Symbolism from Exodus 19: Nature of God

Published: 2021-10-11 08:00:13
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Explain The Symbolism About The Nature Of God From Exodus 19 Hick described the ‘epistemic distance’ between God and the Jews. Moses was allowed in God’s presence; hence he is esteemed as a very special prophet who is specifically chosen by God. All Jews respect the commandments which come directly from God and members of Orthodoxy believe that they are absolutely inerrant. They would see any ostensible contradictions in the Torah as beyond human comprehension but humans are expected to have faith and accept them.
The books Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy are, according to Orthodox Jews, the ord of God through direct divine revelation. The scholar Paul Johnson, described the prophet Moses as being ‘a great conduit. ‘ A conduit being ‘a means by which something is transmitted or led’ and Jews believe that Moses is the channel through which God’s laws come and this is a direct reference to God rescuing the Israelites from slavery in the land of Egypt. In this story, God’s powerful imagery can be seen and this story is found in the Torah in Exdous 19 and Jews are reminded of this story every week on Shabbat.
When the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt. This shows that the Jews have been led out of Egypt as a saved nation which has seen God’s compassion and hesed (steadfast love. ) This is an example of God’s care and love for his people and of what German theologians would refer to as Heilegeschichte meaning salvation history. The salvation history of God saving his people in the Exodus is pivotal in showing that the nature of God is an interventionist God and a God of Justice.
God’s love can be seen further in psalm 136 in which the refrain ‘his steadfast love endures forever is repeated 26 times. God is shown as a God of rescue nd redemption and here Jews learn that they should go to God in times of difficulty and ask him for help and he will rescue them because he loves them and sees them as an elect nation as shown in the doctrine of election in which God says to the Jews, ‘l choose you. ‘ Exodus 19 describes the Jews being in a wilderness where they are displaced and they can be seen as diaspora people.
God’s nature as a God of protection is shown in that God’s presence became visible by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. These natural forms of portraying God are excellent examples of theophany as God has a constant presence in the lives of His people and this theophany reveals His majesty and grace. In Exodus 19 it says, the same day came into the wilderness of Sinai. ‘ This quotation describes the location as being Sinai. However it is argued that the place in which these events took place was on Mount Horeb and the mountain on which Moses received the commandments was called Sinai.
There is a scholarly dispute concerning which is the correct term to use. Exodus 19 also says that ‘Moses went up unto God and the Lord called unto him out God is higher, a symbol of sovereignty and majesty. The text says that the ‘Lord called unto him (Moses)’ which is symbolic of Moses being the one who is chosen by God to receive the Torah through direct, divine revelation and pass it onto the Jews. Here, God can be seen as a having a powerful authority and he shows his authority through Moses.
Exodus 19 contains symbolism about the nature of God as an intervensionist God who loves his people and rescues his people as shown by the words Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians and how I bare you on Eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. ‘ God’s reference to the escape from Egypt and of His rescue and redemption f His people is yet another reference to the Heilegeschichte. The fact that God did all this for the Jews means that they should listen to him and fulfill his divine will. The image of eagles’ wings portrays God as a caring God and shows God’s immense care for his people and his immanence.
God is shown as a particularist God who singles the Jews out a special nation in Exodus 19 when he says that the Jews will be ‘a particular treasure for (him)’ and he emphasizes this further by saying that the whole Earth is mine but you (the Jews) will be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. ‘ By saying that the entire universe elongs to Him, God is showing His own omnipotence. This inter-relates with the fact that picking out the Jews as extra special people is called the Doctrine Of Election and it is the reason why Jews believe that they are the chosen people.
Holy in Hebrew is called kdsh and its literal translation is ‘set apart’ or ‘other’ meaning that in this covenant there is a direct command from God that Jews will have to be different in their behaviour and attributes. This is clearly demonstrated in certain Jewish rituals, such as the weekly festival of Shabbat and in observances such as the food laws, Kashrut. If asked to Justify this behaviour to non Jews they can look to this Covenant as an explanation that: God said that they had to do this.
After this, in Exodus 19, God told Moses to tell the others to wash themselves, symbolic of the importance of ritual purity. All the people who were gathered suddenly wanted to wash themselves, a reference to the book of Isaiah which talks about ‘unclean lips. ‘ The text also says ‘do not go near a woman’ which has sparked controversy with modern day Jewish feminists who believe that this might suggest that the Covenant is male dominated. This has been highlighted in Judith PlastoWs ook of ‘Standing again at Sinai. Finally, the nature of God in Exodus 19 is symbolized as thunder and lightning. God said to Moses to wait until the third day, on this day there were thunders and lightning, and a thick cloud upon the Mount. ‘ All of this is evidence of God’s theophany and his divine presence and immanence. Moses was given the mitzvoth on beautiful tablets of lapis lazuli which is a blue semi precious stone in order for the people to be given a guide by which to live. The beautiful and precious tablets can be seen to be a symbol of God’s precious words which are direct divine and revelation

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