Merkavah Mysticism Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 1 - The Chariot Throne The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Wadi Qumran in 1947 has changed the way scholars are describing the world of the Jews just before the coming of Jesus. Among other things, it is now clear that the Jews who were taken to Babylon came to believe there would be a battle at some time in the future that would release them from the bondage of their oppressors. The Qumran manuscripts include a description of a kind of mystical meditation that developed during the captivity of the Chariot Throne of God (the Merkavah) and of the angelic battles that would transpire prior to establishment of the New Jerusalem. These concepts are closely related to the mystical study of Kabbalah, discussed above. Merkavah mysticism first appears biblically in the vision of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:1-28), whose name means “God is mighty.” The chariot-throne was filled with eyes, wheels, and living creatures with faces of the bull, lion, eagle, and man, representing again the four fixed signs of the zodiac and the four corners of the universe. Ezekiel’s vision also describes the new temple to be built in the New Jerusalem; the Jews for the next few centuries elaborated on the idea of what the new temple should look like, as well as on the necessity for preparing for battle with their oppressors. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily