Last update: May 29, 2007
The text of Revelation continues forward with its description of the defeat of evil within the physical realm of Asiyah as we near the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy regarding the unification of the Name of God.
As Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto points out, these two concepts are associated:
The basis of the annihilation and removal of evil, as well as the perpetuation of good in all creation depends on the revelation of God's unity. 1
12b ... He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.
This is the first of three references to a "name" regarding the Messiah in this chapter, the others being verses 13(b) and 16. The "name" of Messiah (as with the "name" of other key figures in the Bible and also the "Name" of God) has to do with attributes, authority and function (in God's plan).
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 98b - What is his [the Messiah's] name? The School of R. Shila said: His name is Shiloh, for it is written, until Shiloh come. The School of R. Yannai said: His name is Yinnon, for it is written, His name shall endure for ever: e'er the sun was, his name is Yinnon. The School of R. Haninah maintained: His name is Haninah, as it is written, Where I will not give you Haninah. Others say: His name is Menahem the son of Hezekiah,for it is written, Because Menahem [the comforter ], that would relieve my soul, is far. The Rabbis said: His name is the leper scholar, as it is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4)
This "name" of messiah has existed since before the physical world (i.e., 1Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; Hebrews 4:3, 9:26; John 17:24; Matthew 13:35, 25:34).
The Talmud refers to several things pre-existing the world including the "name" of Messiah:
Talmud, 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!
(See verse 13b below for a continuation of the theme of the "name" of Messiah.)
13a He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood ...
The judgment of Messiah against the nations on behalf of Israel is discussed in this section of the Zohar:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 238a - BINDING HIS FOAL UNTO THE VINE . The vine is the Community of Israel, so called also in the verse: Thou didst remove a vine from Egypt (Psalm 80:9). By his foal is meant the Messiah, who is destined to rule over all the hosts of the peoples, that is to say, the heavenly hosts who have charge of the Gentiles, and from whom they derive their strength. The Messiah will prevail over them, because this vine dominates all those lower crowns through which the Gentiles have dominion. This will be the victory above. Israel, who are a choice vine, will conquer and destroy other hosts below; and the Messiah will prevail over all. Hence it is written of him that he will be poor and riding on an ass and on a young ass's colt (Zechariah 9:9). Colt and ass are two crowns by virtue of which the Gentiles have dominion, and they are from the left side, the side of uncleanness. It is strange that the Messiah should be called poor. R. Simeon explained that it is because he has nothing of his own, and he is compared to the holy moon above, which has no light save from the sun. This Messiah will have dominion and will be established in his place. Below he is poor, because he is of the side of the moon, and above he is poor, being a mirror which does not radiate, the bread of poverty. Yet withal he rides upon an ass and upon a colt, to overthrow the strength of the Gentiles; and God will keep him firm. HE HATH WASHED HIS GARMENT IN WINE . With this may be compared the verse: Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? (Isaiah 53:1); and also: I have trodden the winepress alone, etc. (Ibid. 3). Wine here alludes to the side of Geburah, of stern justice which will be visited on the idolatrous nations. AND HIS VESTURE IN THE BLOOD OF GRAPE . This is the lower-world tree, the judgement court which is called grapes, in which the wine is kept. Thus the Messiah will be clothed in both to crush beneath him all the idolatrous peoples and kings.
As this judgment has to do with the entering of the "Great Sabbath" (Messianic Kingdom) it is not surprising that it is incorporated into the Orthodox Shabbat liturgy:
When He comes from Edom with bloodied clothes, He will have a slaughter in Bozrah, an execution of traitors. The dripping of their lifeblood will redden His garments. With His great strengh He will cut down the spirit of the nobles. 2
13b ... and His name is called The Word of God.
Continuing with the Orthodox Shabbat liturgy, we see that it is "the Word of God" (Torah) that goes forth to destroy Israel's enemies. Again this is read every Shabbat when the Torah is brought out:
This explains the verse we quote whenever we open the Holy Ark before the reading of the Torah: And it was when the Ark traveled, and Moses said, Arise Gd and let your enemies scatter and let those who hate you flee from you. (Bamidbar 10:35) This sounds like a battle cry and would appear to be out of place in a synagogue prior to the Torah reading. However, with the realization that reading and studying the Torah is our most powerful weapon against our enemies, we understand why this is the appropriate time to quote this declaration. 3
(See notes on verse 15a below for the link between the judgment of the nations, the Word of God and the "sword" from the mouth of Messiah.)
