In this article, we will continue our study of the names of God. This time we will be looking at Jehovah M’kaddesh, what it means, and how we can learn that Lord sanctifies us. So, grab your Bible, and let’s learn…
There are many different names of God throughout the Bible, each describing one of God’s distinct characteristics. The Old Testament alone features no less than sixteen names of God.
Many of these names combine Jehovah, translated as the LORD, with another word that describes one of his characteristics, like M’kaddesh. But what does Jehovah M’kaddesh mean?
Jehovah M’kaddesh, also known as Jehovah Mekadesh or Jehovah Mekoddishkem, is commonly translated as “The LORD who sanctifies.”
Jehovah M’kaddesh is used twice in the Old Testament, in Exodus 31:13 and Leviticus 20:8, but the thought echoes throughout the New Testament.
Jehovah M’kaddesh is sometimes translated as “The LORD who makes you holy.” However, holiness and sanctification are closely related, and it is an acceptable alternative translation for Jehovah M’kaddesh.
But you might still wonder what it means to be sanctified or made holy.
What Does Jehovah M’kaddesh Mean In Hebrew?
And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you. – Leviticus 20:8
Jehovah, or Yahweh, is considered God’s personal name. Although translated as LORD in most translations of the Bible, this name could more accurately be described as “I am.“
Stemming from the root Hebrew word “Hayah,” which means to become or to continue to be, Yahweh literally means “the Self-existent One who reveals Himself.”
M’kaddesh is derived from the Hebrew word qadash, which means holy, sanctify, or dedicated.
קָדַשׁ qâdash, kaw-dash’; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):—appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy(-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify(-ied one, self), × wholly.
To be sanctified or made holy means to be set apart for an intended purpose. The addition of the word M’kaddesh is one way God reveals Himself.
The name Jehovah M’kaddesh, in the context of Exodus 31:12-14, therefore literally means, “The Self-existent one who reveals Himself as the One who sets His people apart for His intended purpose.” or “I am the Lord that sanctifies.”
In the Bible and even Modern-day believers are often called saints, meaning “sanctified ones,” which means that Christians are set apart for God’s intended purpose. This is true because of what Jesus has done for us!
Although only two verses in the Old Testament use the name Jehovah M’Kaddesh, Exodus 31:13, and Leviticus 20:8, the thought that God sets us apart for His intended purpose can also be seen throughout the New Testament.
For example, in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, we are saved “…through the sanctifying work of the Spirit….”
What Does It Mean To Be Sanctified?
In a general sense, to be sanctified means that something or someone is set in its proper place to function properly for its intended purpose.
One could say that a guitar string is sanctified when it is put onto a guitar and correctly tuned so that it can make music. Astronauts are sanctified when they are correctly trained and sent on a space mission.
It’s funny to look at this word in such a non-spiritual way, but it helps us see it differently and understand it better.
However, in a Biblical sense, sanctifying is to be set apart.
The word holy also means to be set apart for an intended purpose. In the Old Testament, God made the nation of Israel holy, that is, set them apart for Him as His chosen people.
He led them to the promised or holy land, which He promised and set apart for them to inhabit.
In the New Testament, God creates a new nation for Himself from all the nations, a “people” known today as Christians. Again, God makes them holy and sets them apart for Him, as His chosen people, to serve and worship Him.
However, He also asks Christians to live holy lives, that is, to set their lives apart for Him.
- 1 Peter 1:15-16 – “…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
- Ephesians 1:4 – “…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
- Hebrews 2:11 – “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. This is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers….”
- Hebrews 10:14 – “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
- Hebrews 12:14 – “Strive for peace with everyone, and for holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:7 – “For God has not called us for impurity but in holiness.”
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 – “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another….”
- 2 Peter 3:11 – “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness….”
All these verses from the New Testament make it clear that God calls Christians to be sanctified and to live holy lives. Some of these verses also talk about God sanctifying Christians through Jesus and His Spirit.
To be made holy by God, a person needs to be born again. Born-again Christians are often referred to as saints, which means sanctified ones.
How Does Jehovah M’kaddesh Sanctify Believers Today?
It is evident from scripture in both the Old and New Testaments that God expects Christians to live holy lives and that God Himself does the work of sanctification in them. However, many may wonder how God is Jehovah M’Kaddesh, the LORD who sanctifies.
Although God sanctifies, He expects believers to do their part by abiding in Him.
One must understand that sanctification is a process, not a once-off occurrence. The process of sanctification starts when a person becomes a believer but continues throughout their lifetime.
Sanctification will only be completed at the second coming of Jesus. To be holy should be something that every believer works towards.
The process of sanctification consists of three distinct stages.
When a person first becomes a believer and gives their heart and life to God, they receive a new identity in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is where the initial sanctification occurs, where the believer is first set apart for God.
We become righteous, holy, and set apart all because of what Jesus did!
It’s the Holy Spirit who initiates the sanctification process in the new believer, but this is just the start of the sanctification process.
The new believer, while living their new identity in Christ, will continue to grow in holiness. Living their new identity in Christ is not something a human being can do in their strength, though.
Growing in holiness must be done with the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. By walking in step with the Spirit, believers will slowly become more and more like Christ.
Throughout their lives, believers must resist temptation and fight a continuous battle against sin. No one can win this battle without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Growing in holiness takes time and initiative on your part.
Paul confirmed this when he wrote in Philippians 3:12:
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Believers will only finally be made holy on the day of Christ. Paul writes in Philippians 1:6:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
The work that will be brought to completion in this verse is the sanctification of the believers on the day of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Then they will finally be made holy.
As we wrap up this study, we see that one of God’s names that appear in the Old Testament is Jehovah M’Kaddesh, the LORD who Sanctifies.
Although God does the sanctification in believers, every believer still must play their part by living in the new identity they received in Christ and growing in holiness until the work that the Spirit started in them is completed and they are finally sanctified at Jesus’ second coming!
More On The Names Of God Series
Are you curious about what other names of God are in the Bible and what they mean? I’ve recently been hard at work creating a series of articles that take a closer look into the beautiful and powerful names of our Lord.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…