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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Holy One of Israel

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HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL . A title of God used with especial frequency by Isaiah to express His transcendence and majesty. The idea of God’s holiness is, of course, much older than Isaiah, but to him, as to no one before, it was the central and most essential attribute of God, far more so than His power or majesty. We can trace this idea from the very moment of his call in the Temple. As he felt himself on that day standing in God’s presence, his first thought was of his own uncleanness, and this wrung from him a cry of anguish ( Isaiah 6:5 ; cf. St. Peter’s cry in Luke 5:8 ). When this passed away, he heard the angelic choir chanting the refrain, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.’ From henceforth he thought of God most often as a pure, unique, spiritual Being removed from all the imperfections of earth an idea found also in some of the Psalms ( e.g. Psalms 71:22 ; Psalms 78:41 ; Psalms 89:18 ). It was in a special sense against the Assyrian invaders that God vindicated His claim to this title ( 2 Kings 19:22 ), by showing that the might of man was powerless against His own people when protected by Him. In this sense the holiness and the omnipotence of God are nearly allied, though never synonymous.

H. C. O. Lanchester.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Holy One of Israel'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/h/holy-one-of-israel.html. 1909.

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