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Revelation 20:1-6
Last update: November 18, 2007

While examining the commentaries in this section, the reader should take note of the mention of both "Wisdom" (the highest of the knowable Sefirot), "heaven," (Binah) and the Shekina/Holy Spirit/Bride (Malkut, the lowest of the Sefirot). This is indicative of the full extent of both the "positive" and "negative" spiritual realms.

1. Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

The "pit" is "gehenna" (gehinnom), a place of spiritual punishment or purification:

Midrash Rabbah, Genesis I:6 - R. Judah b. Simon quoted: And He revealeth the deep and secret things-mesatratha (Daniel 2:22). ' The deep things’ are the Gehenna, as it is written, But he knoweth not that the shades are there; that in the depths of the nether world are her guests (Proverbs 9:18). ’And secret things’ refers to the garden of Eden, as it is written, And for a refuge and for a covert (le-mistor), etc. (Isaiah 4:6).

Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 33:1 - R. Levi said: It [Scripture] gives a simile for the righteous in their dwelling, and for the wicked in their dwelling. The righteous in their dwelling: I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be (Ezekiel 34:14)- The wicked in their dwelling: In the day when he went down to the netherworld I caused the deep to mourn and cover itself for him (ib. 32:15). R. Judah said: Hobalti (I brought) is written: a lid for a vat is made not of gold or silver but of earthenware, which is the selfsame material. Thus the wicked are darkness, Gehenna is darkness, and the deep is darkness: hence I brought the wicked to Gehenna and covered them with the deep: let darkness cover darkness.

Midrash Rabbah, Numbers 10:2 - So the Holy Spirit said through Solomon, ‘For a harlot is a deep ditch.’ Why did he call her ' ditch (shuhah)’? In allusion to the text, For her house sinketh down (shahah) unto death (Proverbs 2:18). ‘Deep’? This recalls the text, Her guests are in the depths of the nether-world (ib. 9:18). ‘A harlot’? This refers to a married woman. ‘A narrow pit ‘? Because she brings the adulterer down into Gehenna. Hence it is written, Her steps take hold on the nether-world (ib. 5:5), and the nether-world is called ‘pit’; for it is written, O Lord, Thou broughtest up my soul from the netherworld; Thou didst keep me alive, that I should not go down to the pit (Psalm 30:4). Why has it been said that ' narrow’ alludes to Gehenna? Because it is broad underneath and has a narrow opening on top.1 Hence it is written, Yea, if one hath allured thee from a narrow opening into a broad place, where there is no straitness (Job 36:16).

Mishna, Avoth Chapter 5 - What is [the difference] between the disciples of Abraham, our father, and the disciples of Balaam, the wicked. The disciples of Abraham, our father, enjoy [their share] in this world, and inherit the world to come, as it is said: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance and that I may fill their treasuries, but the disciples of Balaam, the wicked, inherit gehinnom, and descend into the nethermost pit, as it is said: but thou, o God, wilt bring them down to the nethermost pit; men of blood and deceit shall not live out half their days; but as for me, I will trust in thee.

Talmud, Yoma 87a - And whosoever causes the community to sin, no opportunity will be granted him for repentance’, lest he be in Gan Eden and his disciples in Gehinnom, as it is said: A man, that is laden with the blood of any person shall hasten his steps unto the pit; none will help him.

Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 51:7 - EVEN THE TABERNACLE OF THE TESTIMONY. What is the meaning of TESTIMONY?--It means the Torah, in which they toil. God said: ‘I will deliver you from Gehinnom for the sake of the Torah [you study], and the sacrifices [you bring].’ To our patriarch Abraham did God also show the Torah and Gehinnom, the sacrifices and the various captivities, for it is said, And... behold a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between the pieces (Genesis 15:17). This refers to the Torah and Gehinnom, for it says, And all the people perceived the thundering, and the lightning, and the voice of the horn, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off (Exodus 20:15).

Gehenna would also seem to be an abode of demons ("shedim") and angels:

Zohar, Bemidbar 154b - Then follows the third standard to the north. It had for its ensign Ox and was accompanied by the angel Gabriel and his two chieftains, Kafziel and Hizkiel. The Ox, being of the left side, has horns between his two eyes, which flame as it were with burning fire; he gores and tramples with his feet ruthlessly. When he moos there emerge out of the hollow of the great abyss numerous spirits of wrath who proceed in front in a chorus of shrieking. Seven fiery rivers flow in front of him, and when thirsty he draws up a whole riverful at one gulp.

Zohar, Bereshith 113b-114a - "...whenever the Holy One sits on the Throne of Judgment to judge the world, Satan, the seducer of men and angels, is at hand to do mischief and to snatch up souls.

The Zohar also describes an angelic entity named "Duma," assigned as "guardian" over Gehenna:

Zohar, Shemoth 18a - R. Judah said in the name of R. Isaac: ‘Why did the Egyptians so desire to prevent Israel from multiplying, and what motive prompted their supernal representative to put such a desire into their hearts? Because he knew and made known to them that a son would be born to the Israelites through whom judgement should be brought upon the gods of Egypt; for, according to R. Johanan, when Moses said that God “will exercise judgement against all the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 22:12), Duma, the celestial Prince of Egypt, ran away four hundred parasangs, and the Holy One said to him: “It is My decree!” In that hour his power and his dominion was taken from him, and he was banished, instead, to the lower regions and appointed over the realms of Gehenna, as judge of the souls of the wicked.’

2. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

In this verse as well as the citation from the Zohar below, we see related manifestations of the evil realm. The dragon manifests as; "the serpent," "the devil" and "Satan" among other concepts [the archangel Samael (poison-god, also called the angel of Esau), the Sitra Achra ("other side" or "evil realm"), the Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination in humans), etc.

Further, the relationship between human activity and demons (that relates to both being occupants of Gehenna) is found in the following text, which indicates how the latter are actually attracted (or even created) by human activity.

Note also the reference to the "mountains of the east" as the source of demonic activity. Kabbalistically, just as "east" is the "heavenly direction" (toward Keter/Crown) so to in the mirror image of the Sitra Achra, "east" is the direction of strength.

Lastly, the idea of such entities being "chained" is also seen in this text:

Zohar, Bereshith 125b-126a - R. Isaac and R. Jose were walking from Tiberias to Lud. Said R. Isaac: ‘I marvel at the wicked Balaam, how all his actions proceeded from the side of impurity. We here learn the mystical lesson that all species of witchcraft are linked up with, and proceed from, the primeval serpent who is the foul and unclean spirit. Hence all sorceries are called n'hashim (lit. serpents). And whoever becomes addicted to them pollutes himself, nay more, he has first to become polluted in order to attract to himself the side of the unclean spirit. For it is a dictum of our teachers that corresponding to the impulses of a man here are the influences which he attracts to himself from above. Should his impulse be towards holiness, he attracts to himself holiness from on high and so he becomes holy; but if his tendency is towards the side of impurity, he draws down towards himself the unclean spirit and so becomes polluted. For this reason, in order to draw towards himself the unclean spirit from that supernal serpent, the wicked Balaam besmirched himself nightly by bestial intercourse with his ass, and he would then proceed to his divinations and sorceries. To begin with he would take one of the familiar serpents, tie it up, break its head, and extract its tongue. Then he would take certain herbs, and burn them as incense. He would then take the head of the serpent, split it into four sections, and offer it up as a second offering. Finally, he traced a circle round himself, mumbled some words, and made some gestures, until he became possessed of the unclean spirits, who told him all that they knew from the side of the heavenly dragon; and he thus continued his magical practices until he became possessed of the spirit of the primeval serpent. It is thus that we understand the passage, “he went not, as at the other times, to meet with n'hashim” (enchantments, lit. serpents) (Numbers 24:1).’ Said R. Jose: ‘Why is it that many kinds of magic and divination are only found in women?’ R. Isaac replied: ‘Thus I have learnt, that when the serpent had intercourse with Eve he injected defilement into her but not into her husband.’ R. Jose then went up to R. Isaac and kissed him, saying, ‘Many a time have I asked this question, but not until now have I received a real answer.’ R. Jose further asked him:‘In which place and from whom did Balaam derive all his magical practices and knowledge?’ R. Isaac replied: ‘He learned it first from his father, but it was in the “mountains of the East”, which are in an eastern country, that he obtained a mastery of all the arts of magic and divination. For those mountains are the abode of the angels Uzza and Azael whom the Holy One cast down from heaven, and who were chained there in iron fetters. It is they who impart to the sons of men a knowledge of magic. Hence the Scripture says: “From Aram Balak bringeth me, the King of Moab, from the mountains of the East” (Numbers 23:7).’ ‘But,’ said R. Jose, ‘is it not written, “and he went not as at the other times to meet with enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness” (ibid. 24:1)?’ Said R. Isaac to him: ‘The lower side, which comes from the unclean spirit above, was the unclean spirit prevailing in the wilderness when Israel made the calf in order to defile themselves therewith; and Balaam tried every device of magic to uproot Israel, but without success.’