In this next midrash, the Messiah is called (among several names) "the Lord," due to his likeness to the image of God as discussed in the previous chapter:
Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations 1:51 - BECAUSE THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME, EVEN HE THAT SHOULD REFRESH MY SOUL. What is the name of King Messiah? R. Abba b. Kahana said: His name is the Lord; as it is stated, And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness (Jerermiah 23:6). For R. Levi said: It is good for a province when its name is identical with that of its king, and the name of its king identical with that of its God. It is good for a province when its name is identical with that of its king, as it is written, And the name of the city from that day shall be the Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35). And the name of its king identical with that of its God, as it is stated, And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness. R. Joshua b. Levi said: His name is ' Shoot ; as it is stated, Behold, a man whose name is Shoot, and who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the temple of the Lord (Zechariah 6:12). R. Judan said in the name of R. Aibu: His name is Comforter; as it is said, THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME. R. Hanina said: They do not really differ, because the numerical value of the names is the same, so that ' Comforter ' is identical with ' Shoot .
A relationship between a "mystery" regarding the Name of God and the role of the Torah is discussed in this fascinating section of the Zohar:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 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. YHVH 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, Genesis, 134a in connection with the words "Then I was by him as amon" (Proverbs 8:30), 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?Nevertheless, when the palace has been built, it is attributed to the King: "here is the palace which the King has built", because his was the thought that thus has been realized. Similarly, when the Holy One, blessed be He, resolved to create the world, He looked into His plan, and, although, in a sense, it was the plan which brought the palace into being, it is not called by its name, but by that of the King. The Torah proclaims: "I was by Him an architect, through me He created the world!"-for the Torah preceded the creation of the world by two thousand years; and so, when He resolved to create the world He looked into the Torah, into its every creative word, and fashioned the world correspondingly; for all the words and all the actions of all the worlds are contained in the Torah. Therefore did the Holy One, blessed be He, look into it and create the world. That is why it says not merely "I was an architect", but "I was, alongside of Him, an architect". It may be asked, How can one be an architect with Him? God looked at His plan in this way. It is written in the Torah: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"; He looked at this expression and created heaven and earth. In the Torah it is written: "Let there be light"; He looked at these words and created light; and in this manner was the whole world created. When the world was all thus created, nothing was yet established properly, until He had resolved to create man, in order that he might study the Torah, and, for his sake, the world should be firmly and properly established.
Thus it is that he who concentrates his mind on, and deeply penetrates into, the Torah, sustains the world; for, as the Holy One looked into the Torah and created the world, so man looks into the Torah and keeps the world alive. Hence the Torah is the cause of the world's creation, and also the power that maintains its existence. Therefore blessed is he who is devoted to the Torah, for he is the preserver of the world.When the Holy One resolved to create man, there appeared before His Mind potential man, in form and condition as he was to be in this world; and not he alone, but all human beings, before they enter this world, stand before Him in the same way, in that treasure-house of souls where, dressed in a semblance of their earthly forms, they await their entry into this world. When their time has arrived to descend to this world, the Holy One calls upon a certain emissary appointed over all the souls to go down, and says to him: "Go, bring hither to Me such and such a spirit", and on the instant that soul appears, clad in the form of this world, and is led forward by the angel that the Holy King may look upon it. Then does the Holy One warn that soul, when it shall have reached the earthly regions, to remember the Torah, and devote itself thereto, so that it may know Him and the mystery of Faith; for better were it for a man that he should never be born than not to know Him.
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 YHVH 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 YHVH 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 YHVH 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, YHVH, 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 YHVH is Elohim."
Putting together the ideas presented above together, we see:
- The "name" (function, role, etc.) of Messiah pre-existed the physical world
- That which judges the nations is both part of the role of Messiah and the "Word of God"
- There is a relationship (likeness) between the "name" of Messiah and "name" of God
- The Word of God, the Torah, pre-existed the world "with God" and is called not by its name but by God's name
- Both the Torah and the tzaddik are said to sustain the world
The prime example of a tzaddik with high regard for Torah, is Jacob. We have seen in an earlier study that the image of Jacob is engraved in the divine throne, that he pre-existed the world and through him all things were made and sustained.
Considering all of this, we now have insight into one of the New Testament's more mysterious verses:
John 1:1-5 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
The relationship between Messiah, Torah and the concept of a "sword" is discussed below in 15a.
14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
The tzaddikim follow in the likeness of Messiah who is in the likeness of God:
This is the essence of Him, may He be Blessed and exalted forever. He glories in the creatures who have sinned and have become penitent ... Furthermore, above with the sphere of Keter, there are kinds of splendour, compassion and mercy, all of which are white, and with them He watches and adorns the name YHVH, may He be Blessed, with the white clothing that is called Tiferet, and with them YHVH glorifies Himself and has mercy over His world. 4
Regarding the Messianic age, it is written (Isaiah 4:3), "And it will be, that he who is left in Zion, and he who remains in Jerusalem, 'holy' shall be said to him." The Talmud teaches us that the angels will chant, "holy, holy, holy," before the Tzadikim, just like they do before God(i.e., Rev. 4:8). This is the plain meaning of the verse. For the Tzadikim who remain faithful before the Messiah's coming, will deserve this, and much more. 5
15a Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.
God has promised to destroy Amalek (called "reshith goyim" - the "head of the nations") at the end of this age. The precursor to this was Joshua, who slew physical Amalek as found in Exodus, chapter 18. The following excerpt from the Zohar makes a direct connection between Joshua, in the physical world, and the angelic figure Metatron in the spiritual realm.
What is of particular importance in the Zohar is that it is not so much Joshua who "slew Amalek" as it is "the sword" itself that does the slaying, "executing the vengeance of the covenant" (the vengeance of Yesod, i.e., Messiah ben Joseph).
Soncino Zohar, Shemot, 66a - Now when Moses perceived that Samael [Esau's angel] was going to fight for Amalek, he thought: this young man, Joshua, will surely stand against him and prevail, and therefore he said unto him: go and fight against Amalek! It is thy battle, the battle here below, and I will prepare myself for the battle above. Choose worthy men, righteous and the sons of the righteous, to accompany thee. Said R. Simeon: At the moment when Joshua, the young man, started out to fight Amalek, the Young Man above was stirred, and was equipped with weapons prepared by his Mother (the Shekinah) for the battle in order to avenge the covenant (cf. Leviticus 26:25) with the sword (Exodus 17:13). Moses equipped himself for the war above. His hands were heavy (Ibid. v, 12), that is to say, weighty, honourable, holy hands, that had never been defiled, hands worthy to wage the war above. AND THEY TOOK A STONE AND PUT IT UNDER HIM AND HE SAT THEREON: to participate in the distress of Israel. AND AARON AND HUR STAYED UP HIS HANDS, THE ONE ON THE ONE SIDE, AND THE OTHER ON THE OTHER SIDE: AND HIS HANDS WERE STEADY (emunah, lit. faith). This cannot be taken in the literal sense; what it means is that Aaron represented his side (the attribute of Grace), Hur his side (the attribute of Strength), and Moses hands between the two represented Faith. AND IT CAME TO PASS THAT WHEN MOSES HELD UP HIS HAND, ISRAEL PREVAILED, AND WHEN HE LET DOWN HIS HAND, AMALEK PREVAILED.
Hand here refers to the right hand, which he held up above the left, and so long as he did so, Israel, i.e. the Supernal Israel, prevailed; but when Israel below ceased praying Moses could not keep his hand up and Amalek prevailed. From which we derive the lesson that, although the priest spreads out his hands at the sacrifice to make his mediation complete, yet Israel must co-operate with him in prayer. AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, WRITE THIS FOR A MEMORIAL IN THE BOOK, ETC. Note that in the previous verse it says, And Joshua disabled (vayahlosh) Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Why is the word disabled used here instead of slew? Because the word halash has also another meaning, namely, to cast lots (cf. Isaiah 14:2). Joshua did indeed first cast lots, .[Tr. note: i.e. as to which of the multitude of nations that Amalek brought with him (vide infra) should first be put to the sword.] and then the sword, executing the vengenace of the covenant, slew them. WRITE THIS FOR A MEMORIAL: this in the first place, AND REHEARSE IT IN THE EARS OF JOSHUA, namely, that he is destined to slay other kings. FOR I WILL UTTERLY BLOT OUT (lit. for blotting out I will blot out); that is, both their celestial forces and their power here below: similarly THE REMEMBRANCE of them on high as well as below. Said R. Isaac: Here it is written: For I will utterly blot out, whereas in another passage it says, Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek (Deuteronomy 25:19). The Holy One, blessed be He, said in effect: Ye shall blot out his remembrance on earth, and I will blot out his remembrance on high. R. Jose said: Amalek brought with him other peoples, but all the rest were afraid to commence war against Israel. Hence Joshua cast lots which of them to slay. AND MOSES BUILT AN ALTAR AND CALLED THE NAME OF IT YHVH NISSI (the Lord is my sign). He built an altar below to correspond to the Altar above.
