Who is the Holy One of Israel?
That is a question I was pondering recently as I saw the title pop up multiple time in some Tanak readings, but was previously familiar with the idea from the Book of Acts. Seemed like an interesting topic to dig into a bit and glean a full understanding from the ‘whole Book.’
While the title, ‘Holy One’ or ‘Holy One of Israel’ is not commonly used in Christendom, it is recognized as a title for Yeshua. Supporting texts would include John 6:69,
We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
Acts 3:14 says,
But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
both spoken by Peter, and Stephen’s testimony before the Sanhedrin with the slight twist on the title as Peter had previously applied it,
Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;
Peter, in his first sermon, refers to Psalm 16:10 when he quotes,
Clearly, Yeshua is the Holy One, right? Corso says, ‘Not so fast, my friend.’
This title is used many times in the Tanak, and looking at a few may show us some details that are important!
“My holy name I will make known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let My holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is coming and it shall be done,” declare Lord Yahweh. “That is the day of which I have spoken. Ezekiel 39:7-8
Notice, too, that Ezekiel uses one of his favorite names, Lord Yahweh, generally translated as ‘Lord GOD.’ (Or, properly, Adonai Yahweh, see comment below.)
Habakkuk 1:12 echoes the connection between Yahweh and the ‘Holy One,’
Are You not from everlasting,
O Yahweh, my God, my Holy One?
We will not die.
You, O Yahweh, have appointed them to judge;
And You, O Rock, have established them to correct.
The connection is again made by Jeremiah in an amazing 50th chapter,
“Summon [a]many against Babylon,
All those who [b]bend the bow:
Encamp against her on every side,
Let there be no escape[c].
Repay her according to her work;
According to all that she has done, so do to her;
For she has become arrogant against Yahweh,
Against the Holy One of Israel.
Other prophets concur, but none so clearly or so often as Isaiah!! Several dozen times he uses the title ‘Holy One,’ and often in conjunction with other titles ascribed to Yahweh!! Witness the following, as well as some other conclusions that begin to emerge.
Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble
And dry grass collapses into the flame,
So their root will become like rot and their blossom [a]blow away as dust;
For they have rejected the Torah of Yahweh of hosts
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 5:24
Hmmm… The Holy One of Israel and Yahweh Tzevaot are set in parallel. More importantly, the Torah of Yahweh and ‘the word of the Holy One of Israel’ are set in parallel… Interesting!
Here is another explicitly connecting the Torah or Yahweh with the Holy One of Israel,
For this is a rebellious people, false sons,
Sons who [a]refuse to listen
To the [b]instruction (TORAH) of Yahweh;
10 Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”;
And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right,
Speak to us [c]pleasant words,
11 “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path,
[d]Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
“Since you have rejected this word (Torah)
And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them…
…For thus Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In [h]repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,
Isaiah 43:3, 14-15 are major connectors for titles. (We’ll talk about Redeemer and Savior in the near future!!)
“For I am Yahweh your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
[a]Cush and Seba in your place.
Thus says Yahweh your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
WOW!! Those who claim there is a strong distinction between Yahweh and Yeshua, or who errantly claim Yeshua, the Lawgiver, has the right to change the law… I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Cheap!
Here we see Yahweh as Savior, Redeemer, Creator and King. Oh, and don’t forget, He is the Holy One! If you know the Shema, you understand! Echad!!
Isaiah uses the phrase/title, the Holy One of Israel, over and over! It is worth the time to use a concordance and look up the many uses and ponder the significance.
Let’s look at one more reference from the Psalms and then draw some conclusions.
Yet they [a]tempted and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies,
Here, through this study, we again see the very close connection between Yahweh and Yeshua. Further, we see the connection between them and the Torah. We should be LOATH to draw precise lines of distinction where Scripture intentionally connects them at many points. We should be even more fearful of giving the appearance that Yeshua abolished, or even altered the Torah, declared to be the ‘everlasting covenant.’
Coming soon (if you want to look ahead…) ‘Who is… The Redeemer?’ and ‘Who is… The Savior?’