FW: Reb Chaim on Metatron and Jewish Angelology

Metatron

[Although I have typed the actual name of the angel Metatron as it is spelled, some halachik authorities feel that it should not be pronounced as is written and is therefore pronounced either “Mem-Tes” (the first two letters of the angel’s name) or “Metat” (the beginning half of the name, without the second half).[1]]

In the Angelology of Judaism, a certain angel named Metatron (sometimes spelled “Mitatron”) plays a prominent role. Metatron is charged with acting as G-d’s agent[2] in daily upkeep of Earth in Olam HaZeh (“This World,” in comparison to Olam Habah, “The World To Come”). The Talmud[3] writes that before the destruction of the Holy Temple, Metatron was charged with the Torah education of all Jewish children[4]. Nachmanides writes[5] that Metatron was the angel who redeemed the Jews from their servitude in Egypt. Metatron was the being who showed Moses the Land of Israel[6], who was sent by Balak to greet Balaam[7], and in front of whom Cyrus[8], Devorah, and Barak[9] appeared. According to the Midrash[10], Metatron was the one who punished the Egyptians and liberated the enslaved Jews. Rabbi Akiva—who met Metatron— summed up[11] the angel’s role as being the “Officer of Torah.” This angel’s role is so important that some have mistakenly confused the angel for HaShem Himself. However, such a classification is heresy, and one who follows such ideas is an apostate. Metatron is subservient to G-d Himself and HaShem has shown His control and power over this angel. Historically, a few men have actually made such a mistake. Some explain that the actual identity of Metatron is that of Chanoch (Enoch) son of Yered[12].

Enoch was a seventh-generation antediluvian human, a direct male descendant of Adam. Although generally he was pious, he is seen as a somewhat dynamic character who dabbled on both the good and evil sides. As a means of stopping Enoch from totally falling to the evil side, G-d took back his soul and thereby caused his death at a relatively early age (of 365, as opposed to those in the generations before and after him who lived between seven and nine centuries). In the end of his life, the Torah states[13], “And Enoch walked with HaShem, and he was no more because G-d had taken him.” After his physical passing, Enoch was transformed into the angel Metatron[14] and was G-d’s emissary to the physical world. Rabbi Yaakov Ben Asher Ba’al HaTurim (1270-1340) writes[15] that Enoch was specifically chosen by G-d because G-d always desires “sevenths” and Enoch was a seventh generation human. Rabbenu Bachaya ben Asher (d. 1340, the same year as the Ba’al HaTurim) explains[16] that sevens (e.g. seventh day of the week, seventh year of the Sabbatical cycle, seventh month of the Jewish calendar, the seven books of the Torah[17], etc…) always has a special intrinsic holiness. This is why Enoch was taken alive as an angel to serve HaShem in His domain. He points out that the first half of the name Chanoch (Ches-Nun) equals the first half of the name Metatron (Mem-Tes-Tes, spelled without a Yud as the second letter as it is in most sources) in numerical value (58).

Many Kabbalistic works refer to the angel Metatron by another name, “Na’ar” meaning “Youth.” The Talmud writes[18] that the “Officer of the World” said the verse, “I was a Youth, and also have aged, yet I have not seen a righteous man stranded, [or] his offspring request bread.”[19] Based on this, Rabbeinu Tam[20] raised a difficulty: if Chanoch/Metatron is Youth, and the Talmud says[21] that the “Officer of the World” recited a verse describing HaShem’s honor through all his creations[22] at the time of creation, while Enoch only existed seven generations after the world’s Creation, then how could Metatron also be the “Officer of the World”? Rabbeinu Tam answered[23] that Metatron is not necessarily the “Officer of the World”, and is not called Youth because he said that he was a youth and has aged, rather he is called Youth because “Na’ar” is his proper name; “Na’ar” is seen as the name of an angel in Zechariah 2:7. The Midrash says[24] that when Bithiah ascended to the river to bathe and beheld a “lad crying” this “lad”, Na’ar, refers to the angel who accompanied the baby Moses on the Nile River. One can reason that this angel who is referred to as a “lad” is indeed Metatron. Interestingly, Josephus writes that Metatron has seventy names; while other sources claim the number is at least ninety-two. According to those opinions that Metatron is the “Officer of the World”, says Rabbeinu Tam, Metatron is surely not the seventh-generation humanoid, Enoch. The Rashbam[25] says that the Tanna who authored Seder Olam, Rabbi Yosef ben Chalafta, was of the opinion that Enoch was not Metatron, although the Ramban, Ran, Rashba, and Ritva all argue[26] on this assertion.

The meaning of the word “Metatron” is unclear, although various sources explain the name differently. Modern dictionaries define the Latin prefix “meta-” as “beyond” and the Latin suffix “-tron” as “instrument”; this implies that the translation of Metatron should be “Exceptional Tool” or something similar. Rabbi Nosson Ben Yechiel of Rome (1035-1106) wrote[27] that the definition of Metator is a watchman. Rabbi Chanoch Zundel ben Yosef (d. 1867) expanded[28] this definition by explaining that a Metatar, in the Roman language, was a scout who was appointed to travel ahead of legions of armies in order to find places of rest for the proceeding soldiers. Nachmanides writes[29] that the word “Metatar” means messenger or agent in the Greek language. Rabbenu Bachaya[30] writes that the term is related to the word “Matron” or “Mother” who is a mistress of her husband’s household, just as Metatron manages and operates the household of G-d (in whatever that that is supposed to be understood)[31].

The Talmud explains[32] when G-d seemingly spoke of Himself in third person by commanding Moses to “ascend to G-d”[33]; Metatron was really the one who commanded Moses to do so. The Talmud explains that the verse actually says G-d said so because the name of G-d is equal to the name of Metatron. Rashi[34] explains that the numerical value of Metatron (again without the Yud) equals a certain name of HaShem (Shakai=314). Originally, HaShem intended to send Metatron to accompany the Israelites into the desert during their travels[35], however, as the Tosafist Rabbenu Efraim ben Efraim HaGibor (circa. 1200) explains[36], He sent Michael, the angel of mercy instead. Some explain that Metatron is the “Redeeming Angel” mentioned in Genesis 48:16[37]. Although Metatron exerts some power over the physical world, he does not have the ability to human forgive sins as HaShem does, for he is a mere messenger of G-d. Therefore, according to the exegesis of the Talmud about Exodus 23:21, HaShem warns the Jews not to confuse Metatron with Himself. Nonetheless, one did not heed to this warning.

The Talmud tells[38] that one time Elisha Ben Avuyah entered the Garden of Eden (Paradise). There he saw G-d sitting with Metatron, who as the “Scribe of HaShem” was writing down the merits of the Jewish nation. Elisha Ben Avuyah reasoned that just as one is supposed to stand in the presence of a King, one should also stand in the presence of the Lord, and the fact that Metatron sat with G-d must show that Metatron was His equal. Although G-d struck Metatron with sticks of fire (pulsa denura) to show His sovereignty over the angel[39], Elisha Ben Avuyah already made up his mind that they are equal. Because of this false premise, Elisha Ben Avuyah turned into an apostate and began preaching heresy. The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906) writes[40] of varying opinions as to what was the forbidden theodology that Elisha Ben Avuyah accepted: He was a Karpotian Gnostic, a follower of the philosopher Philo Judeaus, a Christian, or a Sadducee. A dispute is also recorded[41] amongst sages of the Gaonic Period as to what Elisha Ben Avuyah’s forbidden teachings were. Rabbi Hai Gaon[42] wrote that Acher (Elisha Ben Avuyah’s name given in the Talmud after he became an apostate) succumbed to the Zoroastrian beliefs of the Magi. He believed in dual-deism including a good god, Hormizd[43], and a god of evil, Ahormin (Ormuzd and Ahriman). Rabbi Saadiah Gaon[44] writes the he believed in a dual-deism of a main god and a secondary, inferior god who ruled alongside each other. Whichever way the mistake of Acher is to be understood, one cannot argue that he concluded the truth based on his experiences in Heaven because Rabbi Akiva, his contemporary, also entered Paradise and did not make the same mistake and turn into a heretic[45]. In addition, Rabbi Yishmael Ben Elisha[46], the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) of the Holy Temple also met up with Metatron, in a vision in the Holy of Holies in the Temple, and he too did not turn to apostasy[47].

According to the Zohar[48] at the time that the Mishkan/Tabernacle was erected on Earth, there was a spiritual version of the Temple in the heaven. The Zohar refers to this Temple as the “Tabernacle of Metatron” where the angel Michael is the High Priest. The Zohar explains that just as Samuel and Joshua were guardians of the Tabernacle, and were referred to in the Scriptures as “Youth”[49], so too Metatron who is Youth was the watchman of the Temple above. The Zohar cites a story in which Rabbi Shimon praised Rabbi Chiyah and Rabbi Yose for having stayed in the Holy Temple for two days straight and having been taught there the celestial secrets of the Torah from the mouth of Metatron (who is also called the “Officer of Torah”). The Midrash also says[50] that Metatron erected a Tabernacle for G-d concurrently with the Israelites in the desert; furthermore, the Midrash also says that Metatron offers upon its altar sacrifices to atone for the Jews’ sins while they are in exile.[51]

On one occasion, the Jews heard that ten of their most important Rabbis were destined to be martyred, so Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha, the High Priest, ascended to the heavens to ask Metatron about this ruling[52]. When the earthly Kohen Gadol, Rabbi Yishmael Ben Elisha, met with Metatron, he was asked to bless G-d. He said the following prayer directed to HaShem, “May it be Your will in front of You that Your mercy should conquer Your anger and that Your mercy should be revealed amongst Your attributes, and that You shall act with Your children using the attribute of mercy, and You should treat them to a greater extent than their judgment.”[53] The Talmud also teaches[54] that G-d daily says his own form of this prayer. He says, “May it be My will in front of Me that My mercy should conquer My anger and that My mercy should be revealed amongst My attributes, and that I shall act with My children using the attribute of mercy, and I should treat them to a greater extent than their judgment.” When the Heavenly Court ruled that Jews deserved for the Holy Temple to be destroyed, G-d called in all of His creations for a trial trying each for not attempting to ask for mercy for the Jewish nation. The first of the ministering angels to be tried was Metatron. HaShem asked him, “Why have you seen My Presence has been removed, My house has been destroyed, and My children have been exiled, and you have not begged mercy for them?”[55] Indeed, just as the Jewish Nation continues daily to lament the destruction of the Holy Temple, HaShem himself cries (sighing like a dove, yet roaring like a lion), “Woe unto the sons who because of their sins I destroyed My house, and burned My halls, and exiled them between the nations.” The Midrash tells[56] that after the destruction of the Holy Temple, Metatron found G-d crying alone. He told G-d to stop crying and rather allow him to cry. However, HaShem said that He should be allowed to cry, and thus went to a place so high in heaven (that Metatron could not enter) and cried over the destruction of the Holy Temple by Himself without any interference. Both HaShem and His nation wait for the day when the Messiah will arrive and lead the building of the Third Holy Temple, speedily and in our days: Amen.

Source: http://rchaimqoton.blogspot.no/2006/07/metatron.html

Footnotes:

[1] Ta’amei HaMitzvos, by Rabbi Chaim Vital in the name of the Arizal, to Parshas Shemos. See also responsa Torah Lishma, §426 and §491, written pseudonymously under the nom de plume ”Yechezkel Kachali” by the Ben Ish Chai, who writes that perhaps it is permissible to pronounce the name of this angel because Rashi (to Genesis Rabbah, §5) writes that “Metatron” could also mean “leader” and is not only the name of an archangel but is also a common word, as well. However, the Ben Ish Chai concludes based on the above passage in the name of the Arizal that one should rule stringently in this matter and should refrain from fully pronouncing the name of the malach Metatron.
[2] Early Christians liked to call him “Little JHVH” (sic), but such a statement is idolatrous and is surely heretical. (Corr. – Ed.)
[3] Avodah Zarah 3b
[4] Perhaps he is the famed angel who, according to Niddah 30b, teaches babies all the Torah and wisdom possible and pinches them on their lips to create a Philtrum and make them forget all their learning right before they are born.
[5] Commentary to Exodus 12:12
[6] Sifri Haazinu
[7] Numbers 22:36 This is quoted by the Sefer HaAruch in the name of the no longer extant Midrash Yelamdenu
[8] Isaiah 45:2
[9] Judges 4:14
[10] Exodus 12:12
[11] See Midrash Osiyos d’Rabbi Akiva. Especially letter Tzaddik.
[12] Tosafos to Chullin 60a and Yevamos 16b discuss whether Chanoch/Metatron is indeed the “Officer of the World” who is referred to in Kabbalah as “Youth” in light of a liturgical poem for Simchas Torah which refers to Metatron as the awesome and honorable who is the “Serving Officer” of the world.
[13] Genesis 5:24
[14] Although the popular source for this story is the Book of Enoch, which was canonized into the Christian Bible, that book is not a legitimate source of Jewish theology. Rather, the proper source for the anglification of Enoch is Rabbi Yonason Ben Uziel who explicitly wrote this about Enoch in his Aramaic translation of Genesis 5:24 (Targum Yonason).
[15] Ba’al HaTurim to Genesis 5:24
[16] Rabbenu Bechaya to Genesis 5:24
[17] Counted as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers until Numbers 10:35, Numbers 10:35-36, Numbers after Numbers 10:36, and Deuteronomy
[18] Yevamos 16b
[19] Psalms 37:25
[20] Tosafos to Yevamos 16b
[21] Chullin 60a
[22] Psalms 104:32
[23] Tosafos to Yevamos 16b and Chullin 60a
[24] Yalkut Shimoni, Torah, §166
[25] To Bava Basra 121b
[26] Ad loc.
[27] Sefer HaAruch s.v. Metatar
[28] Eitz Yosef to Ein Yaakov, Chagigah 15a
[29] Ramban to Exodus 12:12
[30] Commentary to Exodus 24:1
[31] See ibid. at length for a Kabbalistic understanding of the name Metatron
[32] Sanhedrin 37b
[33] Exodus 24:1
[34] To Exodus 23:21, quoting Tikkunei Zohar 66b
[35] Instead of Himself as a punishment for the Golden Calf
[36] Rabbenu Efraim to Exodus 24:1 in standard editions, however in the version printed based on the Oxford manuscript from the British Museum (Orthodox Publication Co., 1992), Rabbenu Efraim merely references the reader to Sanhedrin 37b without adding to the Talmudic passage.
[37] Sifsei Cohen to Exodus 24:1, written by Rabbi Mordechai HaCohen of Tzfas
[38] Chagigah 15a
[39] See Maharsha, (Glosses of Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Eidels, 1555–1631), ad loc. Others wrongly conclude that G-d was punishing the angel. However, this is obviously wrong because by definition, an angel does the will of G-d, so why would G-d punish something that has no free choice and was acting according to His wishes anyways?
[40] s.v. “Elisha Ben Abuyah”
[41] Chagigah 15a, Schottenstein ed. Ft. 23
[42] Quoted in HaKoseiv to Ein Yaakov, Chagigah 15a
[43] Mentioned in Sanhedrin 39a, and in Gittin 11a as a uniquely gentile name
[44] Commentary to Daniel 7:13
[45] Maharsha to Chagigah 16a
[46] Author of the Kabbalistic work Pirekei/Midrash/Hilchos Heichalos which reflects some elements of the Book of Enoch and is quoted in the entry on Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha in Seder HaDoros
[47] See the understanding of Brachos 7a of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Chayos (1805-1855) printed in his glosses to Brachos 51a who quotes in the name of Rashi’s Sefer HaPardes (Pardes = Paradise) and Seder HaDoros that Rabbi Yishmael Ben Elisha met with Metatron while offering the incense sacrifice in the Temple.
[48] To Parshas Shemos
[49] Joshua in Exodus 38:11, Samuel in Samuel 1 2:18
[50] Numbers Rabbah to Numbers 12:12
[51] This again reaffirms the assertion of the Talmud, Sanhedrin 37b, that Metatron himself does not have the power to atone for sins, only HaShem Himself can forgive sins, not His angels/messengers.
[52] See Midrash Elah Ezkerah and “The Ten Martyrs” by Alter Wilner, Mossad HaRav Kook (Jerusalem, 2005) and Otzar Midrashim by Rabbi Yehuda David Eisenstein
[53] Brachos 7a
[54] Ibid.
[55] Tanna Devei Eliyahu, Zuta, 20:4
[56] Yalkut Shimoni to the beginning of Lamentations

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THE MILLENNIAL TEMPLE (with pictures) (FROM “SONS TO GLORY”)

Chapter 7

The Millennial Temple

“Describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them.” (Ezekiel 43:10-11)

In 1996, I began an in-depth study of Ezekiel chapters 40-48 which culminated in building a scale model of the temple shown to Ezekiel. My model, pictured above, is scaled to 1/16th inch per cubit. A cubit is somewhere between 18 inches and 24 inches. To date, this temple has not yet been built, and it is often referred to as the coming “Third Temple.” Solomon’s temple was the first, while Ezra and Nehemiah’s temple was the second (King Herod added onto this second temple).

Introduction

This model of the Millennial Temple is an ongoing study concerning the vision that was shown in tremendous detail to Ezekiel over 2,500 years ago. To date, this temple has not yet been constructed, but Scripture indicates that our generation will see it built in the land of Israel. The most exciting thing about this temple is that the glory of the Lord will be there, which is why the city is called Yahweh Shamah (The Lord is There). The knowledge of His glory in this temple will cover the earth like the waters cover the sea, and He shall reign over all the earth headquartered in this temple!

Since this is strictly a study of Ezekiel’s vision of the temple (chs. 40-48), I will try to avoid speculation about what this temple may be like and only address the things that were shown specifically to Ezekiel. For example: there may be furniture in this temple similar to what was in the other temples (such as the Menorah, Table of Showbread, Ark of the Covenant, etc.). However, since these details were not shown to Ezekiel we will not address it in this study. It is a good thing to search God’s Word and Spirit for answers, but the bottom line concerning many questions about issues during the millennium is that “the Messiah will teach us His ways” and we need to wait on His timing as both Micah 4:1-3 and Isaiah 2:2-4 declare:

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Before beginning this study it is necessary to address a common teaching regarding a temple being built in Israel. Many Christian’s teach and believe that the next temple to be built in Jerusalem Israel will be one in which “the man of sin” or “the Antichrist” will enter into and defile by declaring himself to be God. These beliefs are supported mainly from one verse in Second Thessalonians 2:4, which states that the man of sin “sits as God in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.”

