REVELATION

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HAS G-D SPOKEN TO MAN?

REVELATION

Once G-d’s existence is acknowledged, it follows logically that the Purposeful Designer would, in creating a free and conscious creature, have revealed to him the purpose of his life, and the manner of achieving this purpose. A G-d who cares about man is likely to have revealed Himself to His favorite creation.

Furthermore, it is impossible to find the purpose of life within life itself. Therefore, man must go to the transcendent sphere to find it. The Almighty reveals His Being through the mind and emotions, nature and history, but the most direct revelation is by means of prophecy, whereby G-d reveals His Will. The Torah (Teaching) revealed to Moses, represents the objective Will of G-d. This blueprint for civilization, recorded in the Pentateuch and transmitted through Jewish tradition was revealed by the Omnipresent Eternal, and has universal and eternal application.

‘Even communication of man with man is not understood. Why should we think it impossible for G-d to speak to Moses loud words capable of being heard by man, simply because we cannot understand how this can be done by a Being devoid of man’s speaking and hearing? We can no more understand how the mechanical action of our sensiforous organs arouses consciousness of that which is present in somebody else’s consciousness by means of loud, spoken words. Even matter and force are not understood clearly, and transcend human understanding.’ (S. Hirsch). To the Divine Torah, we apply the principle: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord’ (Isaiah 55:8). The Torah transcends human reason. Much as the contradictions that appear in the sphere of nature and life are solved in the ‘noumenal’ world of G-d, so also are the apparent difficulties in the Pentateuch resolved by realizing that the Torah is beyond external reasoning. It is only the ‘outer garment of the Torah’ which is completely within the reach of reason.

It is in this sense that man is commanded not to go after your own heart and your own eyes after which you go astray (Numbers 15:39), i.e., not to follow materialistic reasoning. The serpent representing materialism began its ugly work by sowing seeds of doubt into man’s mind, saying: ‘Did G-d really speak?!’ (Genesis 3:1).

Ethics

An ethical system which is not divinely founded gives little motive or power for the good life, and is bound to be relative and subjective, uncertain and unstable.

Revelation: Witnessed by All Israel

The people of Israel, numbering millions, attained a prophetic height at the foot of Mount Sinai, when they heard the first part of the Ten Commandments declared to them by G-d. By allowing the people to hear the very same words that G-d spoke to Moses, a basis was provided for the people to believe in Moses as G-d’s permanent spokesman, ‘that the people may hear when I speak with you, and will also believe in you forever’ (Exodus 19:9).

The whole nation was thereby brought to the conviction that the Torah was the Revelation of G-d. The Torah, itself, predicts that the truth of the Revelation at Sinai would be challenged in the course of history, as is happening today: ‘Lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your children and your children’s children… the day that you stood before the Lord your G-d at Sinai’ (Deut. 4:9,10).

The fact of Revelation is assumed as basic by the Prophets. ‘The whole line of prophets, from Moses to Malachi, is based upon this same assumption, and shows unanimity of thought that cannot be a delusion’ (Sanday). An unbroken chain of live Jewish historical tradition, extending over three thousand years, is based upon this Revelation.

The outstanding trait of the Jews throughout history is their ‘stiff-neckedness.’ ‘The hard-hearted scepticism of the Jewish mind shows that they must have been overwhelmed by a shared experience such as the Revelation at Sinai to depart from the vicious immoral cults that held the surrounding nations in their grip’ (Biberfeld). The Jewish people accepted the Torah only because they were convinced of its Divine source and authority.

Uniqueness of Torah

The uniqueness of the Torah is evidenced by the fact that it was in violent conflict with the tendencies of the environment and trends of the age. It formed a sharp contrast to the surrounding nations and could not have arisen from them. The Babylonian civilization was based upon corrupt polytheism and magic. Egypt’s idolatrous cults, land-owning priest-caste, and embalming (based on the concept of physical immortality), were all in opposition to the spirit of the Bible.

Leading modern scholars state: ‘Between Judaism and the coarsely polytheistic religions of Babylon and the old Egyptian faith, there lies an impassable gulf. I can only find one explanation, unfashionable and antiquated though it be. In the language of a former generation. it marks the dividing line between Revelation and unrevealed religion’ (Sayce). ‘If you wish to show the divine superiority of the Bible, place it among the sacred books of the East’ (Mueller). ‘The new discoveries support the claim that Israel was in, but not of, the ancient world’ (Pritchard). ‘The uniqueness of Biblical Revelation has been emphasized by contrast and comparison to the newly understood religions of ancient peoples’ (Elder). Magic and mythology, so prominent in ancient oriental literature, are entirely absent from the Bible.

The Bible possesses an objectivity unmatched by human documents. Nowhere do we find the blunders of people, of its kings and leaders (including Moses and David) so clearly condemned as in the case of the Hebrews, nor do we find elsewhere such unbiased reports of defeats. The Bible is the only historical record that places that places universal values and objective truth above nationalism. No other nation would have made the humiliating claim that it had descended from slaves.

The people of Israel cannot be regarded as the source of the Torah, as they were not up to its standard. They were a stiff-necked people, difficult to educate, immersed in idol-worship, as is shown by the sin of the Golden Calf. We must distinguish between the Torah, and the life of the Israelites. which sometimes reflected the influence of the time, such as elements of polytheism and promiscuity.

The modest, truth-loving Moses, who protested against the acceptance of his task, could not have imposed upon the people. The Torah stresses that he was, by nature, a poor speaker, lacking self-confidence, one who required recourse to the advice of the Midianite. Jethro, in order to administer justice among the people. Moses would not have led the people to wander into the desert, not knowing how to feed them and where to lead them, for forty years, unless by Divine command.

Hidden Structures and Number Patterns

The Divine Designer of the pattern of Nature (that which is revealed through His works: — ‘How great are Your works, 0 Lord, how deep are Your thoughts’ (Psalms 92:6).

Anyone contemplating the vastness, grandeur and harmony of the multiple phenomena of the cosmos, recognizes the One who created and constantly sustains the Universe: ‘How great are Your works.’ The scientists who discover the deeply hidden mathematical formulae and associations in astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences, thereby demonstrate the power of the Divine Thinker and Mathematician in the cosmos:

‘How deep are Your thoughts’ and mathematical links. (‘Thought’ = mahshava, root ‘hashav’ to reckon, to bind together.)

The Divine Designer of the pattern of Morality (that which ought to be is revealed through His words: — ‘The Teaching of the Lord (the Five Books of Moshe) is perfect, it inspires the soul’ (Psalms 19:8).

Anyone studying its religious, philosophical, ethical, psychological, social, legal, historical and scientific aspects is inspired by its truth and harmony, and recognizes its Divine Author. The scholars who have delved deeply into the text of the Torah, have found hidden harmonious structures and numerical associations and patterns which demonstrate the Divine Thinker and Mathematician behind the Torah: Uncover my eyes, so that I may see hidden marvels out of Your Torah’ (Psalms 119:18).

The early Torah scholars were called ‘scribes’ or ‘calculators’ because they counted the letters of the Torah (Talmud).

Six represents the three dimensional concrete world of Nature — Creation in 6 days = 6 directions of the material phenomena.

Seven, multiples of seven, and seven squared occur: in repetition of key words and phrases; spacing of letters to produce hidden code-language; as sign of complete retribution; in connection with oaths — it has the same Hebrew root — hishave’a’, in sanctified time periods: Creation, Sabbath, Festivals, Sabbatical and Jubilee Years, nuptial rejoicing, period of mourning, purification process; sacred vessels such as the Candelabrum.

Seven = the centre point, which is abstract, but co-ordinates the six = The mind, the noumenon, the image of all the six directions as one unit = The Mind which conceives and co-ordinates the Time-Space of the Cosmos and brings harmony to the variety of phenomena. It appears to be the symbol of Divine harmony; the word sheva may be connected with save’a = satisfaction, fulfilment, completeness. It has a parallel in Nature in the seven colors of the spectrum and the seven notes of the seven octave.

