More About the Number “7”
Regarding the 7 spirits before His throne related to the 7 stars of the sky (Revelation 3:1) we know that each star is linked to an angel as, “angels are like the soul of each star” (Abarbanel in Deuteronomy 18:14). This is deduced from the verses: “He brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name” (Isaiah 40:26), and “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (Psalm 147:4). “The Name of each star corresponds to the many angels” (Bereshit Rabbah 78:4).
We read that Enoch saw seven stars as seven confined spirits (Enoch 18:12-14). In our case (according to Maasei Bereshit), the seven stars are also seven spirits. At the same time these are seven angels representing Divine attributes. Tobit said that Raphael is one of the seven archangels that stand before HaShem (Tobit 12:15). Sefer Heikhalot also provides a list of seven angels bounded to the seven heavens (cf. 17:1-3).
Concerning the seven stars, the Sefer Yetzirah teaches (4:6-7) that there are seven luminaries (visible from the earth). These are: Chamah (sun), Kokav (Mercury), Noga (Venus), Levanah (moon), Madim (Mars), Tsedek (Jupiter) and Shavtai (Saturn). It is interesting that the seventh one is called Shavtai, from the same root with Shabbat. The book of Raziel says that the angels bounded to the seven luminaries are: “Kaptsiel, Tsidkiel, Samael, Michael, Anel, Rafael and Gavriel” (Raziel 17b:52; cf. Shoshana Yesod Olam pg. 198).
The word spirits (Ruchot) also means “Directions.” There are seven directions (ruchot) Six are North, South, East, West, Up, Down, and the seventh is the Middle point (Yetzirah 4:4; cf. Rambam). Each one of these directions/spirits represent the seven lower emanations of the Divine Light, the Sefirot (cf. Ari, Zohar). G-d is not made of Spirits, of course. G-d is the Maker. Thus each spirit, each star and each angel correspond (each one in its level) to the Middot (the lower seven Sefirot). There are seven Middot as we read: “Wisdom built her house, shaped her seven pillars” (Proverbs 9:1).
And to the angel of the assembly in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars says these things: I know your works, that you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
This chapter concludes the messages to the seven assemblies. Of these, five including Sardis and Laodicea in this chapter, receive mostly ‘rebuke,’ but this is out of love and for their benefit, as mentioned in the previous chapter. The congregation of Philadelphia receives the greatest praise of the seven, being comparable to the “Pharisee from love” as discussed. (Philadelphia = ‘brotherly love.’)
Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my G-d.
The implication here is on ‘quality’ of works in terms of them not being ‘perfected.’ Stagnation is not an acceptable choice for anyone on the “path of G-d.”
Compare to the specific reference to “dead works” in this text:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of G-d; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Messiah, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward G-d, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if G-d permits.
Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you wont watch, I will come as a thief, and you wont know what hour I will come upon you.
The following verses from the gospel of Matthew resemble the above:
“Watch therefore, for you do not know in what hour your Lord comes. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
Interestingly, the “timing” of things has everything to do with Israel’s behavior. IIn Acts, Peter tells his Jewish brethren that if they would repent right there and then, Messiah ben David would immediately come:
“Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which G-d foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which G-d has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
There are also traditions teaching that the messiah will come if; if Israel repented for a single day, or if Israel properly observed a single Shabbat or two Shabbats in a row.
Nevertheless you have a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Note: Compare the concept of “overcoming” here with that of “enduring” in verse 10 and how this relates to the keeping of Torah.
The white garments referred to in the text are not physical raiment, but of the spiritual realm, and associated with the condition of a person’s soul. This condition is directly tied to obedience of G-d’s Torah. Note that those walking with Yeshua in white are said to be “worthy.” This indicates a level of achievement on behalf of the person, which reflects the importance of being a “hearer and doer” of Torah.
There is a physical representation of this garment (also called a robe) associated with the Levitical priesthood. The Cohen haGadol (High Priest), wore only white vestments on the day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. As Yeshua’s comments in Revelation 2:4 are regarding a future time, we will briefly turn to the vision of the Millennial Temple and Priesthood, shown in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.
In Ezekiel we see the following:
- The particular office of High Priest does not seem to be in place
- The standard High Priestly garments are not mentioned
- The laws for the priests are of a stricter standard, similar to those for a High Priest
The priests in Ezekiel’s vision are shown to be at a higher level of holiness, comparable to that of the High Priest. It is clear from Ezekiel’s vision that a “higher level” of Torah is in place during the Millennium, or what is called the “Messianic Era.” The Tenakh, at its literal level, does not give much additional information concerning this.
There does not seem to be a clear understanding even among Torah commentators as to “what’s going on” at this time, as is seen in the following notes from the Chumash:
“The commentators note that several of the laws pronounced by Ezekiel contradict laws of the Torah, a clear contradiction of the principle that the commandments of the Torah are eternal and immutable … Apparently this is one of the passages which, like the book of Chronicles, was not intended to be understood in its simple meaning, since that would contradict what we know to be the true halakha … The Messianic era is shrouded in mystery; therefore the simple meaning of this passage must remain hidden from us until, in the words of R. Yochanam in Menachos 45a, the prophet Elijah will come and reveal it to us.”
Haftara commentary to Parsha Emor, The Stone Edition Chumash, Art Scroll Series, Mesorah Publications Ltd., New York, 1993, pp. 1176-1177.
At that time, the heavenly Temple will have “direct contact” with earth.
As the 18th century kabbalist, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto states:
“In time to come, not only will the Heavenly and earthly Temples be similar, the Upper House will extend until it reaches the lower world … For the heavenly Temple will not be uprooted from its place. Rather, it will extend until it reaches the lower world. Around it a physical structure will then be built as befits this material world, and the two structures will be joined and become one and will never again separate.”
“Secrets of the Future Temple” (Mishkney Elyon), Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzazatto, translated by Avraham Yehoshua and Yakov Greenbaum, The Temple Institute and Azamra Institute, Jerusalem, 1999. p. 24.
An example of the relationship between white robes, the priesthood and obedience to Torah is found in the book of Zechariah. The prophet is given a vision that he was told applies to the latter days. There was a High Priest named Joshua (not the Joshua from Moses’ time), and though he was destined to hold this office, he was not allowed to because he did not respect Torah and sinned. This is represented by his having “filthy garments.” G-d allowed him to be chastised, corrected of his error, and only when he was in a proper spiritual condition, did he receive his white robe and was made a priest:
“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.”
Note: The “seven eyes” mentioned in the above text will be discussed later in this study.
