The Oral Torah and the Kabbalah
“According to Jewish tradition, the Oral Torah was passed down orally in an unbroken chain from generation to generation until its contents were finally committed to writing following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE when Jewish civilization was faced with an existential threat” (Howard Schwartz, “Tree of Souls”).
“The whole Talmud consists of 63 tractates, and standard print is over 6,200 pages long. It is written in Tannaitic Hebrew and Aramaic. The Talmud contains the teaching and opinions of thousands of rabbis on a variety of subjects, including Halakha (law), Jewish ethics, philosophy, history, lore and many other topics.
The Talmud is the basis for all codes of Jewish law and is much quoted in rabbinic literature. The Zohar (Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah” (Encyclopedia Judaica).
“The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century and was published by a Jewish writer names Moses De Leon. De Leon ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai, a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution who, according to Jewish legend, hid in a cave for thirteen years studying the Torah and was inspired by the Prophet Elijah to write the Zohar.
This accords with the traditional claim by adherents that Kabbalah is the concealed part of the Oral Torah”. (Encyclopedia Funk and Wagnalls, “The Concealed Part of God’s Word”).
Zohar could be defined as the search (of Jewish Rabbis) to academically find God Himself in the sacred Scriptures, or the “essence” of God in the written Word. Many have called this “mysticism”. I am not trying to write a dissertation on Jewish history, but I am just trying to make a point.
“Kabbalah” is the concealed part of God’s Word
Emanuel Swedenborg put forth the proposition that God’s revealed WORD (the Bible) contains three levels of spiritual understanding.
There is the 1) the natural, 2) the spiritual and 3) and the third heaven of which Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 12:2. In each of these three levels of heaven, the angels are able to understand and comprehend a higher and deeper spiritual meaning of the Bible.
“I know a man in Christ fourteen years before (whether in the body, I do not know; or outside of the body, I do not know; God knows) such a one was caught up to the third Heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2 )
If we know then there is a third level of heaven, it goes to follow there must be a first and second level also!
The Glory and the Spiritual took on the natural form of Men in the world
“And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth” (John 1:14).
Like a mathematical string, theologians and scholars have been searching for the Kabbalah or “The Concealed Part of God’s Word”. For us who are Christians, we are searching for “More love, more power, more of you in my life”.
Christians want to know and please their Lord Jesus. They do this through prayerfully studying the Bible, the written WORD of God. It is a living source for our spirits, our mental health, and our eternal destiny.
If there is no actual devil or Satan in the Bible, then who is he?
I would like to use a secular movie to illustrate who the Devil and Satan really are. The director of the movie “Revolver” (2005), was Guy Ritchie who adopted Judaism as his personal faith. The theme of the movie is the concept of the Jewish Kabbalah or “the concealed part” as we discussed before.
The main character is Jake (Jason Statham). While he was in prison two other convicts, Avi, and Zack attempt to get Jake to understand the nature of the human ego. Which Avi calls “the greatest con (the ego) ever pulled was making you believe that he is you”.
This indeed is the ultimate con. No one will ever cut ties with their ego when they have invested their whole life and being into it. At the end of the film, Jake makes every effort to break free and resist what his ego is telling him what to do.
I would propose that this is a good illustration of who the “devil” and “satan” really are! It is something that is innately a part of our inner being. It is something we are born with. It is our human nature that we inherited from our parents.
Unless we tap into the strength and power of Jesus Christ, we cannot overcome this tendency in us toward evil (sin)
“Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
The Ego and the ID
Sigmund Freud introduced these two terms to the study of psychology. Again I am using secular postulations to illustrate kingdom principles. They are like the laws of physics that allowed us to place men on the moon. They are immutable laws that exist which frame even the spiritual creation of the universe.
“These six Jehovah hates; yea, seven are hateful to his soul: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked plans, feet hurrying to run to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and he who causes fighting among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
This could easily describe the “Id”. The Id is the instigator (the tempter) to set in motion all kinds of evil and mischief. It is constantly plotting to get our ego to do it’s bidding.
If we prayerfully read the Scriptures and ask God to illuminate our minds to see the TRUTH of its teachings, we can see the devil or satan is NOT omnipotent like God. They are not omnipresent like God. And they are not omniscience like God. It is not even remotely close!
So, if the enemy is not without us, then the enemy has to be within us!
