‘Those who trust in Yahweh are like Mount Zion that cannot be moved, enduring forever.’ -Psalm 125:1
The actual Mt. Zion was a hill located in southwestern Jerusalem and considered the highest part of the city. Kind David went to war with the Jebusites who inhabited that region. Upon the Jebusite defeat, King David renamed the hill Ir-Daviyd, or City of David.
Mt. Zion is mentioned 148 times throughout Tanakh (Old Testament), but only 7 times in the Brith Hadashah (New Testament). According to Hebraic numerology both numbers hold a significance. The number 148 corresponds to Beni Elohim, or Sons of fthe Gods, as well as being the numerical value of “netzach,” a Hebrew word meaning “victory or strength.” The number 7 is the numerical value of “dag,” or fish. Seven is also a path among the 32 Paths of Wisdom. In Hebrew this path is called “Sekel Nistar,” i.e. hidden wisdom.
How all of this is related will be discussed here…..
Our elders have come to use the term “Har Zion” (Mt. Zion) to denote a state of spiritual attainment, hence the context of Psalm 125:1. For some of our Ummah, or Community, Zion is a name applied to all 7 Heavens. To others it is simply a state of psychological/spiritual and emotional equanimity. In this sense we find the appelation “Paradise” being used synonymously with Zion. Among those of the Rastafarian community, Zion is referred to as the highest level of man, and in Zion we will find Adonai, or Jah Rastafari, the Father of all creation.
As a state of spiritual attainment our elders have been adamant about Zion being the place where our Savior will come form. For the Christians this is their New Jerusalem or Promised Land.
In Tanakh (Old Testament) we are told that Yahweh resides in Zion and that no “stangers” will be allowed to pass through it (see Joel 4:17). The Hebrew word for “strangers” in this verse is “zarim.” Again, if we turn to Hebraic numerology, the numerical value of “zar” is 207 and it corresponds to “mazziqim,” which means “injurers.” Since it is out of Zion where our instruction comes from (see Isaiah 2:3), anyone who refuses to adhere to Torah is a zar, or stranger, and a mazziq, or injurer, and cannot possibly attain spiritual repose.
The battle King David fought with the Jebusites (down trodders) to even possess Har Zion is a metaphor. “King David” symbolizes our divine nature and the “Jebusites” are any forces, be they internal or external, that constantly tries to bring us down with negativity. We have to wage war on these forces if we truly seek to dwell in the presence of Yahweh! But this is just the beginning!
To the ancient Egyptians this concept of a harmonious spiritual state was already known. In fact, it is from the Egyptians that our elders borrowed the concept of Zion. Of course the Egyptian priests didn’t call it Zion, they called it “Annu.”
Just like Mt. Zion, “Annu” was an actual city of ancient Egypt. It was located on the east bank of the Nile River, approimately 23 miles north of Memphis. In Tanakh (Old Testament) our ancestors called this city “On.” The Pharoah gave to Joseph the daughter of Potipher for a wife. Potipher was a priest of Annu (see Genisis 41:45).
Now these priests of the city of Annu had a cosmology centered around the Formless Consciousness as the principle representaion of Yahweh. This Formless Consciousness, or No-Thingness, was called Temu or Atem/Aten. Annu became not only the chief seat of theological learning, but was later identified as “Het-Temu,” i.e. the House of Atem.
According to Egyptian cosmology the deceased made his/her way to Annu, where their souls were joined unto glorified bodies and where those who were deemed righteous by the Neteru, or Gods, lived on for eternity. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead we read: ‘There is no sin in me, I have not lied willingly, nor have I done aught with a false heart. Grant that I may be like unto those favored ones who are round about Thee and that I may be an Ausar, greatly favored of the beautiful God and beloved of the Lord of the world’ (Utterance 30).
Clearly the ancient Egyptians are just one source from which Hebrew spiritual philosophy was derived.
Among the Brethren and Sistren of our Ummah (Community) who refer to Zion as Paradise, I will attempt to bring some clarification to those who are unfamiliar with this concept.
In Hebrew the word for Paradise is “Pardes” and literally means “orchard or fruitful land.” Our elders have taught that Pardes (Paradise) is a level of mystical consciousness that can be attained during hithvodeduth, or meditation. Also called “olam penimi,” or inner universe, the mekubalim (mystics) describe it as not being a time creation, but an eternal existence.
Olam penimi (inner universe) as a mystical experience has been described as a perfect and divine universe that occupies the center of all creattion. It is the eternal core around which the vast creations of time and space revolve. Death and decay are said not to be a part of Pardes, and that lower living beings undergo the transmutation of materialization.
In other words, as a state of consciousness, Pardes (Paradise) is very much real because it is experienced by the mind. Whatever is seen or impressed upon the mind while in Pardes will effect it like any stimuli from our external environment would.
So yes, there are living beings in olam penimi, or inner world. Most of which we create, while some are residual energy impressions left by others. These beings subsist mainly on the energy/emotions we give them. Their destruction comes by way of cutting off whatever energy, or thoughts, we expend on them.
DONOVAN DAVID CLARK
3791 St.Rt. 63
Lebanon, O.H. 45036