The following texts presents "Satan" as not only the accuser, but also one active in tempting men (i.e., 1Peter 5:8) and angels:

Zohar, Bereshith, 113a - AND THE LORD REMEMBERED SARAH AS HE HAD SAID, ETC. R. Hiya discoursed on the verse: And he showed me Joshua the High priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him (Zechariah 3:1). ‘This verse,’ he said, ‘must be carefully pondered. “Joshua the high priest” is Joshua the son of Jehozedek; “the angel of the Lord” before whom he was standing is the region of the “bundle of the souls” of the righteous, which is known as “the angel of the Lord”; “Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him” is the evil tempter who roams to and fro through the world to snatch up souls and to lure beings to perdition, angels as well as human beings.

Zohar, Bereshith 113b-114a - So whenever the Holy One sits on the Throne of Judgement to judge the world, Satan, the seducer of men and angels, is at hand to do mischief and to snatch up souls.’ For from the day that the evil serpent, having enticed Adam, obtained dominion over man and over the world, he has ever been at work seducing people from the right path, nor will the world cease to suffer from his machinations until the Messiah shall come...

1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

The following text shows the collaboration between the "serpent," "Samael" and "Satan," in the temptation of Chava (Eve) in Gan Edan. Note also the relationship between Adam (the "first tree") and Jacob (the "second tree" and messianic figure - see notes in previous study on "The Divine Jacob.") and how Yeshua is spoken of in Romans chapter 5 and 1 Corinthians chapter 15). The extent of the power of Samael is seen in its source being "Wisdom":

Zohar, Bereshith, 35b - AND THE SERPENT. R. Isaac said: ‘This is the evil tempter’. R. Judah said that it means literally a serpent. They consulted R. Simeon, and he said to them: ‘Both are correct. It was Samael, and he appeared on a serpent, for the ideal form of the serpent is the Satan. We have learnt that at that moment Samael came down from heaven riding on this serpent, and all creatures saw his form and fled before him. They then entered into conversation with the woman, and the two brought death into the world. Of a surety Samael brought curses on the world through Wisdom and destroyed the first tree that God had created in the world. This responsibility rested on Samael until another holy tree came, namely Jacob, who wrested the blessings from him, in order that Samael might not be blessed above and Esau below. For Jacob was the reproduction of Adam, and he had the same beauty as Adam. Therefore as Samael withheld blessings from the first tree, so Jacob, who was such another tree as Adam, withheld blessings, both upper and lower, from Samael; and in doing so Jacob but took back his own. It is written: AND THE SERPENT WAS SUBTLE. This serpent is the evil tempter and the angel of death. It is because the serpent is the angel of death that it brought death to the world.’