The physical garment of the Cohen haGadol here on earth, is a physical representation of that which is in the heavenlies. (Similar to the earthly Temple representing a heavenly model, etc.) The priestly vestments have a direct connection to the Sefirah of Tiferet:
“A fool spendeth all his spirit (Proverbs 29:11): this applies to Ahasuerus. But a wise man stilleth it within him: this applies to G-d who calmed Ahasuerus, in the same way as it says, Who stillest the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples (Psalm 65:8.). WHEN HE SHOWED THE RICHES OF HIS GLORIOUS KINGDOM. The School of Jannai and Hezekiah both said: He used every day to open six treasuries and show them the contents. R. Hiyya b. Abba said: He showed them the accounts of his expenditure. R. Judah b. Simon said: He showed them the dishes of the Land of Israel. R. Levi said He showed them the priestly robes. It says here, HIS GLORIOUS (TIFERET) KINGDOM, and it says elsewhere, And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for splendour and for beauty-le-tiferet (Exodus 28:2). Just as the word ‘tiferet’ there refers to the garments of the high priest, so here it refers to the garments of the high priest.”
Midrash Rabbah, Esther 2:1
In the book of Ephesians, chapter 6, Paul explains how we are to “put on the spiritual garments of the High Priest,” in our battle against the evil realm. He tells us do this by being “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” Thus, our victory over these forces comes by being conformed to the image of Tiferet.
The following section of the Zohar shows that the “spiritual garments” are linked to obedience to G-d’s Torah. What is interesting in this passage, is that those showing great fervor for Torah, out of love for G-d (as Yeshua taught in Matthew chapters 5-7), receive “higher quality” spiritual garments.
Happy is the portion of whoever is found worthy of those garments wherein the righteous are clad in the Garden of Eden. [i.e., Yezirah] Those garments are made out of the good deeds performed by a man in this world in obedience to the commands of the Torah. In the Lower Paradise [i.e., Yezirah] man’s soul is thus sustained by these deeds and is clad in garments of glory made out of them. But when the soul mounts up on high through that portal of the firmament, other precious garments are provided for it of a more exalted order, made out of the zeal and devotion which characterized his study of the Torah and his prayer; for when that zeal mounts up on high a crown is made out of it for him to be crowned with, but some of it remains as the man’s portion, out of which garments of light are made for the soul to be clad in when it has ascended on high. The former garments, as we have said, depend on his actions, but these depend on his devotion of spirit, so as to qualify their owner to join the company of holy angels and spirits. This is the correct exposition of the matter as the Holy Lamp learned it from Elijah. The garments of the Lower Paradise [i.e., Yezirah] are made of man’s actions; those of the celestia Paradise [i.e., Beriah] of the devotion and earnestness of his spirit.
Zohar, Shemoth 210b
The Talmud offers a similar type of “distinction” with relation to teshuvah (repentance):
One who does teshuvah out of awe, his premeditated sins are rendered as unwitting transgressions. One who does teshuvah out of love, his premeditated sins are rendered as merits.
The Zohar makes the following comments, linking back to our story (above) of Joshua the High Priest, from the book of Zechariah:
“As R. Eleazar and R. Jose were once walking in the wilderness, R. Jose said: ‘When it says of Phineas, “Behold I give him my covenant of peace”, it means peace from the Angel of Death, so that he should never have power over him and that he should not suffer his chastisements. As for the tradition that Phineas did not die, the truth is that he did not die like other men, and he outlived all his generation, because he kept hold of this supernal covenant, and when he departed from the world it was with celestial yearning and beauteous attachment.’ R. Eleazar cited the verse: “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord”, etc. (Zech. III, 1). ‘The “filthy garments”, as explained elsewhere, are those with which the spirit was clad in this world. It has been asked: When a man is doomed to Gehinnom, what are the garments with which they invest him? And the answer is given in the words, “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and standing before the angel” (Ibid. 3). This was the angel appointed over Gehinnom, and from this we can learn that the evil deeds of a man make for him these filthy garments, and so G-d said afterwards to him: “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I have clothed thee with rich apparel”; he was clothed in other proper garments through which a man may see the glory of the Shekinah. So Phineas did not depart from this world until there were prepared for him other garments pleasing to the spirit for the next world.”
Zohar, Bemidbar 214a
Note: See comments to verse 18 below for more about the relationship of these garments to the Garden of Eden.
The book of Daniel also associates the brilliance (of “garments”) of those resurrected, with the wisdom of G-d:
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
We also see reference to the gift of these garments in the book of Enoch.
“In those days the saints and the chosen shall undergo a change. The light of day shall rest upon them, and the splendor and glory of the saints shall be changed.”
“The saints and the elects have arisen from the earth, have left off to depress their countenances, and have been clothed with the garment of life. That garment of life is with the Lord of spirits, in whose presence your garment shal not wax old, nor your glory diminish.”
Later in the book of Revelation, we see that those who follow Torah are given the same white garments and are allowed to enter heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9; 7:13-14; 12:17; 14:12; 22:14).
Recall how Yeshua previously stated that those who “overcome” by keeping His works (i.e., remaining faithful to His Torah) to the end, will inherit the Kingdom.
“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.”
G-d, through the prophet Hosea, warned that a rejection of Torah would result in a forfeiture of the right to be a priest for Him:
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me: Because you have forgotten the law of your G-d.”
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things:
Yeshua refers to Himself as “He that is Holy.” This is similar to the Hebrew term, HaKadosh barakh Hu, “the Holy One blessed be He,” which is the name directly associated with the Sefirah of Tiferet and concept of ‘bridegroom.’
Because Tiferet symbolizes the state of harmony among the Sefirot, it came to be associated with the traditional name for G-d in rabbinic literature — Ha-Kadosh Barukh Hu (The Holy One Blessed be He). Tiferet was understood to be the subject of many traditional prayers. Prayers that emphasized G-d as father and king were usually prayers referring to Tiferet in particular or, through it, to the Sefirot in general. In this way Tiferet was often portrayed as the representative of the other Sefirot. Tiferet came to symbolize the aspect of G-d that was known as the traditional G-d of Judaism, the G-d of the Hebrew Bible. Tiferet was the Sefirah that most closely symbolized the transcendent deity. If was the Sefirah that spoke at Sinai as the representative of the other Sefirot.
