Hope, Faithfulness and Joy
The prophets describe the great joy that the Jewish people will experience at the time of the ultimate redemption. Isaiah declared: “And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, they will come to Zion with song, with eternal happiness on their heads, they will attain joy and gladness, and sadness and sighing will flee” (Isaiah 35:10, 51:11).
The prophet also taught us what it is that will bring Israel such joy.
The Scriptures tell us that the Jewish people will have been hoping to God throughout this bitter exile. They will remain faithful to Him through fire and water (Isaiah 26:2,9,13; Psalm 44:18). When the God that Israel has been hoping for finally reveals His glory and His might, Israel’s dearest hope and their deepest longing will have come to pass. Their trust in the One Creator of heaven and earth will have been fully vindicated. Israel will then exult: “Behold, this is our God, we hoped to Him that He would save us, this is the Lord to Whom we have hoped, let us exult and rejoice in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9)
The Psalmist tells us that the same revelation of God’s glory that brings joy to Israel will bring shame to those who worship idols (Psalm 97:6-8). Moses and Isaiah both prophesied that God will then take revenge on behalf of the Jewish people who had been so cruelly persecuted for their loyalty to God (Deuteronomy 32:43; Isaiah 34:8; 35:4; 61:2; 63:4; 66:14).
The prophets referred to this revelation of God’s glory, which will bring joy to Israel, and shame to her enemies as: “The revelation of God’s arm” – Isaiah 40:9,10; 52:10; 63:5; Psalm 98:2,3.
With this information in mind, let us approach the question posed in Isaiah 53:1: “On whose behalf is the arm of the Lord revealed?”
By now you should know the Bible’s answer to this question.
(The Hebrew words: “al mi” – which I translated: “on whose behalf” can also be translated as: “upon whom”. The Biblical answer will remain the same. Isaiah explicitly declared that God’s glory will be revealed upon Israel to the consternation of her enemies (Isaiah 60:1,2).)
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal