1b ... that the wind may not blow upon the land, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree;
THE "WIND" (FOUR WINDS)
Verses two and three show us that there is a negative context to this "wind" being withheld, indicating that it is something otherwise beneficial. A word for "wind" in Hebrew is ruach, the same used for "Spirit." Therefore, it may be that the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) is withheld (for some period of time).
This would be associated with apostacy on the part of Israel. (i.e., lack of regard for Torah [2 Thessalonians 2:3]. See previous chapter notes and also citation further below from Zohar [Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 202a-b], on Torah scholars sustaining the Holy Spirit in this world).
The Zohar expresses this in terms of Israel's sin causing the Shekinah to be cut off:
The following Zohar text discusses the relationship between "wind" and "spirit," showing how this spirit/wind is what connects man to the heavenly throne room:
According to Midrash Rabbah, the "four winds" of Paradise (Eden) came forward at a previous time, one associated with the Passover lamb:
LAND, SEA AND "TREES"
As the land would include physical trees, and as trees are not especially distinguished from anything else existing on the land, why does John make it a point to specifiy "trees?" Aside from the p'shat (plain meaning) of the text, there are a several possibilities as to what this verse might mean.
It is possible that "trees" is a generic term for anything that provides physical sustenance to man and the animal kingdom. This would continue closely to a p'shat (plain) rendering of the text:
On another level, we also know from Scripture that man himself is called a "tree":
The image of a tree is used in the following passage in the context of humbling and exalting men.
Yeshua Himself referred to men as a trees:
In the following passage, man is depicted as "a tree of the field" (based on Deuteronomy 20:19), who by study of Torah, actually upholds the Holy Spirit in the world:
Note also that Revelation 9:3-4 seems to closely associate these same "trees" with men:
On an even deeper (sod) level, "trees," "herbs," and "grasses" are used as metaphors for spiritual entities, as seen in the following Zohar commentary on the book of Genesis. Such an interpretation would also support the idea that "land" is a reference to the physical world of Asiyyah, and "sea" to the formative world of Yetzirah. Here the "trees" would be the angelic realm which exists and functions within Yetzirah, and has access to Asiyyah:
2 and I saw another messenger going up from the rising of the sun, having a seal of the living God, and he did cry with a great voice to the four messengers, to whom it was given to injure the land and the sea, saying,
3 `Do not injure the land, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we may seal the servants of our God upon their foreheads.'Hebraic literature states that the seal of God is emeth, meaning "truth." Emeth is spelled with the first, middle and last letters of the alphabet, representing God as past, present and future:
The Zohar makes an interesting link between the seal of God in the foreheads of His servants and the letter Tau (Tav), which is the final letter of"emeth." The text goes as far as saying that emeth is engraved on this seal and that God Himself is called by the "name" emeth. Note also the criteria for being considered a "faithful one" is Torah observance, as Revelation also states in verses 12:17; 14:12; 22:14, as well as verses such as 1 John 2:3-6:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 2b - IN THE BEGINNING. Rab Hamnuna the Venerable said: We find here a reversal of the order of the letters of the Alphabet, the first two words Bereshith bara-"in-the-beginning He-created"-commencing with beth, whereas the two words following, Elohim eth-"God the"-commence with aleph. The reason is as follows. When the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to make the world, all the letters of the Alphabet were still embryonic, and for two thousand years the Holy One, blessed be He, had contemplated them and toyed with them. When He came to create the world, all the letters presented themselves before Him in reversed order. The letter Tau advanced in front and pleaded: May it please Thee, O Lord of the world, to place me first in the creation of the world, seeing that I am the concluding letter of EMeTh (Truth) which is engraved upon Thy seal, and seeing that Thou art called by this very name of EMeTh, it is most appropriate for the King to begin with the final letter of EMeTh and to create with me the world. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her: Thou art worthy and deserving, but it is not proper that I begin with thee the creation of the world, since thou art destined to serve as a mark on the foreheads of the faithful ones (vide Ezek. IX, 4) who have kept the Law from Aleph to Tau, and through the absence of this mark the rest will be killed; and, further, thou formest the conclusion of MaWeTh (death).