1Corinthians 15: 21-22 - For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive.

Romans 5:12-14 - Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

3a. and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more ...

This text indicates the end of the evil realm's activities as coinciding with the coming of Messiah:

Zohar, Bereshith 113b-114a - Hence here also it is written, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan,” and not: “Behold, I rebuke thee.” So whenever the Holy One sits on the Throne of Judgment to judge the world, Satan, the seducer of men and angels, is at hand to do mischief and to snatch up souls.’ For from the day that the evil serpent, having enticed Adam, obtained dominion over man and over the world, he has ever been at work seducing people from the right path, nor will the world cease to suffer from his machinations until the Messiah shall come, when the Holy One will raise to life those who sleep in the dust in accordance with the verse, “He will swallow up death for ever, etc.” (Isaiah 25:8), and the verse, “And I will cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land” (Zechariah 13:2). Meanwhile Satan dominates this world and snatches up the souls of the sons of men.

3b. ... till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

The Zohar speaks of the serpent having a seven (thousand) year lifespan that is cut short to six:

Zohar, Shemoth 220a - with him that She brings forth souls, since he is responsible for the body and she for the soul, and the two are combined. The Serpent is destined in the future to bring about the birth of the whole of the bodies before its own time comes, as Scripture says: “Before she travailed, she brought forth” (Isaiah 46:7). For, whereas the period of the serpent's gestation is seven years, that will be at the end of six. And at that hour, when he will have brought about their birth, he himself will die. Of this, Scripture says: “He will swallow up death for ever” (Ibid. 25:8), also “Thy dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise” (Ibid. 26:19).

In order for the messianic kingdom to thrive, the evil realm must be "out of the way." (Similar to how at Yom Kippur a goat was sent to Azazel to "distract" him on this one day, so God could deal directly with Israel without "accusation"). We find this idea present in various texts:

Talmud, Sanhedrin 97a -   R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,’ and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day, meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath — and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.

Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 41:7 - God then said to Moses: ' In this world they made idols because of the Evil Inclination in them, but in the millennium I will uproot from them the Evil Inclination and give them a heart of flesh, as it says, And I will take away the stony heart from out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 26:26).

The Zohar expresses this time (when the Bride is united to the King) as done "in secret:"

Zohar, Shemoth 145b - The Day of the Holy One, blessed be He, is a thousand years, and this number symbolizes also the River which goes out of Eden. Joseph was called “Righteous” after the Moon, the Shekinah, according to a special agreement between her and the Holy One. Therefore, the Song of Songs is holy of holies, and there is no verse in this Canticle which does not contain the mystery of the “thousand and five”. There are five grades contained in the title, as we have said. But why is the “thousand” not indicated? The truth is that this is hidden and will remain hidden until the Wife (the Shekinah) unites Herself with her Husband. Therefore Solomon endeavoured to bring that “Thousand” to the Bride in secret, by the aid of the mysterious ring whereon is engraved the seal of the supernal wisdom (cf. Targum on Ecclesiastes 1:7). As soon as he had completed the making of the Holy of Holies below, the mystery of the Holy of Holies above ascended and was hidden, so that the concealment of the Union might be complete above and below, according to the Divine purpose.

