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Studying the Mysteries of God: Introduction
(Last updated 08/30/00)

This is the beginning of our fifth background section for our Revelation study. Thus far, the teachings have gone from the more basic and literal (i.e., the study of the tribes in Section I) through deeper areas (the Temple, Priesthood and Feast Days in Sections II and III) to the previous section IV, concerning Spiritual Dimensions, which looked at some of the more mystical concepts involving the realm beyond our physical world.

Section V involves the deepest area of Hebrew Bible study, which is concerned with the very "nature of God." Jewish tradition says that these teachings (which have been virtually unavailable to the non-Jewish world since the time of Yeshua and Paul), would be disclosed as we approached the Messianic era. At that time, it would not only be permissible, but also obligatory to study these "sod-level" teachings of God's Word. 1


Any study of God (or other subjects in the Bible) can be approached in one of several ways. Historically, Judaism can be seen to fall into such methodologies regarding the study of Torah. As with most related groups of systems there is overlap in both theory and practice, so it should not be thought that these are exclusive to any degree. The "deepest" of these, the mystical area commonly known as Kabbalah, is where much of the text of Scripture is said to have a (hidden) means of actually connecting us spiritually with God.


The remainder of this background study is concerned with the mystical aspects of Torah study, commonly known as Kabbalah. (Also called Torat haSod - the mystical study of Torah.) Unfortunately, many people have a negative image of Kabbalah, usually having heard from someone that it is dark or evil. When speaking of Torah-based Kabbalah, nothing could be further from the truth. It is a fact that through history, people (often gentiles) have introduced occultic elements into Jewish mystical studies. It is also true that many people today (especially in "Hollywood" in the United States) say they are "into Kabbalah" (often spelled with a "C" or a "Q") which is also usually tied to something pagan/occult.

None of these things however, has anything to do with Torah-based Kabbalah, which is the study the mystical parts of the Bible in order to learn more about the God of the Bible -- something we are in fact commanded to do. It should be noted that various groups have also abused concepts such as "Bible Study," or "gifts of the Spirit." No one would consider a general condemnation of these things based on the actions of a few confused people, therefore it is equally incorrect and irresponsible to condemn Kabbalah on similar grounds.

Nonetheless, as this is the most mystical area of Bible study, caution must be exercised in terms of the student being spiritually prepared. This is true with any area of study. (i.e., No one takes advanced Calculus before learning the basics of mathematics) Therefore it is imperative that anyone embarking on a serious course of study in Kabbalah must be well versed in Torah, in both understanding as well as observance.

Learning to "drink milk" (Torah study and observance)
someone tries to "eat meat" (deeper level studies of Torah)

Even those who are Torah observant (also called "Torah submissive") should proceed slowly and diligently when entering the study of the mysteries of God and His creation. God will allow you to be tested. Anyone who is not following Torah in faith, should NOT be dealing with mystical studies. Such people are almost certain to go off the right path. (Our Matthew study is a good place to start to learn about Torah!)

NOTE: The thoughts and beliefs expressed in the remainder of this study are not meant to be "dogmatic." This material concerns the very nature of God and mysteries of creation, and is therefore complex. There are many areas that can legitimately have more than one interpretation and meaning. This study represents our present understanding of these issues. Although Kabbalah has been an area of study for centuries, it is only in this present generation that an approach grounded in both Torah and Messiah Yeshua, has been applied.


When examining how we are to relate to God, we are faced with a number of difficulties. The first of these involves who "God" is. Earlier in this study we brought up the term Eyn Sof -- meaning eternal, infinite and boundless. (Eyn meaning "without," and Sof meaning "end," "border" or "definition").

God, who brought all of creation into existence, has no physical form and cannot be assigned any specific attributes. Nor, as we have previously discussed, is He limited by time or space. Upon assigning any type of dimensional attribute to God, you have "defined Him," and placed Him within the finite realm of existence, making Him no longer eternal, infinite and boundless.

This concept of God, creates a problem for us. How can finite beings comprehend an infinite being if we cannot define this being? Seeing this is not possible, there is a definite "gap" between man and this "impersonal" God in terms of having any kind of personal relationship.

The fact is however, that the Bible in many places does assign "human-like" attributes to God.

Consider the following:

  • Moses saw God "face to face" (Exodus 33:11) and saw the "back" of God (Exodus 33:23)
  • The leaders of Israel "saw God" (Exodus 24:9-12)
  • The people of Israel "saw the voices" of God (Exodus 20:15)
  • God appears as a cloud or pillar of smoke to the children of Israel
  • God is said to have hands, feet, and wings (Daniel 5, Exodus 24:10, Psalm 57:2, Ruth 2:12)
  • God enjoys the smell of the sacrifices (Leviticus, chapters 1,2,3,4,8,23 - Numbers, chapters 15,28,29)
  • In the creation account, God's image is said to be both male and female - why do we refer to God as "He" or "the Father" - in the male gender?
  • Why are the Holy Spirit, the Shekinah, the Kingdom and the voice from heaven (the Bat Kol - Luke 3:22) all feminine terms in Hebrew Bible study?
  • What does Paul mean by "Jerusalem above is free and is Mother to all" (Galatians 4:26)?
  • If God is infinite and not operating within the realm of space and time, how can we pray to Him, and "cause Him to act," within the space and time we live in?