Metatron in turn is called "the angel of Messiah ben Joseph" as found in the text, Kol Hator:
The Mashiach ben Yosef from above is Metatron, the Minister of Interior; as is known, Yosef is Metatron. Both of them are from the light from above, and both are in the sefira Yesod 6
For a bird of the skies will carry the sound, and some winged creature will relate the matter -- This was said about Metatron, the Minister of Interior, as brought in Tikunei Zohar. He is the Angel of Mashiach ben Yosef. The word hints at, and in gematria the two words are equal . 7
The Zohar has more about the revenge taken upon Israel's enemies by their Messiah:
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, 212b - Then will the King Messiah appear and the kingship shall be given to him. Mankind will then suffer one calamity after another, and the enemies of Israel will prevail, but the spirit of the Messiah shall rise against them and destroy the sinful Edom and burn in fire the land of Seir. Hence it is written, And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession of his which were his enemies, while Israel doth valiantly. And in that time the Holy One, blessed be He, shall raise the dead of his people, and death shall be forgotten of them. R. Abba said: Why is it written, For in joy ye shall go out (Isaiah 55:12)? Because when Israel go out from captivity the Shekinah will go forth with them and they with Her.
Midrash Rabbah (on Shir haShirim, the union of the groom and his bride) offers the following:
Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs VI:25 - It is not written here, like degalim (standards), but nidgaloth, implying, like the generation which was on the point of being carried into captivity (nithnadned legaluth). Which was this? The generation of Hezekiah, as it says, A day of trouble, and of rebuke, etc. (Isaiah 37:3). How do we know that they inspired fear? Because it says, So that he was exalted in the sight of all nations (II Chronicles 32:23). R. Huna said in the name of R. Eleazar the Modean: It is not written here, like degalim, but, like nidgaloth, implying, like the generation which was on the point of being carried into captivity but was not. Which is this? The generation of the Messiah, as it says, For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle (Zechariah 14:2). And how do we know that he will inspire fear? Because it says, And he shall smite the land with the rod of his mouth (Isaiah 11:4).
(See also Zohar, Shemot 8a-9a further down this page for more about Messiah, his Bride and his vengeance against his enemies.)
15b ... And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Midrash Rabbah explains Psalm 2 in terms of the messiah's strict rule:
Midrash Rabbah Genesis 97 - THE SCEPTRE [STAFF] SHALL NOT DEPART FROM JUDAH alludes to the Messiah, son of David, who will chastise the State with a staff, as it says, Thou shalt break them with a rod [staff] of iron (Psalm 2:9).
Psalms Chapter 2 - Why do the nations rage, and the peoples mutter a vain thing?. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then he shall speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury. But I have set my king on my holy mountain of Zion. I will tell of the decree; the Lord has said to me, You are my son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potters vessel. Now therefore be wise, O you kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Worship in purity, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, for in a little while his wrath will blaze. Happy are all who put their trust in him.
16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
This would be a fulfillment of Psalm 45:
Psalm 45:3-5 Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, With Your glory and Your majesty. And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the Kings enemies; The peoples fall under You.
The kingly role of Messiah at his coming is spoken of in the Zohar and other sources:- For whilst the Holy One is taking vengeance on the idolatrous nations, He will make a man more precious than gold, to wit, the Messiah, who will be raised and glorified above all mankind, and to whom all mankind will pay homage and bow down, as it is written, Before him those that dwell in the wilderness will bow down ... the Kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall render tribute (Psalm 72:9-10).
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 107b
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 143a -AND NATIONS BOW DOWN TO THEE , alludes to the time when the Messiah will appear, concerning whom it is written: Yea, all kings shall prostrate themselves before him (Psalm 72:11). R. Judah said: The whole applies to the advent of the Messiah, of whom it is also written: all nations shall serve him (Ibid.).