There are two different Greek words that are translated as “temple” in English. One word “hieron” is used by Paul when referring to an actual building made with wood and stones. The other word “naos” is used when referring to the spiritual temple of God which refers to His people. The word “naos” is the one used in this 2 Thessalonians 2:4 verse, and therefore is NOT talking about a physical temple.

Doug Fortune, in his article “Antichrist Revealed” writes:

Beginning with the Book of Acts, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, through the Book of Revelation, the word naos is used ONLY referring to people as the temple not made with hands. When referring to the physical temple building the word hieron is used. Of course, throughout the Book of Revelation, the word naos is used, as that Book is the REVEALING of Jesus Christ, and He is revealed in the MIDST of the Lampstand, the CHURCH (Revelation 1:20). Why then is there so much confusion when 2 Thessalonians 2:4 speaks of the man of sin seated in the NAOS of God, “…which temple (naos) YE ARE…”(1Corinthians 3:17). Why are we looking for a man seated in a building yet to be built in the Middle-East, when we should be looking in the mirror? As the man of sin, the Adam nature is revealed and “the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming.” or “the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8) as some translations read.5

The New Covenant addresses first spiritual matters and secondarily natural matters (Likewise the Old Testament speaks first to natural things and second to spiritual things). Therefore, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 is NOT referring to an actual physical temple. Even if there is another “temple building” built in Jerusalem before Ezekiel’s temple, it has nothing to do with the construction of Ezekiel’s temple discussed in this study, because the Messiah Yahoshua (Jesus) will be responsible for building the Millennial Temple. Zechariah 6:12 and 13 is clear that the Messiah (and not unredeemed Jews) will build the Lord’s temple:

“Behold, the Man whose name is the Branch (a term for the Messiah)! From His place He shall branch out, And HE SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE, Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and sit and rule on His throne; So he shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both (both natural and spiritual governments – or kings and priests).The apostle Paul speaks of mankind as God’s temple often. A few examples include 1 Cor. 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:19, and Eph. 2:21. Now that we have established that Second Thessalonians 2:4 is referring to the “temple of mankind,” rather than an actual physical temple in Jerusalem, we can interpret the rest of this verse: The temple of mankind, (or the arm of the flesh/self) rises up and declares itself as God, instead of submitting to the will of God. Relying upon our own strength and understanding to accomplish God’s purposes is one of the meanings of “the abomination of desolation” spoken of by Jesus and Daniel. Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, is one foreshadow of the “abomination of desolation” and “the man of sin” at the end of the age. First John 3:18,19 describes how Judas is a perfect example of the “man of sin” or “son of perdition”:

“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. THEY WENT OUT FROM US (like Judas did), but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out that they may be MADE MANIFEST, that none of them were of us.” (See also John 17:12 & Acts 1:16-20)The antichrist comes out from among us (the temple of God) just like Judas came out from among the disciples of Jesus, yet he was not manifested (made known) until the end of Jesus’ ministry. Likewise, “the man of sin” who has been among us for the past 2,000 years just like Judas, will be made known (manifested) now at the end of this age in a more obvious manner. This Judas spirit, which is the selfishness in all of us, is being dealt with by God.

Without the mercy and grace of God, we are all capable of being like Judas. Only by God’s mercy can our eyes be opened so we can see that acting in our own strength will only lead us to betray the Lord no matter how much knowledge we have about Him. Judas had tremendous knowledge ABOUT Jesus, and that He was the Messiah, but he never developed an intimate passionate love relationship with Him or cried out for His mercy and grace. If he had, the Lord would have forgiven him, just like he forgave Peter who also betrayed him. Instead, Judas tried to force the hand of Jesus to be king when it was not yet His time to be king. Judas Iscariot wanted the kingdom to come and wanted to rule and reign with Jesus, but he didn’t understand that the Cross (death to our own strength) is the only way to obtain true life in the kingdom of God (Matt. 16:25). Any time we refuse the Cross (death to selfishness) we will always end up betraying the Lord too.

Ezekiel 43:7 and 44:9 are very clear that “no foreigner uncircumcised in heart or in flesh shall enter My sanctuary.” Therefore the antichrist will never be entering this temple. With the understanding that this Millennial Temple will not be “defiled by the Antichrist,” let’s now take an honest look at what was shown to Ezekiel. As this study will show, Ezekiel was given a very detailed description of what Messiah’s temple will look like and the functions within it.

This study will be broken down into 5 sections:

1. Jewish Temple History: A look at the previous “abiding places” of the Lord throughout mankind’s 7,000 year lease on planet earth.

2. Photo Description of Ezekiel’s Temple: Several pictures of this scale model to look at the actual physical characteristics of the Millennial Temple clearly detailed in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.

3. Temple Floorplans: A more detailed “blueprint” look at some of the many specific measurements given to Ezekiel for this future temple.

4. Millennial Temple Order of Services: The ordinances, statutes and laws specified for the Millennial Temple to function according to God’s desires. This includes: the duties of the Levites & priests, the specifics of the sacrifices & offerings, and the worship system set up according to the Feasts of the Lord. Other temple logistics that were shown to Ezekiel will also be studied, such as: the consecration of the altar, those allowed in the temple, temple economics, and the ordinances for the prince.

5. Israel’s Land Divisions: Maps of the specific area of land in the Middle East that Ezekiel declares will be allotted to the nation of Israel. This section will also detail the Holy Portion of the land where the temple and the city of Jerusalem (called “The Lord is There” – Yahweh Shamah) will be located.

Throughout this study we want to relate the significance and purposes of God for having the Millennial Temple on earth during the allotted 1,000 years (Rev. 20). The fact must be emphasized over and over again that WE God’s children are His ultimate temple, and that all other temples are for the purpose of teaching us how to be the holy pure and undefiled dwelling place of the Great God Yahweh. He deserves nothing less than our best.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

1. Jewish Temple History

History really is His story (God’s story); and Yahweh has chosen His story (history) to repeat itself. As Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:

“That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See this is new?’ It has already been in ancient times before us.”

So we can find clues to what God plans to do in the future by looking back at what He has done in the past. First Corinthians 10 and Hebrews 9 shows us that Old Testament Israel is a parable or mold for New Testament Israel. In other words, the Old Testament temples were examples, types and shadows of what we as “living temples” are to be as the completed product. Old Testament Scriptures are more than just stories of natural history, they are prophetic models pointing us to God’s eternal purposes. The final purpose being: “Christ in us the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:26)

“For you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you. The temple of God is holy, which temple you are. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:20). So we are God’s temple created by God at a precise point in time for a specific purpose and destiny, and not evolved from other animals as the false science of evolution would teach. The scientific laws of thermodynamics clearly show that matter left alone will tend towards disorder and decay rather than the incredible unity and order found in mankind and our universe.

This section will step through a pictured timeline of “temples” or “houses” or “abiding places” where the Lord has allowed His glory to manifest. These Seven abiding places of the Lord include: 1) the Garden of Eden, 2) the Tabernacle of Moses, 3) the Temple designed by David and built by Solomon, 4) the Temple built by Ezra, Nehemiah, & Herod, 5) the person of Yahoshua (Jesus) the Messiah, 6) the Millennial Temple, and 7) the Bride of Messiah.

The dates shown in this timeline are intentionally not exact dates, but rather are listed to show a general time period for each dwelling place of Yahweh in His-story. The Scriptures very clearly document a 7,000 year plan of God for mankind. This documentation can be found in: the Genesis genealogy records (Genesis 5 and 11), the Exodus records (Exodus 12:41), the accounts in Judges, and the Biblical history books. Scripture pinpoints exactly 6,000 years from Adam until now (with room for debate within about 50 years). Throughout the accounts of Noah, the Exodus, the Babylonian captivity and more, we find exact dates and numbers given in Scripture, and all for a purpose.

We are all ignorant about many of the deep truths found in the exact dates and numbers given throughout the Bible. However, 2 Peter 3:8 states very clearly that we should: “be not ignorant of this one thing, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years. This simple truth opens up the Scriptures for great understanding of the times in which we live. There are several Scriptures which point to “the third day” (2,000 years after Messiah) as the final 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ, or the “Day of the Lord” time of Rest. This study is not to prove that truth, but for further confirmation read: Heb. 4:3-4; Psalms 90:4,12; Gen. 1; Mark 9:2 and Matt 17:1-2; Hosea 5:15-6:3; Exodus 19:10-11; Luke 13:32; Mark 5:13; John 2:1-2; and Joshua 3:4.

First “Dwelling Place” of God

The first “abiding place” of God with mankind was in the paradise He created for them in the beginning.

“The LORD God walked in the garden in the cool of the day.” (Genesis 3:8)


Second “Dwelling Place” of God

The second place where God allowed His glory to manifest to man was in the Tabernacle that He specified for Moses and the children of Israel to make for Him.

“The cloud covered the tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34)


Third “Dwelling Place” of God (First Temple)

The tabernacle of David was the beginning of this third dwelling place. Although David was given the plans to build this temple, because he was a warrior and had shed much blood, it was his son Solomon (whose name means Rest/Peaceful) who actually built it.

“The cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.” (1 Kings 8:10-11)


 

Fourth “Dwelling Place” of God (Second Temple)

This temple was started by the political decrees of Cyrus and Darius, and built by Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerrubabel, and expanded later by Herod.

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given to me. And He has commanded me to build Him a temple at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? May his God be with him! Now let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel.” (Ezra 1:2-4)


Fifth “Dwelling Place” of God

The fifth “dwelling” of God in history is the one and only unique Son of God Yahoshua (Jesus) of Nazareth.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,and we beheld His glory… And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.” (John 1:1,14,32)


Sixth “Dwelling Place” of God (Third Temple)

The sixth major dwelling place of the Lord in His story will be the temple described in detail to the prophet Ezekiel which will serve God’s purpose in discipling the nations for 1,000 years during the promised reign of peace on the earth.

“And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.” (Ezekiel 43:4-5)


Seventh “Dwelling Place” of God

The Seventh and final temple is the ultimate purpose of God in creating mankind, and that is for US to be His temple. This temple is the spiritually mature Bride of Christ or the New Jerusalem, where God’s Spirit is able to FULLY dwell in man similar to the way He dwelt in our protégé Jesus.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with man, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God… But I saw no temple in it (the New Jerusalem – Bride of Christ) for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Revelation 21:3,22) “To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with ALL the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)

Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist, Says the LORD. But on this one will I look: On him who is humble and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:1-2)


2. Photo Description of Ezekiel’s Temple

This section will show eight different pictures of my scale model of Ezekiel’s temple. The model scale is 1/16th of an inch equals one cubit. Each photo is labeled with numbers which coordinate with a brief explanation of the main components of the temple listed underneath the photo. Links will be made to these pictures throughout this study so the reader can see photos of the components being discussed. The Scripture reference, from the book of Ezekiel, is listed after each temple component.

1. Outer Court – 40:17-19
2. Inner Court – 40:44,47
3. The Temple or Sanctuary – 41:1-26
4. Wall around the outside of the Temple – 40:5 (42:15-20, 45:2)
5. Fifty cubits of open space – 45:2


6. Outer Court Northern Gateway – 40:20-23
7. Outer Court Eastern Gateway – 40:6-16
8. Outer Court Southern Gateway – 40:24-27
9. Inner Court Northern Gateway – 40:35-37
10. Inner Court Eastern Gateway – 40:32-34
11. Inner Court Southern Gateway – 40:28-31


12. Building at the Western End – 41:12
13. Four Kitchens (one in each corner of the Outer Court) – 46:21-24
14. Outer Court Chambers (30 total) – 40:17
15. Northern Priests Chambers in three story Galleries – 42:1-9
16. Southern Priests Chambers in three story Galleries – 42:10-14



17. Lower Pavement of the Outer Court – 40:17-18
18. Walkway of Northern Priests Chambers – 42:4
19. Walkway of Southern Priests Chambers is the same on the opposite side of temple – 42:11
20. East side Entrance of the Northern Priests Chambers – 42:9
21. East side Entrance of the Southern Priests Chambers is the same on opposite side – 42:12
22. Chamber where they wash the Burnt Offering – 40:38
23. Priest’s Boiling and Baking Room – 46:19-20
24. Foundation of the Temple Side Chambers – 41:8


25. Eight tables in the Northern Gateway to slay the Burnt Offering – 40:39-43
26. Wall of the Inner Court – 41:10


27. Two Inner Court Chambers for the Singers (the other is on opposite side of east gate) – 40:44-46
28. Altar of Sacrifice – 43:13-17 (40:47)
29. Water flowing east from under the south side of the temple – 47:1-12


In this photograph the Sanctuary Galleries have been removed and pushed towards the back so the inside can be seen.

30. Temple Side Chambers or Galleries in three stories (30 chambers per story) – 41:5-11
(They have Cherubim & Palm Tree Carvings all around on the inside – 41:16-20)
31. Two Pillars – 40:49
32. Vestibule of the Temple – 40:48-49 (with windows, wooden canopy, and palm trees carved on the inside – 41:25-26)
33. Wall of the temple – 41:5


The Sanctuary Galleries have been removed in this Top View photograph of the Sanctuary.

34. Separating Courtyard – 41:13-15
35. Outer Wall of the Side chambers – 41:9
36. Terrace around the Galleries – 41:9-11
37. Two Temple Doors that were bi-fold with cherubim & trees carved in them – 41:23-25
38. Sanctuary or Holy Place – 41:1-2
39. Wooden Altar or Table Before the Lord – 41:22
40. Inner Sanctuary or Most Holy Place – 41:3-4


3. Temple Floor Plans

This section gives the measurements and details of the: 1) Sanctuary, 2) Gateways, 3) Altar of Sacrifice, and 4) Priest’s Chambers. The only measurements shown in these diagrams are the ones specifically given in Ezekiel 40, 41, 42, 43:13-27, and 46:19-24. Ezekiel gives all measurements for this temple in cubits. Therefore, all dimensions in these floor plans are given in cubits. One cubit equals 21 inches according to most accounts. (some history books record it at 18 inches).

1) Sanctuary (Top View)


2) Gateways (Top View)


3) Altar of Sacrifice (Top and Side Views)

4) Priests Chambers (Top View)


4. Millennial Temple Order of Service

Since there is going to be a physical temple built in the land of Israel, as the book of Ezekiel expressly shows, then there demands an order of service for what needs to be done in this temple. These ordinances, statutes and laws are specifically written out in Ezekiel chapters 43-46, and will now be shown in this section in the order written in Ezekiel:

1) Ezekiel 43:18-27 specifies the ordinances for Consecrating the Altar
2)
Ezekiel 44:1-9 specifies the laws of Admittance into the Temple
3)
Ezekiel 44:10-31 shows ordinances for Ministers of the Temple
4)
Ezekiel 45:9-14 discusses laws of Economics in the Temple
5)
Ezekiel 45:13-16 specifies the Ordinances for the Prince
6)
Ezekiel 45:17-46:15 discusses the Worship System in Keeping the Feasts
7)
Ezekiel 46:19-24 discusses the Preparation of Offerings

“Make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them. This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountain top shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.” Ezekiel 43:11-12

Are animal sacrifices in a future temple blasphemous towards the finished work of Jesus?

One truth about the 1,000 year reign of Messiah that is often hard for believers today to understand is that there will be animal sacrifices in this coming Millennial Temple. As we will see, Ezekiel is quite clear about this. If you believe that the book of Ezekiel is inspired prophecy from God, then there is no alternative but to understand that what Ezekiel saw over 2,000 years ago will come to pass in a literal sense. This is NOT blasphemous to the finished work of Jesus’ blood on the cross, but rather it is a reminder of His ultimate sacrifice for all of humanity.

Since 1998 when I first published this Millennial Temple information on the internet, I have received more questions on this one issue of animal sacrifice than anything else. Therefore, I want to take some time to establish the truth of this matter of sacrifice and atonement. The bottom line fact is that Jesus (Yahoshua) is the ONLY sacrifice that can take away our sins and give us eternal life. Hebrews 10:4 is clear that “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” The 11th verse in this same chapter declares that animal sacrifices “can never take away sins.” So, the blood of bulls and goats have NEVER taken away sins for anyone past present or future! There is a wrong concept in many people’s minds that animal sacrifices, during the Old Covenant before Jesus came, took away peoples sins – but this is not true. The saints who lived before Messiah came were saved by FAITH (Rom. 4:3) just like us today. The animal sacrifices were a “shadow of good things to come” pointing forward to the blood of Messiah Yahoshua (Jesus). It has always been about Jesus, and not animal sacrifices. Likewise, in the coming Millennial Temple the animal sacrifices will point backward to the Blood of Jesus, which is our only forgiveness for sin.

God told the Old Covenant believers to sacrifice animals to give them a point of reference in which to base their FAITH since the Messiah had not yet come. Hebrews chapters 7-10 explains how the Old Covenant sacrifices were copies and replicas of what Jesus did for us on the cross. After explaining the meaning of the blood sacrifices in chapters 7-10, Paul explains in Hebrews chapters 11-12, that it is by FAITH we please God and appropriate His promises for us, and not by the works He commands us to do. The works that we do out of obedience are merely expressions of the faith, which is in our hearts.

During the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, the animal sacrifices will be object lessons that look BACK in remembrance of what Jesus has done for us, similar to the way that the Old Testament sacrifices looked FORWARD to what He would do. These sacrifices in no way take away our sins. Only faith in the finished work of the shed blood of Jesus can take away sins. Everything done in this temple points us to Jesus, because all things can be summed up in Jesus “in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9)

Now that we have established that animal sacrifices are not blasphemous to the finished work of Jesus; let’s take a look at all of the incredible details that were shown to Ezekiel regarding the order of services for this millennial temple which to date has not yet been built.


