revhead.gif (4972 bytes)


THE KINGDOM OF GOD
P
ART 3 - THE UNIFICATION OF THE NAME
(Last updated 8/30/00)

This section on the Kingdom touches on several aspects of the Kingdom in relation to the Unification of the Name of God - including the principle of sanctifying the Name of God, and the relationship of the Kingdom to the Temple.

SANCTIFICATION AND UNIFICATION

There was an opportunity to bring about the Kingdom and unification of the name at the time of Mount Sinai. However, the covenant was tainted by the sin of the people and the Messianic era was not ushered in. If the people had maintained their faith in God along with obedience of His commandments (Hebrews 4:2), they would have achieved a sanctification of the Name of God (kiddush Hashem). This happened again at the time of Yeshua's life on earth, when the Torah in the flesh tabernacled among His people, who for the most part rejected Him.

The Zohar speaks of a time when this sanctification will be achieved and declared throughout the heavenly realms. It is a time of perfect peace (i.e., Rev. 21):

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 51b - At last comes the moment when a voice proclaims throughout all the spheres: "Sanctified! Sanctified!" Then there is peace everywhere, perfect peace, even to the wicked in Gehenna, and all the souls crown themselves, some above, and some below.

In chapter four of the book of Revelation, John has a similar vision to that of Ezekiel. Here the angels are also proclaiming God's sanctity (sanctified = holy):

Revelation 4:8 - And the four living creatures, each by itself severally, had six wings, around and within [are] full of eyes, and rest they have not day and night, saying, `Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is coming;'

The Torah connects our works (done in faith) to hastening the Day of the Lord. The Torah portion (parshat) of Kedoshim (Lev 19:1-20:27), starts with the command from God to "be Holy, for I, YHVH your G-d, am Holy." (Holy = Sanctified) What then follows is a list of things by which that command is fulfilled. This is similar to the extended Shema as found in Deuteronomy 6:4-25. In verse 5, God first tells Israel that He wants their love. His instuctions on how to learn how to love Him are seen in the next twenty verses, which point to following Torah.

What is interesting is that the commandments in Parshat Kedoshim are not to much "religious" instruction, but moral injunctions. The reason for this has to do with what it means to be sanctified. The commands of Torah are the means for us to be conformed to the image of God. (Hence the importance placed on Torah study. See comments below on Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 160b-161b.) The Godly attributes we are to learn are already part of our makeup, since we are created in His image. The Torah was given to help us see this "image of God."

The bottom line is that God's Name is sanctified as are we, through learning and doing Torah.

In most Jewish prayer books, in one of the special paragraphs said in advance of a performing a mitzvah (one of God's specific commandments or any righteous deed), we find the following prayer, which is to focus us on the purpose of the mitzvah:

[I hereby do this mitzvah] for the sake of the unification of The Holy One, Blessed is He, and His Divine Presence, in fear and in love, to unify the Name of yud-h'eh with vav h'eh in completion, in the name of the entire Jewish people.

A hymn popular in Messianic Jewish circles is called Kadosh, meaning "Holy" (holy = sanctified). It has the following chorus, descriptive of the eternal, infinite God:

Who was and Who is and Who is to come.

Christianity has an older hymn called "Holy, Holy, Holy," that reflects the same concept. The second stanza says:

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea
Cherubim and Saraphim falling down before thee
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be

One of the mysteries revealed to us concerning Yeshua is found in Hebrews 13:8, which says that He is the same yesterday and today, and forever. Yeshua, in Revelation 1:8, tells John that He is the One who is, who was and who is to come. In Revelation 1:19, He instructs John to: write the things he has seen, and the things which are and the things which will take place after this.

John chapter 17 is one of the most mystical portions of the entire Bible. Here we have Yeshua, praying to the Father for his disciples and the future generations of those who come to faith:

John 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Torat ha-sod (Torah-based Kabbalah) places great emphasis on the word "truth." In the Hebrew, the word for truth is emet, spelled Aleph-Mem-Tav. The letters Aleph and Tav, are the first and last letters in the Hebrew alphabet. When found together in scripture, Aleph-Tav represents God as the beginning and the end (i.e., Isaiah 44:6). The letter Mem is the middle letter of the alphabet.

The first two letters of Emet, Aleph-Mem, spell em, which means mother. This is the beginning of man. The last two letters, Mem-Tav, spell met, the Hebrew word for death - the end of man. The letter Mem gets its name from the mayim, the word for water. Throughout scripture, water represents change, especially spiritual change (i.e., purification in the mikvah). Thus, Aleph is the past, Tav is the future, and Mem is the transition from past to future - what we call the present.1

THE TEMPLE AND UNIFICATION

One of the more mysterious commands given by God is found in the book of Ezekiel, where the people are told to study the Millennial Temple that the prophet describes:

Ezekiel 43:10-11 - Thou, son of man, Shew the house of Israel the house, And they are ashamed of their iniquities, And they have measured the measurement. And since they have been ashamed of all that they have done, The form of the house, and its measurement, And its outlets, and its inlets, and all its forms, And all its statutes, even all its forms, And all its laws cause them to know, And write [it] before their eyes, And they observe all its forms, And all its statutes, and have done them.

As we know, Revelation 1:3 contain a special blessing for those who hear and take heed to its teachings. Is there a connection to Ezekiel's instruction?

Revelation 1:3 - Happy is he who is reading, and those hearing, the words of the prophecy, and keeping the things written in it -- for the time is nigh!

The Talmud teaches that the Temple is a physical representation of the Kingdom. (The footnote marked by the asterisk (*) is from the Soncino Talmud and shown below the text):

Soncino Talmud - Mas. Pesachim 54a - Surely it was taught: Seven things were created before the world was created, and these are they: The Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah. The Torah, for it is written, The Lord made me [sc. the Torah] as the beginning of his way. Repentance, for it is written, Before the mountains were brought forth, and it is written, Thou turnest man to contrition, and sayest, Repent, ye children of men. The Garden of Eden, as it is written, And the Lord planted a garden in Eden from aforetime. The Gehenna, for it is written, For Tophet [i.e., Gehenna] is ordered of old. The Throne of Glory and the Temple, for it is written, Thou throne of glory, on high from the beginning, Thou place of our sanctuary. The name of the Messiah, as it is written, His [sc. the Messiah's] name shall endure for ever, and has exited before the sun!* — I will tell you: only its cavity was created before the world was created, but its fire [was created] on the eve of the Sabbath.

* the goal of Creation is that the Kingdom of God (represented by the Temple) shall be established on earth, as it is in heaven; and finally, the name of the Messiah, i.e., the assurance that God's purpose will ultimately be achieved.

The Zohar supports the idea of the original Tabernacle being a symbol of the unity of the upper and lower worlds:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 231b - It has already been explained that the verse, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth", means that the lower world was created after the pattern of the upper. Now, the Tabernacle below was likewise made after the pattern of the supernal Tabernacle in all its details. For the Tabernacle in all its works embraced all the works and achievements of the upper world and the lower, whereby the Shekinah was made to abide in the world, both in the higher spheres and the lower. Similarly, the Lower Paradise is made after the pattern of the Upper Paradise, and the latter contains all the varieties of forms and images to be found in the former. Hence the work of the Tabernacle, and that of heaven and earth, come under one and the same mystery. It is written: "Lift up your eyes on high, and see: who hath created these? He that bringeth out their hosts by number.... Not one faileth" (Isa. XL, 26).

As mentioned earlier, the Zohar (as do other texts including the Torah itself) says that Moses was shown how to design the Temple and its ornaments based on a vision (from Tipheret) of what existed in the heavenly realms. The Zohar goes on to say that the pattern of these things not only represented reality in spiritual space, but also in spiritual time: (See the previous section on Time and Space: Shabbat and the Temple.)

Recall that the reference to "the Holy One, blessed be He," is to Tipheret, and the "glory of the Almighty," is to the Shekinah:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 233b-234b - And observe that all these measurements prescribed for this world had for their object the establishment of this world after the pattern of the upper world, so that the two should be knit together into one mystery. At the destined time, when the Holy One, blessed be He, will bestir Himself to renew the world, all the world will be found to express one mystery, and the glory of the Almighty will then be over all, in fulfilment of the verse, "In that day shall the Lord be one, and his name one" (Zech. XIV, 9).’ R. Judah followed with a discourse on the verse: "The counsel (sod) of the Lord is with them that fear him; and his covenant to make them know it" (Ps. xxv, 14). ‘ "The counsel", he said, ‘alludes to the sublime mystical knowledge which remains hidden and undisclosed save for those that fear the Lord continuously and thus prove themselves worthy of these secrets and able to keep them.

There are several important aspects to the above text:

  • There is a mystery of the upper and lower worlds being brought together. This is associated with the unification of the Name of God, as the upper world, represented by Tipheret, as represented by the Messiah/Bridegroom, will be unified to the lower world, as represented by Malkut, the Shekinah/Bride.
  • "The Holy One Blessed be He" is a specific name associated with Tipheret throughout the mystical Jewish writings. He is the one that will come to renew the world.
  • This is a time when "the glory of the Almighty will then be over all." This is the time that Yeshua prayed for in John 17, where he said (using very similar language):

John 17:21-22 - That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. (Click here for the complete text of John 17.)

  • The blessing offered at the end of the Zohar passage (mentioned earlier in this section), is directly tied to understanding this mystery of the coming Kingdom and unification of the Name (in the same fashion as Revelation 1:3).

THE TORAH AND UNIFICATION

The Zohar reaches a conclusion about the combined name YHWH Elohim as found in the Shema, calling it the "whole mystery of faith," and "secret of secrets." It connects an understanding of this deepest mystery to the diligent study of Torah. The Zohar speaks of Torah as an amon - another name for a tutor - (i.e., Galatians 3:24), and that Torah was the architect of creation (functioning on behalf of the Eyn Sof). This would link Torah very closely to Yeshua (the goal of Torah - Romans 10:4), by whom all things were made, (according to John, chapter 1).

In this passage, reference is also made to the Angel of the Lord, which has a direct connection to Tipheret. Finally, the unified name YHWH Elohim is said to be a synthesis of both written and oral Torah:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 160b-161b - The whole mystery of the Faith depends upon this; from this comes the knowledge of the mystery of mysteries, the secret of secrets. YHWH ELOHIM is a full Name, and the whole is one. Herein is a mystery of mysteries to the masters of the esoteric knowledge. And, indeed, blessed are they who endeavour to comprehend the Torah. When the Holy One resolved to create the world, He guided Himself by the Torah as by a plan, as has been pointed out [Tr. note: v. Zohar, Gen., 134a, in connection with the words "Then I was by him as amon" (Prov. VIII, 30), where the word amon (nursling) may also be read uman (architect). Was the Torah, then, an architect? Yes; for if a King resolves to build him a palace, without an architect and a plan how can he proceed?

... Therefore is it presented before the Holy King, that afterwards it may know Him in this world, and be devoted to the Holy One in the mystery of the Faith. Concerning this it is written: "Thou hast been shown to know", that is, shown by the angel to the Holy One, in order to know, to understand, to penetrate in this world to the mystery of the Faith, the mystery of the Torah. And he who, having come into this world, does not study the Torah to know Him-better were it for him that he had never been born; since the only aim and object of the Holy One in sending man into this world is that he may know and understand that YHWH is Elohim.

