Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy (XV) Ezekiel

One reiterated statement in the prophecies of Ezekiel to Israel and the nations is "and you shall know that I am the Lord". It reminds us another two repeated many times in the Torah as the Creator presents His Commandments, especially in the book of Leviticus, "(...) [because] I am the Lord", and "I am the Lord who took you out of the land of Egypt". The common denominator of the three is what the Creator means to us. We have to insist that the main purpose in life is to know from where we came in order to know who we are and our destiny. It's all about identity. "I am" is the ultimate declaration of existence, and the only truthful way to say it is when we really know who we are, and who we mean to be.

The search for our Essence and true identity begins as we discover and know from Who we came from. In the same way we discover that our name is given by our parents, the social milieu determines our culture, and education shapes our talents, we can proclaim "who" we are. "I am the son of so and so", "I am a native of this country with this language", "I am carpenter". These are the circumstantial facts that indicate who we are in the material world. However, we are not bound by those facts. We can change our names, live in different countries, speak other languages, and change professions.

What we want to point out here is the search for what gives us life and makes us human. Not our biological or adoptive parents, neither our social or cultural environment or our educational background. We are talking about the Creator of all. He is the One we must know as the first step to learn who we are, and what are we are made of. That's why He gave us the Torah. The Torah is our identity, the beginning and the end of what we need to know about who we are and what are we here for.

"Then He said unto me: 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say: "Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off". "(...) And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O My people. And I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; and you shall know that I the Lord have spoken, and performed it, said the Lord'." (37:11, 13-14)

God tells us through the Prophet that we are dead if His Spirit is not in us. We know this already. The analogy of the bones is revealing. Our blood, what keeps the body alive, comes from the marrow of the bones. If the bones are dry, we are dead. If the source of our life, God's Love, is not in us we are dead. Even if our body remains alive. The conclusion is true: our hope is lost because we are cut off from Who we came, but He keeps His promise of Redemption.

"(...) 'I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them unto him together with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand'." (37:19)

We learn here that we must unify all aspects and dimensions of consciousness, and make them function harmonically. These have to be united under the rule of the One who created them.

"I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whether they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land.  And I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." (37:21-22)

We must bring together the creative potentials of consciousness (represented by the children of Israel) out of its negative trends. Their own land is the goodness of positive motivations for positive ends. The Messianic Consciousness as the destined regent of all facets of life encompasses the unifying power of Love's ways and attributes. Love doesn't cohabit with anything opposite to its ways and attributes, hence it integrates all dimensions of consciousness into their positive ends. Dualism, division, subtraction and separation -- as the roots of conflict, confrontation, antagonism and destruction -- will be eradicated.

"Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God." (37:23)

All kinds of evils, negative thinking and destructive ideologies, as the result of ego's materialistic fantasies and illusions will cease to exist when God's Love removes them from our consciousness. Thus is the way to permanently bond with Him, which is the meaning of being His people and He our God.

"(...) and David My servant shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a Covenant of Peace with them -- it shall be an everlasting Covenant with them; and I will establish them, and multiply them, and will set My Sanctuary in the midst of them forever." (37:25-26)

We grasp the Messianic Consciousness as the qualities embodied by King David. As a person, he is a regular guy with a mother and a father, brothers, relatives, wives and children. As a Jew, he understands quite well the Torah and hence the Jewish identity. This is the bottom line.

Yes, any Jew who understands the Torah and keeps its Commandments potentially can be the Jewish messiah. The particular trait that makes him the one announced by our Prophets, is that the Spirit of God will be on him. We have read already that the Spirit of God will (36:27, 37:14) give life again to those dead by their estrangement from Him. The Spirit of God will lead him to make fulfill His will for "the end of times", and we are talking about the everlasting Redemption that precedes the Messianic era. 

Not an easy task for one person, hence the Jewish Prophets refer to the Messiah as God's servant as Moses was in the times of the Exodus from Egypt. Like Moses, this man will be completely and solely dedicated to fulfill God's will. In other words, the Messianic era is part of God's will for the material world and not part of an individual's personal agenda. 

