Fresco

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If you visit the Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere façade, and gently ring the bell, you’ll be admitted the entrance to the Monastery of Benedectine nuns. From there, you’ll ascend to the “Coro delle monache”, where some remains of the medieval frescoes of Christ and angels painted by Pietro Cavallini and assistants still disclose the beauty of their vivid colors to visitors’ admiration.

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Here is a more complete version, this would be a wonderful stop if you visited Italy. Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Cecilia_in_Trastevere

 

Pilate’s Wife

DORÉ Gustave 1832-1883 FRANÇOIS Alphonse 1814-1888 dream of Pilate’s wife 1879

What a great image of an angel comforting Pilate’s wife, likely Procula Claudia, a title. although the Bible doesn’t specify that, either the name or the angel, The name is tradition. “Le Rêve de la femme de Pilate” (“The dream of Pilate’s wife”). Engraving by Alphonse François (1814-1888) after Gustave Doré, an earlier painter, it is amazing, isn’t it?

Of course, we remember this lady the crucifixion story. She was so troubled by a dream that she has a message sent to her husband, Pilate, who is ruling over Jesus’ trial. She tells him of her troubling dream.

Of course, Pilate will wash his hands of it, being familiar with Jewish customs. Still people will debate who killed Jesus, the Romans or Jews, the truth is we all did, because we are just born with a sinful nature after the fall, and also no one, since He willingly gave His life.

No one could have taken Him without His consent, even after Gethsemane, the power of God knocks over those sent to get Him, He can  still heal an ear and get Peter off the hook. Let’s look at the dream in the word.

While Pilate was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him.’” Matthew 27:19

One verse, that says it all. It doesn’t actually tell what the dream is about. Claudia’s story has been told as a play and in story form. People will naturally, use their own interpretation.

Whether or not she was tempted to stop the crucifixion, or knew He was the Son of God, and didn’t want her husband to take part in it isn’t clear, but God doesn’t do anything without a reason.

We know that even some high ranking officials thought He was innocent, many did become followers. Notice she uses the word righteous, righteousness is what He gave us by taking on the cross.

Galatians 3:13, say, you are cursed to hang from a tree. And Jesus took our curses to give us blessings. Our unrighteousness, to give us His righteousness, and access to His Father, see why it is so important as a believer to understand righteousness and not condemnation,

Still the Spirit will bring conviction and you must believe. To prove His love, He was crucified, when the Jewish punishment was stoning. And even before, beaten and scourged, when it should have been one or the other. His trial was held at night, that never happened before. They broke a lot of rules to crucify Him, and He in return broke curses.

Just as He touched and healed what was forbidden to, breaking their rules but in reality fulfilling them, and He still does. He is the resurrection and life. The I AM. Such powerful love, He could have let an angel warn or comfort her.

Michael

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The Archangel Michael who accompanies the Lord on His return, who is above or over Israel, who put the devil out without railin on him, and who will prevail over him before he gets put in the lake of fire.

Michael is one of only four angels named in the Bible, the only one called an archangel but Gabriel could be and even the devil many have been before falling from the third heaven into our atmosphere, the other angel is Abbadon, or Apollyon, the one with the key to the bottomless pit.

It is interesting that Jesus took the keys to death, hell and the grave but not the bottomless pit. Could that be where the lake of fire is. I don’t know. I am only  glad that we serve a risen Lord and will not face that end, so if you do not know Jesus, please ask Him into your heart as Lord.

There are many more good angels than bad, and there is a powerful one named Michael, and he defends God’s chosen people and directs and assists other angels.

 

 

 

The Talking Donkey

For your angel study today, we have the story of Balaam. This story had been considered a made up one added later to texts. But Balaam was likely a real person with real problems like many of us. He is mentioned as being summoned by Balak, the king. We are taking God at His word. He had to use people as He could until Jesus came, and people received an indwelling of His Spirit. He was a real but a heathen. God did speak by His spirit to him, divination as the heathen called it is much different to the prophetic words given by God

Now how does a heathen become a prophet? The Holy Spirit came upon people in those days, not like being  in us now as believers. He believed in God, and made sacrifices, was a bit hypocritical and perhaps greedy. He was supposed curse Israel but could not.

Now the camp was laid out in a pattern, and not many people know that the twelve tribes had aligned their tents just so. So what did he see when he look at the camp but a cross? He could not curse what God had blessed and the people to whom a Messiah was promised. Instead he tells the king to make peace and mingle, that wasn’t the right thing to do either, he would have brought in idolatry. The story is in Numbers 22,23,24.

In short God tells him to do what He says, and he cannot curse Israel to Balak’s dismay, even for money And the donkey, he has hit her three times because she won’t go past the Angel of the Lord, probably Jesus.

Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”

Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you. Numbers 22:28-35

Now, if this was indeed Jesus, note He says that He would have killed him and let the donkey lived. I am not attempting to add to anything, but allow you to be killed may be a better translation for we know John 10:10, that Jesus give life and live more abundantly, and He obeys the Father, it is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Why an apparent discrepancy, it isn’t. God the blame for a lo in those days as His plan of redemption was being revealed, there were occult practices, even using the words oracle. It is just the way  people thought they were heathens for the most part. God used discretion to keep them from following the enemy to hell,

Today, is not a lot different, there are still false doctrines and practices and you need to worship in Spirit and truth and ask the Holy Spirit to discern, that said, here is a bad man used by God for good,

God is not man, that He should lie,
or a son of man, that He should change His mind.
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19, the words of a prophet.

Angel Heart

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Angels probably don’t have hearts like our as spiritual beings but we have spiritual hearts. God created them to be servants and to do His bidding and has commanded them to be in charge of us .

Psalm 103:20 explains how they hearken to His words, while we are children of God and not just servants or slaves, we have works He has appointed for us though we are saved by grace and not works.

