Have you ever experienced a Godly revelation? I have.
Maybe you have too and didn’t realize it.
Isaiah identifies who will experience a Godly revelation when he prophetically and rhetorically asked, “to whom has the arm of God been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1).
To understand this verse and its spiritual lesson, we must examine the context and meaning of the term “arm of God.”
In this week’s Torah portion Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8), we are reminded that the Jewish people cried out to God concerning their affliction. In response, God took the Jews “out of Egypt with an outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 26:8).
The term “outstretched arm” is used many times in the Bible and is synonymous with God’s redemptive power. Concerning the Exodus, it says, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” (Exodus 6:6)
Right before chapter 53 of Isaiah, we are told that when the messianic redemption of the Jewish people takes place, the nations of the world will witness it. As is says, “God will bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).
In this verse, God’s “arm” once again represents God’s redemptive power and the term “bare” means “show” or “reveal”.
Isaiah continues in chapter 53 and asks, “to whom has the arm of God been revealed?” In context, he is referring to the previous statement that God will reveal his arm to the nations of the world who will witness the redemption of the Jews.
This unexpected redemption will bewilder and shock the nations who thought the Jews had been “despised and rejected” (Isaiah 53:3) and “stricken by God” (Isaiah 53:4). Isaiah explains that the nations will realize that the suffering and oppression of the Jews was the result of and “from” their mistreatment of the Jewish people. As it says, “He (the Jewish people spoken of as a single individual) was wounded “from” our (the nation’s) transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). This admission of guilt is something that no one could ever have thought possible.
I believe this prophecy was fulfilled in part when the Pope visited Israel in 2000 and made the largest gesture of reconciliation offered by the Catholic Church to Judaism by going to Jerusalem's Western (wailing) Wall and placing a note asking forgiveness for persecution of the Jews.
Parenthetically, the Hebrew word for “our transgressions” is prefixed by the Hebrew letter “mem” which means “from.” This letter has been mistranslated as “for” by missionaries to create a false narrative that the messiah will suffer “for our sins.”
However, we are taught in Deuteronomy 24:16 that, “each person dies for their own sin,” and we learn from Malachi 3:7 that every individual can also repent directly to God, as it says, “Return to Me, and I will return to you.”
In our lifetime, we have already witnessed a redemptive revelation of God when the Jewish people, completely outnumbered, miraculously defeated their enemies in the wars against the State of Israel.
So yes, we have all experienced a Godly revelation; we only need to recognize it.
May this Shabbos provide many more opportunities to experience Godly revelations.
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz