The Book of Malachi

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The Book of Malachi

#1 Postby Elder Gideon » Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:17 pm

Book of Malachi

Return to me, and I will return to you, says the YHVH Tzavaot (3:7).

Person of Malachi

The named prophet of this text is a mystery to rabbis. Malachi, מַלְאָכִֽי simply means My Messenger and might be the abbreviated from of Malachiah: Yah is a Messenger. Many ancient and contemporary commentators doubt this other name, seeing instead the author of this text as an epithet personifying the mission of this prophet. Contentions throughout Talmud attempt to identify this mysterious person as Ezra, reforming Temple service and the people’s devotion, or even Mordecai, the adoptive father of Queen Esther, are spurious. The most compelling explanation of the identity of My Messenger is as an anonymous figure speaking the last words of the Hebrew Bible. If one acknowledges certain midrashim, Behold, I send My messenger,/And he shall clear the way before Me (3:1), the ultimate voice of My messenger is none other than the prophet Elijah.

Times of Malachi

While the exact person who is Malachi remains unanswered, the feeble context of his points suggest a great deal of time beyond Haggai and Zechariah’s enthusiasm for rebuilding the Second Temple. Flash forward sixty years and one happens upon a scene of an active Temple and bustling Jerusalem with only a veneer of spirituality: The devekut of the priests and the people was gone. On the most vital levels of religious and domestic life, Jerusalem was all but entirely complacent and compromised. Malachi’s voice squared off not only with the lax Temple service, arraigning the priests who accepted blemished offerings for sacrifice, but with the snobbery of people departing from the faith, refusing to tithe, divorcing, and even intermarrying with gentile people in a vulnerable time for the nation. It is into this delicate circumstance that Ezra and Nehemiah enter Jerusalem within fifteen years of Malachi’s preaching to continue efforts to reform and refocus the people, for which Malachi is credited preparing the way. Beyond them, his teachings continued to guide the Greater Assembly of rabbis generations later, as his proof texts and halachic rulings contributed frequently to the formation of Talmud and rabbinical exegeses.


Text of Malachi

Essentially, the message of this text is a call to love, devotion, and healing on every level: to return to God. It is an intimate text, penetrating the hearts of the priests and people, exposing powerful doubt and disillusionment with the Divine. Using a literary style not found among other prophets, Malachi effectively drives home a deep and simple message of return to God. By often stating a truth and following it with a question that might arise for the hearer, he elaborates by drawing in the hearer to a deeper place that induces reflection.

Chapter 1:2-5 Regards God’s love for Israel contrasted with Edom. The next and much larger section spanning Chapter 1:6-2:9 chastises the priests. Following this in 2:10-16 concern divorce and gentile intermarrying. The text continues 2:17-3:6 with escatological images of the Judgment Day. Tithing occupies 3:7-15. The text concludes with the natural courses resonant with the consciousness of the wicked and the righteous.

The last three verses are a finale of the entire Hebrew Bible, prophesying that Elijah will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse (4:6). As such harsh final words in scripture are counter to the Jewish tradition of hope in return to God, Hebrew versions of Malachi repeat 4:5 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of YHVH comes as the last word of the last book of the Hebrew Bible.


Message of Malachi for Our Times

The central message of Malachi—our returning to God through integrity—begins and ends with imagery of gilgulim and soul-destinies, fragmented or integrated, according to the direction of their identity expressed through desires. Souls of light are of Jacob, whom I have loved (1:2) but souls of darkness are of Esau, whom I hated (1:3). How souls are loved and hated before being incarnate is a mystery of gilgulim and the judgment of light, My Messenger coming in the world. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears (3:2)? Being of a soul root of light, however, is only potential until actualized by desire. Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return’ (3:7)?

The return is first inward, as modeled by the priests of Levi. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should further knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts (2:6-8) by accepting blemished, damaged, or faulty offerings. If one who withholds in their giving to God, how much more for spiritual guides who accept and offer them! Cursed be the cheat who has a male in the flock and vows to give it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished...I will rebuke your offspring, and spread shit on your faces, the shit of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence (1:14, 2:3).

