All Saints and the Revelation Menorahs

 

 

The beginning of the Book of Revelation is blossoming with menorahs.

Menorahs are the 9-branch candelabra that are in people’s homes for the Festival of Lights.

In fact, there are so many menorahs about the place in the first pages of the Apocalypse (which simply means the “Uncovering”) that the Son of Man seems to be among a forest of menorahs. (The phrase “Son of Man” is a literal rendering of the Greek. It’s understood to mean “Jesus,” and there is much agreement on that.)

Now, candles make an alluring glow. Their light is warm. When people are intimate, babies arrive. This is pertinent to the essay below.

And this is exactly what God tells us to do in the first pages of the Bible: Be fruitful and multiply. When God sees what he is creating, the text of Genesis repeatedly says, “And God saw that it was good.”

But when God created Humanity on Day 6, the text states, “And indeed, it was very good.”

Today is the Feast of All Saints, also known as All Saints Day. The readings from today are truly worth contemplating. In fact, hidden within them are the Interwoven Menorahs from the Mystical Psalm Structures.

The Interwoven Menorahs are an intertwined pair of 9-branched menorahs; the menorahs are made of the Psalms that are multiples of 8. In these 18 Psalms (all multiples of 8) that form the menorahs, the word “light” appears with a 350% greater frequency than in the other 132 Psalms. This is noteworthy, especially because the word “light” goes well with candles/menorahs. (However, the word “menorah” does not appear in these 18 Psalms, and the Psalms’ own Mystical Menorahs have been mostly hidden for millennia.) The final Psalm of the menorahs, that is, the final Psalm that is a multiple of 8, is Psalm 144. In the first reading from today’s Mass, there is the number 144 multiplied by 1000: 144,000.

Other themes of the 18 Psalms that make the Intertwined Menorahs include loving couples, the birth of babies, and the raising of children. This goes well with the above discussion of sexuality and human procreation.

Here is the Gospel from today’s Mass, which is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount:

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,

For they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

For they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

For they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,

For they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,

For they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,

For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you [shift to direct Second-Person discourse] when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, For your reward will be great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:1-12)

 

These are the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are Jesus’ first real public words of the Bible. And here’s a shocker. They form an image of the Interwoven Menorahs, the mystical structure from the Book of Psalms. Jesus’ first public words make a word-picture of the Intertwined Menorahs of the Psalms.

The menorah is 8 + 1 candles; 8 candles and the shamash (moveable lighting candle), which is the 9th candle.

Similarly, we see that there are 8 + 1 Beatitudes; 8 Third-Person Beatitudes (Blessed are THEY….) and 1 direct Second-Person Beatitude (Blessed are YOU….).

The Intertwined, or Interwoven, Menorahs are 9 + 9. Two menorahs, made of 18 branches, and 18 Psalms. We have the same with the Beatitudes. The 9 Beatitudes are all in 2 parts: The first part is the formula that begins with “Blessed….”; the second part begins with “For….”

So, true to the Mystical Menorahs hidden in the Psalms, we have 2 intertwined menorahs hidden here in the first publicly proclaimed words of Jesus in the Bible.

In case we have doubts about this, Matthew gives us a reassurance a couple verses later. Jesus says,

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand (luxnian) and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:14-16) In the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) into Greek), the Greek word “luxnian” always translates the Hebrew word “menorah.” Here in the Matthew’s Gospel of the Greek New Testament, the word “luxnian” continues to mean “menorah.”

However, there is a change. The word “house” here no longer means the “2nd temple”—the ancient Israelites called the temple the “house,” or “beit”—but rather, the human house is the new place of holiness. The house, the home, is where the human family is.

Also, the first and the last of the initial 8 Beatitudes, that is, the 1st and the 8th Beatitudes, have identical second strophes: “For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” This is the only time that an entire strophe—half of a verse—is repeated in the Beatitudes. This places the first and last Beatitudes as a pair, as bookends to all the other Beatitudes, which are between them. Or better, it makes the first and last Beatitudes the outmost arms of the 9-branch menorah. The second-person Beatitude, “Blessed are YOU,” becomes the central candle, the lighting rod, or shamash. Here is a diagram, if you turn it 90 degrees, of the menorah(s) formed by the Beatitudes:

 

 

………………………………………………………………….. 9th Candle

. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,

.           For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

.

………………………………………………………………………….flame

.

.

………………………………………………………………………….flame

.

.

………………………………………………………………………….flame

.

.

……………………………………………………………. Shamash (Moveable Lighting

.                                                                                   Candle, in Center)

.

………………………………………………………………………….flame

.

.

………………………………………………………………………….flame

.

.

………………………………………………………………………….flame

.

.

…………………………………………………………………… 1st Candle

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

                               For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

 

Again, two verses after the Beatitudes, at 5:14-16, Matthew’s Jesus talks about light in the family household, and actually pronounces the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “menorah.”

