Be Holy for I am Holy

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 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.’” 1 Peter 1:14-16

When a New Testament writer quotes scripture, we should take notice to whom it is being quoted and how it is being applied in light of the new covenant. In the opening scripture, Peter is saying a lot when he quotes this Old Testament verse. Let’s put this scripture in context and see to whom Peter was addressing in this letter, and what information he was relaying.

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
1Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Peter is writing to the elect of the exiles in the dispersion who are located in Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. We often hear about Paul’s letter to the Galatians, but seldom do we hear about Peter’s letter to the Galatians. These people are the descendants of the tribes from the House of Israel, whom Yahweh divorced and dispersed for adultery because they went after the gods of the nations and their customs. Jacob, renamed James, in English translations of the Bible, addresses his letter to a broader audience, but it is the same concept:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

Who has heard of this dispersion in any contemporary church setting? I have spent 47 years in Catholic, Pentecostal and Baptist churches and never heard it spoken about. Maybe I missed it? That is possible. The Northern kingdom of Israel was dispersed around 722 BC, for not regarding the commands of Yahweh just as prophesied in Deuteronomy:

Deu 28:64 And Yahweh shall scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth up to the other end of the earth, and there you shall serve other gods that you have not known nor your ancestors, gods of wood and stone.
Deu 28:65 And among these nations you shall not find rest, and there shall not be a resting place for the sole of your foot, and Yahweh shall give you there an anxious heart and a weakening of eyes and a languishing of your inner self.
Deu 28:66 And your life shall hang in doubt before you, and you shall be startled night and day, and you shall not be confident of your life.

There would be a way back for these exiles, through Jesus, described as a prophet like Moses.

Deu 18:15 “Yahweh your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your countrymen, and to him you shall listen.
Deu 18:16 This is according to all that you asked from Yahweh your God at Horeb, on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘I do not want again to hear the voice of Yahweh my God, and I do not want to see again this great fire, so that I may not die!’
Deu 18:17 And Yahweh said to me, ‘They are right in what they have said.
Deu 18:18 I will raise up a prophet for them from among their countrymen like you, and I will place my words into his mouth, and he shall speak to them everything that I command him.
Deu 18:19 And then the man that will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I will hold accountable.

Now that we know Peter’s audience, let’s see what information Peter relayed to them through his letter.

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Pe 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
1Pe 1:7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1Pe 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
1Pe 1:9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1Pe 1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
1Pe 1:11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
1Pe 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

When a person knows this letter is written to the dispersed from the House of Israel, it makes more sense, and is easier to understand. Notice he says the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets who prophesied about the grace that would be afforded to these people. The prophesies throughout scripture describe how Yahweh intended to take back the House of Israel, and in doing so provide a way for the whole world to be saved. Read the book of Hosea for more on that subject. Peter explains to his audience what to do because of their salvation:

1Pe 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1Pe 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,
1Pe 1:15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
1Pe 1:16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1Pe 1:17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
1Pe 1:18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
1Pe 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
1Pe 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
1Pe 1:21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
1Pe 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
1Pe 1:23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
1Pe 1:24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,
1Pe 1:25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Due to the work Jesus did, the readers of Peter’s audience can set their hope on grace at the revelation of Jesus Christ, also known as “the great day of the LORD”. Peter also tells them to be obedient children, not conformed to the passions of their former ignorance; and that Jesus ransomed them from their futile ways, inherited from their forefathers, with His precious blood. Peter quotes Leviticus 11:45, “Thus you shall be holy, because I am holy.”

Lev 11:42 You must not eat anything that moves upon its belly or that walks on all fours, even any with numerous feet belonging to any swarmer that swarms on the land, because they are detestable.
Lev 11:43 You must not defile yourselves with any swarmer that swarms, and you must not make yourselves unclean by them and so be made unclean by them,
Lev 11:44 because I am Yahweh your God, and you must keep yourselves sanctified, so that you shall be holy, because I am holy. And you must not make yourselves unclean with any swarmer that moves along on the land,
Lev 11:45 because I am Yahweh, who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be for you as God. Thus you shall be holy, because I am holy.
Lev 11:46 “‘This is the regulation of the animals and the birds and all living creatures that move along in the water and concerning all the creatures that swarm on the land,
Lev 11:47 to distinguish between the unclean and the clean and between the animal that is to be eaten and the animal that must not be eaten.'”

