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Revelation 14:1b
Last update: July 21, 2004


In this section, we continue our analysis of verse 14:1, primarily focusing on the deeper aspects of "Mount Zion" and its association with the Sefirah of Yesod.

1b ... standing on Mount Zion ...

MOUNT ZION, REDEMPTION AND SHALOM

As mentioned earlier in this study, the three sets of (seven) judgments reflect a rectification of the three worlds of;

  • Beriah ("Creation," the world of the "Throne" of God)
  • Yetzirah ("Formation," the world of angels and souls)
  • Asiyyah ("Making," the physical world - which also includes a spiritual dimension)

At this point in John's vision we are concluding the second set of judgments, placing us at the "end" of Yetzirah. This can also be viewed as Yesod (Foundation) the "lowest" of the six Sefirot usually associated with the realm of Yetzirah (also called Zer Anpin - see previous study). Yesod may be considered "at the end" of Yetzirah as it is the ninth Sefirah that "connects" the Sefirot of the upper worlds with the Sefirah of Malkut, which is closely linked to the physical realm.

What "remains" in the grand scheme of Israel's redemption (the "unification of the Name of God" - i.e., Zechariah 14:9) is the coming together of the bride with the groom (or daughter with the son, as seen in the book of Songs of Songs [Song of Solomon] in the Tenakh). This coupling is seen as occurring when Jerusalem below (Malkut) is permanently united with Mount Zion above (Yesod).

The "location" of this part of John's vision is "on Mount Zion" which of course is not in the physical world (of Asiyyah). In Kabbalah, "Mount Zion" (Tziyon) is associated with Yetzirah, specifically the Sefirah of Yesod.

As stated in the classic work, Sha'are Oreh ("Gates of Light"):

Know that the word HaR (mountain) means many things in the Torah, and you must know which is the proper nuance when you come across the words HaR or HaRim (mountains) in the Torah. ... Know that HaR TZiYoN (Mount Zion) is always the attribute YeSOD, which is the essence of El Chay (Living God), because HaR TZiYoN is the place from where the first attribute for the world's creation came, as it was said: "From TZiYoN, perfect in beauty, ELoHIM appeared." (Psalm 50:2) 1

In the same text we also find Mount Zion closely associated with the concept of redeemer:

Know that at times this attribute (Yesod) is known as GoAL (redeemer). The essence is to know that when EL CHaY (Living God/Yesod) connects with ADoNaY (Shekinah/Malkut) which is the essence of redemption and the eighteen benedictions, then ADoNaY is filled with the everflow of redemption, for then also the attribute ADoNaY is activated as an emissary of EL CHaY and saves the righteous and redeems them from all harm and sickness and from all kinds of destruction and punishment. 2

There are (what we perceive to be) "negative" and "positive" aspects to this time of redemption. (Perhaps a hidden meaning to Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5 and 8:4, which repeats the peculiar warning, "Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.")

Before the coming of Messiah, the nations of the world who have rejected God's Torah and who have persecuted physical Israel, face harsh judgment. The first stages of all such judgments are against the "principalities and powers" of these kingdoms, and this is accomplished in the first two sets of judgments (in Beriah and Yetzirah). The final set of judgments, seen in the chapters ahead, will be directly against mankind in the physical realm - similar to what fell upn Egypt in the book of Exodus.

As shown in Sha'are Oreh:

Know and understand that the nations and the ministers who are called ELoHIM come before YHVH, may He be Blessed, on Rosh Hashana to be judged. If the nations have not behaved appropriately, then their ministers punish them, and the bounty that YHVH has given them will be diminished. When the minister of the nation is smitten, then the nation falls. Thus the Prophet warned: YHVH will visit the heavenly hosts in have and the kings of the earth on earth. (Isaiah 24:21) 3

When studying a time of God's "judgment," as we have in the book of Revelation, we must always keep in mind that what we see as God showing anger is actually an act of mercy. A withholding of His anger will lead to complete destruction. Every event that transpires in the world, including the harsh judgments of Revelation, are bringing us closer to a "positive event" - the completion of His plan - "the unification of His Name."

The completing of God's plan is expressed in the Hebrew word for peace - shalom - which is derived from the root shalem, meaning "whole" or "complete." True shalom is an active force rather than a passive absence of war. Anything that disturbs and destroys the state of true shalom must be removed in order for true shalom to exist.

