What does the word “hallowed” mean? Webster says that it means “sacred, reverenced” or “consecrated to a sacred use.” When I was growing up, I somewhere learned the definition “set apart.”
I’ve spent many hours the past two weeks studying this word. I knew that hallowed had something in common with the words holy, sacred, and sanctified. But how would I hallow God’s name? (What an adventure! How fun to learn something new!)
When my children were learning this part of the prayer, I simply told them that God’s name was special and that it must be treated with respect.
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)
However, the adult in me is profiting greatly from studying this in greater depth.
The Greek word hagios is used in the New Testament and is the equivalent of the Hebrew word qodesh. Let’s look at these two words first. (By the way, I simply used e-sword to discover this, and it’s a great tool to teach your children how to use.)
Qodesh (Hebrew) is defined in Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon as “a sacred place or thing.” It comes from a root word which means “to be clean.”
Imagine my shock when I read this verse and found the word qodesh included:
They that sanctify [qodesh] themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 66:17).
What does this mean? How can idolaters “make themselves clean” by doing things that are an abomination to God?
I checked into a history book and found this quote:
“Most scholars nowadays prefer to render the Hebrew and the Greek words as “set apart, set-apart and apartness.” With this true meaning of “set-apart” or “separate” we can now understand why qodesh is used in a positive sense, a good sense, and that it can equally be used in a negative and evil sense. Someone is, or something is set-apart unto [God], or he/it is set apart unto evil cultic prostitution. Thus, the word qodesh applies to both.” (Come Out of Her My People, C.J. Koster, 2004: South Africa, Institute for Scripture Research, p. 37)