1) Consecrating the Altar (43:18-27)
(Click here and see #28 the altar of sacrifice)

Since there is going to be a physical temple built in the land of Israel, as the book of Ezekiel expressly shows, then there demands an order of service for what needs to be done in the temple. These ordinances, statutes and laws are specifically written out in Ezekiel chapters 43-46, and shown below in the order written in Ezekiel:

The sacrifices to consecrate the altar involve an eight day process:

Day 1) Bull of the Sin Offering – blood is placed on: the four horns, the corners of the ledge and rim around it. Then burn the bull in the appointed place of the temple.
Day 2) The altar is cleansed in the same way as the bull above, but also with:
– A kid of goats for a sin offering
– A young bull for a burnt offering with salt
– A young ram for a burnt offering with salt
Day 3-7) The same process is done as on day 2 to make atonement for the altar, purify and consecrate it.
Day 8) The priests can now offer the people’s burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar and the Lord will accept the offerings.

In the same way that the blood of the bulls and goats are only a representation of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins, the natural animal sacrifices that will be offered in this temple will only be a reflection of the sacrifices that are already in their hearts. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” The sacrifice that God really desires is praise and thanksgiving from our hearts. “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb 13:16). 1Peter 2:5 describes believers saying, “…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” The Psalmist realized that it was not animal sacrifices or grain offerings which was God’s final purpose, but rather having God’s law within our hearts (Ps. 40:6-8). Micah also realized this when he wrote:

“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you: To do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:6-8).

We conclude therefore, that the animal sacrifices and other offerings which are given in the Millennial Temple will serve as object lessons for the spiritual sacrifices of a heart that is pure, cleansed and sanctified in praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh God. Walking daily in justice, mercy and humility are the sacrifices which God really desires from us.

2) Admittance into the Temple (44:1-9)

“And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east” (Ez 43:4).

Because the Lord enters the temple by the eastern gateway, no man shall enter the temple by this gate, but it shall be closed (44:2). The “prince” is the only one who is allowed at certain times to enter into this eastern gateway by the vestibule of the gateway to sit and eat bread before the Lord. The prince will be discussed further in section 5) Ordinances for the prince. Everyone else must enter by either the northern or southern gates and, “whoever enters by way of the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate; and whoever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate. He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall go out through the opposite gate. The prince shall then be in their midst.” Ezek 46:9. This is symbolic of being changed from glory to glory – 2Cor 3:18. Every time we come into the presence of the Lord we are changed more into His likeness, and we leave different than when we came.

Yahweh God told Ezekiel, “mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.” He then explains to Ezekiel the abominations that Israel has done in the past by allowing “foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh” to be in His house and therefore defile it and break His Covenant. Therefore, the only people allowed into the temple will be those who are saved/redeemed or “circumcised in heart.” The unsaved or unredeemed who are “uncircumcised in heart” may never enter the temple.

“Thus says the Lord God: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.” Ezekiel 44:9

3) Ministers of the Temple (44:10-31)

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His Holy Place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Who has not lifted up His soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of His salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Psalm 24:3-6

Although all saved or redeemed people will be allowed to enter the temple, not every person is allowed to minister in the inner court or in the Sanctuary. The Levites will be the ones who are called to be in charge of the temple. And not all Levites will have the same duties, rather the Levites will be broken up into: 1) Gatekeepers, 2) Ministers of the House (Nethinim) and 3) Priests. The “Prince” will also have ministering duties which will be discussed later. A brief description for the services of these three types of Levites is listed below:

1) Gatekeepers:
The Levites who went astray from Yahweh after idols will be gatekeepers of the temple. They will not be allowed to enter the Holy of Holies or come near any of Yahweh’s holy things. There are six main gateways in the Millennial Temple. (Click here to see a closeup of a gateway) Each gateway has six gate chambers with windows in each gate chamber. Most likely, these gatechambers will serve as “checkpoints” for people when they enter the temple and when they leave the temple to be sure that only redeemed people are admitted into the temple and that only the priests are admitted into the Inner Court.

Because the knowledge about God’s glory in this temple will cover the earth, many people will be coming here from all over the world to seek the God of Israel and His glory. The outer court gatekeepers may share some of the responsibility of ministering to these inquiring people and telling them about the way to be saved through faith in Yahoshua (Jesus) the Messiah of Israel and the world. The city “Yahweh Shamah” will also serve this purpose to help disciple the nations.

2) Ministers of the House (Nethinim):
The Levites who went astray from Yahweh after idols will also be the ministers of the temple. They will slay the burnt offerings and the people’s sacrifices. They will stand before the people to minister to them, but they will not be allowed to enter the Holy of Holies or come near any of the Lord’s Holy things. They will be responsible for keeping charge of the temple, for all its work and for all that has to be done in it.

Although it may seem like an honor to minister before the people today, during the millennial reign of Christ the highest honor will be to minister before Yahweh God and not the people. Ezekiel infers that because certain Levites taught the people wrongly to worship before their idols that they shall “bear their iniquity and not minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most holy place, but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed” (44:13).

These ministers of the temple will probably be responsible for preparing the meals that will be cooked and served in this temple at all of the Feasts of the Lord. In each of the four corners of the outer court there are large kitchens (Click here and see #13 kitchen locations). These large kitchens indicate that the outer court will serve as a dining place for the meals that will be prepared from the animal sacrifices. The annual Passover celebration has always required that each family bring a lamb for sacrifice and then eat it as a meal. Jesus (Yahoshua) upgraded Moses’ Passover to the Lord’s supper just before His crucifixion. During the millennium, the Passover (Lord’s Supper) will be upgraded again to The Marriage Supper of the Lamb which will be celebrated annually in this temple.

3) Priests:
Certain Levites shall be the temple Priests. These will be known like the “sons of Zadok” who were faithful to Yahweh when all of Israel went astray. They will offer to the Lord the fat and the blood of the sacrifices. They will stand before the Lord and enter His sanctuary to come near to the Lord and minister to Him. Ezekiel lists several laws and ordinances which concern the priests:

  • They shall wear linen garments (turbans on their heads and trousers on their bodies) when entering the inner sanctuary. They shall not wear any wool or anything causing them to sweat. Then they shall leave these garments in the holy chambers when leaving to sanctify the people.
  • They shall keep their hair well trimmed (not shaved or long).
  • They shall not drink wine when entering the inner court.
  • They shall not have a wife who is divorced or widowed (unless she is a widow of a priest), but rather take virgins of Israeli descent.
  • They shall teach people the difference between the holy and unholy and discern between the clean and unclean.
  • They shall stand as judges in controversy.
  • They shall not defile themselves by coming near a dead person, (except for father, mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister). After he is cleansed, count 7 days and offer a sin offering for him in the sanctuary and then he may continue to minister before the Lord.
  • They shall have no land possession in Israel “for I, the Lord, am their possession.”
  • They shall eat the grain, sin, and trespass offering. Every dedicated thing in Israel shall be theirs.
  • They shall receive the best of every sacrifice or firstfruits offering.
  • They shall not eat any bird or beast that died naturally or was torn by wild animals.

“You shall give to the priest of the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house.” Ezekiel 44:30

4) Economics in the Temple (45:9-14)

Just like the previous temples were economic centers, the Millennial Temple will also serve as an economic center where the trading standards will be established with justice.

“Thus says the Lord God, ‘Enough O princes of Israel! Remove violence and plundering, execute justice and righteousness and stop dispossessing My people.’ You shall have a just ephah, and a just bath.” Ezekiel 45:9

The ephah is the unit of measure for dry products such as grain or wheat or flour. The bath is the standard unit of measure for liquid products such as milk or oil. The shekel is the standard unit of measure in weight for precious metals such as gold or silver. The following chart shows these units of measure with their larger and smaller units of measurement.

 Smallest Unit Small
Unit
 Large
Unit
 Largest
Unit
 Liquid Measure  Log(1/3 quart)  Hin(1 gallon)  Bath(6 gallons)  Cor/Homer/Koros(60 gallons)
 Dry Measure Xestes(1 1/6 pints)   Omer(2 quarts)  Ephah(6 gallons)  Cor/Homer/Koros(60 gallons)
 Precious Metal Weight  Gerah(1/50 ounce)  Shekel(2/5 ounce)  Mina(1.25 lbs.)  Talent(75 or 88 lbs.)

It is exciting to know that when the governments of the nations rest upon the shoulders of the promised Messiah Yahoshua (Jesus) that the economy will be established with God’s order, justice and righteous judgment from this time forth even forever! (Isa. 9:6,7). Those who will rule with Jesus will be like Him in that they: “shall delight in the fear of the Lord. They shall not judge by the sight of their eyes, nor decide by the hearing of the ears; but with righteousness they shall judge the poor, and decide with EQUITY for the meek of the earth.” (Isa. 11:3,4 paraphrased).

5) Ordinances for the Prince (45:13-17; 46:16-18)

The prince is given many privileges and duties in the Millennial Temple, and Scripture seems to imply that the resurrected king David will be the prince in this temple. In the context of the end of the age when Israel is gathered back together in their original land, Ezekiel 37:24-28 states:

“David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever… The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

Also, in the context of the millennial reign and the Covenant of Peace Ezekiel 34:23,24 says: “I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them — My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Jeremiah 30:9 also speaks about king David reigning as king of Israel at the time when God brings back His people from captivity saying: “They shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will RAISE UP for them.” Isaiah 55:3-5 says that David will be a future “leader and commander for the people” at a time when God makes an “everlasting covenant with you… for He has glorified you.”

Hosea 3:4,5 is further confirmation that king David of old will be the eternal king over the nation of Israel: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.”

If we really believe in the resurrection, then it should not be hard to believe that God will bring king David of old back to earth to be the prince during the millennial reign of Christ. After all, God created us in the earth, from the earth and for the earth. So, it should not be a surprise when the saints who have lived before us start coming back for their earthly inheritance and rewards as Revelation 20:4-6 tells us: “they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years… they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Paul also encourages us that “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep (have died) in Jesus. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:14,15).

When Jesus came the first time there were several people who were raised from the dead to walk to earth again. Matthew 27:50-53 records: “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” So also in the days of Jesus’ Second Coming there will be many more people raised from death to walk the earth again.

Yahoshua (Jesus) will be ruling over the entire earth, while David will only be the king of Israel. See Isa. 4:2, 11:1; Jer. 33:15 and Zech. 3:8, 6:12 and notice the key word “Branch” of David. It is Yahoshua (Jesus) the “Branch/descendant of David” who will rule as the head of all government during the millennium. Jeremiah 23:5,6 speaks of Jesus the son of David when it says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely. Now this is His name by which He will be called: YAHWEH TSIDKENU – The Lord our Righteousness.”

So the resurrected king David will be the prince and king of Israel, while Yahoshua (Jesus) will be the one good shepherd over ALL His people and the king of ALL the earth (Rev. 11:15, 19:15). David, the prince, will be responsible for giving special burnt offerings and peace offerings at the celebrations of each weekly Sabbath, monthly New Moons (beginning of each month), and all the yearly appointed feasts of the Lord (Ezekiel 45:13-17):

These are the prescriptions for these grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings for the prince in Israel:
  • 1/6th of an ephah from a homer of wheat
  • 1/6th of an ephah from a homer of barley
  • 1 bath of oil
  • 1 lamb from a flock of 200

When the Lord returns to this temple, He will enter through the inner court eastern gate and then it will be shut where no man can enter through it, “because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord. He shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.” Ezek. 44:2,3. David will worship at this gate and eat bread before Yahweh and then leave by the same vestibule. The priests will prepare his burnt offerings and peace offerings as described above “to make atonement for the house of Israel” (45:15, 17). Atonement, which is a temporary covering for sins, can be made by men who intercede for others, but forgiveness is a complete cleansing of sins only by the life of Jesus.

Ezekiel also gives details for the land inheritance laws for the prince. The prince will inherit all of the land on the east side and the west side of the Holy Portion. This land stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the west side of the Holy Portion and from the Dead Sea to the east side of the Holy Portion (Click here to see map). The prince is allowed to give any of his land inheritance to his sons and it shall become their possession. However, if he gives some of his land inheritance to any of his servants it shall be theirs only until the year of liberty (Year of Jubilee – which comes every 50 years), then it gets returned to the prince. Also, the prince is not allowed to take away the people’s land inheritance so that “none of My people may be scattered from his property” (46:18).

6) Worship System in Keeping the Feasts (45:17 – 46:15)

“It shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel.” (45:17)

Ezekiel is shown the manner of worship in the Millennial Temple, which is governed by the Feasts of the Lord outlined in Leviticus 23. The Feasts of the Lord are the very heart and soul of God’s worship system. Below is a list of the days that Ezekiel specifically mentions to honor with special sacrifices and worship:

  • 1st day of 1st month: Cleanse the Sanctuary with a young bull. The priest puts the sin offering blood on: temple doorposts, four corners of the altar, and gateposts of the inner court gateways.
  • 7th day of the 1st month: Do the same as day one above for everyone who has sinned unintentionally. This will make atonement for the temple.
  • Passover: on the 14th day of the 1st month prepare a bull for a sin offering.
  • Feast of Unleavened bread: from the 15th-21st of the 1st month prepare each day 7 bulls and 7 rams for a burnt offering and a kid of the goats for a sin offering. And prepare a grain offering of one ephah (with one hin of oil) for each bull and one for each ram.
  • Feast of Tabernacles: from the 15th-21st of the 7th month do the same sacrifices and offerings as the Feast of Unleavened bread listed above.
  • Sabbath: Once a week on the Sabbath the prince shall offer:
    • 6 lambs: with the grain offering (as much as desired) with 1 hin of oil per ephah.
    • 1 ram: with the grain offering of 1 ephah with 1 hin of oil.
    • The inner court east gate will be shut all week long except on the Sabbath when it will be opened for the prince to enter and stand in the vestibule by the gatepost. The priests will prepare the required burnt offering and sin offering for the prince who will worship at this gate every Sabbath, and then the gate will remain open for the rest of the day. The people of Israel shall worship the Lord at the entrance of the east gateway on the Sabbath day.
  • New Moon: Once per month at the beginning of each month (at the new moon) the prince shall offer:
    • 1 young bull: with the grain offering of 1 ephah with 1 hin of oil.
    • 6 lambs: with the grain offering as much as desired with 1 hin of oil per ephah.
    • 1 ram: with the grain offering of 1 ephah with 1 hin of oil.
    • And the people shall worship like they do on the Sabbath day.
  • Festivals & Appointed Feast Days:
    • for bulls: the grain offering is 1 ephah with 1 hin of oil.
    • for lambs: the grain offering is as much as desired with 1 hin of oil per ephah.
    • for rams: the grain offering is 1 ephah with 1 hin of oil.
    • And the people shall worship like they do on the Sabbath day.
  • Voluntary Offerings: The prince may offer voluntary burnt or peace offerings whenever he desires. The east gate will be open for him during the sacrifice and then shut when he is done. The offerings will be prepared just like on the Sabbath day.
  • Daily Morning Sacrifice: Every morning a burnt offering shall be prepared “as a perpetual ordinance” which includes:
    • One year old lamb: with 1/6th of a ephah of grain offering and 1/3rd of a hin of oil to moisten the flour.

Although our entire lives should be an expression of worship, we can see that there are special times that Scripture has ordained for corporate celebrations of worship in honor of Yahweh. These appointed Feasts are for the purpose of changing us more into God’s image thus giving Him glory. Ezekiel 46:9 tells the worshippers at the appointed Feasts not to leave by the same gate that they entered. Likewise, every time we come in worship to offer our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord we will be changed from glory to glory and not leave the same way that we entered.

7) Preparation of Offerings (46:19-24)

Since the Cross of Christ (laying down our lives for the sake of others) is so central in the life of a believer, it should be no surprise that the Millennial Temple is set up for physical offerings such as grains and oils and animals. These offerings typify the spiritual sacrifices we offer to God. One example of a spiritual sacrifice from Psalm 27:6 is joy and praise: “I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing; yes I will sing praises to the Lord.”

Jesus’ ministry was focused on the cross. He was constantly talking about his purpose of going to the cross and admonishing his followers to “take up their cross and follow him” (Mark 10:21). Jesus did not only die on a cross; he lived the message of the Cross daily. He was always laying down His life for the sake of others. A selfless life of sacrifice for others is the Cross which Jesus taught and lived.

The apostle Paul’s message and mission was also the Cross (Gal. 6:14) and he was determined to make his focus “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Therefore Paul could say in Gal. 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me”

Just like the entire life of the believer revolves around the Cross, the entire Millennial Temple is set up for the purpose of sacrifice with the altar in the very geometric center of the temple. At each of the four corners of the temple outer court there are kitchens. Each kitchen has rows of stones around their courts with cooking hearths all around the rows of stones. These are the kitchens where the ministers of the temple boil the sacrifices of the people in the outer court. (See #13 in the Pictures section for the kitchen locations)

There is also a place in the Priest’s Chambers where the priests can prepare the offerings so that they don’t have to bring them out into the outer court. This is where the priests boil the trespass offering, and sin offering, and bake the grain offering. This chamber is on the north west side of the Priest’s Chambers. (Click here and see #23 the priests boiling/baking chamber).

The place where the sacrifices are first prepared is in the inner court northern gateway. There are eight tables in the vestibule of this gateway where they slay the burnt offerings, sin offerings and trespass offerings. There are tables for slaughtering the animals and for the flesh of the sacrifices, and there were also tables for laying the instruments with which to slaughter the offerings. Hooks were fastened all around the area, probably used for hanging the instruments of slaughter and flesh of the sacrifices. (Click here and see #25 the sacrifice preparation area)

The cross of Messiah was not a pretty sight. During an age of peace, the sacrifices in the Millennial Temple will be a needed reminder of the high price that was paid for our redemption. It will also be a constant reminder that if we desire to be like Jesus there is a sacrifice to make. Although salvation is a gift from God, conformity into the image of Christ as a mature son of God will require that we make some sacrifices. If Jesus is our example, how can we expect to be in His image and yet ignore the daily sacrifices that it takes to be like Him?

