Last update: September 22, 2008
The primary theme in this final chapter in the Oneness of God and
Creation. The main character in this final section is a mighty angel,
referred to by seemingly different titles such as the angel of the Lord
God of the holy prophets, the angel of Yeshua, as well as a the fellow servant with John who is "of his
At times the text is unclear whether it is this angel or Yeshua who
is speaking to John. This angel is traditionally known as Metatron and
has been mentioned throughout this study. Here, we will look further into the mystery of this angel.
In reviewing this final chapter, two principles should be kept in mind:
- References to beings or objects being likened to God in the
text of the Bible and extra-biblical texts are a means of describing
the relationship between God and His creation, and are not describing the
essence of God.
- There are many such beings and objects and they function at
different levels and have complex inter-relationships often
resembling each other.
Two recommended books on these subjects are Through a Speculum that Shines and
Along the Path by Elliot Wolfson. We will cite from these
texts in this section.
Wolfson explains the above concepts as follows:
The paradox that the deus absconditus (hidden God) appears to human
beings in multiple forms, including, most significantly, that of an
anthropos (man) is the enduring legacy of the prophetic tradition that
has informed and challenged Judaism throughout the ages ... The
prophetic tradition, epitomized in Hosea 12:11, that God can be
represented in images served as an exegetical basis for certain mythic
ideas that evolved in the aggadah from the formative period of rabbinic
Judaism The most significant of these is that God assumed "incarnational
forms" at critical moments in Israel's sacred history: at the splitting
of the Red Sea he is said to have appeared as a young warrior and at
Sinai as a merciful elder; he is sometimes further described as a scribe
teaching Torah. 1
Representing God anthropomorphically in auditory imagery is not
theologically offensive, for that mode of representation does not
violate the basic principle of God's irreducible otherness. Indeed, it
is alone the speech of God that bridges the gap separating humanity and
the divine. Thus one finds a verbal/auditory emphasis affirmed in many
prophetic revelations that conform to the Deuteronomic restriction on
iconic representation yet preserved the lived immediacy of biblical
religion ... Anthropomorphic expression can be appropriated as a
meaningful mode of discourse if it is circumscribed within a linguistic
Specifically regarding angels in prophetic vision he cites ...
It is customary for God to clothe the thoughts of His decrees, to
show them to the prophets so that they will know that God has set His
decrees. The prophet knows His thoughts according to the vision that he
sees. At times this vision is called an angel.
6 Then he said
to me, These words are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy
prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this
8 Now I, John,
saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship
before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said
to me, See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and
of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship
The verse is very similar to 19:10. In this chapter, the angel is
associated with prophecy in verse 9 and with messiah in verse 16. For more
on the relationship between prophecy and messiah and the concept of
notes on Revelation 19:10.
Verse 9 adds a peculiar dimension as the angel identifies himself as
being of one of John's "brethren the prophets," seemingly identifying
himself as human. The text presents a clouding of the distinction between
the spiritual and physical - not atypical of Hebraic mystical literature,
such as 3 Enoch where Enoch is transformed into the angel Metatron, who
occupies a throne next to the throne of God. (Compare also to verses in
chapters 5 and 22 which speak of an entity on the throne and one in
the midst of a throne [also in the midst of the four creatures and the
elders] as well as a mention of a throne of the Lamb and throne of God.)
As in verse 19:10, here is an angel with a presence in John's vision so strong it inspires
this reaction. The idea of the angel of the Lord ("God's angel,"
"angel of the Presence," etc.) being viewed as almost "godlike"
is found throughout Hebraic writings.
Author Wolfson provides several insights that relate to this, again
mentioning the idea of the "blurring of the distinction" between God and
Metatron in the prophetic vision, often in terms of the Shekinah:
It may be said that the medieval Jewish mystics recovered the mythic
dimension of a biblical motif regarding the appearance of God in the
guise of the highest of angels, called "angel of the Lord" (mal'akh YHVH),
"angel of God" (mal'akh ha-Elohim), or "angel of the Presence" (mal'akh
ha-panim), which sometimes appears in the form of a man. ... This
tradition of angelophony figured prominently as well in the literature
of both the German Pietists and the Provencal-Spanish kabbalists. In
both cases we find evidence for the identification of, or the blurring
of the distinction between, the glory and an angelic being, the
anthropomorphic manifestation of the divine revealed to the prophets and
mystics. More specifically, in some of the earliest kabbalistic sources
the Shekinah is identified in one of her aspects as Metatron ...
In some literary units of the Hekhalot literature, it is very
difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate between God and his
angel. The attribution of divine characteristics to the highest angel
also underlies traditions about Metatron, the demiurgical angel in
ancient Jewish esotericism. The confusion is especially evident with
respect to the name of God and Metatron.