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, 213a- Then will the King Messiah appear and the kingship shall be given to him. Mankind will then suffer one calamity after another, and the enemies of Israel will prevail, but the spirit of the Messiah shall rise against them and destroy the sinful Edom and burn in fire the land of Seir. Hence it is written, And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession of his which were his enemies, while Israel doth valiantly. And in that time the Holy One, blessed be He, shall raise the dead of his people, and death shall be forgotten of them. R. Abba said: Why is it written, For in joy ye shall go out (Isaiah 55:12)? Because when Israel go out from captivity the Shekinah will go forth with them and they with Her.
Yalqut haMakhiri ad Isaiah. 11:4, p. 86 - In the days of the Messiah, he will begin (to address the nations) in peace ... and they will subject themselves to him ... and will bring him presents. 8 Midrash Leqah Tov, ed. Buber, 1:235 - In the days of the Messiah the nations will bow down to him. 9
Lastly, we present this amazing description of the coming of Messiah from the Zohar:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 8a-9a - At the time when the Holy One shall arise to renew all worlds, and the letters of his Name shall shine in perfect union, the Yod with the He, and the He with the Vau, a mighty star will appear in the heavens of purple hue, which by day shall flame before the eyes of the whole world, filling the firmament with its light. And at that time shall a flame issue in the heavens from the north; and flame and star shall so face each other for forty days, and all men will marvel and be afraid. And when forty days shall have passed, the star and the flame shall war together in the sight of all, and the flame shall spread across the skies from the north, striving to overcome the star, and the rulers and peoples of the earth shall behold it with terror, and there will be confusion among them. But the star will remove to the south and vanquish the flame, and the flame shall daily be diminished until it be no more seen. Then shall the star cleave for itself bright paths in twelve directions which shall remain luminous in the skies for the term of twelve days. After a further twelve days trembling will seize the world, and at midday the sun will be darkened as it was darkened on the day when the holy Temple was destroyed, so that heaven and earth shall not be seen. Then out of the midst of thunder and lightning shall a voice be heard, causing the earth to quake and many hosts and principalities to perish. On the same day when that voice is heard throughout the world, a flame of fire shall appear burning in Great Rome (Constantinople); it will consume many turrets and towers, and many are the great and mighty who shall perish then. All shall gather against her to destroy her, and no one will have hope to escape. From that day on, for twelve months, all the kings (of the world) will take counsel together and make many decrees to destroy Israel; and they shall prosper against him, as has been said. Blessed is he who shall live in that time, and blessed is he who shall not live in that time! And the whole world then will be in confusion. At the end of the twelve months the sceptre of Judah, namely the Messiah, will arise, appearing from Paradise, and all the righteous will surround him and gird him with weapons of war on which are inscribed the letters of the Holy Name (YHVH). Then a voice will burst forth from the branches of the trees of Paradise: Arise, O ye saints from above, and stand ye before the Messiah! For the time has come for the Hind to be united with her Spouse, and he must avenge her on the world and raise her from the dust. And all the saints from above will arise and gird the Messiah with weapons of war, Abraham at his right, Isaac at his left, Jacob in front of him, while Moses, the faithful shepherd of all these saints, shall dance at the head of them in Paradise. As soon as the Messiah has been installed by the saints in Paradise, he will enter again the place which is called the Bird's Nest,, there to behold the picture of the destruction of the Temple, and of all the saints who were done to death there. Then will he take from that place ten garments, the garments of holy zeal, and hide himself there for forty days, and no one shall be able to see him. At the end of those forty days a voice shall be heard from the highest throne calling the Bird's Nest and the Messiah who shall be hidden there. Thereupon he shall be carried aloft, and when the Holy One, blessed be He, shall behold the Messiah adorned with the garments of holy zeal and girded with weapons of war, he will take him and kiss him upon his brow. At that moment three hundred and ninety firmaments shall begin to shake. The Holy One shall command one of these firmaments, which has been kept in waiting since the six days of creation, to approach, and He shall take out from a certain temple in it a crown inscribed with holy names. It was with this crown that the Holy One adorned Himself when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and He avenged Himself on all the chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen. With this same crown will He crown King Messiah. As soon as he is crowned, the Holy One will take him and kiss him as before. All the holy multitude and the whole holy army will surround him and will bestow upon him many wonderful gifts, and he will be adorned by them all. Then will he enter into one of the temples and behold there all the upper angels, who are called the mourners of Zion because they continually weep over the destruction of the Holy Temple. These angels shall give him a robe of deep red in order that he may commence his work of revenge. The Holy One will again hide him in the Bird's