specifications and decrees as they watch so they will be sure to remember and follow them. And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple.”
— Ezekiel 43:10-12
The words that grabbed me were “And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple.”
God is telling Ezekiel what the purpose is for his greatly detailed instructions regarding the Temple. Absolute, holiness.
We make flawed things. God makes perfect things. So instead of saying make a marvelous temple he gives detailed instructions from the dimensions to the decorations. This is His temple. And He is Holy. So all of the instructions are to point us to God’s absolute holiness.
Since my read through the Bible began I have been asked about the lists of directions in the Old Testament to Israel and what their purpose or application is.
Their purpose is to show us the ‘Absolute Holiness’ of God. And when we see His Absolute Holiness it is clear that we fall short of Him. The rules, regulations, and temple guidelines are all to show us God. God is Holy, actually he is Absolutely Holy. A man may become Holy but can a man be Absolutely Holy? No, we always fall short of that.
So what does Holy mean? Essentially, it means to be set apart. When someone accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior they become Holy to God, meaning they are set apart.
I always picture some small stones on a table. A hand comes in and organizes some of the stones into a different area on the table. These stones have been set apart from the others. They are still stones but they are different because of their location. When we accept Jesus Christ we are set apart in that we are now placed in God’s hand of salvation. We are still human, but our location is different. This is what makes us Holy, not our ‘good deeds’. But God is saying that He is more than just Holy, he is ‘Absolutely Holy’. He is set apart in a way that we can’t be. Because He is the hand moving the stones from one part of the table to another. For the stones, they could never become the hand that changes their location. So we are like stones that have been designated as special by the One who is far more special and Holy that we could ever imagine.
Often we link being ‘good’ to being ‘holy’ and forget the it is much simpler than that. Being Holy means being set apart by God. And that is done through Jesus Christ. It is after God makes us Holy that He begins transforming us into being ‘good’. If it were the other way around there would be no hope for any of us. We would be rocks on a table struggling to move to the other side. And since rocks can’t move, that would be a very difficult feat, in fact it would be impossible.