The following Midrash indicates that the Millennium is also a specific time of punishment for the nations and purification for the sinful of Israel:

Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 20:1 - AND THE LORD GOD SAID UNTO THE SERPENT: BECAUSE THOU HAST DONE THIS, CURSED ART THOU FROM AMONG ALL CATTLE, etc. (3:14). A slanderer shall not be established in the earth; the violent and wicked man shall be hunted with thrust upon thrust (Psalm 140:12). R. Levi said: In the millennium the Holy One, blessed be He, will take the nations of the world and hurl them down into Gehenna, saying to them, ' Why did ye mulct My children? ' and they will answer Him: ' Some of them were much addicted to slander.’ Then the Lord will take both and hurl them into Gehenna. Another interpretation: ‘A slanderer’ alludes to the serpent, who uttered slander against his Creator ;’Shall not be established in the earth,’ as it is written, Upon thy belly shalt thou go;  ‘The violent and wicked man shall be hunted’: not ' With a thrust’ is written, but ' With thrust upon thrust ‘: Adam was cursed, Eve was cursed, and the serpent was cursed, as it is written, AND THE LORD GOD SAID UNTO THE SERPENT, etc.

4a. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them ...

The Zohar speaks on the subject of the righteous sitting in judgment:

Zohar, Bereshith 164a - R. Jesse then discoursed on the verse: He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous; but with kings upon the throne he setteth them for ever, and they are exalted (Job 36:7). ‘When’, he said, ‘the domination of the wicked ceases and they perish from the world, then the righteous obtain dominion, as it says: “He preserveth not the life of the wicked, but giveth to the poor their right” (Ibid. 6). The words, “He withdraweth not from the righteous his eye” are parallel to the text, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous” (Psalm 34:16). “But with kings upon the throne”; these are the kings who are, as it were, united to their thrones, and whom He setteth for ever so that they remain immovably established. “And they are exalted”, to wit, to rule over the world so that the throne remains firmly established on its supports. Or, again, it may mean that they raise the throne and set it up on high so that it should become united to its proper place and there should thus be a complete unity.’

Midrash Rabbah offers the following:

Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 11:8 - The Holy One, blessed be He, will in the Time to Come sit as in a goren (court-room), with the righteous sitting before Him, like that [goren mentioned in the verse], Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, in a threshing floor--goren (I Kings 22:10). Were they then sitting in a threshing-floor? Surely, what is intended is the same as what we have learnt in a Mishnah: The Sanhedrin were seated in the formation of a semicircular goren, so that they [i.e. the members of the court] could see one another. [King] Solomon said: I saw Him [as it were] confined in the midst of them; this is [indicated in] what is written, Her master is known in the gates, as He sitteth with the elders of the land (Proverbs 31:23).

4b. ... Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years.

The concept of "divine service" is well established in Torah. There is also the idea that the service performed in the last generation immediately preceding the coming of Messiah, that which helps usher in the redemption, is of a "higher order." Linked to the service at this time is the idea of "loving God to the point of self-sacrifice."

The following explains this important concept in detail:

The transcendence of all limitations that will characterize the Era of the Redemption will be all-encompassing. Therefore, all entities will exist on an infinitely higher plane during that era than they exist at present. This will affect both the world at large as well as the realm of  Torah. With regard to the world, there will then be a "new heaven and a new earth." (Isaiah 65:17) With regard to the Torah [the medium through which the world was created - "He gazed into Torah and created the world" ( Zohar II, beginning of 161b)], "new [dimensions of] the Torah will emerge from Me" ( Vayikra Rabba 13:3). This also applies to the revelation of G-dliness. In the Era of the Redemption, there will be an entirely new degree of revelation, infinitely higher than the present. All revelations of the present era have their source in the external level of  Atik, while in the Era of the Redemption, the revelation will stem from the inner dimension of Atik  On this basis, we can understand why the Future Redemption will come about primarily through the divine service performed during the concluding period of the exile. Since all matters in the Era of the Redemption will be of an entirely new nature, the divine service that draws them down must be a new form of service as well.

In the time of the Holy Temple, G-dliness was revealed, as is written: "Ten miracles were wrought for our ancestors in the Holy Temple," (Avot 5:5). There were miracles apparent to the naked eye, many of them beheld even by the common people. Therefore, the divine service of Torah and its  mitzvot was an outgrowth of man's ordinary thinking processes. In addition, there was the command (Deut. 6:5) of "You shall love...your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might," [and as explained in  Chasidut, "with all your might" refers to an unbounded commitment, to the point of mesirut nefesh, "complete self-sacrifice"]. Nevertheless, since G-dliness was palpably revealed, even the self-sacrifice that existed in that era could be limited by man's ordinary thinking processes. This concept holds true as well with regard to those periods of exile when the darkness of unholiness was not that overwhelming.

