(Hebrew qodesh, קֹדֶשׁ).1 Most holy does not mean “very holy”; it means “actively holy, imparting holiness.”2(Cf. Exodus 14:5; 16:2,5; Leviticus 2:4.) The Law of Moses prescribed the death penalty for a variety of offenses. One of the ways to avoid the execution of the penalty was to go to one of the safe harbor cities. Another way was to come in contact with the altar, because the altar was considered most holy. Things that are most holy communicate holiness; one cannot profane them. If one comes in contact with something that is “most holy,” while he or she is unholy, they don’t make it unholy; the altar — or the thing that is “most holy” — makes them holy, because it is most sacred. “Part of the rites in the temple are intended to communicate to you things that are most holy. They are intended to make you holy. They are intended to make you a suitable recipient for an audience. They are intended to make you a suitable companion for a walk down a dusty road with the risen Lord who is trying to get you to notice exactly who it is that speaks to you.”3
1 Strong’s Concordance, H6944.
2 Margaret Barker, “Temple and Liturgy, June, 2009, 7, paper: http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/
3 “Christ’s Discourse on the Road to Emmaus,” Fairview, UT, April 14, 2007, 37, transcript.