by Rev. Michaël Merle
In Chapter 21 of The Revelation to John (The Book of the Apocalypse: Revelation) we read part of the description of the New Jerusalem, a picture of a mighty vision experienced by John in the Spiritual World: “The city has a great and high wall and twelve gates. And on the gates twelve angels, and names were written on them: the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.” (verse 12)
This year we hope to uncover an understanding of the twelve ways in which we can enter the New Jerusalem.
The way of Zebulun
Zebulun is a merchant: a trader and businessperson, whose work generates economic growth – a growing commonwealth of enterprise and initiative. His role is to enter the marketplace and redeem the Divine sparks within the material world. This task is described in Deuteronomy as making manifest “the affluence of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sand.”
Zebulun, as one of the twelve, is closely associated with his brother Issachar. Issachar and Zebulun are the last two sons of Leah (Jacob’s first wife). These two sons were born after she had consumed mandrakes from the field to make herself fertile to bear Jacob more sons. From this fertility came two brothers who remained connected and close. Zebulun complements Issachar: they forge a partnership. Zebulun supports the scholar, he funds houses of scholarship, which earns him a right to partake in the reward of Issachar’s studies. This picture well captures the principle that should work in society: the fruit of the fraternal work of the economic sphere should fund the work of study undertaken freely in the sphere of our human liberty. The first Waldorf school was founded on this model. Emil Molt, out of his business enterprise, funded the school for free thinking and future entrepreneurship. This made it possible for everyone who desired such an education to receive it without costs being a barrier. This remarkable connection of the spheres of fraternity and liberty is captured in the archetypal partnership of Zebulun and Issachar.
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