Compare the above text to Revelation 14:1 which places the "Father's name" on the foreheads of these 144,000 as well as Revelation 22:4:
The Midrash Rabbah on Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) speaks of Truth ("emeth" - the seal of God), departing in the very last days before Messiah appears:
In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the meeting house shall be a bawdy house and Galilee shall be laid waste and Gabalina shall be desolate and the men of Galilee shall go about from town to town and find no pity and the wisdom of the scribes shall become putrid and the God-fearing and pious shall cease and truth shall be abandoned and the generation will be brazen-faced like a dog., How do we know that Truth will be abandoned? Because it says, And truth is lacking (ne-edereth), and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey (Isa. LIX, 15). Whither does Truth go? The School of R. Jannai said: It will go and settle in separate groups (adarim) in the wilderness. The Rabbis say: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the wise men of the generation will die and the rest will waste away with grief and sorrow and much trouble will come upon the community and cruel decrees will be promulgated, one coming on top of another. R. Nehorai said: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the young will insult their elders and the old will rise before the young, as it says, The daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house (Micah VII, 6), and a son will feel no shame before his father. R. Nehemiah said: Before the days of the Messiah there will be great poverty and scarcity, and the vine will cast its fruit and the wine will turn bad and the whole of the government will be converted to minuth and there will be no reproof. R. Abba b. Kahana said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is brazen-faced like a dog. R. Levi said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is full of impudence and deserves to be exterminated. R. Jannai said: If you see one generation after another cursing and blaspheming, look out for the coming of the Messiah, as it says, Wherewith Thine enemies have taunted, O Lord, wherewith Thine enemies he taunted the footsteps of Thine anointed (Ps. LXXXIX, 52), and immediately afterwards it is written, Blessed be the Lord for evermore, Amen and Amen.
The following text from Midrash Rabbah on Lamentations associates the abandoment of Torah ("truth") with the coming of God's judgment, considering this less forgiveable than idolatry, immorality or bloodshed. This is consistent with Paul's words in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, which states that it will be after apostacy (abandonment of Torah), that the rule of the anti-Messiah will come:
Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations Prologue II - Rabbi sent R. Assi and R. Ammi on a mission to organise [religious education in] the cities of the land of Israel. They came to a city and said to the people, ' Bring us the guardians of the city. They fetched the captain of the guard and the magistrate. The Rabbis exclaimed, ' These the guardians of the city! They are its destroyers! The people inquired, Who, then, are its guardians? and they answered, The instructors in Bible and Mishnah, who meditate upon, teach and preserve the Torah day and night. This is in accordance with what is said, Thou shalt meditate therein day and night (Josh. I, 8); and it is similarly stated, Except the Lord build the house, they, labour in vain that build it (Ps. CXXVII, 1). R. Huna and R. Jeremiah said in the name of R. Samuel b. R. Isaac: We find that the Holy One, blessed be He, may overlook idolatry, immorality, or bloodshed, but He does not overlook rejection of the Torah; as it is said, Wherefore is the land perished? It is not written here because of idolatry, immorality, or bloodshed, but because they have forsaken My law. R. Huna and R. Jeremiah said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Abba: It is written, They have forsaken Me and have not kept My law (Jer. XVI, 11)--i.e. would that they had forsaken Me but kept My law, since by occupying themselves therewith, the light which it contains would have led them back to the right path. R. Huna said: Study Torah even if it be not for its own sake, since even if not for its own sake at first it will eventually be for its own sake. R. Joshua b. Levi said: Every day a Bath Kol issues from Mount Horeb, declaring, Woe to mankind for slighting Torah! Samuel taught in the name of R. Samuel b. Ammi: When can the Government enact an oppressive measure and render it effective? At the time that Israel casts words of Torah to the ground; and so it is written, And the host was given over to it together with the continual burnt-offering through transgression (Dan. VIII, 12). Host signifies nothing else than the [non-Jewish] Governments; as it is said, The Lord will punish the host of the high heaven on high (Isa. XXIV, 21). The continual burnt-offering is Israel; as it is written, Thou shalt meditate therein day and night. ' Through transgression means through neglect of Torah. Whenever Israel casts words of Torah to the ground, the Government enacts an oppressive measure which proves effective, as it is said, And it cast down truth to the ground (Dan. ib.). ' Truth signifies nothing else than Torah; as it is said, Buy the truth, and sell it not (Prov. XXIII, 23). If you have cast words of Torah to the ground, the Government is immediately successful [in its oppressive measures]; and so it is written, And it wrought, and prospered (Dan. ib.). R. Judah b. Pazzi said: Israel hath cast off that which is good (Hos. VIII, 3). Good signifies nothing else than Torah; as it is said, For I give you good doctrine (Prov. IV, 2).
The following text shows how severe judgment comes upon the world when Israel fails in its task. This is a good example of how battles are fought both in the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm. A connection is also made between Joshua and Metatron. (Also see "Gemmatria" section below concerning Joshua and Metatron):
Lastly, this text connects the One sitting on the heavenly throne of God (i.e., Metatron/Yeshua) with the "seal of truth":
All of the above texts (from the top of this page), lend to a sod-level understanding of Yeshua's words in John's gospel:
What Yeshua is saying is if someone follows Torah (in faith), then they are his disciples, marked with the seal of truth. (To "know the truth" as He says, is to receive it via Da'at, the Sephirah of "knowledge" and the Ruach haKodesh - Holy Spirit.) This seal of truth makes that person "free." This is an allusion to Binah, the Sephirah of "freedom," which is "mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26), which is associated with the World to Come (the "8th day" of eternity - Binah is the 8th Sephirah from the "bottom" of the Tree of Life).
