Archives March 2011

Satan’s Origin and Fall

The Bible teaches us of a being who is the foremost antagonist to mankind and God. He is an agent of evil and is hellbent on destroying mankind whom God made in His image. The Bible is clear that this being who we know as Satan, is not the equal to God but is a creature of God that is in rebellion. Of course, Satan would have us believe otherwise. He would like us to think that he is equal to the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and that he might win the battle that is currently raging. Over the centuries, Satan has appeared and been known by various names – to the ancient Sumerians he was Enlil, to the Akkadians he was Illil, to the Greeks he was Zeus who murdered his father and to the Romans he was Jupiter. However, the Bible gives the true account of his origin and fall and what we find is essentially a mirror image of the other ancient cultures. Thus, the ancient witnesses are relevant in that they give us the reverse perspective of just how Satan would like to be viewed. Only the Bible, however, gives us the complete and proper picture of how he came about and what will ultimately be his demise.

We are told of Satan’s fall from heaven in  Ezekiel chapter 28 and Isaiah chapter 14. There are several important clues in the texts that tie together the two passages, as can be seen in the table below. Satan is referred to as the King of Tyre (note that the beginning of the Ezekiel 28 refers to a prince of Tyre). In Isaiah he is refered to as the King of Babylon (for example, in Daniel chapter 10 an angel was detained by the Prince of Persia and the kings of Persia, a reference to demonic beings, which we will discuss in chapter seventeen). In reality he is the ruler of this entire world.

Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you [abedkha אַבֶּדְךָ֙], O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you. You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever,”‘ (Ezekiel 28:12-19 emphasis mine)

You will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! ​​​​​​​​The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, ​​​​​​​​that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. ​​​​​​​​The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. ​​​​​​​​The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us.’ ​​​​​​​​Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades [Rephaim] to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. ​​​​​​Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star [heilel הֵילֵ֣ל], son of Dawn [ben shakhar בֶּן־שָׁ֑חַר]! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! ​​​​​​​​You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; ​​​​​​​​I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ ​​​​​​​​But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit, (Isaiah 14:4-15 ESV emphasis mine).

The table below summarizes the similarities between the two passages:

Table Comparing The Descriptions of Satan as The King of Tyre and the King of Babylon
Ezekiel 28:12-19 (The King of Tyre) Isaiah 14:11-19 (The King of Babylon)
You were in Eden, the garden of God
timbrels and pipes the sound of your harps
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; ​​​​​​​​You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will make myself like the Most High.’
holy mountain of God I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; ​​​​​​​​I will ascend above the heights of the clouds
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones above the stars of God I will set my throne on high
cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God and I destroyed you, O covering cherub How you are fallen from heaven
You became filled with violence within, and you sinned […] I cast you to the ground How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you ​​​​​​​​Those who see you will gaze at you
In the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you And consider you, saying: Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms
But you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch You have become a horror, and shall be no more forever

Satan’s Name

An important place to begin towards an understanding of Satan and his fall is his name. The Hebrew word for “Lucifer” found in Isaiah 14:12 is Heilel (Hêlēl הֵילֵ֣ל). Dr. Bill Gallagher has positively demonstrated that the Hebrew Heilel is synonymous with the Akkadian Ellil/Illil and Sumerian Enlil. In his article On the Identity of Helel Ben Sahar of Is 14:12-15 he shows that the Hebrew Heilel is equivalent phonetically to the Akkadian Illil (or Ellil). He states: “One could reasonably expect hll to be the West Semitic form of Illil. As the Ebla tablets suggest, Illil came into West Semitic directly from Sumerian.” [i] Let us note however, that this does not mean that Isaiah “borrowed” the concept from Sumeria and Assyria but rather that God directed him to properly identify that ancient god, whom we know as Satan or Lucifer.

Having explained linguistically how the biblical Heilel (Hêlēl) is equivalent to the Akkadian Illil, Dr. Gallagher then notes the similar characteristics between the two. He first notes the correlation of astral functions between the two:

Illil’s astral function is mentioned in numerous sources. […] Illil was the god of 33 “stars” by which constellations and one planet are meant [footnote: Jupiter]….Thus Illil was ruler of a very large part of the heavens. Illil also had a street called the “Way of those (stars) of Illil,” (emphasis mine).

The number 33 is very fascinating when we consider that according to Revelation 12:4 Satan drew 1/3 of the stars (angels/demons) with him when he fell. One third of course is 33/100 or 33%. Secondly, we note they are stars – in the Bible “stars” very frequently is a term used to describe angelic beings – thus him being the god of 33 stars is extremely similar to the 1/3 of the stars that fell with Satan. [ii]

Dr. Gallagher then notes the “seven characteristics which are helpful in identifying Hêlēl” from Isaiah 14:12-15 and notes how these characteristics can be compared with Illil:

Isaiah’s Description Illil’s Description
  1. His name was Hêlēl (Isaiah 14:12).
  2. He was the son of dawn (vs. 12).
  3. He laid the nations low (vs. 12).
  4. He aspired to set up his throne above the stars of El (vs. 13).
  5. He aspired to sit in the mount of assembly and on Saphon (14:13).
  6. He aspired to be like the Most High (14:14)
  7. He fell down to earth into the midst of the pit (14:12, 15).
  1. hyll Hebrew equivalent of Illil
  2. Causes the dawn [iii]
  3. Illil was a devastator
  4. Illil’s astral function was immense
  5. Illil was among the most prominent members in it (in the divine assembly)
  6. Illil was the highest in Mesopotamia until the end of the second millennium
  7. Illil’s fall into the underworld is recorded in first millennium texts

Dr. Gallagher has sufficiently demonstrated the linguistic and characteristic parallels between the biblical Heilel and the Akkadian Illil for us to conclude that they are one and the same. We ought to pause here and note that this does not make Isaiah’s prophecy dependent on Akkadian documents, as many Ancient Near East and Biblical scholars presume. What it does prove is that Heilel was known as a god outside of the Bible and was worshipped accordingly. The being we know as Satan has many different names which the Bible notes (Revelation 12:9; 20:2) and Illil/Heilel is one of those names.

Further Common Features of Heilel and Illil

With the clear identity as Heilel we can investigate more about this god. What we find is extremely enlightening and once again confirms Dr. Gallagher’s conclusion on the identity of Heilel. Micha F. Lindemans in the Encyclopedia Mythica writes about Enlil which is the Sumerian equivalent to Ellil/Illil:

In ancient Sumero-Babylonian myth, Enlil (“lord wind”) is the god of air, wind and storms. Enlil is the foremost god of the Mesopotamian pantheon, and is sometimes referred to as Kur-Gal (“great mountain“). In the Sumerian cosmology he was born of the union of An heaven and Ki earth. These he separated, and he carried off the earth as his portion. In later times he supplanted Anu as chief god.

Enlil holds possession of the Tablets of Destiny which gives him power over the entire cosmos and the affairs of man. [iv] […] Enlil is portrayed wearing a crown with horns, symbol of his power. His equivalent is the Akkadian god Ellil. [v]

Figure 3 Sumerian Cylinder Seal: Enlil, the winged goddess Inanna, the sun god Utu. .To the right is Enki, the god of the Abzu to his right Isimud

Not only was Enlil portrayed as wearing a crown of horns but it ranged between eight and ten. A crown with ten horns can be seen in the cylinder seal impression in the figures above. [vi]

These observations are confirmed by several other scholars as well. Kramer confirms that An (the creator god) carried off heaven while Enlil carried of the earth and assumed most of An’s powers. Furthermore, he is also glorified as “the father of the gods, the king of heaven and earth,” “the king of all the lands”. [vii] He adds however, that Enlil was also known as the one who “causes the dawn”. [viii] Alfred Jeremias discusses how Enlil was assimilated to the northPole of the Ecliptic“. [ix] The Colombia Encyclopedia notes how Enlil was sometimes referred to as “Bel.” [x] Lastly, the encyclopedia Britannica adds the following insight into the characteristics of Enlil: “Although An was the highest god in the Sumerian pantheon, Enlil had a more important role as the embodiment of energy and force and authority.” [xi]

Summarizing the characteristics of Illil/Enlil we discover the following composite which is amazingly similar to the biblical picture we have of Satan – and it does not only come from Isaiah 14 as Dr. Gallagher pointed out to us initially but from the entire Bible.

Characteristics of Enlil/Ellil/Illil Characteristics of Biblical Satan/Lucifer/Devil
God of 33 Stars
  • His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth, (Revelation 12:4).
God of the air / atmosphere
  • The LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, (Isaiah 24:21).
  • Prince of the power of the air, (Ephesians 2:2).
  • For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 6:12).
Known as the Great mountain
  • I will rule on the mountain of assembly, (Isaiah 14:13 NET).
  • You were on the holy mountain of God, (Ezekiel 28:14).
Assimilated to the north Pole of the Ecliptic
  • On the farthest sides of the north, (Isaiah 14:13)
  • Beautiful in elevation, The joy of the whole earth, [Is] Mount Zion [on] the sides of the north, The city of the great King (Psalms 48:2). [God’s true kingdom]
  • Separated heaven and earth
  • Carried away earth as his portion
  • Supplanted Anu as chief god
  • Was the embodiment of energy and force and authority
    • Again, the devil took… and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me,”(Matthew 4:8-9).
    • Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world [cosmos κόσμος] will be cast out, (John 12:31).
    • for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30)
    • the ruler of this world is judged, (John 16:11).
    • ‘to open their eyes, [in order] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan to God…’ (Acts 26:18)
    • whose minds the god of this age [aion αἰών] has blinded… (2 Corinthians 4:4).
    • He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed [us] into the kingdom of the Son of His love… (Colossians 1:13).
    • You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world, (1 John 4:4).
    • We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one, (1 John 5:19).
Holds Tablets of Destiny giving him authority over cosmos and mankind
  • And I saw in the right [hand] of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals, (Revelation 5:1).
  • Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals,” (Revelation 5:5).
Wears a crown with horns
  • a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns, (Revelation 12:3).
  • Then I saw a beast […] It had ten horns and seven heads, (Revelation 13:1).
  • It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns, (Daniel 7:7).
Causes the dawn
  • son of the morning! (Isaiah 14:12).
Referred to as Bel
  • Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; Their idols […] (Isaiah 46:1).
  • Say, ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is shame […] Her idols are humiliated, (Jeremiah 50:2).
  • I will punish Bel in Babylon, And I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed; And the nations shall not stream to him anymore, […] (Jeremiah 51:44).
Banished to the underworld
  • How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star [Heilel הֵילֵ֣ל], son of Dawn [ben shakhar בֶּן־שָׁ֑חַר]! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! (Isaiah 14:12).
  • Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub […] (Ezekiel 28:16).
Father of the godsKing of heaven and earth
  • For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven […]
  • I will be like the Most High,’ (Isaiah 14:13-14).

After analyzing the table, there can be no doubt that the Sumerian Enlil and Akkadian Ellil/Illil are one and the same with the Heilel of Isaiah 14:12. Thus, the composite we get of Satan is intriguing – the Sumerian/Akkadian Illil is essentially a mirror image of what we have in the Bible. Whereas God cast him out because he attempted (and failed) to ascend to the heights and be like God in the Bible, in the Sumerian/Akkadian tradition he has attained those things. He is known as “the father of the gods, king of heaven and earth” – just what he always wanted. Whereas Satan wanted to be on top of the mountain of God, in the Sumerian/Akkadian tradition he was known as the Great Mountain. In the Bible he is son of the dawn and as Illil he caused the dawn.

God of this World and Tablets of Destiny

The explanation of the separation of heaven and earth is also of great interest and there appears to be some truth in it, though it is a twisted form of the actual events. What we can glean from that is that heaven (God’s abode) and earth (man’s abode) used to be connected and as a result of Satan’s actions and the fall of man, heaven and earth separated. The Creator God (An) took heaven (dwells there until now) and Satan (Enlil) took the earth. This is why Satan could offer the earth to the Lord Jesus when he came because he actually held the (legal) title to the earth (see table above for references). Revelation 21 indicates however that God’s dwelling will come down to the earth and forever be connected to man’s abode. It is also so like Satan to tell humanity that the Creator God (An) was not that interested in the affairs of men – that He was too busy and rather aloof and therefore he, Enlil, was the go-to-god.

Additionally, the Bible confirms that Satan is the god of this world (for the time being). As Illil he holds the Tablets of Destiny which give him authority over the cosmos and the affairs of men. In Revelation chapter five we see a powerful scene in the throne room of Heaven; there we find a scroll with writing inside and on the back which no one is able to open.

And I saw in the right [hand] of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. […] Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:1-3, 5).

Finally only one is found worthy to open it – the Lion of Judah who “has conquered.” However, the question arises: conquered what? Given that when the two-sided scroll is opened cataclysms begin happening on the earth, it is therefore reasonable to assume that the scroll is the deed of the earth or the “tablets of destiny.” Pastor Chuck Smith commenting on Revelation chapter five notes well:

This book is nothing other than the title deed to the earth. Under Jewish law whenever you sold property in the deed there was always a redemptive clause. You always had the right to buy the property back within a specified period of time providing you could fulfill the terms and the requirements that were written in the deed.

So wherever there was the sale of property, there were always two deeds that were drawn up. One deed was sealed and it was put away in a safe deposit. The other remained open and was kept by the person who sold the property. And in the time of redemption you would bring both deeds, the one that was open and the one that was sealed. And by the open deed you would prove that you were the one that had the right to redeem it. And in the redeeming of it, you would break the seals of the closed deed and you would fulfill the requirements therein, and thus, the property would revert to you. [xii]

Jesus conquered Satan and death by way of His death on the cross and the scene in Heaven is merely where he finally takes possession of that which He conquered. As He lays claim to what is His, the old kingdom begins to fall apart and disintegrate. The time of disintegration is what is known as the Great Tribulation.

Why Satan Fell

We have one final question to consider in our study of Satan’s origins is why he fell in the first place. From all that we have seen in this book concerning the image of God and what he looks like and how the angels look, we might be able to speculate just a bit. We know from Ezekiel 28 that Satan, the anointed cherub, was the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty and his fall was due to his great beauty.

​​​​​​​Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor. I threw you down to the ground; I placed you before kings, that they might see you, (Ezekiel 28:17 NET).

When humans see an angel they are overwhelmed. Both Daniel and John fall to the ground debilitated as a result. John was so overcome that on two occasions he began to worship the angel who quickly exhorted him to do not that.

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See [that you do] not [do that!] I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” (Revelation 19:10).

Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, “See [that you do] not [do that.] For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9).

It is not just that John was overtaken by the angel standing before him but in his vision he had already seen the Lord Himself. Therefore we can surmise that Satan must have been so amazing in splendor (at least outwardly) and so similar in appearance to God that he began to compare himself with God and could not see any qualitative difference, “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,” (Ezekiel 28:12). Of course, regardless of how glorious he appeared bodily, Satan would always be a created being. His very existence was a gift from the Almighty and so therefore he would never even begin to truly be like God – he was just a creature. “You [were] perfect in your ways from the day you were created” (Ezekiel 28:15). Therefore, we may conclude that because outwardly he was glorious like God, he apparently believed himself to be equal (or close enough) to God and then attempted to rise up to the place where God was. “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation” (Isaiah 14:13). When Satan attempted to magnify himself to God’s level, God cast him “as a profane thing [vaekhalelkhaוָאֶחַלֶּלְךָ] out of the mountain of God,” (Ezekiel 28:16). Furthermore, God says:

And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. You defiled [khilalta חִלַּלְתָּ] your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, (Ezekiel 28:16b-18a).

It appears that God, in some way that we do not fully understand, then took out (caused to go out of) the fire that was in Satan (as an angelic being created in God’s image):

Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.”‘ (Ezekiel 28: 18b-19).

Bible commentator David Guzik sums up with a very plausible explanation as to why Satan fell. He suggests that Satan rebelled when faced with the prospect of having to serve man, who was below him in glory and power:

Perhaps because he rejected God’s plan to create an order of being made in His image (Gen. 1:26), who would be beneath the angels in dignity (Heb. 2:6-7a; 2Pe. 2:11), yet would be served by angels in the present (Heb. 1:14; 2:7-8; Psa. 91:11-12) and would one day be lifted in honor and status above the angels (1Co. 6:3; 1Jo. 3:2). Satan wanted to be the highest among all creatures, equal to God in glory and honor, and the plan to create man would eventually put men above angels. He was apparently able to persuade one-third of the angelic beings to join him in his rebellion (Rev. 12:3-4, 7, and 9). If this is the case, it explains well Satan’s present strategy against man: to obscure the image of God in man through encouraging sin and rebellion, to cause man to serve him, and to prevent the ultimate glorification of man, (Guzik’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Isaiah 14).

Having fallen from God’s presence Satan then deceived the very ones who were created in God’s image and likeness and in whom God had breathed the breath of life. As a result God spoke of the Seed of the Woman to save them and of the seed of Satan who would strike the Redeemer’s heel but would ultimately be destroyed. With this pronouncement in mind Satan set out to overcome the judgment that he faced by distorting the seed of mankind through whom the Promised One would come.

[i] W.R. Gallagher, UF 26 (1994) pp 131-146.

[ii] The number is also suggestive of the 33 degrees of Freemasonry whose highest members are knowingly in the service of Lucifer (see appendix one).

[iii] This point is discussed in Kramer, Samuel Noah The Sumerians The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1963. pp. 37-41.

[iv] “Enlil made the Anzu an extra fate and appointed him the guardian of his chambers. This included guarding over the Tablets of Destiny, which gave Enlil the power to decree fate. These tablets identify Enlil as the current head of the pantheon instead of the heaven god. The air god seems to have replaced An, or Anu (His Akkadian name), sometime around 2500 B.C. Although earlier stories tell of the Tablets of Destiny giving Anu-power, the tablets here are said to confer Enlil-power.” Retrieved December 17, 2010 from:

[v] May 23, 2010

[vi] Enlil was here identified by Sitchin 1983, The Stairway to Heaven, pg 114. Picture Retrieved December 16, 2010 from

[vii] Kramer, Samuel Noah The Sumerians The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1963. pp. 37-41.

[viii] Ibid. Pg 42.

[ix] Jeremias, Alfred 1913. Handbuch der altorientalischen Geisteskultur. Leipzig. p. 74.

