Holy One of God, Part 1
It’s impossible to capture all of Jesus’ wonderful attributes in just one name, so we learn about His holiness through the many different designations He’s given in Scripture. One such name is the Holy One of God. The apostle Peter called Him this name—and so did demons! What does this title say about Jesus?
Part 1 of our 2-part series on the Holy One of God shares the significance of this special moniker. It might sound like a title reserved for God alone, but several memorable Old Testament Israelites were actually called this name too—namely, Samson, Aaron, and Elisha. But how do these leaders reveal the character of Christ? Tune in for the fulfilling answer!
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover, with me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. We're so glad you're with us today. Everything related to today's program and previous episodes can be found at foiradio.org. It's there you'll find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel and the Middle East. And while you're there, you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button and helping us continue to teach biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Once again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, can I bring our listeners into how we plan our radio programs and our podcasts? We meet regularly to talk about what we want to share from the Bible, and it's a team effort and I love that. You contribute, Tom contributes. And this is actually, we're going to start a two-part series where you said there's this unique title that's associated with Jesus, the Holy One of God, that's found in Mark chapter one, Luke chapter four, and that's what we're going to talk about for the next two weeks. The fact that it was demons, actually, who identified who Jesus was even before His people did as the Holy One of God. So that will be the next two episodes.
Steve Conover: Yes, Chris, We're so excited to bring this two-part series to our listeners. But first, in the news, controversial rapper, Kanye West, who apparently now goes by Ye, was blocked by Twitter after he posted, quote, "I'm a bit sleepy tonight, but when I wake, I'm going full death con three," probably meaning DEFCON three, "on Jewish people," end quote. Since being blocked, he has doubled down on his antisemitic attacks in an interview by accusing Jewish people of owning the Black voice and invoking antisemitic tropes about Jewish people controlling the media. He said, "They milk us till we die." Chris?
Chris Katulka: Well, here's my take. Listen, if you want to know what antisemitism is, then just read and listen to Kanye West. The rapper is labeling all Jewish people, the entire Jewish community, as the problem that plagues the Black community. And he's not just targeting one individual or one company, he's libeling every Jewish person as the problem. It's time for someone to warn Kanye West about the dangers of antisemitism before his words incite violence.
Chris Katulka: We're entering into a two-part series on a central moment in Jesus's ministry. In fact, it's a moment that happened right at the beginning of His ministry. It was Jesus's first recorded exorcism in Mark and Luke at the very beginning of His ministry when He healed a man with an unclean spirit. This account is found in both Mark 1:24 and Luke chapter 4:34. Now, I'm going to focus in on Luke's account here, but I want you to listen to what Luke says in Luke four, starting in verse 31.
He says, "So He, Jesus, went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath He began to teach the people. And they were amazed at His teaching because He spoke with authority. Now, in the synagogue, there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 'Ha! Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene. Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.' But Jesus rebuked him, 'Silence! Come out of him.' And then after the demon threw the man down in their midst, he came out of him without hurting him. They were all amazed and began to say to one another, 'What's happening here? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.' So the news about Him spread into all areas of the region."
Now, I'm focusing on Luke because he gives us more detail leading up to this moment in Capernaum. Jesus had actually just been in Nazareth, where He was raised as a child. When He went and taught at their synagogues, He announced that He was the Messiah, but Jesus's own people actually ran Him off. They wanted to throw Him off a cliff in fact. Jesus then travels from Nazareth to Capernaum. In Hebrew, Capernaum is actually two words, Kafr Nahum, which means the Village of Nahum, probably the prophet Nahum. Capernaum is on the banks of the Sea of Galilee in the North, and Capernaum is actually a fishing town. The fishing industry was good to the city and brought in a lot of wealth. Today, the ruins of an ancient synagogue from the fourth century AD remain as a testament to the wealth of the city. It's believed that the fourth century AD synagogue, that you can actually walk through today if you come with us to Israel, that it actually sits on top of the synagogue where Jesus would have preached and ministered to this man with an unclean spirit.