The verse said, "I am sending an angel before you" (Exodus
23:20) . This refers to the Shekinah, for the word mal'akhi ("My angel")
... has a numerical value of Shekinah (=385).
The following text explains how God can be referred to in many ways,
citing the specific example of the burning bush:
Thus it is established in the secret of the Chariot (sod ha-merkavah)
that the Holy One blessed be He, is mentioned as an angel in the secrets
of the angels, (a sphere) in the secret of the spheres, and that is the
throne. All of these are emanations that emanate from the splendor of
His great infathomable and limitless light. Thus it is written in Exodus
(3:2), "An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire out of a
bush," and immediately after it is written, "God called to him out of a
bush," and it is written, "for he was afraid to look at God. Therefore
the word mal'akh (angel) numerically equals ha-'elohim (the divine).
Wolfson cites an ancient text in pointing out the relationship in the
gemmatria (314) between not only Metatron and the God-name Shaddai (as is
well known and mentioned earlier in this study), but also to a phrase often
associated with God Himself:
The Prince of the Countenance is called Metatron, he is all-powerful
(ha-kol yakhol). Thus the numerical value of Metatron (=314) is equal to
the expression 'he who governs the whole world; (ha-manhig kol ha-olam =
314). This is the numerical value of Shaddai (=314)
Further, we know that "he who governs the whole world," does so
from the Heavenly Throne. The following citations show relationships between
multiple entities in the spiritual worlds:
We begin with the unity between the four creatures of the Ezekiel's
"The principle form of the four creatures, which collectively
comprise one entity, is that of an anthropos (a man), also
identified as the cherub ...
This relationship between the anthropos (man) and the cherub is
associated with the relationship between Joseph and Jacob:
This is to teach that the faces of Jacob and Joseph are engraved
upon the throne, for the face of an anthropos resembles the face of
Jacob, and the face of a cherub is small like the face of Joseph.
Just as the face of Joseph resembles the face of Jacob, so too the
face of the cherub resembles the face of an anthropos.
It is possible that the celestial image of Jacob is a mythic
portrayal of the the demiurgic angel who is most commonly referred to as
Metatron in Jewish esoteric sources.
Just as the image of Jacob (and that of Joseph) is seen as being in or on
the throne, so is this cherub. This cherub is not only in the image of God,
it can be seen (by the prophets) in different ways. In the following
passage, note the interesting reference to Moses and the
prophets being "enthroned" by the angel all the while maintaining a separateness from God Himself (i.e.,
"the children are not like the father"). Compare to Revelation 5
where the lamb is "amidst the throne" along with the four creatures and the
The cherub sits on the throne and it is the image (demut) of the
Holy One, blessed be He, as long as His shadow is upon him, and this
is (the import of) what is said, "in the hands of the prophet I was
imaged (Hosea 12:11) ... This is the cherub that changes and is seen
in all these aspects ... It is always called a cherub when there is not an abundance of
the emanation of the Presence (hamshakhat ha-shekhinah) upon it,
even though all is one. Therefore it is called "king of kings" (melekh
malkhe ha-melakhim), Moses our master, and his disciples, i.e.,
prophets who were like him, for the Presence rested upon the angel
of the countenance (sar ha-panim) and the prophets, and through his
influence it enthroned them, but God forbid that the children should
be like the father.
Taking it still further, the Olam Haba (World to Come) of which John is prophesying in this
chapter is directly tied to both Jacob and Metatron - again stressing the
idea of unity (i.e., "everything is one power"):
"... above that world (of angelic beings) is another realm of
existence referred to by the technical rabbinic eschatological term "the
world to come" which is also identified as the "palace of Jacob," the
palace of Metatron, for the souls of the righteous from the lower world
come there. Metatron is the Active Intellect, and this is the power of
Shaddai, everything is one power....
Citing a very ancient text, we find Metatron and Jacob
associated with "sar ha-panim," the angel of the countenance (of God):
Metatron, the angel of the countenance (sar ha-panim),
is identified as Jacob who is said to be inscribed upon the throne
and upon the heart of Metatron.
Taking all of these citations into account, we see there is a close connection between;
- the heavenly throne
- the anthropos (image of a man)
cherub (an angel)
- the face of Jacob (and/or Joseph)
- the image of Jacob (and/or Joseph) on the throne
- the Shekinah
- the Name "Shaddai"
angel of the countenance (sar ha-panim).
This last title ("sar ha-panim") is particularly interesting.
Examining a text on the subject of Rosh Hashana, we find a connection
between the blowing of the shofar and mercy coming from the throne of Jacob:
Therefore, by means of the blowing of the ram's horn, He sees the
image of Jacob and changes into His mercy. "He mounted a cherub" (2
Samuel 22:11), Psalm 18:11), from Jacob (mi-ya'aqov). "A ruling of the
God of Jacob" (Psalm 81:5). The glory above the glory ...
