17 June 2016

Chariot of Yechezkel – Merkabah Literature

The sighting with 
the Chariot of Ezekiel (Yechezkel)

At dawn on June 5th 2016, there were 3 coinciding astronomical phenomena of cosmic and esoteric significance:

1) new moon of Sivan appearing in the pleiades
2) superior conjunction of the sun and Venus in the pleiades
3) grand cross between four major planets in the signs of the faces of ezekiel’s chariot: the new moon and venus in the bull, Jupiter and the North node (destiny) in the Lion, Saturn or the gatekeeper of knowledge in the Eagle or rising phoenix, and Neptune the master of the transcendent bridge of the soul in the sign of the man or Messiah, the Water Bearer.

The Vision of Yechezkel

Mordechai wrote to my post of Scientists Discover Giant Planet,
"Surrounding the Throne. The vision of Ezekiel, the four living creatures... Lion Leo, Ox Taurus etc. And Albireo, one star is a blue sapphire and the other is gold, the colors of a (Shabbat) candle flame!  Mordechai”
Ezekiel’s Vision of the Chariot

Wikipedia: Vision of EzekielThe main corpus of the Merkabah literature was composed in Israel in the period 200–700 CE, although later references to the Chariot tradition can also be found in the literature of the Chassidei Ashkenaz in the Middle Ages. A major text in this tradition is the Maaseh Merkabah (Works of the Chariot).

According to the verses in Ezekiel and its attendant commentaries, his vision consists of a chariot made of many heavenly beings driven by the "Likeness of a Man." The base structure of the chariot is composed of four beings. These beings are called the "living creatures" (Hebrew: חיות hayyot or khayyot). The bodies of the creatures are "like that of a human being", but each of them has four faces, corresponding to the four directions the chariot can go (East, South, North and West). The faces are that of a man, a lion, an ox (later changed to a cherub in Ezekiel 10:14) and an eagle. Since there are four angels and each has four faces, there are a total of sixteen faces. Each "Hayyot" angel also has four wings. Two of these wings spread across the length of the chariot and connect with the wings of the angel on the other side. This creates a sort of 'box' of wings that forms the perimeter of the chariot. With the remaining two wings, each angel covers its own body. Below, but not attached to, the feet of the "Hayyot" angels are other angels that are shaped like wheels. These wheel angels, which are described as "a wheel inside of a wheel", are called "Ophanim" אופנים (lit. wheels, cycles or ways). These wheels are not directly under the chariot but are nearby and along its perimeter. The angel with the face of the man is always on the east side and looks up at the "Likeness of a Man" that drives the chariot. The "Likeness of a Man" sits on a throne made of sapphire.

The earliest Rabbinic merkabah commentaries were exegetical expositions of the prophetic visions of God in the heavens, and the divine retinue of angels, hosts, and heavenly creatures surrounding God. The earliest evidence suggests that merkabah homiletics did not give rise to ascent experiences – as one rabbinic sage states: "Many have expounded upon the merkabah without ever seeing it."

"Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength. But what is commanded thee, think thereupon with reverence; for it is not needful for thee to see with thine eyes the things that are in secret."[9] It must be studied only by exemplary scholars: "Ma'aseh Bereshit must not be explained before two, nor Ma'aseh Merkabah before one, unless he be wise and understands it by himself,"

The Rabbinic Talmud compares Ezekiel and Isaiah's visions of God's Chariot-Throne, noticing that Ezekiel gives a lengthy account of details, while Isaiah is very brief. It gives an exoteric explanation for this; Isaiah prophesised in the era of Solomon's Temple, Ezekiel's vision took place in the exile of Babylonian captivity. Rava states in the Babylonian Talmud that although Ezekiel describes the appearance of the throne of God, this is not because he had seen more than Isaiah, but rather because the latter was more accustomed to such visions; for the relation of the two prophets is that of a courtier to a peasant, the latter of whom would always describe a royal court more floridly than the former, to whom such things would be familiar. Ezekiel, like all prophets except Moses, has beheld only a blurred reflection of the divine majesty, just as a poor mirror reflects objects only imperfectly.

The Kabbalistic account explains this difference in terms of the Four Worlds. All prophecy emanates from the divine chokhmah (wisdom) realm of Atziluth. However, in order to be perceived it descends to be enclothed in vessels of lower Worlds. Isaiah's prophecy saw the Merkabah in the World of Beriah divine understanding, restraining his explanation by realising the inadequacy of description. Ezekiel saw the Merkabah in the lower World of Yetzirah divine emotions, causing him to describe the vision in rapturous detail.

According to a tradition this was located at a village 20 miles (32 km.) south of the town of Ḥilla in central Iraq. The Arabs refer to Ezekiel as to other prophets as "Dhū al-Kifl" (various etymologies have been suggested such as "doubly rewarded"; "guarantor"?) for the responsibility that he bore for the people of Israel. The tomb is mentioned for the first time in the epistle of R. *Sherira Gaon (c. 986), and a detailed description is given by *Benjamin of Tudela about 1170, *Pethahiah of Regensburg (about the same time), and later by other travelers, Jewish and non-Jewish. It is situated in a man-made cave, covered by a cupola. 
Over the cupola a magnificent outer tomb is built, coinciding in its linear dimensions with the lower tomb, and it is at this outer tomb that the pilgrims pray. In the room adjoining Ezekiel's tomb there are five tombs purported to contain the remains of five geonim. Another room, with a window, is referred to as "Elijah's Cave," and a third room contains the tomb of Menahem Ṣāliḥ *Daniel, a well-known philanthropist whose family was entrusted with guarding the tomb. 
The walls bear various inscriptions, including three poems in the Arab-Spanish meter composed by the Babylonian poet R. Abdallah Khuḍayr and in honor of donors. Pilgrimages to the tomb were usually made in the late spring, especially on Shavuot. A special parchment scroll, "the Scroll of Ezekiel," was read, containing passages from the Book of Ezekiel and written on behalf of the ascent to heaven of the souls of the departed. In 1860 the Muslims made an attempt to wrest ownership of the tomb from the Jews, but a government emissary from Constantinople decided in favor of the Jews. Jewish Virtual Library

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