Ironically, the offerings of other nations are fully received by the one God of all, as they’re offered in a fullness of faith they have yet to know indirectly, contrasted with the people of Israel who know and yet refuse directly. Malachi hints in a visionary way a globalism in its earliest forms of Judaism, For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts (1:11). Where this contrast of offerings received by God from other nations is most tragic is in the Second Temple itself, where the most complete offering is not of blemished animals but of the tears of divorced Jewish women, their husbands replacing them with other women presumably younger and more “exotic”. And this you do as well: You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. You ask, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was a witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant...For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, (2:13-14, 16). The connection between withheld offerings and withholding from one’s spouse is Malachi’s indictment against divorce in every respect: as from God, so from another.

Consistent in Malachi’s time with the people’s meager offerings and meaningless marriages, was their tithing, which had trickled to nearly nothing. Far more than formalities of Jewish religion, the orientation held by a nation, a community, a family, and an individual, is reflected by the meaning of Covenant. One gets what one gives. The inmost, private intention of all is perfectly reflected, all in a mystery, by the most public events. Here, Malachi describes the people as robbing God. Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me!...Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will count you happy, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts (3:8 and 10-12). This lofty teaching, simply put, describes all belonging to God, yet is made complete only when people desire to return what belongs to God. This is the circuit of the Covenant, what we mean today in lineage as Continuum, desiring to return what belongs to God: This is continuity and sustainability in every respect.

This circuitry of people’s consciousness displays the matrix of reality in one of two directions. For restraining from self-cherishing, people might complain, ‘What a weariness this is’, you say, and you snort at me, says the Lord of hosts (1:13). This same surface consciousness which takes no accountability for itself not only complains, but even blames the Holy One for desires unfulfilled. You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘All who do evil are good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.’ Or by asking, ‘Where is the God of justice?’ (2:17) From this space of zero-accountability for one’s energy, self-justifying defensiveness rationalizes doubt in anything transcendent. You have spoken harsh words against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What do we profit by keeping his command or by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts? Now we count the arrogant happy; evildoers not only prosper, but when they put God to the test they escape.’ (3:13-15). For fragmented orientations such as these, there can only be greater suffering, even destruction, striking the land with a curse (4:6).

For others who abide in faith and cleave to God through all circumstances, understanding that the Most High is not outside, but proceeding from everything desired inside, they are aware of what transcends suffering, and so integrate. Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him (3:16-17). Rabbis regard those who revered the Lord spoke with one another as the elect in Malachi’s time keeping the covenant through deep study.

More esoteric midrashim of the Lord taking note and listening speak of this principle actually attracting the attention of Elijah and King Messiah. Leviticus Rabbah asks of this passage in Malachi, “In times past, a person would care out a religious duty, and the prophets would write it down. But now that there are no prophets, who is going to write it down? It will be Elijah and the King Messiah, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will seal [the record] in their behalf. For it is written [showing the prophets’ former recording], Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him, [for them that thought upon his name].” Being remembered in a book of remembrance is a powerful image of Binah first introduced by Moses (Exodus 32:32), and elaborated later by Isaiah (4:3), Psalms (69:29, 139:16), Daniel (7:10), and Apocalypse (20:12). What it means to be remembered has everything to do with the continuity of consciousness in all states. This is how our lineage contemplates resurrection.

So this larger message of integrity preached by Malachi concludes as it began, in soul-destinies from light to life or from darkness to oblivion. What’s astonishing is how Malachi personifies light and life with the prophet Elijah, a tradition rabbis develop generations later after him. The Yerushalmi Shabbat sums all of Malachi’s wisdom and mysticism: “Mindfulness lead to cleanliness, cleanliness leads to cultic purity, cultic purity leads to holiness, holiness lead to modesty, modesty leads to the fear of sin, the fear of sin leads to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit leads to the piety, the piety leads to the resurrection of the dead, and the resurrection of the dead ‘leads to Elijah, blessed be his memory.’”