[x] The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2008.The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.

[xi] May 23, 2010

[xii] Smith, Chuck 1986 Through The Bible C-2000 Series, Revelation 5, retreived from theWord Bible Software.

Part Six: The Sons of God According to Ancient Sources

Ancient extra-biblical sources are important because they act as a type of commentary on the Scripture.

Again, this is important because when Jesus spoke of the days of Noah, all the listeners would have believed that fallen angels and demonic-human hybrids were rampant on the earth at that time. The ancient Christian and Jewish interpreters confirm that Satan has been seeking to overturn the Genesis 3:15 prophecy and destroy mankind.

Fallen Angels According to the New Testament

Both Peter and Jude speak specifically concerning the actions of these fallen angels. Peter, in his second epistle speaks of false teachers with destructive heresies and the destruction they will bring upon themselves. He emphasizes the certainty of their destruction because of how God judged the (fallen) angels and the ancient world.

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell [tartarosas ταρταρώσας] and locked them up in chains in utter darkness, to be kept until the judgment, and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, a herald of righteousness, along with seven others, when God brought a flood on an ungodly world, and if he turned to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when he condemned them to destruction, having appointed them to serve as an example to future generations of the ungodly, and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless men, – if so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials, and to reserve the unrighteous for punishment at the day of judgment, especially those who indulge their fleshly desires and who despise authority. Brazen and insolent, they are not afraid to insult the glorious ones, (2 Peter 2:4-10 NET).

How can we know for certain that Peter is not merely referring to the initial fall of the angels from Heaven? After all, we know that Satan was once in God’s presence and fell from his exalted position according to Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. We also learn from Revelation 12 that Satan took one third of the angels with him when he fell. Couldn’t Peter simply be referring to the “sin” of when Satan and the other angels initially rebelled? Peter gives us the answer in chapter five of his first epistle when he says that we need to be on guard because: “your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). We can state with confidence that no angel has sinned worse than Satan himself. Thus why would God cast some of the lesser demons (fallen angels) into hell (a place Peter refers to as Tartarus) and yet leave the majority of the demons, including the king of demons, Satan himself, free to “prowl around”?

We know that during Jesus’ earthly ministry there were many encounters between Jesus and demons. During one encounter the demons even ask Him: “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29. We see that they were free to roam about but that there will be a time when the Lord Jesus will judge them. Jesus speaks of the judgment following the Great Tribulation known as the Judgment of the Nations in Matthew 25:41 and confirms that the final destiny of all fallen angels is the lake of fire. ”Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” (Matthew 25:41).

Thus the angels that have been cast into hell (tartaros) and are locked in everlasting chains waiting until the final judgment must have done something more than the initial rebellion. For if the first rebellion was sufficient to require them to be locked up already, why should Satan and so many other demons be allowed to go about freely? Peter provides evidence of just what landed them in everlasting chains so prematurely by his statement in verse ten: “especially those who indulge their fleshly desires [sarkos en epitumia σαρκος εν επιθυμια μιασμου] and who despise authority.” The Greek term employed by Peter (epithumia επιθυμια) is defined by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as a great longing for something, often of things forbidden. This word coupled with “flesh” (sarkos σαρκος) and “defilement” (miasmou μιασμου) makes a powerful statement – the unrighteous, which includes (fallen) angels acted upon a forbidden longing to defile or stain their flesh.

Jude, most likely basing his own writing on Peter, then elaborates in what way the angels sinned.

Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe. You also know that the angels [angelous αγγελους] who did not keep within their proper domain [arkhen αρχην] but abandoned their own place of residence [oiketerion οικητηριον], he has kept [There is an interesting play on words used in this verse. Because the angels did not keep their proper place, Jesus has kept them chained up in another place. The same verb keep is used in v. 1 to describe believers’ status before God and Christ. (NET Notes Jude 6)] in eternal chains in utter darkness, locked up for the judgment of the great Day. So also [hos ως] Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns, since they indulged in sexual immorality [ekporeusasai εκπορνευσασαι] and pursued unnatural desire [sarkos heteras σαρκος ετερας] in a way similar to these [toutois τουτοις] angels, are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire, (Jude 1:5-7 NET).

There are several things that confirm what Peter was saying in relation to the angels having been equivalent to the sons of God in Genesis 6. Jude says that the angels didn’t keep their proper domain, arkhen (αρχην). We see this word in a similar context in the writings of Paul. In Romans 8:38 Paul is confidently stating that nothing can separate us from God’s love: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities [archai αρχαι] nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,” (Romans 8:38).

In writing to the Ephesians Paul makes a bold statement concerning who we are truly warring against.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities [tas arkhas τας αρχας], against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 6:12).

Paul is stating that the principalities [archai αρχαι] are rulers in the kingdom of Satan. Jude on the other hand is referencing what the angels left – that is to say, they left their abode or domain of power and rule (where they acted as principalities of wickedness in the heavenly places).

Jude then goes on to say that in a like manner Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding cities committed an act like these (the Greek text has a masculine demonstrative dative pronoun “to these”). The New American Bible comments on verse 7:

However, the phrase “practiced unnatural vice”—translated literally as “went after alien flesh”—refers to the desires for sexual intimacies by human beings with angels, which is the reverse of the account in Genesis, where heavenly beings (angels) sought after human flesh.

The NET Bible notes that use of the masculine pronoun refers back to the antecedent “angels” because it is masculine whereas the mention of “cities” (Greek poleis πόλεις) is feminine and thus angels must be the antecedent of “to these”. [vii]

The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah (and the cities of the plain) was so wicked that God destroyed them with fire and brimstone from the sky. However, in order to not let the righteous suffer the same fate as the wicked, God sent two of his angels to rescue Lot and his family. Upon coming to the city the men of the city begin to beat on the door demanding that Lot send out the two men in order that they might have sexual relations with them. At the very least homosexual conduct is being spoken of here. However, with the passage from Jude in view, it is at least possible that God destroyed them not merely for their homosexual conduct, but for previously having relations with angels (of course fallen angels i.e. demons). The notes from the NET Bible offer some valuable insight on the term “strange flesh”.

This phrase has been variously interpreted. It could refer to flesh of another species (such as angels lusting after human flesh). This would aptly describe the sin of the angels, but not easily explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. […] Another alternative is that the focus of the parallel is on the activity of the surrounding cities and the activity of the angels. This is especially plausible since the participles ἐκπορνεύσασαι (ekporneusasai, “having indulged in sexual immorality”) and ἀπελθοῦσαι (apelthousai, “having pursued”) have concord with “cities” (πόλεις, poleis), a feminine plural noun, rather than with Sodom and Gomorrah (both masculine nouns). If so, then their sin would not necessarily have to be homosexuality. However, most likely the feminine participles are used because of constructio ad sensum (construction according to sense). That is, since both Sodom and Gomorrah are cities, the feminine is used to imply that all the cities are involved. The connection with angels thus seems to be somewhat loose: Both angels and Sodom and Gomorrah indulged in heinous sexual immorality. Thus, whether the false teachers indulge in homosexual activity is not the point; mere sexual immorality is enough to condemn them (NET Notes Jude 1:7).

The NET notes nicely draw out the bottom line of the use of the term sarkos heteras σαρκος ετερας (strange flesh in the KJV). When this information is coupled with what Paul has to say about the different kinds of flesh in I Corinthians 15 the picture becomes incredibly clear that the angels went after something foreign to themselves as did the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

All flesh is not the same flesh [sarx σαρξ], but there is one kind of flesh[sarx σαρξ] of men, another [alle αλλη] flesh [sarx σαρξ] of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies [somata σωματα] and terrestrial bodies [somata σωματα]; but the glory of the celestial is one [ετερα], and the glory of the terrestrial is another (1 Corinthians 15:39-40).

Paul states that there are different kinds of flesh, men, animals, fish, and birds. Note that all earthly creatures have flesh but it is other or different (alle αλλη). Paul then describes the difference between the celestial and terrestrial bodies and states that they are different (heteros ἕτερος of another different kind). After describing the difference between the glory of the sun versus the moon, etc. (I Corinthians 15:40), he then returns to the resurrected bodies that we will possess. There are both earthly bodies and heavenly bodies and they are “heteros” which is the very same word that Jude uses to describe the angels and Sodomites in their going after flesh of another kind.

We learn from Peter and Jude that both the angels (demons) and inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah took part in forbidden and debauched sexual conduct. We have seen that the reference by Jesus that in heaven we do not marry but are like the angels does not preclude what fallen angels did in the past. The texts are clear: the (fallen) angels did something that was so heinous that it landed them in everlasting chains in complete darkness until the great day. But we also saw that not all of the fallen angels have been confined there – most conspicuous is Satan himself who still has free reign. Thus, nowhere in the Bible does it say that angels are incapable of mixing their seed with humans. What we learn from Peter and Jude is that they were not supposed to. They left their proper domain i.e. the realm of the prince of the power of the air, and came to earth where they fathered the Nephilim with human women.

Ante-Nicene Church Fathers

The conclusions we have reached from the New Testament is backed by all the ante-Nicene Church Fathers. We will consider all the fathers that mentioned something concerning the sons of God (demons) and their mixing with the daughters of men and we will see that all of them believed that the sons of God in Genesis 6 were identified as fallen angels. [viii]


Church Father Athenagoras, AD 177 wrote in “Concerning the Angels and Giants” that it was the fallen angels who fathered the giants before the flood.

Just as with men, who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice […], so is it among the angels. Some, free agents, you will observe, such as they were created by God, continued in those things for which God had made and over which He had ordained them; but some outraged both the constitution of their nature and the government entrusted to them: namely, this ruler of matter and its various forms, and others of those who were placed about this first firmament […] these fell into impure love of virgins, and were subjugated by the flesh, and became negligent and wicked in the management of the things entrusted to him.” [ix]

Notice Athenagoras’ description of how these angels outraged (were not faithful) to the government that had been entrusted to them. This language of course corresponds to the language of 2 Peter 2 and Jude of the angels that did not keep their first estate (residence). Athenagoras further commented how these angels could no longer rise to where they once had been (heaven) and the souls of giants, who he says are in fact demons, wander the world.

These angels, then, who have fallen from heaven, and haunt the air and the earth, and are no longer able to rise to heavenly things, and the souls of the giants, which are the demons who wander about the world, perform actions similar, the one (that is, the demons) to the natures they have received, the other (that is, the angels) to the appetites they have indulged. [x]


Commodianus, A.D. 240, wrote how from angels’ seed the giants came about. Again, we see that the ancient Christian interpreter believed Genesis 6 to be referring to the comingling of angels and women which produced a hybrid race of giants, which confirms that when Jesus mentioned “as it was in the days of Noah, so will the coming of the Son of Man be” people would have thought about the Nephilim.

When Almighty God, to beautify the nature of the world, willed that earth should be visited by angels, when they were sent down they despised His laws. Such was the beauty of women, that it turned them aside; so that, being contaminated, they could not return to heaven. Rebels from God, they uttered words against Him. Then the Highest uttered His judgment against them; and from their seed giants are said to have been born. […] But the Almighty, because they were of an evil seed, did not approve that, when dead, they should be brought back from death. Whence wandering they now subvert many bodies, and it is such as these especially that ye this day worship and pray to as gods. [xi]

The Extant Writings of Julius Africanus

Julius Africanus (A.D. c. 160?- c. 240?) was the first to tentatively suggest that “sons of God” might be referring to the descendants of Seth and the “seed of men” could possibly be referring to descendants of Cain. However, he also conceded that it could just be angels as the text he was reading stated. Furthermore, it was by these angels that the race of giants was conceived. Augustine, however, was truly the first to state without a doubt that the sons of God simply meant sons of Seth.

When men multiplied on the earth, the angels of heaven came together with the daughters of men. In some copies I found “the sons of God.” What is meant by the Spirit, in my opinion, is that the descendants of Seth are called the sons of God on account of the righteous men and patriarchs who have sprung from him, even down to the Savior Himself; but that the descendants of Cain are named the seed of men as having nothing divine in them, on account of the wickedness of their race and the inequality of their nature, being a mixed people, and having stirred the indignation of God. But if it is thought that these refer to angels, we must take them to be those who deal with magic and jugglery, who taught the women the motions of the stars and the knowledge of things celestial, by whose power they conceived the giants as their children, by whom wickedness came to its height on the earth, until God decreed that the whole race of the living should perish in their impiety by the deluge.[xii]

Pre-New Testament Jewish Texts

Ancient Jewish sources a century or two before or after Jesus that mentioned the sons of God as fallen angels include texts such as the book of Enoch, Tales of the Patriarchs (also known as the Genesis Apochryphon), Philo, the Aramaic Targumim of the Pentateuch, the ancient historian Josephus and others. They consistently accepted the interpretation that fallen angels were capable of producing offspring and therefore had some kind of genetic seed to pass on.  This again demonstrates that the phrase “as it was in the days of Noah” was a reference to Nephilim on the earth.

The Genesis Apocryphon

The Genesis Apocryphon [xiii], found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, contains accounts purportedly by the ancient patriarchs (Joseph, etc.) from the book of Genesis, but with more detail. Whether or not it goes all the way back to those original patriarchs we may never know, but the book does provide us with some important evidence (at the very least as a commentary) of what pious Jews from Qumran believed about the ancient past, offering valuable insights into what they thought about the sons of God and the Nephilim.

In this fragment Lamech fears the child in his wife’s womb is not his but is in fact from the fallen angels known as the watchers. The child would therefore be a Nephilim or giant.

I thought, in my heart, that the conception was the work of the Watchers the pregnancy of the Holy Ones and that it belonged to the Giants… and my heart was upset by this… I, Lamech, turned to my wife Bitenosh and said… Swear to me by the Most High, Great Lord {…} I swear to you by the Great Holy One, the King of the heavens… That this seed, pregnancy, and planting of fruit comes from you and not a stranger, Watcher, or son of the heaven… (Col. 2. [1])

The Watchers

He uses the word “watchers” which is also found three times in Daniel 4. These watchers we see in Daniel came down from heaven and were also called holy ones.

  • I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven, (Daniel 4:13).
  • This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men,’ (Daniel 4:17).
  • And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, (Daniel 4:23).

The Genesis Apocryphon also qualifies the “watcher” with “son of the heaven.” In Second Temple Judaism “heaven” was often used as a circumlocution for “God”. Therefore we could see here a reference to sons of God being used to describe heavenly beings. The secondary designation of “holy ones” is parallel to angels, which does not refer only to good angels but to both good and bad of that class of beings. Holy is a word that does not necessarily imply perfection but set apart for a particular purpose. [xiv]

The Book of Giants

The book of Giants was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and has been dated to sometime before the second century BC. It is similar to the description of the giants found in the book of Enoch. Whether or not this book is based on a much older tradition we do not know. But it does act as a commentary on Genesis 6. Only fragments exist of the book so any particular order is somewhat a matter of guesswork on the part of the scholars. Nevertheless we still find some very insightful information concerning the events believed to have preceded the flood. From our first fragment (Qumran cave 1, fragment 23, lines 9, 14, 15) we see the general condition of the earth (brackets here are inserted by the Qumran scholars). [xv]

1Q23 Frag. 9 + 14 + 15

2[ . . . ] they knew the secrets of [ . . . ] 3[ . . . si]n was great in the earth [. . . ] 4[ . . . ] and they killed many [ . . ] 5[ . . . they begat] giants [ . . . ] (emphasis mine).

The next fragment appears to speak of taking two hundred different animals and mixing their seed with one another (miscegenation).

1Q23 Frag. 1 + 6

[. . . two hundred] 2donkeys, two hundred asses, two hundred . . . rams of the] 3flock, two hundred goats, two hundred [. . . beast of the] 4field from every animal, from every [bird . . .] 5[. . .] for miscegenation [. . .]

Apparently from the intermingling of kinds strange creatures came about, namely giants and monsters. Whoever the writer was, he was indicating that the cause of the flood was the creation of monsters and giants (unnatural creatures) which came from the mixing of seed. The key word is “corrupted” which refers to a degradation of the genetic code.

4Q531 Frag.

2 [ . . . ] they defiled [ . . . ] 2[ . . . they begot] giants and monsters [ . . . ] 3[ . . . ] they begot, and, behold, all [the earth was corrupted . . . ] 4[ . . . ] with its blood and by the hand of [ . . . ] 5[giant’s] which did not suffice for them and [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] and they were seeking to devour many [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] the monsters attacked it, (emphasis mine).

4Q532 Col. 2 Frags. 1 – 6

2[ . . . ] flesh [ . . . ] 3al[l . . . ] monsters [ . . . ] will be [ . . . ] 4[ . . . ] they would arise [ . . . ] lacking in true knowledge [ . . . ] because [ . . . ] 5[ . . . ] the earth [grew corrupt . . . ] mighty [ . . . ] 6[ . . . ] they were considering [ . . . ] 7[ . . . ] from the angels upon [ . . . ] 8[ . . . ] in the end it will perish and die [ . . . ] 9[ . . . ] they caused great corruption in the [earth . . .] (emphasis mine).

I Enoch

We next turn to the book of I Enoch. When the book of Enoch was written is not known. It is entirely possible that some or all of the book was in fact written by Enoch. After all the New Testament book of Jude quoted from I Enoch: “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,” (Jude 1:14). However, we can be certain that it was a central book for the Dead Sea community approximately two centuries before Christ. The book describes in great detail the situation of the earth before the flood and how the sons of God, which the writer clearly identifies, are fallen angels. The text below is from The Book of Enoch, translated from the Ethiopic by R.H. Charles, 1906 (Chapter 9). His comments have been placed in the endnotes.

(1) It happened after the sons of men had multiplied in those days, that daughters were born to them, elegant and beautiful.

(2) And when the angels [xvi], the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamored of them, saying to each other, Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men, and let us beget children. [Verses 3-6] [xvii]

(7) Then they swore all together, and all bound themselves by mutual execrations. Their whole number was two hundred, who descended upon Ardis, [xviii] which is the top of mount Armon.

(8) That mountain therefore was called Armon, because they had sworn upon it, and bound themselves by mutual execrations. [xix]

(9) These are the names of their chiefs: Samyaza, who was their leader, Urakabarameel, Akibeel, Tamiel, Ramuel, Danel, Azkeel, Saraknyal, Asael, Armers, Batraal, Anane, Zavebe, Samsaveel, Ertael, Turel, Yomyael, Arazyal. These were the prefects of the two hundred angels, and the remainder were all with them. [xx]

(10) Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to approach, and with whom they cohabited; teaching them sorcery, incantations, and the dividing of roots and trees. 11And the women conceiving brought forth giants, [xxi]

(12) Whose stature was each three hundred cubits. These devoured all which the labor of men produced; until it became impossible to feed them;

(13) When they turned themselves against men, in order to devour them;

(14) And began to injure birds, beasts, reptiles, and fishes, to eat their flesh one after another, [xxii] and to drink their blood, (emphasis mine).

The details concord quite well with the biblical and extra-biblical evidence that we have already seen. The ancient Jews at Qumran, whether simply the readers of the document or perhaps the authors of it, certainly believed that the sons of God were to be interpreted as fallen angels and that they had sexual relations with women thereby producing the giants. The ancient Jew, if not Enoch himself, understood the watchers to be angels (whether good or bad) and it was these watchers (who were also in Daniel 4) who came down and mingled their seed with humanity. Thus according to the author of Enoch, demons mingled themselves with the seed of men and produced a hybrid race.

Philo’s Interpretation

Philo was a first century Jewish philosopher from Alexandria who was known for trying to make the Bible harmonize with Greek philosophy by way of allegorization. If anyone should have allegorized away the sons of God and the giants it was Philo. However, Philo does nothing of the sort but takes a very literal approach and greatly strengthens our conclusion that the fallen angelic beings were mingling their seed with women.

And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful, they took unto themselves wives of all of them whom they Chose.” [Gen 6:2] Those beings, whom other philosophers call demons, Moses usually calls angels; and they are souls hovering in the air, (emphasis mine). [xxiii]

The text that Philo is quoting from simply interpreted the Hebrew “sons of God” as angels. This is also what the Septuagint did in the book of Job. Philo states very clearly “But sometimes Moses styles the angels the sons of God” in his Questions and Answers on Genesis part 4, note 92. Note that he also discusses how angels, or sons of God, have on occasion appeared as men. For Philo the giants are absolutely the product of fallen angels and women.

On what principle it was that giants were born of angels and women? The poets call those men who were born out of the earth giants, that is to say, sons of the Earth. But Moses here uses this appellation improperly, and he uses it too very often merely to denote the vast personal size of the principal men, equal to that of Hajk or Hercules. […] But he relates that these giants were sprung from a combined procreation of two natures, namely, from angels and mortal women; for the substance of angels is spiritual; but it occurs every now and then that on emergencies occurring they have imitated the appearance of men, and transformed themselves so as to assume the human shape; as they did on this occasion, when forming connections with women for the production of giants. […] But sometimes Moses styles the angels the sons of God, inasmuch as they were not produced by any mortal, but are incorporeal, as being spirits destitute of any body, (emphasis mine). [xxiv]

Ironically, Philo takes the text quite literally. In his writings On the Life of Moses, I – Part 4, he writes: “they saw that they were very numerous indeed, and giants of exceeding tallness with absolutely gigantic bodies, both as to their magnitude and their strength,” (emphasis mine). [xxv]

Targum of Jonathan

The Targum of Jonathan is very poignant in just who the sons of God are and even mentions them by name:

Schamchazai and Uzziel, who fell from heaven, were on the earth in those days; and also, after the sons of the Great had gone in with the daughters of men […], (Targum Jonathan Genesis 6:4, emphasis mine).


We next turn to Josephus, the premier Jewish historian of the first century without whose work we would know very little concerning the fall of Jerusalem. In addition to his work entitled Wars of the Jews, Josephus also wrote a much longer work entitled Antiquities of the Jews in which he plainly states that angels begat sons with women. It is worth mentioning that the piety of Seth and his sons is noted by Josephus. Seth’s sons’ apostasy is also noted, but Josephus is careful not to suggest that the “sons of men” were in fact the sons of Seth. He maintains the distinction between them.

NOW this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue, for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers; and did neither pay those honors to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men. But for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy. [xxvi]

After reporting on Seth’s son’s bad conduct, he then turns his attention to the events which led up to the flood. Josephus specifically states that it was angels that mingled their seed with women.

For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants, (emphasis mine). [xxvii]

William Whiston, the translator of Josephus, picks up on Josephus’ use of the word angel. He states: “This notion, that the fallen angels were, in some sense, the fathers of the old giants, was the constant opinion of antiquity.” [xxviii]

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs are biographies written between 107 and 137 B.C. They show what ancient Jews believed about the sons of God and the giants that were on the earth before the flood. In the testament of Reuben, the author discusses how the Watchers were the fathers of the giants. However, in this text it was not only the angels (watchers) who lusted after women, but the women that also lusted after the watchers.

For thus they allured the Watchers who were before the flood; for as these continually beheld them, they lusted after them, and they conceived the act in their mind; And the women lusting in their minds after their forms, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven, (Testament of Reuben 18-20).

Secrets of Enoch

Little is known of this books origin except that in its present form it was written somewhere about the beginning of the Christian era.

And they said to me: These are the Grigori [Watchers], who with their prince Satanail rejected the Lord of light, and after them are those who are held in great darkness on the second heaven, and three of them went down on to earth from the Lord’s throne, to the place Ermon, and broke through their vows on the shoulder of the hill Ermon and saw the daughters of men how good they are, and took to themselves wives, and befouled the earth with their deeds, who in all times of their age made lawlessness and mixing, and giants are born and marvelous big men and great enmity. [xxix]


We have seen that the evidence from the New Testament interprets the sons of God in Noah’s day as being fallen angels that mixed their seed with women. All of the ante-Nicene Church Fathers (before the council of Nicaea) believed that the sons of God in Genesis 6 were to be identified as fallen angels. Both Jewish and Christian interpreters believed that a select group of angels, who had previously fallen, took women and fathered children by them. They did not see this as an impossibility nor a problem theologically. In fact, it was the key that solved many riddles. By rejecting the simple and literal interpretation, later interpreters have had to disregard the text in order to make it fit their preconceived notion. The implications for our study are huge: if the fallen angels did that once, then they will do it again as Jesus Himself prophesied “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be,” (Matthew 24:37).

The idea that the sons of God were the supposed sons of Seth is conspicuously absent from these ancient commentators. If the vast majority of interpreters had believed them to be the sons of Seth and the women to be the daughters of Cain then we might be forced to reconsider our conclusion; the fact is, however, that 100% of them (before Augustine) confirm our conclusion that Satan has been trying to mix his seed with humans and thereby thwart the Genesis 3:15 prophecy. Only when Augustine began reinterpreting the Old Testament allegorically, so that he could reinterpret the literal promises made to Israel and apply them to the church, did the sons of Seth explanation take root.

[i] For a detailed explanation of Satan’s Origin and Fall visit /satans-origin-and-fall/.

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Rabbinic Quotations on Messiah

Rabbinic Messianic Quotations

Rabbinic Quotations on Messiah (click on link to visit source)Submitted by Jean Gibson on Mon, 05/22/2006

The following quotations are an amazing collection of statements from the Rabbis over the years confirming that the many passages which speak of the Messiah point to Yeshua (Jesus). See Jewish Messianic Texts and The Zohar, Three in One and Exodus Rabbah

RASH MISHLE [10:21]:   Rab Huna counted amongst the seven Names of Messiah also:   haShem Zidkenu [Referring to Jer. 23:6].


R. JOSEPH ALBO OF TOLEDO [SEPHER IKKARIM 28:54]:   The Scripture calleth the Names of Messiah also:   L-rd Zidkenu, because He is the Mediator through Whom we shall get the righteousness of the L-rd.


R. ELIJAH DE VIDAS:   The meaning of He was wounded for our transgressions bruised for our iniquities is that since Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities must endure and suffer for them himself [on Isa. 53].


SANHEDRIN [93B]:   Messiah…What is His name?   The disciples of the school of the Rabbi [Yehudah Hanassi, the author of the Mishnah] said:   Cholaja [the sickly] for it says [Isa. 53:4]:   Surely He hath borne our sicknesses and carried our pains; and we did regard him stricken, smitten of G-d and afflicted.


ZOHAR [To Deut. 6:4]:   Hear O Israel:   HaShem our G-d, HaShem is One.   Why is there a need of mentioning the Name of G-d three times in this verse?   The First HaShem is the Father above.   The Second is the Stem of Jesse, the Messiah Who is to come from the family of Jesse through David.   And the Third One is the Way which is below [meaning the Holy Spirit Who shows us the way] and These Three are One   (Zohar quotes from Amsterdam Version).


Rabbi Moshe el Sheikh, Chief Rabbi of Safed…

“I will do yet a third thing, and that is, that ‘they shall look unto Me,’ for they shall lift up their eyes unto Me in perfect repentance, when they see Him Whom they pierced, that is Messiah, the Son of Joseph; for our Rabbis, of blessed memory, have said that He will take upon himself all the guilt of Israel, and then shall be slain in the war to make an atonement in such manner that it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced Him for on account of their sin He has died; and therefore, in order that it may be reckoned to them as perfect atonement, they will repent and look to the Blessed One, saying that there is none beside Him to forgive those that mourn on account of Him who died for their sin; this is the meaning of ‘They shall look upon Me….’”


G-d will set His own crown upon the head of King Messiah, and clothe Him with honor and majesty…Midrash Tehillim on Ps. 21:3….   Rabbi Hann, in the name of Rabbi Aha, continues the thought…G-d will bestow a portion of His supernatural glory on Messiah….   The Midrash then continues with two designations of Messiah; HaShem, a man of war and HaShem, is our righteousness.


[On Isa.9:6:   R. Aben Ezra:]…There are some interpreters who say that “Wonderful, Everlasting Father” are Names of G-d and only “Prince of Peace” is the Name of the Child.   But according to my view, the interpretation is right (which says):   all are the Names of the child.


[Midrash Echa (1:51)]:   …What is the Name of King Messiah:   To this answered Rabbi Abba bar Kahana:   HaShemis His Name, for it is written:   “This is the Name whereby He shall be called:   HaShem Kidkenu.”


[See also, Midrash Rabbah [999:8), (Ps. 45:6), (Prov. 30:4), (Ps. 2:7), (Sukkah [52a]), (Zohar [part III, fo. 307, Amsterdam edition]), (Ps. 2:12 Leesor’s trans.)…{etc.…also, verses in Tanach may be one or two verses difference depending upon your translation}… [Zohar vol. III]…The Ancient and Holy One is revealed and described as being Three; it is because the Other Lights are Two complete Ones, yet is the Ancient and Holy One described and complete as One, and He is One, positively One; thus are the Other Lights united and glorified in One, because They are One…[Rabbi Simeon further states]…Thus are the Three Lights united in One.   The Spirit which is downward, Who is called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which is the Middle Pillar, Who is called the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, also called the Spirit below.   The Upper Spirit is hidden in secret; in Him are existing all the Holy Spirits [the Holy Spirit and the Spirit that is the middle pillar], and all that is light.


{see also, (Bereshis rabba 2), (R. Simeon on Song of Songs 2:6, Zohar Tanchuma), (R. Tzvi Nassi’s book, The Great Mystery), (Burt Yellin’s book, Messiah, A Rabbinic & Scriptural Viewpoint) (Sukkah 52a; Rabbi Dosa), (Rabbi B’rekhyah:   From the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, S. Driver & A. Neubauer, Hermon Press, New York.


Our Rabbis have a tradition that in the week in which Messiah will be born, there will be a bright star in the east, which is the “star of the Messiah.” – Pesikta Sortarta.   (fo. 58c.1).


The thought of Torah changing in the “Age to Come” is again made perfectly clear in the rendering of Deuteronomy 17:18, in Sifra.   Here it is stated that the L-rd wrote a copy of Mishna-Torah for Himself, and that He would not be content with the Mishna-Torah of the father.   The question is asked… “Why does He say Mishna-Torah?   Because it is destined to be changed.”


“The Torah which a man learns in this world is but vanity compared with the Torah of Messiah” Midrash Qohelet on Eccl. 11:8.


And I will put enmity between thee and the WOMAN and between thy seed and her SEED; He shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise His heel.   Gen. 3:15 Leesor’s.


It is not written that we may preserve [sic] a son from our father, but SEED from our father.   This is the SEED that is coming from another place.   And Who is this?   This is the King Messiah.


Ber. Rabbah (51, ed. Warsh. p. 95a, on Genesis 19:32)…This is that SEED that is coming from another place, and Who is this?   This is the King Messiah.   – Ber.   Rabbah 51,ed.   Wars.   P.95,a, on Gen.   19:23).


My Son art Thou; I have indeed this day begotten Thee.   *Do homage to the Son, lest He be angry, and ye be lost on the way; for His wrath is so speedily kindled.   Happy are all they that put their trust in Him.   – Psalm 2:7-12 Leesor’s


*[Ps. 2:12, Heb. ‘Bar’ = 202]…Thou art the Son, the faithful shepherd; of Thee it is said, “Kiss the Son.”   {note:   this has been removed in English in many new Jewish Tanach translations, but it is there in the Hebrew!}   Thou art the Governor of the Universe, the Head of Israel, the Lord of ministering angels, the Son of the Highest, the Son of the Holy and Blessed One, yea the very Shechinah.   {note:   The Schechinah is the VERY HOLY SPIRIT OF HA-SHEM!}


Our doctors expound the Psalm of the Messiah – (Jarchi (mass) [ref. Ps. 2])


Whosoever is not willing to praise This Son, his sins shall be brought before the Holy King.   – Zohar (Dent. fol. 109) [ref. Ps. 2]


It is a tradition of the Rabbis that Messiah, The Son of David, Who is to be revealed speedily…the Holy One said unto Him, Ask of Me anything and I will give it thee, for it is said, “I will declare the decree, etc.   Today have I begotten thee.” – Talmud Bab.   (Succah, fol. 52) [ref. Ps. 2]


*This is the faithful Shepherd; Of Thee it is said, “Kiss the Son,” Thou art the Prince of the Israelites, the L-rd of the earth…The Son of the Most High, the Son of the Holy G-d …and the gracious Shekinah.   – Zohar (Gen. fol. 88, c. 348) [ref. Ps. 2]


They He [My Servant Messiah] will become despised, and will cut off the glory of all the Kingdoms; they will be prostrate and mourning, like a man of pains, and like One destined for sickness; and as though the Presence of the Shekinah had been withdrawn from us, they will be despised, and esteemed not.   – Targum Jonathan Isaiah 53:3.


Our Rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is here speaking of the Messiah.   – R. Mosheh El-Sheikh [ref. Isa. 53:3]


The L-rd is the King Messiah; He is also the Angel of the Covenant.   – Kimchi


The L-rd is both the Divine Majesty, and the Angel of the Covenant, for the sentence is doubled.   – Aben Ezra


The L-rd may be explained of the King Messiah.   – Mashmiah Jeshua, fol. 76


For to us a Son is born, to us a Son is given:   and He shall receive the Law upon Him to keep it; and His Name is called from of old, Wonderful, Counselor, ELOHA, The Mighty, Abiding to Eternity, The Messiah, because peace shall be multiplied on us in His days.   – Isaiah 9:6 Targum Jonathan


Rabbi Samuel, the son of Nachman, said, “When Esau met Jacob he said unto him, ‘My brother Jacob, let us walk together in this world.’   Jacob replied:   ‘Let my L-rd, I pray thee, pass over before his servant’” (Genesis 3:14).   What is the meaning of, “I pray thee, pass over”?   Jacob said to him:   I have yet to supply the Messiah, of Whom it is said: “Unto us a Child is born.”   – Midrash (Deuteronomy 2:4)


But the wise man, R. Abraham Ben Ezra, has interpreted this prophecy of the great wars which shall be in all the world in the days of the Messiah, the Son of Joseph… The Messiah therefore is the Person to be smitten before the scattering of the sheep. – R. Kimchi [ref. Zech. 13:7]


While He bore the sins of many and for the transgressors He let (evil) befall Him.   – Isaiah 53:12.b Leesor’s


And when Israel is sinful, the Messiah seeks for mercy upon them, as it is written, “By His stripes we were healed, and He carried the sins of many; and made intercession for the transgressors.” – B’reshith Rabbah (pp. 430, 671)


…And they will look up toward Me (for every one) Whom they have thrust through, and they will lament for Him as one lamenteth for an Only Son, and weepeth bitterly for the Firstborn. – Zechariah 12:10 Leesor’s.


And the heathen will look unto Me to see what I will do to those who have pierced Messiah, the Son of Joseph. – Aben Ezra


It must be granted him that says, for Messiah the Son of Joseph that shall be slain as it is written, And they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced.   – Talmud Bab.   (Succah 52, 1)


He will revive us after two days; on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His Presence.   – Hosea 6:2 Leesor’s


This passage is applied to the resurrection and to the Messiah by R. Moses Hadarshan in Genesis 22:4.   – Ber Rabbah (Frey)


R. Alexander said R. Joshua ben Levi objects to what is written, “And behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven; and it is written, “Poor and riding upon an ass”; if they {Israel} are worthy, He {Messiah} comes with the clouds of heaven; but if they are not worthy, He comes poor and riding on an ass. – Talmud Babl. (Sanh., fol. 98, 1)


Therefore will the Lord Himself give you a sign; behold this almah/young woman [in LXX trans.   done by 70 Rabbis, it is the Greek word for virgin] shall conceive, and bear a Son and she shall call His Name Immanuel (G-d with us).   – Isaiah 7:14 Leesor’s


R. Huni, in the name of R. Ide and R. Joshua, said that this man is the King of Messiah of Whom it is said, Psalm 2:7, “This day have I begotten Thee.” – Talmud Bab


Out of thee Bethlehem shall Messiah go forth before me, to exercise dominion over Israel.   Whose Name has been spoken from of old from the day of eternity.   – Micah 5:2 Targum Jonathan


Out of thee ( Bethlehem) shall come forth unto me Messiah, the Son of David.   – R. Jarcdhi


Behold, I will send my messenger, and He shall clear out the way before me: and suddenly will come to His Temple the L-rd Whom ye seek; and the Messenger of the Covenant Whom ye desire, for behold He is coming saith the L-rd of hosts.   – Malachi 3:1 Leesor’s


DAVID FLUSSER, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS HISTORY AT HEBREW UNIVERSITY, JERUSALEM:   I do not think that many Jews would object if the Messiah – when He came – was the Jew Jesus.


