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Identity of Israel and it's Vision

Han, Dong-Gu 1

1평택대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

Seeking a will of God played a crucial role in the Israelite history as it developed as vision of the Israelite people and their national hope. Particularly the importance of 'vision' was well acknowledged when they experienced the severe crisis of the fall of their nation, and it was articulated as their national identity. The present study will demonstrate the visions in the Old Testament as models for overcoming the crisis of the Korean church and society. Methodologically it will examine the development of the traditions, historically, from which the visions induced. The early vision of Israel was of physical strength in order to meet strong neighbouring nations; though later was it admitted that it is impossible for Israel to be a central nation in the world or prevail over crisis by means of physical strength, of which means God does not approve. Israel, on the other hand, began to identify itself as mediator of blessing. Prophet Jeremiah encouraged the people to pray on behalf of the enemies; this shift of the attitude of Israel could become a seed for the blessing and comfort for many other nations. In the patriarchal narratives of Genesis the ancestors of Israel had a vision that they would be mediators of blessing for the world. Based on the specific value of their own (i.e., those who treat them kindly will be blessed by God, and those who ignore them will be cursed by God), the blessing of YHWH became universal and all the nations could possibly be one as family. Prophet Ezekiel could envisage a holy community when he saw a vision of Jerusalem and the Israelite land being restored, and of the water of life flowing from the temple. The water could spirit the people and enrich the world, and it does flow from the holy temple of YHWH. Many leaders of Israel envisaged their nation standing up at the centre of the world. While the prophets could simultaneously see the gloomy reality before their eyes and the new world God presents, they proclaimed the coming of the new world by God. At the beginning the restoration of Zion was what envisaged, but later, gradually, the 'change' by applying the principle of just life, not of physical strength, was being sought. A new history could possibly commence by the power of God and by the principle of just life everyone in the world ought to observe. The history that means to achieve holiness and the history that means to take centrality of the world are merged together in the Pentateuch that envisages a sublime history of the humankind. Universe and world are rearranged in terms of holiness, 'the encounter with God' being the core of it. Meanwhile, the idea of 'holy people' was introduced when strict segregation between enemies and own force was needed in the time of national crisis. The holy people could mean those belong to YHWH and are superior to the enemies in quality. However the idea was being changed to mean a nation serving the world as priest and a wise nation possessing the word of God. What the Old Testament envisaged is a family-like community of the world where the development of Israel and also of all the nations was encouraged simultaneously, based on the holiness flowing from God and his words. This study will contribute to overcome the crisis of the Korean church and society and, furthermore, to make known the principle of just life in the world, thus, establishing the foundation of 'Biblical world'.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.