5. Israel’s Land Divisions

“It shall be that you will divide the land by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who sojourn among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.” (Ezekiel 47:22)

This section shows the estimated land portion that is promised to Israel during the millennial reign of Jesus on earth. This information is derived entirely from Ezekiel 45:1-8 and 47:13 – 48:35. A few of the cities listed by Ezekiel do not exist today, and their exact historic location is uncertain. Therefore, the boundaries in the following map may not be exact, but they are relatively accurate based on the latest archeological and historical evidences.

In Numbers 34:1-12, the Lord spoke to Moses almost the exact same boundaries for the land of Canaan as was shown here to Ezekiel, even using most of the same cities as boundary markers. Some cross-referencing with Numbers 34 was used to derive the map boundaries.

The illustration below this map is a detailed blow-up diagram of the “Holy Portion” of the land. This Holy Portion is located in the center of Israel around the area of modern day Jerusalem and is pictured to scale on the map as well.

Holy Portion (Blowup from map above)

This diagram is a detail of the Holy Portion from the previous map.


Conclusions on Ezekiel’s Temple

When Solomon built the Lord’s temple, Second Chronicles 2:4 declared that it was for the purpose to:
1) burn sweet incense to the Lord,
2) put continual showbread before the Lord,
3) offer the morning and evening sacrifices, and to
4) celebrate the Sabbaths, new moons and appointed Feasts.

This Scripture then proceeds to declare, “this is an ordinance FOREVER to Israel.” Did God really mean FOREVER when he spoke these temple purposes through Solomon? After all, the temple of Solomon is no longer standing. How can these purposes be forever?

Ecclesiastes 3:14 says:

“I know that whatever God does, it shall be FOREVER, nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.”

Yes, these purposes will be fulfilled forever if we understand the principle that Yahweh’s ultimate “temple” is Mankind. All other temples serve as a foreshadow of redeemed mankind being God’s temple. All of the above listed purposes for Solomon’s temple will be fulfilled in redeemed man. For example, we will offer prayers and intercessions as “sweet incense,” and the “morning and evening sacrifice” will be our daily offerings of praise and thanksgiving from our hearts. The analogies and lessons that we can draw from the physical temples of God being compared to Mankind as Yahweh’s temple are limitless. Likewise, the physical millennial temple is meant to be an object lesson for us to learn how to be the holy temple of Yahweh.

The 1,000 year period after Messiah returns will be an Age of Discipleship in learning the ways of the Kingdom (This can also be termed the Kingdom Age). The previous 2,000 years have been correctly termed an Age of Grace (or the Time of Salvation) where we have learned that the arm of the flesh cannot redeem us, but only faith in the finished work of the cross in the life of Yahoshua (Jesus) our Messiah. Now it is time for another paradigm shift similar to the paradigm shift that Jesus initiated when He came the first time to transition between the Age of Law into the Age of Grace. This time we will enter the Kingdom Age, where we will be learning from Jesus Himself the ways of the Kingdom and how to be the pure undefiled temple of the Lord. The fulfillment of “Christ IN US the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26) will be realized at the end of this 1,000 year period, just like the fulfillment of the Age of Law came at the end of that particular age (where Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law -Matt. 5:17). Similarly, the second coming of Yahoshua (Jesus) will bring a fulfillment of grace since we are ending the Age of Grace, and entering the Kingdom Age.

We are only just beginning the Kingdom Age. The fullness of the Kingdom will be realized 1,000 years from now. We have a lot to learn and be discipled in before we can have the fullness of God dwell in us which Ephesians 3:19 declares will be a reality:

“to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with ALL the fullness of God”

Therefore, the previous temples in history have been for the purpose of teaching us what it means to be the true “temple of God” not made with hands. Physical temples explain to us in a practical “hands on” manner how we become a holy and pure and undefiled place for God to dwell. The reason previous temples had to be destroyed (like Solomon’s, & Herod’s) was because of OUR (Mankind’s) unfaithfulness to the Covenant that God has made with us, and not because Yahweh’s purposes have been changed.

The Millennial Temple will not be any different than previous temples in its eternal purpose. It will serve the same eternal purposes by providing a natural object lesson for the spiritual reality that God will be working out in His true temple “not made with hands.” We still have much to learn about what it really means to be God’s dwelling place. To be exact, we will have one thousand years worth of discipling and perfecting.

Solomon ended his prayer of dedication for the temple in Second Chronicles 6:41,42 by crying:

“Arise, O Lord to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let the priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, And let Your saints rejoice in goodness. O Lord God, do not turn away the face of Your anointed; Remember the mercies of Your servant David.”

Then all of Israel worshiped Yahweh with sacrifices and said:

“For He is good, For His mercy endures forever!”

Likewise, let us continually offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving! Let us rest in the mercy and goodness of our Friend Yahoshua (Jesus). He is our Savior, He is our Priest, and He will soon be King of all the earth ruling from His Millennial Temple!

John Schmitt’s Model of Messiah’s Coming Temple

Pictured above is a different model of the same temple built by John W. Schmitt. John has been studying and building models of Ezekiel’s temple for over thirty years. These pictures, and more, can be found in his excellent book “Messiah’s Coming Temple.”6

I came across John’s book in late 1997, shortly after I had already finished my model in July of 1997. It was a wonderful confirmation to see that other Christians were also studying this yet to be constructed temple in Jerusalem Israel.

SOURCE:
http://www.sonstoglory.com/ThirdTempleEzekielsMillennialTemple.htm

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GILGULIM: DO THE JEWS BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION ?

GILGULIM: DO THE JEWS BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION ?

A brief look at the concept of Gilgulei Ha Neshamot (Heb. גלגול הנשמות), also called Gilgul, Gilgulim, or reincarnation, as taught by the Jewish Rabbis.

I was personally quite surprised at how many Rabbis seem to accept or be positively inclined toward the concept.

I hadn’t really given the idea a serious consideration before; but I knew that if true, Gilgulim would mean the plan of God (or “the plan of G-d” as the Rabbis might spell it) is quite a bit different than what I thought, and would probably require me to reconceptualize a few things in my head. It is certainly an interesting idea to say the least.

I went into it without the least knowledge of the concept, with only a vague suspicion that it would turn out to be somehow connected to or derived from New Age ideology or otherwise syncretistic or contrived.
But the more I learned about the subject, I found myself not only finding the logic and morality of the concept unobjectionable, but also found it meaningfully distinct from Karmic conceptions of reincarnation.

My presumption had been that it would clash with, contradict, the resurrection of the dead, either actually or “in spirit”. This I found to be less and less true the more I learned about it, however.

So what exactly do the Jewish Rabbis teach about reincarnation ?

Gilgulim, or reincarnation, is not directly mentioned in the Bible, but that by itself doesn’t mean it can’t be true. Cats aren’t mentioned in the Bible, yet they exist.

As taught by the Rabbis, Gilgulim is usually a way to explain siamese twins, autistic children, what happens to newborn children who die, miscarriages, etc. A person who only lived an hour cannot be judged now can he? He hasn’t lived a full life. Hence he must be reborn, so he can live a full life and then he can be fairly judged, the sages teach.

Contrary to the assumption of some, Gilgulim is not necessarily a punishment. Let’s say you died when you were one week old and never got to experience life – now what ?
Gilgulei ha Neshamot would allow for you to have a real, full, life, and hence you would be equal to any other person at the judgment of God, and no other special provision would have to be invented (such as Limbo) for the dead children.

A good way to gain an undestanding of Gilgulim is to contrast it with reincarnation as taught by other religions.

The Karmic religions of Hinduism and Buddhism teach that the Ultimate Reality, sometimes called Parabrahman, sometimes called God, is divided into trillions and trillions of what we might call souls, and these souls are reborn again and again in the form of humans, animals, inanimate objects, bacteria, insects, and that all hence have an equality of some sort, and are reborn continually into good or bad situations depending on their actions. Hinduism and Buddhism both vacillate between, on the one hand, the idea of earning good reincarnations through good deeds, and, on the other hand, escaping the cycle of reincarnation into the eternal transcendence of Moksha/Nirvana. According to Buddhism and many Hindus, reincarnation happens of itself, with no specific deity choosing who gets reincarnated where.

According to Rabbinical traditions, relatively few people, for very specific reasons, have been or may be reincarnated, (almost always as humans, though there are exceptions to this in the traditions,) with the resurrection and the “judgment day” associated with the resurrection being seen as separate and more momentous events which include all or most of mankind. Reincarnation is understood to happen by a specific decree from God, and again, it is a decree that relatively rarely is decreed.

Famous Reincarnations

It is not only the stillborn or those with medical conditions that are candidates for reincarnation, however. Rabbinic tradition includes many tales of Gilgulim involving well known personages.

There is a tradition that teaches that Abel was reborn as Moses, and Cain as Jethro.

The background is that Cain killed Abel because they were supposed to marry each their twin sister, and Abel’s sister was fairer than Cain’s, so he killed him, among several reasons, to get his twin sister as his wife. Hence Jethro, his reincarnation, gives his daughter to Moses, Abel’s reincarnation, to compensate.

The fact that Abel was not given the opportunity to beget a people (descendants of which could hypothetically have been taken aboard the ark and hence Abel could have lived on til today) could relate to the story told in Exodus 32:9-14, wherein God offers to make a great people out of Moses, in place of Israel. Hence, according to this tradition, he is being offered the chance he was denied in his past life.

Another tradition teaches that Nadav, son of Aaron, was reborn as Samson.
Hence NDB (pronounced “Nadav”) was reborn BDN (“in Dan”). Nadav apparently has a reputation within Rabbinic tradition for disrespecting women, and hence was reborn into a situation where he would be continually get into trouble with women.

Another tradition says Phinehas was reborn as Elijah, while yet another tradition agrees that Phinehas is indeed Elijah, but says he was not reborn as Elijah; rather, he never died, living from the time of the wandering in the Sinai and well into the time of the kings, before being, as recounted in scripture, assumed into heaven on a burning chariot. An interesting similarity between Elijah and Phinehas is that they both dealt with Israel and not the gentiles, and had to resort to extreme measures to get their points across to the entire nation and thereby inspire repentance.

History of the Teaching

Gilgulim is said to have long been kept secret and, unlike most other parts of the Oral Tradition, not been written down or even made public until relatively late times.
It appears the earliest definite mentions of Gilgulim appear to be from the time of the Gaonim (589-1040 CE), at which point discussion of the subject quickly flourished among certain sages, who appear to have been specially interested.

Rabbinic tradition purports to hand down ancient teachings, hence it is believed a doctrine can be much older than the earliest manuscript mentioning the doctrine.
The history of Gilgulim is known to us today to the extent it is mentioned, whether in the spirit of acceptance or rejection, in the writings of famous Rabbis.
Hai Gaon (939-1038 CE), Nachmanides (Ramban), Isaac Luria, Baal Shem Tov (and hence the Chasidim) and the Vilna Gaon accepted it, whereas Saadia Gaon (882-942 CE), David Kimchi and Joseph Albo, among others, rejected it.

It is hard to determine how broadly the teaching is accepted or viewed with favor among Jews today, however judging by how much modern Rabbis have to say on it, and how much material is now available online, it seems to be not the obscure or hidden doctrine it once was. A noteworthy development is that it is now much easier to come across Jewish sources arguing for Gilgulim than against, with the argument against Gilgulim primarily coming from non-Jews.

Gilgul in the New Testament ?

Some have argued that the concept of Gilgulim is referenced in the New Testament:

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:1-2)

Question: How can his sin lead to him being BORN blind, except that he had a previous life?
Or so the argument goes.

(It has also been suggested he committed some sin in the womb – but the question will probably remain difficult to answer.)

Note that the reincarnationist argument assumes in this case that you can be born blind because of past sin(s), whereas the Rabbinical tradition typically would prefer to say that Gilgulim would be the solution to the problem of people being born blind, rather than a punishment inflicted, albeit this possibility is taught as well.

The New Testament says “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27), and some have been tempted to say, in reference to the Rabbinic teaching of Gilgulim: “either the Bible is right, or the Rabbis are right” (ie. there is a contradiction). But as the Rabbis say, there is an exception to every rule.

Do we understand this verse to contradict, and therefore deny, the story of the resurrection of Lazarus?
Or the resurrection of the widow’s son?
Clearly we cannot take this verse to literally apply to every person, since some have lived and died more than once.
That is to say, Hebrews 9:27 does not necessarily deny the possibility of Gilgul, seeing as this too would be an exception and not the norm (in fact, regardless of the doctrine of Gilgul, Hebrews 9:27 should be seen as describing the normal pattern of things, with the understanding that there are exceptions to this pattern, such as the case of Lazarus.)

The mysterious references in the Bible to John the Baptist as “Elijah” have of course also been taken in a reincarnationist context.

Closing Thoughts

So then, what do I ultimately make of the Jewish version of reincarnation ?

Since scripture doesn’t explicitly mention it, and since I haven’t personally experienced anything that would give me experiential knowledge of the phenomenon, I cannot affirmatively declare a belief in Gilgulim.

But I can say I have a greatly increased appreciation for the concept, to the degree that I don’t think I would mind if it were true.
It probably would be a good answer to certain problems (eg. people born with certain burdens, or the stillborn).
Indeed, if God were the one managing the whole thing, why would there be a problem anyway ?

~~ Abel Zechariah

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Notes on the unique and distinct Biblical symbolism and rhetoric

Notes on the unique and distinct Biblical symbolism and rhetoric – and certain related matters difficult to categorize

The Bible has what we can call a functional or functionalistic symbol-usage and definition of symbols. The symbols generally represent a function, which can be applied by good and evil powers.

Hence both Messiah and Satan (and the Antichrist) can be represented by the symbol of the lion (Rev. 5:5 / 1st Pet. 5:8), the snake (John 3:14 / Rev. 12:9) and the morningstar (Rev. 22:16 / Isa. 14:12)..

We can interpet the symbols in order to see if this follows a logic (as with Hinduism, Platonism, Taoism and the well-developed world-systems, the Bible, or God, has his own logic; there is not one universal logic.)
The lion represents (the function) strength, might, and we see every day that both Messiah and the devil each have their own might.
The snake represents wisdom (Matt. 10:16), and the Bible certainly says that the devil is “wiser than (the prophet) Daniel” (Ezk. 28:3), but who is wiser than the Messiah, who says of himself: “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up”.

The exaltation, or uplifting, mentioend here (John 3:14) is a fantastic and characteristic example of the Bible’s own symbolism, rhetoric, prophetical style, etc. The uplifting, we are told, directly refers to him being lifted up on the cross, but also, we must understand, to him being lifted up when he rose from the dead, and later lifted up into heaven. The crucifixion in itself is of course very dualistic, or a many-sided event. It is both the greatest tragedy and injustice – and a prerequisite and necessity for our salvation.

The uplifting of the snake brings us to our next example:

Stars can be synonymous with angels (Job 38:7), but can also represent having influence at a distance; as a star casting its light, radiating its influence, throughout the universe and which can be seen at a great distance. The star in turn is connected to the symbol of light, which has a similar symbolic value.

In the garden of Eden we had two special trees.
An interesting dualism is exactly the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which then has both good and evil in it. I think this tree, and the tree of life, can represent the cross. The tree of knowledge (Biblically, “knowledge” often indicates experiential knowledge) is also this world, this Egypt / Assyria / Babylon we live in, which has both good and evil in it. And marriage, childbirth, to have or be parents, all this has a twosidedness (if not tensidedness).

Technology, based on knowledge, is another archetypal example of something dualistic; a veritable tree of knowledge. (1) Smithing and (2) wine-cultivation and (3) PC’s are all twosided things. With the first-mentioned, Tubalcain can make the first weapons and God’s inspired artist Bezalel can make the ark of the covenant. The second is used and spoken of very positively by the Messiah, and he compares himself and his blood to wine, he transforms water to wine, etc. etc. (John 15:1, 15:5, Matt 26:29, Mark 14:25, Luke 22:18, Rev. 19:9)  but wine is also the cause for, and correlated to, multiple curses (Gen. 9:20-25, Rev. 19:15); certain extra-Biblical texts even claim that the tree of knowledge was the “wine-tree” (Vitis).

The third example is equally obviously used for good and evil. Without the computer you would not be reading this, but perhaps without computers the society, from the ground up, would have been structured differently and people would have been more social, in the same way we notice cities are structured to slavishly-megalomaniacally conform to the car (and would have been different but for the car).

The Jews have taken the tree of life to symbolize multiple things, but most notably the Torah, God’s law, which includes provisions for punishment and reward, which are two different (but not contradictory) things.

I have already mentioned that a prophecy can have multiple fulfilments.
That is logical, when we understand that the Hebrew word for prophet, Nabi, means one who speaks, preaches, shouts or recites, and the word for prophecy, Nabuah, means a speech, sermon, shout or recitation; a proverb, a saying, etc.

In the same way that the proverb “cat’s got your tongue” can be fulflled in multiple instances – every time a person is speechless – so can Biblical proverbs, prophecies, utterances and narrative events be repeated and realized in many different instances and in multiple ways.
Joseph, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, among others, have all too many parallels for us not to notice it and infer that God causes this to happen intentionally; and when God repeats something it means that here is something he especially wants us to focus on.

Another interesting thing God does is that he allows doubt. It is at least difficult for me to describe it another way. That is to say, he has Sarah, wife of Abraham, be captured by the king of the city-state Gerar (Gen. 20) and by Pharaoh (Gen. 12) so that there arises thereby a certain doubt whether Abraham is the father of her child, and the same happens with Isaac and Rebecca (Gen. 26). We trust obviously God’s version of things, that Abraham is the physical forefather of Yeshua (Jesus) with all that this implies, but we see that he allows “the world”, the others, to have doubt, and reason for doubt. And are we to be honest, certain of the Jews had relatively understandable reasons to doubt whether Yeshua was the Messiah. Not even his Disciples thought it was meant for the Messiah to come twice, to die the first time, and not rule politically before the second time (cp. John 12:34).

