Last update: January 20, 2005
6 Then I saw another angel flying in the
midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the
earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people
7a saying with a loud voice,
"Fear God and give glory to Him ...
The following citations taken from a book on the subject of Messiah, by Rabbi
Nachman of Breslov, offers interesting ideas regarding the relationship between Messiah,
"fear of God," the Torah and the "River of Eden" (which appears at the
end of the book of Revelation):
Maschiach's duty is to reveal God's greatness which will manifest itself in
kindness, good health and blessings. This denotes a total negation of sin and wrongdoing.
"When evil is done away with, there will also be no more anger." (Sifri 13:18)
It is for this reason that Maschiach will "breathe the fear of God." For he will
elevate the idea of fear from the fear of punishment to an exalted level of awe ... the
fear of God that will be prevalent in the days of Maschiach ... will be the awe and
respect that is befitting true royalty and leadership. The awe of God that will be
widespread then will automatically lead people away from evil and towards God. This will
eliminate sin and lead to ever greater revelatins of kindness. Maschiach will be a judge
-- the ultimate judge -- and will rid the world of suffering. Fear will then be elevated
to the awe of God, i.e., respect for God and What He is ...
... Maschiach will "breathe the awe of God." Using prayer as his main
weapon ... his "breathing" will have a very positive effect upon mankind. The
verse, "And he will breathe the fear of God," in Hebrew is, "Vaharicho
b'Yirat HaShem." Our sages teach that B'YiRAT (fear) is the gemmatria of 613. Thus
the breath that Maschiach will breathe will emanate from the Torah and its 613 mitzvot.
This is (Genesis 1:2) "The Spirit of God (that) hovered over the waters." The
spirit is Maschiach and the waters are the Torah. Maschiach's spirit is embedded in the
Torah and he will draw his breath, the awe of God, from it ...
Maschiach's job is to bring everyone back to God, even the worst sinner. ...
"Proper rebuke thus strengthens the soul by The rectification for one who has sinned
and weakened his soul is the 'Voice of Rebuke'." ...
"There is a garden where fragrant smells and fear of God bloom. For (Genesis
2:10), 'The river flows from Eden and waters the Garden...' 'River' represents the Voice
of Rebuke as in (Psalms 93:3), 'The rivers have lifted their voice.' This 'voice' which
waters the garden (the sweet smells) stems from Eden, the source of the 'Song of the
We see then that the Voice of Rebuke is rooted in Eden, which corresponds to Keter,
the source of Maschiach's vitality. ... Maschiach will posess this "Voice of
Rebuke" because MaShIaCh is like MaSIaCh, "one who speaks." Since Mashiach
is bound together with all souls through his sense of smell (i.e., "the nose"),
he will be able to rebuke everyone properly, to arose awe within them and draw them closer
to God. His voice will be the flowing "River" from Eden, from which emanate
aromatic fragrances, so that everyone will be drawn to the "savory smell" of
The Zohar offers the following regarding the "fear of God" being the
"gate to heaven":
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 7b - IN THE BEGINNING. R. Hiya opened
his discourse thus: The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord; A good understanding
have all they that do hereafter. His praise endureth for ever (Ps. CXI, 10). He said:
Instead of the beginning of wisdom it would be more appropriate to say
the end of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, since the fear of the Lord is the
final object of wisdom. The Psalmist, however, speaks of the highest order of wisdom,
which can only be reached through the gate of the fear of God. This is implied in he verse
Open to me the gates of righteousness.... This is the gate of the Lord...
(Psalm 118:19-20). Assuredly, without entering through that gate one will never gain
access to the most high King. Imagine a king greatly exalted who screens himself from the
common view behind gate upon gate, and at the end, one special gate, locked and barred.
Saith the king: He who wishes to enter into my presence must first of all pass through
that gate. So here the first gate to super-Wisdom is the fear of God; and this is what is
meant by reshith (beginning). The letter Beth (=2) indicates two things joined together,
namely two points, one shrouded in mystery and one capable of being revealed; and as they
are inseparable they therefore are both joined in the single term reshith (beginning),
i.e. they are one and not two, and he who takes away the one takes away the other as well.
For He and His name are one, as it is written That they may know that thou and thy
name of Lord art alone (Psalm 83:19). Why is this first gate called the fear
of the Lord? Because it is the tree of good and evil. If a man deserves well it is
good, and if he deserves ill it is evil.
saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His
judgment has come ...
The "positive aspect" of the Lamb on Mount Zion is balanced by the coming
judgment upon the nations. The term "Esau" is used throughout Hebraic writings
to describe the nations in the days leading up to the coming of Messiah.
The following text indicates that Jacob's words to Esau, about meeting him at
"Mount Seir" were actually prophetic:
Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 78:14 - UNTIL I COME UNTO MY LORD UNTO
SEIR (XXXIII, I4). R. Abbahu said: We have searched the whole Scriptures and do not find
that Jacob ever went to Esau to the mountain of Seir. Is it then possible that Jacob, the
truthful, should deceive him? But when would he come to him? In the Messianic era: And
saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau, etc. (Obadiah 1:21).
Midrash Rabbah - Deuteronomy I:20 - 20. 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 (Genesis 33:14). 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 (Daniel 1:4). 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 (Isaiah 9:5). Until I come unto my Lord unto Seir (Genesis 33:14).
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 (Obadiah 1:21). 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 (Numbers 24:17); 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 [Obadiah 1:18].) 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 relationship between Israel (i.e., Jacob) and the nations (i.e., Esau) is presented
in an enlighening way in the following text. Commenting on Genesis 25:28 ("For Isaac
loved Esau because he had a taste for game."), the kabbalistic classic, Sha'are
Oreh ("Gates of Light"), depicts Isaac as being "pleased" with
Esau, but only because Esau is seen prophetically as being an antagonist that will drive
many from Israel back to God and keep them from going to hell:
Could it possibly be that Isaac, our father, for whom the SHeCHINaH never parted
for a moment, could love someone as completely wicked as Esau? How is that possible?
Rather, this verse speaks of a great essential meaning of the Torah. Know that Isaac, our
father, peace be with him, could envision the future and he saw that the children of Jacob
would sin and enrage YHVH, may He be blessed, and the judgment of Hell would be their
inheritence. When Isaac saw that Israel was in the exile of Esau, he was glad, and he
said: "Exile atones for sin." And he said, "Yes, I love the tribulations of
Esau, so that they should bring liability to Israel and their harsh judgment shall be
finished in the harsh exile of this world," hence the verse, "For Isaac loved
Esau because he had the game trapped in his mouth. What does it mean, "the game was
trapped in his mouth?" He saw that the children of Jacob would be trapped by the
judgments of Hell. He saw this and was saddened. When he saw the exile of Edom
(Rome/Esau), however, and he saw the game of Hell trapped in the mouth of Esau, He was
happy, and said, "Exile atones for sin." ... Isaac therefore, loved Esau,
because he was the agent for arranging that Jacob's sons would not fall into hell. 2
... and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."
This is another kabbalistic reference to the worlds of Creation; Beriah (heaven),
Assiyah (earth), Yetzirah (sea) and avenues of Torah enlightenment ("springs of
water") that sustain them all.
8a And another angel followed, saying,
"Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city ...
The repetition of, "... is fallen, is fallen," indicates the defeat of
Babylon (first) in the spiritual realm, then in the physical.
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 86a - When God executes judgement on a
people, He does so both below and above.
The following Midrash gives some examples of this:
Midrash Rabbah, The Song of Songs VIII:19 - The Holy One, blessed
be He, does not punish a nation on earth till He has cast down its guardian angel from
heaven. This is borne out by five Scriptural verses. One, the verse, And it shall come to
pass in that day, that the Lord will punish the host of the high heaven on high-that
first, and then-and the kings of the earth upon the earth (Isaiah 24:21). The second is:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! after which we read, How
art thou cut down to the ground (ib. 14:12). The third is: For My sword hath drunk its
fill in heaven; and then, Behold, it shall come down upon Edom (ib. 34:5). The fourth: To
bind their kings with chains, and then, and their nobles with fetters of iron (Psalm.
149:8), explaining which R. Tanhuma said: ' To bind their kings with chains: this
refers to the heavenly princes. And thegr nobles with fetters of iron: this
refers to the earthly rulers. The fifth is: To execute upon them the judgment written, and
then, He is the glory of all His saints, hallelujah (ib. 149:9)
Interestingly, the principle of first defeating the spiritual power behind the physical
goes both ways. In this passage from the Zohar, the guardian angels of the nations
conspire to first attack the God of Israel, before going after His people:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 58b - IN THE GREATNESS OF THINE EXCELLENCY
(lit. uplifting) THOU OVERTHROWEST THEM THAT RISE UP AGAINST THEE. R. Hezekiah found here
the same idea as in the verse: Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? Why hidest thou
thyself in time of trouble? (Ps. x, 1). The sins of mankind, he said,
cause the Holy One to ascend higher and higher, and then men cry bitterly but
without avail, because the Holy One has departed from the world, and they are unable to
return to Him. R. Isaac, however, applied these words to the time when the Holy One
will adorn Himself with majesty in face of the nations who will gather against Him, of
whom it says: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel
together against the Lord and against his anointed (Psalm 2:2). We are told that the
seventy guardians of the nations will at that time gather from all sides with the armies
of the whole world and start war against Jerusalem the holy city, and take counsel
together against the Holy One. They will say: Let us rise first against the Patron,
and then against His people and against His sanctuary! Then He that sitteth in
the heavens shall laugh; ehe Lord shall have them in derision (v. 4). He will put on
His majesty and shall dash them in pieces. R. Abba said, in the name of R. Jesse the
Elder-and R. Simeon made the same remark- that the Holy One will bring to life again all
those kings who afflicted Israel and Jerusalem: Hadrian, Lupinus, Nebuchadnezzar,
Sennacherib, and all the other kings of the nations who have destroyed His house, and set
them up again as rulers, and they shall gather many nations, and then He will do vengeance
and justice upon them near Jerusalem, as it is written: And this shall be the plague
wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem
(Zechariah 14:12). On the other hand, here it says: In the greatness of thy
excellency Thou wilt overthrow thine opponents, which refers to the Messianic times;
and so this song has an eternal significance.
It is taught that both Babylon and Israel fall, "never to pick themselves up
again." However in the case of Israel, God Himself will lift her up:
Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, 6a,b - R. Aha was once walking in company
with R. Judah. As they were going along, R. Judah said: We have learnt that the
Virgin of Israel is blessed from seven sources; yet the Scripture says, in
reference to her, And do thou, O son of man, raise a lament over the virgin of
Israel, [Tr. note: This verse is not found in our text. Apparently the Zohar meant
it for a paraphrase of Ezekiel 19:1, And do thou raise a lamentation over the
princes of Israel.] and what is even worse, The virgin of Israel is fallen,
she shall no more rise (Amos v, 2). It is true that this last verse has been
explained by all the Companions as a message of comfort. [Tr. note: In T. B. Berachoth,
the verse is explained thus: She has fallen, but shall no more; rise, O virgin of
Israel.,] This, however, can hardly be accepted, as the prophet himself calls it a
lamentation (v. I). Said R. Aha: I, too, have been perplexed with the same
difficulty. I once came before R. Simeon looking very troubled. He said to me: Your
face shows that there is something on your mind. I said: Truly my mind is as
sad as my face. He said to me: Tell me what it is. I said: It is
written, The virgin of Israel is fallen, she shall no more rise. If a man is
angry with his wife and she leaves him, shall she never return? If so, alas for the
children who have been sent away with her! He said to me: Are you not content
with what the Companions have said? I replied: I have heard their explanation,
that it is really a message of comfort, but it does not satisfy me. He said:
What the Companions have said is quite right as far as it goes, but there is more to
be said. Alas for the generation when the shepherds are gone and the sheep stray without
knowing whither they are going! Truly this verse requires understanding, but it is all
plain to those who can interpret the Torah fittingly. See now. In all the other exiles of
Israel a term was set, at the end of which Israel returned to God and the Virgin of Israel
came back to her place. But this last exile is not so, for she shall not return as on
previous occasions, as is proved by this verse which says, The virgin of Israel is
fallen, she shall rise no more. Note that it is not written, I shall not raise
her any more. Imagine a king who was wroth with his queen and banished her from his
palace for a certain time. When that time arrived she at once returned to the king. So it
happened several times. Finally, however, she was banished from the king's palace for a
very long time. Said the king: This time is not like the other times when she came
back to me. This time I shall go with all my followers to find her. When he came to
her he found her in the dust. Seeing her thus humiliated and yearning once more for her,
the king took her by the hand, raised her up, and brought her to his palace, and swore to
her that he would never part from her again. So the Community of Israel, on all previous
occasions in which she was in exile, when the appointed time came, used to return of
herself to the King; but in this exile the Holy One, blessed be He, will himself take her
by the hand and raise her and comfort her and restore her to his palace. So it is written:
In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen (Amos IX,
11), the tabernacle of David being identical with the Virgin of
Israel. Said R. Judah: Truly thou hast comforted and satisfied me, and
this is the truth of the matter. And it reminds me of something similar which I had
forgotten, of a saying of R. Jose, that the Holy One, blessed be He, will one day make
proclamation concerning the Community of Israel, saying Shake thyself from the dust,
arise, sit thee down, Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:2), like a man taking his neighbour by
the hand and saying, Pull yourself together, rise. Said R. Aha to him: All the
prophets use similar language. Thus it is written, Arise, shine forth, for thy light
is come, meaning that the King is here to be reconciled with her. And again,
Behold thy king cometh unto thee (Zechariah 9:9): He shall come to thee to
comfort thee, to raise thee, to repay thee all, to take thee into His palace and to
espouse thee for evermore, as it is written: And I shall betroth thee for ever
The coming of Messiah and the destruction of Babylon results in the total and final
transference of "Esau's blessing" to Jacob, as explained in the following text:
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.
