Come Out!

2 Cor 6.17

come out from them,
and be separate
from them,
and touch nothing
then I will welcome you

Holiness is often misunderstood. Many think it has to do with being "very religious", "pious", “devoted”, etc.

In Scripture the terms used to identify holiness are associated with being "clean", or "pure”, with most references being to one’s moral state. It essentially means being uncontaminated by the influences of the world on one's life, and keeping one’s focus on following the teachings and desires of YAHWEH (God).

To be holy is really to be sacred, sanctified, set apart, and                                   special. This is contrasted with being common, part of the crowd, profane, ordinary - and thus contaminated by the influences of the world.

The assembly in Scripture (typically translated as synagogue or church) refers to "the called out ones”. They're called out of the world and into a special relationship with YAHWEH and His Son, YAHUSHUA. They assemble with one another for worship, for fellowship, and for mutual support among like-minded persons.

Below are the definitions of some of the terms found in Scripture that are related to holiness. The first four, from the Hebrew language, are all spelled exactly the same way. The only difference is the "vowel pointings", which actually were never in the original language but were added later to help "newcomers" with pronunciation of the words. It's believed there was significant bias injected into this process, a bias based on the beliefs of those who did the actual insertion of the vowel pointings and also affected by the influences of “Jewishtradition.

Please keep in mind that everything after the (:--) is a word that was used in The King James Version of The Bible as the "translation" of the word. These are not part of the definition. This is important, as you'll see below.

6942. vAd∂q qadash, 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), x wholly.
6943. v®d®q Qedesh, keh´-desh; from 6942; a sanctum; Kedesh, the name of four places in Palestine:
6944. v®dOq qodesh, ko´-desh; from 6942; a sacred place or thing; rarely abstract, sanctity:
—consecrated (thing), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), holiness, (x most) holy (x day, portion, thing), saint, sanctuary.

 6945. véd∂q qadesh, kaw-dashe´; from 6942; a (quasi) sacred person, i.e. (technically) a (male) devotee (by prostitution) to licentious idolatry:
—sodomite, unclean.

NOTE: This one should catch your attention. It refers to a "religious practice" that was common in ancient times, but it has little to do with what we might call "holiness". Still, it is part of the definition of being “holy”. Since being "holy" really means to be set apart for a special purpose this does fit the definition. It just doesn't fit well with your “theology" if you believe in YAHWEH. It is a prominent part of idol worship. In the ancient world it was very well known. But in the view of Scripture as we understand it this was considered "unclean", and therefore "unholy".

Like so many things in life, you're understanding of the meaning of a term is often impacted by what you believe. There's actually a special term for this. It's called eisegesis - putting your own preconceived notions into the meaning of the text.
This is opposed to
exegesis - which is extracting the correct meaning of a term based on its definition and its use within a given context.The differences are very important.

The two Greek terms that are most directly related to holiness are below.

40. a‚gioß hagios, hag´-ee-os; from a‚goß hagos (an awful thing) (compare 53, 2282); sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated):
— (most) holy (one, thing), saint.

1577. ejkklhsi÷a ekklesia, ek-klay-see´-ah; from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):
— assembly, church.

It's very unfortunate that the latter of these two terms is almost always translated as "church”. It should be translated as “assembly” because that's what it is. And that's always the way the followers of YAHWEH, including the Yisra’elites, understood their gatherings. The Old Covenant always refers to the assembly, and never to a "church”. There's no valid reason to change this in The New CovenantIt's the same YAHWEH, the same believers in YAHWEH, and now including His Son, YAHUSHUA, that have always existed within the scriptural view. The assembly (also known as a congregation) is the corporate gathering of the individual believers in YAHWEH.

All of the foregoing material points to the concept of separation as a central focus of Scripture. 
To be "holy" is to be set apart, separated from the rest of the world for the sake of serving
In fact, you effectively agree to a covenant (a legal and binding contract) with
YAHWEH within which you voluntarily and willingly agree to honor and serve only Him. 
If your agreement is not based on this it's meaningless. 
You're not trusting YAHWEH with your entire life.