The Mystic Quest: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism, David S. Ariel, Jason Aronson, London, 1988, p. 81
THE KEY OF DAVID
The “Key of David,” is a mysterious term, not directly explained in the Scriptures. Looking into the texts of the Zohar, we find some important clues. The first passage we present below (Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b), is lengthy, so we will break it up into sections dispersing comments throughout.
The setting is the end of days where the Shekinah (also called “Matrona,” and associated with the Sefirah of Malkhut and Partzuf of “bride”), and her groom (Tiferet) are reunited. At the heart of this verse is the Shema, which contains the words (a “mystery” according to the Zohar); “… The Lord is our G-d, the Lord is echad.” The “marriage” of the Shekinah to Tiferet goes hand in hand with the reuniting of all of Israel and their reunification to their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10).
The opening verse of this passage speaks of a single “light” dividing into 70 separate ones. This is reminiscent of Acts, chapter 2, where separate lights (tongues of fire) are seen above the disciples. The Shekinah is said to be guarded by 70 lights, as was represented by the ten Menorahs (each with seven lights) placed in the Temple by Solomon.
‘At the time when Israel is proclaiming the unity – the mystery contained in the Shema – with a perfect intention, a light comes forth from the hidden supernal world, which divides into seventy lights, and those seventy lights into the seventy luminous branches of the Tree of Life. Then the Tree and all the other trees of the Garden of Eden emit sweet odours and praise their Lord, for at that time the Matrona prepares Herself to enter under the shade of the canopy, there to unite herself with her Spouse; and all the supernal potencies unite in one longing and one will to be united in perfect union, without any separation whatsoever. Then the Spouse makes ready likewise to enter the Canopy in order to unite Himself with the Matrona.
Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b
The Zohar continues (below) with the cry of, “Hear, O Israel; prepare thyself, for thy Husband has come to receive thee,” seen in this section, is that of the Jewish wedding feast. This announcement is the call to Israel (and the Shekinah) to unite with her groom:
Therefore we proclaim loudly: “Hear, O Israel; prepare thyself, for thy Husband has come to receive thee.” And also we say: “The Lord our G-d, the Lord is one”, which signifies that the two are united as one, in a perfect and glorious union, without any flaw of separation to mar it.
Zohar, Shemoth 134b
This is the time of the mystical ingathering of all of Israel to their Messiah, “at the end of the age,” with the advent of the Millennial Sabbath.
The prophet Zechariah spoke of this time:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their G-d. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as G-d, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Returning to our section of the Zohar, the number “six” now takes on significance. There is mention of “six aspects,” which are associated with the six directions of physical space, and six Sefirot collectively called Zer Anpin, which are ‘represented’ by Tiferet. The letter Vav (also called Vau – the third letter of Y-H-V-H) comes to the forefront in this text. The Vav is also associated with Tiferet (the bridegroom), and also Jacob, (whom we have shown to be linked to Tiferet in the previous chapter). In Hebrew Gematria, the letter “Vav” also has a numerical value of six, and Tiferet is the sixth Sefirah.
This passage shows that there are also six words in the first part of the Shema, and six words in the second part. It goes on to explain more detail concerning the mysery of the Shema, and associates Jacob with Tiferet:
As soon as the Israelites say, “The Lord is One”, to arouse the six aspects, these six unite each with each and ascend in one ardour of love and desire. The symbol of this is the letter Vau (because its numerical value is six) when it stands alone without being joined to any other letter. Then the Matrona makes herself ready with joy, and adorns herself with delight, and Her attendants accompany Her, and in hushed silence She encounters her Spouse; and Her handmaids proclaim, “Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever.” These words are said in a whisper, for so she must be introduced to her Spouse. Blessed is the people which perceives these things, ordering its prayers in accordance with this mystery of the Faith! At the time when the Spouse is united with the Matrona a herald comes forth from the south, crying: “Awaken, O ye supernal hosts, and unfurl the banners of love in honour of your Lord!”
Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b
Next, the Zohar passage introduces a being named Boel (meaning: “G-d is in Him”). This name is found only twice in the Zohar and not mentioned in the Tenakh, Talmud or Midrash. Boel is said to have four keys in his hand – each representing one of the letters of G-d’s name, Y-H-V-H. Boel begins by uniting the first three keys, Y-H-V, which are representative of the “Father,” Mother,” and “Son.” (The letter Yod being associated with Chokhmah/Wisdom, the first Hey with Binah/Understanding, and the Vav with Tiferet/Beauty or Harmony.)
Boel is shown to first bring harmony above by uniting of the Yod and Hey to the Vav (the three higher worlds), before completing the process through the reuniting of the Shekinah (the final Hey and lowest world of Asiyyah) from below. Boel then takes the fourth key (the final “H” of Y-H-V-H, also called the “Lesser Hey”), and completes the unification by joining this key to the others. This represents the marriage of the Shekinah (also called the “Matrona”), which is in exile with Israel, to the remaining Sefirot, as represented by the Y-H-V.
This, the final “key” (the last “H” of Y-H-V-H), is associated with the Shekinah and the Sefirah of Malkhut/Kingdom, which is in turn affiliated with King David.
Then one of the leaders of the celestial array-he whose name is Boel (G-d is in him) – stands forth, and in his hands are four keys which he obtained one from each of the four corners of the earth. One key has upon it the sign of the letter Yod engraved; the second the letter He’; and the third the letter Vau; and these three keys he lays beneath the boughs of the Tree of Life. Then these three become one. Then the fourth and last key, which bears upon it the second letter He’, joins the three which have become one. And all the angelic hosts enter by means of those keys into the Garden of Eden, where with one voice they proclaim the Divine unity at the selfsame moment as it is proclaimed here below.
Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b
This Zohar passage next mentions a “period of silence” in heaven, which may explain that mentioned in Revelation 8:1. This silence is maintained as to not “alert” the realm of evil that this marriage is taking place. Recall that this evil realm is still “linked” to the Shekinah (i.e., there are both wheat and tares in the Kingdom), to this point:
Then the Shekinah, the Bride, is conducted to the Palace of the King, Her Bridegroom, for now He stands complete in all His supernal goodness and can supply Her with all that She needs. Thus her attendants bring Her in unto Him in silence. Why in silence? In order that no “stranger” (evil potencies) should participate in her joy. As He united Himself above according to six aspects, so also She unites Herself below according to six other aspects, so that the oneness may be completed, both above and below, as it is written: “The Lord will be One, and his Name One” (Zechariah 14:9): Six words above-Shema Israel YHWH Elohenu YHWH ehad, corresponding to the six aspects, and six words below-baruk shem kebod malkuto le’olam waed (Blessed be the Name, etc.) – corresponding to the six other aspects. The Lord is one above; and His Name is One below. We say this reponse silently, although it is a triumphant expression of the Oneness, because of the “evil eye”, which still has power under the present dispensation; but in the future (Messianic Age) when the “evil eye” will have ceased to exist and will have no dominion whatsoever over this world, then we shall proclaim the Divine Unity and its full accomplishment openly and in a loud voice. At present, as the “other side” still cleaves to the Shekinah, She is not entirely One, and therefore, although even in this present time we proclaim the unity, we do so silently, symbolizing it by the letters of the word wa’ed (ever), which are equivalent by certain permutations to those of the word ehad (one). But in the time that is to be, when that other side shall be removed from the Shekinah and pass away from the world, then shall that unity be proclaimed openly. When She enters the canopy and is united with the Supernal King, then we awaken the joy of the Right and of the Left, as it is written: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy G-d with all thy heart”, etc. -that is, without any fear or foreboding, because the “other side” comes not near and has no power here. But whilst Her servants are bringing Her to the King they must keep a great and solemn silence.
Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b
The Zohar then goes on to tell more about the origins of the Shema as recited daily by people around the world, for thousands of years. Jacob and his sons are seen as a picture of what is true in the spiritual realm:
Of this Jacob is symbolic. Before his death, when he was about to speak of the “end of days” (and the Shekinah left him) he said to his sons: “Perchance some stain is attached to me or to my seed?” But they replied: “Nay, there is no such stain, nor is any fault found. Thine own heart is possessed only by the One, and as for us-we have no contact with the ‘other side’ or any of its evil minions; on the contrary we, like thyself, are united with the King alone, since all our will and intent has been to separate from the ‘other side’.” Then Jacob said: “Blessed be the Name of the glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever.” In that hour Jacob and his sons became for a space, as it were, living portraits here on earth of the Shekinah Herself. Jacob symbolized the six sides of the supernal world as a single whole, and his sons were shaped to the likeness of the six aspects as manifested in the lower world.
Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b
Lastly, this text mentions two separate “end of days.” The first of these applies to the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom, the second to the “end of all flesh.” This is also consistent with the teachings of the book of Revelation:
Now he desired to reveal to them a certain “end”, for, as we have pointed out elsewhere, [Tr. note: Zohar, Genesis, 62b] there is one “end of days” (kez ha-yamin), which refers to the Holy Kingdom, the mystery of Faith, the mystery of the King of Heaven; and another “end of days” (kez ha- yamim), which is the mystery of the Guilty King, the “other King”, ruler of the powers of darkness, and that end is called “the end of all flesh”. Now when Jacob perceived that the Shekinah was withdrawing from him, he questioned his sons, as we have pointed out. And as Jacob and his sons proclaimed the union of the world above and the world below, so also must we. Blessed is he who concentrates his mind and will, with true humility and longing, upon this mystery. Blessed is he in this world and blessed shall he be in the world to come!’ Said R. Hamnuna the Ancient: ‘This stirring up of the unity has indeed been rightly and justly expounded, and that which we have just now heard is indeed very true; and in the future time these word’s which we have now uttered will stand before the Ancient of Days and in no wise be abashed.’
Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b
It is important to note that the previously mentioned “Boel” has the authority to do the things mentioned above. The subject of authority is discussed in our comments to verse 8 below.
The other reference to “Boel,” is also from the Zohar, and is associated with the judgment of G-d. This section adds insight to the relationship between gold and fire (see notes to verse 18 below). It also alludes to “mysterious serpents” originating from a realm associated with gold/brass, which is the Kingdom. (This will be discussed in detail in a future section.). Lastly, Boel seems to be linked to the angel Raphael:
Gold is included in Gabriel. The supernal gold is carried below by Gabriel, and seven kinds of gold separate themselves from it. “Silver” above is united with Michael below, and one rests on the other. “Brass” is also above; it originates from gold, because gold and fire have the same symbolism. It is fire which brings forth brass, and from this power emanate supernal mysterious serpents (nehashim = nehosheth = brass) and Seraphim brought forth by fire (from saraph, to burn). Therefore brass is golden, lit with orange and red, like fire. It is contained in Noriel (Fire of G-d) and forms his body. Techeleth (purple blue) is contained in both brass and gold, and derives energy from both sides. It possesses great strength and nothing can obtain dominion over it. It forms the throne of the power of judgement, and is therefore called “Boel” (“In him is El”, i.e. G-d as Power), as it is written: “And El (G-d) is angry every day” (Psalm 7:2). But when men turn back to G-d with perfect repentance, his name is changed into Raphael (G-d heals): for he brings healing to assuage the pains of that bitter judgment.
Zohar, Shemoth 147a
Returning to the subject of the Key of David, the next Zohar passage begins by speaking of how after the destruction of the Temple, the sun (Tiferet) withdrew from the moon (Malkhut/Shekinah). As the Temple alludes to G-d’s unity, specifically a union between the Shekinah as bride and Tiferet as groom, without it, this unity is negatively impacted:
R. Simeon further discoursed on the text: Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high (Is. LII, 13). ‘Happy is the portion of the righteous’, he said, ‘to whom the Holy One reveals the ways of the Torah that they may walk in them. This verse contains an esoteric meaning. When G-d created the world, He made the moon, and made her small, for she possesses no light of her own, but because she accepted her diminution she receives reflected light from the sun and from the other superior luminaries. Now, as long as the Temple existed, Israel were assiduous in bringing offerings, which together with all the other services performed by the priests, Levites, and Israelites had for their object to weave bonds of union and to cause luminaries to radiate. But after the Temple was destroyed there was a darkening of the lights, the moon ceased to receive light from the sun, the latter having withdrawn himself from her, so that not a day passes but is full of grievous distress and afflictions. The time, however, will come for the moon to resume her primordial light, and in allusion to this it is written: “Behold, my servant will prosper.” That is to say, there will be a stirring in the upper realms as of one who catches a sweet odour and stands alert. “He shall be exalted”, from the side of the most exalted luminaries; “and lifted up”, from the side of Abraham; “and shall be high”, from the side of Isaac; “very”, from the side of Jacob. At that time, then, the Holy One will cause a stirring on high with the object of enabling the moon to shine with her full splendour, as we read: “Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of the seven days” (Ibid. XXX, 26). There will thus be added to the moon an exalted spirit whereby all the dead that are in the dust will be awakened. This is the esoteric meaning of “my servant”, viz. the one that has in his hand the key of his Master.
