Can You Recognize the Holy Ones?

By Dr. Anne Davis

In one of the psalms, David speaks of the saints who are on the earth.

As for the saints who are on the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
Psalm 16:3

Whose delight? The pronoun “my” is not capitalized, so it does not refer to God’s delight, but to the delight of David. David praises and elevates the saints who are on the earth.

So, look around you. Can you recognize these saints?

Well, first we must carefully consider the Hebrew word that has been translated “saints”. It is the plural noun קְדוֺשִׁים (k’dushim). You might recognize the adjective of this word from the refrain that glorifies God, kadosh, kadosh, kadosh meaning holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. So, the saints are considered holy by God, which is sometimes understood as pure and righteous without sin, but who among us is without sin?! So, I suggest that “holy” describes those whose hearts are dedicated to walking in the ways of God so they can serve their Lord Yeshua to the very best of their ability.

Then we see that these saints, who are holy ones, are described in the English translation as “majestic”. I am sure you know by now that the original Hebrew word will give us a much more profound meaning than the English translation.

This powerful adjective is אַדִּיר (ah-deer), which is first used in Scripture to describe God’s commanding defeat of Pharaoh and his army when they tried to cross the Red Sea. In the song of triumph sung by the people of Israel, we hear them praising God.

You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them.

They sank like lead in the mighty waters. Exodus 15:10

“Mighty” is our word ah-deer. The description of this catastrophic event is supposed to evoke a dramatic and powerful image in our minds. Can you visualize the towering walls of water that suddenly sweep down to totally destroy Pharaoh and his army? This dramatic act is ah-deer, mighty, and that describes the holy ones of God.

What power the holy ones must have to accomplish the work of God! Of course, this power does not belong to them, but to God. Yet, they can activate this power that God has placed within them, which is God’s Holy Spirit. After all, no one has ever seen God because He is identified as Spirit (John 4:24), which is an invisible force. We cannot see this divine force, but we can experience its effects. So, when you activate the power of the Holy Spirit within you, you will be able to sense the impact of this powerful action.

Let’s look at another example of those who have been described as ah-deer,“majestic” in Psalm 16 and “mighty” in Exodus 15. These are the holy ones of God. The people of Israel are singing a victory song after defeating the hated Canaanites from the powerful walled city of Hazor. A woman, the prophetess Deborah, had guided Barak, the commander of the Israelite forces. When the battle was over, the women sang this song.

The leaders led in Israel,

The people gave themselves as a free will offering.

Bless the Lord!

What a wonderful picture of God’s victorious army. There must be leaders of God’s people (who are identified as a remnant in Scripture) and those who follow them in the army have given themselves as a free-will offering, which was a loving gift given to God at the Temple. Then the victory song continues.

Awake, awake, Deborah.

Awake, awake, sing a song!

Arise, Barak, and take away your captives.   

Then survivors [from the battle] came down to the nobles [ah-deer-im, majestic and mighty ones who are holy in God’s eyes].

The people of the Lord came down to me as warriors [gibborim meaning very strong and mighty; an adjective used to describe the remnant]. Judges 5:2,12-1

I think the most significant and exciting word in this victory song describes the warriors as a freewill offering, which was a very special kind of sacrifice at the Temple. A gift of an unblemished animal or flour mixed with oil and wine was freely given to God without seeking anything in return. It was a gift of love that was roasted on the altar of sacrifice and the sweet aroma  floated up to God. So, think now of those warriors as a freewill offering. Most important, however, think of yourself as a freewill offering to God. Perhaps you will mature to become a Holy One in God’s eyes.

What power the holy ones must have to accomplish the work of God! Of course, this power does not belong to them, but to God. Yet, they can activate this power that God has placed within them, which is God’s Holy Spirit.

Please give us your thoughts on this article!

  • Did you agree?  
  • Did you disagree?
  • Do you have something to add?
  • Do you have a personal experience you would like to share?

Dr. Anne Davis is a professor of Biblical Studies who enjoys working with graduate students to enhance their exegetical skills for exploring the depth of Scripture.

Skip to content
%d bloggers like this: