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Revelation 3:1-7
Last update: November 4, 2001

1 And to the messenger of the assembly in Sardis write: These things saith he who is having the Seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I have known thy works, and that thou hast the name that thou dost live, and thou art dead;

The concepts of; messenger, Seven Spirits and seven stars, were discussed in a previous section. They will be addressed in additional detail in subsequent chapters.

2 become watching, and strengthen the rest of the things that are about to die, for I have not found thy works fulfilled before God

3 `Remember, then, how thou hast received, and heard, and be keeping, and reform: if, then, thou mayest not watch, I will come upon thee as a thief, and thou mayest not know what hour I will come upon thee.

There are some clues as to what the exact sin(s) of Sardis were. We see reference to "how thou hast received and heard," and to "hold fast and repent," as well as criticism of their "works," all of which indicate a problem with regard for keeping Torah. The following verses support this idea. Also see notes on Revelation 1:3, regarding "hearing and keeping."

4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis who did not defile their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, because they are worthy.


The (white) garments referred to in the text are not physical raiment, but of the spiritual realm, and associated with the condition of a person's soul. This condition is directly tied to obedience of God's Torah. Note that those walking with Yeshua in white are said to be "worthy." This indicates a level of achievement on behalf of the person, which reflects the importance of being a "hearer and doer" of Torah (as taught by both Paul and "James"), as an integral part of one's "faith."

(The concept of a "higher" or "additional" soul is also important to keep in mind. See previous comments on the subject of the souls.)

There is a physical representation of this garment (also called a robe) as associated with the Levitical priesthood. The Cohen haGadol (High Priest), wore only white vestments on the day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. As Yeshua's comments in Revelation 2:4 are regarding a future time, we will briefly turn to the vision of the Millennial Temple and Priesthood, shown in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.

Here we see the following:

  • The particular office of High Priest does not seem to be in place
  • The standard High Priestly garments are not mentioned
  • The laws for the priests are of a stricter standard, similar to those for a High Priest
  • There is no mention of Yom Kippur

The priests in Ezekiel's vision are shown to be at a higher level of holiness, comparable to that of the High Priest. It is clear from Ezekiel's vision that a "higher level" of Torah is in place during the Millennium, or what is called the "Messianic Era." The Tenakh, at its literal level, does not give much additional information concerning this.

Not even Orthodox Judaism has a full explanation of "what's going on" at this time, as is seen in the following commentary from the Chumash:

The commentators note that several of the laws pronounced by Ezekiel contradict laws of the Torah, a clear contradiction of the principle that the commandments of the Torah are eternal and immutable ... Apparently this is one of the passages which, like the book of Chronicles, was not intended to be understood in its simple meaning, since that would contradict what we know to be the true halakha ... The Messianic era is shrouded in mystery; therefore the simple meaning of this passage must remain hidden from us until, in the words of R. Yochanam in Menachos 45a, the prophet Elija will come and reveal it to us. 1

At the time of Ezekiel's Temple there will such a continual "flow of atonement," as the heavenly Temple, though it never actually "departs from" the heavenlies, will have "direct contact" with earth.

As the renowned early 18th century kabbalist, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto states:

"In time to come, not only will the Heavenly and earthly Temples be similar, the Upper House will extend until it reaches the lower world ... For the heavenly Temple will not be uprooted from its place. Rather, it will extend until it reaches the lower world. Around it a physical structure will then be built as befits this material world, and the two structures will be joined and become one and will never again separate." 2

(See background notes on Sacrifices in Ezekiel's Temple as well as Messiah and Tikkun and Tikkun of the Torah.)

As mentioned, both the Priesthood and obedience to Torah are linked to the idea of white robes. An example of the relationship between all three of these things, is found in the book of Zechariah. The prophet is given a vision that he was told applies to the latter days. There was a High Priest named Joshua (not the Joshua from Moses' time), and though he was destined to hold this office, he was not allowed to because he did not respect Torah and sinned. This is represented by his having "filthy garments." God allowed him to be chastised, corrected of his error, and only when he was in a proper spiritual condition, did he receive his white robe and was made a priest:

Zechariah 3:1-10 - And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.

(Note: The "seven eyes" mentioned in the above text will be discussed later in this study.)

The physical garment of the Cohen haGadol here on earth, is a physical representation of that which is in the heavenlies. (Similar to the earthly Temple representing a heavenly model, etc.) As mentioned in our background study on Tipheret, the priestly vestments have a direct connection to the Sephirah of Tipheret:

Midrash Rabbah - Esther II:1 - A fool spendeth all his spirit (Prov. XXIX, 11): this applies to Ahasuerus. But a wise man stilleth it within him (ib.): this applies to God who calmed Ahasuerus, in the same way as it says, Who stillest the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples (Ps. LXV, 8.). 1. WHEN HE SHOWED THE RICHES OF HIS GLORIOUS KINGDOM (I, 4). The School of Jannai and Hezekiah both said: He used every day to open six treasuries and show them the contents. R. Hiyya b. Abba said: He showed them the accounts of his expenditure. R. Judah b. Simon said: He showed them the dishes of the Land of Israel. R. Levi said He showed them the priestly robes. It says here, HIS GLORIOUS (TIFERETH) KINGDOM, and it says elsewhere, And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for splendour and for beauty-le-tifereth (Ex. XXVIII, 2). Just as the word 'tifereth' there refers to the garments of the high priest, so here it refers to the garments of the high priest.

As also mentioned in the study on Tipheret, in the book of Ephesians, chapter 6, Paul explains how we are to "put on the spiritual garments of the High Priest," in our battle against the evil realm. He tells us do this by being "strong in the Lord and in the power of his might." Thus, our victory over these forces comes by being conformed to the image of Tipheret (i.e., the heavenly Yeshua).

The following section of the Zohar shows that the "spiritual garments" are linked to obedience to God's Torah. What is interesting in this passage, is that those showing great fervour for Torah, out of love for God (as Yeshua taught in Matthew chapters 5-7), receive "higher quality" spiritual garments, associated with Beriah, the "third World" of holy angels and spirits. (See background notes on the Four Worlds.) The reward for those who follow out of simple obedience, are associated with the "Lower Paradise," which would be the second World of Yezirah.

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 210b - Happy is the portion of whoever is found worthy of those garments wherein the righteous are clad in the Garden of Eden. [i.e., Yezirah] Those garments are made out of the good deeds performed by a man in this world in obedience to the commands of the Torah. In the Lower Paradise [i.e., Yezirah] man's soul is thus sustained by these deeds and is clad in garments of glory made out of them. But when the soul mounts up on high through that portal of the firmament, other precious garments are provided for it of a more exalted order, made out of the zeal and devotion which characterized his study of the Torah and his prayer; for when that zeal mounts up on high a crown is made out of it for him to be crowned with, but some of it remains as the man's portion, out of which garments of light are made for the soul to be clad in when it has ascended on high. The former garments, as we have said, depend on his actions, but these depend on his devotion of spirit, so as to qualify their owner to join the company of holy angels and spirits. This is the correct exposition of the matter as the Holy Lamp learned it from Elijah. The garments of the Lower Paradise [i.e., Yezirah] are made of man's actions; those of the celestia Paradise [i.e., Beriah] of the devotion and earnestness of his spirit.

The Talmud offers a similar type of "distincition" with relation to teshuvah (repentance):

Yoma 86b - One who does teshuvah out of awe, his premeditated sins are rendered as unwitting transgressions. One who does teshuvah out of love, his premeditated sins are rendered as merits.

The heavenly garments are equivalent to what Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15. The Zohar offers the following additional comments, linking back to our story (above) of Joshua the High Priest, from the book of Zechariah:

Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 214a - As R. Eleazar and R. Jose were once walking in the wilderness, R. Jose said: ‘When it says of Phineas, "Behold I give him my covenant of peace", it means peace from the Angel of Death, so that he should never have power over him and that he should not suffer his chastisements. As for the tradition that Phineas did not die, the truth is that he did not die like other men, and he outlived all his generation, because he kept hold of this supernal covenant, and when he departed from the world it was with celestial yearning and beauteous attachment.’ R. Eleazar cited the verse: "And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord", etc. (Zech. III, 1). ‘The "filthy garments", as explained elsewhere, are those with which the spirit was clad in this world. It has been asked: When a man is doomed to Gehinnom, what are the garments with which they invest him? And the answer is given in the words, "Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and standing before the angel" (Ibid. 3). This was the angel appointed over Gehinnom, and from this we can learn that the evil deeds of a man make for him these filthy garments, and so God said afterwards to him: "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I have clothed thee with rich apparel"; he was clothed in other proper garments through which a man may see the glory of the Shekinah. So Phineas did not depart from this world until there were prepared for him other garments pleasing to the spirit for the next world.’