8 (7 x 7) + 1 = 50 = The Supernatural dimension, represented by miracles, and the miraculous Revelation of Torah.

10 = the number of plagues, Divine words of the Decalogue, minimum number of righteous people to save the city, number of units for measurement of Sanctuary, separation of a tenth in tithing. The word ‘eser’ may be connected with ‘osher’: wealth, abundance, unity in multiplicity.

7 x 10 = 70 nations, souls of Jacob’s tribe, elders of Israel = transformation of individuals to group harmony.

26 = the numerical value of G-d’s ineffable name, and its multiples, especially 26 x 10 x 7 = 1820 as a hidden formula. This is the number of times G-d’s name is mentioned in the Torah. Recently, many remarkable hidden messages have been uncovered by the mathematical and computer analysis of numbers of words, letters, numerical and digital values of letters and words, and spacing of letters.

The Divine origin is proven, since no human agency could possibly have introduced such intricate mathematical structures at such unimaginable depths while preserving a normal and readable narrative on the surface. A change in only one letter would suffice to throw out all these very delicately balanced, intricate and interlocking calculations. To produce such a system would lie beyond the range of the most powerful computer’ (Rav Aryeh Carmell, z’t’l’).

Archaeology

Archaeological discoveries are continually establishing the astonishing accuracy of innumerable details of the Bible. Archaeology shows how unique was the religious insight of the Hebrews, and provides cause for the belief that in the realm of religion they were indeed a chosen people.’ Nowhere has archaeological discovery refuted the Bible as history.’ The careful accuracy of the Bible has been repeatedly confirmed. The writings as an historical source are absolutely first-class’ (Elder).

The traditions of ancient peoples concerning Creation, Paradise, early man, the longevity of pre-Diluvian man, the Flood, etc., as well as the religious and legal heritage of antiquity, corroborate the Biblical account which has retained these traditions in their original purity, and refers to Divine Revelation of Laws and Truth to Adam and Noah. It has been shown that all men are members of one family, that mankind spread over all the continents from one starting point, and that the cradle of the human race was in the region of Mesopotamia. The Tower of Babel, the common origin and later confusion of languages; ‘the table of nations in Genesis 10 which shows a remarkably modern understanding of the linguistic situation in the ancient world that stands absolutely alone in ancient literature’ (Albright), have been confirmed by recent discovery. Many details from the lives of the Patriarchs — Ur of the Chaldees, the Battle of the Kings, the destruction of the Cities of the Plain, names of persons. places and general background in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, and the famine of Egypt, have found corroboration. The same applies to the Egyptian enslavement of Semites, the building of ‘city-stores,’ the oppression, the plagues, the Exodus, the desert wandering, the fall of Jericho, and the conquest of Canaan, as well as hundreds of names and details from the background of this period which are mentioned in the Pentateuch.

Science

Science is confirming many aspects of the Bible. The Scriptures assume that the Universe is immeasurable, that some of the innumerable stars have dark bodies, that the earth is a globe suspended in space, and that there are Laws of Nature. The Bible speaks in language relating to man, as we do ourselves, so it speaks of the sun ‘rising.’

Many scientists today confirm the fact that G-d created the world. Modem scientists write: ‘Mosaic cosmogony is in amazing accord with modem astronomical cosmogony’ (Armellini). ‘No scientific description of the existence of the Universe, and of the man who does the explaining, has superseded the first words of the Bible: In the beginning  G-d created the heavens and the earth!’ (Moulton). ‘The Creation Chapter is a marvellous anticipation of the modem view of creation as moving from the less to the more articulate, and reaching its consummation in man’ (MacFadyen). It is a ‘picture of the universe passing from the more random to the less random state, each step showing a victory of anti-chance over chance’ (Jeans).