... And he who, having come into this world, does not study the Torah to know Him-better were it for him that he had never been born; since the only aim and object of the Holy One in sending man into this world is that he may know and understand that YHWH is Elohim. This is the sum of the whole mystery of the Faith, of the whole Torah, of all that is above and below, of the Written and Oral Torah, all together forming one unity. The essence of the mystery of Faith is to know that this is a complete Name. This knowledge that YHWH is One with Elohim is indeed the synthesis of the whole Torah, both of the Written and of the Oral, for “Torah” stands for both, the former being symbolic of YHWH and the latter of Elohim. The Torah being the mystery of the Holy Name, it is therefore called by two names, one of which is general, and the other particular. The general is complemented by the particular, also the particular by the general, both combining to form one synthesis. In the Torah we find, therefore, the synthesis of the Above and the Below, for the one Name, YHWH, is above, while the other, Elohim, is below, one indicating the higher world and the other the lower. And therefore is it written: “Thou hast been shown to know that YHWH is Elohim.” This is the essence of all things, and it is necessary that man should perceive it in this world.’

Recall what the we earlier saw in the Zohar about the one who has the 42-letter divine name and His role with creation:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 234b - The letters of the Divine Name embrace the mystery of the Torah, and all the worlds are a projection of the mystery of those letters.

UNIFICATION AT SINAI

As mentioned, the offer of the Kingdom was put before Israel at Mount Sinai as well as with the appearance of Yeshua. There was a brief unification of the Name at Sinai, but this did not achieve a permament status, due to the sin of the Golden Calf.

The following Zohar section explains the difference between what was seen by Moses at Sinai as compared to the (less clear) vision of Ezekiel. Here it is (metaphorically) said that Moses saw the "Head" and the "Body" of God, whereas Ezekiel saw but the "hand," which is further explained to be the Shekinah (as was discussed earlier in this section.) The presence of the word "eth" (Aleph-Tav, meaning beginning and end) is significant:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 82b - We have been taught that when the Holy One revealed Himself on Mount Sinai all the Israelites saw the Divine manifestation as one sees a light streaming through the glass of a lamp, and by means of that light each one of them saw more than did the prophet Ezekiel, since those celestial voices were all revealed together, whilst to Ezekiel only the Shekinah was revealed in Her Chariot, and he but caught glimpses of it as though through many barriers. Said R. Judah: ‘Blessed was Moses, concerning whom it says: “And the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount”, and blessed was that generation concerning whom it says: “And the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai before the eyes of the whole people.” As the Torah, however, was given from the Right Hand (“from his right hand went a fiery law for them”, Deut. XXXIII, 2), what essential difference was there between the manifestation to the people and the manifestation to Ezekiel?’ R. Jose replied: ‘On Sinai the “Head” and the “Body” of the King were revealed, as it is written: “He bowed the heavens and came down” (2 Sam. XXII, 10); but to Ezekiel it was, as it were, only the “Hand” which was shown: “And the hand of the Lord was there upon him” (Ezek. I, 3). And even the “Hand” has two aspects, a higher and a lower. Observe that he says: “The heavens were opened and I saw visions (maroth) of God” (Ezek. I, 1). “Maroth” is written in a defective form, to indicate that he merely had a vision of the Shekinah.’ Said R. Jesse: ‘But is the Shekinah not a representation of the whole of the Deity?’ R. Jose replied: ‘The “Head” of the King is not to be compared to His “Feet”, although both are in the “Body” of the King.’ Observe that Isaiah said “I saw (eth) the Lord” (Isa. VI, 1), but Ezekiel said “I saw visions of God”.’ They meant, however, the same thing, and both belonged to the same grade (of spiritual perception). Why, then, did Isaiah not give a detailed account of his visions, like Ezekiel? According to R. Jose, it was necessary that Ezekiel should speak in a detailed manner in order to impress the people in exile with the fact that the Holy One loved them, and that the Shekinah and Her Chariots had gone down into exile also, to be present with them.

The following passage offers more insight into the Sinai experience. It says that Moses and a number of others, "saw the God of Israel." As Scripture states that no man has actually "seen" God, what (who) is it that they saw?

