According to Jewish apocrypha, Metatron is the name Enoch received, after his transformation into an angel. The book of Genesis (5:24) is often cited as evidence of Enoch's bodily ascension into heaven: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."

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Origins

1 Enoch: Book of Parables presents two figures: the son of man and Enoch. At first these two characters seem to be separate entities. Enoch views the son of man enthroned in Heaven. Later, however, they prove to be one and the same. Many scholars believe that the final chapters in the Book of Parables are a later addition. Others think they are not and that the son of man is Enoch's heavenly double similarly to the Prayer of Joseph where Jacob is depicted as an angel.The Book of Daniel displays two similar characters: the Ancient of Days and the one like a man. Parts of the text in Daniel are Aramaic and may have been changed in translation. The Septuagint reads that the son of man came as the Ancient of Days.

The identification of Metatron with Enoch is not explicitly made in the Talmud although it does reference a Prince of the World who was young but now is old. However, some of the earliest kabbalists assumed the connection. There also seems to be two Metatrons, one spelled with six letters (מטטרון), and one spelled with seven (מיטטרון). The former may be the transformed Enoch, Prince of the Countenance within the divine palace; the latter, the Primordial Metatron, an emanation of the "Cause of Causes", specifically the tenth and last emanation, identified with the earthly Divine Presence. Furthermore, the Merkabah text Re'uyot Yehezkel identifies the Ancient of Days from the Book of Daniel as Metatron.

Many scholars see a discontinuity between how Enoch is portrayed in the early Enoch literature and how Metatron is portrayed. Scholars commonly see the character of Metatron as being based on an amalgam of Jewish literature, in addition to Enoch, Michael, Melchizedek and Yahoel among others are seen as influences. Gershom Scholem argues Metatron's character was influenced by two streams of thought. One of which linked Metatron with Enoch, while the second was a fusing of different obscure entities and mythic motifs. Scholem argues that this second tradition was original separate but later became fused with the Enoch tradition. He points to texts where this second Metatron is a primordial angel and referred to as Metatron Rabbah. Scholem theorizes that the two Hebrew spellings of Metatron's name are representative of these two separate traditions. In his view the second Metatron is linked to Yahoel. Scholem also links Yahoel with Michael. In the Apocalypse of Abraham Yahoel is assigned duties normally reserved for Michael. Yahoel's name is commonly seen as a substitute for the Ineffable Name. In 2 Enoch, Enoch is assigned titles commonly used by Metatron such as "the Youth, the Prince of the Presence and the Prince of the World. However we do not see Enoch referred to as the Lesser YHWH. In 3 Enoch Metatron is call the lesser YHWH. This raises a problem since the name Metatron does not seem to be directly related to the name of God YHWH.

Scholem proposes this is because the lesser YHWH is a reference to Yahoel. In Maaseh Merkabah the text reasons that Metatron is called the lesser YHWH because in Hebrew gematria Metatron is numerically equivalent to another name of God Shaddai. Scholem does not find this convincing. Scholem point to the fact that both Yahoel and Metatron were known as the lesser YHWH. In 3 Enoch 48D1 Metatron is called both Yahoel Yah and Yahoel. In addition to being one of the seventy names of Metatron from 3 Enoch 48D. Yahoel and Metatron are also linked in Aramaic incantation bowl inscriptions.

Talmud

The Talmud relates that Elisha ben Abuyah (a rabbi and Jewish religious authority born in Jerusalem sometime before 70 CE), also called Acher (אחר, "other", as he became an apostate), entered Paradise and saw Metatron sitting down (an action that is not done in The Presence of God). Elishah ben Abuyah therefore looked to Metatron as a deity and said heretically: "There are indeed two powers in Heaven!" The rabbis explain that Metatron had permission to sit because of his function as the Heavenly Scribe, writing down the deeds of Israel (Babylonian Talmud, Hagiga 15a)

The Talmud states, it was proved to Elisha that Metatron could not be a second deity by the fact that Metatron received 60 "strokes with fiery rods" to demonstrate that Metatron was not a god, but an angel, and could be punished.

