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(Last update 7/3/00)

As noted earlier, the mystical teachings introduced in this section will be developed in detail in Section V of our Revelation background articles.

In the previous section of this study, we discussed how the "wheel" in Ezekiel's Chariot vision is a "connection" between the heavenly realm immediately around us and the "other heavens." As shown in the section below, the Zohar, associates this wheel with Metatron, who is associated with the Messiah. The Zohar also states that "beyond" the angels (holy beasts) that Ezekiel say, there are also angels (hayoth) who do not disclose themselves.

In the following Zohar section, there is an association made between the "four heavens" (or four "worlds") and the name of YHWH. The Zohar says that these undisclosed angels are in the two higher heavens, represented by the Yod (the "Y") and the first He' (or "Hay" - the first "H"). This places the cherubim angels that Ezekiel saw in the realm of the Vav (the "V"), also called the World of Yetzirah (Formation). These worlds will be discussed in detail later in this study.

The ophanim seem to be the connection between this realm of the Vav and that of what could be called the "first heaven" which is that of the second or "lesser" He' ("H") of Y-H-V-H, the one closest to the physical world we live in:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 21a - It is said of the Hayyoth that "they run to and fro" (Ezek. I, 14), and so no eye can follow them. The Hayyoth which disclose themselves are those in the midst of which there is an Ofan (wheel), which is Metatron, who is more exalted than all the other hosts. The Hayyoth which are never disclosed are those which are under the two undisclosed letters Yod, He’, which rule over Vau, He’, these being the pedestal of the former. The most mysterious and incomprehensible essence rules over all and is mounted upon all. The Hayyoth which disclose themselves are below those which remain undisclosed and derive light from them and follow them. The celestial Hayyoth are all comprised in the "firmament of the heaven", and are referred to in the words "let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven", "and they shall be for lights in the firmament of the heaven". They are all suspended in that firmament.

A summation of the "four heavens" as seen by Ezekiel might be as follows:

  • A "sapphire stone" that represents the highest heaven, associated with the Yod ("Y")
  • The "likeness of a throne" that sits in the next heavenly grade, that of the first He' ("H")
  • The holy beasts (cherubim) that resides in the grade below the previous, that of the Vav ("V")
  • The wheel (ophanim) that makes the connection to the most immediate heaven around us, that of the second or "lesser" He' ("H")

The concept of multiple heavens, is mentioned by Paul in one of his epistles. Here he speaks of a man (most likely himself) who went up to the third heaven. This man was given great insight into the deepest mysteries:

2 Corinthians 12:2-4 - I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

The Soncino Zohar (Appendix III), summarizes as follows:

For, according to the Zohar, God, the protector of Israel, is borne along by four Hayyoth or Holy Beasts, constituting His throne, and these are borne on other angelic beings, which again rest on higher firmaments, under which is the lowest heaven, to which belongs the earth and all its creatures.

What we see is that there are multiple heavenly realms, and a continuum between these heavens and the various "entities" that inhabit them. Angels in our immediate realm "trace" their authority back to Ezekiel's holy beasts, who "answer" directly to God.

Ezekiel's vision of the Divine Chariot gives us insight as to "how things work" in the spiritual realm, and provides links to a number of specific concepts in Scripture.


The Zohar makes a connection between this continuity of the heavenly realms and the patriarch Jacob. This goes back to the dream of Jacob's ladder, covered earlier in this study:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 150a - Jacob was beholden to dreams, as explained before. AND BEHOLD, THE LORD STOOD (nitsab) UPON IT, ETC. Here Jacob discerned the essential unity of the object of faith. This is implied in the term nitsab (firmly knit), which implies that Jacob saw all grades stationed as one on that ladder so as to be knit into one whole. And inasmuch as that ladder is situated between two sides, God said to him: I AM THE LORD, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM THY FATHER, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC , these two being respectively of the two sides, one of the right and the other of the left. According to another explanation, the Lord was standing over him, to wit, over Jacob, so as to form the Divine Chariot, with the Community of Israel, embodied in Jacob, as the uniting link in the midst, between the right and the left. That Jacob was in the midst is proved by the fact that the text here calls Abraham "thy father", but not Isaac, thus showing that Jacob was next to Abraham; and hence the text naturally continues: THE LAND WHEREON THOU LIEST , showing that the whole formed one sacred Chariot. Here Jacob saw that he was to be the crown of the patriarchs. The words "the God of thy father Abraham and the God of Isaac" show that Jacob was attached to either side and holding fast to both of them.