Zohar, Bereshith 181b
In this passage, G-d’s “servant,” turns out to be none other than Metatron, who posseses a special “key.” Metatron is also said to be elder of his house. (re: Hebrews chapters 3 and 10). The reference to the colors green, white and red, is significant, and will be discussed later in this study. Metatron is even said to provide resurrection to the dead (i.e., John 11:25):
So, too, in the verse: “And Abraham said unto his servant, etc.” (Genesis 24:2), the servant is an allusion to the moon as already explained. Also, the servant is identical with Metatron, who is the servant and messenger of his Master, and who was, as we read further, the elder of his house, the same who is alluded to in the text: “I have been young, and now am old” (Psalm 37:25). “That ruled over all that he had”; this applies to the same Metatron by reason of his displaying the three colours, green, white, and red.”Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh”; this is symbolic of the foundation of the world, for this servant was destined to bring to life again the dwellers in the dust, and to be made the messenger by the spirit from on high to restore the spirits and souls to their places, to the bodies that were decomposed underneath the dust. We read further: “and I will make thee swear (veashbe’akha) by the Lord, the G-d of heaven”, the term veashbe’akha implying that the servant will be invested with the mystery of the seven (sheba’) celestial lights which constitute the mystery of sublime perfection. Further: “that thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites.” The “wife” is an allusion to the body lying underground, and “to my son” is an allusion to the soul, inasmuch as all the souls that issue from the celestial everflowing river are the children of the Holy One, blessed be He. The servant is thus bidden “not to take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites”, or, in other words, not to take for a soul any of the bodies of the idolatrous nations whom the Holy One will in the future shake out of the Holy Land, as we read: “and the wicked be shaken out of it” (Job 38:13), as one shakes dust from his garment. The servant is further bidden: “But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred.” “To my country” has already been explained; “to my kindred” is an allusion to Israel.
Zohar, Bereshith Page 181b
The servant is said to “exercises dominion” over ten grades, which are the ten Sefirot. This is consistent with what is said of both Tiferet and Yeshua, who are said to be the total image of the invisible G-d and representative of all of the Sefirot:
Observe now what is written further: “And the servant took ten camels.” The “servant” we have already identified; “ten camels” represent the ten grades over which the servant exercises dominion, and which are after the supernal pattern; “of the camels of his master”, to wit, an exact pattern of the superior degrees, as already said; “having all goodly things of his master’s in his hand”, to wit, all the supernal spirits that emerge from the supernal luminaries; “and he arose and went to Aram-Naharaim”, to wit, the spot in the Holy Land where Rachel wept at the time the Temple was destroyed.”
Zohar, Bereshith 181b
The timing of these events is placed near the time of the end of the sixth millennium (i.e., the days we are now living in):
And he made the camels to kneel down without the city by the well of water”, that is, he fortified the energy of the souls before their entering into the bodies for their revival; “at the time of evening”, to wit, the eve of Sabbath, which is the sixth millennium, the same period as that alluded to in the text: “and to his labor until the evening” (Psalm 104:23), also in the words: “for the shadows of the evening are stretched out” (Jeremiah 6:4).
This section of the Zohar also states that those who occupied their lives with the Torah will be the ones to rise first. This supports Paul’s statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, that the dead in Messiah will rise first:
We read further: “at the time that women go out to draw water”, to wit, the time when those who drew the waters of the Torah will rise from the dead before the rest of mankind, in virtue of their having taken hold of the tree of life. Further: “and the daughters of the men of the city came out to draw water”, to wit, the bodies will come forth, as we read: “and the earth will throw up the shades” (Isaiah 26:19), implying that the earth will in future give up all the bodies lying therein, “to draw water”, that is, to receive the soul in a perfected state. Further: “So let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, that I may drink.” It is one of our affirmations that every soul that occupied itself in this world in the study of the deep mysteries of Divine Wisdom, when it goes to heaven is raised to a high grade, high above those who remained in ignorance; and it is they who will rise from the dead first. The words, then, “Let down thy pitcher, etc.” signify the inquiry which the servant will make of each soul regarding her occupation in this world. We read, then, “and she will say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also”, that is, do thou drink first, and afterwards I will give drink to the other grades, for although those grades drink from the same source, they ultimately derive their sustenance from the religious activity of the righteous who knew how to serve their Master properly, for it is the righteous who know how to supply proper sustenance to each grade. “The same be the woman”, it says further, “that thou hast appointed for the son of my master”; that assuredly is the body destined for that superior soul.
Zohar, Bereshith 181b
I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and did not deny my name.
Verses 8 through 11 flow together, with the subject of G-d’s Torah at the center, and verse 11 being the reward for faithfulness to Torah.
In contrast to the congregation at Sardis (above), the assembly at Philadelphia has kept Torah, which is directly linked to His ‘name.’ The concept of Yeshua’s ‘name’ goes beyond his written/spoken name. In Hebrew writings, the idea of speaking or doing something, “in someone’s name,” refers to acting in their authority. For example, the phrase “in the name of …,” appears over 4000 times in the Talmud, and over 1300 times in Midrash Rabbah, in most cases used when one rabbi speaks “in the name of” (with the authority of), another, more senior rabbi.
On the subject of “authority” of mashiach in the New Testament:
These words spake Yeshua, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of G-d: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
G-d, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
As mentioned in chapter 8, the term “synagogue of Satan” is related to the Erev Rav, the “mixed multitude.” Whereas in chapter 8, this seemed related to the idea of religious-looking Jews (the Erev Ze’ir) due to their causing division, this verse stands in contrast to the previous one regarding “denying the name (authority) of G-d,” which would be more associated with secular Jews.
Verse 9 is directly tied to the promise in the next verse.
“The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending to you; and all those who despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
Because you kept my command to endure, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is to come on the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
The “command to endure” Yeshua speaks of is yet another reference to Torah. The word translated “endure” in this text is hupomone, (translated as “patience” in the King James version). It is the same word used later in Revelation, where we are told that it involves keeping His Torah:
Revelation 14:12 – Here is endurance of the saints: here are those keeping the commands of G-d, and the faith of Yeshua.
Thus, it would seem that there are three “categories” of people near the end of days:
- Those who are considered righteous
- Those who need additional purification
- Those who do not repent
This concept is supported by the idea found in Torah literature, that at Rosh haShana, three heavenly books are opened in which names are inscribed. One book is for those who are unredeemably wicked, another for the righteous, and a third for those of “intermediate status.”