The Babylonian Talmud mentions Metatron in two other places: Sanhedrin 38b and Avodah Zarah 3b. In Sanhedrin 38b a Minim tells Rabbi Idith that Metatron should be worshiped because he has a name like his master. Rabbi Idith uses the same passage Exodus 23:21 to show that Metatron was an angel and not a deity and thus should not be worshiped. Furthermore, as an angel Metatron has no power to pardon transgressions nor was he to be received even as a messenger of forgiveness.Avodah Zarah 3b: In the fourth quarter God sits and instructs the school children. In the preceding three quarters Metatron may take God's place or God may do this among other tasks. B Yevamot16b records an utterance attributed to the Prince of the World. "I have been young and now I am old." In rabbinic tradition this utterance is attributed to Metatron

Kirkisani

The tenth century Karaite scholar Kirkisani believed that rabbinic Judaism was the heresy of Jeroboam I. He quoted a version of Sanhedrin 38b, which he claimed contained a reference to the "lesser YHVH." Gershom Scholem suggests that the name was deliberately omitted from later copies of the Talmud. However, Kirkisani may have misrepresented the Talmud in order to embarrass his Rabbanite opponents with evidence of polytheism. Extra-talmudic mystical texts such as Sefer Hekhalot do speak of a "lesser YHVH ", apparently deriving the concept from Exodus 23:21, which mentions an angel of whom God says "my name [understood as YHVH, the usual divine Proper Name] is in him".

Merkabah and later mystical writings

Metatron also appears in the Pseudepigrapha, most prominently in the Hebrew Merkabah Book of Enoch, also called 3 Enoch or Sefer Hekhalot (Book of [the Heavenly] Palaces). The book describes the link between Enoch, son of Jared (great grandfather of Noah) and his transformation into the angel Metatron. His grand title "the lesser YHVH" resurfaces here. The word Metatron is numerically equivalent to Shaddai (God) in Hebrew gematria; therefore, he is said to have a "Name like his Master".

Metatron says, "He [the Holy One]... called me, 'The lesser YHVH' in the presence of his whole household in the height, as it is written, 'my name is in him.'" (12:5, Alexander's translation.) The narrator of this book, supposedly Rabbi Ishmael, tells how Metatron guided him through Heaven and explained its wonders. 3 Enoch presents Metatron in two ways: as a primordial angel  and as the transformation of Enoch after he was assumed into Heaven.

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. [Genesis 5:24 KJV.]

This Enoch, whose flesh was turned to flame, his veins to fire, his eye-lashes to flashes of lightning, his eye-balls to flaming torches, and whom God placed on a throne next to the throne of glory, received after this heavenly transformation the name Metatron.

The Zohar calls Metatron "the Youth", a title previously used in 3 Enoch, where it appears to mean "servant". It identifies him as the angel that led the people of Israel through the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt (again referring to Exodus 23:21, see above), and describes him as a heavenly priest. In the later Ecstatic Kabbalah Metatron is a messianic figure.

Apocalyptic texts

In the Apocalypse of Zerubbabel Metatron is not identified as Enoch. Instead he is identified as the archangel Michael. The text also records that Metatron in gematria is the equivalent of Shadday. While he also appears in other apocalyptic writings he is most prominent in the Apocalypse of Zerubbabel. In these writings he plays the role of heavenly interlocutor delivering knowledge about the coming messianic age.

Etymology

There are numerous possible etymologies for the name Metatron. However, some scholars, such as Philip Alexander, believe if the name Metatron originated in Hekhalot-Merkabah texts (such as 3 Enoch), then it may be a made-up word like the magic words Adiriron and Dapdapiron.

Hugo Odeberg, Adolf Jellinek and Marcus Jastrow suggest the name may originate from either Mattara (מטרא) "keeper of the watch" or the verb MMTR (ממטר) "to guard, to protect". An early derivation of this can be seen in Shimmusha Rabbah, where Enoch is clothed in light and is the guardian of the souls ascending to heaven. Odeberg also suggests that the name Metatron might be taken from the Persian name Mithras. Citing Wiesner, he lays out a number of parallels between Mithras and Metatron based on their positions in heaven and duties.