It is written: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings” (Proverbs 25:2), which is a fundamental principle in the Bible, and, we must conclude, an extremely important one. It is certainly not the first thing one learns, but it is nevertheless a foundation for understanding God’s Way.
Those God calls in this age will become kings and priests (Exodus 19:6, 1st Peter 2:9, Rev. 1:6, 5:10) in the coming millennial kingdom and thereafter, and they now wander on the narrow path, which not at all contradicts verses like Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10, 1st Timothy 2:3-4 or 1st Corinthians 15:22. In any given period there are only a few being saved at a time, or at least it is so now.

Yeshua, Jesus, tells us the reason he spoke in mysterious parables and symbols hard for most people to understand:

“The disciples came and said to him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables.”
(Matthew 13:10-13)

Here we see how the Bible’s distinct (mysterious, but also consistent/logical) rhetoric and symbol-usage and parables affect soteriology, that is to say, how people get saved. That God and Yeshua are in control over who gets saved means to me that universal salvation undoubtedly will become reality, and that such verses as the following refer to a temporary condition, an order for this age but not for all ages to come:

“(God) has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that they would not see with their eyes or understand with their hearts and be converted” (John 12:40).
I think this verse can be read both specifically in relation to that the Jews generally have not accepted Yeshua as Messiah, but also universally in that most people do not do so either.

This is probably much to digest, but what we have looked at here makes up the foundation for a perspective that conforms to the Bible, God’s word, instead of conforming it to some or other postulated standard (traditionally some variant of Greek philosophy has made up European theologians’ standard/logic for interpreting the Bible.)

~~ Abel Zechariah, 20 January 2014

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I AM and I AM THAT I AM: the Meaning of the Name of God ?

I AM and I AM THAT I AM: the Meaning of the Name of God ?

paint name c
There is a lot of confusion and many speculative theories floating around and being perpetuated among unserious scholars, especially on the internet, regarding the name(s) of the Hebrew God and its meaning.

It is often said that the name of God equates to “I am” or “I am that I am,” but does it really ?
And if so, how does one arrive at that conclusion ?

Let’s look at:

YHWH

The name יהוה first appearing in Gen. 2:4 [1] and throughout the Tanak (Old Testament), usually rendered in English as YHWH. In English Bibles it is substituted for LORD following the practice of the Jews in substituting it for Hashem or Adonai (being a variant vocalization of Adoni, “My Lord”.) [2]
YHWH is the name typically interpreted as “I am,” a phrase which would actually be more accurately rendered in Hebrew as אני חי, Ani Khay, rather than YHWH.

EHYEH-ASHER-EHYEH

The Hebrew phrase אהיה אשר אהיה appearing only in Ex. 3:14, usually transliterated Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, and translated variously as “I am that I am”:

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM (אהיה אשר אהיה): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM (אהיה) hath sent me unto you.” (KJV)

We see in this verse אהיה is interpreted as “I am,” thus given the same definition as יהוה, adding to the confusion.

More modern translations render אהיה אשר אהיה more inaccurately as “I am who (I) am,” thus interpreting Asher as “who.”

Grammatically speaking, this name is composed of the elements אהיה, Ehyeh [3] (perhaps more accurately Ahayah) and אשר, Asher. Ehyeh is derived from the Hebrew word meaning “to be” and being in the 1st person singular imperfect tense.
Asher is a pronoun usually translated as non-interrogative “that” or “which,” being functionally similar to  כי, Ki.

There are two primary forms of the word “to be,” viz. היה, Hayah and יהי, Yahay. The common root of both may be (the hypothetical) הי, Hay from which חי, Khay likely is derived. Hayah is often translated “was,” and Yahay “it came to pass.”

MEANING

The definition of Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh boils down to the interpretation of the two words it is composed of.
The definition, or rather, interpretation of YHWH is not as easy to ascertain, since it is not an actual word, being used only as a name.

Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh is perhaps most accurately translated “(I will) be that (I will) be,” although the exact meaning cannot be captured in English, as Hebrew uses two tenses, perfect and imperfect, rather than past, present and future. Perfect more or less equates to past and imperfect to future, but both are used to describe the present in various grammatical contexts.

YHWH (יהוה) along with Ehyeh (אהיה) is tentatively traced back to the word “to be,” but doesn’t mean the same thing.
In Hebrew, a verb can be made into a noun or name by adding the letter Waw. It is possible and likely that YHWH is a form of יהיה, Yihyeh [4] (perhaps more accurately Yahiah or Yahayah) another variant of “to be,” the second Yod being substituted for a Waw.
The name might then be approximated to “He is” or “He will be” or even “The being/existing (one,)” which is to say one who is defined by or performs the act of being.

Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh is thus a more understandable name than YHWH, since it’s two actual words, whereas YHWH is a word that seems to be a noun-form of the words Hayah/Yahay (“to be.”)

PRONUNICATION

Although the pronunciation of these words is unrelated to our previous study, it would be fitting to include a short exploration of the possible vocalization of these names.

In the case of a Waw-infix, the Waw is always pronounced as a vowel (in the range of O and U) thus yielding the vocalization of יהוה as “Yahuah” or similar.
This particular vocalization is testified in many Biblical Hebrew names, such as אליהו, Eliyahu, ישעיהו, Yishayahu, ירמיהו, Yirmiyahu, etc. [5]

אהיה אשר אהיה is a less controversial name, the individual words that make up the name being found all over the Bible, though again being preserved in different pronunciations by different Hebrew-speaking groups. As with our former example, the Ashkenazi pronunciation, being probably the most creative and least representative of the original ancient Hebrew, is unfortunately prioritized by many scholars and laymen.
Following the vowelization pattern of Mizrahi and Yemenite Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic, Āhayah-Ašar-Āhayah seems a realistic proposition, the A’s perhaps occasionally being pronounced as O and Æ.

~~ Abel Zechariah, 29 Dec. 2012

FOOTNOTES

[1] Regarding the chapterization, it is easy to see that this verse should actually be the first verse of chapter 2, verses 1-3 of chapter 2 being the final verses of chapter 1.

[2] Contrary to popular ignorance, the term Adon is not just a replacement for YHWH, but is actually found in scripture, along with its derivates, like Adoni, for instance in Ps. 110:1 where it used in conjunction with YHWH:

“The LORD (יהוה) said unto my Lord (אדני), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (KJV)

[3] For various usages of אהיה, Ehyeh, (or Ahayah) see: http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/ehyeh_1961.htm

[4] For various usages of יהיה, Yihyeh, (or Yahiah or Yahayah) see: http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/yihyeh_1961.htm

[5] If the Waw were to be rendered as a sharp V as in the Ashkenazi pronunciation, which is the basis for the modern pronounciation of the tetragrammaton as Jehovah, אליהו might well be pronounced Eliyahev and so forth.
A slight correction of the Ashkenazic pronounciation of Waw renders “Yehowah,” essentially the same as our proposed transliteration of יהוה.

Note that “Originally, I and J were different shapes for the same letter,” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J#History) the same being used moreover to represent the Y, as is the case with the Hebrew Yeshua being rendered in Greek Iēsoûs and in Latin Iesu.

Regarding the history of the transliteration of the tetragrammaton into Latin script languages, including English, this should be an informative summary:

“In 1278 a spanish monk, Raymundo Martini, wrote the latin work PUGIO FIDEI (Dagger of faith). In it he used the name of God, spelling it Yohoua. Later printings of this work, dated some centuries later, used the spelling JEHOVA.

Soon after, in 1303, Porchetus de Salvaticis completed a work entitled VICTORIA PORCHETI AVERSUS IMPIOS HEBRAEOS (Porchetus’ Victory Against the Ungodly Hebrews). He spells God’s name IOHOUAH, IOHOUA and IHOUAH.

Then, in 1518, Petrus Galatinus, a Catholic priest born in the late 1400’s, published a work entitled DE ARCANIS CATHOLICAE VERITATIS (Concerning Secrets of the Universal Truth) in which he spelled God’s name IEHOUA.

…the name “Jehovah” first appeared in an English BIBLE in 1530, when William Tyndale published a translation of the Chumash (the first five books of the Bible). In this, he included the name of God, usually spelled IEHOUAH, in several verses (Genesis 15:2; Exodus 6:3; 15:3; 17:6; 23:17; 33:19; 34:23; Deuteronomy 3:24. Tyndale also included God’s name in Ezekiel 18:23 and 36:23 in his translations that were added at the end of THE NEW TESTAMENT, Antwerp, 1534), and in a note in this editon he wrote: “Iehovah is God’s name… moreover as oft as thou seist LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing) is is in Hebrew Iehovah.” (Please note as I told you previously, there was no “J” in English at this time; the J is a product of a stylized I; thus giving us the current Jehovah rather than the Old English Iehovah…)”
http://www.yhwh.com/jehovah.htm

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FW: Overshadowed by Enoch’s Greatness: “Two Tablets” Traditions from the Book of Giants to Palaea Historica

Overshadowed by Enoch’s Greatness: “Two Tablets” Traditions from the Book of Giants to Palaea Historica
[ published in the Journal for the Study of Judaism 32 (2001) 137-158]

By Andrei A. Orlov

Introduction
In Jewish Antiquities Josephus unveils a certain tradition according to which the descendants of Seth…

“…discovered the science of the heavenly bodies and their orderly array. Moreover, to prevent their discoveries from being lost to mankind and perishing before they become known – Adam having predicted a destruction of the universe, at one time by a violent fire and at another by a mighty deluge of water – they erected two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, and inscribed these discoveries on both; so that, if the pillar of brick disappeared in the deluge, that of stone would remain to teach men what was graven thereon and to inform them that they had also erected one of brick.”[1]

In previous studies, several scholars have noted that although Josephus refers to Seth and his progeny, some features of the “two stelae” story allude to peculiar roles and situations which Jewish lore traditionally associates with the seventh antediluvian patriarch Enoch. One of these features includes the fact that Josephus credited Seth’s descendants with the discovery of “the science of the heavenly bodies and their orderly array.” Scholars have noted that this role from ancient time was traditionally ascribed to Enoch,[2] who in various Enochic traditions is portrayed as an expert in cosmological, astronomical and carendarical secrets.
Another important detail in Josephus’ account is that the “two stelae” passage appears in Jewish Antiquities immediately before the story about the Giants. In 1:73 Josephus tells that “for many angels of God now consorted with women and beget sons who were overbearing and disdainful of every virtue, such confidence had they in their strength; in fact the deeds that tradition ascribes to them resemble the audacious exploits told by the Greeks of the giants.”[3] J. Vanderkam remarks that the author of Jewish Antiquities does not connect this “Enochic-sounding” tale with the seventh patriarch; “rather, he makes Noah preach to them – unsuccessfully.”[4] He further suggests that “it is not impossible that Josephus took his information from a source such as 1 Enoch 6-11, which mentions Noah but not Enoch.”[5] It appears that the suggestions of scholars about the connection between the “two stelae” narrative and some Enochic materials are valid and deserve further investigation.
Besides Josephus’ writings,[6] the two tablets/stelae tradition[7] appears in many other sources, including the Armenian History of the Forefathers and the Armenian Abel, the Latin Life of Adam and Eve, various Christian Chronographers, a fragment from Greek Palaea Historica, and some other materials.[8] Even a brief review of these documents shows that the “two stelae” narrative contains traces of Enochic traditions. The purpose of this article is to investigate these associations between the “two stelae” tradition and Enochic tradition.

I. “Shadows” of the Enochic Roles
Josephus’ account of the two stelae specifically credited the architects of the antediluvian pillars (in Josephus’ case, the Sethites[9]) with the discovery of the science of astronomy. It was noted earlier that this reference alludes to the seventh antediluvian patriarch, who, according to the Astronomical Book, first received such knowledge from the archangel Uriel during his celestial tour. A closer look at Josephus’ passage and other textual evidence associated with the “two stelae” traditions shows that the discovery of astronomy is not the only Enochic achievement that appears to be borrowed in the variety of these stories. It seems that the employment of different Enochic roles is not a rare feature of these traditions. This section of the research will seek therefore to uncover the hidden “shadows” of the Enochic roles that were implicitly preserved in the various “two stelae” narratives.

Foreknowledge of the Destruction of the World
An account of the Byzantine chronographer John Malalas is one of the many witnesses to the two stelae traditions in medieval Christian chronicles. In the two tablets’ story, in his Chronography 1:5, he seems to depend entirely on Josephus’ evidence.[10] However, his retelling helps to see some new angles in the familiar story. In his narration of Josephus’ account, Malalas points to the foreknowledge of the future destruction of the world as an important characteristic of the authors of the antediluvian stelae.[11] He stresses that “Seth’s descendants were god-fearing men and, having foreknowledge of the destruction, or change, that was then to affect mankind, made two tablets, the one of stone and the other of clay.”[12] Again, this motif of the foreknowledge of the future destruction of the earth returns us to some situations and roles associated with Enoch.
In Enochic traditions only a few prediluvian persons received revelation about the upcoming destruction of the world. Among them Enoch and Noah can be found. Although Noah is informed about the future destruction of the world, the specific function of writing down this revelation is usually assigned to Enoch, who in the Book of Watchers,[13] Jubilees, [14] and in the Book of Giants,[15] is often portrayed as the one who writes and delivers the warnings about the future destruction to the Watchers/Giants and to humans. An important detail in these Enochic traditions relevant to the “two stelae” story (which entertains the idea about dual destruction of the world by water and fire), is the fact that, in contrast to Noah who is informed about the Flood, Enoch, due to the specifics of his mediating affairs, also knows about the upcoming destruction of the Watchers/Giants by fire.

Art of Writing
Josephus’ passage pictures the descendants of Seth as the ones who inscribe astronomical discoveries on the pillars. It seems that the various “two stelae” stories seek to emphasize the scribal expertise of the Sethites by attributing to them even the invention of writing.
Although Josephus’ fragment does not say directly that the descendants of Seth invented writing, other “two stelae” accounts often do so. Thus, the Armenian Abel depicts Enosh as the one who invented the letters.[16] The anonymous chronicler included in the CSHB edition of John Malalas[17] and the Latin Life of Adam and Eve also point to the Sethites’ invention of the art of writing by referring to Seth as to the one “who devised the caps of letters.”[18]
Upon observing these references to the scribal activities of the various authors of the antediluvian stelae, one can easily recognize certain similarities to Enoch’s figure. As was noted earlier, he, similar to the Sethites, was also involved in producing of the antediluvian writings dedicated to the astronomical secrets.
The excursus about the unique scribal functions of the seventh antediluvian patriarch in the Enochic traditions can begin with the passage found in 2 Enoch 22. It provides a striking picture of Enoch’s initiation into the scribal activities which takes place near the Throne of Glory. During this initiation the Lord himself commands the archangel Vereveil to give a pen to Enoch so that he can write the mysteries explained to him by the angels. This tradition about the scribal functions of the patriarch is already documented in the earliest Enochic literature.[19] The Book of Giants fragments label Enoch as the distinguished scribe.[20] In Jub. 4:17, he is attested as the one who “learned (the art of) writing, instruction, and wisdom and who wrote down in a book the signs of the sky…”[21] In the Merkabah tradition, Enoch/Metatron is also depicted as a scribe who has a seat (later, a throne) in the heavenly realm.[22] The theme of Enoch/Metatron’s scribal functions became a prominent motif in the later Rabbinic tradition,where according to b. Hag. 15a, the privilege of “sitting” beside God was accorded solely to Metatron by virtue of his character as a “scribe”; for he was granted permission as a scribe to sit and write down the merits of Israel.

Dissemination and Preservation of the Celestial Knowledge
Josephus’ passage makes clear that the purpose of building the stelae was to preserve the astronomical knowledge for the postdiluvian generations. He writes that the Sethites wanted to build the pillars in order “to prevent their discoveries from being lost to mankind and perishing before they became known.”[23] A similar motif can be found in Enochic traditions where Enoch’s writings often serve for the same purpose of the preservation of knowledge in light of the impending flood. In 2 Enoch 33 the Lord tells Enoch that the main function of his writings is the dissemination of knowledge and its preservation from the impending catastrophe:

“And give them the books in your handwriting, and they will read them and they will acknowledge me as the Creator of everything… And let them distribute the books in your handwritings, children to children and family to family and kinfolk to kinfolk…. So I have commanded my angels, Ariukh and Pariukh, whom I have appointed to the earth as their guardians, and I commanded the seasons, so they might preserve them [books] so they might not perish in the future flood which I shall create in your generation.”[24]

Despite the apparent “esoteric” character of the knowledge conveyed by the angels and the Lord to the seventh antediluvian patriarch, the dissemination of this information remains one of the major functions of Enoch-Metatron in various Enochic traditions. They depict him as the one who shares astronomical, meteorological, carendarical, and eschatological knowledge with his sons and others during his short visit to the earth. He also delivers knowledge about future destruction to the Watchers/Giants. In the Merkabah tradition, Enoch-Metatron is also responsible for transmitting the highest secrets to the Princes under him, as well as to humankind. H. Kvanvig observes that “in Jewish tradition Enoch is primarily portrayed as a primeval sage,[25] the ultimate revealer of divine secrets.”[26]

