The community of the faithful: Jesus as a personification of servant Israel

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  • Traditional Christian theological interpretations view the Suffering Servant of Isaiah as an individual, messianic figure, with an inherent eschatological purpose. This traditional view proposes that the Suffering Servant of Isaiah pointed to a future messianic end of times figure, and that Jesus was the fulfillment of these prophecies. The Son of Man figure in the prophecies of Daniel is viewed in a similar way, as an end of times, messianic and eschatological figure, and again, the prophecy of this messianic figure is seen in traditional Christian interpretations as having been fulfilled by the person of Jesus. My proposed hypothesis takes into consideration the alternative view of the Suffering Servant and the Son of Man, in that both were used by the exilic prophets to describe the wounded nation of Israel, bound to exile and cast away from their covenant promise. I propose that the term Suffering Servant was used to describe the Israel of the exile, wounded and bound to defeat in Babylon. I further propose that the term Son of Man as used in Daniel was used to describe the nation of Israel in an ideal state, bound to God in a relationship of perfect obedience. The second part of my interpretation is to show that Jesus understood what the exilic prophets meant, he understood what the nation of Israel had been through, namely a death and resurrection experience, and understood himself as the actualization, or the personification of the ideal nation under God. The nation of Israel was then manifest as a singular personification of the people of God, Jesus. Jesus' role was then to undergo a literal death and resurrection experience in order to restore the nation to their covenant promise as the elect of God. The last part of my interpretation takes the Gospel of Luke and the promise of the Kingdom of God, which I propose follows a realized eschatological scenario in which the Kingdom of God represents the full and final extension of God's plan for Israel. In that Israel is no longer a nation bound to ethnic and geographic borders, but is a universal kingdom in composition. My purpose with my proposed interpretation is to enrich the traditional interpretation with a new perceptual lens by which to understand the person of Jesus, his mission and his purpose.

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    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International