ספר זרובבל (Sefer Zerubbavel)

by tillerofthesoil

The word which came to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah. On the twenty-fourth day of the seventh month, YHWH showed me this מַרְאֶה (mar’eh), spectacle, there while I was prostrate in prayer before YHWH my God, experiencing a visionary spectacle which I saw by the river Kebar. And as I was reciting “Blessed are You YHWH who revives the dead,” my heart groaned within me, thinking “[How will] the form of the Temple come into existence?” He answered me from the doors of heaven and said to me, “Are you Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah?” I responded, “I am your servant.” He answered me and spoke with me just as a person would speak to their friend. I could hear His voice, but I could not see His appearance. I continued to lie prostrate as before, and I completed my prayer. Then I went to my house.

On the eleventh day of the month Adar He was speaking with me [again] there, and he said to me, “Are you my servant Zerubbabel?” I answered, “I am your servant.” He said to me, “Come to me! Ask [anything] and I will tell you!” I answered and said, “What might I ask? That my appointed lifespan be short and my destiny fulfilled?” He said to me: “I will make you live.” He repeated, “May you live!”

A wind lifted me up between heaven and earth and carried me to the great city Nineveh, city of blood, and I thought “Woe is me, for my attitude has been contentious and [now] my life is at great risk!” So I arose in distress in order to pray and entreat the favor of the name of YHWH God of Israel. I confessed all my transgressions and my offenses, for my attitude had been contentious, and I said: “Ah Lord! I have acted wrongly, I have transgressed, I have offended, for my attitude has been contentious. You are YHWH God, the One who made everything by the command of Your mouth, and with a word from Your lips will revive the dead.” He said to me, “Go to the house of filth near the market,” and I went just as he had commanded me. He said to me, “Turn this way,” and so I turned. He touched me, and then I saw a man, despicable, broken down, and in pain.

That despicable man said to me: “Zerubbabel!? What business do you have here? Who has brought you here?” I answered, saying: “A wind from YHWH lifted me up and carried me to this place.” He said to me: “Do not be afraid, for you have been brought here in order that He might show you.” When I heard his words, I took comfort, and my mind was at rest. I asked him, “My Lord, what is the name of this place?” He said to me, “This is mighty Rome, wherein I am imprisoned” [cf. BT Sanhedrin 98a]. I said to him, “Who then are you? What is your name? What do you seek here? What are you doing in this place?” He said to me, “I am YHWH’s Messiah, son of Hezekiah confined in prison until the time of the End.” When I heard this, I was silent, and I hid my face from him. His anger burned within him, and when I looked at him, I became afraid.

He said to me, “Come nearer to me,” and as he spoke to me my limbs quaked, and he reached out his hand and steadied me. He said, “Don’t be afraid, and let your heart show no fear.” He encouraged me, saying, “Why did you become silent and hide your face from me?” I said to him, “Because you said, ‘I am the servant of YHWH, His Messiah, and the lamp of Israel (2 Samuel 21:17).’” Suddenly he appeared like a strong young man, handsome and adorned.

I asked him, “When will the lamp of Israel come?” And as I was speaking to him, behold, a man with two wings approached me and said to me, “Zerubbabel! What are you asking YHWH’s Messiah?” I answered him and said, “I asked when the appointed time for deliverance is supposed to come.” He said, “Ask me and I will tell you.” I said to him, “My Lord, who are you?” He answered and said, “I am Michael, the one who delivered good news to Sarah. I am the leader of the army of YHWH God of Israel, the one who battled with Sennacherib and slew 180,000 men. I am the prince of Israel, the one who fought battles against the kings of Canaan. In the time to come, I will fight the battles of YHWH alongside YHWH’s Messiah—he who sits before you—with the king עַז פָּנִים (az panim), Bold Face, and with Armilus son of Satan, the spawn of the stone statue. YHWH has appointed me to be the commanding officer over His people and over those who love Him in order to do battle against the leaders of nations.”

Michael, who is Metatron, answered me, saying, “I am the angel who guided Abraham throughout the land of Canaan. I blessed him in the name of YHWH. I am the one who redeemed Isaac and [wept] for him. I am the one who wrestled with Jacob at the crossing of the Jabbok. I am the one who guided Israel in the wilderness for forty years in the name of YHWH. I am the one who appeared to Joshua at Gilgal, and I am the one who rained down brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah [cf. BT Sanhedrin 38b on Genesis 19:24]. He set His name within me—מְטַטְרוֹן (Metatron) is numerically equivalent to שַׁדַּי (Shaddai). As for you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, whose name is יְכָנְיָה (yekhanyah), Jeconiah, ask me and I will tell you what will happen at the End of Days” [on Jeconiah, see 1 Chronicles 3:17; Ezra 3:2, 8; 5:2; Nehemiah 12:1; Haggai 1:1. As king of Judah, he was taken captive by the Babylonians in their incursion in 597 B.C.E.].