“The fate of the wicked and righteous is sealed on Rosh haShana. The fate of those that fall “in-between” these two categories is deferred until Yom Kippur, when all the books are permanently sealed. Thus, they have the time between Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur (i.e., the seven year Tribulation period), to repent. It is customary at Rosh haShana to wish people both a good inscription (gemar ketivah tovah) and a good seal (gemar hatimah tovah) from that day until Yom Kippur.”
“The Mystic Quest: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism,” David S. Ariel, Jason Aronson, Inc., London, 1988, p. 151.
The book of Enoch also supports this view:
“In those days the saints and the chosen shall undergo a change. The light of day shall rest upon them; and the splendor and glory of the saints shall be changed. In the day of trouble evil shall be heaped up upon sinners; but the righteous shall triumph in the name of the Lord of spirits. Others shall be made to see, that they must repent, and forsake the works of their hands; and that glory awaits them not in the presence of the Lord of spirits; yet that by his name they may be saved. The Lord of spirits will have compassion on them: for great is his mercy; and righteousness is in his judgment, and in the presence of his glory; nor in his judgment shall iniquity stand. He who repents not before him shall perish. Henceforward I will not have mercy on them saith the Lord of spirits.”
I am coming quickly! Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown.
As mentioned, this “crown” is also related to the obedience of Torah spoken of in the previous three verses. It is a reward of the righteous in the world to come (as shown in verse 12 below):
“In the world to come … the righteous will sit, with their crowns on their heads, delighting in the radiance of the Shekinah.”
Talmud, Berakhot 17a
Midrash Rabbah has an interesting comment on “crowns” and how the “crown of Torah” encompasses both priesthood and kingship:
“R. Simeon b. Yohai learnt: There are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty. Aaron merited the crown of priesthood and received it; David merited the crown of royalty and received it. As for the crown of Torah, it lies unappropriated for the generations. If one attains [the crown of] Torah, it is as though he attained all three; if one does not attain [the crown of] Torah, it is as though he has attained none of them.”
Midrash Rabbah – Ecclesiastes 7:2
The following sections of the Zohar show a “cause and effect” relationship regarding crowns. The Torah, given by G-d, enables the righteous to attain crowns given to them by G-d. In turn, G-d crowns Himself with the words of Torah spoken from below.
Note that the “crowns” are linked to a deep love for Torah, as mentioned earlier in this chapter notes:
“For the words of the holy Law spoken here below ascend on high, where multitudes come to meet them to take them up and present them before the Holy King, there to be adorned with many crowns woven of the supernal radiances. All these words, then, are self-spoken, as it were, before the Most High King. Whoever saw such joy, whoever witnessed such praises, as mount up into all those heavens at the moment those words ascend, whilst the Holy King looks on them and crowns Himself with them! They spring up and down, they settle, as it were, on His bosom for Him to disport Himself with them, whence they ascend toward His head and are woven there into a crown. Hence the words spoken by the Torah: “and I would be playing always before him” (Prov. VIII, 30), In the verse cited there is twice mention of “them that fear the Lord”; the first indicates the men themselves as they are here below, and the second their images as reflected in their words that ascend on high. This esoteric doctrine is found in the Book of Enoch, where it says that all the words of exposition uttered by the righteous on earth are adorned with crowns and are arrayed before the Holy One, blessed be He, who delights Himself with them. They then descend and come up again before His presence in the image of that righteous man who gave expression to them, and G-d then delights Himself with that image. The words, then, are inscribed in “a book of remembrance before Him”, so as to endure for evermore. “And they that thought upon His name” is an allusion to those that meditate on the words of Torah in order thereby to cleave to their Master through an insight into the Divine Name, so as to know Him and become equipped with the wisdom of His name in their heart. It is written: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was as the appearance of a sapphire stone, the likeness of a throne” (Ezekiel 1:26).
Zohar, Shemoth 217a
“Happy are ye, O righteous, who observe the Torah; happy are they who are assiduous in the study of the Torah, inasmuch as the joy of your Master is in you and the crown of your Master is fashioned by you.”
Zohar, Shemoth 211a
Not surprisingly, there is an intermediary in this process, that again being Metatron.
“And now that I see that all these words of yours have been uttered by the will and command of your Master, I know that they are all ascending this day to the Divine Throne, and that the Chief of the angels [Tr. note: Metatron] is taking them up and weaving them into crowns for his Master, and this very day sixty holy legions are adorned with crowns, made of the words uttered here this day, to the glory of the Divine Throne.”
Zohar, Shemoth 209a
The following passage of the Zohar ties crowns to several themes, including; the white garments, G-dly wisdom, and the River of Eden:
‘The river that goes forth out of the Lower Eden [i.e., the “lower face” of Yezirah] is a mystery only known to the initiated, and is alluded to in the words: “and he will satisfy thy soul in dry places (zahzahoth, al. with brightness)” (Isaiah 58:11). The soul that quits this dark world pants for the light of the upper world. Just as the thirsty man pants for water, so does the soul thirst for the brilliancy of the light of the Garden and the firmament. The souls sit there by that river that flows out of Eden; they find rest there whilst clad in the ethereal garments. Without those garments they would not be able to endure the dazzling light around them; but protected by this covering they are in comfort and drink their fill of that radiance without being overwhelmed by it. It is the river which renders the souls fit and able to feast on and to enjoy that radiance. The celestial river brings forth the souls who fly off into the Garden; [i.e., souls “created” in Beriah, and “given their form” in Yezirah], the lower river in the terrestrial Garden, on the other hand, builds up the souls and makes them fit and able to enjoy those radiances, and so to mount up to the celestial Paradise [i.e., Beriah] through the central opening of the firmament and by the pillar that stands in the centre of the Lower Paradise [i.e., Yezirah]. That pillar is enveloped in cloud and smoke and bright flashes, the cloud and smoke encircling it from the outside in order to screen those mounting up into the Upper Paradise [i.e, Beriah], that they should not be seen by those remaining below. Herein is involved a most recondite doctrine.”
Zohar, Shemoth 211a
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my G-d, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my G-d, and the name of the city of my G-d, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my G-d, and my own new name.
The “new name” He mentions is associated with the establishment of New Jerusalem:
- For Zion’s sake I am not silent, And for Jerusalem’s sake I do not rest, Till her righteousness go out as brightness, And her salvation, as a torch that burneth. And nations have seen thy righteousness, And all kings thine honour, And He is giving to thee a new name, That the mouth of YHWH doth define. And thou hast been a crown of beauty in the hand of YHWH, And a diadem of royalty in the hand of thy G-d, It is not said of thee any more, `Forsaken!’ And of thy land it is not said any more, `Desolate,’ For to thee is cried, `My delight [is] in her,’ And to thy land, `Married,’ For YHWH hath delighted in thee, And thy land is married. For a young man doth marry a virgin, Thy Builders do marry thee, With the joy of a bridegroom over a bride, Rejoice over thee doth thy G-d. `On thy walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen, All the day, and all the night, Continually, they are not silent.’ O ye remembrancers of YHWH, Keep not silence for yourselves, And give not silence to Him, Till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem A praise in the earth. Sworn hath YHWH by His right hand, Even by the arm of His strength: `I give not thy corn any more [as] food for thine enemies, Nor do sons of a stranger drink thy new wine, For which thou hast laboured. For, those gathering it do eat it, and have praised YHWH, And those collecting it do drink it in My holy courts.’ Pass ye on, pass on through the gates, Prepare ye the way of the people, Raise up, raise up the highway, clear it from stones, Lift up an ensign over the peoples. Lo, YHWH hath proclaimed unto the end of the earth: `Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Lo, thy salvation hath come,’ Lo, his hire [is] with him, and his wage before him. And they have cried to them, `People of the Holy One, Redeemed of YHWH,’ Yea, to thee is called, `Sought out one, a city not forsaken!’
We know from Scripture that the New Jerusalem will not come until after Messiah returns to the present earthly Jerusalem. This is also spoken of in the Talmud. Note the reference to “The Holy One, blessed be He,” which as we have discussed is a name for Tiferet:
“The Holy One, blessed be He, said, ‘I will not enter the heavenly Jerusalem until I can enter the earthly Jerusalem’.”
Talmud, Ta’anith 5a
The seven lower Sefirot (the emanations of G-d prevalent in the world we live in), are said to be the pillars of the Temple:
“Wisdom hath builded her house [Temple], she hath hewn out her seven pillars:”
This “Temple” is associated with the Sefirah of Binah (Understanding), also called “Heavenly (New) Jerusalem.” As New Jerusalem comes at the end when there is no more sin and all is forgiven, it is also called Jubilee as well as “freedom.” Binah is also considered as “Mother” to the lower seven Sefirot and all of creation that stems from these emanations of G-d.
This subject will be explored extensively later in this study. Paul, quite remarkably, refers to the kabbalistic concepts behind Binah in one of his letters, (a verse not well understood by any commentaries):
“But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”
Binah is represented by the first “Hey” in Y-H-V-H (see reference to Zohar, Shemoth 133b-134b, in verse 7 above.)
We see Yeshua (quoting Psalm 82:6), stating that Scripture itself refers to humans as Elohim:
“Yeshua answered them, `Is it not having been written in your law: I said, ye are gods [Elohim]? If them he did call gods [Elohim] unto whom the word of G-d came, (and the Writing is not able to be broken,) Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of G-d?”
Yeshua’s statement of us becoming pillars in His Temple have to do with us becoming one with Him, in His Kingdom, as He prayed for Himself in John, chapter 17. In that chapter, we see Yeshua first praying for unity between He and the Father (which implies the “Mother” aspect of G-d as well, as the two are never separated in the Divine world of Azilut), followed by unity with all believers (who make up the Kingdom with the Shekinah). This aligns itself with the Zohar passage above, where “Boel” accomplishes the same thing.
“He set up the pillars at the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called its name Yakhin, and he set up the left pillar, and called its name Boaz. On the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.”
1 Kings 7:21-22
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
“But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall tell them, Thus says the Lord HaShem: He who hears, let him hear; and he who forbears, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.”
To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of G-d’s creation, says these things:
The “chief” (beginning) of the creation of G-d,” is a title of precedence, having to do with being first in rank or power. This is a reference to Metatron, who is at the Keter of Beriah, the head/beginning of the World of Creation/Beriah.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.
This relates to the hidden teaching of the metzorah in Leviticus 14:1-15:33. If he repents he is declared clean. If he does not and becomes totally covered he is also declared clean. It’s one extreme or the other. Nothing good happens ‘in-between.’
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.
Interesting is the idea of “Amalek” creating ‘lukewarmness.’
“What is the incident (of Amalek) comparable to? To a boiling tub of water which no creature was able to enter. Along came one evil-doer and jumped into it. Although he was burned, he cooled it for the others. So, too, when Israel came out of Egypt, and HaShem rent the sea before them and drowned the Egyptians within it, the fear of them fell upon all the nations. But when Amalek came and challenged them, although he received his due from them, he cooled the awe of them for the nations of the world.”
A modern commentary, associates the concept of being spiritually “lukewarm” via the spirit of Amalek, with preventing G-d’s Name from becoming one:
“The Ineffable Name of G-d, which at this time of history is too holy to be pronounced as it is spelled: Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, is actually made up of two parts, Yud-Heh and Vav-Heh. The unified Name represents periods of history when G-d’s Presence is revealed and known, and the divided Name represents periods of time when G-d’s Presence is hidden. This is why the prophet said of the Days of Moshiach: On that day, He will be One, and His Name will be One. (Zechariah 14:9) At the end of Parashas Beshallach Rashi reveals to us that it is Amalek’s wish and drive to keep the Names divided (Shemos 17:16). At the end of Parashas Ki Saitzai Rashi reveals to us how he does this: “He made you cold and lukewarm after you had been boiling. For, all the nations were afraid to war against you and this one came and led the way for others. It is like a boiling hot bath into which no living being could enter, until a wild person came and jumped into it. Although he scalded himself he made it cooler for others.” (Rashi, Devarim 25:18)
“Israel Challenge – In G-d’s Land Already,” Rabbi Pinchas Winston, http://www.thirtysix.org/1Israel.htm
Because you say, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and do not know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked,
Laodicea mistakenly believes itself to be “right with G-d.” It stands in contrast to the assembly of Smyrna (in chapter 2), which Yeshua said was spiritually rich.
Yeshua’s language is the same as found in the book of Hosea, where Ephraim is spoken of:
And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labors they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.