Expertise in Astronomical and Calendar Science
Josephus credited the authors of the antediluvian stelae with the discovery of astronomical and apparently carendarical knowledge, since his passage contains the reference to the science of the heavenly bodies and “their orderly array.”[27] Another “two stelae” text, drawn from Michael Glycas, also refers to the Sethites discovery of the calendar. It reads that “the divine Uriel, descended to Seth and then to Enoch and taught them the distinction between hours, months, seasons and years…”[28] The “two stelae” traditions also claimed that the Sethites gave astronomical bodies their names. For example, the Armenian account of two stelae found in Abel explicitly supports this tradition by referring to Enosh, son of Seth, as the one who “called the planets by name.”[29] This tradition, with a reference to Josephus, is repeated in the Chronicle of John Malalas.[30] The account about the naming of the planets also appears in the anonymous chronicler included in the CSHB edition of John Malalas.[31] In this text Seth is the one who called the planets by name. The account even refers to the specific Greek names, which Seth gave to the planets.
The depictions of the Sethites’ achievements in astronomical science echoes traditional Enochic roles. Already in the early Enochic booklets of 1 Enoch, Enoch is portrayed as the one who learned the knowledge about the movements of the celestial bodies from archangel Uriel. In the Astronomical Book the knowledge and revelation of cosmological and astronomical secrets become major functions of the elevated Enoch. The origin of these roles in Enochic traditions can be traced to 1 Enoch 72:1, 74:2, and 80:1. In 1 Enoch 41:1 Enoch is depicted as the one who “saw all secrets of heaven…”[32] Jub. 4:17 also attests to this peculiar role of the seventh patriarch. A large portion of 2 Enoch is dedicated to Enoch’s initiation into the treasures of meteorological, calendarical and astronomical lore during his celestial tour. Later Merkabah developments also emphasize the role of Enoch as the “Knower of Secrets.” According to 3 Enoch 11:2, Enoch-Metatron is able to behold “deep secrets and wonderful mysteries.”[33]
Several scholars have noted the possible Enochic prototype behind the Sethites’ role as the experts in astronomical and carendarical science. M. Stone, remarking on the passage from Abel, observes that “the tradition connecting Seth with the invention of the names of the stars is unusual. It may be related to the more prevalent tradition attributing the invention of both writings and astronomy to Enoch.”[34]
In the distant past, R.H. Charles also noted that in the Byzantine chronicles many discoveries attributed to Seth reflect a transfer of “Enoch’s greatness to Seth.”[35] In reference to Charles’ comments, W. Adler observes that the tradition attested in the “two stelae” narrative of Josephus and widespread in the Byzantine chronicles “became the basis for the attribution to Seth of numerous revelations and discoveries, many of them precisely parallel to those imputed to Enoch.”[36]

Preaching to the Giants
It was observed earlier that in Josephus’ account the “two stelae” story is attached to the Watchers/Giants narrative. The author of Jewish Antiquities portrays Noah’s unsuccessful preaching to the Giants. J. Vanderkam notes that “it is not impossible that Josephus took his information from a source such as 1 Enoch 6-11, which mentions Noah but not Enoch, although in those chapters Noah does not try to improve the overbearing giants.”[37] Indeed, despite the fact that some traditions point to a possible close relationship between Noah and the Giants in view of his miraculous birth,[38] his “experience” in dealing with the Giants in Enochic traditions cannot be even compared with Enoch’s record. In various Enochic materials, Enoch is pictured as the special envoy of the Lord to the Watchers/Giants with a special, long-lasting mission to this rebellious group, both on earth and in other realms. The Book of Watchers depicts him as the intercessor to the fallen angels. According to Jub. 4:22, Enoch “…testified to the Watchers who had sinned with the daughters of men… Enoch testified against all of them.”[39] In the Book of Giants Enoch delivers the written “sermon,” reprimanding the Watchers/Giants’ sinful behavior and warning them about the upcoming punishment.[40] 2 Enoch 18 portrays Enoch’s “preaching” to the Watchers during his celestial tour, encouraging them to start the liturgy before the face of the Lord.[41]
An examination of the surviving evidences to the “two stelae” story shows that some of them attest to a tradition different from that attested in Josephus. Instead of Noah’s preaching to the Giants, they portray Enosh’s preaching to the sons of God. Two references about the preaching to the sons of God in the “two stelae” traditions are especially important. Both of them have been preserved in the Armenian language and include the Armenian History of the Forefathers and Abel.
The Armenian History of the Forefathers 40-44 deals with the two stelae story. In 45 the narrative continues with the description of Enosh’s preaching:

“40 Sixth, because he [Enosh] set up two pillars against the sons of Cain, these are hope and good works, which they did not have.
41 Seventh, that he made writings and wrote on stela(e) of baked brick and bronze, and he prophesied that the earth will pass through water and fire on account of the sins of humans. And he cast the baked brick into the water and the bronze into the fire, in order to test (them), if the fire was to come first, the bronze would melt, and if the water was to come first, the brick would be destroyed. And by this means he learned that the water was destined to come, and then fire. And these are a work of hope.
42 And the writings on the two stelae told the names of all things, for he knew that by lispers, stutterers and stammerers the language was destined to be corrupted.
43 And they confused and changed the names of the objects that had come into being, which Adam had named and fixed. On this account he wrote (them) on the two stelae and left them, so that if the water came first and destroyed the pillar of baked brick, the bronze writing and names of things would remain, so that after the flood and the passing of times it might come to use.
44 Likewise, also if the fiery flood[42] and the bronze (i.e., stele) melted and ruined the writing, the earthen one might remain more baked. And this is a true action of hope.
45 Eighth, that Enosh preached to his sons to take on a celibate and immaculate way of life, for the sake of the just recompense of God. Two hundred persons, having learned this from him, remembered the life of paradise and established a covenant for themselves to live purely. And they were called “sons of God” on account of hope and of being busy with heavenly desire. For the glory of Christ, our hope.”[43]

The Armenian Abel also portrays Enosh as the author of the stelae. However, in contrast to the previous text, it connects the tradition about the sons of God with Enoch and his prediluvian writings that survived the Flood:

“4.3 However, we found that Enosh, son of Seth, made the letter(s) and called the planets by name.
4.4 And he prophesied that this world would pass away twice, by water and by fire. And he made two stelae, of bronze and of clay, and he wrote upon them the names of the parts of creation which Adam had called. He said, “If it passes away by water, then the bronze (will) remain, and if by fire, then the fired clay.”
4.5 And they were called true sons of God because God loved them, before they fornicated.
4.6 By this writing the vision of Enoch was preserved, he who was transferred to immortality. And after the Flood, Arpachshad made Chaldean writing from it, and from the others (were made).”[44]

Several details in these two Armenian accounts about the preaching to the sons of God are important for establishing possible connections with Enochic traditions:
1. Both texts use the terminology of “sons of God”;
2. History of the Forefathers applies this term to the audience of Enosh’s preaching;
3. History of the Forefathers also specifies the number of the sons of God as two hundred persons;
4. Abel 4.5 describes the sons of God as those whom God loved before they fornicated;
5. History of the Forefathers 45 refers to the possible angelic status of the sons of God, describing them as those who “remembered the life of paradise” and “being busy with the heavenly desire.”[45]
An important characteristic in both texts is the reference to the “sons of God.” Who are these sons of God? In the Bible the term can be traced to the Giants story in Gen 6. Scholars, however, note that in later Christian accounts the term “the sons of God” was often used in reference to the Sethites.[46] They also note the peculiar tendency to equate the Watchers and the Sethites in various accounts of the “two stelae” tradition.[47] It is quite possible that the authors of the two Armenian accounts understand the sons of God to be the Sethites. It is also evident that the prototype of the story was connected with the Watchers’ story and Enoch’s preaching to them. Several details in the texts point to this connection. First, History of the Forefathers 45 defines the number of “the sons of God” as two hundred. In Enochic traditions this numeral appears often in reference to the number of the Watchers who descended on Mount Hermon.[48] Another important feature in the Armenian accounts is the description of the sons of God as those whom God loves before they fornicated. It may allude to the exalted status of the Watchers and their leaders before their descent on Mount Hermon.
The important aspect of the preaching story found in History of the Forefathers 45 involves the question why instead of Noah or Enoch this text depicts Enosh as the one who preaches to the sons of God. It is possible that Enoch’s name here was misplaced with that of Enosh. M. Stone observes that Enosh and Enoch are often confused in the Armenian tradition.[49] It is noteworthy that the story about the sons of God found in Abel uses Enoch instead of Enosh. It might refer to the Enochic background of the Armenian accounts. The “two stelae” tradition from the Latin Life of Adam and Eve further supports our contention. Chapter 53 of the Life also has the passage about Enoch’s “preaching” immediately after the “two stelae” account.[50]
II. Enochic Authorship of the Tablets
Palaea’s Account
In Palaea Historica,[51] the Byzantine medieval compendium, the following passage, referring to Enoch’s authorship of the two tablets can be found:

“Concerning Enoch. Enoch was born and became a good and devout man, who fulfilled God’s will and was not influenced by the counsels of the giants. For there were giants (on earth) at that time. And Enoch was translated (to heaven) by God’s command, and no one saw [how] his removal [happened].
Concerning Noah. In the days when the giants were around and did not want to glorify God, a man was born whose name was Noah, who was devout and feared God, and like Enoch he was not influenced by the giants’ counsels….
… When the giants heard that the righteous Noah was building an ark for the Flood, they laughed at him. But Enoch, who was still around, was also telling the giants that the earth would either be destroyed by fire or by water. And the righteous Enoch was doing nothing else but sitting and writing on marble (tablets) and on bricks the mighty works of God which had happened from the beginning. For he used to say: “If the earth is destroyed by fire, the bricks will be preserved to be a reminder [for those who come after] of the mighty works of God which have happened from the beginning; and if the earth is destroyed by water, the marble tablets will be preserved.” And Enoch used to warn the giants about many things, but they remained stubborn and impenitent, nor did they want to glorify the Creator, but instead each [of them] walked in his own will of the flesh…”[52]

A glance at the Palaea fragment shows that it is completely different from the previous “two stelae” accounts based on Josephus’ story. The main distinction is that Enoch, who in the Sethites’ accounts occupied a peripheral role, stays now in the center of his own authentic narrative. The fact that the preaching to the Giants preceded the writing of the stelae emphasizes that the focus of the story was changed and the proper order of the events was restored.
This leads to important corrections. Unlike the Sethites in Josephus’ account, Enoch does not try to preserve only one facet of the prediluvian knowledge, astronomical or calendar, but attempts to save the whole totality of the celestial knowledge, as it was commanded to him by the Lord in some Enochic accounts. Just as in 2 Enoch, he writes about everything that happened before him.
In contrast to the Sethites’ account, the Palaea does not mention the name of Adam. In the Sethites’ “two stelae” stories, Adam serves as the mediator of the divine revelation, through whom the Sethites receive the knowledge about the future destruction of the earth. The Palaea does not refer to the Adamic tradition, since Enoch and Noah, unlike the Sethites, have direct revelation from God about the upcoming destruction.
These differences indicate that the author of the passage in Palaea Historica seems to draw on traditions different from those represented in Josephus. It is also evident that the stories in Palaea and Josephus[53] rely on the common source in which Noah’s figure was exalted.[54] In the Josephus account, however, the Noachic tradition[55] appears to be overwritten by the Adamic tradition.[56] In the Pseudepigrapha and the Qumran writings, the Adamic and Priestly-Noah tradition often compete with and suppress each other.[57] The “two stelae” story from Jewish Antiquities might contain the traces of such polemics.
Water and Fire
Among the several two stelae/tablets stories we have examined, the passage from Palaea Historica baffles the reader more than the others. It portrays Enoch unceasingly writing on the tablets made from marble and brick. The depiction takes place in the midst of the Noachic narrative where the theme of the Flood comes to the fore. The reference to the tablets for the fire destruction therefore appears puzzling since the assurance of the approaching Flood makes them completely unnecessary. Why does Enoch need the tablets made from the two types of material if it is already certain that the earth will perish inevitably in the imminent Flood?
The answer to these questions can possibly be found by reference to the Book of Giants, where the theme of the Enochic tablets also looms large. Although the temporal locus of this narrative appears to be placed before the approaching Flood, it seems to entertain the idea of the dual destruction of the world, by water and by fire.
One of the Qumran Aramaic fragments of the Book of Giants (4Q530) depicts a dream in which a giant sees the destruction of a certain “garden” by water and fire.[58] Most scholars take this symbolic dream to signify the upcoming destruction of the world by water and fire. J. Reeves observes that “the Qumran passage reflects an eschatological conception[59] well attested in the Hellenistic era of a dual cosmic destruction, one of which employs water (mabbul shel mayim) and the other fire (mabbul shel ’esh).”[60]
In their analysis of the dream about the destruction of the garden, scholars have tried to establish a connection between the material from 4Q530 and the late Rabbinic text known as the Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael.[61] This rabbinic account was allegedly a part of the no longer extant Midrash Abkir.[62] Some scholars point to striking similarities between Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael and the dream from 4Q530.[63] Similarly to 4Q530, the midrash also portrays the giant’s dream about the destruction of the garden in a way that symbolizes the destruction of the world.[64]
The Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael has survived in several manuscripts,[65] including the composition known as the Chronicles of Jerahmeel. It is noteworthy that in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, the Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael is situated between two almost identical stories connected with the “two stelae” tradition. In M. Gaster’s edition[66] of the Chronicles, the Midrash Shemhazai and Azael occupies chapter 25. In chapter 24, the following story can be found:

“… Jubal discovered the science of music, whence arose all the tunes for the above two instruments. This art is very great. And it came to pass, when he heard of the judgments which Adam prophesied concerning the two trials to come upon his descendants by the flood, the destruction and fire, he wrote down the science of music upon two pillars, one of white marble, and the other of brick, so that it one would melt and crumble away on account of the water, the other would be saved. 24:6-9.”[67]

In chapter 26 of Gaster’s edition, right after the Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael, the story about the two pillars is repeated again[68] in a slightly different form.[69] The second time, it is placed before the account about Enoch and the Flood.[70]
An important detail in Jubal’s fragments is that they do not connect the “two stelae” narrative with the Sethites, the constant feature of the stories based on the Josephus account.[71] Jubal represents the Cainites. Both texts from the Chronicles of Jerahmeel do not seem to object to this line of descent. Jubal, as well as the Sethites, knows about Adam’s prophecy. The reference to Adam in Jubal’s story might indicate that the main theological concern of the writers/editors of the “two stelae” accounts was not the prominent role of the Sethites, but rather Adam’s prophecy about the upcoming destruction of the earth. Here again the traces of the Adamic tradition(s) are clearly observable.
It was mentioned earlier that the Book of Giants entertains the idea of the dual destruction of the world, by water and fire. Although the Bible and the Pseudepigrapha commonly refer to the Flood they rarely use the image of the earth’s destruction by fire. It also appears that the Enochic Watchers/Giants account is one of the few places in intertestamental Jewish literature where the necessity of such fire annihilation finds a consistent theological explanation. In spite of the fragmentary nature of the extant materials, they nevertheless are able to demonstrate the complexity of the theme in the Book of Giants.
It should be noted that the allusions to the future judgment by fire are not confined only to the Aramaic portions found at Qumran. The fragments of the Book of Giants which have survived in other languages give additional details of this theme in the book.[72] They include several Manichaean fragments in Middle-Persian, Partian, and Coptic which address the motif the annihilation of the world by fire.[73]

Tablets
We mentioned earlier that there are some indications that the theme of the Enochic tablets play quite a prominent role in the Book of Giants. Unfortunately, the fragmentary character of the extant materials does not allow us to draw a coherent picture of the “tablets” tradition in this enigmatic text. It is important, however, to emphasize several features of this theme relevant to the subject of our investigation:
1. It is clear that the story of the tablets represents a major theme in the original Book of Giants. In a relatively small amount of the extant Qumran materials of the Book of Giants, the contextual reference to the tablet(s) occurs six times in three fragments: 2Q26;[74]4Q203 7BII,[75] and 4Q203 8.[76] The tablets are also mentioned in the Sundermann fragment of the Manichaean Book of Giants[77] and in the Midrash of Shemhazai and Azael.[78]
2. Several fragments of the Book of Giants refer to two tablets. The two tablets are addressed in 4Q203 7 BII and 4Q203 8. This number of tablets also occurs in the Middle Persian fragment of the Book of Giants published by W. Sundermann.[79]
3. The extant materials ascribe the authorship of the tablets to Enoch. 4Q203 8 refers to a “copy of the seco[n]d tablet of [the] le[tter…] by the hand of Enoch, the distinguished scribe…”[80] Enoch is described as the distinguished scribe. He is also portrayed as the one who copied the tablets, since the reference to a “copy of the seco[n]d tablet” in 4Q203 8:3-4 occurs in conjunction with his name.
4. The reference to Enoch’s copying of the tablet is quite intriguing, since “copying” plays a decisive role in various two tablets/stelae materials mentioned in our research earlier, which are construed around the idea of the duplication of the tablets in various materials.
5. In conclusion to this section, it should be noted that the Book of Giants’ materials seem to contain traces of a more developed and multifaceted tradition about the tablets than the later “two tablets” accounts. In the Book of Giants copying is only one of the several roles Enoch has in relation to the tablets. In this text the theme of tablets seems closely connected with other traditional roles of the elevated Enoch such as those of Mediator[81] and the Witness of the Divine Judgment.[82] These Enochic roles are reflected in the peculiar functions of the tablets in the Book of Giants. The tablets serve as a record of accusations against the Watchers/Giants, representing the written account of their sins.[83] The tablets are also a mediating tool in the dialogue between God and Watchers/Giants via the representatives of the both parties – Enoch and Mahaway.[84] These peculiar functions are only slightly hinted at later tablet traditions.[85] The later “two tablets” traditions seem primarily preoccupied with the idea of copying, where the tablets are portrayed as the specific means for the preservation of knowledge in the impending catastrophe. They therefore appear to represent only one facet of the complicated story of the Enochic tablets.

Conclusion
1. The first part of our research deals with the “two stelae” stories based on the Josephus account. Our analysis of these accounts shows that they contain traces of the Enochic traditions. It appears that these “two stelae” stories interact with Enochic traditions by way of attributing various Enochic roles to the alleged “authors” of the antediluvian stelae. These “authors” are usually portrayed as the Sethites. The attribution involves substantial rewriting of the original Enochic motifs and themes. The analysis also shows that the interaction of “two stelae” stories with Enochic traditions seems to involve some details of the Watchers/Giants’ story.
2. The passage found in Jewish Antiquities and the stories which are based on this account demonstrate the influence of the Adamic tradition(s). In these accounts Adam’s prophecy about the upcoming destruction of the earth serves as the reason for the making of the antediluvian stelae.
3. It also possible that despite the decisive formative influence Josephus’ account had on the subsequent “two stelae” stories, it itself represents the Adamic revision of the original two stelae/tablets account based on Noachic/Enochic traditions. Noah’s preaching to the Giants in Josephus’ account, the host of Enochic roles, and remnants of the Watchers/Giants story in various “two stelae” narratives may point to the Noachic/Enochic prototype.
4. It is possible that the Noachic/Enochic prototext was dedicated neither to the Sethites nor the Cananites who followed Adam’s instructions, but rather to Enoch and Noah.
5. The tradition preserved in Palaea Historica might directly derive from this Noachic/Enochic original, which has not undergone Adamic revisions.
6. It is possible that some “two stelae” accounts might be connected with, or maybe even derived from, traditions similar to the Book of Giants. The circulating of materials related to the Book of Giants traditions in medieval Christian milieux does not seem impossible. W. Adler observes that some passages found in Syncellus “imply the existence of some work circulating in the name of the Giants.”[86] He also demonstrates that such references sometimes occur in connection with the two stelae/tablets traditions.[87]
7. In an attempt to find possible antecedents for the two tablets story in the known Noachic/Enochic materials the tablet tradition(s) preserved in the Book of Giants fragments were explored.
8. While our comparative analysis of the “two stelae” traditions with materials from the Book of Giants revealed some suggestive similarities, it is evident that the extremely fragmentary character of the extant materials from the Book of Giants cannot give us definite evidence about the presence of the two stelae/tablets tradition in the original document.


