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Revelation 7:1b-17
Last update: March 6, 2002


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:

Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 197a - R. Abba discoursed on the passage beginning: "If thou know not, O thou fairest among women", etc. (S.S. I, 8). ‘The Community of Israel’, he said, ‘is she that gathers in from all the camps above, and holds in all that she gathers, letting it escape only by drops like dew, because there is not sufficient faith below. For if She were to find faith as it is found in her, She would pour the light on every side without restraint, and they would give to her also gifts and presents without stint. But it is those of the lower world who restrain them and restrain her, and therefore she is called Azereth (the restrainer). Nevertheless, as a mother gives to her sons in secret and unbeknown, so she does with her children, Israel. We have learnt from the Sacred Lamp that when She ascends to receive delights and dainties, if then there is a blemish in Israel She is separated from her Spouse a fixed number of days.

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:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 13a,b - R. Eleazar and R. Abba were once walking from Tiberias to Sipphoris. On the way a Jew joined them. Said R. Eleazar: ‘Let each one of us expound some saying of the Torah!’ He himself started by quoting the sentence: "Then said he unto me, prophesy unto the spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit" (Ezek. XXXVII, 9). ‘It may be asked, how could Ezekiel prophesy concerning the spirit, seeing that it is written: "No man hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit" (Eccl. VIII, 8)? Verily, man has no power over the spirit, but the Holy One has power over all things, and it was by His command that Ezekiel was prophesying. Besides, the spirit was embodied in material form in this world, and therefore he prophesied concerning it: "Come from the four winds, O spirit!"; namely from the region where it resides in the four foundations of the world.

If the spirit of man is endowed in Paradise with the form of the body which it is to assume in this world, should it not have been said: "Come from Paradise, O spirit!" and not "from the four winds"?’ R. Eleazar replied: ‘Before descending into this world the spirit ascends from the earthly Paradise to the Throne which stands on four pillars. There it draws its being from that Throne of the King, and only then does it descend to this world. As the body is collected from the four regions of the world, so is the spirit of man taken from the four pillars upon which the Throne is established.

As the body is formed in this world from the cornbination of the four elements, so is the spirit formed in the Garden from the combination of the four winds that are in the Garden, and the spirit is enveloped there in the impress of the body's shape, and if it were not for the four winds, which are the airs of the Garden, the spirit would not have been clothed at all. These four winds are bound up with one another, and the spirit is shaped from them, as the body is shaped from the four elements. Therefore it says: ‘Come from the four winds, O spirit!’, namely from the four winds of Paradise from which thou art shaped. And now take this bundle of writings, and go thy way, and give it to the Fellowship."

According to Midrash Rabbah, the "four winds" of Paradise (Eden) came forward at a previous time, one associated with the Passover lamb:

Midrash Rabbah - Exodus XIX:5 - when Moses prepared the paschal lamb, God decreed that the four winds of the world should breathe forth the scent of the breezes of the Garden of Eden.

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:

Leviticus 19:23 - And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food ...

On another level, we also know from Scripture that man himself is called a "tree":

Psalm 1:3 - Happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scorners. But whose delight is in the Torah of the Lord; and in his Torah he meditates day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The image of a tree is used in the following passage in the context of humbling and exalting men.

Ezekiel 17:24 - And known have all trees of the field That I, YHVH, have made low the high tree, I have set on high the low tree, I have dried up the moist tree, And I have caused the dry tree to flourish, I, YHVH, have spoken, and have done [it]!'

Yeshua Himself referred to men as a trees:

Matthew 7:16-20 - Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

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:

Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 202a,b - He then discoursed on the verse: "When thou shalt besiege a city a long time in making war against it to take it", etc. (Deut. xx, 19). ‘How goodly’, he said, ‘are the ways and paths of the Torah, since it is full of good counsel for man, and every word of it radiates light in many directions. This verse can be taken literally, and it can be expounded homiletically, and it contains also a lesson of the higher wisdom. He who constantly occupies himself with the Torah is compared by the Psalmist to "a tree planted by streams of water" (Ps. I, 3). Just as a tree has roots, bark, sap, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit, seven kinds in all, so the Torah has the literal meaning, the homiletical meaning, the mystery of wisdom, numerical values, hidden mysteries, still deeper mysteries, and the laws of fit and unfit, forbidden and permitted, and clean and unclean. From this point branches spread out in all directions, and to one who knows it in this way it is indeed like a tree, and if not he is not truly wise. Observe how beloved are those who study the Torah before the Holy One, blessed be He, for even when chastisement impends over the world and permission is given to the destroyer to destroy, the Holy One, blessed be He, charges him concerning them, saying: "When thou shalt besiege a city", because of their numerous sins against Me, for which they have been adjudged guilty, "for many days", that is to say, three successive days, so that the thing is known in the town, then I will charge thee concerning the sons of My house, "Thou shalt not destroy the tree thereof": this is the learned man in the town, who is a tree of life, a tree that produces fruit. Or, again, we may explain it of one who gives good counsel to the townspeople, telling them how they may escape from punishment, and teaches them the way in which they should go. Therefore "thou shalt not destroy its tree by wielding an axe against it", that is, by inflicting punishment upon him and brandishing the flaming sword over him, which slays other men. The verse then continues, "For from it thou eatest". Now we cannot possibly apply this to the destroyer, so we must translate, "for from it she eats", to wit, that mighty rock from which issue all great and holy spirits, for the holy spirit has no pleasure in this world save from the Torah of that pious one, who, if one may say so, sustains her and gives her food in this world more than all sacrifices. Since the Temple has been destroyed and the sacrifices have ceased, the Holy One, blessed be He, has only those words of the Torah which this man expounds. Therefore "it thou shalt not cut down’,: be careful not to touch him, "for man is the tree of the field"; this one is called "man", being known as such above and below; he is the mighty tree of that field which the Lord hath blessed. "To be besieged of thee": these words are connected with the earlier part of the verse, "thou shalt not destroy its tree", namely, him who gave advice to the townspeople and prepared them to withstand a siege before thee, counselling them to amend and to blow the trumpet for repentance, to avoid thee and come before God. "In siege": this is the place to which higher and lower angels cannot enter, but where repentant sinners may enter. If they accept this advice then I pardon them their sins and they are received into favour before Me. Happy, therefore, are those who study the Torah, for they are great in this world. See what God has done, how He has planted these trees, not one only, but three spreading their branches on all sides. May it be the will of heaven that these trees shall never depart from this place, nor this fountain.

Note also that Revelation 9:3-4 seems to closely associate these same "trees" with men:

Revelation 9:3-4 - And out of the smoke came forth locusts to the earth, and there was given to them authority, as scorpions of the earth have authority, and it was said to them that they may not injure the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but -- the men only who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads.

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:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 18b - LET THE EARTH PUT FORTH GRASS, HERB, ETC. At this behest the “earth” put forth a host through those waters which were gathered together in one place and flowed mysteriously through it, so that there issued in it hidden celestial beings and sacred existences which are upheld and sustained and constantly renewed by the faithful among mankind through the worship they offer to their Master. This mystery is indicated by the verse: “Who causest the grass to spring up for the B'hema” (cattle), etc. (Ps. CIV, 14). This refers to Behemoth that crouches on a thousand mountains and for whom these mountains produce each day what is here called “grass”, by which is meant those angelic beings whose existence is ephemeral, and who were created on the second day as destined food for that Behemoth, which is “fire consuming fire”. The Psalmist continues, “and herb for the service of man”, indicating by “herb” the angelic orders named Ofanim (wheels), Hayyoth (animal-shaped), and Cherubim, all of whom are upheld, sustained, and confirmed whenever mortal beings come to worship their Master with sacrifices and prayers, in which consists the “service of man”, and as they are reinforced by virtue of that service of man, there springs up food and sustenance for the world, as it is written: “to bring forth bread out of the earth” (Ibid.). The same is implied here by the words HERB YIELDING SEED. For “grass” does not yield seed, but is only destined for food for the sacred fire, whereas “herb” helps to maintain the world. All this has for its purpose “to bring forth bread from the earth”, i.e. to provide, by virtue of the service offered to their Master by human beings, food and sustenance out of the earth for this world, so that the heavenly blessings should descend on mankind. FRUIT TREE BEARING FRUIT. One degree above another, these combining male and female. Just as “ fruit tree” produced the host of “trees bearing fruit”, so the latter in turn produced “Cherubim and Pillars”. “Pillars” are those that go up in the smoke of the sacrifices and derive their strength therefrom, and hence are called “pillars of smoke”, and all of them exist permanently for the “service of man”, whereas the “grass” has no permanence, being destined to be consumed as food, as it is written: “Behold now Behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox” (Job XL, 15). The words “fruit tree bearing fruit” indicate the form of male and female in combination. Their faces are “like the face of a man” (Ezek. I, 10), but they are not like the Cherubim, having large faces covered with beards, whereas the Cherubim have little faces like those of tender children.

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:

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXXI:2 - What is the seal of the Holy One, blessed be He? Emeth (truth). Why ’emeth’? Said R. Simeon b. Lakish: Alef is the first of the letters [of the alphabet], mem the middle one, and taw the last, thus it corresponds to, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God (Isa. XLIV, 6).