The people were amazed at Jesus's teaching, and this happened everywhere he went, but here in Luke chapter four and Mark chapter one, the people were getting their first sighting of Jesus as more than just a teacher, but one who is able to heal. And notice the moment the man with the unclean spirit encounters Jesus. The demon responds, "Ha! Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene. Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God."
Now, there's a lot going on here. First of all, let's keep in mind that Jesus just came from Nazareth where His own people rejected Him and attempted to throw Him off the cliff. They refused to believe that He was the Holy One of God. And the people of Nazareth even said, do you remember this? "Isn't this Joseph's son? How could Joseph's son be the Messiah?" Yet as Jesus moves from Nazareth to Capernaum, the people were once again attracted to Him for His teaching, but they still didn't identify Him as the Messiah. Yet here for the first time, the man possessed by a demon rightfully identifies Jesus, "Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene. You have come to destroy us. I know who You are, the Holy One of God."
Now, the Holy One of God is such an interesting title for the demon to use to identify Jesus. It's only used three times in the New Testament. It's used here in Luke and Mark for the account of the demonic man calling Jesus the Holy One of God, and it's found in John 6:69 for Peter's confession. After many of Jesus' disciples stopped following Him, Jesus asked the 12, "Why haven't you abandoned Me yet?" And the Apostle Peter said, "We have come to believe and to know that You are the Holy One of God."
But this title is actually found throughout the Old Testament as well. In the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which is our Old Testament, so it's the Greek translation of the Hebrew, when God tells Manoah that she would give birth to a son, Samson. In Judges 13:7 and in Judges 16:17, the Septuagint calls Samson a holy one or a holy man of God. The same construction that's there, that we see the demon calling Jesus the Holy One of God. And Psalm 106:16, when the psalmist is recounting Israel's history, the writer of Psalm 106 calls Aaron, the high priest, a holy one of God. In II Kings 4:9, the prophet Elisha was called a holy one of God by the husband of the Shunammite woman.
The title used by the demons to identify Jesus the Holy One of God is equal to calling Jesus, think about this, the Son of God. We see this later on in Luke 4:41, just a few verses from the one that we're looking at right now, as Jesus continued to heal people after casting out that demon. He continues to heal and actually casts out more demons from possessed individuals, and those demons called Jesus the Son of God. Luke chapter 4:41 says, "As the sun was setting, all those who had any relatives sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus and He placed his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many crying, 'You are the Son of God,' but He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that He was the Christ."
Now, the Son of God, you have to follow with me here. The Son of God is an Old Testament reference for Israel's king. It's a messianic reference. Descendants of King David were essentially called sons of God. When God gave David a promise that his throne would last forever in II Samuel 7:14, God said to David, "I will be as a father to him and he will be as a son to Me." And when David was hearing this, God had both a shortsighted vision but also a long sighted promise. The shortsighted was the fact that David's son Solomon would be a son of God, the king of Israel. That's what Psalm 2 is writing about. It says this. The king says in Psalm 2, "I will announce the Lord's decree. He said to me, 'You are My son,'" in Psalm 2, "'This very day I have become your father.'" He also writes in Psalm 2, "Kiss the son lest he be angry and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are those who take refuge in him."The psalmist is talking about the king of Israel, like King David and King Solomon, but he's also looking toward the future for the coming of Israel's ultimate king, Jesus. And I'll just end with this. Nathaniel even picks up on this at the end of John 1, when Nathaniel sees Jesus, in the Gospel of John, and he hears from Him for the first time, Nathaniel says in John 1:47, "Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward Him and He exclaimed, 'Look, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit.' And Nathaniel asked Him, 'How do you know me?' And Jesus replied, 'Before Phillip called you when you were under a fig tree, I saw you.'" And I love this. "Nathaniel answered, 'Rabbi, You are the Son of God, the King of Israel.'"
Do you hear how Nathaniel called Jesus the Son of God and the King of Israel? Those two titles are one and the same. So as you can see, certain people were given this title, Holy One of God, throughout the Old Testament. And when we come back, I want to highlight some of those people and show how they all point to Jesus because, those demons, they actually had the right answer.