The order of created beings is in accord with scientific discoveries. Formless energy was followed by light independent of the sun, which is now known to come from outer space. This first act of creation might explain why the equivalence formula for energy and mass is related to the velocity of light — e=mc2. ‘There are two kinds of waves, bottled-up ones which we call matter, and unbottled waves which we call radiation or light. These concepts reduce the whole universe to a world of light potential or existent, so that the whole story of creation can be told with perfect accuracy and completness in the words ‘Let there be Light!’ (Jeans). The creation of the firmament was followed by sea and land formation, grass, herbs, trees, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals and man. This order is confirmed by geological and biological discoveries. ‘The sciences of geology and biology were unknown in the time of Moses, and yet he writes as if he knew both’ (O’Connell). ‘There was no such knowledge available then. Here we see the marks of Divine Revelation’ (L.T.More). Albright has stated: ‘Modem scientific cosmogonies show such a disconcerting tendency to be short-lived that it may be seriously doubted if science has yet caught up with the Biblical story.’

The great knowledge and understanding of physical phenomena, of agriculture, botany, zoology, genetics, medicine, hygiene and many other branches of science, are most astounding. Some laws of the Torah reveal ‘modern’ scientific knowledge. The lists of birds and mammals in the Dietary Code cover species in outlying countries only recently discovered. The categories of permitted and prohibited mammals are entirely comprehensive. ‘Was Moses a zoologist?’ asks the Talmud. ‘From here we see that the Torah is from Heaven.’ Recent research has demonstrated the ‘advanced ecological wisdom inherent in the laws of the Torah of Moses regarding the green belt of cities, the Sabbatical cycle, the intermingling of plants and animals, the dietary laws, and the laws of purity and impurity’ (A. Hutterman).

Laws of the Torah

Many of the laws of the Torah can only be understood as being directives from a Transcendent G-d. Divine origin must be assumed for such laws as the Sabbatical and Jubilee prohibitions on agriculture, which depend upon G-d’s blessing for their fulfilment. No nation of its own accord would have invented, or accepted from a man, such a rigorous discipline, covering every aspect of life. ‘It is utterly impossible to assume that the Jewish people at any time, because of fraudulent and obscure documents, should have accepted a law governing every detail of human life, and yet have remained faithful to it for thousands of years’ (Biberfeld).

Science of Man

The Torah is a comprehensive, unifying guide for all aspects of life, individual, national and universal, theoretical and practical, hygienic, social, economic and political, metaphysical, psychological and pragmatical, ethical, legal and religious. ‘One may say without hesitation that the Torah is the most complete science of man, and above all the most coherent and unified’ (H. Baruk). It is built upon the harmony of man, as science is built upon the harmony of nature. It is a science of how man is to live; unique in the annals of humanity.

Reasonable

The application of reason to the Torah reveals its thorough reasonability; so much so, that it has with some justice been termed the ‘Religion of Reason.’ ‘Observe, therefore, the words of this Covenant…in order that you will act with reason in whatever you undertake’ (Deut 29:8). The great wisdom inherent in the teachings and regulations of the Torah has been praised by Jewish and Gentile men of wisdom throughout the ages, and especially in modern times, when scientific research has shown the truth of so many facets of these life-directives. This was predicted: It is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations, when they will hear all these statutes, they will say: ‘this great people is surely a wise and understanding nation…For where is there a great people that has such righteous statutes and judgements like the whole of this Torah?’ (Deut. 4:6,8).

Living Faith

The truth of the Torah and its inherent Divinity reveal themselves to everybody who fulfils it and lives by it: ‘The righteous shall live by his faith’ (Habakkuk 2:4). ‘The commandments of G-d are of goodly understanding to all those that fulfil them’ (Psalms 111:10). This ‘pragmatic’ test of truth is of especial significance in the Jewish way of life which sees little value in theory without practice. It is this that makes the Torah into a ‘Tree of Life.’ We must therefore conclude that the Torah is Divine Revelation.