The other partner in crime is no other than OUR OWN ego. We are born with this wretched sinful nature;
“You might think I am saying that sin and the law are the same. That is not true. But the law was the only way I could learn what sin means. I would never have known it is wrong to want something that is not mine. But the law said, “You must not want what belongs to someone else. And sin found a way to use that command and make me want all kinds of things that weren’t mine. So sin came to me because of the command. But without the law, sin has no power. Before I knew the law, I was alive. But when I heard the law’s command, sin began to live,” (Romans 7:7-9).
The Ten Commandments – God’s own law
God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger and then gave it to Moses. It is the greatest document the world has ever seen! All other Scripture in our Bible was given by inspiration and revelation of the minds of (human) men.
In the New Testament when Jesus came to earth, He summarized the Ten Commandments of the law into two commands
“Jesus answered, “The most important command is this: ‘People of Israel, listen! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second most important command is this: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.’ These two commands are the most important” (Mark 12:29-31).
This sinful nature (the “Id”) within us is directly confronted
Since we now know the moral commandments of God’s kingdom how will the ego respond now? Is it MY WAY or GOD’S WAY? Decisions, decisions! It has become clear now it is all about the decisions we make and the paths we take!
Why is the sinful nature (Id) within us become so agitated? Because that creep is the complete opposite in nature and character compared to God’s Holy nature and character.
What is the sinful nature of the Id composed of? It is the love of self and the love of the world
“Don’t love this evil world or the things in it. If you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. This is all there is in the world: wanting to please our sinful selves, wanting the sinful things we see, and being too proud of what we have. But none of these comes from the Father. They come from the world. The world is passing away, and all the things that people want in the world are passing away. But whoever does what God wants will live forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
We can see that our enemy is not an entity or evil high commander of hell named the Devil or Satan. It is our own sinful nature (the Id). If we cling to and love ourselves and the world, we make no place for God to fellowship with us. We keep Him out. If we lust after the things of the world and the flesh we corrupt the temple and dwelling place within us created by God and for God.
“But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown his love for us” (Romans 8:37)
This leads to all kinds of errors in the Christian church
Much of the modern Christian church teaches that on the cross, Jesus took away the sins of the world and the believer. But Jesus did not remove the sins of the individual, HE BORE THEM.
Through His sacrifice of Love, Savior God gives us the POWER to overcome the flesh, the world, and the devil. It comes with the stipulation that we have to participate in our salvation and redemption of our souls. This requires us to tap into the power of the cross and make a concerted effort to make the right decisions in our behavior and in our thinking.
“Do for others what you would want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. “You can enter true life only through the narrow gate. The gate to hell is very wide, and there is plenty of room on the road that leads there. Many people go that way. But the gate that opens the way to true life is narrow. And the road that leads there is hard to follow. Only a few people find it” (Matthew 7:12-14).
Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
“Then Jesus said to his followers, “If any of you want to be my follower, you must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me” (Matthew 16:24).
Like Jake in the film “Revolver”, we have to discover that our enemy is within ourselves (“id”)
Unless we can overcome ourselves and turn to God to help direct our lives, we will through our own actions, end up destroying our eternal souls. This will not be the fault of a devil or a satan.
At the end of the movie film “Revolver” prominent psychologists in their own scientific lexicon describe the “hidden part”;
“Ego is the worst confidence trickster we could ever imagine because we do not see it”. (Dr. Yoav Sattilo)
“The single biggest con is ‘I am you”. (Dr. Steven C. Hayes)
“The problem is the ego hides in the last place you would ever look”. (Dr. Peter Fonagy)
“It disguises your thoughts as its thoughts. Your feelings as its feelings. People have no clue there is an ego”. (Leonard Jacobson)
“To protect one’s own ego, it knows no bounds. It will lie, steal, kill and do whatever it takes to maintain what we call ego boundaries” (Dr. Andrew Samuels)
“At first it is difficult for the mind to accept that there is something beyond itself”. (Dr. David Hawkins)
“Your greatest enemy is your own perception of your own ego”. (Dr. Obadiah S. Harris)
“In religion, it manifests itself as the Devil. Of course, no one realizes how smart the ego is, because it created the Devil so you can blame someone else. There is no such thing as an external enemy, no matter what that voice is telling you”. (Dr. Deepak Chopra)
“Loving God means obeying his commands. And God’s commands are not too hard for us, because everyone who is a child of God has the power to win against the world” (1 John 5:3-4).
In the Book of Revelation in the Bible, blessings are pronounced to all the seven churches “that overcomes”. This refers to the “Kabbalah, the “concealed part” that must be confronted and dealt with in the human soul and spirit.
“There is a new day rising. My church will no longer tumble along in darkness. I will give new illumination to the path you will be walking. The hour draws near to a new awakening upon the earth. Prepare thee the way of the Lord!”