This is not the case in the present generation, the generation that immediately precedes  Mashiach's arrival. For at present, the forces of darkness increase daily, and there are many challenges that have to be overcome - in particular, the challenge of "Do not be embarrassed by those who scoff" ( Shulchan Aruch, Rama) This challenge is made especially difficult to bear by the fact that these scoffers are base and ignoble individuals. The ability to overcome these challenges stems from the divine service of self-sacrifice that transcends all limitations and bounds. This is why the divine service of the generation that immediately precedes Mashiach's arrival contains a certain dimension of superiority over the divine service accomplished by the Jewish people in previous generations. In addition, the divine service within this generation at the very conclusion of the period of exile has an incomparable advantage. It is so radically different that it is considered a new kind of divine service. For the divine service in previous generations was related to reason and logic and the limitations of our revealed soul powers. The divine service at the conclusion of the period of exile, by contrast, reflects self-sacrifice, which emanates from the innermost level of the soul.

Through our divine service in the time of exile in general, and especially through our service at the very end of the exile (at which time the service is from the innermost degree of the soul), we draw down influence from the innermost level Above, including the inner dimension of Atik. This will evoke a new dimension within the Torah as well. The concept of "new dimensions of the Torah will emerge from Me") will be demonstrated by a new approach to the Torah emphasizing the connection to the Giver of Torah. (It is possible to explain that this aspect, as well, is accomplished through the divine service at the conclusion of the exile. For when the service is in a manner of self-sacrifice, then one's Torah study is lishmah, for its own sake.) The new dimension of Torah study will in turn lead to an innovation in creation, as well (for "He gazed into Torah and created the world"), bringing about "a new heaven and a new earth." May it be G-d's will that this occur most speedily; that our present deeds and divine service hasten the time when we will greet our Righteous Mashiach. And then, we will witness the actual fulfillment of the prophecy: "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders." 1

The Zohar states the following regarding those who enter the Millennium:

Zohar, Bereshith, 119a - 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).

5. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Resurrection is not directly mentioned in the Tenakh. (Neither is "The Messiah" for that matter). The Midrash Rabbah shows the relationship between living according to the Torah, attaining the "Holy Spirit" and resurrection. Note the relationship between "Holy Spirit" and the Shekinah (the "Bride" or "Wife") as also mentioned throughout this study.

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs I:9 - R. Phinehas b. Jair used to say: Zeal leads to cleanliness, cleanliness leads to purity ; purity leads to holiness; holiness leads to humility; humility leads to the fear of sin; the fear of sin leads to saintliness; saintliness leads to the holy spirit; the holy spirit leads to the resurrection of the dead; the resurrection of the dead leads to Elijah the prophet. ‘Zeal leads to cleanliness,’ as it says, And when he hath made an end of atoning for the holy place (Leviticus 16:20). ‘Cleanliness leads to purity’ (taharah), as it says, And the priest shall make atonement for her and she shall be pure-we-taherah (ib. 12:8). ' Purity leads to holiness,’ as it says, And he shall purify it, and hallow it (ib. 16:19). ‘Holiness leads to humility,’ as it says, For thus saith the High and Lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah 57:15). Humility leads to the fear of sin,’ as it says, The reward of humility is the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 12:4). ' The fear of sin leads to saintliness,’ as it says, Then thou spokest in a vision to thy saints1 (Psalm 89:20). ' Saintliness leads to the holy spirit,’ as it says, ‘Then thou spokest in a vision to thy saints.’ ‘The holy spirit leads to the resurrection,’ as it says, And I will put My spirit in you and ye shall live (Ezekiel 37:14). ‘The resurrection leads to Elijah the prophet, of blessed memory,’ as it says, Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, etc. (Malachi 3:23). R. Mathna said: That which wisdom has made a crown to her head, humility has made a shoe for her foot. ‘That which wisdom has made a crown for her head,’ as it says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). ' Humility has made a shoe for her foot,’ as it is written, The fear of the Lord is the heel3 of humility (Proverbs 12:4). The resurrection will be through the agency of Elijah the prophet it is written, Then thou shalt understand the fear of God and find knowledge of the holy ones; this refers to the holy spirit.