(See notes to verse 18 below, for more about the relationship of these garments to the Garden of Eden.)

The book of Daniel also associates the brilliance (of "garments") of those resurrected, with the wisdom of God:

Daniel 12:2-3 - And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

We also see reference to the gift of these garments in the book of Enoch.

Enoch 49:1 - In those days the saints and the chosen shall undergo a change. The light of day shall rest upon them, and the splendor and glory of the saints shall be changed.

Enoch 62:18 - The saints and the elects have arisen from the earth, have left off to depress their countenances, and have been clothed with the garment of life. That garment of life is with the Lord of spirits, in whose presence your garment shal not wax old, nor your glory diminish.

Later in the book of Revelation, we see that those who follow Torah are given the same white garments and are allowed to enter heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9; 7:13-14; 12:17; 14:12; 22:14). These verses along with Yeshua's comments in Matthew chapters 5-7, show that those who claim to follow Messiah, but follow a faith not grounded in God's Torah, will not enter His New Jerusalem.

Recall how Yeshua previously stated that those who "overcome" by keeping His works (i.e., remaining faithful to His Torah) to the end, will inherit the Kingdom.

Revelation 2:26 - And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

The Hebrew New Testament writers, who considered the Torah-based faith of Israel as the only valid faith system given by God, warned of a coming "spiritual deception" that would deceive many. This counterfeit faith would be based on "lawlessness," (Torah-lessness) and lead up to the anti-Messiah ("anti" meaning counterfeit), who would be called the "man of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The accuracy of these prophecies is seen by the fact that millions of people follow a faith not grounded in God's Torah, yet are certain they are part of the "Royal Priesthood," simply because they "believe" certain things about the Messiah. (For an explanation of Paul's comments concerning "the Law" see our Romans study.)

God, through the prophet Hosea, warned that a rejection of Torah would result in a forfeiture of the right to be a priest for Him:

Hosea 4:6 - My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me: Because you have forgotten the law of your God.

7 `And to the messenger of the assembly in Philadelphia write: These things saith he who is holy, he who is true, he who is having the key of David, he who is opening and no one doth shut, and he shutteth and no one doth open!

Yeshua refers to Himself as "He that is Holy." This is similar to the Hebrew term, HaKadosh barakh hu, "the Holy One blessed be He," which is the name directly associated with the Sephirah of Tipheret. Note also that He is acting as either a closed or open gate, which as is also a quality of Tipheret as discussed earlier.


The "Key of David," is a mysterious term, not directly explained in the Scriptures. Looking into the texts of the Zohar, we find some important clues. The first passage we present below (Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b), is lengthy, so we will break it up into sections dispersing comments throughout.

The setting is the end of days where the Shekinah (also called "Matrona"), and her groom (Tipheret) are reunited. At the heart of this verse is the Shema, which contains the words (a "mystery" according to the Zohar); "... The Lord is our God, the Lord is echad," with the word "echad" meaning a composite unity. (See our previous study on the Kingdom of God and the Shema.) As discussed earlier in this study, the "marriage" of the Shekinah to Tipheret goes hand in hand with the reuniting of all of Israel and their reunification to their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10).

The opening verse of this passage speaks of a single "light" dividing into 70 separate ones. This is reminiscent of Acts, chapter 2, where the Ruach haKodesh comes, and separate lights (tongues of fire) are seen above the disciples. The Shekinah is said to be guarded by 70 lights, as was represented by the ten Menorahs (each with seven lights) placed in the Temple by Solomon. (Refer to our background material on the Shekinah and the Menorah)

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b - ‘At the time when Israel is proclaiming the unity - the mystery contained in the Shema - with a perfect intention, a light comes forth from the hidden supernal world, which divides into seventy lights, and those seventy lights into the seventy luminous branches of the Tree of Life. Then the Tree and all the other trees of the Garden of Eden emit sweet odours and praise their Lord, for at that time the Matrona prepares Herself to enter under the shade of the canopy, there to unite herself with her Spouse; and all the supernal potencies unite in one longing and one will to be united in perfect union, without any separation soever. Then the Spouse makes ready likewise to enter the Canopy in order to unite Himself with the Matrona.

