This is an excerpt from The Sun Lady Unveiled by Alexander Rivera
We see texts like the Book of Enoch, the Hekhalot Rabbati (the Teaching of the Chambers), Shir Ha-Shirim (Song of Songs), and the Shi’ur Komah (The Measurement of the Height), the latter of which paints vivid pictures of heaven and even describes the divine nature of the Creator in anthropomorphic terms. The Shi’ur Komah portrays God as a humanoid of such gigantic dimensions as to occupy the whole cosmos: his neck is 130.8 million miles long; his fingers are each 150.3 million miles in length. These Kabbalists apparently have divine measuring rods capable of measuring God’s body! However, 2 Enoch 39:6, calls God’s entire stature as measureless and limitless:
You see the compass of my work like your own, but I have seen the Lord’s limitless and perfect compass, which has no end.
Scholars like Jarl E Fossum in The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord: Samaritan and Jewish Concepts of Intermediation and the Origin of Gnosticism, have also identified the Gnostic doctrine of the “Anthropos” from Marcus the Magician and with the enormous “Measurement of the Body,” viz “Kabod” or the “Glory of God” of Jewish mysticism. Irenaeus in Against Heresies (1.14.-3) tells us more about this “Body of Truth” or the “Body of God” in feminine terms.
The infinitely exalted Tetrad descended upon him from the invisible and indescribable places in the form of a woman . . . and expounded to him alone its own nature, and the origin of all things, which it had never before revealed to any one either of gods or men. . . . [and] said:—I wish to show thee Aletheia (Truth) herself; for I have brought her down from the dwellings above, that thou mayest see her without a veil, and understand her beauty—that thou mayest also hear her speaking, and admire her wisdom. Behold, then, her head on high, Alpha and Omega; her neck, Beta and Psi; her shoulders with her hands, Gamma and Chi; her breast, Delta and Phi; her diaphragm, Epsilon and Upsilon; her back, Zeta and Tau; her belly, Eta and Sigma; her thighs, Theta and Rho; her knees, Iota and Pi; her legs, Kappa and Omicron; her ankles, Lambda and Xi; her feet, Mu and Nu. Such is the body of Truth, according to this magician, such the figure of the element, such the character of the letter. And he calls this element Anthropos (Man), and says that is the fountain of all speech, and the beginning of all sound, and the expression of all that is unspeakable, and the mouth of the silent Sige.
The vast dimensions of cosmic Adam appear, not only in gnostic texts but also in Rabbinic literature. The Adam of the Naasenni (Hippolytus, Refutation of all Heresies, V, II) was “like that of the Chaldaeans”, a “huge image of Him who is above.” Irenaeus, describing the Ophite doctrine of the unsuccessful creation of an Anthropos by Yaldabaoth, says the figure was of enormous dimensions (Irenaeus, Ag. Her., I, XXX). Adam Kadmon’s other names are also the “Immortal Androgynous Man” as well as the Adam Kasia, or the secret, “hidden” Adam of the Iraqi Mandaeans. Adam is not alone in his vast divine stature, since the insistence upon the vast sizes of divine creatures is also placed on the female angel called the Holy Spirit, to reveal Elchasai’s book (Hippolytus. Ref. IX. VIII).
The Harvard scholar David Brakke in his seminal essay, The Body as/at the Boundary of Gnosis, quotes a rare Sethian Gnostic text called the Untitled Treatise in the Bruce Codex, which bears many similarities with other Gnostic texts found in the Nag Hammadi Codices Zostrianos and the Gospel of the Egyptians. In the text, it also speaks of God or the Monad in terms of being a “city.” Interestingly, the text describes the divine body of the Monad in feminine terms.
[The Only-Begotten] is the one who dwells in the Monad who is in the Setheus, [the Monad] who emanated from the place whose location it is impossible to say, who emanated from him who precedes the Entireties, that is, the One Alone. It is he from whom the Monad emanated like a ship laden with every good thing, like a field filled or grown with every species of tree, and like a city filled with every race of humankind and every image of sovereignty. This is how they are all in the Monad: Twelve monads are making a crown upon her, each one making twelve. And ten decads are surrounding her shoulders. And nine enneads are surrounding her belly. And seven septets are under her feet, each one making a septet. And as for the veil that surrounds her like a tower, it has twelve gates. 120,000 powers are upon each gate, and they are called “archangels” and also “angels.” She is the mother-city of the Only-Begotten.
Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (IX.VIII), mentions another little-known heretic by the name of Elchasai or Elxai. Accordingly, Elchasai taught a curious doctrine, which included male and female 96-mile-tall angels. For Elchasai, the male angel was the son of God or Christ, and the female angel was the Holy Spirit—reminiscent of the immanent mystery of the Christian Trinity. Elchasai also wrote a mysterious book that Hippolytus proceeds to explain with some detail where the Christian is said to be washed from their sins just by reading Elchasai’s version of the Book of Revelation.
And the contents of this volume, he alleged, had been revealed by an angel whose height was 24 schœnoi, which make 96 miles, and whose breadth is 4 schœnoi, and from shoulder to shoulder 6 schœnoi; and the tracks of his feet extend to the length of three and a half schœnoi, which are equal to fourteen miles, while the breadth is one schœnos and a half, and the height half a schœnos. And he alleges that also there is a female with him, whose measurement, he says, is according to the standards already mentioned. And he asserts that the male (angel) is Son of God, but that the female is called Holy Spirit. By detailing these prodigies he imagines that he confounds fools, while at the same time he utters the following sentence: “that there was preached unto men a new remission of sins in the third year of Trajan’s reign.” And Elchasai determines the nature of baptism, and even this I shall explain. He alleges, as to those who have been involved in every description of lasciviousness, and filthiness, and in acts of wickedness, if only any of them be a believer, that he determines that such a one, on being converted, and obeying the book, and believing its contents, should by baptism receive remission of sins.
Hippolytus also tells us more about Elxai’s baptism and chrismation practices in Ref. IX.X
To those, then, that have been orally instructed by him, he dispenses baptism in this manner, addressing to his dupes some such words as the following: “If, therefore, children, one shall have intercourse with any sort of animal whatsoever, or a male, or a sister, or a daughter, or hath committed adultery, or been guilty of fornication, and is desirous of obtaining remission of sins, from the moment that he hearkens to this book let him be baptized a second time in the name of the Great and Most High God, and in the name of His Son, the Mighty King. And by baptism let him be purified and cleansed, and let him adjure for himself those seven witnesses that have been described in this book—the heaven, and the water, and the holy spirits, and the angels of prayer, and the oil, and the salt, and the earth.” These constitute the astonishing mysteries of Elchasai, those ineffable and potent secrets which he delivers to deserving disciples. And with these that lawless one is not satisfied, but in the presence of two and three witnesses he puts the seal to his own wicked practices.
Again expressing himself thus: “Again I say, O adulterers and adulteresses, and false prophets, if you are desirous of being converted, that your sins may be forgiven you, as soon as ever you hearken unto this book, and be baptized a second time along with your garments, shall peace be yours, and your portion with the just.”
But since we have stated that these resort to incantations for those bitten by dogs and for other mishaps, we shall explain these. Now Elchasai uses the following formulary: “If a dog rabid and furious, in which inheres a spirit of destruction, bite any man, or woman, or youth, or girl, or may worry or touch them, in the same hour let such a one run with all their wearing apparel, and go down to a river or to a fountain wherever there is a deep spot. Let (him or her) be dipped with all their wearing apparel, and offer supplication to the Great and Most High God in faith of heart, and then let him thus adjure the seven witnesses described in this book: ‘Behold, I call to witness the heaven and the water, and the holy spirits, and the angels of prayer, and the oil, and the salt, and the earth. I testify by these seven witnesses that no more shall I sin, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor be guilty of injustice, nor be covetous, nor be actuated by hatred, nor be scornful, nor shall I take pleasure in any wicked deeds.’ Having uttered, therefore, these words, let such a one be baptized with the entire of his wearing apparel in the name of the Mighty and Most High God.”