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 48b - R. Simeon discoursed on the verse: Now I beheld the living creatures (Hayoth), and behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces (Ezek. I, 15). ‘This verse’, he said, ‘we can explain as follows. The Holy One reveals His dominion and power in all things, a power which shall never be shaken. He manifested His power in the Patriarchs, and particularly in Jacob. Now Jacob is united with the Tree of Life, over which death has no dominion, since in it all life is contained, emanating from it unto all those who are in perfect union with it. For this reason Jacob did not really die. He died in a physical sense when “he gathered up his feet into the bed” (Gen. XLIX, 33), which bed is mysteriously called “the bed of Solomon” (S.S. III, 7), the bed of the “strange woman” whose “feet go down to death” (Prov. v, 5). But of all the Fathers the Holy One chose Jacob to be the centre of perfection and fulfilment, as it is written: “Jacob whom I have chosen” (Isa. XLI, 8). Mark also this! All the supernal hosts with their cohorts and lightful chariots of celestial speed are joined one to another, grade to grade, the lower to the higher, each to its counterpart; and above them all a holy “Living being” (Hayah) (cf. Ezek. I) is set, and all those myriads of armies move and rest according to its will and direction. This is that Living Creature to which all Hayoth are linked, as each is also to each, all moving and swimming in the sea, concerning which it is written: “This is the great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts” (Ps. CIV, 25).

Note in the above portion about Jacob, the references to "the bed of Solomon" into which Jacob gathered up his feet. This is a references to the Shekinah and will be discussed later in this Revelation study.

Putting everything together up to this point, what we now have from the Zohar is a link between Jacob's ladder, Jacob himself (who was a "picture" of Messiah), and the Ophanim (wheel). We also know that the Zohar says the wheel is Metatron. As Yeshua says that He is that ladder (John 1:51), we can now make an association between Yeshua, Ezekiel's wheel and Jacob's ladder. All three represent a connection between the earthly realm and the higher heavens approaching God.


The Zorah depicts a group of twelve angels, made up of four archangels, that are themselves associated with the four holy beasts of Ezekiel. Each of these four angels has two angels subordinate to him. There is further, a direct connection between these twelve angels and the twelve tribes of Israel. In turn, there are tens of thousands of angels below these twelve, watching over the affairs of God and His people in this realm.

NOTE: The following are the most pertinent excerpts taken from a very lengthy section:

Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 154a - MAKE UNTO THEE TWO TRUMPETS OF SILVER, ETC. R. Simeon adduced here the verse: “And when the Hayoth (living creatures) went, the wheels went hard by them; and when the.Hayoth were lifted up from the bottom the wheels were lifted up” (Ezek. I, 19). ‘The Hayoth’, he said, ‘are borne along by the supernal power; and so were the movements of the tribes below who bore on their standards the likenesses of the Hayoth, that of Lion, Eagle, Ox, Man. Angels attended each of the standards. ... The first standard bore the likeness of Lion and was attended by Michael, who had under him two chieftains, Zophiel and Zadkiel ...

Each of the Hayoth had four wings formed of white flaming fire, as well as four faces turned towards the four cardinal points, all illumined by the white light of the sun; the one turned to the east was illumined with a joyous light, the one towards the west with a concentrated light, the one towards the north was within the penumbra of the sun. These contained three groups. [Tr. note: Corresponding to the three tribes under each standard.] ...

There were, besides, a long succession of lower grades. These were innumerable. The second group contained fifty-four thousand and four hundred besides those of the lower grades, who were innumerable. The third group, which followed behind, contained fifty-seven thousand and four hundred. So soon as the first standard began to march the tabernacle was taken down, and all the Levites chanted hymns, and the lords of praise were all ranged there “for the spirit of the Hayoth was in the Ophanim (Wheels)”. ...

The second standard bore on it the Eagle, symbolic of the angel Uriel, and was ranged on the south. Two chieftains accompanied him, namely, Shamshiel and Hasdiel. ... All the firmaments indeed moved forward along with these hosts in front of the tabernacle. We thus read: “And when the Hayoth went, the Ophanim went hard by them”. ...

Then follows the third standard to the north. It had for its ensign Ox and was accompanied by the angel Gabriel and his two chieftains, Kafziel and Hizkiel ...

Seven fiery rivers flow in front of him, and when thirsty he draws up a whole riverful at one gulp. Yet this river is straightway filled again as before, unfailingly. And were it not for a stream of water from the region of the lion quenching the fiery coals, the world could not endure. ...

