An Examination of Kabbalistic Themes in the Bible

An Overview

If you were ever asked to give a broad over-view of astrology you would want to mention the Sun, Moon, the Earth and the stars. You would need to point out that for conceptual reasons, the stars have been group into constellations and that the constelations along the sun's aparent path in the sky have been designated the Zodiac signs, and that this ecliptic path is divided into 12 thirty degree zones. You would explain how each zodiac sign is 'ruled' by a planet, how the space around the earth is divided into 12 houses with the first house and the 'ascendant' are in the east, while the tenth house and the midheaven are on the meridian line, etc.

An over-view of the Kabbalah would want to include keywords like the Tree of Life and Shekinah and themes like Loss and Recovery, Exile and Return and the Transmission and Preservation of Knowledge. You would want to cover the notion of the concealed and revealed aspects of God. Your discussion of the Tree of Life would mention 10 spheres, 22 paths and 3 pillars, etc.

Once you are familiar with astrological or kabbalistic keywords and themes, you are able to pick them out in a mythological context; for instance, we can recognize Hercules as a solar figure surrounded by the 12 zodiac signs in the Labor of Hercules. [Note the lion skin the Hercules wears, and that the sun 'rules' Leo.] This also points to Moses and the 12 Tribes and Jesus and the 12 Disciples. We read that Solomon was king over all Israel and that he had twelve officers which provided victuals form the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provisions. In the Scottish Rites, the 28th Degree is named Prince of the Sun, as the solar calendar repeats every 28 years.

While you may consider the Bible to be the 'word of God', it has nonetheless been translated and edited by Man. In particular the King James Version was edited by Francis Bacon, a Rosicrucian, along with 46 others for King James I of England (who had been James VI of Scotland) with Masonic leanings. The following looks at some of the kabbalistic themes contained in the modern Bible.


1188

The most famous Templar symbol is the equal-armed cross. The first image below shows Templar knights with depictions of the cross, the second shows an image of the map of Jerusalem from the KJV. Note the cross in the upper right hand corner.

Legend tells us that the defeat of Christian forces on July 4, 1187 that resulted in the Saracen's regaining control of Jerusalem, led to the formal seperation of the Order of Sion and the Knights Templar in 1188, connected to what has been called the "cutting of the elm" at Gisors. [Note that in Celtic mythology the Ash and Elm tree are equivalent to Adam and Eve.]

If you count the Total Chapters in the KJV you get 1188. The shortest chapter is Psalm 117 (comnposed of 33 words) and the longest is Psalm 119, which featured the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet (like the 22 Tarot Trump cards or the chapters in the Revelation). At the center of the Bible is Psalm 118:8, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man".

Note that in the dedication of the KJV, King James is refered to as "our Sion". Language describing "the Appearance of Your Majesty, as of the Sun in his strength" mirrors that which is found in Revelation 1:16, "His countenance was as the sun shineth in it's strength".

You may recall that aces and eights (two pair) is the so-called dead man's hand in poker.

26 - In God's Image

  • The name of 'God' in Hebrew is 'JHVH' (Jehovah or Yahweh), which is refered to as the Tetragrammaton or four-lettered name. Given that Greek and Hebrew letters were also numbers, we know that this name sums to 26 (J=10, V =6 and H = 5). [Adding 'shin' in the middle of the Tetragrammaton yield Jeshuah or Jesus (JHShVH)].

  • The four spheres on the Tree of Life that occupy the 'middle pillar' are numbers 1 +6 +9 +10 for a total of 26; these spheres are (from the bottom) the earth, the moon, the sun and the Throne of God.

  • Genesis 1:26 reads "And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness". Looking at the name on the page (below) we see that it "looks like' a human figure, and is composed of three pillars like the Tree.

  • The Bible says that God made man in his own image that was male and female (1:27, 5:1), and that Adam called his wife Eve because she was 'the mother of all'. (3:20) Eve here plays the same mythological role of the divine female as Isis and Ceres, and later the Virgin Mary. If we divide the four letter name of God, we get a phallic ' I ', yod (equivalent to our I, J and Y), and HVH; since the h's can be e's that is Eve. The name of God is composed of a male and a female component.

    Kabbalistic philosophy (like Hegel) deals with the notions of Unity, Duality, and Multiplicity. The pre-existing Unity, which is beyond out mental grasp, is symbolized by the number 1 and the unitary I , the transcendental ego that lies behind all consciousnessings, both of which are phallic in nature.

    Kabbalah is a patriarchal solar-phallic cosmology, where the Initiator is male. [Note that the description of the transcendental ego in Phenomenology sounds very much like the description of the hidden god in cosmology, being that which stands behind creation.] From this viewpoint, the creation or materiality is invariably female.