According to Elxai (via Hippolytus), Jesus would return to earth over-and-over again through various incarnations throughout history, which ultimately start with Seth and continuing with Enoch, Moses, Elijah, etc. This would also fit with the Sethian Gnostic idea that Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, was also a previous incarnation of Jesus. Could this also be a precursor to the Paraclete? The mention of “undergoing alterations of birth” is also remarkable as Hippolytus says the followers of Elxai are also Pythagoreans:
This Elchasai puts forward as a decoy a polity (authorized in the) Law, alleging that believers ought to be circumcised and live according to the Law, (while at the same time) he forcibly rends certain fragments from the aforesaid heresies. And he asserts that Christ was born a man in the same way as common to all, and that Christ was not for the first time on earth when born of a virgin, but that both previously and that frequently again He had been born and would be born. Christ would thus appear and exist among us from time to time, undergoing alterations of birth, and having his soul transferred from body to body. Now Elchasai adopted that tenet of Pythagoras to which I have already alluded. But the Elchasaites have reached such an altitude of pride, that even they affirm themselves to be endued with a power of foretelling futurity, using as a starting-point, obviously, the measures and numbers of the aforesaid Pythagorean art.
The book also is said to contain a prediction of a war among wicked, fallen angels, similar to what we see in Revelation 12 with Michael casting out Satan and his angels from the divine host or like how the Olympian gods, led by Zeus, wage divine warfare against the Titans, the previous gods of a former aeon. Returning to the large measurements of Christ and the Holy Spirit, also consider the enormous proportions of cabalistic angels like Metatron in 3 Enoch (25:3-4):
(3) And in those two eyes of his face, in each one of them lightning is flashing, and from each one of them burning staves are burning; and no creature is able to look at them: for anyone who looks at them is burned up instantly. (4) His height is the distance of 2500 years’ journey. No eye can see and no mouth can tell of the mighty power of his strength except the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He. He alone can tell.
In 3 Enoch, Metatron is called “The Youth” because he was the newest, and youngest angelic office to join the divine host. In 3 Enoch 2:1-4, it states:
Rabbi Ishmael said: (1) Within the hour the eagles of The Chariot (Merkaba), the flaming Ophannim and the Seraphim of consuming fire asked Metatron: (2) “Youth! Why do you permit one born of woman to enter and see the chariot (Merkaba)? From which nation and from which tribe is this one? What is his nature?” (3) Metatron answered and said to them: “From the nation of Israel whom the Holy One, blessed be He, chose for his people from among seventy tongues (nations of the world). He is from the tribe of Levi, whom He set aside as a contribution to his name. He is from the seed of Aaron whom the Holy One, blessed be He, chose for his servant and He put upon him the crown of priesthood on Sinai.” (4) Then they spoke and said: “Happy is the people (nation) that is in that position!” (Ps. 144:15).
In other words, Metatron is the “youngest” angel to enter in the order of the celestial angelic host because he was originally human, specifically the prophet Enoch as we see in 3 Enoch 48-c. Other angels, like Michael, fulfill this role as well.
And I arranged all the works of creation for him. And I made him more powerful than all the ministering angels. (3) He gave Metatron-that is Enoch, the son of Jared- the authority over all the storehouses and treasuries, and appointed him over all the stores (reserves) in every heaven. And I assigned the keys of each store into him. (4) I made him the prince over all the princes and a minister of the Throne of Glory and the Halls of Araboth (the highest heaven). I appointed him over the Holy Chayoth for him to open their doors of the Throne of Glory to me, to exalt and arrange it, and I gave to him wreathe crowns to place upon their heads. I sent him to the majestic Ophannim, to crown them with strength and glory. I sent him to the honored Cherubim, to clothe them in majesty covered with radiant sparks, to make them to shine with splendor and bright light over the flaming Seraphim, to cover them with highness. I sent him to the Chashmallim of light, to make them radiant with light and to prepare the seat for me every morning as I sit upon the Throne of Glory.
