Unveiling the Spiritual Realms – The Heavenly Sanhedrin and the Watchers
In Daniel chapter four we are introduced to a group known as עִירִין וְקַדִּשׁ (irin v’kadish) translated as the Holy Watchers.
I looked in the visions of my head as I lay on my bed, and there appeared a holy watcher coming down from heaven. 11 (14) He cried out: “Cut down the tree, cut off its branches, strip off its leaves, scatter its fruit! Let the wild animals flee from its shelter! Let the birds abandon its branches! 12 (15) But leave the stump with its roots in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze, in the lush grass of the countryside; let him be drenched with dew from the sky and share the lot of animals in the pasture; 13 (16) let his heart and mind cease to be human and become those of an animal; and let seven seasons pass over him.
14 (17) “‘“This decree is issued by the watchers, the sentence is announced by the holy ones, so that all who live may know that the Most High rules the human kingdom, that he gives it to whomever he wishes and can raise up over it the lowliest of mortals.” Daniel 4:10-14
These beings known as Watchers are appointed to watch over humanity and have judicial authority to act – Nebuchadnezzar’s haughty attitude was to be corrected by a decree or order coming from the Watcher. This group is well known in the ancient world and is referred to by different names – the Heavenly Sanhedrin, the Divine Council, and others. According to Jewish tradition, each of the 70 nations was represented at this council which appears to be located outside the physical realm.
One of the interesting points to be made here is that contact with Watchers occurred in Daniel unconscience mind, in his dreams.
The wisdom of our kabbalistic sages reveals that HaShem created an infinite number of worlds. These worlds are believed to be inter-dimensional quantum realities, or spiritual worlds (alternate dimensions). They are contained within the four general kabbalistic worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, and Yetzirah, which correspond to the dimensions of Spirit, Mind and Emotion. The four general world is Asiyah which represents the Physical Dimension.
The dimensional plane of Yetzirah or the Astral Plane is the realm of Angels and Demons and the location of the Divine Council. Our Sages tell us that angelic beings are non-physical but can take on form. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam) states in his his Mishnah Torah, Foundations of the Torah:
Angels have form, but no matter at all; for example, the angels, for the angels do not possess bodies or corporeal being, but rather are forms which are separate from each other.
Since they possess no body, what separates the form [of the angels] from each other? Their existence is not alike. Rather each one is below the level of the other and exists by virtue of its influence, [in a progression of levels,] one above the other.
Everything exists by virtue of the influence of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His goodness. Solomon alluded to this [concept] in his wisdom, saying (Ecclesiastes 5:7): “Because above the one who is high there is a watcher [and there are others higher than them].” (Foundations of the Torah 2:5-6)
Maimonides, Foundations of the Torah, chapter 2, Halacha 7 lists ten orders of celestial beings:
The different names with which the angels are called reflect their [spiritual] levels. Thus, they are called:
1) The holy chayyot, who are above all the others;
2) the ofanim;- the wheel angels
3) the er’elim;- the great exalted ones
4) the chashmalim;- fiery beings that communicate
5) the serafim; – the burning ones; the reptilians
6) the mal’achim; – messengers
the elohim; – judges of the lower realm
the sons of the elohim – workers for the elohim
the keruvim – childlike angels
the ishim – human looking angels who appear to mankind as humans
These ten names which are used to refer to the angels reflect their ten [different spiritual] levels. The level above which there is no higher level except that of God, blessed be He, is that of the form called chayyot. Therefore, the prophets state that they are below God’s throne of glory.
The tenth [and lowest] level is that of the form called ishim. They are the angels who communicate with the prophets and are perceived by them in prophetic visions. Therefore, they are called ishim, (“men”), because their level is close to the level of human knowledge.
The Ishim (which means Men) are the Watchers of Genesis 6, some of which connected to Heavenly Sanhedrin of Psalm 82. In his commentary on the Torah, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman writes that”…when the Creator – may He be blessed – created everything out of nothing, He made the upper realms in control of the lower realms that are beneath them.7
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