Eleazar identifies the image of Jacob with the God of Israel
and the cherub, but here he adds the motive that this image is the
personification of the attribute of mercy. Specifically, when Israel
blows the ram's horn below, the divine glory looks upon the image of
Jacob and is filled with mercy. The idea that the blowing of the ram's
horn effects a transformation of God's attribute of judgment to mercy is
a standard rabbinic theme expressed in classical midrashic sources.
All of this leads us to an extraordinary text. Continuing on the subject of Rosh Hashana,
Wolfson cites author Yehuda Liebes who refers to a connection in the Rosh
Hashana section of a prayer book that mentions Yeshua (by name) in the
context of "sar ha-panim" and Metatron:
Also relevant is another study by Liebes where he argued for a
possible Jewish-Christian background of the image of Yeshua Sar ha-Panim
found, together with Elijah and Metatron, in one of the prayers in the
standard Ashkenazi liturgy for Rosh ha-Shanah. The immediate context to
locate this liturgical formulation is one of the main circles of German
Pietists, the group responsible for the commentary on the names of
Metatron published under the name "Sefer ha-Hesheq," but, according to
Liebes, the Sitz im Leben ("setting in life") of the image foes back to
an ancient Jewish esoteric tradition that preserved this
Jewish-Christian belief regarding the angelic status of Jesus.
Yashanet has attained a copies of this prayer book and has scanned in the
Click here to view images of this very interesting text.
10 And he said
to me, Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
11 He who is
unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is
righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.
behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one
according to his work.
A transition seems to have occurred over verses 10 through 12.
The speaker in verse 10 continues to be the angel from previous verses.
Verse 12 however seems to be Yeshua speaking, both from the content of the
verse as well as the continuation in verses 13 and 16 below. As we are
showing in the texts by Elliot Wolfson, this is consistent with Jewish
The time for performing acts of righteousness comes to a close at the end
of the millennial kingdom and entry into Olam Haba - the World to Come.
One's status for eternity is sealed at this point.
13 I am the
Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the
Though this verse would appear to be associated with Yeshua, the divergent characteristics of "beginning and end" and "first and
last" are (not surprisingly) found regarding Metatron.
Citing the 13th century kabbalist Abraham Abulafia, author Wolfson
shows that these opposite characteristics (beginning and end, etc.), are found in Metatron
and resemble the
combination of Israel and Jacob, found in a single person:
In the ontological scheme of Abulafia,, based on Maimonides, Metatron
is the Active Intellect or the last of the ten separate intellects. On
the other hand, Metatron is also described as the first of the created
entities outside the divine. Abulafia alludes to this dual status of
Metatron in his comment that the angel of God "is the end of the angels,
but he is still the beginning." The two aspects of Metatron are alluded
to as well in the names Israel and Jacob.; the secret of the former is
conveyed in the transposition of the consonants "yisra'el" to form the
word "le-ro'shi" (to my head), and the latter in he letters ya'aqov that
are transposed into "aqevi (my heel). The aspect of Metatron as the
first is conveyed in the physical image of the head, and as the last, in
the image of the heel ... Just as Israel and Jacob are two names for one
and the same person, so too the two aspects are unified in the one
angelic personality. Metatron is described therefore, as possessing
opposite qualities, the first and the last, beginning and end ...
14 Blessed are
those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may
enter through the gates into the city.
As mentioned previously, the denial of access to the Tree of Life is fundamentally
related to the sin of separating the bride from the groom. This may also be
expressed in terms of division between YHVH and Adonai. (See
our Study Chart on the Name of God.) Thus the tikkun of the the
bride/groom (or YHVH/Adonai) and access to the Tree of Life, is directly
tied to the keeping of the commandments of the Torah. (See
comments on uniting the bride and groom in notes to 19:10.)
As mentioned earlier in this study ...
Furthermore, one of the special paragraphs said in advance of a
mitzvah, to focus us on the purpose of the mitzvah (found in most prayer
books) is: [I hereby do this mitzvah] for the sake of the unification of
The Holy One, Blessed is He, and His Divine Presence, in fear and in
love, to unify the Name of yud-h'eh with vav h'eh in completion, in the
name of the entire Jewish people.
The Zohar offers the following regarding keeping of the commandments. Note yet another dichotomous reference to Metatron from whom come both life and death:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 27a - AND THE
LORD GOD TOOK THE MAN AND PUT HIM IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, ETC. From whence did he take him?