Countless times in the Torah and the Hebrew scriptures our Creator is mentioned as our One and only Redeemer. No one else and nothing else. We read also here that, once the Messianic Consciousness is fully manifest we will live by our permanent connection with God, which is also called His Covenant of Peace. The everlasting bond by which God multiplies and expands our existence forever.

"And the nations shall know that I am the Lord that sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forever." (37:28)

"The Lord will give strength to His people, the Lord will bless His people in peace." (Psalms 29:11)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy (XIV) Ezekiel

We must reflect on the warnings the permanent awareness of our connection with the Creator gives us. We have learned in our own flesh the outcome of living ego's fantasies and illusions and the negative choices we make. Love as our Essence and true identity calls up to our intellect and discernment, emotions and feelings, passions and instincts, to make a lasting commitment in life. Either we live moment to moment the transcending Essence of who we are, or the fleeing fantasy of fashion, glamour, sophistication, consumer society, political correctness, light culture, distraction, entertainment, social status, and trends instigated by ego's illusions. At some point, sooner or later, we all will end up committing to the Final Redemption many of us yearn for.

Our individual and collective Redemption begins when we remove the fantasies and illusions mentioned above from all levels of consciousness. This means removing them from what we believe, value, feel and do as ideas, ideologies and principles. We live as we believe, and we are individually and collectively accountable for what we follow and support as our lifestyle. Hatred, racism, abuse, exploitation, humiliation, cruelty, indifference, prejudice, intolerance and violence are part of the lifestyle of many people in this world. Take Islamic fundamentalism, for instance. Many of its followers believe, think, feel and act motivated by such destructive trends. They already destructed their lives by their belief. Have they ever considered that life is meaningless without Love's ways and attributes as the opposite values to their beliefs? They turn life into a desolated land by their negative fantasies and illusions.

"Thus said the Lord God to the mountains and to the hills, to the streams and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which are become a prey and derision to the residue of the nations that are round about." (Ezekiel 36:4)

Our intellect and discernment are responsible for the principles, beliefs, ideas and values we choose to live in. These are the mountains, hills, rivers and valleys. On these we build our thoughts, emotions and feelings that make us be and do. If we desolate them with negative traits, we are dead.

"But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and you shall be tilled and sown." (36:8-9)

God's Love speaks to our Love. Our Father speaks to His children's discernment and common sense. He knows that Love is the blessing our positive creative potentials need to fructify as redeeming qualities. His Love nurtures our Love to sprout, blossom and bloom, turning us into the abundant harvest of a fruitful land. God's Love helps us lead all levels of consciousness into Love's ways and attributes.

"And I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and you shall know that I am the Lord." (36:11)

As we walk in His ways and make them our ways, His Love multiplies the goodness of life. This means a broader perspective and perception of the material world. This wider approach to life is the Messianic Consciousness with which we receive more blessings. This additional abundance represents the double portion for the Shabbat, when we receive more than the previous days as our beginnings. In this immeasurable abundance we will know that the Lord is God.

"For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your impurities, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." (36:24-25)

We frequently say that the land is the geographical manifestation of life. Our surrounding space is the vessel than contains our life, therefore it is part of it. Hence we can't live without a land, but the one God calls ours is the Promised Land where life is even better. He conceives life for Israel as the ideal existence His wants for us. 

This special goodness is fully enjoyed only in Love's ways, means, qualities and attributes, for which God's Love cleans our consciousness from all kinds of negative trends, traits, attachments or addictions.

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them." (36:26-27)

The Messianic Consciousness as the bearer of our final Redemption has a different way to discern, think, feel, sense and act. For this we need a new heart as a new way of thinking, and a new spirit for new motivations exclusively dedicated to know our Creator. This new consciousness is understood, felt and experienced vividly as a living heart of flesh, not as a dead heart of stone.

This new consciousness unfolds by God's Spirit that is His Love. In this total awareness we walk in His ways, do His statutes and keep His ordinances with a consciousness free from material fantasies and illusions.

"And I will save you from all your impurities; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations." (36:29-30)

As we fully embrace God's Love and integrate it in all levels of consciousness, He increases the goodness we are destined to live in the world. As the goodness of Love's ways and attributes fill our life with their abundance, there is no room for beliefs or feelings of lack. These are what make us feel empty and hungry by ego's fantasies and illusions. As we live moment to moment in Love's ways and attributes, the land that is our life blooms and its goodness fills our creativity, thoughts and feelings as the desolate cities of the past, now fortified by God's Love. Then we will recognize the Creator, and we will know Him.

"And they shall say: 'This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.' (...) and they shall know that I am the Lord." (36:35, 38)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy (XIII) Ezekiel

Almost three quarters (35 out of 48 chapters) of the message the Creator delivers to Israel and the nations through Ezekiel refer to the consequences of living separated from Him. Harsh words define living in the negative trends of consciousness by our own choice. Before God brings with detail to our attention the effects of our estrangement from His ways, attributes and "commandments for which we live", as He repeatedly indicate in the Torah and through His Prophets, Ezekiel share his visions with us.

Modern psychiatry (C.G. Jung in particular) tries to define the elements that comprise some of the levels in our consciousness unknown or unclear to us. The unconscious, for instance, is the level that makes us act or behave without the approval or agreement of our conscious self. It seems that the unconscious in some degree is closely related to instincts. We are compelled by them. Based on theory, the unconscious contains elements called "archetypes" by which our conscious self relates to ideal states or goals we are compelled to pursue.

These archetypes are presented by symbols that represent ideas, feelings or emotions that interact with each other in order to pursue an end. In other words, we must find the meanings of what compels us to act in particular or peculiar ways. Thus we may understand the visions of some of the Jewish Prophets. What they see invite them to understand and act accordingly.     

"As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of One who spoke." (Ezekiel 1:28)

The rainbow contains the colors or chromatic expressions of pure light (white light), which also represent seven facets of consciousness attached to the Creator, from Whom all exists (that the Zohar calls "the seven spheres"). In the context of his vision, the Prophet indeed relates the colors of the rainbow to the Light from where it came. This Light is referred as the Glory of God, which we call here God's Love.

This is the premise to embrace God and relate to Him. As we recognize His Love as His Glory in His Creation, we are filled by awe as the indescribable feeling we experience before His Presence. Our Sages call this awe the "fear of God" in the ethical context of Judaism. As we stand before the Light as God's Love from where all was created, we finally understand and assimilate who we are and from where we came from.

"And He said to me: 'Son of man, I send you to the children of Israel, to rebellious nations, that have rebelled against Me (...)" (2:3)

The Prophet is chosen by his goodness and righteousness as attachments to God's Love as His ways, attributes and Commandments that keep us close to Him. In this sense, goodness and righteousness as part of Love's ways and attributes are the qualities to confront the negative tendencies of consciousness. Thus we transform them and reorient them as positive expressions. We learn how to do this through the knowledge God gives us in the Torah. We come to know Him by His instruction.

"And He said unto me: 'Son of man, make your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this roll that I give you'. Then did I eat it, and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And He said to me: 'Son of man, go, get yourself onto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them'." (3:3-4)

The sweetness of the Torah reveals in our consciousness the Essence and identity that defines our true self. Once we acquire the knowledge God wants us to have, we are compelled to share it. We are accountable for what we know, have and do. It is said that to whom a lot is given, a lot is expected. The lot here is the greatest of all, our connection and relationship with the Creator! We have quoted in this blog our Sages when they ask who is a rich person. They answer the one who is happy with his lot, what we refer here as our bond with God.

If we come to know and realize that Love's ways and attributes are indeed the means to return to goodness as our Redemption from negativity, we must proclaim, propagate, expand and make Love transform and rule all aspects of life. This is our most fundamental knowledge, and also our primordial obligation.

"(...) because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin. And his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood will I require at your hand." (3:20)

The Prophet says his words for us to understand. Hence it is up to us to hear or to ignore. We are responsible for each other. This is one of the meanings of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Thus we enter the Messianic Consciousness which direct us to live in Love's ways and attributes, as it was meant to be for us by our Creator who loves us as He also loves His entire Creation.

"And the Lord said: 'Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations whither I will drive them." (4:13)

The message begins to become harsher as God compares the negative trends in our consciousness to human excrement. Harsher words for harsher tendencies.

"(...) and I will send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave you; and pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I the Lord have spoken it." (5:17)

God deals with ego's fantasies and illusions, and the negative tendencies of human consciousness in a peculiar way. Let's recall the episode before the Exodus form Egypt when God "hardened" Pharaoh's heart. God wanted to teach him a lesson about obsessive negative behavior. Pharaoh was deeply obsessed with oppressing and destroying the children of Israel, to the point that he could not change his mind. Our Sages explain that "hardening" Pharaoh's heart meant making lose his free will. His only reference about reality was doing evil to Israel, to the extreme that he could not see any other references that may have changed his attitude.

The same thing happens when one is caught in a strong obsession, addiction or either negative state of consciousness like persistent neurosis or psychotic behavior. Once one gets caught in them, free will as the premise of freedom is lost. One becomes the prisoner of his/her own negative fantasies and illusions.

This negative predicament is stronger than our will power to get out of it. Our Love is not enough to get ourselves back to the freedom and plenitude of its ways and attributes. As we pointed out in other commentaries about the Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy, we realize that only God's Love can deliver us, and we cry out to Him for our Redemption. Our Love needs to be nurtured by His Love, and by bonding with Him through His ways and attributes, we begin to live in real freedom.

"(...) I will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. And your altars shall become desolate, and your sun-images shall be broken; and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. And I will lay the carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones round about your altars." (6:3-5)

God's Love has the power to redeem our consciousness when we are trapped in ego's fantasies and negative attitudes. As He did to Pharaoh, God deals with our attachments, addictions and obsessions. He makes us aware that we live by the consequences of our negative choices, the swords that come upon us. We end up learning by living in the desolation of our addictions as the broken idols God puts before us. These are also ego's materialistic desires that become like dead men and our bones scattered around the objects of our fantasies.

"And they shall know that I am the Lord. I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them." (6:10)

Time and again, we must emphasize that what God tells us here and in other passages of the Hebrew Bible about our separation from Him is not intended as vengeance, punishment, retaliation or retribution from Him against us. We shall know that He is God when we separate from Him, meaning that in His absence we are caught in our own inventions or illusions. This is another way to learn who God is. Hence the evil we experience by our own choices is the direct consequence of what He warns us in advance about what will come with our attitude.

Let's understand the harsh words of the first 35 chapters in the Prophet's message. Israel is confronted by God in different situations when He also refers to us as Jerusalem and its daughter as harlots, and the reasons behind it. God calls the facts by their names to bring our awareness to the transcendence of our permanent bond with Him. Once and for all He makes us realize that we live by Love as the material expression of His Love. Here lies the real reason of our existence and true freedom.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy (XII) Obadiah

"The vision of Obadiah. Thus said the Lord God concerning Edom (...)" (Obadiah 1:1)

In the book of Genesis, the Torah calls Esau "Edom", and narrates how he became the nemesis of his twin brother, Jacob. Let's reflect on what Edom represents in our consciousness. Opposites exist for us to discern between them, and act accordingly. All we have around invites us to observe every single thing, recognize their purpose or function, and deal based on what we need or want from them. Opposites and antagonists exist since Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit, offered by an opponent in disguise called the serpent. Evil turned, from a hypothetical reference to make goodness prevail in life and its surroundings called the Garden of Eden, into an evident and tangible tendency settled in our consciousness.

This twist of events turned extremely difficult to uproot evil out of our lives. Only by embracing and enthroning the Messianic Consciousness in all aspects and dimensions of life, evil will be completely removed from the face of the Earth. This is the Final Redemption where we will live by the regency of Love's ways and attributes. 

The specific goal of Jewish Prophecy is to herald the final prevalence of good over evil, and the regency of Love in all levels of consciousness, as the material manifestation of God's Love also as ruler in all His Creation. As Cain was the antagonist of Abel, Ham the nemesis of Noah, Nimrod the persecutor of Abraham, and Avimelech the coveting neighbor of Isaac, Edom became the mortal enemy of Israel. As Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob are brothers. This represents a dilemma, considering that both are children of the same parents the Torah refers to as righteous.