[1] Josephus, Jewish Antiquities (LCL; tr. H.S.J. Thackeray; Cambridge: Harvard University Press/London: Heinemann, 1967 ) 4.33.
[2] J. VanderKam observes that in the passage about the discovery of astronomical learnings, Josephus “attributes the achievement not to Enoch but, instead, to the descendants of Seth.”J. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for All Generations (Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1995) 153. H.S.J. Thackeray also notes the “Enochic role” in Josephus’ passage. See: Josephus, Jewish Antiquities (LCL; tr. H.S.J. Thackeray; Cambridge: Harvard University Press/London: Heinemann, 1967 ) 4.32.
[3] Josephus, Jewish Antiquities (LCL; tr. H.S.J. Thackeray; Cambridge: Harvard University Press/London: Heinemann, 1967 ) 4.35.
[4] J. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for All Generations, 153.
[5] J. VanderKam, Enoch: A Man for All Generations, 153.
[6] Another important early source about the antediluvian stelae is Jub. 8:1-3. On the tablets’ tradition in the Book of Jubilees see: F. García Martínez, “The Heavenly Tablets in the Book of Jubilees,” in: Studies in the Book of Jubilees (eds. M. Albani et al.; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1997) 243-60. On the antediluvian writings see also: R. Eppel, “Les tables de la loi et les tables célestes” RHPhR 17 (1937) 401-12; P. Grelot, “La légende d’Hénoch dans les apocryphes et dans la Bible: origine et signification” RSR 46 (1958) 9-13; M. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism (2 vols.; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974) 1.242-43; H. L. Jansen, Die Henochgestalt: Eine vergleichende religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung (Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo II. Hist.-Filos. Klasse, 1; Oslo: Dybwad, 1939) 28ff; S.M. Paul, “Heavenly Tablets and the Book of Life” JANES 5 (1973) 345-52; W. Speyer, Bucherfunde in der Glaubenswerbung der Antike (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970) 110-24.
[7] On the “two stelae” traditions see: W. Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus (Dumbarton Oaks Studies, 26; Washington: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1989); D. Flusser, “Palaea Historica – An Unknown Source of Biblical Legends,” Studies in Aggadah and Folk-Literature (eds. J. Heinemann and D. Noy; Scripta Hierosolymitana, 22; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1971) 51-2; S.D. Fraade, Enosh and His Generation (SBLMS, 30; Atlanta: Scholars, 1984) 19, 25-6; L. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955) 1.120-22, 5.148-50; A.F.J. Klijn, Seth in Jewish, Christian and Gnostic Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1977) 24-5, 121-23; S. Rappaport, Agada und Exegese bei Flavius Josephus (Frankfurt a. M.: Kauffmann, 1930) 6-9, 87-90; M. E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 151, 198; M.E. Stone, “Selections from ‘On the Creation of the World’ by Yovhannes Tulkuranci,” Literature on Adam and Eve.(eds. G. Anderson et al.; SVTP, 15; Leiden: Brill, 2000) 210.
[8] The Biblical concept of the two tablets, found in Ex 31-34, transcends the boundaries of the current research.
[9] On the figure of Seth and Sethian traditions see: T. Gluck, The Arabic Legend of Seth, the Father of Mankind (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1968); A. Klijn, Seth in Jewish, Christian and Gnostic Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1977); R. Kraft, “Philo on Seth: Was Philo Aware of Traditions Which Exalted Seth and His Progeny?” The Rediscovery of Gnosticism (ed. B. Layton; Supplements to Numen, XLI; Leiden: Brill, 1981) 457-8; G. MacRae, “Seth in Gnostic Texts and Traditions,” in SBLSP 11 (1977) 24-43; B. Pearson, “The Figure of Seth in Gnostic Literature,” The Rediscovery of Gnosticism (ed. B. Layton; Supplements to Numen, XLI; Leiden: Brill, 1981) 472-504; E.C. Quinn, The Quest of Seth for the Oil of Life (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1962); M. Stone, “Report on Seth traditions in the Armenian Adam Books,” The Rediscovery of Gnosticism (ed. B. Layton; Supplements to Numen, XLI; Leiden: Brill, 1981) 459-71.
[10] E. Jeffreys, M. Jeffreys & R. Scott, The Chronicle of John Malalas (Byzantina Australiensia, 4; Melbourne: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1986).
[11] Another Christian chronographer, George the Monk, also notices this feature: “…For the descendants of Seth had been warned in advance from on high about the coming destruction of mankind, and made two stelae, one of stone, the other of brick; and they wrote on them all the celestial knowledge set forth their father Seth, … as Josephus says.” Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 215. For the Greek text see: Georgii Monachi Chronicon (2 vols.; ed. C. de Boor; Leipzig: Teubner, 1904) 1.10.
[12] E. Jeffreys, M. Jeffreys & R. Scott, The Chronicle of John Malalas (Byzantina Australiensia, 4; Melbourne: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1986) 4.
[13] See 1 Enoch 12-14.
[14] See Jub. 4:23.
[15] See 4Q203 8: “scri[be…] […] Copy of the seco[n]d tablet of [the] le[tter…] by the hand of Enoch, the distinguished scribe […] and holy (one), to Shemihazah and to all [his] com[panions…] You should know th[at] no[t…] and your deeds and those of your wives […] they [and the]ir sons and the wives o[f their sons…] for [yo]ur prostitution in the [l]and. It will happen [t]o yo[u…] and lodges a complaint against you and against the deeds of your sons […] the corruption with which you have corrupted it. […] until the coming of Raphael. Behold, destruction […] and which are in the deserts and whi[ch] are in the seas. And tear loose [the] totality [of…] upon you for evil. Now, then, unfasten your chains which ti[e (you)…] and pray. […].” F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 1.411.
[16] However, we found that Enosh, son of Seth, made the letter(s) and called the planets by name. And he prophesied that this world would pass away twice, by water and by fire. And he made two stelae, of bronze and of clay, and he wrote upon them the names of the parts of creation which Adam had called. He said, ‘If it passes away by water, then the bronze (will) remain, and if by fire, then the fired clay.’”M. E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP 14 ; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 151.
[17] Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (ed. L. Dindorf; CSHB; Bonn: Weber, 1831) 5.
[18] A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve.(2nd rev.ed.; eds. G. Anderson and M. Stone; Early Judaism and Its Literature, 17; Atlanta: Scholars, 1999) 96E.
[19] In 1 Enoch 74:2, Enoch writes the instructions of the angel Uriel regarding the secrets of heavenly bodies and their movements. M. Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch: A New Edition in the Light of the Aramaic Dead Sea Fragments (2 vols; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978) 2.173. Adler draws the reader’s attention to an interesting passage from M. Glycas which refers to Uriel’s instruction to Seth in a manner similar to Uriel’s revelation of the calendarical and astronomical secrets to Enoch in the Astronomical Book of 1 Enoch. “It is said that the angel stationed among the stars, that is the divine Uriel, descended to Seth and then to Enoch and taught them the distinctions between hours, months, seasons, and years.” Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 105. For the Greek text see: Michaelis Glycae Annales (ed. I. Bekker; CSHB; Bonn; Weber, 1836) 228.
[20] 4Q203 8: “…Copy of the seco[n]d tablet of [the] le[tter…] by the hand of Enoch, the distinguished scribe…” F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 1.411.
[21] J.C. VanderKam, The Book of Jubilees (2 vols.; CSCO 510-11, Scriptores Aethiopici 87-88; Leuven: Peeters, 1989) 2.25-6.
[22] This tradition can be seen already in 2 Enoch 23:4-6, which depicts the angel Vereveil commanding Enoch tosit down: “‘You sit down; write everything….’ And Enoch said, ‘And I sat down for a second period of 30 days and 30 nights, and I wrote accurately.’” F. Andersen, “2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 vols.; ed. J.H. Charlesworth; New York: Doubleday, 1985 [1983]) 1.141.
[23] Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 4.33.
[24] F. Andersen, “2 (Slavonic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 vols.; ed. J.H. Charlesworth; New York: Doubleday, 1985 [1983]) 1.156.
[25] On Enoch’s role as the knower of the secrets see: Andrei A. Orlov, “Secrets of Creation in 2 (Slavonic) EnochHenoch (forthcoming).
[26] H.S. Kvanvig, Roots of Apocalyptic: the Mesopotamian Background of the Enoch Figure and of the Son of Man (WMANT, 61; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988) 27.
[27] Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 4.33.
[28] Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 105; Michaelis Glycae Annales (ed. I. Bekker; CSHB; Bonn; Weber, 1836) 228.
[29] M. E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 151.
[30] “…the names which Seth, the son of Adam, and his children had given the stars, as the most learned Josephus has written in the second book of his Archeology.” E. Jeffreys, M. Jeffreys & R. Scott, The Chronicle of John Malalas (Byzantina Australiensia, 4; Melbourne: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1986) 4.
[31] Ioannis Malalae Chronographia (ed. L. Dindorf; CSHB; Bonn: Weber, 1831) 5-6.
[32] M. Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch (2 vols; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978) 2.128.
[33] P. Alexander “3 (Hebrew Apocalypse of) Enoch,” The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. J.H. Charlesworth; New York: Doubleday, 1985 [1983]) 1.264.
[34] M. E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 151.
[35] APOT 2.18.
[36] Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 105.
[37] Vanderkam, Enoch: A Man for All Generation, 153.
[38] J. Reeves, “Utnapishtim in the Book of Giants?” JBL 12 (1993) 110-15
[39] Vanderkam, The Book of Jubilees, 2.27-28.
[40] See 4Q203 8.
[41] Andersen, 1.130-33.
[42] b. Sanh. 108b refers to a flood of water and a flood of fire. See Klijn, 122.
[43] M.E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 198-200.
[44] M. E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 151-2.
[45] M. Stone observes that the Sethites are often called angels in some Greek patristic and Byzantine sources. Cf. M. E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 150.
[46] M.E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 150. Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 113-116. For a Christian interpretation of the “sons of God” see Fraade, Enosh and His Generation, 47-107.
[47] Cf. Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 92.
[48] Cf. 1 Enoch 6:6: “And they were in all two hundred, and they came down on Ardis which is the summit of Mount Hermon.” M. Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch (2 vols.; Oxford: Clarendon, 1978) 2.68.
[49] M. E. Stone, Armenian Apocrypha Relating to Adam and Eve (SVTP, 14; Leiden: Brill, 1996) 151.
[50] “On these stones was found what Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied before the flood about the coming of Christ: “Behold the Lord will come in his sanctuary (in his holy soldiers, in his soldiers, in his holy clouds?) to render judgment on all and to accuse the impious of all their works by which they have spoken concerning him – sinners, impious murmurers, and the irreligious who have lived according to their feelings of desire, and whose mouths have spoken pridefully.” A Synopsis of the Books of Adam and Eve.(2nd rev. ed.; eds. G. Anderson and M. Stone; Early Judaism and Its Literature, 17; Atlanta: Scholars, 1999) 96E. For the Latin text of Vita, see also: W. Meyer, “Vita Adae et Evae” Abhandlungen der königlichen Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, philsoph.-philologische Klasse (Munich, 1878) 14.3: 185-250; J.H. Mozley, “The Vitae Adae” JTS 30 (1929) 121-49.
[51] On Palaea Historica see: D. Flusser, “Palaea Historica – An Unknown Source of Biblical Legends” Studies in Aggadah and Folk-Literature (eds. J. Heinemann and D. Noy; Scripta Hierosolymitana, 22; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1971) 48-79; M.N. Speranskij, Is istorii russko-slavjanskih literaturnyh svjazei (Moscow: 1960) 104-47; Émile Turdeanu, Apocryphes Slaves et Roumains de L’Ancien Testament (Leiden: Brill, 1981) 392-403; V. Tvorogov, “Paleja Istoricheskaja” in: Slovar’ knizhnikov i knizhnosti Drevnei Rusi (Vtoraja polovina XIV-XVI v.) (2 vols.; ed. D.S. Lihachev; Leningrad: Nauka, 1989) 2.160-61; On various manuscripts of Palaea Historica cf. A.Vassiliev, Anecdota Graeco-Byzantina (Moscow, 1893) L-LI.
[52] A.Vassiliev, Anecdota Graeco-Byzantina (Moscow, 1893) 196-98.
[53] One will recall that the Josephus account has Noah, rather than Enoch, preach to the Giants.
[54] In Palaea the story of Noah looms large. The two tablets story is situated in the middle of a large Noachic account which occupies three chapters in Palaea Historica. Unfortunately, in our presentation of the Palaea fragment, we were unable to reproduce this lengthy Noachic narrative. For the full text of the Noachic account see A.Vassiliev, Anecdota Graeco-Byzantina (Moscow, 1893) 196-200.
[55] On Noachic traditions see: M. Bernstein, “Noah and the Flood at Qumran,” The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls: Technological Innovations, New Texts, and Reformulated Issues (eds. D.W. Parry and E. Ulrich; STDJ 30; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 199-231; D. Dimant, “Noah in Early Jewish Literature,” Biblical Figures Outside the Bible (eds. M.E. Stone and T.A. Bergren; Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1998) 123-50; F. García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic (STDJ 9; Leiden: Brill, 1992) 24-44; F. García Martínez, “Interpretation of the Flood in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Interpretations of the Flood (eds. F. García Martínez and G.P. Luttikhuizen; TBN 1; Leiden: Brill, 1998) 86-108; H. Kvanvig, Roots of Apocalyptic. The Mesopotamian Background of the Enoch Figure and the Son of Man (WMANT 61; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1988) 242-54; J. Lewis, A Study of the Interpretation of Noah and the Flood in Jewish and Christian Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1968); A. Orlov, “‘Noah’s Younger Brother’: The Anti-Noachic Polemics in 2 EnochHenoch 22 (2000) (forthcoming); J. Reeves, “Utnapishtim in the Book of Giants?” JBL 12 (1993) 110-15; J.M. Scott, “Geographic Aspects of Noachic Materials in the Scrolls of Qumran,” The Scrolls and the Scriptures: Qumran Fifty Years After (eds. S.E. Porter and C.E. Evans; JSPS 26; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997) 368-81; R.C. Steiner, “The Heading of the Book of the Words of Noah on a Fragment of the Genesis Apocryphon: New Light on a ‘Lost’ Work,” DSD 2 (1995) 66-71; M. Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds. E. Chazon and M. E. Stone; STDJ 31; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 133-49; M. Stone, “Noah, Books of,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem: Keter, 1971) 12.1198; J. VanderKam, “The Righteousness of Noah,” Ideal Figures in Ancient Judaism: Profiles and Paradigms (eds. J. J. Collins and G.W.E. Nickelsburg; SBLSCS 12; Chico: Scholars Press, 1980) 13-32; J. VanderKam, “The Birth of Noah,” Intertestamental Essays in Honor of Jósef Tadeusz Milik (ed. Z.J. Kapera; Qumranica Mogilanensia 6; Krakow: The Enigma Press, 1992) 213-31; Cana Werman, “Qumran and the Book of Noah” Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds. E. Chazon and M. E. Stone; STDJ 31; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 171-81.
[56] The influence of the Adamic tradition(s) can be found in the majority of the two stelae stories which are based on the Josephus account.
[57] See M. Stone, “The Axis of History at Qumran,” Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha in the Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds. E. Chazon and M.E. Stone; STDJ 31; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 133-49.
[58] 4Q530: “…Then two of them dreamed dreams, and the sleep of their eyes and come to […] their dreams. And he said in the assembly of [his frien]ds, the Nephilin, […in] my dream; I have seen in this night […] gardeners and they were watering […] numerous roo[ts] issued from their trunk […] I watched until tongues of fire from […] all the water and the fire burned in all […] Here is the end of the dream.” F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 2.1063.
[59] Some scholars point to a possible Mesopotamian background in this imagery of the dual destruction of the world. Cf. Klijn, Seth in Jewish, Christian and Gnostic Literature, 24, 123; J. Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmology: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions (Monographs of the Hebrew Union College, 14; Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992) 145.
[60] Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmology, 88.
[61] Milik, The Books of Enoch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976) 321-330; Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmology, 86-7; Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran Texts, Translation, and Commentary (TSAJ, 63; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1997) 114-15.
[62] On Midrash Abkir see: H.L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (Edinburg: T&T Clark, 1991) 341; A. Marmorstein, “Midrash Abkir” Debir 1 (1923) 113-44.
[63] For a detailed discussion of the similarities see: Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmology, 86-7. For the criticism of Reeves’ position see: L. Stuckenbruck, The Book of Giants from Qumran: Texts, Translation, and Commentary (TSAJ, 63; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1997) 115.
[64] Milik, The Books of Enoch, 328.
[65] Cf. J.D. Eisenstein, Otzar midrashim (2 vols.; New York: J.D. Eisenstein, 1915) 2.549-50; A. Jellinek, Bet ha-Midrasch (Jerusalem, 1938) 4.127-28; Ch. Albeck, Midrash Bereshit Rabbati (Jerusalem, 1940) 29-31; R. Martini, Pugio Fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos (Leipzig, 1687) 937-39.
[66] The Chronicles of Jerahmeel (tr. M. Gaster; Oriental Translation Fund, 4; London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1899).
[67] The Chronicles of Jerahmeel (tr. M. Gaster; Oriental Translation Fund, 4; London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1899) 51.
[68] M. Gaster in his commentary on both passages about the two tablets’ tradition noted that “…in chapter 26 our compiler seems to have intercalated from the middle of paragraph 15 on to the end of 20 a tradition that occurs once before in chapter 24, paragraph 6-9, and which is missing in the Latin. It is not at all improbable that this portion belongs to the old original.” The Chronicles of Jerahmeel, lxxv.
[69] “…Jubal heard the prophesy of Adam concerning two judgments about to come upon the world by means of the flood, the dispersion and fire, that he wrote down the science of music upon two pillars, one of fine white marble and the other of brick, so that in the event of the one melting and being destroyed by the waters, the other would be saved. 26:15-20.” The Chronicles of Jerahmeel, 56.
[70] “…and Enoch – who was the author of many writings – walked with God, and was no more, for God had taken him away and placed him in the Garden of Eden, where he will remain until Elijah shall appear and restore the hearts of the fathers to the children. And the Flood took place.” The Chronicles of Jerahmeel, 57.
[71] Another distinctive feature in Jubal’s story is that it refers to white marble as one of the materials used for the stelae. As far as I know, the only other text that refers to this component in the “two stelae” stories is Enoch’s account from Palaea Historica.
[72] Additional evidence that the motif of fire destruction played an important role in the Book of Giants is a passage from George Syncellus, which some scholars believe might be related to the textual tradition of the Book of Giants. See: Milik, The Books of Enoch, 318-20; Adler, Time Immemorial, 179. Syncellus’ fragment describes the fire destruction of Mount Hermon, the prominent topos where the Watchers’ descent once took place. The text preserved in Syncellus reads: “…and again, concerning the mountain, on which they swore and bound themselves by oath, the one to the other, not to withdraw from it for all eternity: There will be descend on it neither cold, nor snow, nor frost, nor dew, unless they descend on it in malediction, until the day of the Great Judgment. At that time it will be burned and brought low, it will be consumed and melted down, like wax by fire. Thus it will be burned as a result of all its works….” Milik, The Books of Enoch, 318. For the critical edition of the text see: Georgius Syncellus, Ecloga Chronographica (ed. A.A. Mosshammer; Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana; Leipzig: Teubner, 1984) 26-7. The story of fire destruction of Mount Hermon in Syncellus echoes 1 Enoch 10:13-16, where God tells Michael that He has prepared the destruction by fire for the Watchers.
[73] The first group of fragments is connected with the final fire punishment of “sinners” (in Henning’s opinion, “sinners” represent the Watchers and the Giants) under the eyes of the Righteous. Henning believes that this group of texts belonged to the Kawân. F – “(Col. D) …sinners…is visible, where out of this fire your soul will be prepared (for the transfer) to eternal ruin (?). And as for you, sinful misbegotten sons of the Wrathful Self, cofounders of the true words of that Holy One, disturbers of the action of Good Deed, aggressors upon Piety,…-ers of the Living…, who their…
(Col. E)… and on brilliant wings they shall fly and soar further outside and above that Fire, and shall gaze into its depth and height. And those Righteous that will stand around it, outside and above, they themselves shall have power over that Great Fire, and over everything in it…blaze…souls that…
(Col.F)…they are purer and stronger [than the] Great Fire of Ruin that sets the worlds ablaze. They shall stand around it, outside and above, and splendor shall shine over them. Further outside and above it they shall fly (?) after those souls that may try to escape from the Fire. And that…” W.B. Henning, “The Book of the Giants” BSOAS 11 (1943-46) 68. Several other Manichaean fragments allude to the motif of the fire annihilation of the world. They include a Parthian fragment about the Great Fire and a Coptic fragment from Manichaean Psalm book where the name of Enoch is mentioned: N – “And the story about the Great Fire: like unto (the way in which) the Fire, with powerful wrath, swallows this world and enjoys it…;” Q -“The Righteous who were burnt in the fire, they endured. This multitude that were wiped out, four thousand … Enoch also, the Sage, the transgressors being…” W.B. Henning, “The Book of the Giants” BSOAS 11 (1943-46) 72.
[74] 2Q26 “[…and] they washed the tablet to er[ase…] […] and the water rose above the [tab]let […] […] and they lifted the tablet from the water, the tablet which […] […]…[…] to them all […].” F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 1.221.
[75] 4Q203 7BII: “[…] […] to you, Maha[wai…] the two tablets […] and the second has not been read up till now […].” F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 1.411.
[76] 4Q203 8: “…Copy of the seco[n]d tablet of [the] le[tter…] by the hand of Enoch, the distinguished scribe […] and holy (one), to Shemihazah and to all [his] com[panions…] …” F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 1.411.
[77] W. Sundermann, “Ein weiteres Fragment aus Manis Gigantenbuch” Orientalia J. Duchesne-Guillemin emerito oblata (Acta Iranica, 23; Leiden: Brill, 1984) 491-505.
[78] “One saw a great stone spread over the earth like a table, the whole of which was written over with lines (of writing). And an angel (was seen by him) descending from the firmament with a knife in his hand and he was erasing and obliterating all the lines, save one line with four words upon it.” Milik, The Books of Enoch, 328.
[79] W. Sundermann, “Ein weiteres Fragment aus Manis Gigantenbuch” Orientalia J. Duchesne-Guillemin emerito oblata (Acta Iranica, 23; Leiden: Brill, 1984) 495-6.
[80] F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 1.411.
[81] The “mediating” function of Enoch remains prominent during the whole history of the Enochic traditions. It has been shown previously that in 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch, the seventh antediluvian patriarch “transmits” celestial knowledge to various human and angelic agents. In the Merkabah tradition, Metatron/Enoch is also responsible for transmitting the highest secrets to the Princes under him and to humankind.
[82] On Enoch’s roles see A. Orlov, “Titles of Enoch-Metatron in 2 EnochJSP 18 (1998) 71-86.
[83] Cf. 4Q203 8:6-15 and possibly 2Q26. Apparently the last one pictures an attempt to erase (wash out) this record of inequities: 2Q26 “[…and] they washed the tablet to er[ase…] and the water rose above the [tab]let […] and they lifted the tablet from the water, the tablet which […] to them all […].” F. García Martínez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (2 vols.; Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill, 1997) 1.221.
[84] F. García Martínez, Qumran and Apocalyptic, 110.
[85] Palaea Historica alludes to the fact that Enoch starts writing tablets only after the Giants rejected his call to repentance.
[86] Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 91, n.68.
[87] Cf. Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and Its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus, 91, n. 68 and 181-82.