Nest and he will remain there for thirty days. After the thirty days he will again be decked with those adornments from above and from below, and many holy beings will surround him. The whole world then shall see a light extending from the firmament to the earth, and continuing for seven days, and they will be amazed and not comprehend: only the wise will understand, they who are adepts in the mystic lore, blessed is their portion. All through the seven days the Messiah shall be crowned on earth. Where shall this be? By the way, to wit, Rachel's grave, which is on the cross-road. To mother Rachel he will give glad tidings and comfort her, and now she will let herself be comforted, and will rise and kiss him. The light will then move from that place and shall stand over Jericho, the city of trees, and the Messiah will be hidden in the light of the Bird's Nest for twelve months. After the twelve months that light will stand between heaven and earth in the land of Galilee, where Israel's captivity began, and there will he reveal himself from the light of the Bird's Nest, and return to his place. On that day the whole earth will be shaken from one end.to the other, and thus the whole world will know that the Messiah has revealed himself in the land of Galilee. And all who are diligent in the study of the Torah-and there shall be few such in the world-will gather round him. His army will gain in strength through the merit of little infants at school, symbolized by the word ephroah-young bird (cf. Deuteronomy 22:6). And if such will not be found at that time it will be through the merit of the sucklings, the eggs (Ibid), those that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts (Isaiah 22:9), for whose sake the Shekinah dwells in the midst of Israel in exile, as indeed there will be few sages at that time. This is the implication of the words And the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, which, allegorically interpreted, means that it does not depend upon the Mother to free them from exile, but upon the Supreme King; for it is the young ones and the sucklings that will give strength to the Messiah, and then the Supernal Mother, which sits upon them, will be stirred up towards Her Spouse. He will tarry for twelve months longer, and then he will appear and raise her from the dust: I will raise up on that day the tabernacle of David that is fallen (Amos 9:2). On that day the Messiah will begin to gather the captives from one end of the world to the other: If any of thine be driven out unto the utmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee (Deut.eronomy 30:4). From that day on the Holy One will perform for Israel all the signs and wonders which He performed for them in Egypt: As in the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt, will I show unto him wonders (Micah 7:15)..
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,
The particular name of this angel is not revealed but the text could apply to either Metatron or Michael.
One section of the Zohar may be pointing to this same event:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth 188a - When before the rising of the sun the light shines forth, the angel appointed to rule and guide the sun steps forth with the holy letters of the supernal blessed Name inscribed upon his brow, and in the power of those letters opens all the windows of Heaven and flies out. Then he enters into the aura of brightness which surrounds the sun and waits there till the sun himself arises to spread his light over the world.
18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.
Whether it be Egypt, Rome or Babylon, their end is similar:
Tanach - Ezekiel Chapter 32 - And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Son of man, raise a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him, You consider yourself a young lion of the nations, but you are like a crocodile in the seas; and you burst forth in your rivers, and trouble the waters with your feet, and foul their rivers. Thus says the Lord God: I will therefore spread out my net over you with a company of many people; and they shall bring you up in my net. Then will I throw you upon the land, I will cast you out on the open field, and I will cause all the birds of the sky to settle on you, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with you. And I will lay your flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with your height. I will also water with your blood the land over which you overflow, as far as the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of you.
19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
The Zohar gives a similar view of the nations focusing their final effort against the Messiah himself:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 7b - Also the Messiah shall be hidden for twelve months in the pillar of fire, which shall return again, although it shall not be visible. After the twelve months the Messiah will be carried up to heaven in that pillar of fire and receive there power and dominion and the royal crown. When he descends, the pillar of fire will again be visible to the eyes of the world, and the Messiah will reveal himself, and mighty nations will gather round him, and he shall declare war against all the world. At that time the Holy One shall show forth his power before all the nations of the earth, and the Messiah shall be manifested throughout the whole universe, and all the kings will unite to fight against him, and even in Israel there will be found some wicked ones who shall join them in the fight against the Messiah. Then there will be darkness over all the world, and for fifteen days shall it continue, and many in Israel shall perish in that darkness. Concerning this darkness it is written: Behold, darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the peoples (Isaiah 40:2)..