Peter brings them right to the dietary instructions of Yahweh. Was Peter quoting this scripture out of context, or was he saying that it was the futile ways of their forefathers, disregarding the instructions of Yahweh, that caused them to be dispersed and divorced in the first place? Jesus had to pay their ransom with His blood, so now, be obedient and do not go back to the ignorant ways that they inherited from their forefathers. He was reminding them about the life giving instructions of Yahweh. All he had to do was quote that one part of scripture to paint a picture of the disobedience of the Northern kingdom, the exile, dispersion and divorce by Yahweh, seemingly separating them forever. It is similar to the phrases “lest we forget”, “never forget”, or “remember the Alamo”. Peter also reminded them to be purified by obedience to the truth. The truth is defined by scripture as the instruction of Yahweh and Jesus. Paul had a similar message for the Galatians:

Gal 4:8 But at that time when you did not know God, you were enslaved to the things which by nature are not gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, because you have come to know God, or rather have come to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental spirits? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
Gal 4:10 You carefully observe days and months and seasons and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid for you, lest perhaps I have labored for you in vain!

Many will try to say this passage in Galatians is talking about the Galatians following Yahweh’s instructions, His feast days or Torah. I do not know how anyone can think that based on the words, and in light of everything else Paul was recorded as saying. Paul was recorded as keeping the feast days in the book of Acts. What would change His mind by the time he wrote to the Galatians? The answer is nothing. We have been sold a pack of lies from the wolves. I used the Lexham English Bible translation for these verses in Galatians for its rendering of the Greek word stoicheion, Strong’s G4747, as elemental spirits.

Thayer Definition:
1) any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal
1a) the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds
1b) the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe
1c) the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside
1d) the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline
1d1) i.e. of mathematics, Euclid’s geometry

Thayer’s dictionary gives a complete list of definitions for the word. Which definition best fits the context of Paul’s letter to the Galatians? The alphabet? phonetics? geometry? I am suggesting it was the weak and elemental spirits of the hosts of heaven, whose festivals and holy days they observed. That is the subject of Paul’s concern. This was the same “passions of former ignorance” and “inherited futile ways” Peter was speaking about. What about us? We are essentially spiritual descendants of the people Peter, James and Paul were writing to in these letters. Have we returned to our former ignorance? Maybe we cannot return to something that we have never left? Did the Galatians and other early churches ignore Paul and Peter, staying immersed in the traditions of the nations’ gods? It would appear so. We see Yahweh’s warnings through the prophets about the same things:

Isa 1:14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become to me like a burden, I am not able to bear them.
Isa 1:15 And when you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not be listening. Your hands are full of blood.
Isa 1:16 Wash! Make yourselves clean! Remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes! Cease to do evil!

Hos 2:10 And now I will uncover her nakedness before the eyes of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from my hand.
Hos 2:11 And I will put an end to all her mirth, her festivals, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her appointed festivals;
Hos 2:12 and I will lay waste to her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, “They are my payment for prostitution, which my lovers gave to me.” I will make them a forest, and the wild animals of the field will devour them.
Hos 2:13 I will punish her for the days of the Baals, to whom she burns incense, and she decked herself with her ornamental ring and jewelry, and she went after her lovers, and forgot me—a declaration of Yahweh.

These times Yahweh is lamenting over, the festivals and sabbaths His people are celebrating, are not about Yahweh’s sabbaths and feast days. This is a common misunderstanding from the beginnings of the church to justify all the pagan days being celebrated by the people, or just plain ignorance. The first chapter in the book of Jubilees makes this error clear. Jubilees is a book found along side the oldest existing copy of Genesis in the caves of Qumran. This book of Jubilees found in the Dead Sea scrolls of Qumran matched the book of Jubilees contained in the original Ethiopic Bible, where it was considered to be part of the canon. Yahweh is speaking to Moses in these passages from the book of Jubilees:

For they will forget all my commandments, even all that I command them, and they will walk after the other nations, and after their uncleanness, and after their shame, and will serve their elohiym, and these will prove unto them an offence and a tribulation and an affliction and a snare. And many will perish and they will be taken captive, and will fall into the hands of the enemy, because they have forsaken my ordinances and my commandments, and the feasts of my covenant, and my Shabbathoth, and my holy place which I have sanctified for myself in their midst, and my Tabernacle, and my sanctuary, which I have sanctified for myself in the midst of the land, that I should set my name upon it, and that it should dwell there. And they will make to themselves high places and Asherah poles and graven images, and they will worship, each his own graven image, so as to go astray, and they will sacrifice their children to devils, and to all the works of the error of their hearts. And I will send witnesses unto them, that I may witness against them, but they will not hear, and will slay the witnesses also, and they will persecute those who seek the Torah, and they will abrogate and change everything so as to work evil before my eyes. And I will hide my face from them, and I will deliver them into the hand of the other nations for captivity, and for a prey, and for devouring, and I will remove them from the midst of the land, and I will scatter them amongst the other nations. And they will forget all my Torah and all my commandments and all my judgments, and will go astray as to New Moons, and Shabbathoth, and feasts, and jubilees, and ordinances. YOVHELIYM (JUBILEES) 1:10-15 את CEPHER