There is more to ponder. Scripture tells is we are made in God's image:

Genesis 1:26-27 - And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

However, if we are "already" created in the image of God, then why are we told that we will be conformed to His image?:

1 Corinthians 15:49 - And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

2 Corinthians 3:18 - But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Furthermore, we are also told we will be conformed to the image of Yeshua ...

Romans 8:29 - For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son ...

... Whom Scripture says is the image of the invisible Eyn Sof:

Colossians 1:15 - Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Yeshua tells us that we are "to be perfect, as our Father in heaven is." However, if God as Eyn Sof is undefinable, then how can we know how to be perfect like Him? What is this "image of God" that we are to be conformed to?

The dilemma is that although we are aware of God's existence, we cannot begin to fathom the nature of the unknowable, infinite, Eyn Sof.

Did God give us any way to sort all this out?

We begin our quest for answers with the Eyn Sof, which in the Zohar is also known as the Uncaused Cause, or the Cause of Causes, as there is nothing above or beyond this.

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 22b - Who is it that says, “See now that I, I am he”? This is the Cause which is above all those on high, that which is called the Cause of causes. It is above those other causes, since none of those causes does anything till it obtains permission from that which is above it, as we pointed out above in respect to the expression, “Let us make man”. “Us” certainly refers to two, of which one said to the other above it, “let us make”, nor did it do anything save with the permission and direction of the one above it, while the one above did nothing without consulting its colleague. But that which is called “the Cause above all causes”, which has no superior or even equal, as it is written, “To whom shall ye liken me, that I should be equal?” (Is. XL, 25)

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Raya Mehemna, Page 42b - It is thus that the Cause of causes has brought forth the ten Sephiroth, and called the Crown the “Source”, an inexhaustible fount of light, wherefore He designates Himself “En-sof”, Limitless. He has neither shape nor form, and there is no vessel that could contain Him, no means to comprehend Him.


What is revealed concerning God, is what we can read about or experience when there is some type of interaction between the Eyn Sof and His creation. This "bridge" between the unknowable, infinite God, and man, makes known to us various aspects of God's being. These "emanations" of God, are known as the Sephirot (singular: Sephirah). The Eyn Sof caused the Sephirot to come into existence in creation.

These are divine emanations by which God reveals Himself to man, and by which that He conducts the worlds. 2

For example: In Scripture, at times we can clearly see the wrath of God in action. Does this mean He is no longer a merciful God? (A lot of people "see this" when they compare the God of the "Old Testament" to the God of the "New Testament.") Of course God is the same throughout Scripture. What we are "seeing" in this case is God's characteristic (Sephirot) of judgment coming to the forefront. God does not change. Our perception of Him does based on what we can "see."

The term Sephirot has no English equivalent. The word meaning can be traced to several Hebrew roots meaning; cipher, numeral, "to tell," or sapphire. The Sephirot are what "bridge the gap" between the Eyn Sof and the finite creation.

The Sephirot can be regarded in one of two ways, which are considered complimentary, not contradictory:

  • Characteristics of God as He relates to His creation
  • Instruments of God's activity as we can understand

By studying the Sephirot we can understand several things including:

  • How there can be a relationship between the infinite God and the finite world?
  • How God can be an unchanging, yet appear in different ways with varying characteristics?
  • How God who is One, can be referred to in the plural?
  • How God can be given (human) characteristics in Scripture?

A key to better understanding, is to fathom that the Eyn Sof is the beginning (existing prior to creation in Genesis) and the end (following the new heavens and earth of Revelation). As such, the "God of the Bible" that we read and learn about in the pages of the Bible, refers primarily to the knowable Sephirot (also referred to as the plural Elohim), and not the Eyn Sof . When the Bible talks about God's mercy, or His judgment, those qualities are not themselves the Eyn Sof, but rather two aspects of God contained within the Sephirot. When Scripture speaks of God having hands, wings, a face or a back, these are symbols of the Sephirot.

Whereas the Eyn Sof is infinite, unknowable and never changes, the Sephirot (within creation) are identifiable and often operate distinctly, thus giving an appearance of "change," to God, though He never does. However, because the Sephirot emanate from Eyn Sof, they are also "Divine."

For clarity of understanding, it could be said that the Sephirot is to the Eyn Sof,  what man's body is to his soul. Our bodies are vessels that contain our souls, and are used by us to perform deeds that reflect our souls. Our bodies will fade away. Our souls go on for eternity. Thus, the being known as "God," consists of both the infinite and the finite, as well as the personal and impersonal aspects of God.

By understanding the Sephirot, we retain the idea of an "unknowable" God who is eternal, infinite and boundless, yet who is also the personal God that; "spoke" at Mount Sinai, "followed" the children of Israel in the wilderness in the form of a rock/well, "appeared" as the Shekinah, and whose "attributes" were/are most perfectly found in Yeshua.

NOTE: Although we will devote several lessons to the Sephirot, it is beyond the scope of this study to provide a comprehensive teaching of this subject. There are many resources in bookstores and on the Internet (including the YashaNet Reading List), that can help in attaining a fuller understanding. As this is a very deep and sensitive area of study, please feel free to write to YashaNet, for more information, and we will be happy to make appropriate recommendations.

1. Zohar, Selections translated and annotated by Moshe Miller, Moshe L. Miller, Fiftieth Gate Publications and Seminars, Morristown NJ, 2000, Foreward to the book.

2. ibid, p.39.