Those who are clean, particularly in a spiritual or moral sense; it also denotes persons set apart for the service of God, in heaven or on earth.
Jehovah himself, supreme in cleanness and righteousness, is the Most Holy One. (Ho 11:12) He is frequently called “the Holy One of Israel.” (2Ki 19:22; Ps 71:22; 89:18) The apostle John says to fellow members of the Christian congregation: “You have an anointing from the holy one.” (1Jo 2:20) Jesus Christ is called “that holy and righteous one” referred to at Acts 3:14. Angels of Jehovah in heaven are holy ones, fully devoted to God’s service, clean and righteous.—Lu 9:26; Ac 10:22.
In Ancient Times. Humans on earth who have been set apart for the service of God have also been called “holy ones.” (Ps 34:9) Israel, brought into covenant relationship with God, became his special property and was, as a nation, holy to him. That is why individuals of that nation who practiced uncleanness or wrongdoing brought defilement and Jehovah’s disfavor upon the nation, unless action was taken to clear them out. Greedy, disobedient Achan is a case in point; his sin brought distress on Israel until he was discovered and stoned to death.—Jos 7.
Aaron, anointed with the holy anointing oil as the nation’s high priest, was holy in a special, intensified sense. (Ps 106:16) Accordingly, the requirements of his office were very exacting. (Le 21:1-15; also note the disqualifying factors for all priests in verses 16-23; see HIGH PRIEST.) A sin on the part of the high priest (for example, an error in judgment of a matter) could bring guiltiness upon the people and had to be atoned for by the sacrifice of a young bull, the same sacrifice required for a mistake of the entire assembly.—Le 4:3, 13, 14.
Christian Holy Ones. Persons brought into relationship with God by means of the new covenant are sanctified, cleansed, and set apart for God’s exclusive service by “the blood of the covenant,” the shed blood of Jesus Christ. (Heb 10:29; 13:20) They are thereby constituted “holy ones” (“saints” in KJ and some other versions). Consequently, they do not become “holy ones,” or “saints,” by decree of a man or an organization, but by God, who brings them into covenant relationship with himself through the blood of Jesus Christ. The term “holy ones” applies to all those thus brought into union and joint heirship with Christ, not to a mere few considered to have exceptional holiness. It is also applied in the Bible to them from the beginning of their sanctified course on earth, not being deferred until after their death. Peter says they must be holy because God is holy. (1Pe 1:15, 16; Le 11:44) All the spiritual brothers of Christ in the congregations are frequently called “holy ones.”—Ac 9:13; 26:10; Ro 1:7; 12:13; 2Co 1:1; 13:13.
As the “wife” of Christ, the entire congregation is represented as wearing bright, clean, fine linen, which stands for “the righteous acts of the holy ones.” (Re 19:7, 8) Against these, while they are on earth, Satan the Devil’s symbolic political “wild beast” is seen in vision waging war. (Re 13:3, 7) Thereby the endurance of the holy ones is severely tested, but they conquer by observing the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.—Re 13:10; 14:12.
Their hope. In a parallel vision Daniel saw a wild beast making war upon God’s holy ones; this was followed by a court scene in which “the Ancient of Days” gave judgment in favor of the holy ones and they were given an indefinitely lasting Kingdom, “the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens.”—Da 7:21, 22, 27.
These “holy ones” do not exercise kingly authority while on earth but must await their being united with Christ in the heavens. (Eph 1:18-21) They must first be ‘conquerors.’ (Re 3:21; compare Re 2:26, 27; 3:5, 12.) They are to act as priests and to rule as kings with Christ during his Thousand Year Reign. (Re 20:4, 6) The apostle Paul states that the holy ones will judge the world, as well as angels, evidently sharing in the execution of judgment on wicked ones.—1Co 6:2, 3; Re 2:26, 27.
Attack on “Camp of the Holy Ones.” At Revelation 20:7-9 it is foretold that Satan the Devil will lead the nations in war against “the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city” after the end of the thousand years of Christ’s reign. The prophecy evidently refers to an earthly rebellion against the sovereignty of God’s kingdom over earth, which is an attack on the “holy ones.” In this context these are evidently those of restored mankind who are maintaining their integrity to God and his Messianic King.—See HOLINESS.