In the preparation of the Mishkan, the tabernacle-tent precursor to the temple, Moses was given instruction by God about how to prepare a special anointing oil. This oil was to be used as a way of identifying everything and everyone who was to be consecrated or set apart for God’s use.
Exodus 30:25-29, 31-33 – “Prepare from these a holy anointing oil, a scented blend, the work of a perfumer; it will be holy anointing oil. With it you are to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony, the table with all its utensils, the lampstand with its utensils, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. Consecrate them and they will be especially holy. Whatever touches them will be consecrated. … Tell the Israelites: This will be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations. It must not be used for ordinary anointing on a person’s body, and you must not make anything like it using its formula. It is holy, and it must be holy to you. Anyone who blends something like it or puts some of it on an unauthorized person must be cut off from his people.”
To use this unique anointing oil for any other purpose was to violate the standard of holiness, or set-apartness, that God was establishing for this oil. This is what holiness is: to be set apart for specific use only in the service of God, not to be engaged with the commonality of everything else, otherwise the holiness no longer remains.
There is nothing magical or inherently powerful within the thing or person who is considered holy, other than there is the recognition that that thing or person is uniquely identified as God’s, and to be used only for God’s purpose and will. This anointing oil was just a mixture of common elements and spices, and yet once it was created and designated as holy, it became holy. Similarly, the Sabbath is just another day of the week, and yet because God set it apart as holy, it is therefore holy.
Deuteronomy 7:6 – “For you are a holy people to Yahweh your God; Yahweh your God has chosen you to be a people for His personal possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Just like the ancient desert wanderers, we as God’s people are just people like any others. Yet because God has designated his people as holy, we are set apart from all other people on the earth because God has made it so. Just like the holy anointing oil, we have been set apart for use in within the purpose and will of God. Therefore, we should not be primarily engaged with the commonality of practices that the rest of the world is engaged in, otherwise, we are no longer holy.
1 Peter 2:9-10 – But you are a chosen people, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
This is why God has provided the standards of his Torah, his instruction, through the Ten Commandments. This is why we have recorded for us the words and teaching of God’s Torah through Yeshua in the Sermon on the Mount. If we understand nothing else about God’s word, we would honor God and remain holy by abiding by these directives. This is what sets believers apart: our obedient actions and practices in the service of God. This is how his kingdom is established on the earth.
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