R. Simon said in the name of R. Simeon b. Halafta: [Solomon resembled] a councillor who was a great favourite at the king's court, and to whom the king once said, ‘Ask me for anything you want.’ Said the councillor to himself: If I ask for silver and gold, he will give me. Said he: I had better ask for the king's daughter, and that includes everything. Even so, In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said: Ask what I shall give thee (I Kings 3:5). Said Solomon to himself: If I ask for silver and gold and precious stones and pearls, He will give me. But what I will do is to ask for wisdom, and that will include everything. So it says, Give thy servant therefore an understanding heart (ib. 9). Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to him: ‘Solomon, thou hast asked for wisdom and thou hast not asked for wealth and possessions and the life of thine enemies. As thou livest, wisdom and knowledge are granted to thee, and thereby I will give thee riches and possessions.’ Forthwith, Solomon awoke and, behold, it was a dream (ib. 15). R. Isaac said: [This means that] the dream stood upon its foundation.1 If an ass brayed, he knew what it meant; if a bird chirped, he knew what it meant. Straightway, he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord and offered up burnt offerings and offered peace-offerings and made a feast to all his servants (ib.). Said R. Eleazar: From this we learn that a feast is made to celebrate the conclusion of the reading of the Torah.2 R. Judan said: This is to show that whoever teaches the Torah publicly merits that the holy spirit should rest on him. For so did Solomon; he taught, and the holy spirit rested on him, and he composed three books, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and The Song of Songs.

6. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

The description of the Millennial Temple, as found in Ezekiel chapters 40-48, gives us the most information about events surrounding the Temple and Priesthood at this time. The pre-eminent text on this subject is Mishkney Elyon, (also called Secrets of the Future Temple) which is available free of charge from www.azamra.org. Another key resource on the topic of resurrection as it relates to Messiah is The Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai - now in reprint and available through most online book sites.

GEMMATRIA

The Zohar speaks of a "garment" given to those whom are claimed by God at the time of the resurrection. (See previous studies on the idea of a "garment for the soul.") As mentioned, this is the time of the union of the "bride" (associated with the number 7) and the "groom" (associated with the number 6). Interestingly, the garment itself is given the specific God-name of "Eloah" which has a numerical value of 42:

Zohar, Shemoth, 96b - And after some time the Holy One takes into His own guardianship the soul, and the evil power attains mastery over the body. But eventually body and soul become the possession of the Holy One (in the Resurrection). ‘ “She shall not go out as the menservants do.” What does this mean? When the soul emerges from the scales, and the side of righteousness rejoices, the Holy One, blessed be He, stamps upon her the impress of a seal; and He likewise spreads about her His costly garment-namely the Holy Name Elohah. This is indicated by the words in the text, “be-bigdo bah” (when his garment is upon her, v. 8), for they signify the costly garment (beged ) of the King. Therewith she is guarded and so cannot be delivered to a “strange nation”, but only to Israel. Concerning this it is written: “He guards me like the days of Elohah” (Job 29:2). It is also of this mystery that we read here: “To sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath put his garment upon her.” As long as this costly garment of the King adorns her, what power can the evil side have over her?


1. From http://www.kabbalaonline.org/MajorConcepts/messianicera/Transcending_Limitations.asp


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