Chris Katulka: The Jewish life is full of tradition, meaning, and incredible stories of resilience. Two of the Friends of Israel's very own authors who have been on our program several times, Steve Herzig and Lorna Simcox, share their own experiences growing up in Jewish homes and their highs and lows of reluctantly taking steps toward Christ that led to bravely living as Jewish believers today.
Steve Conover: We're excited to share these books with you, The Search, written by Lorna Simcox, this is her true story that brought her to undeniable truth about faith, God, and life after death; and Jewish Culture & Customs by Steve Herzig introduces the colorful world of Judaism to believers. You can learn more about these books and watch exclusive interviews with Steve and Lorna by going to foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Okay, welcome back. We are talking about a unique title given to Jesus in Luke four and Mark one, a title given to Him by demons as Jesus was casting them out of individuals that were coming to Him. As these demons were being cast out they were identifying Jesus as the Holy One of God. And in the last segment of the program, we saw that several people were called the holy one of God throughout the Old Testament. Remember, we mentioned Samson was called the holy one of God in Judges. Samson, a man who was marked and consecrated by God even before he was born. God gave him the purpose to judge Israel. And though he was imperfect and prone to foolish decisions, God used Samson to judge Israel and destroy their enemies, the Philistines.
Remember, we mentioned Aaron, the high priest, who the psalmist called the holy one of God, the high priest who was chosen by God and consecrated to lead the people of Israel in their worship of God. The high priest was the visible representation of the people of Israel to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was the only one given permission annually to enter into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur to make atonement for Israel's sins so that God would forgive them. The high priest was a holy one of God.
And then there's the prophet Elisha who was called a holy one of God, who promised the Shunammite woman a son though she was barren and her husband was old. She bore a son she loved and raised, but then suddenly that son fell ill and died. And Elisha, the prophet, came to the dead boy and laid on top of him and that boy came back to life. He resurrected, and it was God working through Elisha, the holy one of God, to reveal God's ability to defeat death.
And then finally, the holy one of God is just another way of saying son of God, a phrase used in the Old Testament to describe the king of Israel, God's son and God's representative on earth. And just as Nathaniel in John's Gospel said, "Jesus, You truly are the Son of God, the King of Israel." When the demons spoke and called Jesus the Holy One of God, they knew Him to be Israel's judge, like Samson, who would spiritually course correct Israel's relationship with God and defeat Israel's enemies. But Jesus was better than Samson. Where Samson fell into temptations and traps, Jesus remained the faithful judge to His Father in Heaven.
When the demons spoke and called Jesus the Holy One of God, they knew Him to be Israel's high priest, like Aaron, who would reconcile the world to God through His own sacrifice. Aaron was required to offer a sin offering for himself. And after years of service to the Lord, Aaron, the high priest, would eventually die, but Jesus, the Holy One of God, our high priest, lives forever and needs no sin sacrifice for Himself because "He is perfect", as the writer of Hebrew says.
When the demons spoke and called Jesus the Holy One of God, they knew Him to be like Elisha, the prophet, who raised the boy from death to life. Jesus the Holy One of God defeated death by Himself by rising from the dead and promising eternal life to all who put their faith and trust in Him. And finally, when the demons spoke and called Jesus the Holy One of God, they knew Him to be the Son of God, the King of Israel, the Messiah.
Just think about it. Jesus's own neighbors rejected Him, but the demons knew exactly who He was, the Holy One of God, the judge, the high priest, the prophet, the king, the one chosen and approved by God.
Steve Conover: Thank you, Chris. This is really clear and meaningful. I'm thinking back to when we were preparing for these episodes and one of Isaiah's favorite phrases seemed to be "the holy one of Israel". I think he used it a couple dozen times. Should we think of that phrase similarly to this phrase?