The Zohar continues (below) with the cry of, “Hear, O Israel; prepare thyself, for thy Husband has come to receive thee,” seen in this section, is that of the Jewish wedding feast. This announcement is the call to Israel (and the Shekinah) to unite with her groom (Yeshua):

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b - Therefore we proclaim loudly: “Hear, O Israel; prepare thyself, for thy Husband has come to receive thee.” And also we say: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one”, which signifies that the two are united as one, in a perfect and glorious union, without any flaw of separation to mar it.

A similar wedding call is found in Matthew's gospel, where Yeshua tells Israel: 

Matthew 23:39 - For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The last phrase, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, is what is said to usher in the groom at a Jewish wedding.

Paul connected the time of Israel's ingathering to the resurrection of the dead:

Romans 11:15 - For if the casting away of them [Israel] be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them [Israel] be, but life from the dead?

Both Yeshua and Paul are speaking of the mystical ingathering of all of Israel to their Messiah, at the end of the Tribulation period, with the advent of the Millennial Sabbath.

The prophet Zechariah spoke of this time:

Zechariah 12:2-10 - Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Returning to our section of the Zohar, the number "six" now takes on significance. There is mention of "six aspects," which are associated with the six directions of physical space, called Zer Anpin, which is represented by Tipheret. (See footnote 1 to our background study on the Names and Arrangement of the Sephirot.) The letter Vav (also called Vau - the third letter of Y-H-V-H) comes to the forefront in this text. The Vav is also associated with Tipheret, the Son and bridegroom, and also Jacob, whom we have shown to be linked to Tipheret. In Hebrew Gammatria (numerology), the letter "Vav" also has a numerical value of six, and Tipheret is the sixth Sephirah emanating from Eyn Sof. (The anti-Messiah's relationship to the number six will be discussed later in this study.)

The passage also shows that there are also six words in the first part of the Shema, and six words in the second part.  It goes on to explain more detail concerning the mysery of the Shema, and associates Jacob with Tipheret:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b - As soon as the Israelites say, “The Lord is One”, to arouse the six aspects, these six unite each with each and ascend in one ardour of love and desire. The symbol of this is the letter Vau (because its numerical value is six) when it stands alone without being joined to any other letter. Then the Matrona makes herself ready with joy, and adorns herself with delight, and Her attendants accompany Her, and in hushed silence She encounters her Spouse; and Her handmaids proclaim, “Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever.” These words are said in a whisper, for so she must be introduced to her Spouse. Blessed is the people which perceives these things, ordering its prayers in accordance with this mystery of the Faith! At the time when the Spouse is united with the Matrona a herald comes forth from the south, crying: “Awaken, O ye supernal hosts, and unfurl the banners of love in honour of your Lord!”

Next, the Zohar passage introduces a being named Boel (meaning: "God is in Him"). This name is found only twice in the Zohar and not mentioned in the Tenakh, Talmud or Midrash. Boel is said to have four keys in his hand - each representing one of the letters of God's name, Y-H-V-H. Boel begins by uniting the first three keys, Y-H-V, which are representative of the "Father," Mother," and "Son." (The "Y" being associated with Chokhmah/Wisdom, the "H" with Binah/Understanding, and the "V" with Tipheret/Beauty or Harmony.)

Boel is shown to first bring harmony above by uniting of the Yod and Hay to the Vav (the three higher worlds), before completing the process through the reuniting of the Shekinah (the final Hay and lowest world of Asiyyah) from below. Boel then takes the fourth key (the final "H" of Y-H-V-H, also called the "lesser hay"), and completes the unification by joining this key to the others. As discussed already, this represents the marriage of the Shekinah (also called the "Matrona"), which is in exile with Israel, to the rest of the Godhead (the remaining Sephirot, as represented by the Y-H-V).

This the final "key" (the last "H" of Y-H-V-H), is associated with the Shekinah (the Sephirah of Malkut/Kingdom), which is in turn affiliated with King David. It therefore can be called, the "Key of David":

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b - Then one of the leaders of the celestial array-he whose name is Boel (God is in him) - stands forth, and in his hands are four keys which he obtained one from each of the four corners of the earth. One key has upon it the sign of the letter Yod engraved; the second the letter He’; and the third the letter Vau; and these three keys he lays beneath the boughs of the Tree of Life. Then these three become one. Then the fourth and last key, which bears upon it the second letter He’, joins the three which have become one. And all the angelic hosts enter by means of those keys into the Garden of Eden, where with one voice they proclaim the Divine unity at the selfsame moment as it is proclaimed here below.