Ephraim was guilty of setting up a counter-faith with the other “northern” tribes. This system was structured to look like the “real thing” with a Temple, priesthood, etc., but was not what G-d had ordained in Torah. He too considered himself to be ‘rich’:
“And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out power”, namely, the celestial unholy power which presided over the act of idolatry committed by Jeroboam (I Kings 12:28), without which he would not have been able to succeed. Now, when this king and this priest of the “other side” are subdued, and their power broken, all the “other sides” follow suit, and are also subdued and broken, and acknowledge the sovereignty of the Holy One, and in this way He alone rules above and below, as it is written: “And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:11). In just the same way God broke here on earth the power of an “old and foolish king”, namely Pharaoh, who, when Moses said to him, “The God of the Hebrews hath met with us”, replied, “I know not the Lord,” but when the Holy One, desiring that His Name should be glorified on earth as it is in heaven, punished him and his people, he came and acknowledged the Holy One. Subsequently his priest also, namely Jethro, the priest of On, i.e. idolatry, was also humbled, so that he came and acknowledged the Holy One, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you…. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods…” (Exodus 18:10,11). So when that king and that priest acknowledged the Holy One, blessed be He, and were humbled before Him, He was exalted above and below, and then, and then only did He give forth the Torah, as undisputed sovereign over all.”
Zohar, Exodus 67b
Laodicea is an assembly that has established its own way — a form of “godliness” that does not find a need to subject itself to G-d’s Torah. This would apply today to those religions that claims to follow the Biblical G-d and Messiah, but teach that we no longer have a relationship to G-d’s Torah.
“There are some who pretend to be rich, yet have nothing. There are some who pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.”
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
“There is a mystical connection between gold and fire, both being associated with the Sefirah of Malkhut. This goes back to G-d communicating to Moses from both between the gold cherubim of the Tabernacle, and the fire on Mount Sinai.”
Ramban: Philosopher and Kabbalist, Chayim J. Henoch, Jason Aronson, Inc., London 1998, p. 95.
“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.”
“Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he showed thee his great fire; and thou heard his words out of the midst of the fire.”
Yeshua’s instruction for everyone is to first seek the Malkhut of Beriah:
“But seek ye first the kingdom [Malkhut] of G-d, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Yeshua’s use of the phrase “the shame of thy nakedness,” in verse 18, goes back to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve realized their “nakedness” after their sin. While in Eden, Adam and Eve primary level of existence was in the world of Yetzirah. They were in proximity to a “voice from above,” whose origin was in Beriah.
The Zohar states that the original “bodies” of Adam and Eve were clothed in a “supernal raiment of celestial majesty.” This is similar to the white raiment that awaits those faithful to Yeshua, as conditions for the righteous will return to those similar to the time of Eden (Yezirah).
‘Observe that man’s soul does not ascend to appear before the Holy King unless she is first worthy to be attired in the supernal raiment. Likewise, the soul does not descend into this world until clad in the garments of this world. Similarly, the holy heavenly angels, of whom it is written, “Who makest thy angels into winds and thy ministers into flaming fire” (Psalm 104:4), when they have to execute a message in this world do not come down to it before they clothe themselves in the garments of this world. The attire thus has always to be in harmony with the place visited; and the soul, as we have said, can only ascend when clad in ethereal raiment. Adam in the Garden of Eden was attired in supernal raiment, of celestial radiancy. As soon as he was driven from the Garden of Eden and had need of forms suited to this world, “the Lord G-d”, Scripture says, “made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin (‘or), and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). Formerly they were garments of light (‘or), to wit, of the celestial light in which Adam ministered in the Garden of Eden. For, inasmuch as it is the resplendency of the celestial light that ministers in the Garden of Eden, when first man entered into the Garden, the Holy One, blessed be He, clothed him first in the raiment of that light. Otherwise he could not have entered there. When driven out, however, he had need of other garments; hence “garments of skin”. So here also “they made residual garments to minister in the holy place”, so as to enable the wearer to enter the Sanctuary. Now, it has been already taught that a man’s good deeds done in this world draw from the celestial resplendency of light a garment with which he may be invested when in the next world he comes to appear before the Holy One, blessed be He. Apparelled in that raiment, he is in a state of bliss and feasts his eyes on the radiant effulgence. So Scripture says: “To behold the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit early in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). Man’s soul is thus attired in the raiments of both worlds, the lower and the upper, thereby achieving perfection. Of this Scripture says: “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name”; to wit, in this world-”The upright shall dwell in thy presence” (Psalm 140:14); namely, in the other world.’
Zohar, Shemoth 229b
“Buy the truth, and do not sell it. Get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.”
“How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! Yes, to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
“Therefore I love your commandments more than gold, yes, more than pure gold.”
Concerning the issue of celestial raiment, see notes to verse 4, and the reference from Zohar, Shemoth 210b-211b, in verse 11 above, where Malkut/Kingdom is compared to a special light from G-d set aside since the foundation of the world. Also examine 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, where Paul gives a dissertation on various types of “flesh,” and how our bodies will need to be changed in order to be in the presence of the Lord.
As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.
“You shall consider in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so HaShem your G-d chastens you.”
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.
This verse has often been used in certain “evangelistic” efforts. The context however, is a message presented to those with a knowledge of G-d. Rather, it is addressed to those who have fallen away into a faith not grounded in Torah. (Also see previous notes regarding the assembly at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2.)
He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.
The door in verse 20 leads to the “throne” of G-d in this verse, and is found both on earth, where King David sat and seemingly will sit again, as well as in the heavenlies:
“R. Eleazar discoursed on the verse: “And a throne is established through mercy, and there sitteth thereon in truth, in the tent of David, one that judgeth, and seeketh justice, and is ready in righteousness” (Isa. XVI, 5). ‘This has been explained as follows’, he said. ‘When the Thought arose with glad purpose from the Most Recondite and Unknowable, that gladness impinged on the Thought, so that the latter entered more and more deeply until it was secluded in the interior of a certain supernal undisclosed Palace. [Tr. note: Binah.] It is from thence that there flow forth, first all the rivers of the “right side”, and after them the others. On the “right side” it was that the Lower Throne was established, since the Holy One, blessed be He, established that Throne “through mercy, and there sitteth thereon in truth”. The Throne is the bearer of the seal, the impress of which is Truth, and the Holy One sits on that Throne only in virtue of that seal; “in the tent of David”, which is identical with the Lower Throne. “One that judgeth” is from the side of Rigour; “and seeketh judgement”, from the side of Mercy; “and is ready in judgement”, alluding to the Throne of Judgement, which is on earth. Similarly, the Tabernacle was established only on this side of Mercy, as already said; and thereby were adjusted all the affairs of the lower world.”
Zohar, Shemot 220b
Note Yeshua’s words that He is “set down with His Father in His throne.” This subject of who is seated in the heavenly throne will be discussed later in this study.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.