In place of my messenger heralding the resurrection, read Elijah: See, I am sending my messenger [Elijah] to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? The answer is in the Psalms and the Gospel of John: Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,/who do not lift up their souls to what is false, /and do not swear deceitfully (Psalm 24:4)...[for] those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God (John 3:21). To endure and stand in the refiner’s fire (Malachi 2:3), this resurrection, this Elijah, is by only one, narrow way: gladly releasing what one is not, to reveal what already was.

What prevents souls from allowing this revelation is personal history, essentialized in Lurianic Kabbalah by the binding or releasing of sparks across generations of reincarnating souls. Our lineage furthers this intricate principle of gilgulim in its detailed oral tradition of conscious dying and death. As at the actual severance of soul from physicality at death, so the reweaving of soul to physicality at conception, all pivoting upon what is perhaps most subtle of all: the karmic seed essences from one’s father and mother. It is to this subtlety that allows one to hear the great tikkune accomplished by Elijah: Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse (4:5-6).

Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah who is without genealogy or burial, a resurrected figure of the Presence of Awareness. Before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes of the strict judgment, the angel of death who cannot be averted. He [Elijah] will turn the hearts of parents to their children who are willing to the lifelong purification of going within and living from within, and the hearts of children to their parents, opening to the light that is above. It is these who grow and abide with a center of peace and joy unmoved by circumstances, even by the end of personal history, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse. In this great tikkune effected by the Opener of the Way—the Prophet Elijah—one hears in Malachi’s prophetic language what our lineage means by the Light Transmission: But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings (4:2).

Praise be She for the Prophetic and Apostolic Succession.
I honor the Holy Spirit, who preserves and grows the Continuum in our generation through her tzaddikim.
With healing in his wings, may the Sun of Righteousness rise on the last of his kind, Tau Malachi eben ha-Elijah.



Elder Gideon


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Re: The Book of Malachi

#2 Postby sheryl » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:39 am

Shabbat Shalom, Elder Gideon,

This is a delightful find this morning! Praise to the Light of Imma Gadol!

Thank you Elder Gideon for posting this teaching.

I had not before thought of the blessing of turning (shuwb) the heart (leb) of parents towards their children and children towards their parents as bringing something new into the gilgulim - a new cycle of incarnation, perhaps we can even say a new humanity?

It is also interesting that heart appears four times in the book of this great messenger.

If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. (2:2)

And

And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. (4:6)

Perhaps there is a connection between these verses, and something more that can be drawn out between the usage of take it to (suwm שׂוּם) and return (shuwb שׁוּב)?

It seems that, this day, we have the opportunity for a new relationship between parents and children, as you have taught above, Elder Gideon, one that is not based on fear and a closed heart (leb), but one that is based on love and an expansive heart - glorifying God. Perhaps critical to the ushering in of a new humanity?

I am finding the usage of suwm and shuwb quite interesting. The former ends in mem and the latter ends in bet, and am wondering if something deeper lies behind this?

With gratitude,

Sheryl

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Re: The Book of Malachi

#3 Postby Tau Malachi » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:59 am

Greetings and blessings in the Holy Light of the Messiah!

When I contemplate the turning of hearts of parents and children what I hear is, in fact, a return to God, a new orientation of life, one lived for the sake of heaven and the glorification of God; this naturally transforms all other relationships with family, friends and neighbors, as well as stranger and enemies. Hearts are turned away from each other, whether in family or otherwise, because of self-cherishing, and often in family, when it might seem hearts are turned towards one another, in the unenlightened condition it’s an extension of self-cherishing, for to love family more than others is a conditional and restricted love. This is why Adonai Yeshua addresses family in a very different way, calling us out of the self-cherishing mode of family, or the bestial mode, to the vision of enlightened family - family that does not serve itself, but serves humanity and God.

You see, in family, in the unenlightened condition, there is the severe gravity of grasping at name and form, and personal history, along with strong grasping at roles, father, mother, son, daughter, and so on, and this becomes a great barrier to our full rebirth from above, from heaven, or the full awakening of our soul and remembrance of our holy neshamah, our heavenly and supernal soul.

Here we may speak an open secret. In the Holy Kabbalah Binah is often called the “heart,” and as we know neshamah corresponds with Binah, and as such neshamah is also called “heart,” the “heart of the soul.” Indeed, for neshamah joins the inner and outer aspects of the soul, and although ruach is associated with the heart star, within and behind the heart is neshamah, and when we are reborn fully from above, in effect neshamah is brought down and is seated in our heart, merging with ruach, and through ruach merging with nefesh.

Now, the turning of the heart of parents and children, if understood in the context of the return of the prophet Elijah and coming of the Messiah would indicate the unification of nefesh and ruach, and the embodiment of the influence of neshamah, neshamah becoming seated in the heart along with the indwelling Messiah; the parent and child then become who and what they truly are, people of God, children of the Light. Basically speaking, if who and what we are in ourselves is not joined with who and what we are in the Light Continuum and Holy One, in effect we are unreal, we are not ourselves; when who and what we are in the Holy One is embodied we become real, for there is true life and light in us. When a parent and child, or any other two people for that matter, become real, then they can truly turn to one another and know one another in the Spirit of God.

Having said this, if we wish to consider the true meaning of parents and children turning their hearts to one another we may contemplate the Holy Mother and her Child, and the salvation of the world that becomes manifest through them. This certainly corresponds with mysteries the Book of Malachi is addressing.

I imagine that Elder Gideon will have more to share on this from the context of his study and teachings, but this subject caught my attention, so I was inclined to share something on the subject. Hopefully I did not distract from the larger vision he’s attempting to convey.

Shalom Aleichem!
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In But Not Of Family

#4 Postby Elder Gideon » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:48 am

Shalom!

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’ (Matthew 12:46-50).

I'm grateful for your sharing here, Tau Malachi, how family regresses or progresses the soul according to everyone's starting point. If orienting from one's family, it is regress: if orienting from beyond one's family, it is progress.

Now, the turning of the heart of parents and children, if understood in the context of the return of the prophet Elijah and coming of the Messiah would indicate the unification of nefesh and ruach, and the embodiment of the influence of neshamah, neshamah becoming seated in the heart along with the indwelling Messiah; the parent and child then become who and what they truly are, people of God, children of the Light. Basically speaking, if who and what we are in ourselves is not joined with who and what we are in the Light Continuum and Holy One, in effect we are unreal, we are not ourselves; when who and what we are in the Holy One is embodied we become real, for there is true life and light in us. When a parent and child, or any other two people for that matter, become real, then they can truly turn to one another and know one another in the Spirit of God.

Like the most surreal moments in scripture, many of the most "domestic" prophesies such as this of parents and children mutually turning to each others' hearts, guard the deepest teachings. The context of the prophet's teaching of this "domestic" reconciliation is the advent of Elijah, whom the rabbis always regard in the most extraordinary light of one who did not die. Wherever Elijah is mentioned in Talmud is in activities of reconciliation in every respect, "smoothing" domestic, religious, and even political disputes. This "smoothing" of the way is inseparable in rabbinic consciousness with opening of the way for Messiah. We experience this advent of Messiah in Yeshua, who taught one-hundred and eighty degrees opposite to all modern fundamentalist constructs of family:

‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it
(Matthew 10:34-39).

What then is the reconciliation of the mutual turning of hearts between parents and children in light of Messiah's teaching in this most Jewish of Gospels, St. Matthew ? Let's start with the word you found Sheryl, suwm שׂוּם, which is very helpful. Of the many meanings, it seems to best denote here in Malachi a direction, to where one points or heads. Consider how the rabbis teach us to resolve an apparent contradictions between two moments of scripture by going to a third point above them. If I lift off and out from the duality of this or that opposition to a third point transcendent of either, the opposition is resolved. Hear then how suwm, or where one heads, alleviates and reconciles? Where my most painful contradictions with myself, fragmentary desires, or fears are resolved is by going within, going deeper still, and opening to a light of awareness further within behind my heart.