I have given him the secrets above and below, which are the heavenly secrets and earthly secrets so that he can praise and magnify my glory in the height of my power). (5) I made him higher than all. The height of his stature stood out in the midst of all who are of high of stature. I made seventy thousand parasangs. I made his Throne great by the majesty of my Throne. And I increased its glory by the honor of My glory. (6) I transformed his flesh into torches of fire, and all the bones of his body into burning coals; and I made his eyes look like lightning, and the light of his eyebrows as a light that will never be quenched. I made his face as bright as the splendor of the sun, and his eyes like the splendor of the Throne of Glory.
3 Enoch tells us Enoch took on the mantle of the “Metatron,” the heavenly voice of God, on the throne of glory and became divine eternally. Both Enoch and Metatron are also described as divine scribes (2 Enoch 44:5), and are the only ones allowed to sit in the Lord of Spirits’ heavenly court, as opposed to the legions of angels that can stand only. In A Chronology of the Gnostic Movement by Johnes Ruta, he tells us more of Metatron’s backstory.
The first (as also the last) of the 10 archangels, called king of angels, prince of the divine face or presence, chancellor of heaven, angel of the covenant, chief of the administering angels, and the lesser YHWH (Tetragrammaton). He is charged with the sustenance of mankind. In Talmud and Targum, he is the link between the human and divine. In his earthly incarnation he is identified as Enoch, although also claimed to be the angel Michael. In Kabbalah, he is the angel who led the children of Israel through the wilderness. Upon arriving in heaven as Enoch, he was equipped with 36 pairs of wings and innumerable eyes. His name has been interpreted as “the one who occupies the throne next to the divine throne.” When invoked, he appears as “a pillar of fire, his face more dazzling than the sun..” In the later Zohar, Metatron is spoken of as the “rod of Moses”, from one end of which comes life, the other end comes death. Also thought to be the supreme angel of death, to whom God gives daily orders of which souls to take. Also thought to be the angel who stayed the hand of Abraham, on the point of sacrificing Isaac. Also, thought to be the teacher of prematurely dead children in Paradise.
Another important prophet taken to heaven is Elijah. In 2 Kings 2:8-11, it tells us Elijah used his rolled-up cloak to strike the river Jordan and caused it to part. Together, he and Elisha crossed the river and continued to talk when suddenly a “chariot of fire and horses of fire” appeared and separated them. Elisha watched in astonishment as Elijah “ascended into the whirlwind into heaven.” Also, note in the same chapter, it tells us that Elijah and Elisha came from “Gilgal.” Gilgal means “rolling wheel” and “circle” in Hebrew and Aramaic. This fits with the “wheel of fate” we briefly touched upon earlier but will explore more in-depth later.
In Kabbalistic lore, the translated Elijah was also said to transform into Sandalphon and is said to be God’s messenger who carries the prayers of the saints to Heaven and guardian warrior angel like Michael, which battles Samael or Satan. Since Metatron rules Kether on the Tree of Life, Sandalphon also rules Malkuth, the plane of manifestation, or the physical world. They’re also associated with the two cherubs that face each other on the Ark of the Covenant and usually seen as brothers or twins. Indeed, just as Yahweh is seen as a “lesser deity” or chief archangel in Gnosticism, Metatron is also known as the “lesser YHWH.” As another parallel with Gnosticism, Metatron is equivalent to the “Little Iaô” of the Gnostic Pistis Sophia (Chapter 63).
JOHN also came forward and said: “O Lord, bid me also speak the solution of the words which thy light-power hath prophesied aforetime through David.”
And Jesus answered and said unto John: “To thee too, John, I give commandment to speak the solution of the words which my light-power hath prophesied through David:
“‘Grace and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other.
“‘Truth hath sprouted forth out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven.’”
And John answered and said: “This is the word which thou hast said unto us aforetime: ‘I have come out of the Height and entered into Sabaōth, the Good, and embraced the light-power in him.’ Now, therefore, ‘Grace and truth’ which ‘met together,’—thou art ‘grace,’ thou who art sent out of the regions of the Height through thy Father, the First Mystery which looketh within, in that he hath sent thee, that thou mayest have mercy on the whole world. ‘Truth’ on the other hand is the power of Sabaōth, the Good, which bound itself in thee and which thou hast cast forth to the Left,—thou the First Mystery which looketh without. And the little Sabaōth, the Good, took it and cast it forth into the matter of Barbēlō, and he made proclamation concerning the regions of Truth to all the regions of those of the Left. That matter of Barbēlō then it is which is body for thee to-day.
