Nazarene Space

The Word of Wisdom
By
James Scott Trimm



Paul writes:

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each man, as it is profitable for him.
There is a word of wisdom that is given for it by the Spirit: and for another, a word of
knowledge by the same Spirit.
(1Cor. 12:7-8 HRV)

Now this term “Word of Wisdom” appears only here is the Scriptures and in no other passage. Neither does the term appear in the Talmud or Midrashim. The phrase “Word of Wisdom” does however appear in the Zohar on several occasions. Just as Paul tells us that the “Word of Wisdom” is a “manifestation of the Spirit”, the Zohar tells us that the “Word of Wisdom” is a “manifestation of the Shekinah”:

Said R. Jose to R. Hiya: ‘Did I not say, perhaps he is a great man?’ Then he applied to him the words, “Blessed be the man that finds wisdom and the man that gets understanding” (Prov. 3:13), saying: ‘Such are we who found you and acquired from you a Word of Wisdom and were inspired with understanding to wait for you! We are of those for whom the Holy One prepares a present when they are journeying, to wit, the manifestation of the Shekinah, as it says: “The path of the righteous is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18).’
(Zohar 2:50a)

The Zohar also gives a good definition of the “Word of Wisdom”:

IN THE BEGINNING. R. Simeon opened his discourse with the text: And I put my words in your mouth (Isaiah 51:16). He said: ‘How greatly is it incumbent on a man to study the Torah day and night! For the Holy One, blessed be He, is attentive to the voice of those who occupy themselves with the Torah, and through each fresh discovery made by them in the Torah a new heaven is created. Our teachers have told us that at the moment when a man expounds something new in the Torah, his utterance ascends before the Holy One, blessed be He, and He takes it up and kisses it and crowns it with seventy crowns of graven and inscribed letters. When a new idea is formulated in the field of the esoteric wisdom, it ascends and rests on the head of the “Tzaddik, the life of the universe”, and then it flies off and traverses seventy thousand worlds until it ascends to the “Ancient of Days”. And inasmuch as all the words of the “Ancient of Days” are Words of Wisdom comprising sublime and hidden mysteries, that hidden Word of Wisdom that was discovered here when it ascends is joined to the words of the “Ancient of Days”, and becomes an integral part of them, and enters into the eighteen mystical worlds, concerning which we read “No eye has seen beside You, O Elohim” (Isaiah 64:3). From there they issue and fly to and fro, until finally arriving, perfected and completed, before the “Ancient of Days”. At that moment the “Ancient of Days” savors that Word of Wisdom, and finds satisfaction therein above all else. He takes that word and crowns it with three hundred and seventy thousand crowns, and it flies up and down until it is made into a sky. And so each word of wisdom is made into a sky, which presents itself fully formed before the “Ancient of Days”, who calls them “new heavens”, that is, heavens created out of the mystic ideas of the sublime wisdom.
(Zohar 1:4b)

Notice the Zohar here quotes the Prophet Isaiah where he writes:

And whereof from of old men have not heard,
nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen
an Elohim beside You, who works for him that
waits for Him.
(Is. 64:3(4))

There is a Baraita on this verse that appears twice in the Talmud once in the Midrash Rabbah and four times in the Zohar.

The following is the Baraita as it appears in the Talmud:

What is the meaning of “Eye has not seen” (Is. 64:3)
Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said:
This is the wine that has been kept
in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.
(b.Berakot 34b; b.Sanhedrin 99a)

The phrase “wine that has been kept” in the Hebrew is Yayin HaMeshumar “wine of keeping”. The tradition of the Yayin HaMeshumar runs deep in traditional Judaism. It is the wine that will be served at the Messianic Feast when the Messiah re-establishes the Kingdom of Israel on earth.

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul also quotes, or perhaps we should better say paraphrases Is. 64:3(4) as follows:

But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:9 HRV)

Note that Paul’s citation is influenced by the Baraita as the actual text of Isaiah says that “eye has not seen… an Elohim beside you” but Paul says “Eye has not seen… that which Eloah has prepared for those who love Him.” And the Baraita has “Eye has not seen… the wine which has been kept…”.

Now lets look at Paul’s quote in context:

But we speak the wisdom of Eloah
in a mystery that was hidden
And [that] Eloah had before separated
from before the ages for our glory.
That not one of the authorities of this world knew,
for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Adon of glory.
But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:7-9 HRV)

When we look at Paul’s context we see an even greater influence from the Baraita of the Yayin HaMeshumar “…a mystery that was hidden and that Eloah had before separated from before the ages… eye has not seen… that which Eloah has prepared for those who love Him.”

It is clear that Paul here must be referring to the Yayin HaMeshumar as his audience is, no doubt, familiar with this Baraita to Is. 64:3.

