Metatron And The Trinity

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It is written:

Psalm 45:6-7-Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7  You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

In this Psalm, we see a direct reference to plurality within the Godhead. Indeed, the Apostle Paul quotes this passage to argue for the Deity of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:8). Throughout many other Old Testament passages, we see similar references and clues to the teaching of the Trinity which is more fully developed in the New Testament (cf. Isaiah 48:16; Psalm 33:6; Genesis 1;26-27).

What is especially interesting is that the Jewish people before the time of Christ had an idea of this plurality within the Godhead. We can see this by examining Hebrew speculation about someone referred to as Metatron.

“Metatron: (). A Sar (Princely, Chieftain Angel) who features prominently in Jewish esoteric literature. The name “Metatron” itself is a puzzle, being either a Greek derived word meaning meta-thronos, “beyond [behind] the throne” or meta-tetra, “beyond the four [Angels of the Countenance],” or the Latin metator, “guide.” Less plausible is the argument that it is a corrupted form of the Persian God Mithras. Intriguingly, gematria reveals that one spelling of his name has the same numeric value as the divine title Shaddai. Metatron has many other names and titles. Among the most common are Sar ha-Panim (Prince of the Countenance), Sar ha-Olam (Prince of the World), ha-Naar (the Youth), Marei de-Gadpei, (Master of Wings), and Yahoel. The very name “Metatron” is spelled differently in different documents. In the Merkavah traditions we learn that Metatron has twelve names, corresponding to the twelve tribes. This may account for why there are so many overlapping names and titles in the Metatron traditions (Sanh. 38b; Zohar I: 21a). Metatron’s place in the angelic host is truly unique for several reasons. So exalted is his status that in some sources he is referred to as the “Lesser YHVH”: A heretic challenged Rabbi Idit: It is written, “[ God] said to Moses, ‘Go up to YHVH’ {Ex. 24: 1}. [Since God was speaking], it ought to say ‘Go up to Me!’ ” Rabbi Idit answered: [YHVH] here refers to Metatron, whose name is the same as the name of his master. As it is written, “Behold, I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way … My name is in him.” (Ex. 23: 20–21; Sanh. 38b) He is also unique in that he alone among the angels sits upon a throne, as does God. So exalted is his status that in some sources he is referred to as the “Lesser YHVH” (Yev. 16b; Sanh. 38b). Because of this, Elisha ben Abuyah mistakes Metatron for a god and concludes there are “two powers in heaven”: What happened [to make Elisha ben Abuyah deny the oneness of God]? He had a vision of Metatron, who had received permission to sit and write down the merits of the Jewish people. He said: We have learned that on High there is no sitting … Perhaps there are two Powers! [The celestial order] demoted Metatron and beat him with sixty whips of fire. They said to him: When you saw [ben Abuyah], why did you not stand up? Then they gave him permission to erase the merits of Elisha ben Abuyah. (Chag. 15a) The other remarkable fact about Metatron is that he was once human—the antediluvian hero Enoch (Gen. 5; Jubilees 4: 23; Sefer Hechalot 12: 5). In III Enoch, Metatron describes to Rabbi Ishmael how he was transubstantiated from mortal to angelic form: Under the direction of Michaeland Gabriel he grew in size until his body filled the whole universe (signaling a reversal of the “fall” of Adam Kadmon). He sprouted seventy-two wings (for each of the seventy-two names of God), grew 365,000 luminous eyes (indicating he had become omniscient, symbolized by acquiring one thousand eyes for each day of the year), and his material body burned away to be replace with a form of pure fire. According to the Zohar, he has the appearance of a rainbow (1: 7a). Finally, he is given a crown resembling the crown worn by God. Metatron has a very prominent role in Hechalot literature, where he appears as a guide to human adepts visiting heaven, (except in Hechalot Rabbati, where that role is filled by Anafiel). At times Metatron is associated with the supernal Mishkan, and is described as the High priest in the heavenly Temple, a role ascribed to Michael in other texts: When the Holy Blessed One told Israel to set up the Mishkan [the portal sanctuary] He indicated to the ministering angels that they also should make a Mishkan, and when the one below was erected the other was erected on high. The latter was the tabernacle of the Naar (Youth) whose name was Metatron, and there he offers up the souls of the righteous to atone for Israel in the days of their exile. The reason then why it is written et ha-Mishkan, [The direct object marker et is read as “with”, implying that there is something else unstated that was built with the desert sanctuary] is because another Mishkan was erected simultaneously