Then he said to me, “This is YHWH’s Messiah: [he has] been hidden in this place until the appointed time. This is the Messiah Son of David, and his name is Menaḥem son of Amiel. He was born during the reign of David, king of Israel, and a wind took him up and hid him in this place, waiting for the time of the end.” Then I, Zerubbabel, asked a question of Metatron, the leader of the army of YHWH. He said to me: YHWH will give a rod for these acts of rescue to Hephzibah, mother of Menaḥem son of Amiel. A great star will shine before her, and all the stars will wander aimlessly from their paths.

Hephzibah, mother of Menaḥem son of Amiel, will go forth and kill two kings, both of whom are determined to do evil. The name[s] of the two rulers [whom she will kill]: Noph, king of Teman, [so named] because he will shake his hand toward Jerusalem, and the name of the second is ‘Isrinan, king of Antioch. This conflict and these signs will take place during the festival of Shavu’ot in the third month.

The word is true. Four hundred and twenty years after the city and Temple have been rebuilt, they will be destroyed a second time. Twenty years after the building of the city of Rome, after seventy kings corresponding to the seventy nations have ruled in it, when ten kings have finished their reigns, the tenth king will come. He will destroy the Sanctuary, cease the daily offering, the ‘devoted people’ will be dispersed, and he will hand them over to destruction, plunder, and panic. Many of them will perish due to their faithfulness to Torah, but [others] will abandon the Torah of YHWH and worship their [Roman] idols. And when they stumble they shall find little support, [and many shall join them with smooth talk] (Daniel 11:34). From the time that the daily offering ceases and the wicked ones install the one whose name is Abhorrence in the Temple, at the end of nine hundred and ninety [-nine] years, the deliverance of YHWH will take place—[And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was over the water of the river, and he raised his right hand, and his left hand was toward the heavens, and he swore by the One who lives forever that at the appointed time of times and a half and at the end of] the shattering of the power of the holy people, [all these things shall be finished] (ibid. 12:7)—to redeem them and to gather them by means of YHWH’s Messiah.

The rod which YHWH will give to Hephzibah, mother of Menaḥem [son of] Amiel, is made of almond-wood; it is hidden in Raqqat, a city in [the territory of] Naphtali. It is the same rod which YHWH gave to Adam, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and King David. It is the same rod which sprouted buds and flowered in the Tent [of Meeting] for the sake of Aaron [see Numbers 17:8]. Elijah son of El’azar hid it in Raqqat, a city of Naphtali, which is Tiberias. Hidden there as well is a man whose name is Nehemiah of Hushiel son of Ephraim son of Yosef. Zerubbabel spoke up and said to Metatron (Michael) the prince, “My lord, I want you to tell me when YHWH’s Messiah will come and what will happen after all this!” He said to me, “YHWH’s Messiah—Nehemiah son of Hushiel—will come five years after Hephzibah. He will collect all Israel together as one entity and they will remain for [four] years in Jerusalem, [where] the children of Israel will offer an offering, and it will be pleasing to YHWH. He will inscribe Israel in the book of lineage according to their clans. But in the fifth year of Nehemiah and the gathering together of the holy ones, Seroy the king of Persia will attack Nehemiah son of Hushiel and Israel, and there will be great suffering in Israel. Hephzibah—wife of Nathan the prophet [and] mother of Menaḥem son of Amiel—will go out with the rod which YHWH God of Israel will give to her, and YHWH will place a spirit of dizziness upon them [i.e., the Persian army], and they will kill one another, each [killing] his companion or his countryman. There the wicked one [Seroy] will die.”

When I heard [this], I fell upon my face and said, “Lord! Tell me what Isaiah the prophet [meant] when he said: [For the fortified town is solitary, an abode deserted and abandoned, like the desert.] There the calf grazes and there it lies down and gnaws away its boughs (Isaiah 27:10)?” He answered me, “Calf—Nineveh, the city of blood, mighty Rome.”