We may all feel thankful that the Jewish race was so prolific in great men, that even so late in history, it produced one {Jesus} Who deserves to be compared with Moses, Isaiah and Hillel.   – Rabbi Adolph Moses in Courier-Journal 1885


Many ancient rabbinic sources understood Isaiah 53 as referring to the Messiah.   Here are quotations from some of them:


Midrash Ruth Rabbah:   Another explanation (of Ruth ii.14): – He is speaking of king Messiah; “Come hither,” draw near to the throne; and “eat of the bread,” that is, the bread of the kingdom; “and dip thy morsel in the vinegar,” this refers to his chastisements, as it is said, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.


Zohar:   “He was wounded for our transgressions,” etc…There is in the Garden of Eden a palace called the Palace of the Sons of Sickness; this palace the Messiah then enters, and summons every sickness, every pain, and every chastisement of Israel; they all come and rest upon him.   And were it not that he had thus lightened them off Israel and taken them upon himself, there had been no man able to bear Israel’s chastisements for the transgression of the law:   and this is that which is written, “Surely our sicknesses he hath carried.”


Rabbi Moses Maimonides:   What is the manner of Messiah’s advent…there shall rise up one of whom none have known before, and signs and wonders which they shall see performed by him will be the proofs of his true origin; for the Almighty, where he declares to us his mind upon this matter, says, “Behold a man whose name is the Branch, and he shall branch forth out of his place” (Zech. 6:12).   And Isaiah speaks similarly of the time when he shall appear, without father or mother or family being known, He came up as a sucker before him, and as a root out of dry earth, etc …in the words of Isaiah, when describing the manner in which kings will harken to him, At him kings will shut their mouth; for that which had not been told them have they seen, and that which they had not heard they have perceived. (From the Letter to the South (Yemen), quoted in The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters, Ktav Publishing House, 1969, Volume 2, pages 374-5.)


Rabbi Mosheh   Kohn Ibn Crispin:   This rabbi described those who interpret Isaiah 53 as referring to Israel as those:   “having forsaken the knowledge of our Teachers, and inclined after the stubbornness of their own hearts,” and of their own opinion, I am pleased to interpret it, in accordance with the teaching of our Rabbis, of the King Messiah… This prophecy was delivered by Isaiah at the divine command for the purpose of making known to us something about the nature of the future Messiah, who is to come and deliver Israel, and his life from the day when he arrives at discretion until his advent as a redeemer, in order that if anyone should arise claiming to be himself the Messiah, we may reflect, and look to see whether we can observe in him any resemblance to the traits described here; if there is any such resemblance, then we may believe that he is the Messiah our righteousness; but if not, we cannot do so. (From his commentary on Isaiah, quoted in The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters, Ktav Publishing House, 1969, Volume 2, pages 99-114.)

Messianic Expectation in light of the Pseudepigrapha

I wrote this paper in the fall of 1997 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where I got my M.A. – the paper has some typos and the Hebrew didn’t come through but I figured I would just post it anyway. I hope you enjoy.

Douglas M Hamp

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Fall 1997

For Professor Gafni



ANET  Ancient Near Eastern Texts

ASV American Standard Version, 1901

BDB    Brown, Drivers, Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, Massachussetts, (1997 third printing).

CAD Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, Chicago, (1958).

JTS  Jewish Theological Seminary

LND La Nuova Diodati, 1991 (Italian)

LXX  Septuagint

NEG Nouvelle Edition Geneve, 1979 (French)

NKJV New King James Version, 1982

NRS New Revised Standard, 1989

RVA Reina Valera Actualizada, 1989 (Spanish)


In my study of 2nd Temple Messianic thought, I set out to learn what were the existent conceptions in light of pseudepigraphic texts.  The most apparent characteristic of the intertestamental writings (primarily pseudepigrapha) and thought is that of tension.  Tension of expecting a heavenly Son of Man figure and a completely of-this-world Messiah.  Tension between the ‘created’ [1] Son of Man (bn adm) who is given praise and worshiped just like the Most High.  This tension between the two roles prepared the way for a new perspective.  Due to the tension and apparent ambiguity of the literature at hand, it suddenly becomes clear why many Jews in Palestine circa 30 AD believed they had found the long awaited Messiah.

Studying the books of the New Testament, we see parallels which, not surprisingly, strongly resemble earlier Jewish writings.  The four Gospels are full of examples of conceptions found in the group of writings known as the Pseudepigrapha [2] (works written by different authors than the title would suggest).

Jesus of Nazareth, as seen through the eyes of the New Testament writers, was the fulfillment [3] of much of the messianic speculation [4] which was alive during his day. [5] To see exactly what were some of those thoughts, we will need to look at the Jewish books which were being written prior to, during, and shortly after his day.  We shall see that according to the Jewish corpus, the first century ma’aminim (disciples of Christ) reached some conclusions about the ‘One that Cometh’ [6] which, during the course of this study, will be shown to be a logical development. [7]

Where did the tradition of the Messiah/Son of Man come from?  A view of modern scholarship claims that every extant Messiah ‘myth’ must have come from a land other than Israel.  Any time the Bible portrays something unique it is assumed that the roots must needs be found in a source other than a Jewish source.  While the scholars are justified in looking, the presupposition as such has a few problems.

First of all, it assumes that the ancient Israelites had absolutely no creativity of their own.  If, after all, the presupposition states that everything is a myth, then why should the Canaanites, Babylonians or Persians [8] have better imaginations than their Jewish neighbors do?  Obviously, the Jews writing the prophecies didn’t live in a vacuum and therefore were affected by those around them. [9] However, there is no reason to assume that the ancient Israelites couldn’t invent their own end-of- the world literature in a style that was truly Jewish. After all, they lived more than two thousand years outside of their homeland and still retained their religious identity so why should 70 years in Babylonia completely disrupt their faith?

Secondly, if every vision-dream or any other concept which is presented in the Bible must come from another source, then the logical digression is that all myths everywhere, not just the Israelites, must have roots in an older tradition; therefore at the beginning of time there must have been a handful of original ideas which got passed from people to people!  Thus, perhaps we ought to ascribe a little credit to the Israelites for writing such interesting works.  And of course, we must ask; what if they are right?!

Nevertheless, we should still examine the traditions surrounding Israel to see similarities which may help us to understand some of the concepts presented in the biblical and extra-biblical texts.  Mowinckle [10] presents some very poignant information on the origins of the Son of Man.  According to his research, the conception of the ideal king had its roots in the Babylonian myth between the god and the king.  “Sonship signifies an intimate relationship of trust and obedience.  As a ‘son’, the king is the object of care, love and protection from the god or goddess (or from all the gods); and he owes them filial obedience in their service.  He is chosen to be a son; but, in accordance with Babylonian ideas, this means that his relationship to them is regarded as that of adoption.  Indeed, the formula of adoption is, ‘You are my son, whom I have begotten.’ ”

This knowledge of the Babylonian tradition definitely enhances our understanding of the terminology and in fact, clears up a lot misunderstanding about the passage.  However, due to the fluidity of semantics, we need to be careful not to assume that that is the only meaning the author of psalm two may have intended [11] to illustrate this principle, we need to turn to the rabbis to discover how they viewed their own scriptures.  The Zohar (3:212b) offers us a vivid usage of dichotomy.  “I see him but not now (Numbers 24:17) Of these words, some were fulfilled in that very hour f when Balaam uttered them, some later, and some f will be fulfilled at the time of King Messiah.” [12]

Morton Smith, [13] likewise comments in a similar vein.  In his critique on Goodenough, he shows that symbols do change and can have different meaning dependent on many variables.  Smith uses the illustration of a red light.  A red light, he says, on a street or car means slow down and stay away.  However, in some parts of the city, namely the ‘red light district’, a red light means come.  Thus, we should look at the use of symbols and metaphors of the ancient near east.  Ideas were traded it is true, but did the semantics remain the same all the way through?  I would argue both yes and no.  Yes: ideas were borrowed and assimilated into the culture of Israel; No: in that they were not necessarily used with the same connotation as before.

In trying to ascertain an understanding of the messianic thought, we must first consider the parameters of the sources available.  In my usage of the OT scriptures, I will use them as a corpus of ideas which is in line with later rabbinical thought. [14] The use of pseudepigrapha, I believe, can not be taken as a whole, [15] however, we can look at it as an indication of common Jewish thoughts [16] in Alexandria and in Palestine. [17] Furthermore, if the wide range of writings plus the material found at Qumran is not ‘normative’ then what is?  Thus with the hope of discovering the common thread among them, not disregarding the tensions and dichotomies, we will apply some synthesis to the following texts.

Probably most central to the study of messianism is Daniel 7 which was written circa 200 BC or earlier. [18] In this text, we see a dramatic vision of the Son of Man [19] in the Jewish canonized scriptures.  Although this passage has been interpreted by some scholars as corporate Israel, the verse was generally interpreted as that of the Son of Man=Messiah. [20] Accordingly, Mowinckle in He that Cometh comments, “The fact that Dan 7 with its reference to ‘one like a man…’, {was I interpreted messianically in rabbinic circles is further evidence that the Son of Man was regarded as the Messiah….’in certain circles, the national, this worldly Messiah was entirely  transformed into the figure of the Son of Man, but retained the Jewish Messiah’s name.” [21]

Having thus established that the ‘one like a son of man’ in Dan. 7:13 is synonymous with the messiah in early and later Jewish thought, we can now proceed with our study of what was the collective messianic thought (again within the eschatological circles.  We can’t know clearly what the ‘commoners’ were thinking since they weren’t writing documents).  And we can also now examine-some of the texts which lent themselves so well to the belief in Jesus of Nazareth.

Philo, the Jewish philosopher of the first century AD, dealt with a term which would eventually find its way into the theology of the Gospel of John. [22] The Logos, which is found in John 1: 1, has its roots in Jewish thought and philosophy as demonstrated by Philo.  Even though the book of John is said to have been written previous to 130 AD (Introduction to John, Dr. James W. Bryant), [23] we can still find evidence of Jewish thought.  Nonetheless, Philo’s use of Logos or Nous, demonstrates the conception of the ‘mind of God.‘ [24]

The Nous or Logos were equated by Philo to be the same as Wisdom as seen in the book of Proverbs chapter 8. Philo’s allegorization of Wisdom was, similar to the proverb itself, a personification of the term.  Wolfson, in his commentary on Philo says “Just as the Logos is described by Philo as an instrument ‘through which’ or ‘by which’ the world was made, so also is Wisdom described by him as that ‘through which (di es) the world came into existence’ or ‘was brought to completion.’ This is as should be expected, inasmuch as Wisdom is used by him as the equivalent of the Logos.”

I would also like to demonstrate the tension found in the conception of Logos which Philo portrays.  For even though the concepts of Wisdom and Logos were said to be equal, Philo then attributes the role of mother to Wisdom.  “…instead of applying to Wisdom the term instrument, he applies to it the term mother.” [25] This is particularly strange when cf.  Wolfson (pp. 258) Wisdom and Logos are identical. [26] Wisdom, then, is only another word for Logos, and it is used in all the senses of the term Logos.  Both these terms mean, in the first place, a property of God, identical with His essence, and, like His essence, eternal.”

Let us consider one further example of this concept’s ambiguity which would have led to the interpretation of the messianic figure as identical to the Logos or in Hebrew, the D’var…. the substitution of the words ‘obtained me'(Prov. 3:19) for the Septuagint ‘created me’ as a translation of the Hebrew kanani does not mean that he believed that Wisdom was not created by God but only obtained by Him after it had existed apart from God from eternity.” [27] What Wolfson is trying to say here I find to be extremely ambivalent.  In order to obtain something after it had ‘existed apart from God’ sounds like something other than a created entity.  For if God had created Wisdom then how should also obtain it at some point in pre-creation.  Furthermore, to exist apart the omnipotent creator from eternity (past?), is by definition existence without creation; is it not? [28] And, I think that the big problem is if the Nous is the mind of God, then why would he need to create it and more importantly; what was He using in the meantime?!

Whether Philo’s philosophies were known to the general public is difficult to ascertain.  However, we can infer, based on a statement by Mowinckle, that the general ideas of messianic thought, including Philo, were not foreign to the people within the apocalyptic circles (and that was most people).  He says, “But he (that is the Messiah) could also be referred to by the term ‘the Man’; and, in association with the apocalyptic world of ideas, the meaning of this term was immediately plain.”  Philo was not the only one to attribute such divine qualities to Wisdom/Logos.

In the Wisdom of Solomon, written most likely in the time of Pompey (63-48 B C), [29] we see that the author speaks of Wisdom as the inventor [30] of all, thus assigning the work of creation with her in contrast to God.  “For she that is the artificer of all things taught me, even wisdom.” Our author continues by listing the various attributes of wisdom which seem to point to a personification of her.

“For there is in her spirit quick of understanding, holy,

Alone in kind, [31] manifold….

All-powerful, all-surveying,

And penetrating through all spirits…

For she is a breath of the power of God,

And a clear effluence of the glory of the Almighty;…

And she, though but one, hath power to do all things; … [32]


Charles notes in the introduction to the book, according to the author, that just as “the serpent was not really a serpent but the devil, the cloud was not really a cloud but the form which Wisdom assumed.  Do we not have here a clear example of the Wisdom finally taking on a physical, visible form?  Even to dismiss this as allegory still leaves us with the impression that the disciples of Jesus might not have seen this as an allegory (that is if they did see this particular text).  This might have been further proof in their eyes of Jesus’ messiahship.  However, even if we cannot glean an appreciation for the status which Wisdom/Logos has been given here, it will become more apparent as we continue.

Let us proceed to chapter nine where we see Wisdom as seated on the throne of God which is always reserved for God, and, in the book of 1 Enoch, for the Son of Man.  The author, via prayer, gives a picture of the role which Wisdom has.

0 God of the father, and Lord who keepest the mercy,

Who madest all things by thy word;

And by thy wisdom formest man,…

Give me wisdom, her that sitteth by thee on thy throne…


The three words that come to our attention are word, sit, and throne.  These are very interesting in light of I Enoch.  The ‘word’, which can also be rendered Logos, has parallels in I Enoch.  In chpt. 61 the author speaks of the First Word.  From the context it is hard to distinguish whether he is referring to the Son of Man or the ‘Lord of the Spirits’.  In any case, the use of word would appear to be identical [33] to that in Ps. of Sol.  In I Enoch 62 there is yet another example of how the ma’aminim b’Yeshua, cf. the New Testament, might have come to the conclusion that Messiah had come.  The author says about the Elect One, “The word of his mouth will do the sinners in; and all the oppressors shall be eliminated” And not surprisingly, we see this concept illustrated in John 18:6; merely by the word of his mouth the soldiers fell to the ground. [34]

Did the ma’aminim [35]come to this conclusion due only to the pseudepigrapha and the philosophy of Philo or are there passages in the tanakh which would also support this view?  In Psalm 119:89, we see an example of God’s word as the Law.  ‘Your word, 0 LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens (NIV).  This was also the view of Philo.  “Logos and the term wisdom are taken to refer to the wisdom in the sense of the revealed Law of Moses…Philo could have said that the antemundane wisdom is the fountain of the revealed wisdom, for the belief in the preexistence of the law means that the revealed Law has its origin in the preexistent Law.” [36]

Thus we have demonstrated that the ma’aminim had valid reasons, based on the philosophy of Philo, I Enoch, and the Psalms, to conclude that he was the Preexistent One.  John 8:58 clearly demonstrates the notion that Jesus and the author firmly believed that he was the preexistent Son of Man (not to mention the many times that Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man; to investigate that in more detail is outside of the parameters of this paper).  However, in John 8:58, the conception goes beyond the implication of Son of Man.  When Jesus says that ‘before Abraham was, I AM,’ (NKJV) he is claiming much more than the created [37] status of the Son of Man.  He was boldly claiming to be YHWH which we can see in that the Jews wanted to stone him for blasphemy. [38] 38 In addition to this we have linguistic evidence which supports that he was equating himself to God.

The Greek for I am, is ego emi. The title YHWH (), although not 100% lucid, is commonly thought to represent the verb to be, [39] to which ego emi shows a clear parallel to the eheyeh in Exodus 3:14.

Let us now look at the above passages in the light of The Assumption of Moses chpt. 10 and 1Enoch chpt. 45.

Assumption of Moses…

For the Most High will arise, the Eternal God alone,

And He will appear to punish the Gentiles….

(Moses to Joshua) For from my death (assumption)

until His advent there shall be CCL times….

Then thou, 0 Israel, shalt be happy…

And He (God) will cause thee to approach

to the heaven of the stars…


And in I Enoch 45

On that day, my Elect One shall sit on the seat of glory

and make a selection of their deeds…

their souls shall be firm within them when they see my Elect One, On that day,

I shall cause my Elect One to dwell among them…


What is most apparent in the juxtaposition of these texts is that the Assumption, (above), has God alone as the one who shall come.  It would be convenient to say that ‘the Most High will arise’ is just a nice way of saying that God will exert His power in the future.  However, the author talks specifically of His advent and even gives a specific time [40] until He comes.  Nor can it be said that the belief of a supernatural Messiah was dwindling at the turn of the era.  Accordingly, A. H. Silver says, ” The pathetic eagerness to read the riddle of redemption and to discover the exact how of the Messiah’s advent was shared in common by Jews in Palestine and throughout the Diaspora…” [41] Thus we can not conclude that the author had in mind that the Messiah was no longer a possibility.  The author saw God Himself as the one who would come to give the Gentiles their due.

The tension between these two texts is plainly seen.  On the one hand, God alone will be the means of salvation, [42] (then thou … shalt be happy; … approach … heaven ….) and in 1 En., it is the Elect One who shall save them (their souls shall be firm … when they see my Elect One).  In Assumption it is.  God who is judge and in the other it is the Elect One.  And finally, the most confusing part is he that will come to dwell among them.  One account says God alone and the other is the Elect One.