He took him from the four elements which are hinted at in the verse "and from there
it parted and became four heads". God detached him from these and placed him in the
Garden of Eden. So does God do now to any man created from the four elements
he repents of his sins and occupies himself with the Torah; God takes him from
his original elements, as it is said, "and from there he parts", i.e. he
separates himself from the desires which they inspire, and God places him in his garden,
which is the Shekinah, "to dress it", by means of positive precepts, "and
to keep it", by means of negative precepts. If he keeps the law, he makes himself
master of the four elements, and becomes a river from which they are watered, and they
obey him and he is their ruler. But if he transgresses the law, they are watered from the
bitterness of the tree of evil, which is the evil inclination, and all his limbs are full
of bitterness; but when the members of the body are kept holy from the side of good, it
may be said of them that "they came to Marah and were not able to drink waters from
Marah, for they were bitter" (Ex. XV, 23). Similarly, the study of the Talmud is
bitter compared with that of the esoteric wisdom, of which it is said, "And God
showed him a tree" (Ibid.); this is a tree of life, and through it "the waters
were sweetened". Similarly of Moses it is written, "And the staff of God was in
his hand." This rod is Metatron, from one side of whom comes life
and from the other death. When the rod remains a rod, it is a help from the side of good,
and when it is turned into a serpent it is hostile, so that "Moses fled from
it", and God delivered it into his hand. This rod typifies the Oral Law which
prescribes what is permitted and what is forbidden. When Moses struck the rock God took it
back from him, and "he went down to him with a rod" (II Sam. XXXIII, 21), to
smite him with it, the "rod" being the evil inclination, which is a serpent, the
cause of the captivity. A further lesson can be derived from the words "and from
there it parted": happy is the man who devotes himself to the Torah, for when God
takes him from this body, from the four elements, he is detached from them and
to become the head of the four Hayyoth, as it is written, "and they shall
bear thee on their hands" (Ps. XCI, 12).
15 But outside are
dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and
practices a lie.
Yeshua, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the
congregations. I am the Root
and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.
Here we have Yeshua referring to "his angel." The idea of a specific
angel being associated with messiah ben Joseph is found in several sections
of the classic text, Kol Hator (Voice of the Turtledove):
Yosef is still alive.
-- The independence of Mashiach ben Yosef is related to three
categories: a) the Mashiach ben Yosef from above is Metatron,
the Minister of Interior; as is known, Yosef is Metatron. Both of them
are from the light from above, and both are in the sefira
Yesod ,,, b) In every
generation one Mashiach ben Yosef from below appears. He is a
righteous person, a foundation of the world, who because of his
deeds and the root of his soul, merits acting for the salvation of
Israel, carrying out helpful deeds and glorifying the Torah through his
dedication. Thus he reaches to the high level of Mashiach ben Yosef,
....c) Mashiach ben Yosef who
is present in every house of Israel in general, according to what is
revealed by the words “remnant of Yosef” which was said about all of
Israel in general and regarding every man of Israel in particular
“For a bird of the skies will carry the sound, and
some winged creature will relate the matter” -- This was said about Metatron, the Minister of Interior, as brought in Tikunei Zohar. He
is the Angel of Mashiach ben Yosef.
“The angel who redeems me” -- “The angel who
redeems” is the Angel of Yosef. This means that as soon as Yosef was
born, Jacob was able to overpower Esau. As known, the redeemer is in
17 And the
Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come!
And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
18 For I testify
to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these
things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of
this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the
holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The warning is strict, as the sages teach that even the slightest actions
of one person can cause a "ripple effect" with profound negative results for
Do not be surprised by the fact that an individual person, through
his or her deeds, can cause an elevation or degradation of the whole
20 He who
testifies to these things says, Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so,
come, Lord Yeshua!
21 The grace of
our Lord Yeshua haMashiach be with you all. Amen.
a Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism,
Wolfson, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1994, p.8
2. ibid, p.15
3. ibid, p.206, citation
from Sefer ha-Shem, Rabbi Eleazer ben Judah of Worms
4. ibid, p.255
5. ibid, p. 257, citation
from Sefer ha-Hokhmah, Rabbi Eleazer ben Judah of Worms
6. ibid, p.257
7. ibid, p.259, citation
from Sefer ha-Hokhmah, Rabbi Eleazer ben Judah of Worms
the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics,
Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of
New York Press, Albany, 1995, p. 10
9. ibid, p.122, citation
from The Commentary on Ezekiel's Chariot, R. Jacob ben Jacob ha-Kohen
10. ibid, p. 19
11. ibid, pp. 11,12
12. ibid., p. 19
14. ibid, p. 52
15. ibid, p. 68
16. For a detailed
explanation of this concept see Derech
Hashem (The Way of God), Rabbi Moshe Chaim
Luzzatto, translated and annotated by Aryeh Kaplan,
Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 1997.
the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics,
Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of
New York Press, Albany, 1995, p. 21
Parshas Vaeschanan/Nachamu, Pleading in Comfort, by Rabbi Pinchas