I went on asking there about the prince of the holy covenant. He held me close and they brought me to the House of Filth. There he showed me a marble stone in the shape of a young women: her features and form were lovely and indeed very beautiful to behold. Then he said to me, “This statue is the [wife] of בְּלִיַּעַל (beliyya’al), Belial [i.e., Satan; cf. Proverbs 6:12: אָדָם בְּלִיַּעַל (Adam beliyya’al), a worthless fellow, a wrongdoing man, goes about with a crooked mouth]. Satan will come and copulate with her, and a son named Armilus will emerge from her, [Greek for] ‘he will destroy a nation.’ He will rule over all, and his dominion will extend from one end of the earth to the other, and ten letters will be in his hand. He will engage in the worship of foreign gods and speak lies. No one will be able to withstand him, and anyone who does not believe in him he will kill with the sword: many among them he will kill. He will come against the holy people of the Most High, and with him there will be ten kings wielding great might and force, and he will do battle with the holy ones. He will prevail over them and will kill the Messiah Son of Joseph, Nehemiah son of Hushiel, and will also kill sixteen righteous ones alongside him. Then they will banish Israel to the desert in three groups.

But Hephzibah, mother of Menaḥem son of Amiel, will remain stationed at the eastern gate, and that wicked one will not enter there, thereby confirming what is written: [And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle. And the city shall be captured and the houses looted and the women ravished. And half the city shall go out in exile,] but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city (Zechariah 14:2). This battle will take place during [the month of] Av. Israel will experience distress such as there never was before. They will flee into towers, among mountains, and into caves, but they will be unable to hide from him. All the nations of the earth will go astray after him except for Israel, who will not believe in him. All Israel shall mourn Nehemiah son of Hushiel for forty-one days. His thoroughly crushed corpse will be thrown down before the gates of Jerusalem, but no animal, bird, or beast will touch it. Due to the intensity of the oppression and the great distress, the children of Israel will then call out to YHWH, and YHWH will answer them.”

As I listened to the content of the prophecy of YHWH to me, I became very agitated and got up and went to the canal. There I cried out to YHWH God of Israel, the God of all flesh, and He sent His angel to me while the prayer was still in my mouth before I had finished. YHWH sent His angel to me, and when I saw I knew that he was the angel who had spoken with me regarding all the previous matters. I knelt and bowed before him, and he again touched me like he had the first time. He said to me, “What is the matter with you Zerubbabel?” I answered him, “My Lord, my spirit remains sunken.”

Metatron answered, saying, “Ask and I will give you answers before I leave you.” So again I asked him, saying to him, “My Lord Metatron, when will the lamp of Israel come?” He answered and said to me, “By YHWH who has sent me and who has appointed me over Israel, I solemnly swear to reveal to you YHWH’s doing[s], for the Holy God previously commanded me, ‘Go to My servant Zerubbabel, and tell him whatever he may ask you.’” Then Michael, who is Metatron, said to me, “Come closer and give heed to everything which I shall tell you, for the word which I am speaking to you is true, it was one spoken by the Living God.”

He said to me, “Menaḥem son of Amiel will suddenly come on the fourteenth day of the first month Nisan. He will wait by the Valley of Arbael [at a tract] which belonged to Yehoshu’a son of Yehosadaq the priest, and all the surviving sages of Israel—only a few will remain due to the attack and pillage of Gog and Armilus and the looters who plunder them—will come out to him. Menaḥem son of Amiel will say to the elders and the sages: “I am YHWH’s Messiah: YHWH has sent me to encourage you and to deliver you from the power of these adversaries!” The elders will scrutinize him and will despise him, for they will see that despicable man dressed in rags, and they will despise him just as you previously did [cf. BT Sanhedrin 98b]. But then his anger will burn within him, [And He donned triumph as His armor and victory’s helmet on His head.] And He donned clothes of vengeance as a garment, and wrapped round zeal like a robe (Isaiah 59:17), and he will journey to the gates of Jerusalem. Hephzibah, mother of the Messiah, will come and give him the rod by which the signs were performed. All the elders and children of Israel will come and see that Nehemiah [son of Hushiel] is alive and standing unassisted, [and] immediately they will believe in the Messiah.” Thus did Metatron, the leader of the army of YHWH, swear to me, “This matter will truly come to pass, for there will be full cooperation between them in accordance with the prophecy of Isaiah, [And the envy of Ephraim shall vanish, and the foes of Judah be cut off.] Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor Judah be hostile to Ephraim (ibid. 11:13).”