Virtually every reference to being holy, in whatever form it takes in Scripture, involves a call to separation 
- to come out of the world's ways and into
YAHWEH's way, or
- to separate yourself in a dedicated manner for the purpose of idol worship. 
In either case you're separating yourself for a "special purpose”. The only difference lies within Who, or what you are choosing to serve. 

For many this truth has never been clearly identified. Their faith/belief/trust in YAHWEH 
faith/belief/trust are virtually interchangeable terms 
is "casual" (informal). They've typically come to it "by tradition”; the traditions of their parents and/or their culture. They've adopted these ways without researching the validity or the invalidity of these concepts and teachings. They're merely accepted because some authoritative figure told them that "this is the way it works”. For them, it carries no meaningful obligation. It's merely the way to do things, "because my parents and grandparents, etc. always did it this way. And if it's good enough for them, it's also good enough for me.” 

It carries no meaningful obligation precisely because they have never challenged the basis on which these things exist. It has not been “tested” to determine if it is really "true”. The resulting “relationship” has not been entered into with full knowledge of what one is doing. You can't have full knowledge without reviewing it yourself and making your own decision whether it's valid or not. You need to test it before you "buy it”. 
If you don't do this it is not your faith/belief. 
It belongs to someone else. 
Faith/belief of this kind is meaningless!    (vain, empty, void, worthless) 

You really have no “covenant” with YAHWEH, because you have not made the effort to test the foundations of the covenant 
and determine on your own whether you will agree to its terms or not. It's the same as an unsigned contract. 
It has no validity. 

You've simply chosen to say you'll follow YAHWEH, without really making a personal commitment to surrender your entire life to Him. This is a very dangerous position to be in when you're dealing with The Living God, YAHWEH! It leaves you in the position of "thinking" that you're "redeemed/saved” - but you are not! Without a "contract" (covenant) you have no established relationship, and therefore no right to benefit from anything YAHWEH offers. 

YAHWEH is seeking people who will trust Him 100% based upon His Word (message). 
If you've adopted someone else's faith/belief you're like the luke-warm believers mentioned in
Revelation 3.16
Do you understand?
Do you truly "get it”? 
This represents true disaster for anyone so identified! 

Yisra’el was a called out people. They were invited to become separate from the rest of the world, different, and specially related to YAHWEH as the only people group in the world that was invited into that relationship. They were invited to become "The People of YAHWEH”, His chosen possession, a royal nation (belonging to The King). YAHWEH does not treat this concept lightly. Neither should anyone who has accepted the call to "come out" from the world and be separated to Him - for His purposes. 

There are many things that can contaminate a believer. However, virtually every one of them is connected to the first “sin” back in the garden in Eden. That "sin" was an act of rebellion against what YAHWEH had said. It was a violation of His instructionsHis torah.

8451. h∂rwø;t towrah, to-raw´; or h∂r;Ot torah, to-raw´; from 3384; a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch:
     (Note: A precept is a commandment or direction meant as a rule or action or conduct.)

3384. h∂rÎy yarah, yaw-raw´; or (2 Chr. 26:15) a∂rÎy yara, yaw-raw´; a primitive root; properly, to flow as water (i.e. to rain); transitively, to lay or throw (especially an arrow, i.e. to shoot); figuratively, to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach:

—(+) archer, cast, direct, inform, instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach(-er,-ing), through.

Torah is much more than "law”. It is, more correctly, "instruction”. It involves His teaching for His people, showing them the way (road, path) in which He desires them to go.

Fix this concept firmly in your mind and in your heart. It's crucial to understanding Scripture as YAHWEH intends it to be understood. He never intended torah to degenerate into "legalism”. Legalism is not freedom, it's enslavement to rules and regulations, and to rulers. 

YAHWEH wants us to understand that He desires a relationship with those who choose willingly to follow His ways, not those who feel they "have to obey the laws”. And herein lies the kindness of YAHWEH which has always existed since the foundation of the world. It is not merely a New Covenant concept. 

Now, included within this reality is the presentation of the clean and the unclean, or to state it slightly differently, of the holy (set apart, special) and the profane (common, ordinary). The holy are not like the profane. Those set apart (holy) are extra-ordinary. They're different from the rest of the world. And they are known "by their fruits”, by the "produce" of their lives. They're considered to be “clean” - cleansed of worldly lusts. If they're not different in some significant manner then they're still "in the world” and "of the world”. They belong to it, and not to YAHWEH. They are "common”, and thus “unclean” - contaminated by the world. To be common is to be like everyone else. To be set apart is to be unique. 

Those who are invited to believe in YAHWEH, to trust Him with their whole being, to worship and serve only Him, are always called to separate themselves from that which He does not desire. The believer is to have no share, no participation, no fellowship/partnership with the acts and thoughts that are not in agreement with the "will" (desire) of YAHWEH

When a person within an assembly of believers is found to be not following YAHWEH's program the assembly is called to separate themselves from them. On this point Scripture is abundantly clear. Unfortunately, in today's world, this is simply not being done in most instances. Our assemblies are undisciplined. Most of this is the result of an absence of proper teaching, an absence of a personal covenant agreement, an absence of a sense of obligation to YAHWEH and His Word, and also to one's own word. Further, it's an absence of a willingness to deal correctly with those who are not walking according to YAHWEH's teachings (torah). 

But then, if you do not know what YAHWEH's teachings are you cannot follow them. Thus, learning them is crucial. It's the personal responsibility of each person who calls themself "a believer in YAHWEH”. Your faith/belief is only yours if you've accepted personal responsibility for what you believe. But you cannot be responsible for or with these things if you have not done your own homework. 

You need to know WHY you believe what you believe. 
You need a firm foundation for your faith/belief. 

Each of us will answer to YAHWEH at some point for what we are doing with our lives. That includes our faith/belief especially because what we do and say is grounded in what we believe. 

Having said these things it's now time to consider what we are to do in regard to those who are not following the teachings of YAHWEH. For that consideration we turn directly to Scripture itself, which is the definitive Word on these matters.

Ex. 23:31 And I will set your bounds from the Red sea
even unto the sea of the Philistines,
and from the desert unto the river,
for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand;
and you will drive them out before you.
You are to make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
They are not to dwell in your land,
lest they make you sin against Me
for if you serve their gods it will surely be a snare to you.

Ex. 33:16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I
have found
favor in Your eyes, unless You go with us?
So we will be separate, Your people and I,
from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.

Lev. 15:31 Thus will you separate the children of Yisra’el 
from their uncleanness in order that they do not die in their uncleanness
when they defile My tabernacle that
is among them.

Lev. 20:24 But I have said unto you, You will inherit their land
and I will give it to you to possess it, a land that flows with milk and honey.
I am YAHWEH, your Elohim Who has separated you from other people.
25 You therefore are to put a difference
between clean beasts and unclean,
and between unclean fowls and clean.
And you are not to make your lives detestable
by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that crawls on the ground
which I have
separated from you as unclean.

Judg. 2:1  And a messenger of YAHWEH went up from Gilgal to Bokim. 
And he said,  “I went up from Egypt 
with you yourselves.  את
And I brought you yourselves  את
to the land which I swore to your forefathers. 
And I said, 
‘I will not break My covenant with you yourselves  את for eternity.

mal'ak - to dispatch as a deputy; a messenger.
This was NOT an "angel". It was a representative, virtually an ambassador, speaking on behalf of YAHWEH, as if it was YAHWEH Himself who was speaking.
'olam - to the vanishing point; time out of mind; forever; for eternity.
Gilgal means wheel, or rolling.
Bokim means weepers.

2.2 And you yourselves  את are not to cut a covenant 
for the sake of those dwelling in this land! 
Their slaughter sites you are to tear down!’ 
But you have not listened attentively to My voice. 
Why have you done this? 
2.3 And I also said,
‘I will not drive out they themselves  את
from before your faces.    If you do not do this.
And they will be toward you as adversaries. 
their elohim will be toward you as snares.’ ” 

1Kings 8:53  Indeed You Yourself  את have separated them tor Yourself 
for an inheritance out of all the peoples of the earth 

according to what You spoke by the hand of Your servant, Moshe, 
as You were bringing out 
our forefathers themselves  את  from Mitsraim (Egypt), Sovereign YAHWEH!”

Ezra 6:21 And the children of Yisra’el who had come again out of captivity, 
and all such as had separated themselves unto them 
from the
filthiness of the heathen of the land 
seek YAHWEH, The Elohim of Yisra’el, did eat. 