On the fourth side the fourth standard, on the west, had for its symbol Man, the angel Raphael, [Tr. note: Whose chief function, as his name (RaFA=to cure) denotes, was the healing of men.] with whom there is healing.1

The Zohar links the twelve groups (of thousands of angels) with the reunification of the twelve tribes and the Shekinah, with Her spouse:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 197b - These are the twelve supernal legions, which are all comprised under the four sacred Hayoth mentioned before. All these ascend towards the Divine Throne, so as to take her up on high that she may join her Spouse, and that He should be with Her in surpassing glory. The Most High King then seats Himself on the Divine Throne in perfect unison with His Spouse, and joy is thus diffused through the universe.


As shown earlier in this study, there were twenty-four groups in the encampment surrounding the Tabernacle. As the Tabernacle and Temple on earth are a reflection of what is in the heavenlies, this would imply some type of heavenly arrangement totaling twenty-four entities. This is shown as follows:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 241b - R. Simeon discoursed in this connection on the verse: “When those went these went, and when those stood these stood” (Ezek. 1, 21). ‘That means’, he said, ‘that when the Hayoth (living creatures) went the Ofanim (Wheels) also went, as we read, “and when the Hayoth went the Ofanim went hard by them” (Ibid. 19). For the movements of the Ofanim are only induced by the movements of the Hayoth, nor can they pause independently of the Hayoth, for the two move together as one. Now the celestial gate of the east is provided with twenty-four openings guarded by twenty-four sentinels who are surrounded by a flaming fire. There are at the entrance of the gate twenty-four sockets supporting twenty- four pillars. These pillars remain in their place and do not soar into space; they are thus designated “standing ones”, in the verse: “I will give thee a place to walk among these standing ones” (Zech. III, 7). And as long as those pillars remain immobile those that are above them go to and fro through the world, survey things, and whatever they overhear they carry up on high.

The Zohar states that the first Tabernacle had to built before Solomon's Temple as the two served different and sequential purposes in linking the heavenly grades together. Moses' Tabernacle "connected" the Shekinah with the next heavenly realm. Solomon's Temple then made the "connection" between the Shekinah and the higher heaven, the realm of the "bridegroom.":

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 145a - Moses, by building the Tabernacle, brought about the union of the Matrona with the world here below, Solomon brought about the perfect union of the Matrona with the Bridegroom above.

Solomon's Temple is also connected to the River of Eden that appears at the end of the book of Revelation. (Which we will discuss later in this study.) The following verses also show that just as there is a Temple above and below, the same applies to the throne:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 242a - The Throne immediately underneath the God of Israel is in the form of Jacob, and the Throne below in that of David; this is the one that turns to the four corners of the world. It follows that the spirit of the highest diffuses through the lower, and directs and guides the whole. There was similar direction in the lower world. Just as in connection with the upper world we read that “the spirit of the Hayah is in the Ofanim”, so of the lower world it is written, “And Moses reared up the tabernacle”, he being the guiding spirit below; wherefore it is written: “And he reared up, fixed, put.” ‘Observe that Moses set up the Tabernacle in the recondite spirit of his own high grade; but the Temple that Solomon built was the recondite expression of the River that went forth from Eden, signifying homely peace and rest. The Tabernacle expressed love and affection, but not restfulness, whereas the Temple of Solomon meant rest, as it says, “he shall be a man of rest” (I Chron. XXII, 9). Each one builded according to his own grade. ‘Moses first firmly established in the side of holiness the central Point which was hid in darkness and buried, and afterwards all the rest, which is but the enlargement of this Point. And if this Point had not been established first, all that spread from it could not have been established. This is referred to in the words, “he reared up the tabernacle”.

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 232a - It has already been explained that the verse, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”, means that the lower world was created after the pattern of the upper. Now, the Tabernacle below was likewise made after the pattern of the supernal Tabernacle in all its details. For the Tabernacle in all its works embraced all the works and achievements of the upper world and the lower, whereby the Shekinah was made to abide in the world, both in the higher spheres and the lower. Similarly, the Lower Paradise is made after the pattern of the Upper Paradise, and the latter contains all the varieties of forms and images to be found in the former. ... For whoever then looked at the Tabernacle saw in it an epitome of the upper world and the lower; for all the works of the universe were contained in the equipment of the Tabernacle. Thus whoever gazed with attention at the clasps of the Tabernacle saw in their gleam the radiance of the stars, inasmuch as they were disposed in the same way as the stars in heaven.’

1. The Midrash Rabbah, gives a slightly different alignment of the angels.

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