For example, looking in the Torah, we see how Pinchas, through his zealous act (killing two people who were publicly violating Torah), created peace.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12 - Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon the Priest, has turned away My anger from the children of Israel, by being zealous for My vengeance amongst them; and [thus] I did not destroy the children of Israel in My vengeance. Therefore, I say, behold I give to him My Covenant of Peace.

In the same way Pinchas stopped the plague against the Jewish people and through a violent act brought peace, so do the terrible events of the last days bring true peace.

Shalom is directly associated with the Tzaddik (righteous person) and the Sefirah of Yesod. When the tzaddik brings shalom, he unifies the Name of God above (i.e., YHVH-Tiferet-Groom) and below (i.e., Adonay-Malkut-Bride). Thus, he brings "completeness" ( "Shalom" is another partzufim ("expression") of the Sefirah of Yesod.

As explained in Sha'are Oreh:

When the TZaDIK awakens penance in the world or he repairs that which is ruined, then this attribute called SHaLoM mediates effectively between YHVH (Tiferet, the groom) and ADoNaY (Malkut, the bride) and it is the one which makes peace between them and brings them to dwell together without separation and mutilation in the world and when this happens YHVH will be one. You should know and believe that it is impossible to bring blessing to the world except through this attribute called SHaLoM. ... The attribute SHaLoM empties life into the attribute ADoNay when they are infused as one. For great is the power of peace, since even the upper worlds need it, as it is written: "He who makes SHaLoM in the heavens ..." (Job 25:2). When one latches on to Torah and other commandments, it is as if he brings SHaLoM to the heavenly household which is the essential meaning of the verse; "When he holds fast to my refuge, He makes SHaLoM for me, SHaLoM he makes for me." (Isaiah 27:5). 4

MOUNT ZION, MOUNT MORIAH AND THE MOUNTAIN OF ESAU

Perhaps the most dynamic relationship between any two of the Sefirot is that found between Malkut and Yesod. The reason is that this is the "connecting point" between the physical world of man and "all" the spiritual realm above. Everything in the spiritual realm must "filter through" Yesod to get to Malkut. This is seen in the diagram of the single Tree of Life (with 10 Sefirot) where Yesod is the only Sefirah directly connected to Malkut.

The term "all" (Hebrew: "kol") is a common designation for the Sefirah of Yesod. (As spoken by Yeshua, "Seek first the Kingdom (Malkut) and 'all' (i.e., Yesod, etc.) else will be added ...") As such, the "Lamb" is associated with one who unites the physical and spiritual worlds. This is the great Tzaddik (mentioned in the citation from Derech Hashem in the previous study) and also spoken of in Sha'are Oreh:

Now come and see what the power is of the TZaDIKim who hold fast to the Torah and its commandments. They have the power to connect all the emanations making peace between and within the upper and lower worlds. When the true pure man joins the attributes TZeDeK (i.e., Malkut) with TZaDIK (i.e., Yesod) it is then know as YHWH is One (i.e., Zechariah 14:9), thus creating peace between the upper heavenly court and the lower one. The heavens and the earth are united by this person. "How fortunate his portion, how fortunate is she who bore you," and about him it is written: Your father and mother will rejoice, She who bore you will exult." (Proverbs 23:25) And it is written: YHVH will be pleased with his doing (Psalm 104:31) 5

Two bold text phrases above, describing the tzaddik, sound similar to verses New Testament describing Yeshua:

Luke 11:27 - And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"

Luke 3:22 - And the Ruach haKodesh descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased."

Traditionally, "one who unites above and below" is also the definition of a "prophet" and thus the idea of "prophecy" underlies what is going on regarding both the "Lamb" and "the righteous" in Revelation (i.e., Rev. 19:10 - "For the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.") As mentioned before, the story of Revelation is all about "unifying the Name of God" in fulfillment of Zechariah 14:9.

(See our notes for parsha Lech Lecha at http://www.yashanet.com/shabbat/parsha/lech_lechah.htm regarding Abraham and Sarah as prophets.)

