Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Golem of Prague and the Image of Revelation Chapter 13

The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. Revelation 13:15

I needed to go into the basement of an old building where I once worked. I had never been there before, so I was startled to see the figure of a woman seated in a big glass box. She was a life size figure of a Gypsy fortune teller. If the machine was plugged in and you put a coin in the slot, the lady gave you your fortune. Harmless fun, but there are figures that are ominous--the golems--Jewish figures made of clay that come to life.

In Jewish literature Adam was a golem, made of clay by the hand of God. But also in these writings are the golems made by men, the most famous being Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, rabbi of Prague. Though there are older stories, the Prague golem is the most famous and detailed.

A Jewish friend told me that he and other conservative Jews believe that to read the Kabbalah would lead to madness, but it's the source of such an idea as creating a living being made from mud. These man made golems could do many things. They had acute hearing, but could not speak.

It seems that the idea of an image that comes to life is quite old. In Jewish literature it goes back to the 12th century. But the idea is still with us. Even Jewish childrens' story books keep it alive. Could it be that the conciousness of some people has been made ready to accept an image of the Beast?

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