On the twenty-first day of the first month, nine hundred and ninety [-nine] years after the destruction of the Temple, the deliverance of YHWH will take place for Israel. Menaḥem son of Amiel, Nehemiah son of Hushiel, and Elijah the prophet will come and stand by the [Mediterranean] Sea and read the prophecy of YHWH. All the bodies of those Israelites who had thrown themselves into the sea while fleeing from their enemies will emerge: a wave from the sea will rise up, spread them out, and deposit them alive within the valley of Jehoshaphat near the Wadi Shittim, for there judgment will transpire upon the nations.

In the second month Iyyar, the band of Korah will reemerge upon the plains of Jericho near the Wadi Shittim. They will come to Moses, and the cohort of the Korahites will assemble.

On the eighteenth day the mountains and hills will quake, and the earth and everything on it will shake, as well as the sea and its contents.

On the first day of the third month those who died in the desert will be revived and will come with their clans to the Wadi Shittim. On the eighteenth day of the month of Iyyar [i.e., Lag ba-Omer; alt., “on the eighteenth day of the month of Sivan” (the third month)], there will be a mighty earthquake in the land of Israel [in Meron in the year 4123 (363 C.E.)].

In Tammuz, the fourth month, YHWH God of Israel will descend upon the Mount of Olives, and the Mount of Olives will split open at His rebuke. He will blow a great trumpet, and every foreign deity and mosque will crumble to the ground, and every wall and steep place will collapse. YHWH will put all their plunderers to death, and He will battle those nations [YHWH sallies forth as a warrior,] as a man of war he stirs up fury. [He raises the battle cry, even bellows, over His enemies He prevails] (Isaiah 42:13). YHWH’s Messiah—Menaḥem son of Amiel—will come and breathe in the face of Armilus, killing him. YHWH will place each man’s sword on the neck of his companion and their dead bodies shall fall there. The “devout people” [i.e., Israel; cf. Daniel 8:24: And his power will grow mighty but not through his own power, and he will lay waste wondrously and prosper in what he does and lay waste to mighty ones and to the people of the holy ones] will come out to witness YHWH’s deliverance: all of Israel will actually see Him [equipped] like a warrior with victory’s helmet on His head and clad in armor [see Isaiah 59:17: And He donned triumph as His armor and victory’s helmet on His head. And He donned clothes of vengeance as a garment, and wrapped round zeal like a robe]. He will fight the battle of Gog and Magog and against the army of Armilus, and all of them will fall dead in the Valley of Arbael. All of Israel will then issue forth [And they shall not carry off wood from the field nor cut down trees from the forests, for with weapons they shall light fires. And they shall plunder] their plunderers and loot their looters, [said the Master, YHWH] (Ezekiel 39:10) for seven months. However, some survivors will escape and they will all regroup at Zela-Eleph [cf. Joshua 18:28]: five hundred men, and [another] one hundred thousand wearing armor. [Opposing them will be] five hundred from Israel with Nehemiah and Elijah, and you Zerubbabel will be their leader—they will kill all of them: one man will pursue a thousand!

This will be the third battle, for three battles will take place in the land of Israel. One will be waged by Hephzibah with Seroy the king of Persia, one will be fought by YHWH God of Israel and Menaḥem son of Amiel with Armilus, the ten kings who are with him, and Gog and Magog, and the third will be at Zela-Eleph, where Nehemiah son of Hushiel and Zerubbabel will see action. The third battle will take place in [the month of] Av.

After this all Menaḥem son of Amiel will come, accompanied by Nehemiah son of Hushiel and all Israel. All of the dead will be revived, and Elijah the prophet will be with them. They will come up to Jerusalem. In [the month of] Av, during which they formerly mourned for Nehemiah [and] for the destruction of Jerusalem, Israel will hold a great celebration and bring an offering to YHWH, which YHWH will accept on their behalf. And the grain offering of Israel shall be sweet to YHWH as in days of yore and in former years (Malachi 3:4). YHWH will discern the pleasing aroma of His people Israel and greatly rejoice. Then YHWH will lower the supernal Temple, which had been built previously, to earth and a column of fire and a cloud of smoke will rise to the heavens. The Messiah and all of Israel will follow them to the gates of Jerusalem.

The holy God will stand on the Mount of Olives. Dread and reverence for Him will be upon the heavens and the heavens of heavens, the entire earth and its deepest rungs, and every wall and structure to their foundations. No one will be able to catch their breath when YHWH God reveals Himself before everyone on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives will crack open beneath Him, and the exiles from Jerusalem will come up to the Mount of Olives. Zion and Jerusalem will behold, asking: Who gave birth for me to these, [when I was bereaved and barren, exiled and cast aside, and these, why, who has raised? Why, I was left alone,] these, from where have they come? (Isaiah 49:21). Nehemiah and Zerubbabel will then come up to Jerusalem and say to her, “Behold, [they are] your children whom you bore who went into exile from you. Greatly exult, Zion’s Daughter, [shout for joy, Jerusalem’s Daughter. Look, your king shall come to you, victor and triumphant is he, a lowly man riding on an ass, on a donkey, the foal of a she-ass] (Zechariah 9:9).”

