Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Study of the Prophets: Ezekiel Lesson 4
Last week we ended with the vision of Ezekiel of a man in the throne vision. It is not directly a vision of G-d but of glorified man. A man in his potentially final states of spiritual transfiguration that would seem here to represent the Glory of G-d and the4 final purpose of creation, the Glory thus representing the supernal heavenly, celestial, or divine) form of the divine son.
This the4n, is the essential meaning of Ezekiel’s vision that the “son of man,” the human Son of G-d, is he who WAS TO COME IN THE BODY of Yahshua haMashiach.
Now to a further Kabbalistic tradition that was developed later adding and adulterated interpretation to the true meaning of Ezekiel’s vision. Concerning this same vision, please note many of the doctrines of the New Age Movement seem to have utilized this source for some of their doctrines.
This understanding came to be part of the later Kabbalistic tradition that at the highest level of mystical ascent the face one sees on the Throne will be one’s own. Obviously, this is an adulteration of the tru meaning of the vision and is one that people lke Shirly McLean publish: “we are all ‘little gods’ and when we view G-d we view ourselves.”
Abraham Abulafia, the great Kabbalist master of meditation writes,” When an individual completely enters the mystery of prophecy, he suddenly sees his own image standing before him.” He supports his claim in the manner of rabbis and sages by quoting from a work by Moshe of Narbonne that refers to this earlier tradition:” When the sages teach that the prophets ‘liken a form to its Creator,’ they mean that they liken the form which is in the prophet’s own soul… to its Creator, that is, to G-d. It is thus written, ‘Over the throne there was a form like an image of a man’ (Ezek. 1:26). These forms and images exist in the soul of the prophet…” This is the essential message of all latter forms of Jewish mysticism, for they all derived directly from Ezekiel’s vision. This then, is where the interpretation became corrupted from the Sadducean priestly elite version.
The kabbalists emphasize the four levels of the chariot, which they identify with the four worlds of cosmic emanation. The Merkabah mystics the ascent of the chariot (Merkabah) through the seven heavens to the Throne vision, and the apocalyptic writers the two forms of divine sonship. All take from Ezekiel, his revelation of the priestly learning that conveys its most profound meaning. In 1 Cor. 2:2-7: 2. I knew a man in messiah above fourteen years, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; G-d knoweth;) such as one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: G-d knoweth;)
4 Haw that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter.
5. Of such an one will I glory; yet myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
6. For though I would desire to glory: I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7.And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Scholars have determined that Sha’ul was speaking of himself as the man he knew and alludes to himself as that man in verse 6-7. This is kabbalah and is of the doctrine of transmigration of souls. In this we then see that Sha’ul practiced and believed at least part of the kabbalah. It is probable that he also knew the “Doctrine of the Son” in its earliest form, as the adulterated did not come until later. This should not seem odd based on his own statement of credentials and education. The Christian community has adopted Paul as the architect if the “Church” and in so doing should explore the foundation of much of Paul (Sha’ul’s) knowledge.
The later mystical tradition in Judaism is then the lineal descendant of the learning that we may presume was taught in the Temple as part of the training for the priesthood. Though the later rabbinical tradition derives largely from the prophets, the esoteric-mystical tradition, which has maintained a hidden existence throughout the subsequent millennia of Jewish religious history, derives just as surely from priesthood as its tradition was filtered through this conduit from Ezekiel, a prophet priest.
The book of Daniel most readily profits from Ezekiel. Daniel’s throne Vision, the term “Son of Man” is directly applied to one to the two supernal beings seen by him.
Daniel 7:9, 13-14,18
9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down and the Ancient if days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like a fiery, and his wheels as burning fire.
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
The two supernal beings are distinguished by age, he who is seated on the chariot Throne being characterized as ‘Ancient: and having white hair while he who is brought before this enthroned of Ancient of days has the comparative youth associated with the term “son.” But this son seems to be derived from man if the prior analysis of the term “son of Man” in Ezekiel can be applied as well to the Daniel text, and to Him is given that final dominion and glory in an everlasting kingdom wot which: the saints of the most High” are also heir.
Where the association of Ezekiel as “son of man” with the envisioned man on the Throne was only implied, such an implication becomes explicit in the next vision of Daniel.