    Below the pre-existing Unity, Division and Duality reign. Ex pluribus Unum is the mantra of mystics and alchemist alike, whose goal is to transcend divisions, just as physicists are always searching for the 'unified theory'. The Kabbalah, and according to Albert Pike the Scottish Rites of Masonry, practices a conceptual balancing of opposites, as with the Tree, where we see two opposite outside pillars and the harmonizing middle pillar.

    1:10 - The Tree of Life

    The Tree of Life is a graphic frame on which to project notions about how the One is related to the Many. It's chosen form is the 1:10 ratio, like Egyptian obelisks whose base width was 1/10th it's height, and which looked like the number one and the letter ' I ', playing into the whole solar phallic notion. Kabbalistically, the Creation is seen as a falling or overflowing (called emanation by the Greeks) from the Throne of God, beginning at sphere number one and proceeding in stages to sphere 10, the earth or world. [The Tree also symbolizes the possibility of return.]

    This connection between the One and the Many takes several symbolic forms and the Fall is depicted in various manners in the Bible. You may recall the story of Jacob's dream (Gen 28: 10-22) where he sees a ladder set on the earth whose top reached to heaven "and the angels of God ascending and descending on it". [The Zohar describes the Righteous Man as having his feet on the earth and head in the heavens.]

    After awakening Jacob "took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar", which reminds us of the raising of the Djed pillar in the ceremonies of Osiris in Egypt. Finally Jacob says, "This stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house (Beth-el) and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee". Earlier we see that he named the place Beth-el "but the name of that city was Luz (Lux or light) at the first.

    Light and Lightning

    Jacob renaming Luz to Beth-el, the house or dwelling place of God, ties in with all associations of God, Light and the Creation. As Jacob points out, "Surely the Lord is in this place... and this is the gate of heaven" (an optimistic view). God exists in two 'forms' if you will, one is concealed (transcendent) and the other is revealed (immanent). The Creation, as energy (light) and matter, is the revealed form of God. While some see the world and mankind as exiled from heaven, others see that "the Lord is in this place". This presence of the Lord is depicted in many forms also.

    Lucifer is the light bringer. The pessimistic view equates matter with evil and sees Lucifer and Pan as Satan and the Devil, the rebellious ones. Ironically this puts them in the position of saying that evil is symbolized by Light and that good is symbolized by the Darkness of the hidden God. One logical soultion to this apparent dilemma involves seeing the concealed and revealed aspects of God as two sides of one coin, as in the Kabbalah.

    The Kabbalah uses the imagery of a lightning flash, and you sometimes see the Tree depicted with the spheres connected by a zig-zag line that looks like lightning. In Ezekiel (1:14) we read, "And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of lightning". Keeping with the moralistic notion that the whole of creation is somehow not godly, and that the fall was a rebellion of some sort, we read in Luke (10:18), "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven". Here Satan personifies to the whole of the fallen creation. Revelation 6:13 uses the phrase the stars of heaven fell onto the earth, but the idea is the same; here referring to individual souls or divine sparks. The notion of a stone fallen from heaven is often used.

  • Shekinah

    Sometimes, in a religous situation you run across words like the dead, or the underworld, and many people believe that this is written from the point of view of somebody that is in a body, that is 'alive' in the material sense. It is true that sometimes people write from the point of view of the spiritual world that preceedes an incarnation, and from that angle they write about birth as if it were a 'death' or imprisonment of the soul. We call this a pessimistic viewpoint.

    You may recall that Osiris is sealed in a coffin and dumped in the Nile. When the coffin comes to shore a tree grows around it (it becomes encased in a tree truck- Osiris is the one in the tree, the Djed pillar is a tree of life as well as obelisk). I believe that this is a story of a soul that first 'dies' the first death, and is stuck in a material form. My point is that it is the male figure that is exiled in this Egyptian story, in the Hebrew story, it is the female that is exiled; and they call her 'Shekinah'.

    The Shekinah designates both the presence of the Lord that we find in the ark in the desert and the Holy of Holies in the Temple, as well as the whole of Creation, which is seen as a Bride that has been exiled from her Husband. Chapter 21 or the Revelation of John depicts the Shekinah.

    Revelation 21

    Revelation Chapter 21 describes a "new Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband", which perfectly describes the Shekinah. As I pointed out before, the Shekinah is the 'presence of God' from the ark, the tabernacle in the desert and the Holy of Holies in the Temple; in 21:3 we read,"The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them."