This Zohar passage next mentions a "period of silence" in heaven, which may explain that mentioned in Revelation 8:1. This silence is maintained as to not "alert" the realm of evil that this marriage is taking place. Recall that this evil realm is still "linked" to the Shekinah (i.e., there are both wheat and tares in the Kingdom), to this point:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b - Then the Shekinah, the Bride, is conducted to the Palace of the King, Her Bridegroom, for now He stands complete in all His supernal goodness and can supply Her with all that She needs. Thus her attendants bring Her in unto Him in silence. Why in silence? In order that no “stranger” (evil potencies) should participate in her joy. As He united Himself above according to six aspects, so also She unites Herself below according to six other aspects, so that the oneness may be completed, both above and below, as it is written: “The Lord will be One, and his Name One” (Zech. XIV, 9): Six words above-Shema Israel YHWH Elohenu YHWH ehad, corresponding to the six aspects, and six words below-baruk shem kebod malkuto le'olam waed (Blessed be the Name, etc.) - corresponding to the six other aspects. The Lord is one above; and His Name is One below. We say this reponse silently, although it is a triumphant expression of the Oneness, because of the “evil eye”, which still has power under the present dispensation; but in the future (Messianic Age) when the “evil eye” will have ceased to exist and will have no dominion whatsoever over this world, then we shall proclaim the Divine Unity and its full accomplishment openly and in a loud voice. At present, as the “other side” still cleaves to the Shekinah, She is not entirely One, and therefore, although even in this present time we proclaim the unity, we do so silently, symbolizing it by the letters of the word wa'ed (ever), which are equivalent by certain permutations to those of the word ehad (one). But in the time that is to be, when that other side shall be removed from the Shekinah and pass away from the world, then shall that unity be proclaimed openly. When She enters the canopy and is united with the Supernal King, then we awaken the joy of the Right and of the Left, as it is written: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart”, etc. -that is, without any fear or foreboding, because the “other side” comes not near and has no power here. But whilst Her servants are bringing Her to the King they must keep a great and solemn silence.

The Zohar then goes on to tell more about the origins of the Shema as recited daily by people around the world, for thousands of years. (The origin of the Shema was discussed earlier in our study.) Jacob and his sons are seen as a picture of what is true in the spiritual realm:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b - Of this Jacob is symbolic. Before his death, when he was about to speak of the “end of days” (and the Shekinah left him) he said to his sons: “Perchance some stain is attached to me or to my seed?” But they replied: “Nay, there is no such stain, nor is any fault found. Thine own heart is possessed only by the One, and as for us-we have no contact with the ‘other side’ or any of its evil minions; on the contrary we, like thyself, are united with the King alone, since all our will and intent has been to separate from the ‘other side’.” Then Jacob said: “Blessed be the Name of the glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever.” In that hour Jacob and his sons became for a space, as it were, living portraits here on earth of the Shekinah Herself. Jacob symbolized the six sides of the supernal world as a single whole, and his sons were shaped to the likeness of the six aspects as manifested in the lower world.

Lastly, this text mentions two separate "end of days." The first of these applies to the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom, the second to the "end of all flesh." This is also consistent with the teachings of the book of Revelation:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b-134b - Now he desired to reveal to them a certain “end”, for, as we have pointed out elsewhere, [Tr. note: Zohar, Genesis, 62b] there is one “end of days” (kez ha-yamin), which refers to the Holy Kingdom, the mystery of Faith, the mystery of the King of Heaven; and another “end of days” (kez ha- yamim), which is the mystery of the Guilty King, the “other King”, ruler of the powers of darkness, and that end is called “the end of all flesh”. Now when Jacob perceived that the Shekinah was withdrawing from him, he questioned his sons, as we have pointed out. And as Jacob and his sons proclaimed the union of the world above and the world below, so also must we. Blessed is he who concentrates his mind and will, with true humility and longing, upon this mystery. Blessed is he in this world and blessed shall he be in the world to come!’ Said R. Hamnuna the Ancient: ‘This stirring up of the unity has indeed been rightly and justly expounded, and that which we have just now heard is indeed very true; and in the future time these word's which we have now uttered will stand before the Ancient of Days and in no wise be abashed.’

It is important to note that the previously mentioned "Boel" has the authority to do the things mentioned above. The subject of authority is discussed in our comments to verse 8 below.