Collins suggests that the conflict, in principle, can be understood as an assimilation of the Son of Man and the Deity.  “While the title messiah plays a minor role in the similitude’s, it is all the more significant that the identification of Messiah and the Son of Man can be assumed … In many respects he seems to be assimilated to the Deity (who also sits on the throne of his glory).  In I Enoch 48:5 people fall down and worship him.” [43]

The author of the Psalms of Solomon seems to suggest a similar interpretation when he refers to the king as God and to the Messiah as Lord [44] 17:1,3,4:

Lord, you are our king forever, for in you, 0 God…

But we hope in God our savior…

And the kingdom of our God is forever over the nations in judgment.


This parallels the passage in the Assumption of Moses text in its words and is nearly identical in thought.  In the same chapter the author then speaks of the future role of the Messiah. (Ps of Solomon17:21-32)

See, Lord, and raise up for them their king,

the son of David, to rule over your servant Israel…

to destroy the unlawful nations with the word of his mouth…

and he will condemn sinners by the thoughts of their hearts….

He will judge peoples and nations in the wisdom of his righteousness….

And their king shall be the Lord Messiah. [45]


Why does our author juxtapose these concepts?  More importantly what would the reader (or listener as it may have been in that day) have understood?  Based on the evidence which we have seen thus far, it should not be surprising that the ma’aminim concluded that the Messiah would be God himself. [46] In fact, this is even supported by later rabbinical thought in the Talmud.  Rabbi Kahana explicitly states that the name of Messiah will be Lord.  “What is the name of King Messiah?  R. Abba bar Kahana said: ‘LORD {Adonai is his name, for it is written, ‘I will raise unto David a righteous shoot … In his days Judah shall be saved …. And this is the name whereby he shall be called: The Lord is our righteousness (Jer.23: 5-6) [47]

Clearly we can now assume that the conclusion which the ma’aminim adopted was not a foreign idea.  In fact, based on the evidence, we must realize that the ma’aminim came to a valid, rational, and legitimate conclusion based on the eschatological climate of their day.

“Is there a God besides Me, indeed there is no other rock; I know not one …. I will not give My glory to another.” (Isaiah 44:8 and 48:1 1).  These verses served as a reminder to the people of Israel to not go ‘whoring after other gods (see Ex. 34:15).  The memory of the 70 years of exile made a strong impression in their minds.  ‘There is no other god besides the Lord.  Worship must be ascribed to none other than the Lord of Hosts Himself. [48] Again, this passage is exemplary of the building tension within the intertestamental texts and the OT.

The writers of the pseudepigrapha were all to well aware of their God as a jealous god.  The Apocalypse of Zephaniah, written sometime between 100 BC and 100 AD, [49] reminds its audience of the importance of worshipping God alone.  The seer in the vision sees a ‘great angel’ like the angel in Daniel 10:5.  In fact, he is so over-taken by the figure that he says “I rejoiced, for I thought that the Lord Almighty had come to visit me.”  This might be interpreted as the Messiah or Son of Man if it were not for the fact that the being states that he is only an angel.  However, before speaking with the angel, the seer believes that he has seen the Almighty, and rightly falls on his face to worship.  Upon doing so he is cautioned “He said to me, ‘Take heed.  Don’t worship me.  I am not the Lord Almighty…… (6:15).  Interestingly enough is that the great angel whose face shone ‘like the rays of the sun in its glory [50] since his face is like that which is perfected in its glory’, allowed him to fall to the ground three times in mortal fear before telling him that he was not the Lord Almighty.  Thus we have a salient example of what the popular thought which the author projected into his vision.

What a dilemma was created for the pious during the turn of the era!  On the one hand they are commanded to worship the one and only, the Lord Almighty; yet on the other hand they learned from the Similitude’s of Enoch (37-71) and most of the apocalyptic literature, that an eternal castigation awaits all those who deny the [51] Messiah.

I shall deliver them into the hands of my elect ones like grass in the fire and like lead in the water, so they shall bum before the face of the holy ones … For the have denied the Lord of the Spirits and his Messiah.’ However, because ‘He (that is the Messiah) will cause the others to see this so that they may repent and forsake the deeds of their hands … through his name they shall be saved, and the Lord of the Spirits shall have mercy upon them.…


Again, it would appear that the ma’aminim made a rational choice based on the texts we have studied.  Grant suggests that in the “Apocalyptic writings … no sharp distinction is drawn between the ‘earthly’ Messiah and the ‘heavenly’ Son of Man even though the two figures were distinct in origin … The Messiah is to be completely a manifestation of God that some of the religious titles and attribute of God are transferred to him…” [52]

We thus far studied the natures of the Son of Man as the Logos and as a human being in the most basic sense (bn adm).  We have also seen that he is to be king and judge in a dual role with the Almighty.  There is one more main role that he was thought to play . Messiah as priest.  This concept is most clearly elucidated in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs.

In the Testament of Levi he talks about a new priest who will come.  It is not surprising that it is Levi who receives this prophecy of the priest.  Here the prophecy is indicating that the posterity of Levi will be given a new name and a new dual role of king and priest.  And the office of king will not just any but that of David.  Even though the text does not say that it shall be David per se, the implication is obvious; for who is the one who shall come forth from Judah?  It is none other than King Messiah.  Is it possible that the author had the Hasmonean dynasty in mind when he incorporated the two offices?  It seems very doubtful that he wanted to communicate that he thought so highly of the would be priest-kings of the Hasmonean dynasty.  As proof of that, we only need to continue reading the text [53] to see just what the author wanted to say.

Levi, your posterity shall be divided into three offices as a sign of the glory of the Lord who is coming. [54] [emphasis mine] The first lot shall be great; no other shall be greater than it.  The second shall be in the priestly role.  But the this shall be granted a new name, because from Judah a king will arise and shall found a new priesthood in accord with the gentile model and for all nations.  His presence is beloved, as a prophet of the Most High, a descendant of Abraham our father.(8: 1-15)

The author, via the angel, interprets the prophecy by showing that this person shall have three distinct roles.  ‘The first shall be great…’ His first role shall be that of king and there shall be none greater than it.  The second role will be that of a priest.  But his third role will be that of receiving a new name which will be the culmination of the three previously distinct roles.

Then in chapter 18 our author clarifies the priest to come.  Here he is contrasting the multifarious king-priest-prophet to the priests who shall come before him.  He describes that during a period of three hundred fifty years (in each jubilee=50 years) there shall be seven priesthoods.  The first will ‘speak to God as a father’, the second ‘shall rise up for the salvation of the whole world.’ The third and fourth will be indicative of suffering.  Finally, the fifth through seventh of darkness, pollution and desolation. [55] And then the Lord will raise up a new priest to whom all the world of the Lord will be revealed …. And his star shall rise in heaven like a king… And he shall be extolled [56] by the whole-inhabited world.  This one will shine forth like the sun in the earth, [57] he shall take away all darkness from under heaven, and there shall be peace in all the earth.” The author plainly states that he believes the priest’ to be more than just a priest.

His use of ‘his star’ is taken Num. 24:17 which was commonly referred to as that of the Messiah (see interpretation in the Zohar 3:12b) Thus the scepter would also arise with the star which is simply another way of saying King Messiah.  In order to take away darkness from under heaven he must be imbued with some sort of supernatural power by which he will be able to deal with sinners [58] (darkness is a common motif for evil).

Finally this author sums up the role of this ‘heavenly’ priest by saying that his priesthood will last for all time to come.  Before continuing we need to understand what was the Jewish understanding of eternity.  Unlike the Graeco-Roman sense, [59] cf Mowinckle “eternity in Hebrew does not denote the infinite, empty, abstract, linear prolongation of time which we associate with the word, but is equated with time in all infinite comprehensiveness.” [60] He says, “And there shall be no successor for him from generation to generation forever.” The author then continues by saying what we should expect from the priest.  He says that via him sin shall be destroyed ‘in his priesthood sin shall cease’, lawless men shall repent ‘and lawless men shall rest form their evil deeds’ and ultimately via him the saints will obtain eternal life ‘and he will grant to the saints to eat of the tree of life’. (I 8:8-11).

This study has shown that based on the texts above, there was almost a constant allusion to the Son of Man-Messiah is in some way equated with the Divinity and with his power.  Why, then, was there so much literature on this particular subject if, as Mowinckle suggests, that it would only be God who in the end would be king and judge. [61] Grant concords this view in his summation of OT thought and theology.  He comments, “It was an age-old concept, basic to all Old Testament and Jewish thought, which was fundamentally theocratic and teleological.  God will be the ruler of all the world; his glory will become visible; the whole cosmos will unite in praising him; he only will be ruler upon earth…” [62]

Thus we have seen that based on the above texts, the ma’aminim were justified in making their conclusion about the coming Messiah.  He would be more than just a mere bn adm (human being) but would be one that (according the texts we have reviewed) would have a nature equal to God and would act as j judge(I Enoch 5 5:4), king and priest.  He would be one worthy of receiving praise, and, to any one that would not extol him(l Enoch 46:5), punishment would be their eternal destiny (I Enoch 54:6).

What about the ‘Son of God’?  Is there any suggestion that it was used before the ma’aminim? Yes there is.  Even though an extensive study of the subject is outside of the topic of this paper, we should be aware of the evidence.  The fragment 4Q246, (a.k.a.) the ‘Son of God’ text, demonstrates the possibility that the phrase ‘Son of God’ was an idea that was not foreign to the Jews at the turn of the era.  Before commenting on the text itself, I must mention that the text is very controversial among scholars and therefore ought to be used with care.

The most striking statements in the text (to which I have access) are the first and last lines.  Line 9 of column I says that ” ‘by his name he will be named,” and then in column 2; “Son of God he shall be called, and they will name him ‘Son of the Most High….  His {or its I sovereignty is everlasting sovereignty and all the depths…” [63] The passage speaking on his name is very interesting when compared to the Similitude’s of I Enoch where “that Son of Man was given a name…” The authority of the ‘Son of God’ closely parallels the ‘Son of Man’ in I Enoch.  However, according to J. Collins, the two figures are not the same.  “The ‘Son of-God’ in the Qumran texts is not identical with either of these (Son of Man in I En. and Dan. 7: 1 figures, but has much in common with them.(Collins pp. 167)

Did the ma’aminim interpret the Messiah in light of this text?  The texts studied seem to indicate that it was understood in that light, especially in the case of the ma’aminim, and therefore lends credence to their conclusion.  Collins attests to this theory, “The ‘Son of God’ text from Qumran suggest that Dan, 7 was understood with reference to a Davidic messiah from an early point.  Such an interpretation is also reflected in R. Akiba’s famous exposition of the plural ‘thrones’ in Dan. 7:13 as one for Him (God: and one for David … ) the ‘one like a Son of Man’ who comes with the clouds of heaven in Dan. 7:13, however, also gave rise to a different kind of messianic expectation, which emphasized the heavenly, transcendent character of the savior figure.”


Having finished our study of some of the texts of the pseudepigrapha, we have seen similarities in the role of God and that of the Son of Man and even at time a complete assimilation of natures.  God as judge, savior, king and even creator (logos) became titles for the coming Messiah that the ancient Israelites so desperately desired.  The assimilation of the two roles created a certain tension that many were not willing to accept.  However, the remnants of the powerful belief can be seen in the Mishna [64] and later rabbinical thought concerning the Messiah. [65] Indeed, later Judaism attempted to deal with these paradoxical statements in order to harmonize the tensions which in many ways seemed to be irreconcilable.  Although some times even the greatest of rabbis were rebuked for harmonizing too much.  “Rabbi Akiba was rebuked by R. Jose the Galilean for profaning ‘the Divine presence,’ by teaching that the Messiah occupies a throne alongside of God” (Greenstone.  The Messianic Idea in Jewish History pp. 96).

And finally, the most salient group and focus of our study is the ma’aminim. Whether we agree with their theology or not, we must, in light of the evidence, confer that they acted in such a way that was not contrary to many schools of though during their day.  Perhaps they could not harmonize the various concepts in any other way.  After all, who were they supposed to look for?  Was it not one who would be a scion of David but would also be the one who had descended from heaven where he had been hidden since eternity?  Not only would he be the mighty Son of Man coming with judgment but would also be one who would be ‘faithfully and righteously’ [66], shepherding the Lord’s flock”…  He shall be compassionate to all the nations (who) reverently stand before him.  He will strike the earth with the word of his mouth forever.” [67] Thus, we can conclude that the ma’aminim made a legitimate choice based on the material covered in this study of pseudepigraphic literature.


Baeck, Leo. Judaism and Christianity , NY.  Harper Torch Books-Harper and Row, (1958).

Bentzen, Aage.  King and Messiah, London.  Luttenvorth Pr. (1955).

Charles, R. H.. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Oxford.  Claredon Pr., 1969

“The Assumption of Moses”

“The Wisdom of Solomon”

Charlesworth, J. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, London.  Doubled, 1985

The Apocalypse of Zephaniah

First Enoch

Second Enoch

Third Enoch

The Fourth Book of Ezra


The Life of Adam and Eve

Psalms of Solomon

Sibylline Oracles

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: Levi

Collins, J.J. The Scepter and the Star, NY Doubleday, (1995).

Frankfurt, H. Kingship and the Gods, Chicago.  The Univ. of Chicago Press, (1948).

Grant, F. Ancient Judaism and the New Testament, Connecticut.  Greenwood Pr. (1959).

Greenstone, Julies Hillel.  The Messianic Idea in Jewish History, Philadelphia.  The Jewish Pub.  Soc. of Amer., (1948).

Guillaume, Alfred.  Prophecy and Divination Among the Hebrews and Other Semites, London, Hodder and Stoughton, (1938).

Klausner, J. The Messianic Idea in Israel, NY Macmillan, (1955).

Lagrange.  Le Judaisme, Paris.  Libraire LeCoffre, (1931).

Licht, J. “The Qumran Sect and Its Scroll,” in: M. Avi-Yonah, ed.  The World History of the Jewish People, Vol., 8 (Society and Religion) pp. 125-178.

Mowickle.  He that Cometh, Oxford.  Basil Blackwell, (1959).

(Neuse, J., Green, W., Freirichs G., ed.) Judaisms and the Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era. Cambridge.  Cambridge Univ.  Pr., (1987)

Mosca, Paul G. “Ugarit and Daniel 7: A Missing Link”

Nickelsburg, George.  Salvation Without and With a Messiah

Patai, Raphael.  The Messiah Texts, Detroit.  Wayne St. Univ.  Pr. (1979).

Sarachek, J. The Doctrine of the Messiah in Medieval Jewish Literature, NY.  Hermon Press, (1968).

Schurer, Emil.  History of the Jewish People in the Time Of Jesus, Revised Vol. II Edinburgh, T and T Clark, (1979).

Schiffiman, Lawrence H. “The Concept of the Messiah in Second Temple and Rabbinic Literature,” A Baptist Theological Journal: Vol.  LXXXIV No. 2 Spring, (1987).

Silver, Abba Hillel.  A History of Messianic Speculation in Israel, Gloucester, Mass Pr. (1968).

Smith, Mark S. “The ‘Son of Man’ in Ugarit,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly/ 45, (1983).

Vermes, G. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, London.  Penguin Group, (1995).

Whiston W. The Works of Josephus, Massachusetts.  Hendrickson Pub. (1982).

Wolfson, Harry. Philo, Vol. 1, Cambridge.  Harvard Univ.  Pr. (1968).

[1] A concept to which I shall return later.

[2] There is a large corpus of pseudepigraphic literature both from the Old Testament and the New.  For this study I will limit the scope to that of the Old Testament or as it is also called, Intertestamental Books.

[3] The death and attested resurrection of the Messiah, cf. the ma’aminiin, are not common motifs in the Pseudepigrapha and thus not pertinent to this paper

[4] Although Patai’s dates might be questioned in light of the translation of the LXX (circa 200 BC), the books of Sibylline Oracles (circa 200 BC), Maccabees, Daniel and I Enoch, his statement is accurate; “From the Ist Cent.  B.C.E. the Messiah was the central figure in Jewish myth of the future.”  The Messiah Texts, pp. xxvii

[5] In light of the plethora of messianic-eschatological works being written at the time (Psalms of Solomon 63-48 BC, Assumption of Moses-turn of the era; The Twelve Patriarchs although written later-132-135 AD, we still see the messianic hope characteristic of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha; and the Sibylline Oracles Jewish-Egyptian document, Mid 2nd.  BC: see Collins pp.36 not to mention the library of the Dead Sea sect) we can safely conclude that during the life of Jesus the messianic excitement was at a high.

[6] taken from the title of-, He that Cometh, Mowinckle.

[7] Again, I must stress that the material presented here is in light of Second Temple Pseudepigrapha and not necessarily of Jewish thought as a whole

[8] Following- Otto and Staerk, Mowinckle suggests that the ‘purely heavenly’ eschatologies in I Enoch and other pseudepigraphic writings are ‘undoubtedly the result of Persian influence.’ pp. 276.  We should be careful not to stop there, however, for although the idea of the ‘Son of Man’ may have been later, the conception of the day of Lord in earlier.  Cf., Grant, “Before the time of Amos in the eighth cent.  BC, it was assumed that ‘the Day of the Lord’ would usher in a marvelous era of peace and prosperity … From the time of Amos, apparently, it was assumed that ‘the Day of the Lord’ would be a ‘Day of Judgment’ or of Visitation’…Apparently, it was one of the basic concepts of early Judaism.”  Ancient Judaism and the New Testament, pp. 69

[9] P. Mosca.  Ugarit and Daniel 7: A Missing Link pp.499… there is no reason… ‘to doubt that ancient traditions closely related to the Ugaritic myths were available in the second century BC’, but what I doubt is that the impeccably orthodox Jewish author of Daniel 7 would turn to such a source for inspiration when presenting the heavenly scene which forms the very climax of his dream-vision.”

[10] Mowinckle, S. He that Cometh, Oxford.  Basil Blackwell. 1959

[11] The concept of multifarious meanings in Jewish scriptures is well attested.  Mosca in his monologue on Ugarit and Daniel makes reference to this concept via Deutero Isaiah.  ‘…the juxtaposition of past and future salvation is typically Deutero-Isaianic.’ One need only attend a beit midrash to hear the many levels of meaning that the rabbis ascribe to the scriptures.  In fact, they even claim that there are 70 levels of meaning!  So, why should we not assume that the same principle may have been implemented in the understanding of the intertestamental works?

