Examples of Kabbalist interpretations of the Bible

Following are some of the terms and phrases redefined in Kabbalistic literature. Kabbalah teaches what the Old Testament has for meanings:

  1. Peshat = Contextual literal meaning
    1. What it says in context. The plain meaning.
  2. Remez = Allegorical meaning
    1. Representation by abstraction, i.e., John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress which is an allegorical work full of symbols.
  3. Derash = Moral or homiletic meaning
    1. A sermon or message intended to build up the listener morally.
  4. Sod = Mystical or anagogic meaning
    1. Hidden meanings and ideas, i.e., The Ten Commandments are "spiritual light" reflecting divine consciousness working on our plane of reality.

The problem is that the contextual meaning very often contradicts the allegorical and mystical meanings.

Topic Bible Kabbalah
Adam The first created man. Mankind's first representative. Adam was more than a mere man because he was able to dwell beyond our physical realm and his essence is comprised of all the souls who have lived, are living, and will live.
It means to have sexual relations. "If one applies his wisdom, and understanding, he will obtain much knowledge. And as mentioned above, in relation to the sefirot, this knowledge is what connects the wisdom and understanding to the other 7 sefirot (also known as the children), it leads to the actions. The correct actions. This is what the Torah means when it says... And Adam Knew Eve."
First born Son A title of preeminence and that is transferable. Of Ephraim and Mannasah, Mannasah is first born in Gen. 41:51-52 and Ephraim is first-born in Jer. 31:9. Jesus is the first born from the dead, the first to have a glorified body (Col. 1:15). "Exodus 4:22: 'Israel is my first born son.' Here, as previously, the lower divine Face or enthroned form is the one associated with human transformation into the divine son, and is sharply differentiated from an original, and thus older, divine source."
God A trinity. The one supreme deity, personal, and involved in human affairs. God is neither matter or spirit. "Its central thesis is that God is a source of infinite pure spiritual light, with every human having sparks of divinity within, and our goal being to come closer to the divine source. In addition, humans have a unique purpose to fulfill, for when God created the world, the vessels into which God poured some of His creative energy broke, scattering the divine light and allowing imperfection to form. It is the human task to help God to restore the Universe to its original harmony by rescuing the broken shards through a life of holiness.
Isaiah 5:18 "Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, and sin as if with cart ropes" "Iniquity is the male. Who is sin? The female. He hauls the one called iniquity with those chords of falsehood, and then send as with a cart will, that female called sin, who is empowered there to fly and kill human beings."
Jacob's wrestling with the angel Gen. 32:24-32. The angel is referred to as an angel in Hos. 12:4 and God in Gen. 32:28, 30; Ho 12:5. "Jacob accomplishes psychologically the same transcendence of his animal nature that is ritually accomplished through animal sacrifice. it is only after the sacrifice of his lower self, that his name is angelically change...he has "prevailed," achieved a transcending endurance.
Human Sacrifice The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the means by which God has redeemed his people "...it is rather the use of human sacrifice that represents a degradation from the true purpose of such rights, the transformation of the human into the divine and redemptive sacrifice of that which is animal."
Jesus The Messiah, God in flesh (John 1:1,14) "Jesus, who consistently referred to himself as the "Son of Man" and rejected the title of Messiah, was clearly influenced by the patriarchal strand of earlier Jewish mysticism we have been tracing."
Resurrection The raising and changing on our physical bodies of weakness and despair into physical bodies of life, no sickness, deathlessness; hence, glorified bodies. "resurrection is the heralding of a new era, a transformation into a consciousness previously unknown in which reality undergoes a profound change....resurrection represents the culmination of the rectification of holy sparks that have fallen and have been returned to the original source,"
The Son of Man Has a variety of meanings. It is used by Jesus in reference to himself (Matt. 24:44). It is used in Num. 23:19 of a sinner, Psalm 8:4 of the future Messiah, etc. "the essential meaning of Ezekiel's vision, then, is that the son of man, the human son of God, is he who has achieved the mystical capacity to see the divine nature of his own higher self."

As you can see, Kabbalist literature often interprets biblical concepts in strange and mystical manners. It is a shame that the plain meaning of scripture is so often reinterpreted to unbiblical and anti-biblical meanings by Kabbalist methods.



  • http://www.foreveryjew.com, on Adam and Eve.
  • The Times (United Kingdom), Features, Faith, Dec. 4, 2004, p. 80.
  • Leet, Leonora, The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah, Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1999, on first born (p. 61), Jacob's wrestling (p. 51), human sacrifice (pp. 31-32), Jesus (p. 40), and Son of Man (p. 36).
  • http://www.sup.org/zohar, on Isaiah 5:18, p. 28.
  • Cooper, David A., God is a Verb, New York: Riverhead Brooks, 1997, p. 294.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.