Again, the Zohar indicates that the presence of the word "eth" (Aleph-Tav) in the text, shows that what they "saw" was more than the Shekinah. This "extra quality of enlightenment" that they experienced is directly associated with none other than Metatron, whom as we have seen, is a figure of Messiah:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 126a - AND THEY SAW THE GOD OF ISRAEL, AND THERE WAS UNDER HIS FEET AS IT WERE A PAVED WORK OF A.SAPPHIRE STONE. Said R. Judah: ‘It is written: “This thy stature is like to a palm tree” (S.S. VII, 8).What love, indeed, has the Holy One bestowed upon the Community of Israel in that He never separates.Himself from her, but is perpetually and perfectly united with her, even as a palm tree in which male and.female are one in complete and continual union! See now. When Nadab and Abihu and the seventy elders.”saw”, what did they actually see? “They saw the God of Israel”, that is to say, the Shekinah manifested.Herself unto them.’ But R. Jose interpreted the demonstrative pronoun eth in this verse (“and they saw.eth the God of Israel”) as denoting something more, over and above R. Judah's exposition, a kind of extra quality of enlightenment, as it were-although what they saw they saw from a distance. R. Isaac asked: [It.says here, “Under his feet was as it were a work of sapphire stone, but Ezekiel said] “This is the living creature (Hayah) which I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar” (Ezek. x, 20). Now, which Hayah is here indicated?’ R. Jose replied in the name of R. Hiya that the reference is to the little Hayah. [Tr. Note: Metatron.]

A recent commentary on Nachmanides (Ramban) also speaks of the connection between the Tabernacle/Temple and the unity of God as seen at Mount Sinai.

Specifically, the Tabernacle alludes to the mystery of God's Unity, which represents a main theme of Revelation on Mount Sinai, according to Ramban. He writes: "And the verse mentions twice regarding the Tabernacle: 'And the Glory of God filled the Tabernacle' (Exodus 40:34), parallel to (Deuteronomy 5:21) 'His Glory and His Greatness'" (Exodus 25:1).

... This mystical unity between the two Divine Names, or sephiroth, via which flows the divine blessing to all spheres of Creation, above and below, is particularly accentuated by the mystical symbolism of the appearance of the Shekinah between the two Cherubim. These two Cherubim represent the perfect harmony between Justice and Mercy. They are the two attributes that are primarily involved in the Divine Revelation and conduct in the Divine Atziluth, the Chariot of Ezekiel, and the patterns of the Tabernacle. 2

As we will see in our text analysis, the feast days of Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur played a role with the unification of the Name at Sinai, and will again at the end of the age.

UNIFICATION AT THE END OF DAYS

The book of Revelation speaks of the return of the River of Eden (mentioned in only one other place in Scripture - Genesis, in the story of the Garden of Eden). Here, the River is associated with the unification of the Yod to the He, and the to the Jubilee, which as we have seen in a previous section is a representation of the Millennial Kingdom.

In this section of the Zohar, the freedom of the Jubilee year is credited to "the Holy One Blessed be He," a title given to the sephirot of Tipheret, which as we have seen is associated with the Messiah. Because of this, He is called "the son of freedom." We also find reference to the idea that the Name of God is both united as well as disunited at the same time.

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 95b - Another then discoursed on the text: Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is a son of freedom and thy princes eat in due season (Eccl. X, 17). ‘Just before this it is written: “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning.” There is an apparent but not a real contradiction between these verses. The reference in the verse “happy art thou, O land,” is to the supernal realm which has control over all the life above, and is therefore called “land of the living”. Of this it is written, “a land which the Lord thy God careth for continually” (Deut. XI, 12), and again “a land where thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it” (Ibid. VIII, 9). Why so? Because “thy king is a son of freedom”. By this is meant the Holy One, blessed be He, [Tipheret] who is called a “son of freedom” because of the Jubilee, which is the source of freedom. It is true that, according to this explanation, we should expect to have in our text the word heruth (freedom) and not, as we actually find written, horin (free ones). The reason is, as we have learnt in our secret Mishnah, that when the Yod is united with the He, they produce “the river which issues from Eden to water the Garden” (Gen. II, 10). It is, in fact, misleading to say “when they unite”, for they are indeed united, and therefore it is written ben horin.

