When it comes to the nations of this world, God doesn’t play favourites.
I love this vision from the climax of the book of Revelation: “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it.” (Revelation 21:22-26)
This symbol is inspired by Revelation 22:13 where Jesus declares, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” I quite like this overlapped design, as it’s also somewhat suggesting of a communion chalice and the Trinity.
I have been exploring Christian art based on the book of Revelation this weekend and, in the process of revisiting the text, I’ve been struck with how the two horned beast, the one that is given the number 666, is distinctly subordinate to both the seven headed dragon and the seven headed beast that comes out of the sea. This contrasts significantly with more modern conceptions that seem to place the two horned beast front and centre. Indeed it seems to me, that in terms of resonance with Greek mythology, we should be looking more to the Hydra myth than the Pan myth when we think of Satan.
Have you ever been bamboozled by Christian millennial teachings and the jargon that goes along with them?
I know I was when I first came across it. All this talk of pre-millennial, post-millennial and amillennial, of pre-tribulation or post-tribulation? I’m not surprised that some Christians say they’re pan-millennial, as in, it will all pan out in the end.
But for those who are interested in understanding I have drawn up a chart of common millennial understandings, from the more simple to the more complex … with a few language adjustments.
My personal view is that Occams razor should apply.
This image, by yiuokami, is called “In Difference”. The artist explains the symbolism as follows:
The radiant angel
Inspired by a text in the bible that says the devil will present himself as an angel of light. It can be interpreted as the manifestation of all that is wrong with the human subconscious, with false guidance that promotes blindness, or simply the flock motions of the human race towards its glorious self-destruction.
The gray humanoids
They are not evil. They are not good. They have not enough identity to have defined themselves and may become either depending on influence and situation. They are part of the flock of sameness, only seeing what they want to see. Their brethren suffer, those that are different are excluded. The embryos are their true selves, underdeveloped and their eyes full of light so they cannot see. They are on the heads, positioned to be demonstrated when necessary, yet not really anything alive yet.
Horns and halos
Halos are not mentioned in the bible, they originate in the worship of solar gods, something “heathen” that become “holy”. Therefore, they make a good symbol for self-deception and self-righteousness. Horns are a symbol of power in the bible and are not associated specifically with either good or evil, but have become a symbol of evil in the same artistic streams that added halos to Christianity. In this image, horns are used in their original meaning and represent a growing power, they allow the embryos to rise above the halo and see. Or not. Similarly, the lamb has seven horns, representing total power.
The red mass around the sphere
These are growing individuals. They may or may not be good, yet or ever. The sphere they are drooping from under is this world, which are severed from if they don’t want you anymore, which it doesn’t when you are different. Yet the tendrils of the angel try to keep them back.
The shadowed angels
They represent good, all different from each other yet united. Their side is full of eyes and can see in all directions, and they help whom they can help, open for all, also alert for danger. They represent those who have reached independence and can see, being humans to their fullest nature. The snakes are there to combat the tendrils, chosen because snakes made for the least crowded counter measure than the original plan I had, and they need some positive attention too for a change.
Eyes and Light
Eyes represent the ability to perceive, so the evil side is full of closed eyes. Both sides have light, but the good side has many colors while the evil side only has gray (no colors) for its creations, and instead has a blinding amount of light, while that of the good side has a healthier balance.
The colors don’t really have much meaning here, I just chose them cause they’re pretty. I originally meant to have no color for the evil side at all, but while messing with some potential fiery glow for the snakes I liked the effect as it crossed the wing, and just went with it.
Real evil doesn’t tend to come with a dark cloak and cackling voices. The greatest evils in this world are committed by those who think they are not crossing the line. Those who bully or those who slaughter, they all think they are right in their actions, that it’s okay, it’s just a game or it’s for the greater good. Some simply despair because there seems to be no way out, victims themselves. The lines blur, and gray needs to be acknowledged. Yet we’re always learned not to ask questions. Humans generally find it easier to tie everything to simplistic black and white standards, don’t care to ask nor little questions, nor large questions.
A man named Elie Wiesel once said: “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”
This is how the Woman and the Dragon is described in the book of Revelation:
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.”
For some time I’ve been interested in the symbolic function of the Temple in Jerusalem and hints that the Temple functioned as a microcosm, that is, as the sacred cosmos in miniature. To date my interest has been in the implications for the interpretation of Genesis 1, the climax of the Gospel of Mark, and the book of Revelation.
From this discription by Josephus however, it strikes me that there are further implications for engaging with the esoteric world. Josephus says, “before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple, and of a contexture that was truly wonderful. Nor was this mixture of colors without its mystical interpretation, but was a kind of image of the universe; for by the scarlet there seemed to be enigmatically signified fire, by the fine flax the earth, by the blue the air, and by the purple the sea; two of them having their colors the foundation of this resemblance; but the fine flax and the purple have their own origin for that foundation, the earth producing the one, and the sea the other. This curtain had also embroidered upon it all that was mystical in the heavens, excepting that of the [twelve] signs, representing living creatures.” (Wars 5.5.4)
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:1-10)
The gospel has always been multicultural, it’s just not multireligious.