    21:10-11 reads, "That great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the Glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious". 21:23 "And the city had no need of the sun neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it".

    The Shekinah is associated with the 10th sphere of the Tree named Kingdom, and the above describes not a future event but alludes to this 'kingdom of God' that is right at hand, as Jesus said.

    Tau

    The book of Revelations has 22 chapters, while there are 22 Hebrew letters (see Psalm 119), 22 Tarot Trump cards and 22 paths of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. While Revelations is the last book in the Bible, Tau is the last Hebrew letter. Looking at the letters that head up the 22 chapters in Revelations, we see that just 3 letters were used; T once, A 20 times and U once.

    Daniel

    If you have ever studied about the Tree of Life, you know that it consists of ten spheres, numbered from one to ten, each of which has a title and keywords associated with it. For instance sphere one is named Kether, the Crown while ten is Malkuth and is associated with the word Kingdom (mnetioned above). Spheres 2 and 3, Chokmah and Binah are associated with the terms Understanding and Wisdom, respectively. Daath (the Abyss), which is not numbered is associated with the word Knowledge. Chesed and Geburah at 4 and 5 relate to Mercy and Strength. Tipareth at 6 with Beauty, Netzach and Hod at 7 and 8 with Glory and Power, Yesod at 9 with Foundation.

    Kingdom, Power, and Glory are easily recognizes as being from the Lord's Prayer.

    You may recall that Daniel, like Joseph before him, was in exile, interpreted a King's dream, and ended up one of the King's trusted advisors. The use of kabbalistic terms in "Daniel" is hard to miss. We see wisdom, knowledge and understanding used together several times in the first two chapters of Daniel.

    1:3-4 "Bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom is found no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and science.
    1:6 "Among these children were ... Daniel, Hannaih, Mishael and Azariah."
    1:17 "As for these four children God gave them knowledge and skill in learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams."
    1:20 "And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all the realm."

    Speaking of the Lord in 2:20-22 Daniel says, "Blessed be the name of God for wisdom and might are his... he giveth wisdom unto the wise and knowledge to them that know understanding:He revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkeness, and the light dwelleth in him".

    The King tells Daniel of a dream in Chapter 4, "I saw a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height of it was great... the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight therof to the end of all the earth... and the fruit thereof was meat for all". Daniel responds to the King, "The tree that thou sawest.. it was thou.

    Enoch

    Recalling that the sun is associated with the sixth sphere on the Tree of Life, we note that Enoch was the sixth after Adam and that he lived 365 years before he was taken by God; 365 being the number of days in the solar year. In the Bible, Enoch is warned of the upcoming Flood long before Moses is, and he and his son Methuselah built two columns or pillars containing the sum total of human knowledge in order to preserve it. Enoch stories always are connected to the kabalistic notion of the transmission and preservation of knowledge, and the story of the pillars probably relates to a method of education as well as monuments like the pyramids designed to concretize elements of the knowledge syatems of the past.

    Kabbalistic legends tell us that when Enoch was taken to heaven with out having experienced death, that he was translated into the Archangel Metatron, who is said to have transmitted the Kabbalah to mankind. In sacred geometry studies we learn of a figure called Metatron's Cube that is an extended form of the hexagram or Star of David featuring equilateral triangles. Masonic legends speak of a cube in relationship to Enoch, which was inlaid with a triangle bearing the name of God on it.

    If Enoch = Metatron, then Metatron's Cube and the cube from the Royal Arch (Ark or arc) legend of Encoh are the same thing. The story juxtaposes a cube and a triangle, or the numbers four and three. Four, the square and cube all are symbols for the elements, matter, and materiality, while three and the equilateral triangle is the universal symbol for divinity. In one sense the triangle represents the hidden aspect of God, while the cube represents the revealed aspect; in another, the triangle represents the divine spark that lies at the heart of everything in the material world.

    We are told that Enoch hid a cube with a golden triangle in an excavated chamber featuring nine arches, which may have been arcs, as in planetary spheres. The following image shows the spheres of the known ancient planets with the earth at the center.

    Enoch was the seventh patriarch and there were seven classical planets including the sun and the moon, seven days in a week. Enoch is said to have been taken to heaven after having lived 365 years, that is the number of days in the solar year. Below we see a hexagram with the planets dsiplayed on it.

    In the Old World it was taught that the soul 'descends from and returns to the stars' via the planetary spheres. The order of descent was as you see above, from Saturn, to Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. The Moon, at the bottom is the last sphere before reaching the earth plane, and since the moon rules Cancer, this was called the Gate of Birth. Saturn, at the top, rules Capricorn and is the last sphere before the stars, and is the Gate of Death.