Source: http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/giants.html

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Similarities between Islam and Mormonism: the 3rd and 4th “Abrahamic” religions

Similarities between Islam and Mormonism: the 3rd and 4th “Abrahamic” religions

This study is somewhat off-topic from what I usually write about, but hopefully it will interest and benefit some people out there.

Some of the things they have in common are not (Biblically speaking) heresies, although the heresies/deviations/differences they have in common are the main focus.

[ To see a version of this list read on the air on Heart of the Matter, click here ]

~~ ~~ ~~

Forbidding alcohol: In effect making Christ a sinner and bad example (cf. Luke 5:33-34.)

Multiple heavens, (being in and of itself scripturally defensible, but) the Messiah is specifically not in the highest heaven: According to the Muslim Hadiths he is in the 2nd of 7 heavens, and according to Mormon scriptures he is in the 2nd of 3 heavens. In the Bible, he’s at the right hand of his Father in the very highest heaven, (which is probably the 3rd.)

Forbidding marriage in some instances where it may be Biblically lawful, and permitting/commanding it in instances where it may not be Biblically lawful.

Polygamy. Joseph Smith actually had around 30 more wives than Muhammed.

Afterlife: View of the afterlife which includes sex in paradise / celestial kingdom, including polygamous sex; furthermore some Muslims believe the houris in paradise can’t get pregnant, though some (especially the further back in time you go) did believe this, making their view equal to the mormon view of eternal procreation.

Origin: Founded (or reinstituted, in the view of their believers) by one prophet,
who was both a religious and political leader,
who was (supposedly) foretold in the Bible,
who failed to appoint a successor,
and who failed to raise up a son to fill his shoes.

The claim of a final / new dispensation of prophecy, (in which) the founding prophet was the  paramount prophet.

The claim that the Bible has been significantly altered / corrupted, resulting in the loss of many plain and precious things, often blaming the Jews for this.
In reality, whatever tampering there may have been with the scriptures appear to be primarily in the form of additions and interpolations, rather than removals of text from a given book.

The claim to know what the original, incorrupt Bible said, in the instances it supposedly diverges with the modern Bible, although the manuscripts containing these supposed divergences have not been produced.

Referencing of “lost books,” prophets and miracles not mentioned in the Bible.

Referencing of “lost books” written specifically by Abraham and Moses. (Sura 87:18-19)

Referencing of lost sayings/writings specifically of the Messiah.

The claim that God owes it to everybody to speak in their own language.

The claim that people will lose power in their respective land or nation if they act unrighteously, making worldly power a measure of righteousness. In reality, those who have power in this world tend to be the most unrighteous of all.

Literary and rhetorical characteristics: Eloquence / style over substance. Extreme verbosity, poeticism, repetativeness.

Abrogation: Adding, removing or otherwise altering one’s own scriptures over time, especially to fit changing political purposes.

Revisionist history in regards to both secular and religious matters. Notably, Islam teaches that all the Biblical prophets were Muslims; and Mormonism that the Biblical prophets were Mormons.

Justification / salvation by works, whether predestined or not. In my view, to draw upon the models I used for my writing on Paul, I would classify Mormonism as teaching “freewill earning of salvation” and Islam as “predestinated earning of salvation.”

Invalidation of the atonement upon the cross as the only efficacious sacrifice for sins, thus lessening the role of Christ.

In Mormonism, Christ’s sacrifice is expanded to include his anguish in the garden of Gethsemane, whereas in Islam, Christ is said to have been saved from the crucifixion and taken into heaven without dying or being resurrected first.

Supernaturalization of the natural world, removing the veil between heaven and earth as it were, leading to superstition, and the sanctification of what is actually fallen nature and fallen humanity, calling holy that which is unholy.

Reversion / Pre-existence: Muslims believe all human are by nature Muslims, so the conversion of a non-Muslim to Islam is called a “reversion”, as in reverting to the first natural state; Mormons believe in a pre-existence where every human was a Mormon, and then, in being born on the earth, passed through a veil of forgetfulness; in both instances, the religion is being presented as a former state to which one must return, rather than as a “new thing.”

The claim that there are “temples” besides the temple of Jerusalem (and the temple in heaven), including the sacred Qibla in Saudi Arabia, and the Mormon temples in north America.

Both the Quran and the book of Mormon include stories set in the same location; the first 18 chapters or so of the book of Mormon actually take place in the Arabian peninsula.

Both Muhammed and Joseph Smith claimed contact with one primary and named heavenly messenger, namely Gabriel and Moroni.

Mormonism teaches the Messiah visited America; Ahmadiyya Islam teaches the Messiah visited India.

Identity of Biblical characters:
The Quran conflates Miriam sister of Moses with Virgin Mary.
The Book of Mormon and other Mormon standard works see Esaias, the Greek form of Isaiah, as referring to a different prophet, and so on with the other Greek versions of Hebrew names found in the New Testament.

The claim to have met the Biblical characters, including Abraham, Moses, Christ, etc, either in vision, or due to chronological issues (as with Miriam and Mary.)

Referenced in the Bible:
Both Muhammed and Joseph Smith see themselves mentioned in the Bible.
For instance, Achmad, the Quranic name for the “helper” prophesied in the Bible, (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7) is taken to refer to Muhammed.
The “prophet like unto Moses” (Deut. 18:15, Acts 3:22, Acts 7:37) is taken to refer to Joseph Smith (and in fact each of the subsequent Presidents of the LDS church).

Both Muhammed and Joseph Smith specifically appeal to Isa. 29:11-12 as describing something from their life.

Both Muhammed and Joseph Smith refer to themselves in the 3rd person in their revelations, as well as referring to themselves by indirect or subtle means:
Muhammed, an orphan, counsels his listener to not mistreat “the orphan” (singular), and, being known to wear green, refers to a story about a prophet called Al-Khidr, meaning “the green one” who was superior to Moses.
Joseph Smith refers to himself all throughout the book of Mormon and other standard works of the Mormon church by such titles as Gazelam, “the choice seer”, Root of Jesse, etc., and implies his own physical descent from Christ.

Initial environs:
There were various prophets and prophetesses operating in Arabia at the time of Muhammed, which is interesting.
(These include: Al-Aswad Al-Ansi, Tulayha, Sajjah, Saf ibn Sayyad, and of course Musaylimah, all prophets of Allah, Musaylimah even calling himself Rasulallah, as did Muhammed.)
It’s usually the case when one religion arises, that it arose in an environment where other religions were starting out and competing, and usually only one makes it (in each particular area and era.)
People are often surprised at how many similar religions were being born around the same time, and Mormonism too is no exception, having arisen in an environment where restorationism and claims of Israelite origin of native Americans were popular.
As with my other points, this doesn’t prove that Islam or Mormonism are false religions, but are meant to illustrate their unexpected and fascinating similarities.

CONCLUSIONS / COMMENTS

The similarities, as well as the differences, between these two Abrahamic religions are, at least to me, quite fascinating.
Whereas Islam is generally more in line with the Bible as regards doctrine, with a few important exceptions, it has been linked to more political, social and otherwise turmoil and militarism than Mormonism, which in my estimation is less Biblically orthodox, but then again more harmless.
Is Mormonism too stupid of an idea to inspire large numbers of people to fight and die for it?
Perhaps.
Putting myself in the shoes of the believers, I’d be hard pressed to choose between stability and good doctrine (since I’m assuming both are ultimately not the true religion).
Potentially, there are forms of Islam, say Sufism, or even offshoots like Bahai, that might fare better in such a comparison.
(Incidentally, Bahai and Mormonism were both created in the 1800’s.)

I would like to end by saying I respect all the Abrahamic religions very much; nevertheless I, like the adherents of these religions, understand that the greatest competition and threat to my beliefs are the other Abrahamic religions, as opposed to say Hinduism, which historically hasn’t been in ideological competition or otherwise with Christianity. Any Muslim will tell you the real threat to Islam is the other monotheistic faiths, especially the opposing forms of Islam (Sunni vs Shia), and any Catholic will tell you the biggest threat is (or at least used to be) Protestantism and before that, the Orthodox and Cathars. Likewise, early Christianity and Judaism were each other’s biggest nemesis, exaclty BECAUSE of what they had in common.

~~ Abel Zechariah, 27 Nov. 2012

ADDENDUM

The following similarities between Islam and Mormonism were contributed by Ali on the Heart of the Matter forum:

“Being a child of an orthodox sunni muslim man who grew up in Utah I thought I could add a couple other similarities between Islam and Mormonism:

One of the defenses the followers use when referencing their respective “prophets and their scripture” is that it is hard to believe that such a young uneducated man as Muhammed or Joseph Smith could make it all up.
Both however have great evidences to being highly intelligent, resourceful synthesizers of information.

Both religions have prescribed formulas for prayer and focus on ones worthiness, which leads to some very spiritually broken people who are sick inside from lack of communication and sanctification from the True and Living God.”

He makes some further observations that I find perceptive:

“In my 5 read throughs of the book (of Mormon), I could not get past the Anachronisms, direct plagerism, and redundant language nor the compelete fanciful stories that are not supported by archeology, linguistics nor genetics. Even the Koran does a better job of claiming to be scripture in the Arabic language although it is plauged too with many of the same problems.
The man Mohammed at least was cunning enough to not include history that could be disproven later. He didnt write about Men riding Kangaroos nor pumpkins as the principle crop of the Arabian pennisula, cuz who would believe that. I however am pining for the day when I can visit the exhibit for the Hill Cumorah battle site. ”

(http://hotm.tv/320/)

ADDENDUM 2: Inquiry into the meaning of the name “Gazelam”

According to Mormon sources:
“In earlier editions of the Doctrine and Covenants (before 1981), the code-word Gazelam was used to denote the prophet Joseph Smith (D&C 78:9; 82:11; 104:26, 43). He is apparently the “servant Gazelem” to whom Alma 37:23-25 refers:

“And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations. And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying: I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land.”

According to D&C 17:1, Joseph Smith received the same urim and thummim given to the brother of Jared on the mount. The Alma passage implies that the “interpreters,” which some have termed urim and thummim, shone in the dark. The idea is confirmed by David Whitmer, who wrote that, in order to use the seer stone, which operated like the interpreters, Joseph Smith would place it in a hat, evidently to exclude the light in the room. Then, “in the darkness the spiritual light would shine.”[2] A similar description is given of the urim and thummim mounted in the breastplate of the Israelite high priest, and through which he consulted the Lord (Exodus 28:30; 39:6-7; Leviticus 8:8; Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 33:8; 1 Samuel 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65).[3]

The etymology of the word Gazelem is uncertain…”

Source: http://bookofmormonresearch.org/book_of_mormon_articles/my-servant-gazelam

So the word “Gazelam” or “Gazelem” is used in Mormon scripture as a name for Joseph Smith.

Let’s analyze the title God supposedly gave Mr. Smith, and see what God is trying to tell us:

“gazal”: to tear away, seize, rob, robbery
Original Word: גָּזַל
Transliteration: gazal
Phonetic Spelling: (gaw-zal’)
http://concordances.org/hebrew/1497.htm

“am”: people
Original Word: עַם
Transliteration: am
Phonetic Spelling: (am)
http://concordances.org/hebrew/5971.htm

Conclusion:
“Gazelam” = גָּזַלעַם
meaning: Robbery of the People / To Rob the People

If we accept that God actually gave Mr. Smith this undesirable title, then we would be wise to consider the meaning of it, and guard ourselves from the heresies of a glass-looking, land-speculating, bank fraud perpetrating robber.

~~ Abel Zechariah

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