"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts” (Isa. 6:3).
By Michael Zaucha
The great gulf of separation between God and man that has been created by sin is a manifestation of the absolute holiness of God – for “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13). The prophet Habakkuk, like many of the Holy Men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:21), announced the truth of the person of God – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts!
Through Moses, God made known of Himself: “I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy . . . For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44-45).
David revealed that God is – then as now, and forevermore - in His holy habitation (Ps. 68:5), and in the year that king Uzziah died, the prophet Isaiah was given to see visions of heaven, and the very first thing the prophet heard in his vision was declared by the seraphims who cried unto another of the very nature and character of God: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3).
This refrain of truth of the holiness of God, is one that resonates throughout the Scripture, for it tells us of God: “which was, and is and is to come.” For “saith the LORD of hosts, I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal. 3:5-6). The Apostle John was given to see this of God as well, when he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day on the Isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:10), beholding, he saw a door was open in heaven (Rev. 4:1).
And looking in, the Apostle John beheld “a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne” (Rev. 4:2). The Apostle’s record would reveal that which he beheld of God and of those around Him: “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four (living creatures) full of eyes before and behind. And the first was like a lion, and the second like a calf, and the third had a face as a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. And the four had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within” (Rev. 4:6-8).
In God’s showing to John the four living creatures makes known that these were ones of worth to be noticed and heard for they were full of eyes within. These were shown to John for their insightfulness – of seeing things that most would miss – and of their understanding of the things that they saw. The fullness of their sight was not only what was occurring now, but that which was “before and behind” (vs. 4). What they saw of God “behind,” was the same as they saw now, and was the same as they saw “before,” affirming the truth of God’s changelessness; “for I am holy”.
And in their seeing the truth of God’s unchanging holiness, it had an effect on them all who heard the truth in the heavenly places, causing them to break forth in insightful praise and worshipping the One that sitteth upon the throne: “and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8).
And, through their insightfulness in truth of God’s holiness, and in their proclamation of the truth, it affected them as well as they that heard it: “And when those (living creatures) give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created’ (Rev. 4:9-11).
However, when men who come short of the glory of God are given to see the holiness of God, because of sin, their sin, they ask, and rightly so, who then is able to stand before this Holy Lord God? (I Sam. 6:20). Many a one of a tender and contrite heart throughout human history has inquired of God such a question. Since “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2), and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), who then shall “appear in the presence of God for us?”
It is the Gospel of Christ that declares the good news! The Gospel of Christ declares such a One, the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29, 36)! And God Himself would begin to speak of His Christ, of His Lamb and what He would accomplish from the beginning times: “though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel,” they were not forsaken by the Lord of Hosts (Jer. 51:5). God would speak this way because He knew He would send forth His Son who would “offer one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Heb. 10:12). The High Priest was commanded of God to offer a sacrifice on the altar “to make an atonement” for the people (I Chron. 6:49) showing what His Son would have to endure: “for Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (I Pet. 3:18), and in the Book of Leviticus the revelation of the sin offering was made known, an offering made for the people.
“If a soul sin” the Scripture makes known (Lev. 5:1, 17; 6:2), and therein is the graciousness and mercifulness of God shown forth. If a soul sin through ignorance, through hearing, through touching, through pronouncement of the lips, in the committing of a trespass or the doing of anything forbidden by the commandments of the Lord (Lev. 4 and 5) – covering every and all sins of man - God made known a provision for the forgiveness of sin – the sin offering.
The sin offering of a bullock or a goat was declared by God to be a “sweet savour unto the LORD” (Lev. 4:31), and in His “smelling” the offering, “the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them” (Lev. 4:20, 26).
But we also have been given to know “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). Yet through all the offerings ordained of God through His servant Moses, there is much to be seen of the one offering they all were pointing to, for they all “served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5).
All the sin offerings through Moses were testifying of and pointing to the One Sin Offering unto God through His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ that would once and for all take away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29). The Son of God alone knew of God that “in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure” (Heb. 10:6). The Son knows the Father, and He knows that burnt offerings and sacrifices brought no satisfaction to God that by which he would “be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12). Make no mistake about it, a sacrifice was required for sins to be put away but not in the offerings and sacrifices of bulls and goats, but by one offered of the offending party, that is a man.
“When He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God” (Heb. 8-9). This text is talking about Jesus, quoting His very words to His Father that he would be that sacrifice. God’s Son came to do what no other man could do, and being made in the likeness of man, Himself taking on the fashion of a man, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:7-8).
When the sin offering of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was laid upon the altar of the Lord (Lev. 17:6), God did truly smell a sweet savour, and the prophecy spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel would be true to each and every one in Christ Jesus: “I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 43:27; Eph. 1:6).
It is Christ Jesus Himself who is the answer to the men of Bethshemesh who asked: “Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?” (I Sam. 6:20), “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). The man Christ Jesus is now and forever in the presence of the Holy, Holy, Holy God, and He is not only able to make you “to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk. 21:36) on that day when He comes again, but also to present you faultless before the presence of the full glory of the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Hosts (Jude 24).
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).