The following text from the Zohar speaks of the Tzaddik through whom God's blessings flow except in times of darkness. At that point, divine blessing is restricted and evil befalls the earth's inhabitants save those who remain mindful of God's Torah. What is especially interesting is the statement that God will not enter heavenly Jerusalem until Israel enters the earthly one:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 231a - “I have made a covenant with my chosen.,’ This covenant is the secret of faith. Or we may interpret the “chosen one” of the Zaddik from whom issue blessings to all the lower creation, all the holy Hayyoth being blessed from the stream which flows forth to the lower world. “I have sworn unto David my servant”, to wit, that he will always be established in this Zaddik, the foundation of the world, save in the time of galuth, when the flow of blessing is cut off, and faith is defective, and all joy is banished. During this period, at nightfall, joy no longer enters before the King. Yet, though rejoicings do not enter, angels stand outside and chant hymns, and at midnight when the impulse from below arrives on high, God arouses all the hosts of the heaven for lamentation and strikes the firmament, causing upper and lower worlds to quake; nor is there any respite save when those below commence to study the Torah. Then God and all those with Him listen with joy to that voice, and relief is felt. For on the day on which the Sanctuary below was destroyed, God swore that He would not enter the celestial Jerusalem until Israel should enter the earthly Jerusalem. Now all those singers stand outside and chant hymns in the three watches of the night and intone praises, and all the hosts of the heavens sing at night and Israel by day, nor is the sanctification recited above until it is recited by Israel below, and only then do all the hosts of heaven sanctify the holy name together. Hence, Israel are holy and are sanctified by upper and lower angels, since the sanctification of the holy name is complete only when uttered above and below together.’

The Talmud goes further than the Zohar stating that God will not enter Jerusalem above until He Himself enters Jerusalem below:

Talmud, Ta'anith 5a - The Holy One, blessed be He, said, ‘I will not enter the heavenly Jerusalem until I can enter the earthly Jerusalem’

In the following excerpt from Sha'are Oreh, we find the Sefirah of Yesod associated with El Chay (Living God) and Mount Zion, as well as the Sefirah of Malkut linked to Adonay, Mount Moriah and Jerusalem. Note the critical role played by Yesod in the grand scheme of things:

All of ADoNaY's actions are drawn from the attribute EL CHaY; so it is with HaR TZiYon which is the essence of EL CHaI and HaR MoRiYaH which is the essence of ADoNaY and the essence of Jerusalem. The Holy One Blessed be He (i.e., Tiferet) does not radiate the everflow and dwell in Jerusalem except by the virtue of TZiYon, as it is written: "Blessed is God from TZiYoN who dwells in Jerusalem" (Psalm 135:21). The interpretation of this verse is that from TZiYoN and by virtue of TZiYon He dwells in Jerusalem. For no blessing comes to the world save by virtue of TZiYoN when it empties its blessings on Jerusalem. As it is written; "Like the due of Hermon that falls on HaRReI TZiYoN. There the Lord ordained blessing and everlasting life" Psalm 133:3 ... HaR ESaV is the accuser from the outside (of the spheres - i.e., Sefirot) who resides on the left This is the essence of the verse; "The war of God against AMaLeK every generation" (Exodus 17:16). This is what will continue to hold back the building of HaR TZiYoN, and the building of the altar on HaR MoRiYaH until the time has come for EDoM to be punished and receive its revenge. When will this be? When the HaRReI TZiYon will wear the garments of vengeance which are the names YHVH TZVAOT and ELoHIM TZVAOT, and then dwell on HaR TZiYoN. Those are the names which are known as liberators, YHVH, ELoHIM and TZVAOT, the essence of which is proved in the verse: "And the liberators went up from HaR TZiYoN to judge HaR ESaV" (Obadiah 1:21). 6

Combining the lessons of the Zohar and Sha'are Oreh above, we see that although God does not enter the heavenly (Jerusalem) until He enters the earthly (Jerusalem), none of this occurs if the heavenly (Yesod/Tziyon) is detached from the earthly (Malkut/Moriah). Thus, the time of the redemption is affected by people either following or not following His Torah. (i.e., the timing of the redemption in not "set," as Yeshua taught in Matthew 24:36.)

An interesting point in the above text has to do with the Sefirot of Netzah and Hod, which Rabbi Gikatilla (author of Sha'are Orah) calls the "garments of vengeance" (YHVH TZVAOT and ELoHIM TZVAOT). These two Sefirot are called "the liberators" based on the text from Obadiah. As discussed in our chapter 11 notes the "two witnesses" are directly associated with the Netzah and Hod regarding prophecy and judgment.

Another critical detail in the above text may be found in the phrase: "The Holy One Blessed be He (i.e., Tiferet) does not radiate the everflow and dwell in Jerusalem except by the virtue of TZiYon (i.e., Yesod) ..."

Here we have the positive result going hand in hand with the judgment and victory over Esau as seen in the quote from Obadiah; "And the liberators went up from HaR TZiYoN to judge HaR ESaV." Further, we see that Tiferet needs Yesod to accomplish this victory. Recall in our previous studies that the Sefirah of Tiferet ("the Holy One Blessed be He") is associated with Jacob, the brother of Esau, and the Sefirah of Yesod ("Tziyon") is associated with Joseph.

Thus, we see Jacob and Joseph together with regard to the defeat of Esau:

Obadiah 1:18 - And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them.

(READ ENTIRE TEXT OF OVADIAH 1)

A highly insightful teaching regarding this important relationship between Jacob, Joseph and Esau, may be found at: www.aish.com/torahportion/mayanot/Whats_In_A_Name.asp

This defeat of Esau, at the hands of Jacob and Joseph is linked to the coming of Messiah:

Midrash Rabbah - Deuteronomy I:20 - R. Samuel b. Nahman said: When Esau and Jacob met, the former said, ‘Jacob, my brother, let us two walk together in this world as one.’ Jacob replied: ’ Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant’ (Gen. XXXIII, 14). What is the meaning of ' Let... pass over ‘? Do you enjoy your world first. What is the meaning of, And I will journey on gently, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me... and according to the pace of the children (ib.). Jacob said to Esau: ' I have yet to raise up Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,’ of whom Scripture says, Children in whom was no blemish (Dan.I, 4). Another explanation: He said to him: ‘I have yet to raise up the Messiah,’ of whom it is written, For a child is born to us (Isa. IX, 5). Until I come unto my Lord unto Seir (Gen. XXXIII, I4). R. Samuel b. Nahman said: We have searched all the Scriptures and we have nowhere found [it stated] that Jacob ever came together with Esau at Seir. What then is the meaning of, ' Unto Seir’ ? Jacob [meant] to say to him: ' I have yet to raise up judges and saviours to exact punishment from you.’ Whence this? For it is said, And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (Obad. I, 21). Israel asked God: ‘Master of the Universe, how long shall we remain subjected to him? ' He replied: ' Until the day comes of which it is written, There shall step forth a star out of Jacob and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel (Num. XXIV, 17); when a star shall step forth from Jacob and devour the stubble of Esau.’ (Whence this? For it is said, And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau (Obad. I, 18).) God said: ‘At that time I will cause my kingdom to shine forth and I will reign over them,’ as it is said, And saviours shall come up on Mount Zion, to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's (ib. 21).

The following section of the Zohar sums up a number of the concepts discussed so far quite nicely. Jacob's possession is the spiritual realm and Esau's is the physical. This continues until the coming of Messiah, when Jacob inherits everything:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 143b - Observe that as soon as Jacob and Esau commenced to avail themselves of their blessings, the former possessed himself of his portion on high, and the latter of his portion here below. R. Jose the son of R. Simeon, the son of Laqunia, once said to R. Eleazar: ‘Have you ever heard from your father how it comes about that the blessings given by Isaac to Jacob have not been fulfilled, while those given to Esau have all been fulfilled in their entirety?’ R. Eleazar replied: ‘All the blessings are to be fulfilled, including other blessings with which God blessed Jacob. For the time being, however, Jacob took his portion above and Esau here below. But in aftertime, when the Messiah will arise, Jacob will take both above and below and Esau will lose all, being left with no portion of inheritance or remembrance whatever. So Scripture says: “And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, etc.” (Obad. I, 18), so that Esau will perish entirely, whilst Jacob will inherit both worlds, this world and the world to come. Of that time it is further written: “And saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's” (Ibid. I, 21), that is to say, the kingdom which Esau has taken in this world shall revert to God. For although God rules both above and below, yet for the time being He has given to all the peoples each a portion and an inheritance in this world; but at that time He will take away dominion from all of them, so that all will be His, as it is written, “And the kingdom shall be the Lord's”. It will be the Lord's alone, as it is further written, “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall the Lord be One, and his name One” (Zech. XIV, 9).’

Another interesting portion of Sha'are Orah is concerned with Yesod as a "preventative measure" and how the separation of Yesod from Malkut (and ensuing evil that befalls the world) is expressed:

This attribute (Yesod) is responsible for the prevention of tribulation in the world ... It is known that at the moment TZaDIK (Yesod) separates from TZeDeK ("righteousness," another term for the Sefirah of Malkut), the attribute of TZeDeK remains empty; then it rises to plunder and kill, to uproot and annihilate, bringing to the world several kinds of death: natural death, death from epidemic plagues, death from bizarre circumstances and other forms of death ... If heaven forbid, humanity defiles itself, distancing itself from the Torah and the commandments (i.e., Revelation 14:12) choosing instead iniquity, wickedness and deceit, the attribute TZaDIK (Yesod) stands, observing their deeds. When it sees humanity defiling itself, disdaining the Torah and its commandments while performing iniquities and deceits, the attribute TZaDIK collects itself and soars far above, thereby ceasing the ebb and flow of the channels. Then the attribute Adonay (Malkut) is left like a barren land, desolate and empty of all that is good. 7

The above depiction is reminiscent of a couple of sections from the Bible. First, in the New Testament, there is a mysterious allusion to something that will be"taken away" (i.e, Yesod) in order for the final great evil to descend upon the earth:

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 - And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

Secondly, the above text from Sha'are Orah speaks of the final Sefirah of Malkut (i.e., the Shekinah) bringing all kinds of death upon the earth. As we will see, a direct comparison with the plagues of Egypt may be made regarding this.

Looking at another Kabbalistic text, the Bahir describes the separation of Malkut from Zer Anpin (i.e., Yesod) in terms of strict judgment -- versus the "mitigated" judgment found when they are in union. The dimensional (spatial) aspect of Zer Anpin (made up of six Sefirot) plays a key role.8

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan offers the following interesting comments on the Bahir's viewpoint:

There are two modes through which God judges the world, the Attribute of Judgment (Midat HaDin) and the Attribute of Mercy (Midat haRachamim). The Attribute of Judgment demands a single, fixed, unmitigated response for any wrong, while the Attribute of Mercy admits a number of mitigated responses. Therefore, Judgment comes from the Female, which is derived from a single Sefirah, Malkhut-Kingship, and therefore has just one single response. Zer Anpin, on the other hand, is constructed from six Sefirot, and therefore allows an infinite blend of responses. It is therefore the source of the Attribute of Mercy. Actually, however, all providence ultimately comes from the Sefirah of Malkhut-Kingship, this being the definition of the word. But in order for Malkhut-Kingship to act in a mode Mercy, it must be bound to Zer Anpin, this being the concept of the Supernal Union. This Union, however, takes place through Yesod-Foundation ... 9

In the Bahir as well, judgment is directly associated with man's behavior:

Another important teaching of the Kabbalistic philosophers is that all of man's reward and punishment is the result of his deeds.  Therefore, since man is the counterpart of Zer Anpin, each individual has a portion there, and each individual's deeds have an effect on the "body" of Zer Anpin. Conversely, Zer Anpin is directly linked to man, overseeing and guiding the providence that effects him. Through Zer Anpin, man's deeds have an important bearing on providence.  It is for this reason that Zer Anpin is called "judgment." The author therefore concludes by stating that when a person repents, he also elevates the seven. Everything that takes place in Zer Anpin is a result of man's activities. 10


1. Sha'are Orah ("Gates of Light"), Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla, translated by Avi Weinstein, Altamira Press, 1994, p. 95. Sha'are Orah (written in the 13th century) is most notable for associating various terms found throughout the Tenakh with the ten Sefirot and their associated Names of God, thus "linking" many portions of the Tenakh at the Sod level.

2. ibid, p. 74.

3. ibid, pp. 96-97.

4. ibid, p. 67.

5. ibid, p. 63.

6. ibid. p. 96.

7. ibid. pp. 58-62.

8. The six Sefirot of Zer Anpin are associated with the spatial dimensions of up-down (Netzah-Hod), east-west (Tiferet-Yesod) and north-south (Gevurah-Hesed). Time is associated with past-future (Chokhmah-Binah) and the moral dimension (good-evil) with Keter-Malkut. With the addition of the 11th "quasi-Sefirah" of Da'at it may be possible to draw a parallel to the theory of "eleven dimensions" held by modern physicists.

9. The Bahir, translation by Aryeh Kaplan, Samuel Weiser Inc., York Beach Maine, 1979, p. 137.

10. ibid, p. 132.


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