The new moons (sometimes translated as months), sabbaths and feasts Yahweh often complains about in scripture are not His. They are those of the nations. It is the same thing Paul and Peter are speaking to the Galatians about. Unfortunately, these are many of the same days Christians celebrate today. They are days that have nothing to do with Yahweh and His son Jesus or in Hebrew, Yahusha, yet they get amalgamated into “Christian” holidays. Why would Yahweh hate His own festivals and sabbaths that He established? Ezekiel sees some interesting visions of these abominations taking place:

Eze 8:4 And look! There was the glory of the God of Israel like the vision that I saw in the valley.
Eze 8:5 And he said to me, “Son of man, lift up now your eyes toward the north.” And I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and, look, there was to the north of the gate of the altar this image of jealousy at the entrance.
Eze 8:6 And he said to me, “Son of man, “Do you see what they are doing—great detestable things that the house of Israel is committing here so as to drive me from my sanctuary, and yet you will see again greater detestable things.”

Eze 8:7 And he brought me to the doorway of the courtyard, and I saw, and look! A hole in the wall.
Eze 8:8 And he said to me, “Son of man, dig now through the wall.” And I dug through the wall, and look! There was a doorway.
Eze 8:9 And he said to me, “Come and see the detestable things, the evil that they are doing here.
Eze 8:10 And I came, and I saw, and look, all kinds of creatures and detestable beasts; and all of the idols of the house of Israel were carved on the wall all around.

Eze 8:11 And seventy men from the elders of the house of Israel, and Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan, was standing in the midst of them, and they were standing before them. Each one had his censer in his hand, and the fragrance of the cloud of the incense was going up.
Eze 8:12 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man, what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in the inner rooms of his idol, for they are saying, ‘Yahweh is not seeing us; Yahweh has abandoned the land.'”

In these verses from Ezekiel, the angel is showing Ezekiel all of the things that Peter and Paul were referring to when speaking to the Galatians about their former passions and ignorance. What is the image of jealousy other than a stone pillar or Asherah pole used in worshipping the sun gods? These are common in churches today as obelisks and certain types of fir trees, among other things. In fact, there was just a large prayer gathering around the largest obelisk in the world, the Washington monument. It is very important symbolism in the mystery religions, sun god worship and free masonry. The idols of detestable beasts, like gargoyles, can also be found on many church structures still today.

Eze 8:13 And he said to me, “Still you will see again greater detestable things that they are doing.”
Eze 8:14 And he brought me to the doorway of the gate of the house of Yahweh that is toward the north, and look! There were the women sitting weeping for Tammuz.
Eze 8:15 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man? Still you will see again greater detestable things than these.”

Tammuz is a sun god that resurrects every year in the spring. Weeping for Tammuz was done for forty days prior to his resurrection. This practice was amalgamated into what is known as lent today. That is a simplistic explanation for a subject many books have been written. Please do a study for yourselves.

Eze 8:15 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man? Still you will see again greater detestable things than these.”
Eze 8:16 And he brought me to the inner courtyard of the house of Yahweh, and look, at the doorway of the temple of Yahweh, between the portico and the altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of Yahweh and their faces toward the east, and they were bowing down toward the east before the sun.

Ezekiel was shown people practicing sun god worship, probably regarding Tammuz. Sun god worship has many names for the sun god due to all the languages. They all have similar traditions and are all rooted in the same mystery religions. When I was younger, the church I attended would have an Easter sunrise service at a park, and then a large breakfast afterwards. “Former ignorance” not so former. Along with eating much bacon, this practice was steeped in sun god worship. When it was time for Easter dinner, there was always a lot of ham to honour Tammuz as well. As the myth goes, Tammuz was killed by a wild boar while hunting. Eating ham helps revenge his death. We cannot forget about the eggs either. Easter is all about eggs for the children to honour the mother of Tammuz, the queen of heaven, Astarte, Asherah, Isis, Ishtar or Eostre depending on the culture. Contemporary churches stop short of having temple prostitutes, but the way things are progressing I may live to see that come full circle. The pagan temples of Galatia would have had all of this plus temple prostitutes. You may say, “I thought Easter was about the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah?” I suppose it is in some ways, but all the mixing with “hosts of heaven” and “futile ways of your forefathers” makes it hard to recognize the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits that were the appointed days Yahweh established, Jesus fulfilled, and the first century church celebrated. The son of Yahweh, Jesus, was not born on December 25th, and did not resurrect on Easter. Those are different gods that did those things to whom we honour demons by attaching those days to Yahweh and His son. Remember what caused Israel to be dispersed and divorced in the first place. Was it not attachment to all these foreign gods and practices? Peter warned the exiles returning to Yahweh to “be holy for I am holy” because it took the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, to pay the ransom needed to release them from their futile ways.

The feature image was taken by Emma Vail in New Brunswick, Canada.

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