22 And they kept The Festival of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, 
for YAHWEH had made them joyful 
and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them 
to strengthen their hands 
in the work of the house of YAHWEHThe Elohim of Yisra’el.

Ezra 10:11 Now therefore make confession to YAHWEH,
The Elohim of your fathers, and do His pleasure.
And separate yourselves from the people of the land
and from the strange (foreign) wives.

 Neh. 13:3 Now it came to pass when they had heard The Torah
 that they separated from Yisra’el all the mixed multitude.
            (The "mixed multitude" were foreigners, non-Israelites.)

Matt. 25:32 And before him will be gathered all nations.
And he will separate them one from another, 
as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:

Luke 6:22 Happy are you when men will detest you,
and when they will
separate you from their company,
and will reproach
you, and cast out your name as bad 
for the Son of man’s sake.

Rom. 16:17-18  Now I urge you, brothers, pay careful attention
to those who cause divisions and snares contrary to the
which you have learned to do.

Even avoid them. (Lit. - shun them.)
18 Indeed, 
they that are of the sort that do not serve
our Master, YAHUSHUA, The Messiah,
but on the contrary,their own belly,
            (the seat of the emotions)
by smooth words and eloquent speaking
deceive the hearts of the innocent.

1Cor. 5:9-13  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with
sexually immoral persons -
10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world,
or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters,
since you would then need to go out of the world.
11 But now
I am writing to you not to associate with anyone
who bears the designation of brother or sister
who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater,
reviler, drunkard, or robber.
Do not even eat with such a one. 
12 Indeed, what have I to do with judging those outside? 
Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 
YAHWEH will judge those outside. 
“Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

2Cor. 6:14-17  Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers,
     An unbeliever can be one who calls themselves a believer.
     By their "fruits" you shall know them.
for what partnership has righteousness with unrighteousness,
and what participation has light with darkness?
15 And what agreement has
The Messiah with Belial,  a title for Satan
or what part has he that believes with a non-believer?
16 And what agreement has the temple of
YAHWEH with idols?
Indeed, you are the temple of The Living God as
YAHWEH has said,
"I will dwell in them, and walk in
And I will be their Elohim, and they will be my people.
Therefore, come out from them and be separate from them, says YAHWEH,
and touch nothing unclean.
Then I will accept you.

                        (Is. 52.11)

Eph. 5:11-12  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
but on the contrary, reprove them,
12 for it is a shame even to speak of those things
which are done by them in secret.

2Thess. 3:6 Now we direct you, brothers, 
in the name of our Master 
YAHUSHUA, The Messiah,
that you
withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly,
and not after the
tradition which he received of us.

2Thess. 3:14-15  And if anyone does not listen attentively to our word in this epistle,
note that person 
and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet do not count
him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

1Tim. 6:3-5  If any man teaches otherwise, and consents not to wholesome words,
even the words of our Master, YAHUSHUA, The Messiah,
and to the doctrine which is according to reverence,
4 he is proud, knowing nothing,
but doting about questions and strifes of words,
whereof come envy, strife, railings, hurtful surmisings;
5 perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth,
supposing that gain is devotion.
From such withdraw yourself.

Rev. 18:4-5  Then I heard another voice from The Heaven saying, 
“Come out of her, my people, 
            so that you do not take part in her offenses, 
            and so that you do not share 
            in her calamities;” 
5         for her offenses are heaped high as heaven, 
YAHWEH has remembered her iniquities.

Come out! Be separate!
These are in the imperative mood.
They are emphatic instructions.
Every believer is called to pay very careful attention to such instructions from The Word of 

It comes down to this:
Are you
serious about your faith/belief in YAHWEH and His Messiah, YAHUSHUA?
Are you truly willing and deeply desiring to honor them 
in everything you do? 
Or are you a "Comfortable Christian”, lacking any significant motivation to study The Word of YAHWEH diligently, 
failing to properly and correctly “divide"His Word of
Truth as Scripture directs? 

For the "called out ones”, the assembly of believers, there is great blessing and great hope. 
But for those who refuse to come out from among the “worldly”  there is a great disaster awaiting. 
Which will YOU choose?

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May YAHWEH speak to your heart and bless you with understanding as you explore His Word.