It is the Yayin HaMeshumar that Yeshua refers to when we read:

And afterwards he took the cup, and blessed,
and gave to them, saying,
“Drink you all of it,
for this is my blood of the New Covenant,
which is shed for many to atone for sinners,
And I tell you, hereafter I will not drink of the fruit of the vine,
until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom
of my Father which is in heaven.”
(Mt. 26:27-29)

The Yayin HaMeshumar is the blood of the New Covenant. At the Passover Sader the wine represents the blood of the lamb. Note that we read in Revelation that Messiah is the lamb slain “before the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8) his blood is the wine kept in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.

In the Apocryphal Gospel of Thomas Yeshua is quoted as saying:

Yeshua said, "I shall give you what no eye has seen
and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched
and what has never occurred to the mind of man.
(Gospel of Thomas 17)

Note that in 1Cor. 1:18-20 the same “wisdom” of which we are later told is “…in the mystery that was hidden … before separates from before the ages… which Eloah had prepared for those who love him.” (1Cor. 2:7-9) is also the “wisdom” which “takes away the wisdom of the wise” in 1Cor. 1:19 quoting Isaiah 29:14. In Isaiah 29:15 this wisdom is the contents of the sealed book (Is. 29:11-12, 14, 18). In Revelation this book is opened by the “lamb as if it was slain” (Rev. 5:6) a lamb slain “before the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8).

This is the wine that will be served at the “marriage supper of the lamb” (Rev. 19:7) the great Messianic Banquet and Passover Sader.

In 1Corinthians, Paul has brought up the Yayin HaMeshumar at the beginning of his letter because he will be addressing this wine throughout his letter. In 1Cor. 5 he will discuss the recent Passover Sader at Corinth. In 1Cor. 11:23-34 he addresses the significance of the Passover and especially being worthy to drink the wine which is the Yayin Hameshumar.

In 1Cor. 15:54 he cites Isaiah 25:8 a passage of Isaiah which immediately follows the description of the Messianic Banquet in Isaiah 25:6-7:

6 And in this mountain shall YHWH of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
8: He will swallow up death in victory; and the Adonai YHWH will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for YHWH has spoken it.

Notice that the Yayin HaMeshumar is something which “from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen” (Is. 64:3) elsewhere Isaiah writes:

So shall he sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths
because of him, for that which had not been told them shall they see
and that which they have not heard shall they perceive.
(Is. 52:15)

Thus the “suffering servant” song of Isaiah 53 is the message that “eye has not seen”, it is the Yayin HaMeshumar.

The Midrash Rabbah to Num. 13:2 (500) says:

Because hr bared his soul unto death (Is. 53:12)
and bruised themselveswith the Torah which is sweeter than honey,
the Holy One, blessed be He, will hereafter give them to drink
of the wine kept in its grapes since the six days in the beginning....
(Midrash Rabbah to Numbers 13:2 (500))

Thus Paul writes:

But we speak the wisdom of Eloah
in a mystery that was hidden
And [that] Eloah had before separated
from before the ages for our glory.
That not one of the authorities of this world knew,
for if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Adon of glory.
But as it is written:
The eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard,
and into the heart of a son of man has not entered
that which Eloah had prepared for those who love Him.
(1Cor. 2:7-9 HRV)

Not only is the Yayin HaMeshumar the blood of the Messiah, but it is more. It is the “mystery” of which the blood of Messiah is only part:

The Zohar says:

The Tzadik (The Righteous) is the Yesod (foundation) in Yah,
the mystery (SOD) which is the wine which has been kept
in its grapes from the six days in the beginning.
(Zohar; Roeh M’haimna on Pinchas)

There is a clear connection here because SOD (“mystery”) has a gematria (numerical value) of 70 which is also the gematria of YAYIN (“wine”). Just as the Zohar identifies the “mystery” with the Yayin HaMeshumar, so does Paul in 1Corinthians.

For Paul goes on to further identify the Yayin HaMeshumar as follows:

10 But Eloah has revealed [it] to us by his spirit, for the spirit searches into everything, even the deep things of Eloah.
11 For who is the son of man who knows what is in a son of man except the spirit of the son of man that [is] in him? So also, that which is in Eloah, no man knows except the Spirit of Eloah.
12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from Eloah, so that we might know the gifts that were given to us from Eloah;
13 Which also we speak, not in the teaching of words of the wisdom of sons of men, but in the teaching of the spirit, and to spiritual men we compare spiritual things.
14 For the son of man who is in the nefesh does not receive spiritual things, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know that which is judged spiritually.
15 Now the spiritual man judges all things, and is not judged from man.
16 For who knows the mind of YHWH that he might instruct him? (Is. 40:13) But we have the mind of the Messiah.
(1Cor. 2:10-16)

Paul identifies the Yayin HaMeshumar with the “words of wisdom” (2:13) as well as the “mind of YHWH” or the “mind of Messiah” (1Cor. 2:16) and with the spiritual “gifts” (1Cor. 2:10-16) which he will elaborate upon later in the letter (1Cor. 12-14).

So both Paul and the Zohar identify the Word of Wisdom as a "manifestation" of the Ruach/Shekinah and as that which the "eye has not seen" referenced in Isaiah 54:3 which both the Zohar and Paul say "has been kept" since the time of Creation.

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