In the Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s Gospel, there is again a 9-branch menorah, but Luke constructs his differently than Matthew’s. In Luke 6, there are 4 Beatitudes balanced by 4 Woes. These form the 8 branches of the menorah. In the middle is the shamash, the lighting rod, which claims the verbs “rejoice” and “leap for joy.”

It’s wonderful that Pope Francis has just made 6 new Beatitudes today. This goes perfectly well with the growth of the Menorahs from  7 to 9 branches.

The tree of life keeps growing. John 15 says that Jesus is the vine, and that all of us are the branches. Therefore, there are now billions of branches. There are lots of us people.

In a similar way, the roll of Saints in Heaven keeps getting longer. Tomorrow, the day after All Saints Day, we celebrate All Souls Day. All these souls, if they haven’t already become saints, are on their way to becoming saints. They are doing that good work to really make their souls strong and pure, and capable of withstanding the glorious and mighty presence of God, and of each other, when we can more truly see each other.

The menorah has grown from 7 to 9 branches. This is prefigured in the Hebrew Scriptures, in the Book of Zechariah, when a 7-branched menorah is pictured with two olive trees. The two olive trees are 2 new, and very creatively new, branches to the menorah, making it a wondrous 9-branch menorah. (See Zechariah 4.)

This picture is clearly alluded to in the Book of Revelation. (See Revelation 11:4.)

There are several Zechariahs in the Scriptures. The Zechariah who appears in the New Testament and the Book of the Prophet Zechariah of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) both figure prominently in the Qur’an.

The Qur’an has so many references to the Mystical Psalm Structures, including many significant connections to the Interwoven Menorahs. Arabic and Ancient Hebrew are both Semitic languages. The Arabic word “Minaret” means “house of light.” The Hebrew word “menorah” means “lampstand.” The center and root of each word is “light.” Many words, such as “light,” share a common root between these two languages.

Surah (Chapter) 9 of the Qur’an is one place where there are many connections to the Mystical Menorahs. Another place is the famous “Light Verse” of the Qur’an, 24:35. Some of the words of the Quranic verse that are obviously connected to the Interwoven Menorahs of the Psalm Structures are highlighted:

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.”

-The “light” is obviously connected to the Intertwined Menorahs of the Psalms and the menorahs hidden in the Beatitudes, and publicly uncovered in the family house 2 verses after the Beatitudes.

-The “lamp” is related to the word “menorah,” which means “lampstand.”

-The olive tree is “blessed,” a term which appears in the Beatitudes, which begin 9 times with the word “blessed.” Additionally, in the 18 Psalms of the Interwoven Menorahs, the word “blessed” (ashre) and its cognates appear 9 times, matching the 9 appearance of the Greek word “makarios” (blessed) in the Beatitudes.

-The “olive tree” is single here at this verse in the Qur’an: recall that there were two olive trees in Chapter 4 of Zechariah of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and there are also two olive trees in Revelation 11:4 of the New Testament. A Quranic olive tree may also be near, or atop, Mount Sinai. This is mentioned in Surah 95, which will be discussed in a separate essay. In Zechariah, the two olive trees form the 8th and 9th branches of the menorah, a foreshadowing of the 9-branch menorahs that would appear in the Mystical Psalm Structures, and would appear physically in the Hanukkah menorahs of many centuries later. It is interesting that in the discussion of menorahs that are seen in close proximity to the Son of Man in the first two chapters of Revelation, there are 7 menorahs. But the text does not say how many branches are on the menorahs. They could well be 9-branched menorahs—or they could have more branches. Later in Revelation, at 11:4, there are two olive trees with, now, two menorahs. The picture is similar to that of Zechariah, but with one more menorah. The fact that the New Testament’s Book of Revelation also has a pair of menorahs is another acknowledgement of the Interwoven Menorahs of the Psalms.

-The phrase “neither of the east nor of the west” is also reminiscent of the Book of Zechariah. The two olive trees are to the right and left of the menorah. This mirrors “east” and “west.” Also, by saying “neither of the east nor of the west,” the Qur’an could be saying that the spreading tree, or vine, or menorahs of humanity are global—they are not limited to one race or people. In this, the global vision of human love and unity in Islam is precisely like Christianity.

-The “oil,” which is olive oil: The earliest menorahs were illuminated not by candles, but by lamps that were fueled by olive oil.

-The phrase “Light upon Light” is like a phrase from Psalm 36: “In your light we see light.” Christians have often interpreted this as meaning: “In the light of the Holy Spirit we see the light of Christ, or the light of community, or the light of Creation.” (Psalm 36 is not a Menorah Psalm, but it is a Ladder Psalm.)

This reflection quickly charts deep literary and mystical connections between the Quran, the New Testament, and the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).

Each one of us is a branch of the vine, a branch of the family tree, a branch of the menorah. We are very deeply connected to each other. All Saints and All Souls.

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