The only other reference to "Boel," is also from the Zohar, and is associated with the judgment of God. This section adds insight to the relationship between gold and fire (see notes to verse 18 below). It also alludes to "mysterious serpents" originating from a realm associated with gold/brass, which is the Kingdom. (This will be discussed in detail in a future section.). Lastly, Boel seems to be linked to the angel Raphael:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 147a - Gold is included in Gabriel. The supernal gold is carried below by Gabriel, and seven kinds of gold separate themselves from it. “Silver” above is united with Michael below, and one rests on the other. “Brass” is also above; it originates from gold, because gold and fire have the same symbolism. It is fire which brings forth brass, and from this power emanate supernal mysterious serpents (nehashim = nehosheth = brass) and Seraphim brought forth by fire (from saraph, to burn). Therefore brass is golden, lit with orange and red, like fire. It is contained in Noriel (Fire of God) and forms his body. Techeleth (purple blue) is contained in both brass and gold, and derives energy from both sides. It possesses great strength and nothing can obtain dominion over it. It forms the throne of the power of judgement, and is therefore called “Boel” (“In him is El”, i.e. God as Power), as it is written: “And El (God) is angry every day” (Ps. VII, 12). But when men turn back to God with perfect repentance, his name is changed into Raphael (God heals): for he brings healing to assuage the pains of that bitter judgement.

Returning to the subject of the Key of David, the next Zohar passage begins by speaking of how after the destruction of the Temple, the sun (Tipheret) withdrew from the moon (Shekinah). As the Temple alludes to God's unity, specifically a union between the Shekinah as bride and Tipheret as groom, without it, this unity is negatively impacted:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 181b - R. Simeon further discoursed on the text: Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high (Is. LII, 13). ‘Happy is the portion of the righteous’, he said, ‘to whom the Holy One reveals the ways of the Torah that they may walk in them. This verse contains an esoteric meaning. When God created the world, He made the moon, and made her small, for she possesses no light of her own, but because she accepted her diminution she receives reflected light from the sun and from the other superior luminaries. Now, as long as the Temple existed, Israel were assiduous in bringing offerings, which together with all the other services performed by the priests, Levites, and Israelites had for their object to weave bonds of union and to cause luminaries to radiate. But after the Temple was destroyed there was a darkening of the lights, the moon ceased to receive light from the sun, the latter having withdrawn himself from her, so that not a day passes but is full of grievous distress and afflictions.

The oneness of the Godhead, as often symbolized by the unity of Tipheret and the Shekinah (groom and bride), has followed an "on-again, off-again" pattern through history. Following the sin of the Adam and Eve, God re-estalished a type and time of unity at Mount Sinai (and also with the Tabernacle), only to have sin take this away. This was followed by the establishment of the kingdom of David, and Solomon's building of the Temple. This too met with sin and failure. Next came Yeshua Himself, who was largely rejected by His own, with the second Temple subsequently being destroyed.

The final act to this drama will occur when the anti-Messiah establishes himself in another Temple, proclaiming himself to be God, and placing himself "in-between" the Shekinah and her heavenly groom. (See comments from Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 52a, in our notes to chapter 4, verse 1) However, there will come a time when the bride and groom are forever unified, and it will be someone known as "God's servant," who plays a key role.

Our Zohar portion continues:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 181b - The time, however, will come for the moon to resume her primordial light, and in allusion to this it is written: "Behold, my servant will prosper." That is to say, there will be a stirring in the upper realms as of one who catches a sweet odour and stands alert. "He shall be exalted", from the side of the most exalted luminaries; "and lifted up", from the side of Abraham; "and shall be high", from the side of Isaac; "very", from the side of Jacob. At that time, then, the Holy One will cause a stirring on high with the object of enabling the moon to shine with her full splendour, as we read: "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of the seven days" (Ibid. XXX, 26). There will thus be added to the moon an exalted spirit whereby all the dead that are in the dust will be awakened. This is the esoteric meaning of "my servant", viz. the one that has in his hand the key of his Master.