Metatron seems to be made up of two Greek words for after and throne, μετὰ θρóνος (meta thronos), taken together as "one who serves behind the throne" or "one who occupies the throne next to the throne of glory". The two words do not appear separately in any text known to Gershom Scholem, who therefore dismisses the idea with the words "this widely repeated etymology.... has no merit.".

The word σύνθρονος (synthronos) is used as "co-occupant of the divine throne"; however, like the above etymology, it is not found in any source materials. It is supported by Saul Lieberman and Peter Schäfer, who give further reasons why this might be a viable etymology. The Latin word Metator (messenger, guide, leader, measurer) had been suggested by Eleazar ben Judah of Worms (c. 1165 – c. 1230), Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, and brought to light again by Hugo Odeberg. When transliterated into the Hebrew language, we get מטיטור or מיטטור. Gershom Scholem argues that there is no data to justify the conversion of metator to metatron. Philip Alexander also suggests this as a possible origin of Metatron, stating that the word Metator also occurs in Greek as mitator–a word for an officer in the Roman army who acted as a forerunner. Using this etymology, Alexander suggests the name may have come about as a description of "the angel of the Lord who led the Israelites through the wilderness: acting like a Roman army metator guiding the Israelites on their way". Another possible interpretation is that of Enoch as a metator showing them "how they could escape from the wilderness of this world into the promised land of heaven". Because we see this as a word in Hebrew, Jewish Aramaic, and Greek, Alexander believes this gives even more strength to this etymology.

Other ideas include μέτρον (metron, "a measure"). Charles Mopsik believes that the name Metatron may be related to the sentence from Genesis 5:24 "Enoch walked with God, then he was no more, because God took him." The Greek version of the Hebrew word "to take" is μετετέθη (he was transferred). רון (RON) is a standard addition to מטטרון (Metatron) and other angelic names in the Jewish faith. According to Mopsik, מטט (MTT) is a transliteration from the Greek μετετέθη.

In the entry entitled "Paradigmata" in his study, "'The Written' as the Vocation of Conceiving Jewishly", John W McGinley gives an accounting of how this name functions in the Bavli's version of "four entered pardes". This account maintains that "Ishmael ben Elisha" is a rabbinically sanctioned cognomen for Elisha ben Abbuyah (the "Akher" of the Bavli's account). This hypothesis explains why the generators of the "chambers" portion of the Heikhalot literature make "Ishmael ben Elisha" the major protagonist of their writings even though this Rabbi Ishmael was not directly mentioned in the Bavli's account (in the Gemara to tractate Khaggigah) of "The Work of the Chariot".

Solomon Judah Leib Rapport in Igrot Shir suggests that Metatron is a combination of two Greek words which mean to "change" and "pass away" referring to Chanoch (Enoch) who "changed" into an angel and "passed away" from the world.

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Replies to This Discussion

Dear Rosey, neither had I! I was in the hospital with my husband for 18 days and he died on September 25 and now we had a lot of things going wrong and we have not been able to put him in the ground yet!

Thus I am still not able to do much anywhere, and I suffered a lot with him, because of his operation and all the things that went wrong in his body after that, and the pain and suffering they caused him.

It was a horrible outcome, but at least he is not suffering anymore.

I miss him, of course, but I have many friends and my sister came to be with me for three days and my friends are trying to console me.

All those so many friends were at the hospital and many reading the Zohar, the one book that we study a lot within the Kabbalah teachings.

He also had harp played to him, a friend played the guitar and composed a song for him, a little girl our God daughter, played the flute and sang to him and them about four of them sang beautifully to him in German, Spanish and English, because he was a polyglot and knew seven languages and now was studying Czech, and three of them sang together and individually to him.

And then one of them an opera singer, sang to him, again, another day, the day before he died.

He was sent to wherever he will go, with a big celebration of love and friendship and much love and my unconditional love, as well.

What more can we ask in our last moments?

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