An interesting link can be made using the last two Zohar references above (Zohar, Shemoth, 65b, 66a and Zohar, Shemoth, Page 220b), regarding Joshua. In Exodus 33:11, the Torah uses the less usual term "Bin" (as oppose to "Ben") for the word "son," when referring to Joshua as the "son of Nun." The prefix "Bin" is found in "Binah," the Sephirah of Understanding.
The name "Nun" is also the Hebrew letter Nun, which has a numerical valueof 50, as in the "Fifty Gates of Understanding." (Binah) (See section on Shavuot in previous study.) Binah is associated with the feminine/mother aspect of the Godhead in the Divine world of Azilut. Thus the "son of Nun," may be said to be the "Son of Binah," which is linked to the Sephirah of Tipheret and also Metatron - the One "in the Throne."
Add to this the interesting fact that according to the Hebrew sages, Joshua was 42 years of age at the time of Exodus 33:11 and we have a connection to the 42-letter name of God, which is also associated with the Atzilutic "Son" of God (Tipheret/Metatron). It is interesting that Joshua personally encounters the "Commander of the army of YHVH" (i.e., Metatron) at a later time:
Joshua 5:13-15 - And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?" So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of YHVH I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" Then the Commander of YHVH's army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.
4 And I heard the number of those sealed, (144 thousands were sealed out of all the tribes of the sons of Israel):
5 of the tribe of Judah 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad 12 thousand were sealed;
6 of the tribe of Asher 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh 12 thousand were sealed;
7 of the tribe of Simeon 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar 12 thousand were sealed;
8 of the tribe of Zebulun 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph 12 thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin 12 thousand were sealed.This is an original order of the tribes of Israel (not seen before in Scripture) as both Dan and Ephraim are missing. There is no reason given by John. One possible explanation has to do with the earlier combined idolatry of these tribes, within the land of Israel. This was discussed in an early background study. These 144,000 are God's Torah-preaching witnesses, coming just before the final judgment. Note this is between the sixth and seventh judgments, following and abandonment of Torah. As such, they are a fulfillment of Yeshua's words:
9 After these things I saw, and lo, a great multitude, which to number no one was able, out of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands,This "great ingathering," along with the palms are references to Sukkot which is associated with the end of the redemption process. As mentioned earlier, this occurs after the sixth seal judgment. We see a similar picture of this "end" being proclaimed, following the sixth trumpet judgment (11:15) and sixth bowl judgement (16:17).
10 and crying with a great voice, saying, `The salvation [is] to Him who is sitting upon the throne -- to our God, and to the Lamb!'
11 And all the messengers stood around the throne, and the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell upon their face, and bowed before God,
12 saying, `Amen! the blessing, and the glory, and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving, and the honour, and the power, and the strength, [are] to our God -- to the ages of the ages! Amen!'(See Revelation 5:6 notes regarding God and the Lamb being on the throne and receiving praise.)
13 And answer did one of the elders, saying to me, `These, who have been arrayed with the white robes -- who are they, and whence came they?'(See Revelation 3:4 notes regarding "white robes/garments.)
14 and I have said to him, `Sir, thou hast known;' and he said to me, `These are those who are coming out of the great tribulation, and they did wash their robes, and they made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb;Again, the text indicates that here John is given a picture of the "end" of the drama -- even though there is much more to come in his revelation. As mentioned earlier, the "robes" are associated with the soul, specifically a new or additional soul given to the righteous so that they can stand in the presence of God. (See previous study on the tzaddik (the Lamb) providing atonement for many people.)
15 because of this are they before the throne of God, and they do service to Him day and night in His sanctuary, and He who is sitting upon the throne shall tabernacle over them;
16 they shall not hunger any more, nor may the sun fall upon them, nor any heat,
17 because the Lamb that [is] in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and wipe away shall God every tear from their eyes.'
The term "tabernacle" as well as mention of "living fountains of waters," are additional Sukkot references. Compare also to John 1:14 where Yeshua is said to have come to earth to "tabernacle" (sukkah) among men. Verse 17 is especially interesting as the reference ties Sukkot to the Olam Haba (the World to Come, when there will be no more tears, etc.) This makes sense as Sukkot holds the mystical connection to the "eighth day," symbolic of "eternity."
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