As Andrei Orlov quotes Christopher Morray-Jones in his article, “Metatron as the Deity: Lesser YHWH”, Metatron functions much like the Logos as an intermediary, and perhaps a Jewish metaphysical response to the pre-existent Jesus Christ or Son of Man we see earlier in 2 Enoch.
As the Angel of the LORD, Metatron functions as the celestial vice-regent who ministers before the Throne, supervises the celestial liturgy and officiates over the heavenly hosts. He sits on the throne which is a replica of the Throne of Glory and wears a glorious robe like that of God. He functions as the agent of God in the creation, acts as intermediary between heavenly and lower worlds, is the guide of the ascending visionary, and reveals the celestial secrets to mankind. He is, by delegating divine authority, the ruler and the judge of the world. He is thus a Logos figure and an embodiment of the divine Glory. In his shi(ur qomah, we are told that Metatron’s body, like the kabod, fills the entire world, though the writer is careful to maintain a distinction between Metatron and the Glory of God Himself.
The Jewish Encyclopedia Entry for Sandalphon also tells us that this angel’s immense size connects or act as a passageway between heaven and earth. Sandalfon also acts as a divine tailor for God!
Sandalfon is one of the oldest angel figures of the Merkabah mysticism. A baraita of the beginning of the second century says: “The ‘ofan’ mentioned in Ezek. i. 16 is called Sandalfon. He is an angel who stands on the earth, and his head reaches up to the ‘ḥayyot’ [animal-shaped angels]; he is taller than his fellows by the length of a journey of 500 years; he binds crowns for his Creator (Ḥag. 13b; comp. Pesiḳ. R. 20 [ed. Friedmann, p. 97a]). The angel Hadarniel led Moses in heaven until he reached the fire of Sandalfon; here he remained standing because he feared the fire. Moses himself was afraid at the sight of it, so that God placed Himself before it for his protection. The crowns that Sandalfon binds on God’s head are symbols of praise for the different angels” (Pesiḳ. R. l.c.).
If the accounts of 3 Enoch are to be believed, when certain chosen few in a favorable position with God, they ascended into heaven and were turned or translated into demiurgical angels or gods. They became examples of what humans could become. This is perhaps why, according to many ancient sources that Satan and his fallen angels hate humanity so much and jealous of their position before God, even in their fallen state, because of their ability to repent. They knew that a lowly human could one day surpass them in every possible way. Even St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians (6:3): “…do you not know that we are to judge the angels?” In the Letter of Hebrews 2:5-8, the Pauline author recalls one of the Psalms and states:
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels.
But someone has testified somewhere,
“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
or mortals, that you care for them?
You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honor,
subjecting all things under their feet.”
Could it be possible that the purpose of humanity is to ascend and become divine beings? A re-reading of many ancient texts seems to indicate that this is indeed the case. Many Gnostic, Hermetic, and Cathar texts seem to underscore this idea in the initiate becoming divinized, and in Orthodox Christianity, theosis was a primary method for humans to become angels, which connects to the idea of the resurrection of the dead. This is also a core belief of the Mormons as well.
Although this was somewhat touched on in the discussion of Eastern Orthodox hesychasm, one author, Tanase Nichifor in “Shining Face: Hidden and Revealed Christology,” succinctly summarizes the aim of its mysticism to create a Christ-like Body of Light. This is the aim of theosis, ultimately.