As discussed in earlier sections, this arrival of Messiah (and the nations coming against him) is synonymous with the unification of the Name of God, described here in terms of the vav (son, groom) being united to the hey (daughter, bride):
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 119a - From that time the Messiah will begin to declare himself, and round him there will be gathered many nations and many hosts from the uttermost ends of the earth. And all the children of Israel will assemble in their various places until the completion of the century. The Vau will then join the He, and then they shall bring all your brethren out of all the nations for an offering unto the Lord (Isaiah 66:20). The children of Ishmael will at the same time rouse all the peoples of the world to come up to war against Jerusalem, as it is written, For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, etc. (Zechariah 14:2), also, The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed (Psalm 2:2); and further, He that sitteth in heaven laugheth, the Lord hath them in derision (Psalm 2:4). Then the lesser Vau will rouse itself to unite (with the He) and renew the souls that had become old, so as to rejuvenate the world, as it is written, May the glory of the Lord endure for ever, let the Lord rejoice in his works (Psalm 104:31). The first part of this verse signifies that God's glory will attach itself to the world, and the latter half that He will cause souls to descend into the world and make them into new beings, so as to join the world into one. Happy are those who will be left alive at the end of the sixth millennium to enter on the Sabbath. For that is the day set apart by the Holy One on which to effect the union of souls and to cull new souls to join those that are still on earth, as it is written, And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written unto life in Jerusalem (Isaiah 4:3).
20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
The figure of "Armilus" as the personification of evil in the end of days is associated with the one who gathers the armies against Israel. (e.g., the "anti-Christ" in Christian writings.)
T'fillat R. Shim'on ben Yohai, BhM 4:124-126 - And Armilus will hear that a king arose for Israel, and he will gather the armies of the nations of the world, and they will come to King Messiah and to Israel. And the Holy One, blessed is He, will fight for Israel, and will say to the Messiah: "Sit at my right hand." And the Messiah will say to Israel: "Gather together and stand and see the salvation of the Lord." And instantly, the Holy One, blessed be He, will go forth and fight against them. 10
21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Numerous sources speak of this great battle at the end of the age:
Sefer Eliyahu, BhM 3:65-67 - Messiah will come, and with him 30,000 saintly men ... and when the nations of the world see this, instantly each one of them will be crushed, they and their horses. 11
Midrash Rabbah - Genesis 78:12 - All the gifts which the Patriarch Jacob made to Esau, replied he, the heathens will return them to the Messiah in the Messianic era. ' What is the proof? ' The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall return tribute (Psalm. 72:10): it does not say, "shall bring," but "shall return". By thy life! he exclaimed, thou hast said a good thing, and I will teach it in thy name.
The Zohar places Moshe and Messiah as the bookends to the process of unifying the Name:
Soncino Zohar, Devarim, 260b - Thus Moses was a new beginning in the world. And if you ask, Who is the termination? the answer is, the King Messiah, for then there shall be such perfection in the world as had not been for all generations before. For then there shall be completeness above and below, and all worlds shall be united in one bond, as it is written, On that day the Lord shall be one and his name one (Zechariah 14:9).
1. Derech Hashem (The Way of God), Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, translated and annotated by Aryeh Kaplan, Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 1997, p. 175
2. From The Complete Artscroll Siddur, Zemiros for the Sabbath Day, Baruch Hashem Yom Yom, Mesorah Publications, Ltd..Brooklyn, 1994.
3. From Torah Attitude: Parashas Mattos-Masei: The Secret Army, Rabbi Avraham Kahn http://www.shemayisrael.co.il/parsha/kahn/archives/matos63.htm.
4. Sha'are Orah ("Gates of Light"), Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla, translated by Avi Weinstein, Altamira Press, 1994, p. 225.
5. Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, translated by Aryeh Kaplan, Breslov Research Institute, Jerusalem, 1973, p.255.
6. From Kol Hator, Chapter 1, http://www.yedidnefesh.com/kaballah/kol-hator/1.htm
7. From Kol Hator, Chapter 2, http://www.yedidnefesh.com/kaballah/kol-hator/2.htm
8. As cited in The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1979, p. 177.
9. ibid, p. 178.
10. Citation from T'fillat R. Shim'on ben Yohai, BhM 4:124-126, as cited in The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1979, p. 159.
11. Citation from Sefer Eliyahu, BhM 3:65-67, as cited in The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1979, p. 151.
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