with it. In the same way it says, The place, Adonai, which You have made for You to dwell in, the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established [the parallelism of “place” and “sanctuary” is interpreted to mean two sanctuaries]. (Ex. 25: 17; Num. R. 12: 12). The Zohar attempts to reconcile all these conflicting traditions: From this we see that the Holy One, blessed be He, actually gave Moses all the arrangements and all the shapes of the Tabernacle, each in its appropriate manner, and that he saw Metatron ministering to the High Priest within it. It may be said that, as the Tabernacle above was not erected until the Tabernacle below had been completed, that “youth” (Metatron) could not have served above before Divine worship had taken place in the earthly Tabernacle … Moses saw a mirroring of the whole beforehand, and also Metatron, as he would be later when all was complete … It should not be thought, however, that Metatron himself ministers; the fact is, that the Tabernacle belongs to him, but Michael, the High Priest, that serves there, within the Metatron’s Tabernacle, mirroring the function of the Supernal High Priest above, serving within that other Tabernacle, that hidden one which never is revealed, which is connected with the mystery of the world to come. There are two celestial Tabernacles: the one, the supernal concealed Tabernacle, and the other, the Tabernacle of the Metatron. And there are also two priests: the one is the primeval Light, and the other Michael, the High Priest below. (II: 159a, translation from the Soncino Zohar) In Sefer Zerubbabel, he is explicitly identified with Michael. He also functions as the heavenly scribe, writing 366 books. He also teaches Torah to the righteous dead in the Yeshiva on High (A.Z. 3b; SGE). He is involved in events on Earth as well as in heaven. He led Abraham through Canaan, delivered Isaac from his father’s knife, Wrestled with Jacob, led the Israelites in the desert, rallied Joshua, and revealed the End of Times to Zerubbabel. Even so, he is only rarely adjured in angel summoning incantations. One magical book, Sefer ha-Cheshek, is devoted to the power of his seventy-two names. He continues his function as heavenly tour guide in medieval works like Gedulat Moshe, though Metatron does not enjoy the singular prominence in later Kabbalah that he does in early Merkavah mysticism. In the Zohar, Metatron receives his most complex treatment. It is difficult to fully understand the Zohar’s multivalent and allusive teachings regarding Metatron, which may reflect the many hands that contributed to it. He is a manifestation of Shekhinah (I: 179b), the first “offspring” of the supernal union of God’s feminine and masculine aspects (I: 143a, 162a–b). As such he is the personification of the lower sefirot, an idea obliquely alluded to in this description of Metatron as the “staff” of Moses [i.e., the instrument he uses to deliver the people]: Similarly of Moses it is written, “And the staff of God was in his hand” [the staff that delivered the Israelites and smote the Egyptians]. This rod is Metatron, from one side of whom comes life and from the other death.” [life and salvation flows from the “right” side of the sefirot, death and severity from the “left” side]. (Zohar 1: 27a) Later kabbalistic traditions seemingly lose interest in Metatron, and he rarely features in metaphysical speculation after the high Middle Ages. SEE SUMMONING.” (Geoffrey W. Dennis, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic & Mysticism: Second Edition, 282-284 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added): Woodbury, Minnesota; Llewellyn Publications)

There is, of course, much speculation about this being known as “Metatron.” However, what stands out if the fact that the Jewish people were able to discern through the study of the Old Testament some kind of plurality within the Nature of God.

As Scholar Michael Heiser points out:

“The most familiar way to process what we’ve seen is to think about the way we talk about Jesus. Christians affirm that God is more than one Person, but that each of those Persons is the same in essence. We affirm that Jesus is one of those Persons. He is God. But in another respect, Jesus isn’t God—he is not the Father. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father. Nevertheless, they are the same in essence. This theology did not originate in the New Testament. You’ve now been exposed to its Old Testament roots. There are two Yahweh figures in Old Testament thinking—one invisible, the other visible and human in form. Judaism before the first century, the time of Jesus, knew this teaching. That’s why ancient Jewish theology once embraced two Yahweh figures (the “two powers”). 6 But once this teaching came to involve the risen Jesus of Nazareth, Judaism could no longer tolerate it.” (Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, 2799-2805 (Kindle Edition): Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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