Revelation 22:1- And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.

The complete unity of the Name of God, as accomplished by Messiah, is represented in the deeper teachings of the Feast of Succot (Tabernacles). Recall that when Yeshua entered Jerusalem, the people laid palm branches (lulav) out for Him. Also, when Yeshua appeared on the mountain with Moses and Elijah, Peter immediately wanted to build succas (booths). Both the lulav and booths are part of Succot. It is interesting to note, that neither of these events took place at the time of the actual Feast of Succot. Also consider, that Yeshua is the Yom Kippur sacrifice, yet He died at Passover. As we will discuss later in this study, the unification of all things, includes the unification of the Feasts, which at this time, in our physical world, appear separate and unrelated.

Recall in the following text that the "Sun" is associated with the sephirah of Tipheret and the Messiah/bridegroom, and the moon with the sefirah of Malkhut and the Shekinah/bride:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 215a - R. Simeon further discoursed, citing the verse: “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him” (Deut. XXXIV, 9). ‘In many places we have laid down’, he said, ‘that the face of Moses was as the face of the sun, whilst that of Joshua was like that of the moon. For the moon has no light of its own, but receives its light by reflection from the sun until it becomes full, when it may be said to reach its state of completeness. The completeness of the moon is when it is called “reflection” (d'muth), in relation to the supernal Sun called YHWH, for it receives this name only when it is complete, for it has many names according to its various manifestations. So when it is complete on all sides it is called YHWH, its completeness corresponding to the higher completeness. The Daughter, as it were, is the heiress of the Mother. This is the case on the fifteenth day of the month, and thus, “On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Tabernacles” (Lev. XXIV, 34). It is also written, “Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of Atonement” (Ibid. 27), which has the same allusion. When the World-to-be is symbolized hy all the Ten Utterances, and centred in this month, it is first named “ten”, and afterwards when the moon is joined with them in completeness it is named “fifteen”, the He (=5) joining the Yod (= 10), both forming the Divine Name YH. In the completed name YHWH there is a second He added, the first He’ being associated with the supernal mystery, and the second symbolizing the Providence that provides the lower world with its sustenance. The moon is thus in its completeness, a completeness embracing the upper and the lower worlds, through the inner meaning of the Divine Name, all forming a unity of perfection. Joshua is the symbol of the fulness of the moon, he truly being the son of Nun, as the letter Nun is expressive of the recondite significance of the moon. And so “Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom”, full in the completeness of the Divine Name. For the Supreme Point, identical with the letter Yod, expanded and produced a Spirit, which Spirit produced a Temple. That Spirit then expanded further, and so became six directions. Having expanded through all these, it filled out and caused to come into being the Lower Temple. Thus the Divine Name became manifest in a unity of completeness. “Joshua”, then, “was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him”, that is, he poured out blessings upon him, and the well, so to speak became filled through him. And you,’ concluded R. Simeon, ‘you exalted saints, each one of you is filled with the spirit of wisdom and has attained the full phase of the mystic wisdom, inasmuch as the Holy One, blessed be He, [Tipheret] found delight in you and had laid His hands upon you. Happy is my portion in that my eyes have seen this, to wit, the fulness of the spirit of wisdom that is in you.’


1.  See Waters of Eden, Aryeh Kaplan, 1976, NCSY, Brooklyn, NY.

2. Ramban: Philosopher and Kabbalist, Chayim J. Henoch, Jason Aronson Inc., Jerusalem, 1998, p. 93.



RETURN TO THE REVELATION INDEX