Again I began to ask Metatron, leader of the army of YHWH, “My Lord, show me how far and how wide Jerusalem will extend, along with its architecture.” He showed me the walls which surrounded Jerusalem—walls of fire—extending from the Great Desert to the [Mediterranean] Sea and to the Euphrates River. Then he showed me the Temple and the structure. The Temple was built on the peaks of five mountains which YHWH had chosen to support His sanctuary: Lebanon, Mount Moriah, Tabor, Carmel, and Hermon. Michael spoke and said to me, “At the completion of nine hundred and ninety [-nine] years for the ruins of Jerusalem is the appointed time for the deliverance of Israel” [cf. Jeremiah 30:7: וְעֵת צָרָה הִיא לְיַעֲקֹב (ve-et tsarah hi le-Ya’aqov), and a time of distress it is for Jacob [from which he will be rescued]—this verset is numerically equivalent to 999]. He also continued to interpret for me the message and the vision in accordance with what he had first said to me: If you would ask, do ask, turn back, come (Isaiah 21:12).

In the fifth [year] of the week Nehemiah son of Hushiel will come and gather together all Israel. In the sixth [year] of the week Hephzibah, wife of Nathan the prophet, she who was born in Hebron, will come and slay the two kings Nof and Esrogan. That same year the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:10), Menaḥem son of Amiel, will spring up. Ten kings from among the nations shall also arise, but they will not supply enough to rule for a week [of years] and a half-week [of years], each one [ruling] for a year. These are the ten kings who will rise up over the nations for the week of years: these are their names corresponding with their cities and their places. The first king is Silqom, the name of his city is Seferad, which is Aspamia, a distant land. The second king is Hartomos, the name of his city is Gitanya. The third king is Fle’vas [Flavius?], the name of his city is Flo’yas. The fourth king is Glu’as [Julius?], the name of his city is Galya [Gaul?]. The fifth king is Ramoshdis, the name of his city is Moditika. The sixth king is Moqlanos, the name of his city is Italia. The seventh king is ‘Oktinos, the name of his city is Dormis. The eighth king is ‘Aplostos from Mesopotamia. The ninth king is Seroy, king of Persia.

The tenth king is Armilus son of Satan who emerged from the sculpted stone. He will gain sovereignty over all of them. He will come along with the rulers of Kedar and the inhabitants of the East and provoke a battle in the Valley of Arbael, and they will take possession of the kingdom. He will ascend with his force and subdue the entire world. From there in Riblah, which is Antioch, he will begin to erect all the idols of nations on the face of the earth and to serve their gods, those whom YHWH hates. During those days the wages of man will be naught and the wages of beast nothing [cf. Zechariah 8:9]. He will construct four altars, and he will anger YHWH with his wicked deeds. There will be a very terrible and harsh famine upon the surface of the whole land for forty days—their food will stem from the salt-plant; plucking saltwort from the bush, the roots of broom wood their bread (Job 30:4). On that day a spring shall issue from the house of YHWH and water the Wadi of Acacias (Joel 4:18).

Now this Armilus will take his mother—[the statue] from whom he was spawned—from the House of Filth of the scornful ones, and from every place and from every nation they will come and worship that stone, burn offerings to her, and pour out libations to her. No one will be able to view her face on account of her beauty. Anyone who refuses to worship her will die in agony [like?] animals.

This is the mark of Armilus: the color of the hair of his head is similar to gold, and [he is] green [or: pale], even the soles of his feet. His face is one hand span in width, his eyes are deep-set, and he has two heads. He will arise and rule over ‘Imis [?], the province of Satan father of Belial. All who see him will tremble before him. Menaḥem will come up from the Wadi Shittim and breathe in the face of Armilus, killing him, as is written, [And he shall strike the land with the rod of his mouth,] with the breath from his lips put the wicked to death. [And justice shall be the belt round his waist, faithfulness the belt round his loins] (Isaiah 11:5). Israel will take possession of the kingdom; the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom [and take possession of the kingdom forever and forever] (Daniel 7:18).

These were the words which Metatron spoke to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, while he was still living in exile during the time of the Persian empire. Zechariah son of ‘Anan and Elijah recorded them when the period of exile was completed.