Genetics explains it. Their mother, Rebecca, was the daughter of Bethuel and the sister of Laban, two individuals the Torah and our oral tradition depict as epitomes of evil. This means that in our genetic consciousness, from where consciousness derives, we find the negative traits to be transformed into goodness as the ruling principle in the destiny God prepared for us. This destiny is entirely fulfilled in the Messianic era.

We must insist that good and evil interact in order to make evil subservient to good. This is a Divine decree applied to Esau and Jacob, when Rebecca asked God regarding her troubled pregnancy: "And the Lord said unto her: Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:23) In this sense, "nations" are principles by which we live.

In a deeper meaning, one represents our materialistic approach to life: "Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field" (25:27), while the other our connection to the Creator: "and Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents." (ibid.) The first definition is clear, but the second we must look up to. 

Our Sages explain that the word translated here as "quiet" has several encompassing meanings, including "perfect", "innocent" and "wholesome". These qualities in the context of living inside of covered places, which represent introspection in terms of being related to what dwells within. These don't necessarily imply living permanently indoors or avoiding the field of the material world. The purpose, determined by our Creator is to make "the elder serve the younger". This is the premise to assimilate the message of the Prophet.   

"For the violence done to your brother Jacob shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever." (Obadiah 1:10)

Edom represents, not only a materialistic approach to life but also the negative ways towards it. Hence this affects our connection and relationship with God, and His will regarding our destiny. Edom is our utmost antagonist, therefore we have to prevail over him. We have said that the only way to subdue negativity is by filling all levels and dimensions of consciousness with Love's ways and attributes. We achieve this by uniting our Love with God's Love, for His Love is our Redeemer from the domains of ego's materialistic fantasies and illusions. Only God as the Creator of all has the power to make His will prevail. By cutting off the negative trends of our consciousness, His Love ushers our entrance to the Messianic era.

"For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you. Your dealing shall return upon your own head." (1:15)

Regarding the dawn of the Messianic Consciousness, and the Final Redemption referred to as "the end of days" and "the day of the Lord", let's bear in mind that our negative trends, "the nations", lead us to our destruction. This is another way to understand that "sin is its own punishment".

"But in mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions." (1:17)

Our Prophets remind us in their messages that Zion/Jerusalem is the holiest place because it represents the awareness of our permanent connection with the Creator. Zion is the Temple, the House where God dwells in us. Those who live in the tents of Jacob and the dwellings of Israel find in our bond with God the Redemption from the violence of Edom. 

"And the house of Jacob shall be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, for the Lord has spoken." (1:18)

In His message through the Prophet, the Creator reaffirms His will. God speaks about the day we yearn for and cry out. The day when the intensity of our Love becomes the transforming fire of our consciousness. Jacob and Joseph are mentioned as the bearers of this redeeming fire. They embody Love's ways, means, qualities and attributes that maintain our connection with God's Love. These are our Essence and identity that transcend vanity, uselessness and futility of ego's negative fantasies and illusions embodied by Esau.

The fire of Love devours the stubble that negative ideas, thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts store in our consciousness.

"And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel, that are among the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath, and the captivity of Jerusalem that is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the South." (1:20)

The Messianic Consciousness encompasses a transformation process in all dimensions of our inner and outer life. The positive creative potentials, traits and qualities represented by the Tribes of Israel are gathered to fulfill God's will in the Messianic era. This is the gathering of the exiles from their dispersion among the nations. The goodness of life recovered and redeemed from the negative trends of consciousness.

This also means the physical return of the lost Tribes dispersed and assimilated among peoples all over the world. Many of them are descendants of forced converts to Christianity ("the captivity of Jerusalem that is in Sepharad") who will return as converts to Judaism. Lots of others assimilated into different races and nations will return also as converts. Interestingly, our oral tradition tells us that the Prophet Obadiah was a Jewish convert.

The goodness in the strength of their Jewish roots will lead them to return to the goodness of our common ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the goodness of Love's ways and attributes as the material manifestation of God's Love. And His will to make them prevail in all aspects, levels and dimensions of human consciousness. These are the saviors and redeemers that transform evil and negativity into goodness, heralding the Messianic Consciousness in the day of the Lord.

"And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's." (1:21)


From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.