“And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought the meaning, then behold, there stood before me the appearance of a man… he said unto me, Understand O son of man: for at the time of the end shall nbe the vision” (8:15,17). The addressing of Daniel like Ezekiel, as the ;son of man” (ben Adam) makes explicit the identification of seer and seen, since a form of this term has been applied to the supernal being who is to be the final apocalyptic judge and rule the everlasting kingdom.
That such as identification of Ezekiel’s vision was understood is made even clearer by a further apocalyptic work, one influenced by Daniel but not included in the biblical canon that also uses the term ‘son of man.” This is the parable section of the Ethioptic Book of Enoch now known as 1 Enoch which predates the rest of the text by 100-200 years. R.H. Charles deduced Enoch was written no earlier than 94 BCE. Jude refers to this book in his epistle (Jude 1:14). Both Daniel and the second part of 1 Enoch are expressions of a developing priestly cosmology either rooted in interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision given an earlier, more cryptic, expression by Ezekiel himself. As in Daniel, there is a double vision of supernal beings, an older and the other younger.
And there I saw one who had a head of days, and his head (was) white like wool; and with him (there was) another, whose face had the appearance of a man, and his face (was) full of grace, like one of the holy angels. And I asked one of the holy angels, who went with me, and shoed me all the secrets, about the son of man, who he was, and whence he was, (and) why he went with the Head of Days. And he answered me and said to me: “This is the Son of man who has righteousness, and with whom righteousness dwells; he will reveal all the treasures of that which is secret, for the L-rd of Spirits has chosen him, and through uprightness his lot has surpassed all before the L-rd of Spirits forever. And the Son of Man… will cast down the kings from their throne (Chap. 46)
On the final Day of Judgment, we were earlier told of this chosen being: “On that day the Chosen One will sit on the throne of glory (Chap. 45). Equally significant is the suggestion of his prior existence: “For from the beginning the Son of man was hidden, and the Most High kept him in the presence of His power, and revealed Him (only) to the chosen, and the community of the holy and the chosen will be sown, and all the chosen will stand before Him on that day” (Chap. 62). In chapter 69 Enoch tells us: ‘and he sat on the throne of His glory, and the whole judgement was given to the Son of Man.” Now, it is not clear if this “Son of man” was with HaShem from the beginning or if it was the concept that was hidden whose revelation was to be revealed in the end of days and for final redemption.
Now we come to a very interesting section in Enoch. It is significant “Son of Man.”
“And it came to pass after this that my spirit was carried off, and it went up into the heavens… And that angel came to me, greeted me with his voice, and said to me; ‘you are the Son of man who was born to righteousness, and righteousness remains over you, and the righteousness of the Head of Days will not leave you.’ And he said to me, ‘He proclaims peace to you in the name of the world which is to come, for from there peace has come out from the creation of the world; and you will have it forever and for ever and ever. And all… will walk according to your way, in as much as righteousness will never leave you; with you will be their dwelling, and with you their lot, and they will not be separated from you, for ever.
We know Enoch was translated into heaven alive as evidenced by the following scripture:
24 And Enoch walked with G-d; and he was not; for G-d took him.
Heb. 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because G-d had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased G-d.
This leaves us with many questions. Later Judaism took this to mean that Enoch saw in the son of man a vision of his own higher self. Dare we connect this vision where Enoch is identified as that person sitting on the throne as the “son of Man” with Yahshua?
Here is something to consider: When we speak, of the Two witnesses in the Tribulation, we normally identify them as Moshe and Elijah. Some identify Enoch. What if Enoch was in truth Yahshua? If this were the case, it would cause us to look at current theology in a different perspective. What if John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah: Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the L-rd: And Yahshua said in Matthew 11: 10 when He spoke of John the Baptist: “For this is he (Elijah), of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face shall prepare the way before thee.” These are precisely the questions Kabbalah considers and in my opinion, are not always answered correctly. We cannot always come up with the correct answers either. Instead of branding a discipline as outside of consideration, we should examine in light of Messianic Scriptures these ageless questions that the priesthood considered millennia ago.
Next week we will continue this study by considering more of the Book of Enoch.
Rabbi Tamah Davis