On these unveiled shining faces, the divine energy of the ‘Christ the Image and Glory of God’ is being revealed. Christ will radiate within us like to the desert Fathers: Pambo, Sisoe, Silvanus. Christology of the Desert Fathers overlaps with pre‐Nicene Christology. In anthropological terms of the theosis, man is the mirror of divine glory (δόξα). So, just as the light of the transfiguration the light‐bearing robe of the unfallen Adam has an equally theological importance for theosis. Deification at the Desert Fathers acquires a specific anthropological content as Christification, that finds its fulfillment in a face‐to‐face encounter who, is both a theological theme and a spiritual teaching, both the goal of the divine economy and the process by which the economy is worked out in the believer. For Palamas, deification is, also, a supernatural gift that transforms both mind and body, making divinity visible (Triad 3.1. 33). Likeness also means a radiation of the presence of God within man, a “reciprocal interiority”.
In the saints this communion is expressed in the way God’s glory is reflected in their faces, in anticipation of the age to come. Therefore, this study is about the Desert Fathers’ contemplative experience of an outward luminosity, a physical radiance, similar to that of the hesychasts Athonite of the 14th century in late Byzantium. So, there is a convergence of desert wisdom with the Palamite hesychast theology, because this putting on of the clothing of holiness of the Desert Fathers is another component of the Glory likeness, is the visible glory of Transfiguration. On these unveiled shining faces, the divine energy of ‘Christ the Image and Glory of God’ is being revealed.
This is the Christology of the Desert Fathers. Secondly, speaking about the hesychast method of prayer and transformation of the body, Gregory Palamas also uses this Pauline theology of 2 Corinthians in Triad 1.2.2: Paul says: ‘God, who has ordered light to shine from darkness, has made His light to shine in our hearts, in order that we may be enlightened by the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 4:6); but he adds, ‘We carry this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7). So we carry the Father’s light in the face (prosōpon) of Jesus Christ in earthen vessels, that is, in our bodies, in order to know the glory of the Holy Spirit.” We could grasp the convergence between the desert ascetic spirituality and the hesychast spirituality in the work of Gregory Palamas. For him, Moses the lawgiver, Stephen the protomartyr, and Arsenius the desert ascetic are examples from the Bible and the Fathers are men who were visibly transformed by divine light (Triad 2.3.9). God transcends the senses yet the knowledge of God is experiential. The monks know this. They see the hypostatic light spiritually – in reality, not in a symbolic fashion. During the hesychast controversy, St Gregory Palamas defends the reality of the encounter with God of those monks who reported seeing a vision of light at the culmination of intense period of prayer.
In the Macarian homilies Moses’ shining countenance and the luminosity of Adam’s prelapsarian tselem serve as metaphors for major paradigms of the transformational vision. In the Macarian writings, one can also encounter a third paradigm of luminous transformation which is radically different from the previous two traditions. “In a peculiar Macarian understanding of Christ’s transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, the duality of inner and outer in visio Dei is attempted through in a new metaphor of the transformational vision – Christ’s ‘Body of Light’”. Therefore, into the Macarian theology the Kabod internalization become possible only as a consequence of the event of Christ’s transfiguration. ‘Brightening Face’ Christology of the Desert Fathers is an ascetic interiorization of Christ, together with a somatic experience and outward luminosity.
Moreover, Revelation 12’s man-child ascension to God’s throne from the Winged Sun Lady appears to be a fulfillment of this promise and prophecy that we see in Elijah, Enoch, and even Moses’s ascension. Margaret Barker in Temple Theology (pg. 23), writes about this theme specifically:
In temple theology, resurrection was not a post mortem experience. It was theosis, the transformation of a human being into a divine being – which came with the gift of Wisdom; and theosis, described in various ways, was at the heart of temple tradition, together with the belief in a resurrected anointed one, a resurrected Messiah. The Christians thought of themselves as angels on earth; Jesus had exhorted them to become sons of light (John 12:36; see also Eph. 5:8 ‘walk as children of light’), Paul reminded the Thessalonians that they were all sons of light (1 Thess. 5:5)…
 Ruta, Johnes. A Chronology of the Gnostic Movement. http://azothgallery.com/alchemical/gnosis_chronology_text.html
Bacher, Wilhelm, and Ludwig Blau. “Sandalfon.” Jewish Encyclopedia, www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13172-sandalfon
SUBBTO 62, no. 1 (2017): 187‐216 DOI:10.24193/subbto.2017.1.12