[12] Patai, Raphael.  The Messiah Texts pp. 93

[13] Smith, Morton.  “Goodnight’s Jewish symbols in Retrospect,” Journal of Biblical Literature 86 (1976) p. 53-68.

[14] Mowinckle, pp. 283…   the rabbis assume that the entire divine revelation in scripture forms an

[15] Also cf.  F. Grant, there is nothing more characteristic than variety within Jewish eschatology. Ancient Judaism and the New Testament, Connecticut, Greenwood Pr. 1959

[16] Just as Morton Smith critiques Goodenough’s view of ‘normative’ Judaism by saying “It was (normative Judaism) like New England ‘society’ a puritanic sect walled up in its self-made ghetto, while outside was the wonderful world of hellenized Judaism, mystic, artistic, and free.” M. Smith, “Goodenough’s Jewish Symbols in Retrospect,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 86 (1976), pp. 62; so too, then, can we look at the wide scope ideas in the pseud. as indicative of eschatological thought.

[17] “So far as we can see, the Palestinian Jews were also(and the Alexandrian) familiar with them [that is the mythical ideas associated with Isa.7:14 and the rendering of al’mah as virgin in the LXX] even if rabbinical orthodoxy later pushed them into the background.” Mowinckle pp. 185

[18] According- to Mowinckle, pp. 352, the conception of the ‘Son of Man’ via Daniel existed 200 BC or earlier.  Also see John R. Dunkel’s Introduction to Daniel, Nashville, Thomas Nelson Pub.  1985 Josephus Antiq.  XI 8:5 supports the view that Daniel was written prior to 165-163 BC See also Contra Apion i, 8; I Mac.  ii. 59,60 (cf.  Davis, Dictionary of the Bible, pp. 170)

[19] The term ‘Son of Man’ or bn adm (Hebrew) and bar enash in Aramaic (discoveries of the phrase ‘son of man’ have also been found in the Ras Ibn Hani texts in Ugarit; see Mark Smith CBQ pp.55) should be defined as human being/person.  In accordance with tradition and the paradoxical role of the Son of Man in the Pseudepigrapha, The Catholic Bible Quarterly 45, 1983 pp.58-59 provides us with the following- understanding.  “the man-like one represents the saints in the kingdom, as the interpretation emphasizes, but inasmuch as the sovereignty over the world is that of God, exercised through the ‘man’, he is also the representative of God.  The dual role of the ‘man’ accords with the messianic traditions of the OT.”

[20] cf. Rabbi Akiba as cited in The Scepter and the Star, pp. 36.  “R.  Akiba is said to have explained the plural thrones in Daniel 7:9 as ‘one for Him, and one for David.” Collins goes on to say, “It is natural enough, then, to infer that the figure on the clouds is the kin- of a restored Jewish kingdom.”

[21] Mowinckle, pp. 361

[22] Although-h the book of John is a ‘Christian’ book, we can use it as a late Jewish source with caution.(See Mowinckle pp. 358 on the use of the Revelation of John as a late Jewish source.)

[23] Thomas Nelson Pub.  NKJV (1985).

[24] Wolfson, H. Philo, vol.  I Cambridge, Mass.  Harvard Univ.  Pr. 1968, pp. 253

[25] Wolfson, pp. 266

[26] The doctrine of the Ruach HaKodesh is obviously connected with this concept but, due to the lack of time, we must refrain from exploring- the possibilities for the present time.

[27] ibid.

[28] Charles in his commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon, offers us some elucidation on the status of Logos and its relationship to Wisdom.  “The Logos, he declares is neither uncreated like God nor created like us; but he is at equal distance between the two extremes…’The Logos is not unbegotten as God’ ” and he concludes by saying “We shall not be far wrong if we attribute the same idea to our author (Wisdom of Solomon) with regard to the personality of Wisdom.” Charles, R.H. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Oxford.  Claredon Press, 1969

[29] Review and Expositor; A Baptist Theological Journal pp.237.

[30] “Inventor” is one of the definitions of the word ‘artificer’ which is craftsman, or worker.

[31] Charles added a footnote indicating- a further meaning- ‘the only ones of its kind’ which is to say monogenes in Greek.  Obviously the Ist Cen.  Church saw this as proof for the Holy Spirit.  However, due to the word monogenes, perhaps we ought to look for a parallel in the monogene as mentioned John 3:16

[32] Psalms of Solomon 7

[33] Charlesworth notes that First Word could possibly mean First Oracle, with the ‘first word/oracle’ or even the ‘fundamental principles of the oracle’.  Regardless of the differences of the linguistic possibilities, we still have the same concept of Wisdom/Logos as the primary mover, artificer, instrument (see Wolfson pp. 270).

[34] See parallels to 11 Thessalonians 2:8

[35] I am referring, to the disciples of Christ as ma’aminim because the term ‘Christian’ wasn’t coined until the missionary journeys of Paul and Barnabas, in the city of Antioch.

[36] Wolfson p. 259 expounding on Fug 18:97

[37] It is generally held that ‘Son of Man was given a name,’ in I Enoch, indicates that it was at that point that he was created.  That would seem to be a presupposition rather than a fact based on the text.  Even Philo is equally ambiguous on the preexistent nature on the Logos/Nous/Wisdom.

[38] “To claim to be Messiah was, for Jewish thought, no blasphemy…” Mowinckle pp. 369.  Thus in no way were going to stone him for anything less than claiming to be God himself.

[39] In Hebrew, it appears to be from the Qal imperfect of hayah, later hayah. See Davis, Dict. of the Bible

[40] Of course, what the author meant by ‘CCL times’ is very vague indeed.

[41] Silver, A.H.. A History of Messianic Speculation in Israel, Gioucest, Mass.  Macmillan. 1927 pp.’)

[42] In this case, ‘salvation’ should be used in the broadest sense of the word, not that of atonement.

[43] Collins, J. The Scepter and the Star, pp. 18 1.

[44] A very interesting, parallel should be noted Mowinckle (pp. 69), speaking of a righteous king upon ID the earth; he says that king was responsible for the peoples needs.  “Thus the king is the savior to whom the people look for salvation, both in the negative sense of deliverance form enemies, danger, and need, and the in the widest possible sense of good fortune and well being.

[45] Translation by charlesworth, p. 667.

[46] It is his duty to provide this yesha (salvation)” also means favorable conditions: politically, socially, morally and religiously.

[47] Patai, Raphael.  The Messiah Texts , pp. 21. (Lam.  Rab. 1:51, p. 36, ad Lam. 1:16)

[48] I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not -give to another, nor My praise to carved images.” Isaiah 42:8

[49] Charlesworth notes that this text has a surprising lack of ‘Christian elements’ See Introduction to the Book in OT Pseudepigrapha.

[50] As proof that the ma’aminim interpreted this passage in conjunction with Dan. 10:5, as messianic, one need only turn to Rev. 1: 13-15

[51] Excluding of course the Sadducees who didn’t believe in an after life.  See Josephus’ description of the various sects: Wars ii. 8.14

[52] Grant. pp. 71

[53] I am aware that the Pseudepigrapha was kept by the church and interpolations are therefore evident in some texts.  Therefore, I have tried to use texts which, based on the commentaries of Charlesworth, have no indication of a Christian reworking.

[54] We can not help but notice the similarities to the Assumption of Moses and I Enoch where we saw that in one the Lord himself would come to save his people and in the other it would be the Messiah/Son of Man.  Also see Jerimiah 23:6 and R. Abbabar Kahana as quoted above.

[55] A possible reference to Antiochus Epiphanies?

[56] Once again, we see a sign of the priest/king/prophet receiving praise.  This is also the same term that is used in I Enoch 46:5 in speaking of the Son of Man.  “This is the Son of Man….  For they do not extol and glorify him, and neither do they obey him, the source of their kingship.”

[57] Allusion to The Apocalypse of Zephaniah and Daniel 10:5

[58] In light of I Enoch this is not surprising since he is commonly referred to as the one who shall judge the world and throw the sinners into Gehenna

[59] rant typifies it as such; “namely, a hoop snake with its tail in its mouth, fitting figure of endless cyclic repetition.”

[60] He that Cometh, pp. 105

[61] … the Son Man conflicted in one essential point with a leading the thought of God himself as judge of the world, and, in general, the idea of the kingly rule of YHWH.” He that Cometh, pp.414

[62] Ancient Judaism and the New Testament pp. 77.

[63] All information on the ‘Son of God’ text was taken from J. Collins, The Scel2ter and the Star, pp. 154-155

[64] The Mishna refuses a portion in the world to come to those who deny that the promise of resurrection is contained in the Bible.  Mishna Sanhedrin X I” (Greenstone pp.  IO 1).

[65] R. Alexandri said: R Yohoshua ben Levi explained:…’if they will be righteous, {the Messiah will come) on the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7:13), if they will not be righteous, {he will come) as a poor man riding, upon an ass (Zech.9:9)” Patai, The Messiah Texts, pp. 83.

[66] Psalms of Solomon 17:34-35

[67] Compare with I Enoch 62:2

Ancient Israelite Hypostasis Introduction


Ancient Israelite hypostasis - hints of the trinity

The nature and role of Wisdom in Proverbs 8 is the central text of this study.  The passage has been debated for centuries.  There are at least two words in it which render the interpretation extremely difficult (qanah and amon).  How one decides to understand these terms affects how one views God’s nature.  In the passage, Wisdom speaks to humanity in the first person and even claims to have attributes like God.  Wisdom declares that she was in the beginning with God.  Before anything at all was made, she was there.

I believe that unlocking the two enigmatic words, especially amon, will thereby enable us to see that Wisdom is more than a poetic device; YHWH, though one, was not exactly alone in the beginning.  The New Testament affirms that God is manifest in three distinct persona also known as hypostasis.  In fact, hypostasis was a word that the early church adopted in order to help clarify the nature of God as a trinity.

It is a common assumption that the idea of a God with hypostases (variable manifestations of attributes) began with the Christian age.  The concept underlying the trinity is commonly assumed to be a new type of theology invented by the Church – something foreign to Judaism.   I have also heard it said whether in the university setting or in the streets of Jerusalem and beyond, that Jews could accept Jesus if he hadn’t claimed to be the Son of God.  In other words, the fact that God could in any way be made manifest on earth is somehow thought to be foreign to any true Jewish thinking.  This, however, is not the case.

Proverbs 8 and its interpretation are central in this issue in that it was later interpreted in Second Temple Jewish writings as God having a hypostasis.  In other words, the notion that God’s nature was a complex unity was already a reality before the Church or even the New Testament Writers.  The concept, as will be demonstrated in the body of this paper, is of great antiquity.  The ancient believer seems to have always tended to regard God as possessing some type of intermediary, which was not simply an angel; the intermediary was dependent and yet somehow distinguished from God.  It was both God almighty and yet separate from him.  What is important to notice about the phenomenon in Israel is that the hypostases did not become deities in their own right.  What began as a hypostasis in other cultures often became a deity entirely distinct from the original god.

The Importance to the Believer

Understanding that the ancient Israelites believed God to have a hypostasis shows that the Church’s stance was rather more of a new title than a new concept.  The concept itself is very ancient.  Furthermore, if Wisdom was indeed a hypostasis of God, then it further strengthens the case made by John, Paul and just about all of the New Testament writers that namely: in the beginning, a prototype –logos, Torah – was next to God the father.  This paragon, archetype was next to God during the process of creation and perhaps as John suggests, was the one through whom all was made.

And so, the central theme of this thesis is to show that the notion of hypostasis was not a new invention of the Church, but was rather something that had its roots in antiquity and was very Jewish.  This will be done through the examination of extra-biblical and biblical against Proverbs 8.  Based on the environment in which it was written and the language employed, there are good reasons to believe that the author(s) was writing more than one meaning in mind.  One of those, however, was the same belief underlying the words of Jesus, “I and the Father are one.” (John, 10:30)


The following is my M.A. thesis that I submitted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2000. My intent was to demonstrate that the concept of the triunity of God was not an idea that originated with the early Christians but was subtly understood by the ancient Israelites. I debated whether or not to publish this (here on my site), because, like many things in life, we learn more with time. There may be some things that I would state differently today from eleven years ago when I wrote this. I certainly have an even greater love for God’s Word today than I did then. I believe that my writing style has also improved since then. So, I guess just read this with caution – there are typos, the Hebrew and special characters didn’t come through and my tenor was academic – to rework parts of it would take just too much time.    I hope you enjoy. – Doug March, 2011



A Study of the Continuum of Hypostasis in Ancient Israel

Douglas M Hamp
MA Thesis
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
July 2000


The Identity of Wisdom in Proverbs 8.


The Bible is an eclectic book containing many different traditions and stories.  Its diversity is part of its attraction.  There is one axiom, however, from which the Bible, taken as a whole, does not seem to deviate – only the God of Israel is worthy to receive glory and worship.  Though the Bible may not deny the existence of other gods (Ex. 20:3),[1] neither does it give any place whatsoever to other gods to receive glory, honor or praise alongside YHWH, the God of Israel.

The thesis of this study is to show that, despite the strong biblical and Second Temple period injunctions against worshiping other deities, the worship of God’s attributes and or cultic objects (hypostasis) was native to ancient Israel.[2]

Exodus 20:3-5 provides an excellent example of how God himself, as understood by the author, prohibits the worship of any other gods.

You shall have no other gods before Me.You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me. 

Isaiah would go so far as to deny the existence of any other god besides the God of Israel (Isa. 43:10,11; 44:6; 45:6).  He emphatically states that God will in no way share his glory with another.

I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.  (Isa. 42:8)

Thus, we can see from these two texts, (two major representatives of biblical tradition – Torah and Isaiah demonstrating various eras of composition), that God is depicted as not willing that another receive worship in his stead.[3] The writers of the Pseudepigrapha were also well aware that their God was a jealous God.  The Apocalypse of Zephaniah, written sometime between 100 BC and 100 AD,[4] reminded its audience of the importance of worshipping God alone.  The seer of the vision saw a ‘great angel’ like the angel in Daniel 10:5.  In fact, he was so over-taken by the figure that he said, “I rejoiced, for I thought that the Lord Almighty had come to visit me.”  The seer believed that he had seen the Almighty and fell on his face to worship.  Upon doing so he was cautioned “He said to me, ‘Take heed.  Don’t worship me.  I am not the Lord Almighty…’”[5] Obviously, the injunction against worshiping creatures was still clear in the mind of the Second Temple period Jew and moreover, the Talmud specifically prohibits such worship.[6] This is not to say that people never worshiped angels.[7] Regardless of what they actually did, however, the Jewish cultic conscience still regarded it as not normative in the Jewish faith.

In the Similtudes of Enoch (48:5), people fall down and worship a being other than YHWH.[8] “All those who dwell upon the earth shall fall and worship before him [the Son of Man]…”  J. Collins suggests that there was an assimilation of the Son of Man and the Deity.  “While the title messiah plays a minor role in the Similitudes, it is all the more significant that the identification of Messiah and the Son of Man can be assumed …  In many respects he seems to be assimilated to the Deity (who also sits on the throne of his glory).”[9] Many of the examples in the late Second Temple period portray him as assimilated to God.  While Collins’ is not the only view on this complex issue, and while the Son of Man is not always assimilated, I nevertheless, agree with his point.  Many texts ascribe glory and adulation to some one other than YHWH; behavior normally reserved for God.  Some texts indicate that the ‘anointed one’ will dwell in the midst of God’s people as their King.  (I Enoch 45)  And still other texts indicate that it is a figure other than God who will purge the impurity of God’s people.[10]

Sometimes, however, the figure was not the ‘anointed of YHWH’ but rather an attribute of YHWH (Wisdom of Solomon 7:22-27).  Rabbinic literature, most probably recording an older tradition, shows that even the altar of God was praised.[11] In the religions of the ANE, these claims were not so incredible; polytheism had existed for many years and was considered the norm.  In fact, Jews and subsequently Christians were occasionally thought of as not having religion since they believed in only one God.[12] Thus, why would a society so deeply moved to acclaim that there was only one God, envision that other entities and even inanimate objects could actually have a share in God’s praise?  The many martyrs during and after the time of the Maccabees should be recalled as a case in point.  Rather than yield to the religious atrocities of the Greeks, many preferred to die than to eat pork and offer sacrifices to the gods.  Thus, one cannot conclude that the worshippers of YHWH took their beliefs lightly.  And so we are left with the dilemma of how this plethora of dissident texts arose.  Did these seemingly radical ideas of polyvalent worship come from an origin foreign to Judaism?  Did they originate in the Second Temple period?  Were they primarily Greek in origin?  The study of ancient Israelite hypostasis seeks to answer these questions.

Plan of Study

Method: In order to determine if a given text contains a hypostasis, it must meet the following criteria: 1) Is the entity in question an attribute, abstract quality or cultic object of another entity?  2) Is the entity in question understood to have the ability to act autonomously of the original entity?  3) Is the entity still considered to be a logical part of the original entity?  If these three criteria are met then we know that we are dealing with a hypostasis.

Structure: In order to argue the above proposals, many issues need to be examined: 1) non-Israelite hypostases, 2) Israelite-extra-biblical hypostases 3) biblical hypostases 4) and a brief survey of Second Temple hypostases.  Hypostasis outside of Israel will be the first issue to be addressed.  This is important so that we may see what polytheistic cultures understood hypostasis to be in contradistinction to a culture claiming to be monotheistic.  Next, examples of Israelite extra-biblical hypostasis will be considered to show how religion outside of the pages of the Bible related to God in order to show that cultic practice and belief was congruent both in and outside of the Bible.  Once we understand what was happening outside of the textual witness of the Bible, we shall turn inward to see the parallels between the biblical and extra-biblical evidence.  And finally, to demonstrate the prevalence of hypostasis, a brief survey of Second Temple texts will be conducted.

Once we have seen what hypostasis was in the various contexts above, an examination of Proverbs 8:22-31 (a transitional text) shall ensue since Wisdom was so often interpreted as a hypostasis – evident in Second Temple literature (discussed in this paper).  I believe that this passage is perhaps the most salient example of hypostasis in the Bible.  Demonstrating it to be an example of hypostasis will, in my opinion, seal the case for hypostasis in Ancient Israel and Second Temple Judaism.

Issues to be addressed: 1) ancient and modern debate over Proverbs 8 including a discussion of the key words – qªnªh and especially amon, 2) source of the word amon and its meaning in Proverbs 8 and 3) how the meaning which I propose enhances the claim that Wisdom is an example of Ancient Israelite hypostasis.

The central question underlying the study of Proverbs 8: did its author intend Wisdom to be an Israelite hypostasis?  After discussing the various debates concerning its interpretation, I will discuss the context of the passage which I consider to be an important clue for its understanding.  Item 2, therefore, will deal with the Egyptian context that scholars generally agree underlies Israelite Wisdom texts.[13] While it may, however, seem that an Egyptian background to Israelite Wisdom literature would naturally preclude the proposal that hypostasis was native to Israel, it in fact does not.  Israel, like every nation of old (and modern as well), was affected by its surroundings, including Egypt just as she was affected by Israel and her neighbors.

Once all of the proposed material has been surveyed, it is hoped that we will understand that the author of Proverbs 8 was referring to Wisdom as a hypostasis of God and consequently, the conflicting ideas of the late Second Temple period will be recognized as representations of hypostasis rather than solely a borrowing of pagan elements (Hellenistic, Persian etc.) which were incorporated into Israel’s faith (including Second Temple Judaism).  Moreover, the seemingly ‘unorthodox’ statements ascribing praise, glory and exultation to one other than God, were not heresy; rather they were a very ancient form of understanding God’s presence in this world – a conception native to Judaism.



In the ancient Near East, there was a phenomenon whereby an attribute or cultic object was personified, that is to say, it had characteristics of a person.  A biblical example of personification is Exodus 15:14-15.

The people will hear and be afraid; Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them; All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away.

Here the personification is not of a divine attribute, but is sorrow (or writhing) itself.  Furthermore, the poet continues by saying not simply that the people will tremble, but that “trembling” will take hold of them.  This type of speech is a device to add excitement and suspense to the account.  There is no reason to assume that the author had in mind an entity such as Trembling who would literally take the people into its arms. [14] Another example, perhaps more convincing, is Ps. 98:8:  “Let the rivers clap their hands…” Here too the poet is using personification to exalt God – a device which the author uses to brings to life an otherwise inanimate idea or thing for the sake of embellishment and elaboration.


There is a subtle, but important difference between a personified object and a hypostasis.  A personification was never equated with god, (though it may have been considered a god in extra-biblical mythological texts).  In the Bible, the personified object was not equal to God.  Hypostasis on the other hand was thought to be an accurate representation of the deity.

The term hypostasis is a term which has been in use for millennia.  The word is Greek in origin and was used in several contexts.  Its basic meaning was standing under, supporting.[15] By the time of the Church Fathers it was used to designate the three persons of the Trinity.[16] The word also was employed in Platonic and Stoic philosophy[17] as well as everyday usage.  Bible and Ancient Near East (ANE) scholars have employed the term to describe the process of regarding an abstract quality of a deity[18] as a real entity, e.g. wisdom, glory, presence, name (see especially Ex. 33); or a cultic aspect of the god, e.g. the temple, or cultic apparatus e.g. the sacred tree etc…  Though the actual Greek word hypostasis, does appear 21 times in the LXX and once in the New Testament (signifying substance, ground, hope, foundation, and burden), it never denotes, however, any type of abstraction which stands in the place of another.  Currently, it is used to describe the process whereby the essence of the deity is assimilated into another form or manifestation.  One Biblicist suggests this understanding: “a quality, epithet, attribute, manifestation or the like of a deity which through a process of personification and differentiation has become a distinct (if not fully independent) divine being in its own right… Such local manifestations, or hypostases, were not understood to be foreign gods adopted into a polytheistic pantheon.  Rather they were abstract aspects of Yahweh that were personified and given substance.”[19]

And so, hypostasis in this paper will be defined thus: an attribute or cultic object of a god (or man)[20], that is regarded as a supernatural being which is distinct from the original and is invoked (or cursed) alongside a god (or in place of) and is given the same reverence and honor (or fear) which the particular god is given.[21] The phenomenon of hypostasis can be observed by the fact that a worshipper addresses a cultic object and/or attribute of a god either independently or in conjunction to the primary god as a worthy and comparable substitute for the primary deity.  That is to say, the worshipper seeks a relationship with the deity’s hypostasis in addition to or as a proxy by which he may access the primary deity.[22]

How is hypostasis different than polytheism?  The dividing line between the two is perhaps thin, but nonetheless important.  Polytheism admits that there are many deities in the cosmos.  The various gods act independently of one another and have different levels of power.  However, to worship one is not to worship another.  The important distinction is witnessed in particular, in the relationships of the gods of Mesopotamia.  The gods can beget, hate, deceive and war against one another just as humans do.  So, worshiping Shamash (the sun god) is not same as worshiping Nergal (the god of pestilence).  These gods could plot against and hold one another hostage, which could ultimately result in death.[23] Hypostasis, especially in the Hebrew Bible, is very different from polytheism in Mesopotamia[24] and elsewhere.  Both the biblical and extra-biblical examples of hypostasis in Israel never addressed the hypostasis as an entity entirely independent of YHWH.  There was always a nexus between the two.


Summary and Conclusion to Thesis

Our study has been concerned with Hypostasis in ancient Israel.  We have sought to discover whether or not this phenomenon was something that was native to Israel or was rather an element imported into her borders.  While there is no doubt that hypostasis existed outside of her borders, Israel definitely had its own version of hypostasis.  Foreign influence aside, Israel had a native belief that God was a God who could be made manifest in several forms.  However, unlike the surrounding pagan countries, the Bible never incorporated these hypostases as entities that should receive praise, worship and honor in God’s stead.  Rather, they had a place next to him, and according to Proverbs 8 even assisted God in the creation of the world.  They did not, however, become the central focus of worship.

Having concluded that hypostasis was an occurrence which existed in ancient Israel and in our core text of Proverbs 8, we may now also conclude that the intermediary figures in the Second Temple Period, were also regarded as hypostases.  For after all, they were regarded as entities which came from heaven, sat on God’s throne, were endowed with God’s power and like God, received worship and praise.

And so the three intentions of this study have been met.  It has been demonstrated that God from very early times of the Israelite cult was regarded to have hypostases, despite the strong injunctions against worshiping other deities. The phenomenon of hypostasis was not the incorporation of foreign gods into an Israelite pantheon.  The hypostases were regarded as separate entities and yet considered to be YHWH.  Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22-31 was understood by its author to be a hypostasis – who helped with creation and yet was hidden from it – thus demonstrating that the author, like the other biblical authors reviewed, understood God to have a hypostasis.  And lastly the entities of the Second Temple period were hypostases of God mostly native to Israel\Judaism and were not sole borrowings of Greek ideas.  Hypostasis was a phenomenon which pervaded many areas of religious life and was a means by which the worshipper could address a distant god locally.  Understanding the reality of ancient hypostasis helps the modern person better understand the message of ancient religious texts (non-Biblical), the Bible and perhaps, ones own desire to have a mediator between oneself and the transcendent.

Hypostases in the Ancient Near East Part One

Hypostasis in Biblical Literature Part Two

Hypostasis in the Second Temple Period Part Three

Hypostasis, Proverbs Eight, and Wisdom Part Four

Ancient Israelite Hypostasis Bibliography Part Five

[1] McCarter relates to the  (ëemaÿ) (Deut. 6:4) “as if it were a polemic against the practice of worshiping local manifestations.”  He states that “the context shows clearly that the concern of this verse is not with the unity of Yahweh himself or even the centralization of his worship.  The subject is the exclusiveness of his worship, as Deut 6:5 shows: ‘You shall love Yahweh, your god, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.’  Israel has one god, and he is a ‘jealous god’ (Deut 6:15).” P. K. McCarter, (1987), p. 142.

[2] The appearance of Wisdom in Proverbs 8:22-31 (a transitional text) illustrates a biblical example of hypostasis and serves as a transition point in the continuum of hypostasis which then emerges in the Second Temple period thereby making Israelite hypostasis of that period a native idea and not a sole borrowing of Greek ideas  I am not suggesting that they may not have borrowed from other cultures to shape the thought.  Rather, the history of hypostasis in Israel is ancient enough to render the need to find the kernel in the Greek culture unnecessary.

[3] See also Exodus 34:14; Deut. 5:6-9; Isa. 2:8; Rev 22:8,9 for other examples of created beings refusing praise.

[4]Charlesworth, (1985), notes that this text has a surprising lack of ‘Christian elements’

[5] Apocalypse of Zephaniah, 6:15.

[6] See Yeruëalmi BeruÊot, 9:13

[7] L. Stuckenbruck, (1995), offers further discussion concerning the worship of beings.

[8] J. Collins, (1995), p. 181.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (8-11).  The author suggests that, via him (the priest to come), sin shall be destroyed ‘in his priesthood sin shall cease’, lawless men shall repent ‘and lawless men shall rest from their evil deeds’ and ultimately through him the saints will obtain eternal life ‘and he will grant to the saints to eat of the tree of life’.  Generally these are attributes reserved for God Himself.

[11] See: Mishnah Suk. 4:5, and J. H. Tigay, (1986), p. 11.

[12]See: Kenneth, Scott, Latourette, (1953), for further discussion.

[13] Since Egypt seems to have been so influential on Israelite Wisdom literature, it stands to reason that the source of the enigmatic word amon may have an Egyptian background, which will hopefully shed light on its meaning.  Investigating the source of this word is in fact very important to the question of ancient Israelite hypostasis.  Since Proverbs is a transitional book, demonstrating that the author believed Wisdom to be a hypostasis will de facto confirm that its interpreters understood thus also.  I believe the word amon to be the crucial key to unlocking the meaning of the whole text.  Therefore, I will attempt to explain amon in light of the Egyptian semantic range of the word to clarify the author’s intent, which in my opinion, was nothing less than hypostasis.

[14] That is not to say that there are no mythological features here. Outside of the Bible Trembling may well have been a deity (the same being true for River in Ps. 98:8).  A reading of the passage in its entirety reveals the lack of a definite article on the word yam (Ex. 15:8).  This suggests a personal name: i.e. the Ugaritic sea goddess.

[15] See: Liddel and Scott, (1968).  See also: The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, (1975).  Other meanings include: some thing that stands under and supports; foundation b) the underlying or essential part or anything as distinguished from attributes; substance, essence, or essential principle; Greek; hypostasis – that which settles at the bottom; substance, nature, essence.

[16] Kenneth, Scott, Latourette, (1953), p. 161. It was adopted by the Christian forum of Nicene to help define the three persons (substance – substantia) of the trinity.

[17] Ibid.

[18] It may occasionally be used in relation to humans e.g. the evil eye.

[19] S. Dean McBride, (1969), p. 5.

[20] As will be demonstrated, the Evil Eye was considered a supernatural being derived from a person.  The eye stems from someone else’s supernaturally powerful ill will and psyche.

[21] I reject the idea as proposed by Meir, (1983), p. 39, that Satan in the book of Job is a hypostasis of God on the grounds that the hypostasis is in direct conflict with its originator.  A hypostasis of a god was considered to be a suitable substitution for the original deity.  Addressing the hypostasis was to address the original deity, as will be seen.

[22] As will be seen in the first example, hypostasis was not limited to the divine.  However, it is considered the comparable representation of the entity in question.

[23] See for example, the Descent of Iëtar.  Ereëkigal holds Iëtar prisoner in her realm of the netherworld and Iëtar eventually dies.  See: B. R. Foster, (1993), pp. 403-428.

[24]Of course in first millennium Mesopotamia there are texts that treat all gods as hypostases of one god, such as Aëëur.  See S. Parpola (1997) and K. Van Der Toorn (1997), for a discussion.

Messianic Jewish texts

The following is a compilation of  Jewish/Rabbinic sayings on the person of the Messiah. When we look at the many passages together we begin to see that they believed in the coming of a person who would be very much like Yeshua (Jesus). [I put the quotes in a list and highlighted the phrases that speak of a Yeshua-like Messiah.


1.  OF the six things which existed before creation, when only ‘the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,’ two, the Torah and the throne of God, were complete in every detail. The remaining four, however, viz., the Patriarchs, Israel, the Temple, and the name of Messiah, existed prior to the creation only in an incomplete form.–Gen. Rabba 1.

2.  From the time of creation constant reference is made in Holy Writ to Messiah and the Messianic hope of Israel. ‘The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters’; the Spirit of God means Messiah.--Gen. Rabba 2; also Levit. Rabba 14.

3.  When Eve at the birth of Seth exclaimed, ‘God hath appointed me another seed.’ her underlying thought was the King Messiah.–Gen. Rabba 23.

4.  He who knows how long the Israelites worshipped idols can learn there from when the Son of David–Messiah–will come. Three different prophets tell us this: (1) ‘Like as you have forsaken Me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours’ (Jer. 5. 19); (2) ‘And I will visit her the days of Baalim,’ etc., (Hos. 2. 13); (3) ‘Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord hath sent in his spirit by the prophets. Therefore it is come to pass that as he cried and they would not hear, so they cried and I would not hear, saith the Lord’ (Zech. 7. 12, 13).–Lament. Rabba 1.

5.  The great mountain spoken of by the prophet Zechariah (4. 7) is no other than Messiah, Son of David, and he is called ‘the Great Mountain,’ because he towers above the Patriarchs, is greater than Moses, and is above the ministering angels. As Isaiah says (52. 10), ‘Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.’–Midr. Tanchuma Toldos.

6.  The word הדרך (Hadrach), used by the prophet Zechariah (9. 1), is one of the titles of Messiah. It is connected with the word דרך (leading), and is therefore applied to him who will lead man to repentance.–Midr. Song of Songs 7.

7.  The ‘four carpenters’ to whom the prophet also refers, are Elijah, Melchizedek, the Messiah of war, called by some Messiah son of Joseph, and the true Messiah. These Messiahs are referred to in the 32nd chapter of Isaiah, and their existence is constantly mentioned. Seven or eight Messiahs are sometimes said to be promised in the words of the Prophet Micah (5. 5), ‘Then shall we raise against him seven shepherds and eight principal men,’ but it is held that there will be but four (Zech. 1. 20), and these are they: Elijah the Tishbite, an unnamed man of the tribe of Manasseh, Messiah of war–an Ephraimite, and Messiah the Great, the descendant of David.–Midr. Song of Songs 2.

8. Two of King David’s descendants were destined for universal dominion: King Solomon and King Messiah, to whom David refers in his seventy-second Psalm.–Numb. Rabba U

9.  The whole of the 27th chapter of Isaiah refers to the Messiah.–Exod. Rabba 1.

10.  Solomon’s Song has also reference to Messiah. ‘The voice of the turtle is heard in our land’ means the voice of Messiah.–Midr. Song of Songs 2.

11. When King Solomon speaks of his ‘beloved,’ he usually means Israel the nation. In one instance he compares his beloved to a roe, and therein he refers to a feature which marks alike Moses and the Messiah, the two redeemers of Israel. Just as a roe comes within the range of man’s vision only to disappear from sight and then appear again, so it is with these redeemers. Moses appeared to the Israelites, then disappeared, and eventually appeared once more, and the same peculiarity we have in connection with Messiah; He will appear, disappear, and appear again.–Numb. Rabba 11.

12. The fourteenth verse in the second chapter of Ruth is thus explained. ‘Come thou hither’ is the prediction of Messiah’s kingdom. ‘Dip the morsel in the vinegar,’ foretells the agony through which Messiah will pass, as it is written in Isaiah (chpt. 53), ‘He was wounded for our sins, He was bruised for our transgressions.’ ‘And she set herself beside the reapers’ predicts the temporary departure of Messiah’s kingdom. ‘And he reached her a parched corn’ means the restoration of His kingdom.–Midr. Ruth 5.

13. To three individuals God said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given to thee.’ These are Solomon, Ahaz, and Messiah, to the last of whom it was promised, ‘Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathens for Thine inheritance.’–Gen. Rabba 44.

14. In a similar strain we read, Israel is to overcome ten of the heathen nations of the world; seven of them have already been conquered; the remaining three will fall at the advent of Messiah.–Gen. Rabba 44. But, despite all this, Messiah will not come till all those who are to be created have made their appearance in the world.–Gen. Rabba 24.

15. In tracing the descent and history of the Israelites, the Bible enumerates the generations of the heads of the families of the earth whose history touched that of the chosen people. ‘These are the generations of the heavens and the earth’ is the first instance of the use of the word תולדות in such a connexion. If regard be had to the Hebrew text of the verse, it will be found that here the word referred to is written in full, i.e. spelt תולדות, with the additional ו, whilst in all other places where the word occurs the word is always spelt with one ו, thus, תלדות. This, it will be found, is the invariable usage until we come to, ‘Now these are the generations of Perez’ (Ruth 4. 18). Here we once again find the word תולדות spelt in full. These are the only two instances in the whole of the Bible. The first refers to the time before the sin and fall of Adam, which brought death into the world, and, inconsequence, all succeeding תלדות, ‘generations,’ were deprived of some of the possibilities of life, and this is indicated by the omission of the ו. But the enumeration of the descendants of Perez, bringing appreciably nearer the promised abolition of death through the agency of his descendant, the Messiah, is hailed as the occasion to celebrate the restoration to perfect man of what he had lost through the imperfection of the first of his kind, and hence the word תולדות is here spelt in full.–Exod. Rabba 30.

16.  A similar deduction is made with reference to the spelling of the word עתודים ‘he-goats.’ Each of the princes of Israel brought as a sacrifice at the dedication of the tabernacle five he-goats. This word is spelt without the ו, thus, עתדים in all the numerous repetitions of the details of the offerings, which are identically the same in all instances. There is but one exception, and that is (Numb. 7. 17) in the account of the offerings brought by Nachshon, son of Aminadab, because from him were to spring six (the numerical value of ו) of the great men of Israel, who were each to be distinguished by six special attributes. The Messiah and his ancestor David are among the six, and Isaiah thus enumerates the six distinguishing traits in the character of the descendant of Jesse, whose coming he foretells. ‘And there shall rest upon him (1) the Spirit of the Lord, (2) the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, (3) the Spirit of counsel, (4) and might, (5) the Spirit of knowledge, and (6) the Spirit of the Lord.’–Numb. Rabba 13.