Chris Katulka: Yeah, I think the big point about "the holy one" is that holy is kodesh in Hebrew, which means to consecrate, to set apart. And God set Israel apart for a purpose, and God set Samson apart for a purpose, and He set Aaron apart for a purpose, and He set the kings of Israel apart for a purpose, and He set Elisha apart for a purpose. And so He definitely set Jesus apart, consecrated Him. He is the Holy One of God who, really, I think, encapsulates all of those roles so that He can live them out and become the judge, become the priest, become the king, become the prophet, the prophet, priest, and king, just as was promised. So yes, there is an association in the sense that God is separating. He makes Him holy. And the beauty is that because of Christ, in God's eyes, because of Christ, we are holy in His eyes. So again, that picture there of being set apart from the world.
Steve Conover: Israel on the verge of becoming a state, a teenaged Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collective writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: I have lived in this part of Jerusalem for more than 35 years, and my children grew up playing with their Arab neighbors. Today, my children's Arab friends are adults and they blindly hate Israel. Recently, after many years, I ran into some of them. They recognized me and asked about my sons. One said, "Your sons were our friends, now they hate us." I replied, "They don't hate you. I have taught them to love." "Even to love those who hate you?" one asked."We believe in the living God, and the Lord teaches us not to hate but to love one another.""What books do you read that you speak such nice words even to your enemy?" "Would you like to see the book? I replied. "Yes," they all agreed, "we want to read it and we want to know who wrote it." I showed them the Holy Bible. They were very surprised. "You know," one told me, "we want to read this book, but our parents are fanatic Muslims. They would kill us if they saw us reading the Jewish Bible."
I told them that the Bible was given to all people, not only Jewish people."Do you have a Bible in our language, Arabic?" While we were talking, two of their Arab friends were listening. "We, too, know your sons," one said. "Many years ago, we played football together," by football they meant soccer. "We also want one of those books, but in Arabic."
I told them, "This is the Holy Bible, and here it is not written to hate your friends. It tells us about faith and love. And those of us who have believed in the Lord no longer hate because God enables us to love." Now they all wanted a Bible."Are you sure this book is not only for Jews?" one asked."I am sure. This book is for everyone."
They asked me many questions. They even asked in what language they must go to the Lord. "The language does not matter. What matters is that you go to Him with your heart. You pray to Him and He will answer you."
I showed them Isaiah 49:5, which says, "And now the Lord says, who formed me from the womb to be His servant to bring Jacob back to Him so that Israel is gathered to Him, "Is it too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel? I will also give you a light as to the Gentiles that you should be My salvation to the ends of the earth." Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to the servant of rulers, 'Kings shall see it arise. Princes also show worship. Because the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, and He has chosen you.'"
They wanted very much to read what was written there. "This is the beginning," one said. "We will come one day and speak with you about what we have not spoken about. Are you ready?" "It is my duty before the Lord to be ready." Please, pray for these men. We know in prayer we see the mighty power of God.
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life and ministry in Israel, it didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel ministry representatives continue to share the Gospel in Jerusalem, Israel, and, really, all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors and their families. We provide free food, medicine, and clothing, and we even promote the safety and security of the State of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. So when you give to the Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the Gospel of our Messiah, Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for joining us today. Part two in our series next week, Chris, where are we headed?
Chris Katulka: Yeah, we're going to continue our study on the demons calling Jesus the Holy One of God. We're going to have a deeper look at what they were saying and why they were so scared of Jesus as well.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And I'm Steve Conover, Executive Producer.
Our mailing address is FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914. Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And I'll give you one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
The Search/Jewish Culture & Customs
We’re excited to share two books with you: The Search written by Lorna Simcox is her true story that brought her to the undeniable truth about faith, God and life after death; And Jewish Culture and Customs by Steve Herzig introduces the colorful world of Judaism to believers.
Learn more about these books and watch exclusive interviews with Steve and Lorna today!
This Book is for Everyone
A man’s children can play a big part in his ministry. Zvi’s children helped him be an effective witness by their loving attitude toward others. They grew up playing with their Arab neighbors, and when Zvi saw these neighbors 35 years later, he found that prejudice had overtaken them. They assumed that his children hated them, but Zvi explained that he taught his children to love. This opened the door for a discussion about the Book that they lived their lives by.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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