(Obadiah 1:18), 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. 1:21), 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 (Zechariah 14:9).
The following Midrash connects Esau and his descendants to the "ten
kings" spoken of by Daniel and mentioned later in Revelation. The "love of
money" (Matthew 6:24) is shown to be a key attribute of Esau/Babylon/Rome here and
later in the book of Revelation:
Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXVI:6 - DELIVER ME, I PRAY THEE,
FROM THE HAND OF MY BROTHER, FROM THE HAND OF ESAU (32:12): from the hand of my brother,
who advances against me with the power of Esau. Thus it is written, I considered the
horns, and, behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one (Daniel 7:8) -
this alludes to the son of Nazar; Before which three of the first horns were plucked up by
the roots (ib.)-that alludes to Macrinus, Carinus, and Kyriades. And, behold, in this horn
were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things (ib.): this alludes to
the wicked State [Rome] which imposes levies on all the nations of the world. R. Johanan
said: It is written, And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom shall ten kings arise
(ib. 24): in these Scripture refers to Esau's descendants. I considered the horns,
and, behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one- this alludes to
the wicked State [Rome]; Before which three of the first horns were plucked up by
the roots-that alludes to the first three Empires. And, behold, in this horn
were eyes like the eyes of a man-this alludes to the wicked State, which casts an
envious eye upon a man's wealth, [saying], So-and-so is wealthy: we will make him a
city magistrate; So-and-so is wealthy: let us make him a councillor. (i.e., compare
to the lesson of James 2:1-4.)
There is a relationship between the King (Tiferet/Son) and the "two females"
-- the "Matrona" (Malkut/Shekinah) and the "Supernal Mother" (Binah).
The "linking of the two females" (through the "Son") represents the
unification of the Name of God.
Binah represents the complete "upper triad" (Keter-Chokmah-Binah) in the
kabbalistic scheme, as these three are never separated (at the higher levels).
As simply stated in Sha'are Oreh:
Binah connects the six lower Spheres (Sefirot) with the three upper
The following verse from the Zohar shows this relationship
Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 77b - We have learnt that
the upper He (i.e., Yod-He-Vau-He*) was conceived from the love of its
inseparable companion Yod, and brought forth Vau. When this Vau came forth, its mate came
forth with it. Lovingkindness came and parted them, and there came forth roots from
beneath the Highest, and branches spread and grew and the lower He, was produced. It
spread its branches higher and higher until it joined the upper tree and Vau was linked
with He. Who caused this? Hesed. But the union of Yod with the upper He is not caused by
Hesed but by mazzal (lit. Iuck). In this way Yod is linked with He, He with Vau, Vau with
He, and He, with all, and all forms one entity, of which the elements are never to be
separated. He who causes separation between them, as it were, lays waste the world and is
called the nakedness of all. In time to come God will restore the Shekinah to
its place, and there will be a complete union, as it is written: On that day the
Lord shall be one and his name one, (Zech. XIV, 9). It may be said: Is He not now
one? No; for now through sinners He is not really one; for the Matrona (i.e.,
Malkut*) is removed from the King (i.e., Tiferet*) and they are not united,
and the supernal Mother (i.e., Binah*) is removed from the King and does not give
suck to Him, because the King without the Matrona is not invested with His crowns as
before. But when He joins the Matrona, who crowns Him with many resplendent crowns, then
the supernal Mother will also crown Him in fitting manner. But now that the King is not
with the Matrona, the Supernal Mother keeps her crowns and withholds from Him the waters
of the Stream and He is not joined with Her. Therefore, as it were, He is not one. But
when the Matrona shall return to the place of the temple and the King shall be wedded with
her, then all will be joined together without separation, and regarding this it is
written, On that day the Lord shall be one and his name one. Then
saviours shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (Obad. I, 21),
as it has been taught: R. Simeon said, The Matrona will not enter her temple in joy until
the kingdom of Esau has been brought to judgement and she has taken vengeance on it for
causing all this. Therefore they shall judge the mount of Esau first, and then
the kingdom shall be the Lord's (Ibid.), the kingdom being the Matrona.
* Yashanet Editor
Again citing Sha'are Oreh, the concept of the "two females" being
united is expressed as follows:
Binah and Malkut face one another. And from the attribute Binah will come all
blessings to the attribute Malkut, the essence of which is, "And a river went out
from Eden ..." (Genesis 2:10). This is the essence of Binah, which goes out from the
place of Keter, through the hands of Chokmah ... For Binah is referred to as the channels
of the river. "... to water the garden ..." (Genesis 2:10). This is the sphere
Malkut, who receives much everflow and blessing which emanates through the sphere Binah.
8b ... because she has made all
nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
The following Midrash links the nations "drinking from a cup of reeling" to
the River of Eden:
Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 13:5 - R. Samuel b. Nahman said: All the
prophets foresaw the empires engaged in their [subsequent] activities. This is alluded to
in what is written, And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it
parted and became four heads (Genesis 2:10). R. Tanhuma, and some say R. Menahema, in the
name of R. Joshua b. Levi, said: The Holy One, blessed be He, will, in the Time to Come,
cause the heathen nations to drink the cup of reeling. This is indicated by what is
written, And a river went out of Eden (eden), i.e. from the place
whence judgment (din) is to go forth.
(See comments to verse 12 below, regarding the relationship between; the River of Eden,
God's judgment and the righteous (tzaddikim).
God, through the prophet Jeremiah, tells the nations who do not wish to accept what is
coming to them, that if He is bringing judgment on Jerusalem (the city called by his name)
He will certainly bring it upon them. This could be an allusion to the dual judgment of
verses 14-20 below which may be decribing judgment against Israel and then the nations
(note the reference to the "roaring voice" from above and the "grapes"
Jeremiah Chapter 25:15-31 - For thus says the Lord God of Israel
to me; Take the wine cup of this fury from my hand, and make all the nations, to whom I
send you, drink it. And they shall drink, and stagger, and be crazed, because of the sword
that I will send among them. Then I took the cup from the Lords hand, and made all
the nations drink, to whom the Lord had sent me; Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and
its kings, and its princes, to make them a desolation and a waste, a thing to be hissed,
and a curse; as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes,
and all his people; And all the mixed tribes, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all
the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the
remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the Ammonites, And all the kings of Tyre, and all
the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the islands which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and
Tema, and Buz, and all who cut the corners of their hair, And all the kings of Arabia, and
all the kings of the mixed tribes who dwell in the desert, And all the kings of Zimri, and
all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, And all the kings of the north, far
and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of
the earth; and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. Therefore you shall say to
them, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink, and be drunk, and vomit, and
fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. And it shall be,
if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then shall you say to them, Thus
says the Lord of hosts; You shall certainly drink. For, behold, I begin to bring evil to
the city which is called by my name, and should you go utterly unpunished? You shall not
be unpunished; for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, says the
Lord of hosts. Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them, The Lord
shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily
roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as those who trample the grapes, against
all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for
the Lord has a controversy with the nations, he will enter into judgment with all flesh;
he will give those who are wicked to the sword, says the Lord.
9Then a third angel followed them,
saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives
his mark on his forehead or on his hand,
10 he himself shall also drink of the
wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His
indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy
angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
Verses 8 through 10 present a middah knegged middah ("measure for
measure") punishment. Verse 8 associates the evil of Babylon/Esau with the "wine
of fornication." Those who align themselves with this wine, in verse 9, drink the
"wine of the wrath of God" in verse 10.