17. Abraham, Job, Hezekiah, and Messiah found God out for themselves without being previously instructed.–Numb. Rabba 14.

18. The great gifts of God, of which Adam was deprived by reason of his sin and fall–light being one of them–will all be restored through Messiah, who will appear from the North and rebuild the Temple in the South.–Numb. Rabba 13.

19. The prophecy of Isaiah concerning Jerusalem, ‘Behold, thy sons shall come from afar and thy daughters shall be nursed by thy side,’ could not be hailed with the same satisfaction as the words of Zechariah, ‘Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just and having salvation, lonely and riding upon an ass.’ This latter prophecy will bring it about that the daughter of Zion shall greatly rejoice in the Lord, her soul shall be joyful in her God.–Midr. Song of Songs 1.

20. So greatly shall Zion rejoice and so glorious will be the restoration of the Temple service in the days of Messiah, that three additional strings will be required besides the seven that were formerly upon the harps used by the Levites. In this way only will it be possible for the whole people to give expression to the depths of reverence for their God that shall then stir their hearts.–Numb. Rabba 15. and Tanchuma Behaloscho.

21. It was indeed pre-ordained that Jerusalem should be lost to the Israelites, but only until the coming of him concerning whom it was said, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion.’–Gen. Rabba 56.

22. And so the destruction of Jerusalem is to be looked upon as an event bringing joy in its train rather than as an irreparable loss or sorrow, for through it the coming of the Messiah and consequent expiation of Israel’s sin were rendered possible. For, just as all sacrifices were formerly brought to Jerusalem, so in future shall messengers come with offerings to Messiah, and all kings shall prostrate themselves before him.–Midr. Esther 1.

23. As you brought Me the perpetual light in the Temple, says God unto Israel, so will I bring unto you Him, Messiah, who is the personification of light, ‘the sun of righteousness’ promised through Malachi.–Midr. Tanchuma Tetzava.

24. Our father Abraham, by his meritorious life, won for himself the blessing. ‘Tell the stars, if thou art able to number them,’ He said unto him; ‘so shall be thy children.’ Isaac’s ready compliance with God’s demand to sacrifice his life evoked the promise, ‘I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven.’ Jacob was heartened with the prospect, ‘And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth.’ That which God promised to Abraham He has already fulfilled in that Moses was able to address to his people the words, ‘The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and behold, you are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.’

25. Balaam was constrained to acknowledge the impossibility of ‘counting the dust of Jacob,’ and it might seem as if the prophet Hosea looked forward to the speedy realization of the promise made to Isaac when he gave utterance to the sentiment, ‘Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered.’ The fulfillment, however, will not come about until the time of the Messiah, when the heathen shall be altogether absorbed and God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.–Numb. Rabba 2.

26. The honor and majesty with which David tells us (Ps. 104.) that God is clothed, He will bestow on Messiah. As it is said, ‘His glory is great in Thy salvation, honor and majesty hast Thou laid upon Him.’–Numb. Rabba 14.

27. Seeing in his spirit of prophecy that the time would come when the משכן, ‘Mishkan’ (the Sanctuary) would cease to exist and the Shechinah dwell no more in Israel’s midst, Moses was anxious to know by what means the sins of his people would then be expiated. The Almighty vouchsafed the information that He would choose a righteous man from their midst, and make him a משכן (pledge) for them, and through him their sins would be forgiven.–Exod. Rabba 35.

28. The prophets formerly recorded the good deeds performed by man, but now Elijah and Messiah record them and God puts His seal on the record.–Levit. Rabba 34.

29. ‘Fear not, Abraham; I am thy shield and thine exceeding great reward,’ refers to the glorious epoch of Messiah. The Patriarch was apprehensive lest the covenant made with him might not prove lasting because of the sins of his descendants. God here gave him the assurance that, though his descendants fall into sin, there shall be one great and noble amongst them, who will be qualified to say to the avenging angel, ‘Stay thy hand.’ ‘Him will I accept and he shall be a pledge for my people.’–Midr. Song of Songs 1.

30. ‘The sceptre shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet until “Shiloh” come,’ refers also to Messiah, who is to enlighten Israel on the words of the Torah, and point out the errors of the people. Rabbi Chanan, on the other hand, holds that the teaching of Messiah will not be addressed to Israel, whose knowledge of the law of God will be all-sufficient. Rather will his task be to instruct the Gentiles: in the words of the prophet Isaiah (11. 10), ‘To him shall the Gentiles seek, and he shall assemble the outcast of Israel.’–Gen. Rabba 98.

31. The faithful of Israel are desirous of sepulture in the land of Palestine because, at the advent of Messiah, the resurrection will take place there before any other part of the world, but that will be the resurrection of the righteous only.–Gen. Rabba 96.

32. The general resurrection of the dead is appointed for the day of judgment, and when it takes place the revived souls will sing angelic songs.–Midr. Eccles. 1.

33. The death of the righteous is even like the Day of Atonement, in that each secures forgiveness for the sins of Israel.–Levit. Rabba 20.

34. A time has been appointed by God for the coming of Messiah. Yet if Israel but repent his sins, the glorious redemption will be hastened, and Messiah will make His appearance before the appointed time.–Exod. Rabba 25.

35. Great indeed will be the time of the approaching advent of Messiah. The wicked will be trodden down as ashes under the feet of the righteous, the trees will send forth their fragrance, and concerning the righteous it will be said, ‘He that is left in Zion and he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy.’

36. The seven years preceding the coming of the Son of David will be distinguished by the following signs: The first year rain will be scarce and partial; in the second year pangs of hunger will be felt; during the third year a severe famine will be experienced, and many human beings will die; men of renown and piety will perish, so that the Torah will be forgotten in Israel. This famine will be the last of the ten predestined for the world; the other nine occurred during the lives of Adam, Lemech, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah, Elisha, the Judges, and King David. The fourth year will be marked neither by famine nor by plenty, but the fifth year will be one of prosperity, when the earth will bring forth abundance. There will then be joy in all parts of the earth, and a revival of study and knowledge of the Torah will be noticeable in the ranks of Israel. The sixth year will be full of rumours of war, and the seventh year will see the actual dread visitation of war. After all these signs have come to pass, at the end of the seventh year, the Son of David will make His appearance. According to other opinions, prior to the coming of Messiah the world will be terribly corrupt; there will be no compassion amongst men, great derision and contempt for the Torah and for piety will be universal, and truth will be almost unknown. Men will be as shameless of their evil doings as the very animals, and the few righteous who still exist will be in exceeding great distress. Persecution will be rife everywhere, the youth will have no respect for the aged, so that the aged will even rise before the presence of the young. The daughter will rebel against her mother, and a man’s worst enemies will be those of his own household. The reigning powers will become infidel, and none will be found to raise his voice in protest, so that mankind will seem to merit nought but extermination. If, therefore, we behold the generations becoming ever more corrupt, there is therein good reason to anticipate the advent of Messiah.–Midr. Song of Songs 2.

37. The צמח (‘Zemach’), mentioned by Jeremiah (23. 5) and by Zechariah (6. 12) is the Messiah.–Numb. Rabba 18.

38. Unlike the kings of this earth, God bestows some of His possessions and dignities upon beings of flesh and blood. He set Solomon upon His own throne (1 Chron. 29. 23). He caused Elijah to ride upon His own horse; that is to say, upon the storm and whirlwind. To Moses, He gave God’s rod, and upon the head of Messiah He placed His own crown.–Exod. Rabba 8. and Tanchuma Voera.

39. Many and varied are the things that in the Bible are designated ‘the first.’ The month of the Egyptian exodus God named the first month of the year (Exod. 12. 2). He revealed Himself as ‘the first’ to the prophet Isaiah (44. 6). Zion, too, is styled ‘the first’ (Jer. 117). Of Esau also the epithet is used (Gen. 25.) And, lastly, Messiah is mentioned as ‘the first’ (Isa. 41. 27).

40. There is this intimate connexion between them, that God, who is the first, will rebuild Zion the first, and bring retribution on Esau (= Rome), known as the first, at the time of the advent of Messiah the first, in the month (= Nissan) which was appointed as the first.–Exod. Rabba 15.

41.  Five things brought about the redemption of the Israelites from Egypt: (1) The sufferings of the people (2) their repentance; (3) the merits of their ancestors (4) the expiration of the time fixed for their captivity (5) the mercy of their God. These same causes will operate towards the realization of Israel’s Messianic hopes and lead to the last redemption through Messiah.–Deut. Rabba 2.

42.  There will be a great difference between the Egyptian and the last redemption. ‘When you were delivered from Egypt,’ says God to Israel, ‘you had to depart in haste; at the last deliverance you shall not go in haste nor by Right, (Isa. 52. 12). At the Egyptian deliverance I, in my manifestation, went before you (Exod. 13. 21). At the last deliverance ‘the Lord will go before you and the God of Israel will be your reward.’ (Isa. 52. 12).–Exod. Rabba 19.

43.  ‘All your former redemptions,’ God says to Israel, have been accomplished through the instrumentality of men, and were, consequently, not lasting in their effect. You were delivered from Egypt through Moses and Aaron; you were rescued out of the hands of Sisera by Deborah and Barak; from the power of Midian you were saved by Shamgar. I myself will be your last and your everlasting Redeemer.’–Tanchuma Achray.

44.  Great chariots, precious stones and other valuable gifts will the nations bring to Messiah. This means that the nations will bring Israel as a present to Messiah.–Midr. Song of Songs 4.

45.  Just as Judah, though not the eldest, had always precedence of Reuben and the other tribes (as is to be seen in various parts of the Bible–Numbers 2. 3, 2. 9, 7. 12; Judges 1. 2, 20. 18), so he will have precedence in announcing the coming of Messiah, as foretold by the prophet Nahum (1. 15).–Numb. Rabba 2.

46.  To Judah were revealed all the great men and what will happen to them from the time of Jacob till the coming of Messiah.–Numb. Rabba 13.

47.  The perpetual light in the Mishkan was typical of the light of King Messiah.–Levit. Rabba 31.

48.  All the gifts which Jacob felt himself constrained–out of fear–to present to Esau, will be restored to Israel at the advent of Messiah.–Gen. Rabba 75.

49.  Moses, the first redeemer, rode on an ass, gave the Israelites manna for food, and brought up the water. So also shall Messiah be seen riding on an ass (Zech. 9), shall bring down manna from on high (Ps. 70. 16), and cause the rivers of Judah to flow with water (Joel 4. 18).–Midr. Eccles. 1.

50.  ‘The envy of Ephraim shall depart and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off’ (Isa. 11. 13). That means that amongst the Jews themselves, at the time of Messiah, there will be perfect peace and harmony.–Tanchuma Vayeegash.

51.  There is no redemption without faith.–Tanchuma Beshallach.

52.  Three things Israel despised, viz., the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of the house of David, and the Temple, and God withholds His blessings from them till they mend their ways in these things. That they will do so the prophet Hosea (3. 5) tells us. ‘Afterwards shall the children of Israel return and seek their God’ means that they will again accept the kingdom of heaven, ‘and David their king’ obviously means the formerly rejected House of David, ‘and shall fear the Eternal and his goodness’ refers to the Temple.–Midr. Samuel 13.

53.  Messiah will be asked which place He selects as His residence. His reply will be, ‘Need you ask Me? Surely Zion, my holy mountain.’–Midr. Samuel 19.

54.  Amongst the various names of Messiah, who was born on the day on which the Temple was destroyed, is that of מנחם בן עמיאל (Menachem ben Amiel) -Numb. Rabba 13.

55. The proper name of Messiah is ה׳ צדקנו (the Lord our righteousness).–Midr. Lament. 1



The Word Became Flesh in Exodus Rabbah 35

Seeing in his spirit of prophecy that the time would come when the משכן, ‘Mishkan’ (the Sanctuary) would cease to exist and the Shechinah dwell no more in Israel’s midst, Moses was anxious to know by what means the sins of his people would then be expiated. The Almighty vouchsafed the information that He would choose a righteous man from their midst, and make him a משכן (Mishkan) for them, and through him their sins would be forgiven.–Exod. Rabba 35.

פסוק: (שמות כו טו

<< · שמות רבה · לה א · >>

וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַקְּרָשִׁים לַמִּשְׁכָּן עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים עֹמְדִים”]] למה עצי שטים למד הקב”ה דרך ארץ לדורות שאם יבקש אדם לבנות ביתו מאילן עושה פירות אומר לו ומה מלך מלכי המלכים שהכל שלו כשאמר לעשות משכן אמר לא תביא אלא מאילן שאינו עושה פירות אתם על אחת כמה וכמה:

וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַקְּרָשִׁים”]] מה כתיב למעלה מן הענין וראה ועשה וכי משה עשה את המשכן והלא כתיב ועשה בצלאל ואהליאב וכל איש חכם לב אלא משה לתלמוד ובצלאל למעשה מכאן אמרו רבותינו ליתן שכר למעשה כעושה שכן מצינו במשה שעשה בצלאל למלאכת המשכן והעלה עליו הקב”ה כאלו הוא עשאו שנאמר (דה”א כא, כט): “ומשכן ה’ אשר עשה משה במדבר”:

· שמות רבה לה · ד ·

וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַקְּרָשִׁים”]] לא היה צריך לומר אלא ועשית את הקרשים משכן מהו למשכן א”ר הושעיא על שום שהוא עומד למשכן שאם נתחייבו שונאיהם של ישראל כלייה יהא מתמשכן עליהן אמר משה לפני הקב”ה והלא עתידים הם שלא יהיה להם לא משכן ולא מקדש ומה תהא עליהם אמר הקב”ה אני נוטל מהם צדיק אחד וממשכנו בעדם ומכפר  אני עליהם על כל עונותיהם וכה”א (איכה ב, ד): “ויהרוג כל מחמדי עין”:

[עריכה] ה.

וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַקְּרָשִׁים”]] מה כתיב למעלה (שמות כה, ג): “וזאת התרומה אשר תקחו מאתם זהב וכסף ונחשת” “” זו בבל שנאמר (דניאל ג, לב): “הוא צלמא ראשה די דהב טב” “” זו מדי שנאמר “חדוהי ודרעוהי די כסף” “” זו יון שנאמר “מעוהי וירכתיה די נחש” אבל ברזל אין כתיב כאן לא במקדש ולא במשכן למה שנמשל בו אדום שהחריבו בהמ”ק ללמדך שמכל המלכיות יקבל הקב”ה דורון לעתיד לבא חוץ מאדום והרי בבל אף היא החריבה אותו אלא על שלא קעקעה אותו אבל אדום מה כתיב בה (תהלים קלז, ז): “האומרים ערו ערו עד היסוד בה” עד עכשיו היסוד בה לפיכך לא נכתב ברזל במשכן ובמקדש שמשולין בו אדום וכן אתה מוצא לע”ל שכל האומות עתידין להביא דורון למלך המשיח ומצרים מביאה תחלה וכסבור שלא לקבל מהם ואומר לו הקב”ה אכסניא נעשו לבני במצרים שנאמר (תהלים סח, לב): “יאתיו חשמנים מני מצרים כוש תריץ ידיו לאלהים” מיד מקבל מהן נשאה כוש קל וחומר ומה מצרים ששעבדו בהן קבל מהם אנו שלא נשתעבדנו בהן על אחת כמה וכמה מיד כוש תריץ ידיו לאלהים מיד כל המלכיות שומעות והן מביאות שנאמר (תהלים סח, לג): “ממלכות הארץ שירו לאלהים” ואח”כ מלכות אדום נושאת ק”ו בעצמה ואומרת ומה הללו שאינן אחיהם קבלו מהם אנו עאכ”ו ואף היא מבקשת להביא דורון למלך המשיח ואומר לו הקב”ה (תהלים סח, לא): “גער חית קנה” שכולה חיה מן הקנה ד”א געור חיה הדרה בין הקנים שנאמר (שם פ, יא) “יכרסמנה חזיר מיער” “” אותה שאוכלת שמנן של עמים ובאה בכחו של אברהם ואומר מהם אני עשו בן יצחק בן אברהם “” אע”פ שחטא אדם וכועסת עליו מתרת את הפס ונוטלת את הכסף והיא מתרצה לו ומהו “” שהיא מפזרת לישראל מתלמודה של תורה ומכנסת אותן במה שיצר הרע חפץ בו. ד”א “” שפיזרו את ישראל מן העולם. ד”א “” שעשו את ישראל זרים לי והם מביאין קרבנות:

Zohar Three In One – Evidence of the Trinity from a Jewish Writing


The Ancient Holy One is revealed (found) with three Heads, which are united in One,and that Head is threefold exalted. The Ancient Holy One is described as being Three; it is because the other Lights (i.e.,two Lights) emanating from Him are included in the Three. Yet the Ancient One is described as being two (Daniel 7:13).The Ancient One includes these two (i.e.the two are found in Him). He is the Crown of all that is exalted; the Chief of the chief, so exalted, that He cannot be known to perfection. Thus the other Lights (Shining Ones) are two complete ones, yet is the Ancient Holy One described and complete as One, and He is One, positively One; thus are the other Lights united and glorified in One; because they are One.

האי עתיקא סבא דסבין . כתרא עלאה לעילאדמתעטרין ביה כל עטרין וכתרין . מתנהרין כלבוצינין מניה ומתלהטין  ומתנהרן) והוא הואבוצינא עלאה טמירא דלא אתידע . ( וכל שארבוצינין מניה מתלהטן ומתנהרן) . האי עתיקאאשתכח בתלת רישין וכלילן בחד רישא . והוא (נ” א והוא) רישא עלאה לעילא לעילא . ובגיןדעתיקא קדישא אתרשים בתלת אוף הכי כלשאר בוצינין דנהרין מיניה כלילן בתלת . עודעתיקא אתרשים בתרין . כללא דעתיקא בתריןהוא. כתרא עלאה דכל עלאין רישא דכל רישי .וההוא דהוי לעילא מן דא דלא אתידע . כך כלשאר בוצינין סתימין בתרין . עוד עתיקא קדישאאתרשים ואסתים בחד והוא חד וכלא הוא חדכך כל שאר בוצינין מתקדשין מתקשריןומתהדרין בחד ואינון חד