EZEKIEL'S "HOLY CHARIOT" - PART 2
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE HEAVENLY REALMS
(Last update 7/3/00)
In the previous section of this study, we discussed how the "wheel" in Ezekiel's Chariot vision is a "connection" between the heavenly realm immediately around us and the "other heavens." As shown in the section below, the Zohar, associates this wheel with Metatron, who is associated with the Messiah. The Zohar also states that "beyond" the angels (holy beasts) that Ezekiel say, there are also angels (hayoth) who do not disclose themselves.
In the following Zohar section, there is an association made between the "four heavens" (or four "worlds") and the name of YHWH. The Zohar says that these undisclosed angels are in the two higher heavens, represented by the Yod (the "Y") and the first He' (or "Hay" - the first "H"). This places the cherubim angels that Ezekiel saw in the realm of the Vav (the "V"), also called the World of Yetzirah (Formation). These worlds will be discussed in detail later in this study.
The ophanim seem to be the connection between this realm of the Vav and that of what could be called the "first heaven" which is that of the second or "lesser" He' ("H") of Y-H-V-H, the one closest to the physical world we live in:
A summation of the "four heavens" as seen by Ezekiel
might be as follows:
The concept of multiple heavens, is mentioned by Paul in one of his epistles. Here he speaks of a man (most likely himself) who went up to the third heaven. This man was given great insight into the deepest mysteries:
The Soncino Zohar (Appendix III), summarizes as follows:
For, according to the Zohar, God, the protector of Israel, is borne along by four Hayyoth or Holy Beasts, constituting His throne, and these are borne on other angelic beings, which again rest on higher firmaments, under which is the lowest heaven, to which belongs the earth and all its creatures.
What we see is that there are multiple heavenly realms, and a continuum between these heavens and the various "entities" that inhabit them. Angels in our immediate realm "trace" their authority back to Ezekiel's holy beasts, who "answer" directly to God.
Ezekiel's vision of the Divine Chariot gives us insight as to "how things work" in the spiritual realm, and provides links to a number of specific concepts in Scripture.
A LINK TO JACOB'S LADDER
The Zohar makes a connection between this continuity of the heavenly realms and the patriarch Jacob. This goes back to the dream of Jacob's ladder, covered earlier in this study:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 150a - Jacob was beholden to dreams, as explained before. AND BEHOLD, THE LORD STOOD (nitsab) UPON IT, ETC. Here Jacob discerned the essential unity of the object of faith. This is implied in the term nitsab (firmly knit), which implies that Jacob saw all grades stationed as one on that ladder so as to be knit into one whole. And inasmuch as that ladder is situated between two sides, God said to him: I AM THE LORD, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM THY FATHER, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC , these two being respectively of the two sides, one of the right and the other of the left. According to another explanation, the Lord was standing over him, to wit, over Jacob, so as to form the Divine Chariot, with the Community of Israel, embodied in Jacob, as the uniting link in the midst, between the right and the left. That Jacob was in the midst is proved by the fact that the text here calls Abraham "thy father", but not Isaac, thus showing that Jacob was next to Abraham; and hence the text naturally continues: THE LAND WHEREON THOU LIEST , showing that the whole formed one sacred Chariot. Here Jacob saw that he was to be the crown of the patriarchs. The words "the God of thy father Abraham and the God of Isaac" show that Jacob was attached to either side and holding fast to both of them.
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 48b - R. Simeon discoursed on the verse: Now I beheld the living creatures (Hayoth), and behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces (Ezek. I, 15). This verse, he said, we can explain as follows. The Holy One reveals His dominion and power in all things, a power which shall never be shaken. He manifested His power in the Patriarchs, and particularly in Jacob. Now Jacob is united with the Tree of Life, over which death has no dominion, since in it all life is contained, emanating from it unto all those who are in perfect union with it. For this reason Jacob did not really die. He died in a physical sense when he gathered up his feet into the bed (Gen. XLIX, 33), which bed is mysteriously called the bed of Solomon (S.S. III, 7), the bed of the strange woman whose feet go down to death (Prov. v, 5). But of all the Fathers the Holy One chose Jacob to be the centre of perfection and fulfilment, as it is written: Jacob whom I have chosen (Isa. XLI, 8). Mark also this! All the supernal hosts with their cohorts and lightful chariots of celestial speed are joined one to another, grade to grade, the lower to the higher, each to its counterpart; and above them all a holy Living being (Hayah) (cf. Ezek. I) is set, and all those myriads of armies move and rest according to its will and direction. This is that Living Creature to which all Hayoth are linked, as each is also to each, all moving and swimming in the sea, concerning which it is written: This is the great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts (Ps. CIV, 25).
Note in the above portion about Jacob, the references to "the bed of Solomon" into which Jacob gathered up his feet. This is a references to the Shekinah and will be discussed later in this Revelation study.
Putting everything together up to this point, what we now have from the Zohar is a link between Jacob's ladder, Jacob himself (who was a "picture" of Messiah), and the Ophanim (wheel). We also know that the Zohar says the wheel is Metatron. As Yeshua says that He is that ladder (John 1:51), we can now make an association between Yeshua, Ezekiel's wheel and Jacob's ladder. All three represent a connection between the earthly realm and the higher heavens approaching God.A LINK TO THE SHEKINAH AND THE 12 TRIBES
NOTE: The following are the most pertinent excerpts taken from a very lengthy section:
Each of the Hayoth had four wings formed of white flaming fire, as well as four faces turned towards the four cardinal points, all illumined by the white light of the sun; the one turned to the east was illumined with a joyous light, the one towards the west with a concentrated light, the one towards the north was within the penumbra of the sun. These contained three groups. [Tr. note: Corresponding to the three tribes under each standard.] ...
There were, besides, a long succession of lower grades. These were innumerable. The second group contained fifty-four thousand and four hundred besides those of the lower grades, who were innumerable. The third group, which followed behind, contained fifty-seven thousand and four hundred. So soon as the first standard began to march the tabernacle was taken down, and all the Levites chanted hymns, and the lords of praise were all ranged there for the spirit of the Hayoth was in the Ophanim (Wheels). ...
The second standard bore on it the Eagle, symbolic of the angel Uriel, and was ranged on the south. Two chieftains accompanied him, namely, Shamshiel and Hasdiel. ... All the firmaments indeed moved forward along with these hosts in front of the tabernacle. We thus read: And when the Hayoth went, the Ophanim went hard by them. ...
Then follows the third standard to the north. It had for its ensign Ox and was accompanied by the angel Gabriel and his two chieftains, Kafziel and Hizkiel ...
Seven fiery rivers flow in front of him, and when thirsty he draws up a whole riverful at one gulp. Yet this river is straightway filled again as before, unfailingly. And were it not for a stream of water from the region of the lion quenching the fiery coals, the world could not endure. ...
On the fourth side the fourth standard, on the west, had for its symbol Man, the angel Raphael, [Tr. note: Whose chief function, as his name (RaFA=to cure) denotes, was the healing of men.] with whom there is healing.1
The Zohar links the twelve groups (of thousands of angels) with the reunification of the twelve tribes and the Shekinah, with Her spouse:
A LINK TO THE TABERNACLE AND TEMPLE
As shown earlier in this study, there were twenty-four groups in the encampment surrounding the Tabernacle. As the Tabernacle and Temple on earth are a reflection of what is in the heavenlies, this would imply some type of heavenly arrangement totaling twenty-four entities. This is shown as follows:
The Zohar states that the first Tabernacle had to built before Solomon's Temple as the two served different and sequential purposes in linking the heavenly grades together. Moses' Tabernacle "connected" the Shekinah with the next heavenly realm. Solomon's Temple then made the "connection" between the Shekinah and the higher heaven, the realm of the "bridegroom.":
Solomon's Temple is also connected to the River of Eden that appears at the end of the book of Revelation. (Which we will discuss later in this study.) The following verses also show that just as there is a Temple above and below, the same applies to the throne:
1. The Midrash Rabbah, gives a slightly different alignment of the angels.
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