Merkavah Mysticism Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 2 - Angelic Warfare Among the Dead Sea Scrolls is one entitled The War Between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, or simply The War Scroll. According to this work, war would take place both in heaven and on earth, leading to a final apocalyptic battle. In heaven the battle would be fought between those angels who sided with God and those who did not (much as the fallen angels had fought against those who sided with God before creation). Three battles are to be won by the Sons of Darkness; three battles are to be won by the Sons of Light. The final battle is to be won by God and his angels, who would intervene on behalf of the righteous people. In the Book of Enoch (first found by James Bruce in 1765 in manuscript form; nine more copies were found in 1947 among the Dead Sea Scrolls) one dominant idea is that the Almighty requires a host of assistants to do His will and act as intermediaries between God and humans. Known as mal’akhim, or workers of the divine will, we know these beings today as angels. Angelic beings as conceived of by the Essenes and described in The Song of Sabbath Sacrifices in the Dead Sea Scrolls include the following categories: Ministering angels—their purpose was to attend to the Almighty and meet human need, whether this meant physical health, food, shelter, clothing, etc. Angels of Sanctification—are “witnesses” to divine covenants and ordinances, and help set apart those human beings called to divine service. Angels of Presence—manifest the “supernatural emanations” of the Almighty to the Sons of Light. They are called “Angels of the Face” because they stand before the face of God. Cherubim—the only angels who have wings; their purpose is to mark the place of the chariot throne. A hierarchy of seven archangels, who oversee the work of all the other angels. The Dead Sea sect at Qumran was extremely dedicated. Each morning they would rise and on their foreheads and arms they would tie their tefillin (little boxes containing pieces of scripture that said, “Hear, oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one”) as they began their daily prayers. They shared everything in common and tried to live lives of exemplary purity, which among other things meant they eschewed strong drink and the company of women. Their leader was known only as the “Teacher of Righteousness,” who taught them many things, some of which revolved around the coming of the Messiah (Missiayah) and some of which concerned the Merkavah, or Chariot Throne of Glory. In Merkavah Kabbalah, there is the sense that if the world is ever to be fit for the coming of God, it must first be fit for human beings. According to their Manual of Discipline, it was important that all who aspired to be Sons of Light must “abstain from evil and hold fast to all good; that they may practice truth, righteousness, and justice upon earth, and no longer stubbornly follow a sinful heart and lustful eyes, committing all manner of evil.” It was in the community of Qumran, with its cosmic dualism, Kabbalistic mysticism, expectation of apocalyptic warfare, and hope of angelic and messianic deliverance, that Jesus appears to have been trained. For an examination of the lore of angels, see the following: Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels. New York: The Free Press, 1967. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily