144,000 - LITERAL or SYMBOLIC?

by stevieb1 12 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    This was asked a week or two ago, I answered it this way. :

    Be aware that I'm not making judgement calls here but offering some simple direction. The book of Revelation was sewn together from Jewish mystic literature and very early christian exegesis of OT prophetics, later editors made some minor additions. The numbers are meaningful to the author as they carry astrological symbolism or represent gemetria (number for letter formulas). It is difficult to impossible to be certain what the author of Rev 14 intended as there were many ways of intrpreting gemetria (hence it's appeal) but here is one respectible attempt:

    Aleph has the Kabbalistic value = 1
    Daleth has the Kabbalistic value = 4
    Mem has the Kabbalistic value = 40

    So, 144 (or 144,000) is the number of Adam.

    Adam is symbolic, it is in reference to Adam Kadmon, the Cosmos Human, the Heavenly Man.

    Thus, Revelation 7:4 means that those who become the Adam Kadmon will enter Heaven.

    Likewise, the Twelve Tribes represent the Twelve Zodical Signs under which the self realization of the Adam take place. The 12 foundation stones are the 12 'birth' stones of the lesser Jewish zodiac in correct order by month.

  • Leolaia

    PP...What is the source of the phrase "Adam Kadmon"? Is it rabbinical, kabbalistic, neither? I'm interested because "Kadmon," if from qdm "east," would correspond to an epithet of Shahar, the morning star, that is attested in Ugaritic literature and which is cognate to the figure of Cadmus in Greek myth. Considering how John the Apocalypsist refers to Jesus as the "morning star," it is at least interesting, if not coincidental.

  • peacefulpete

    Leolaia...I'm not going to be of much help. But I found Kaballist sites that claimed it was "ancient Israelite". Others said is was integrated into Kaballism in the middle ages. One site said the expression was derived from Aveer Qadman= primative air. Another site said it may be related to Adam Kasia. Below is a quote:

    Adam Kasia

    In Iranian mythology the soul of the first man, 'the hidden Adam'. Also called Adam Qadmaia ("the first Adam"). Among the Mandean (south Iraq and south-west Iran) it is the soul of every human. He shows many similarities with the Jewish Adam Kadmon .

    Another site indicated that the "east" figures in the numerology somehow. An Ebionite site claimed a linguistic connection as well..

    Considering that parts of Revelation have a Jewish mystic pedigree the concept of a primeval man seemed to be a reasonable explanation for 144. Even if the lable Kadmon was a later developement.

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