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:

Revelation 14:1 - Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads.

Revelation 22:4 - and they shall see His face, and His name is upon their foreheads,

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:

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs II:33 - 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):

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2,Page 65b, 66a - R. Simeon said: ‘There is a deep allusion in the name "Rephidim". This war emanated from the attribute of Severe Judgement and it was a war above and a war below. The Holy One, as it were, said: "when Israel is worthy below My power prevails in the universe; but when Israel is found to be unworthy she weakens My power above, and the power of severe judgement predominates in the world.’ So here, "Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim", because the Israelites were "weak" (raphe) in the study of the Torah, as we have explained on another occasion.’ AND MOSES SAID UNTO JOSHUA, CHOOSE US OUT MEN, AND GO OUT, FIGHT WITH AMALEK. Why did Moses abstain from fighting the first battle which God Himself commanded? Because he was able to divine the true meaning of his Master's command. Hence he said: "I will prepare myself for the war above, and thou, Joshua, prepare thyself for the war below." This is the meaning of the words :"When Moses lifted up his hand, Israel prevailed" (Ibid. v, 11), namely Israel above. Therefore Moses did not participate in the war on earth, so that he might throw himself with greater zeal into the war in Heaven, and thus promote victory on earth. Said R. Simeon: ‘Let us not think lightly of this war with Amalek. Verily, from the creation of the world until then, and since then till the coming of the Messiah, there has been and will be no war like that, nor can even the war of Gog and Magog be compared with it; and this not because of the mighty armies taking part in it, but because it was launched against all the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He.’ AND MOSES SAID TO JOSHUA. Why to him, who was then but a "youth" (Ex. XXXIII, 11)? Were there in Israel no greater warriors than Joshua? The reason was that Moses in his wisdom was aware that it was not going to be merely a battle against flesh and blood, but against Samael, who was coming down to assist Amalek. Now Joshua, "the youth", had reached at that time a high degree of spiritual perception, not, indeed, as high as Moses, who was united with the Shekinah, but his soul was, in fact, attached to the supernal region called "Youth" (=Metatron). Now when Moses perceived that Samael was going to fight for Amalek, he thought: "this young man, Joshua, will surely stand against him and prevail", and therefore he said unto him: "go and fight against Amalek! It is thy battle, the battle here below, and I will prepare myself for the battle above. Choose worthy men, righteous and the sons of the righteous, to accompany thee".’ Said R. Simeon: ‘At the moment when Joshua, the "young man", started out to fight Amalek, the "Young Man" above was stirred, and was equipped with weapons prepared by his "Mother" (the Shekinah) for the battle in order to "avenge the covenant" (cf. Lev. XXVI, 25) with the "sword" (Ex. XVII, 13). Moses equipped himself for the war above. "His hands were heavy" (Ibid. v, 12), that is to say, "weighty, honourable, holy hands", that had never been defiled, hands worthy to wage the war above.

Lastly, this text connects the One sitting on the heavenly throne of God (i.e., Metatron/Yeshua) with the "seal of truth":

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 220b - R. Eleazar discoursed on the verse: "And a throne is established through mercy, and there sitteth thereon in truth, in the tent of David, one that judgeth, and seeketh justice, and is ready in righteousness" (Isa. XVI, 5). ‘This has been explained as follows’, he said. ‘When the Thought arose with glad purpose from the Most Recondite and Unknowable, that gladness impinged on the Thought, so that the latter entered more and more deeply until it was secluded in the interior of a certain supernal undisclosed Palace. [Tr. note: Binah.] It is from thence that there flow forth, first all the rivers of the "right side", and after them the others. On the "right side" it was that the Lower Throne was established, since the Holy One, blessed be He, established that Throne "through mercy, and there sitteth thereon in truth". The Throne is the bearer of the seal, the impress of which is Truth, and the Holy One sits on that Throne only in virtue of that seal; "in the tent of David", which is identical with the Lower Throne. "One that judgeth" is from the side of Rigour; "and seeketh judgement", from the side of Mercy; "and is ready in judgement", alluding to the Throne of Judgement, which is on earth. Similarly, the Tabernacle was established only on this side of Mercy, as already said; and thereby were adjusted all the affairs of the lower world.’

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:

John 8:31-32 - Then said Yeshua to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

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).

GEMMATRIA

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:

Matthew 24:12-14 - and because of the abounding of the lawlessness, [abandonment of Torah] the love of the many shall become cold; but he who did endure to the end, he shall be saved; and this good news of the reign [the Torah] shall be proclaimed in all the world [by the 144,000] for a testimony to all the nations; and then shall the end arrive.

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."

Revelation 21:4 - and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and the death shall not be any more, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, because the first things did go away.'


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