The following Midrash, especially rich in references to the Tenakh, also makes the case
against the arrogance of those ( i.e., Laodicea of
Revelation chapter 3 ) who come against God and Israel and draws contrast
to those who follow His Torah:
Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XI:1 - Moreover, it says, Then shall ye
again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him
that serveth Him not (Malachi 3:8). The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked
(Proverbs 3:33) applies to the wicked Esau; as you read, Whereas Edom saith: We are beaten
down, but we will return and build the waste places; thus saith the Lord of hosts: They
shall build, but I will throw down, etc. (Malachi 1:4). But He blesseth the habitation of
the righteous (Proverbs. 3:33), that is of Israel, about whom it is written, Thy people
also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever (Isaiah 60:21). [And
your eyes shall see, and ye shall say: The Lord is great beyond the border of Israel
(Malachi. 1:5)]1 If it concerneth the scorners, He scorneth them (Proverbss 3:34).
Scorners applies to the Edomites who are termed scorners; as it says, A proud
and haughty man, scorner is his name (ib. 21:24). They are also called proud; as you may
read, And now we call the proud happy. But how do you know that Scripture is
speaking of the Edomites? Because it is written, ' Yea, they that work wickedness are
built up and that applies to the Edomites; as you may infer from the text, And they
shall be called The border of wickedness (Malachi 1:4). They daily scoff at Israel because
of the sufferings that come upon them; as you read, And ye have magnified yourselves
against Me with your mouth, and have multiplied your words against Me; I have heard it
(Ezekiel 35:13). He scorneth them implies that the Holy One, blessed be He,
will in the future mete out to them according to their own measure; as you read, As thou
hast done, it shall be done unto thee; thy dealing shall return upon thine own head
(Obadiah 1:15). But unto the humble (anawim) He giveth grace (Proverbs 3:34).
Anawim applies to Israel who are poor (aniyim) among the nations and go about
in humility (anawah) in their midst and suffer the burden imposed upon them, in
order to sanctify the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and to whom the Holy One,
blessed be He, will in the future showgrace, executing justice upon their traducers; as
you read, And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you (Isaiah
30:18), and as it says, The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord (ib. 29:19),
and it also says, For, O people that dwellest in Zion at Jerusalem, thoushalt weep no more
(ib. 30:19). The wise shall inherit honour (Proverbs 3:35) applies to Israel who are
called wise when they fulfil the Torah and the commandments; as it says, Observe therefore
and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding, etc. (Deuteronomy 4:6).
Because Israel observe the Torah while among the nations the Holy One, blessed be He, will
in the future cause them to inherit a throne ofglory; as you read, To make them... inherit
the throne of glory (I Samuel 2:8) which indicates that the Holy One, blessed be He, will
at some future time restore to Israel its sovereignty; as you read, And the kingdom and
the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to
the people of the saints, etc. (Daniel 7:27). But as for the fools, they carry away shame
(Proverbs 3:35). This applies to the Edomites; as you read, And I will destroy the wise
men out of Edom, and discernment out of the mount of Esau (Obadiah 1:8), and as it says,
Is wisdom no more in Teman? Is counsel perished from the prudent? Is their wisdom
vanished? (Jerermiah 49:7). What is the meaning of They carry away (merim) shame
(kalon)? That they will raise (yarimu) in their territory conflagration (kalon),
namely, that they will ultimately go into the fire. ' Kalon can signify nought but
burning; as you read, Whom the king of Babylon roasted (kalam) in the fire (ib. 29:22),
and as it says, Corn in the ear parched (kalui) with fire (Leviticus 2:14), and as it
likewise says, And the house of Joseph shall be aflame, and the house of Esau for stubble,
etc. (Obadiah 1:18), and as it says, I beheld even till the beast was slain, and its body
destroyed, and it was given to be burned with fire (Daniel 7:11).
11 And the smoke of their torment
ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and
his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
There almost seems a contradiction in verses 11 and 12 with regard to the terms
"forever and ever" and "day or night." The former
resembles the Hebrew term, LeOlam VaEd, which has to do with
"timelessness." In this case, the idea of there being "day" and
"night" would not make sense. A resolution to this however, can be found in
Aryeh Kaplan's commentary to the ancient kabbalistic text, Sefer Yetzirah, which
he explains the idea of "time within the timeless":
There are two synonymns which denote eternity. The first is LeOlam, usually
translated as "forever," which indicates the end point of the time continuum.
Often used is the expression, LeOlam Vaed, which means "forever and eternity."