In this passage, God's "servant," turns out to be none other than Metatron, who posseses a special "key." Metatron is also said to be elder of his house. (i.e., Hebrews chapters 3 and 10). The reference to the colors green, white and red, is significant, and will be discussed later in this study. Metatron is even said to provide resurrection to the dead (i.e., John 11:25):

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 181b - So, too, in the verse: "And Abraham said unto his servant, etc." (Gen. XXIV, 2), the servant is an allusion to the moon as already explained. Also, the servant is identical with Metatron, who is the servant and messenger of his Master, and who was, as we read further, the elder of his house, the same who is alluded to in the text: "I have been young, and now am old" (Ps. XXXVII, 25). "That ruled over all that he had"; this applies to the same Metatron by reason of his displaying the three colours, green, white, and red."Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh"; this is symbolic of the foundation of the world, for this servant was destined to bring to life again the dwellers in the dust, and to be made the messenger by the spirit from on high to restore the spirits and souls to their places, to the bodies that were decomposed underneath the dust. We read further: "and I will make thee swear (veashbe'akha) by the Lord, the God of heaven", the term veashbe'akha implying that the servant will be invested with the mystery of the seven (sheba’) celestial lights which constitute the mystery of sublime perfection. Further: "that thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites." The "wife" is an allusion to the body lying underground, and "to my son" is an allusion to the soul, inasmuch as all the souls that issue from the celestial everflowing river are the children of the Holy One, blessed be He. The servant is thus bidden "not to take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites", or, in other words, not to take for a soul any of the bodies of the idolatrous nations whom the Holy One will in the future shake out of the Holy Land, as we read: "and the wicked be shaken out of it" (Job XXXVIII, 13), as one shakes dust from his garment. The servant is further bidden: "But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred." "To my country" has already been explained; "to my kindred" is an allusion to Israel.

The servant is said to "exercises dominion" over ten grades, which are the ten Sephirot. This is consistent with what is said of both Tipheret and Yeshua, Who are said to be the total image of the invisible God and representative of all of the Sephirot, as discussed in an earlier section:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 181b - Observe now what is written further: "And the servant took ten camels." The "servant" we have already identified; "ten camels" represent the ten grades over which the servant exercises dominion, and which are after the supernal pattern; "of the camels of his master", to wit, an exact pattern of the superior degrees, as already said; "having all goodly things of his master's in his hand", to wit, all the supernal spirits that emerge from the supernal luminaries; "and he arose and went to Aram-Naharaim", to wit, the spot in the Holy Land where Rachel wept at the time the Temple was destroyed. "

The timing of these events is placed near the time of the end of the sixth millennium (i.e., the days we are now living in):

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 181b - And he made the camels to kneel down without the city by the well of water", that is, he fortified the energy of the souls before their entering into the bodies for their revival; "at the time of evening", to wit, the eve of Sabbath, which is the sixth millennium, the same period as that alluded to in the text: "and to his laboul until the evening" (Ps. CIV, 23), also in the words: "for the shadows of the evening are stretched out" (Jer. VI, 4).

This section of the Zohar also states that those who occupied their lives with the Torah will be the ones to rise first. As Torah and Yeshua are equivalent, this supports Paul's statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, that the dead in Messiah (who is the Torah in the flesh), will rise first:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 181b - We read further: "at the time that women go out to draw water", to wit, the time when those who drew the waters of the Torah will rise from the dead before the rest of mankind, in virtue of their having taken hold of the tree of life. Further: "and the daughters of the men of the city came out to draw water", to wit, the bodies will come forth, as we read: "and the earth will throw up the shades" (Is. XXVI, 19), implying that the earth will in future give up all the bodies lying therein, "to draw water", that is, to receive the soul in a perfected state. Further: "So let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, that I may drink." It is one of our affirmations that every soul that occupied itself in this world in the study of the deep mysteries of Divine Wisdom, when it goes to heaven is raised to a high grade, high above those who remained in ignorance; and it is they who will rise from the dead first. The words, then, "Let down thy pitcher, etc." signify the inquiry which the servant will make of each soul regarding her occupation in this world. We read, then, "and she will say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also", that is, do thou drink first, and afterwards I will give drink to the other grades, for although those grades drink from the same source, they ultimately derive their sustenance from the religious activity of the righteous who knew how to serve their Master properly, for it is the righteous who know how to supply proper sustenance to each grade. "The same be the woman", it says further, "that thou hast appointed for the son of my master"; that assuredly is the body destined for that superior soul.

1. Haftara commentary to Parsha Emor, The Stone Edition Chumash, Art Scroll Series, Mesorah Publications Ltd., New York, 1993, pp. 1176-1177.

2. Secrets of the Future Temple (Mishkney Elyon), Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzazatto, translated by Avraham Yehoshua and Yakov Greenbaum, The Temple Institute and Azamra Institute, Jerusalem, 1999. p. 24.