Yahweh our God is THE God! Deuteronomy 10:17 says it well:
For Yahweh, your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.
The Bible makes clear there are other lesser gods and other lesser lords, but Yahweh is the great, the mighty, and the awesome God. All comparisons to Him are infinitesimal.
There is none like You, O Yahweh; You are great, and great is Your name in might.
Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed, it is Your due!
Some of Yahweh’s uniqueness and superiority I will mention before we focus on His holiness, the main topic of this article.
Creator – He alone started everything as Genesis 1:1 acknowledges with “In the beginning God….” He was before space and time. “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
Omniscient [all knowing] -– We do not have the ability to even slightly grasp the vast intellect of the One who created the universe. “Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”
Omnipotent [all powerful] – He alone is the almighty One. "Great and marvelous are Your works, O Yahweh God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!
Omnipresent [everywhere present] – Indeed, the One who is everywhere present is great, mighty, and awesome. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
Sovereign [supreme ruler over all] – “Blessed are You, O Yahweh God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Yahweh, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Yahweh, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.”
His Glory – Moses’ communication with Yahweh, starting with the burning bush, was always through an angel, so he longed to see His face. However, Yahweh said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20). God did allow Moses to see His glory.
"Yahweh, Yahweh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."
All of this is why our God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the awesome God. Yet, there is more, much more to acknowledge about Yahweh our God. After Israel experienced the exodus from Egypt with the ten supernatural plagues, crossing the Red Sea, and the destruction of their enemies, Moses wrote a song to praise God. The song, recorded in Exodus 15, encapsulates their new understanding that Yahweh alone is the true God and all the gods of Egypt were insufficient, yea, nothingness.
The intrinsic, fundamental nature and perhaps the most important quality the separates Yahweh from all others is set forth in the song – His Holiness.
Who is like You among the gods, O Yahweh? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?
Revelation 15 refers to the song of
Moses and again points to the holiness of God when it says “who will not fear, O Yahweh, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.” Yahweh is majestic in holiness, and He alone is holy. Those in God’s throne room (the seraphim, cherubim, angels, elders, and Jesus) are all holy, or they could not be there, but Yahweh is holy above all.
What is holiness; what does holy mean? The palmist in the 99th psalm tells us the answer. Yahweh is holy. If we want to understand holiness, we must look to Him who is holy. “Let them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He.” [verse 3] “Exalt the LORD our God and worship at His footstool; Holy is He.” [verse 5] “Exalt the LORD our God And worship at His holy hill, for holy is Yahweh our God.” [verse 9]
God’s holiness makes Him separate and distinct from all else. God’s holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His “other-ness,” His transcendence. Both Isaiah and John were privileged to experience a vision of God’s throne in heaven:
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called out to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is Yahweh of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory." Isaiah 6:1-3
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is Lord Yahweh, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME." Revelation 4:8
The repetition of a name or an expression three times is unusual in the Scriptures. Words repeated twice are more common, like amen, amen; verily, verily; Martha, Martha; Jerusalem, Jerusalem. Triple repetition occurs in Jeremiah 7:1-4; 22:29; Ezekiel 21:27. A study of these sections reveals that triple repetition communicates extreme intensity exhibiting deep emotion and earnestness. When David mourned the death of his beloved son recorded in 2 Samuel 18:33, he cried out, “Absalom my son, Absalom my son, Absalom my son….” With this record, we clearly see the intensity and emotion behind the triple repetitions. In Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, “holy, holy, holy” warrants careful consideration and acknowledgement of the seriousness and importance of God’s holiness. Nowhere else is such language used to describe a characteristic of our God. Never is it written God is love, love, love or almighty, almighty, almighty, etc.
Yahweh’s holiness and “other-ness” is the reason the tabernacle and the temple were constructed the way they were which emphasized His holiness and man’s separateness from Him. Israel needed the mediation of the high priest and special sacrifices in order to have limited access to Him. The old covenant with the tabernacle, temple, sacrifices, priests were a type for what Jesus would accomplish for all people on the cross. We now have unparalleled access to our holy God, although we still need the mediation of our Lord Jesus because we are not yet perfect or sinless. However, in the end, our holy God will dwell among His children. He will be our God, and we will be His people. Peter’s exhortation makes a great deal of sense in view of Yahweh’s holiness.
…. but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." 1 Peter 1:15-16