33 – John and the Angel of Death

John preaches at night, Johannes in the evenings of the night. John preaches in the night and says, “Do I not stand alone? Before my voice, the (heavenly) wheels shake and the (heavenly) chariot is overturned, the storm grows silent and settles down in the wastelands of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon weep and the Earth and Heaven mourn.”

Christ opened his mouth and said to John in Jerusalem, “I asked you, John, about the Great Life and about Sunday, whose name is precious. I asked you, John, about the way that the righteous elect go, without being held back. Tell me, what things resemble the form of the sword of Ṣauriel? Tell me, when the soul leaves the body, with what does she dress, and what things resemble her in the useless body? Is the soul therefore not somewhat like the blood that warms the body and becomes trapped within it? Is the soul therefore not somewhat like the wind, which goes into the mountains, and gets trapped there? Is the soul therefore not somewhat like the dew, which falls on the fruit and gets lost?”

When Jesus said this, John cried out, tears come to him without ceasing, and he says, “Beware, the High Light King seeks a share of the murkiness. The soul is not like blood, which they heats up the body and become blocked. The soul is not like the dew, which falls on the fruit and gets lost. The soul is not like the wind, which goes to the mountains and becomes blocked. The soul is wrapped tightly within the useless body. When the soul has survived intact, it rises up in a garb of radiance.”

The sword of Ṣauriel consists of three flames. When he drives her in a hurry, to carry her off, he releases the three flames against her. One he releases against them in the evening, the other at the cock’s crow, and the third he releases against them at the coming of the rays. When the fire begins to blaze, the soul glides from the feet and knees. From the feet and knees, she glides and approaches the hip. Then she leaves the hip, penetrating to the heart and seeks to grab hold of a place there. Then she drops into his chest and presses them (?)

The eyes, face and lips of people registered a twitch, and the tongue rolls back and forth. Ṣauriel then sat down on her eyebrows , and said to her, “Leave, soul! Why do you still guard the body?” Because she says to him, “You want me to get out of the body, Ṣauriel? First, show me my robe [and clothe me with it], then get me out and bring me back.” – “First bring me your works, and your labor,” he says to her, “Then I will show you your clothes and clothe you.”

“I did not know, Ṣauriel,” she says to him , “that my time is coming and one is quickly sending for me, to do good works , so that you might bring forth my robe and clothe me with it.”

But he answered her, “Has no one died before you, and has no one yet been carried out to the cemetery?”

Then she says to him, “By the strength of the one who died before me, and the strength of the one who was taken to the cemetery. The women who cried went back and forth, and the men who complained ran back and forth, so long as the body lay before them. When the soul leaves the body, four go out to the graveyard. The women who cried went back and forth, and the men who complained ran back and forth, and the screamers ran back and forth, until they lowered it into the shaft. They lowered the useless body and buried it, then the women stopped making dirges. The shaft is filled, and the men went away. They hurriedly left the body and the grave, and went, reached for the cup, ate bread, and forgot the vain body. Now, Ṣauriel, will you let me stay here for two days, I will then sell all my possessions and distribute them among my children, and I will take my clothing with me, the garment that rises up to the place of light.”

But Ṣauriel responded to her, “Has there ever been a child who has left his mother’s body, and was brought back to his mother, such that I would leave you in the abode of the wicked, so that you can divide things up among your sons? I will carry you out of here, and put on the robe of darkness, because while you were in the material world you did not take warning, and did not love your way to the place of light. Therefore you shall be guarded in the house of the wicked, until heaven and earth pass away.

And may the Life be praised!

About C.G. Häberl

Dr. Häberl is an Associate Professor at the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL). He was born and raised in the State of New Jersey, and received his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. In addition to teaching Arabic and Aramaic language courses at AMESALL, he teaches content courses on the modern Middle East at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), of which he was the Director from 2009-2012.
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