Elijah's turning of hearts is not how it sounds. Because his name invokes as close as Judaism comes to principles of resurrection, these hearts of parents and children he's mutually turning are within and behind anything one could say of name form frozen by families. It is for this same mystery of resurrection that I correlated the Black Path in our teachings of dying and death to Elijah's mutual turning of karmic hearts. All of this turning is beyond the body, clearly, for we'll remember that neshamah does not incarnate in family after family after family, but is accessed only when a soul is willing to awaken beyond their family. Take Elijah's raising his caretaker's son. It was no ordinary soul within the boy, for midrashim teach that this one grew up to become the prophet Yonah. This in scripture is what the mutual turning of hearts between parents and children looks like. It is entirely transcendent of family.

in light of the obvious necessity of family, like the world, I would ask Tau Malachi, how neshamah interacts with this mystery of resurrection effected by Elijah's turning of hearts between parents and children?

Gratefully,

Elder Gideon

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Re: The Book of Malachi

#5 Postby Tau Malachi » Mon Jan 11, 2016 3:16 pm

Grace and peace to you in Hayyah Yeshua, the Risen Messiah!

Our holy neshamah, and the inner aspects of the soul within it, hayyah, the life-force, and yechidah, the unique essence, correspond with bornless being, eternal being; thus, the experience of resurrection and ascension correspond with the realization of neshamah, our being in heaven and the World-To-Come, the eternal realm.

Whenever there is a radical healing or resurrection of a person by a tzaddik there is an invocation of an influx of hayyah, life-force, into that person, extending or restoring life; generally speaking, when this happens, the influence of neshamah is drawn into that incarnation, and the soul of the person is elevated, for along with the influx of hayyah there is an influx of Holy Light and the Spirit of God. Quite distinctly, such a person is reborn from above, they transcend the stars of their birth, and it is as though they have a new incarnation, and they are destined to fulfill something of their soul’s mission, the desire of their holy neshamah.

Understand, resurrection is not enacted simply to return a person to a life in vanity and futility under the sun, but rather, it is enacted for a greater good, the realization or enlightenment of a soul, which reaches well beyond that single individual, affecting all of humanity and the world. It’s not an idle or trivial wonder, performed upon a whim, but rather it is performed because there is something a soul needs to do, a destiny they need to fulfill in that life, in that time and place. Otherwise there is no good reason to return a soul to a given life, but instead it would be better to assist them in transition towards a more auspicious incarnation, or engage a transference of consciousness, uplifting them in ascent into the heavens, or leading them into a conscious reintegration with the Light Continuum and the Infinite.

This is well reflected in the story of the widow’s son with Elijah, and likewise St. Lazarus with Adonai Yeshua.

Consider the affect of the resurrection of the widow’s son, though already the mother and son were godly and sought to return to God, no doubt through this experience there was even greater faith and knowledge of God generated, and ultimately because of it, something of the neshamah of both the mother and son was realized and fulfilled; when he became a prophet of God, she became the mother of a prophet, and in this action of a messenger of heaven and God, both were blessed and fulfilled - they accomplished the purpose of their respective incarnations, along with tending to the needs of a Baal Shem of the generation, which is itself a great and holy accomplishment. Praise God!

If and when such a child of God, and such holy actions, arise from a family, the entire family is blessed and elevated, and although perhaps not every member of the family will realize their heavenly and supernal soul in that incarnation, the realization of neshamah is destine for them within three to five incarnations - they have been set upon the swift path of return, being connected with a soul experiencing resurrection and the corresponding ascension.

Aside from this, understand that when the influence of our holy neshamah enters into an incarnation, something of our ruach and nefesh is established in the resurrection and ascension - eternal life in the Supernal Abode, the World-To-Come, for they have embodied something of neshamah, our true being, divine and bornless being.

When Adonai Yeshua teaches that we must be reborn from above to enter the true kingdom of heaven, he is saying that we need to bring the influence of our neshamah, our heavenly and supernal soul, into our incarnation, and that in so doing we resemble the Messiah, generating the image and likeness of Yahweh Elohim, and therefore we abide in the kingdom of heaven on earth and in the afterlife.

Yeshua Shalom!
Tau Malachi

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