The expression "eternity," here denotes the realm outside the time continuum,
where the concept of time does not exist at all. Even in such a timeless domain, however,
there is still a kind of hypertime, where events can occur in a logical sequence. The
Midrash calls such hypertime, "the order of time." 5
Finally, the sin of "taking the mark" carries with it the aspect of it being
"unforgiveable" (in this world or the next). This would thus equate it with
"blaspheming of the Ruach HaKodesh" as mentioned in our notes to Revelation 13:16-18.
12 Here is the patience of the saints;
here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Yeshua.
Verse 12 is grounded in the Hebraic concept of both keeping Torah and "binding
oneself" to a tzaddik, upon whose righteousness (i.e., "the faith OF
Yeshua"), one is given "additional mercy" from God, (as discussed in verse
The commandments of God's Torah act as the means to both understanding oneself and
linking to God:
Every mitzvah is a bond between man and God. As such, the attitude towards the
mitzvah must relate to both these points. Man must find himself in the mitzvah, and he
must find God in the mitzvah. Love is the mode of the person finding himself in the
mitzvah. Awe is the mode of finding God in the mitzvah. 6
Even the word for God's commandment, "mitzvah," carries with it the meaning
"Mitzvah" - commandment - also means companionship or union (from the
Aramaic "tzavta" - companionship). One who fulfills a commandment becomes united
with the essence of G-d, who ordained that precept. 7
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov stresses the importance of "binding oneself to the
Messiah" as it is through such a righteous one that God is fully revealed. (This idea
is fundamental to understanding the role Yeshua played - as a sinless tzaddik who further
"opened the path.") This increase in Torah knowledge (the Torah of Messiah) is
equated to the River of the Garden of Eden (which we see "reappearing at the end of
the book of Revelation for the first time since the book of Genesis).
Furthermore, "the River" refers to the Voice of Rebuke. The Voice of
Rebuke is present in the Mashiach, represented by the tzaddikim who reveal the pathways of
... the Torah is that sweet-smelling spice which emanates from the Voice of Rebuke,
bringing all back to God.
... The Mashiach of each generation (i.e., the tzadikkim) are those who draw the
power of Eden (prayer) into the Garden (Torah), giving form and shape to that which is
beyond conception. This is their awesome power, and this is why they can reveal Godliness
- for they are able to reveal the mitzvot (commandments) and advice with which we can
relate to God. This is why the tzadikkim are called "the Voice of Rebuke,"
... cleaving to the tzadikkim - to Mashiach - is crucial. Without it, one cannot
hope to combine the aspects of Torah and prayer, and thereby come to recognize God.
... The Voice of Rebuke is the Song of the Future, which itself corresponds to the
revelation of God's Name. 8
We can thus conclude that the term "patience of the saints" in verse
12 relates to the "perfect path" one can take in life - i.e., following God's
Torah to the best of one's ability, and "attaching oneself" to a great tzaddik
who "paves the way ahead" for you through his greater righteousness.
13a Then I heard a voice from heaven saying
to me, "Write: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."'
"Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors,
Here we appear to have a "conversation" between the "bat kol"
(voice of heaven) and the "Spirit" (Ruach). We see a similar dialogue in this
Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations I:50 - A Bath Kol issued forth and
proclaimed, A joyful mother of children (Psalm 113:9); and the Holy Spirit
cried out, FOR THESE THINGS I WEEP.
13b ... and their works follow
As is taught in Judaism, when we stand before God, all that accompanies us is our good
works -- those actions that contributed to tikkun (rectification) of our own souls and of
1. Mashiach - Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?, Chaim Kramer, Breslov Research
Institute, Jerusalem, pp. 60-67.
2. Gates of Light (Sha'are Oreh), Rabbi Joseph
Gikatilla, translation by Avi Weinstein, Altimira Press, London, 1994, pp. 201-203.
3. ibid, p. 286.
4. ibid, p. 292.
5. Sefer Yetzirah, The Book of Creation, Aryeh Kaplan,
Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, Maine, p. 51.
6. From http://www.aish.com/spirituality/kabbala101/Kabbala_14_-_Love_and_Awe.asp
7. From Iggrot Kodesh, Vol 10, 368, Rabbi Yosef
Y. Schneersohn, as cited in; The Divine Commandments - The Significance and Function
of the Mitzvot in Chabad Philosophy, Nissan Mindel, Kehot Publicatoin Society,
Brooklyn NY, 1992, p.17.
8. Mashiach - Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?, Chaim
Kramer, Breslov Research Institute, Jerusalem, pp. 114-115.