He wants to in effect have an angel heart. So let’s purpose this week to be busy with some of the good works he would have us do. To be kinder, gentler and more patient. You could make a list.

Let start with a few of these.

Let’s think more before we speak.

Encourage someone.

Pray for someone, personally.

Phone an old friend.

Write a letter.

Buy someone lunch.

Read some angel verses aloud.

Recognize that angels are near.

Purpose to let His love have room in your heart, it is a place the enemy would love to move in on or oppress. But God is love and He wants us to have a heart like His or  even a figurative, ” angel heart. ”

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Holy Silence?

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Recently, I wrote about Zechariah and the contradiction of Mary’s faith to his and now I am having to backtrack a little. We have to wonder if what appears to be a punishment is actually a gift?

While Mary, a maiden believed, a priest in the temple had trouble believing. So I am apologizing for my oversight. God really did reach out to him, and allowed him to be mute and not argue with the angel.

It was a sort of vow of silence. I always wondered about those. I like to talk myself, so I know it often hard not to, and if it is for me, it probably is for you and surely a priest would be no different.

It is such a temptation to doubt and question, when you don’t see immediate results, but we can learn a lot  from this story, ans even be a little less critical. It is the difference between saved and going to heaven faith, and Abrahamic faith.

The takeaway is a lesson on silence and rest. He should have rested in God’s promise and rested as Mary did. Let’s get into the rest of Hebrews 4, and if we need to, have a bit of holy silence.

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov

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Prince of Peace

 

What a lovely portrayal of Mary and Jesus as a young child. Did He have angelic playmates, maybe so. I really could not say, but as He grew I am sure He grew more and more aware of spiritual as opposed to earthly ideas.

I think it is cute that He is surrounded by not only cherubic and childlike angels but also doves, nd one day as a man He would have the dove descend on Him bodily and hear God say He was His beloved Son and how please He was with Him.

Prince of Peace was one of the name given Him and prophesied by Isaiah, and this is a peaceful scene in His youth. He would often seek His Father for peace, and chose to give His life for us so he might leave us His peace.

Peace unlike the world, carefree as this scene, without troubled hearts and minds and no living in fear. That is truly a gift from the beloved son of God and the Prince of Peace.

Jacob’s Angel

We already read about His ladder of angels and now we find Jacob wrestling an angel. This particular angel again I believe to be Jesus, as the angel of the Lord. He appears many times in the Old Testament. Putting the hand under the thigh is an oath from that day.

His limp could also be symbolic of depending on God for His walk. Jacob lived in a time before the law, there was still grace, which is why the patriarchs could lie, even deceive each other, have multiple wives, and still be forgiven sin when they asked, they built altars and made sacrifices and though what they did was against God’s plan, He forgave them.

Then came the law, but when Jesus came, He was the only one who could fulfill it. Grace and truth and the new commandment of love and gospel of peace was put in place, yet so many fail to receive it. The story is in Genesis 32, Jacob is afraid of His brother Esau.

He divides out gifts, sends his family away and is likely pouring out his fears to God, when the angel comes and they wrestle, Jacob will not let go without a blessing and his name is changed to Israel. He also asked the angel’s name and he did not give one, which is why I believe it is Jesus, just as He later appeared to Manoah’s wife and Sarah before.

The fact that He could not overtake Jacob, well, as God, He could have but He did want to bless Jacob. While we wrestle not against flesh but principalities, powers, rulers, are we too contending with Christ? We should not have to because He is our peace.

This was long before He came to die for us, so I would say we need to let His peace rule our hearts and minds as believers. Phillipians 4:7 It is the Lord’s will to heal, bless and protect, it is all a part of our salvation, we should not be contending with Jesus but yielded to His Spirit.

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Living Creature

…And before the throne was something like a sea of glass, as clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, covered with eyes in front and back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second like a calf, the third had a face like a man, and the fourth was like an eagle in flight. And each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around and within. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”…Revelation 4:6,7,8

The form of their faces was that of a man, and each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and also the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 1:10

While Revelation is more detailed, it appears Ezekiel saw the same creatures, referred to as living simply because they are breathing and talking or singing. Even though it says ox, calf is much the same, These are seraphim because they have six wings.

This picture may not be exact but gives us an idea, since it has wings, but not six and eagle feet. I wa wondering if they are separate or if the faces change as they turn right or left or is John just describing the side they are on. I can in no way give you a better description, we would have to see one, wouldn’t we?

The mythical creatures we hear or read about are a copy or rather a similar version, having been created and rendered throughout art and literature, since most Greek were not Christians, they had their own heroes and villains in mythology, and even Hercules is somewhat their version of Christ.

Jesus is the way to heaven and we may be in for a surprise to see what interesting angels there are, they are not all cherubs but all are powerful in some way.

Vision

Detail from Vision of St. Paschal Baylon, 1767. Don’t you enjoy the details of a particular image in a painting. This is a striking angels. St. Paschal was born at Pentecost, in 1540, in Spain, hence his name for Passover. he was a shepherd and spent many hours in prayer in church and the field.

He joined the Franciscans and was a doorkeeper. On a trip to Frances he was beaten by a Protestant minister in an argument and later died on May 17,1592. In His coffin, when the sacrament host and chalice was lifted, it is said that people saw his eyes open and close. I guess that would have been a sign. Jesus is our resurrection and life to be sure.

He had indeed defended the Eucharist and even gave his life, Holy Communion is sacred and need not be argued over. I have seen and heard of a lot of miraculous healing by taking daily Communion, but you must rightly divide the body and blood, because some do sleep who did not.

You must proclaim His death until He comes. He alone make us worthy of it. We need not fear it if our hearts is in right standing. This is a vision he is reported to have had and hangs in the Museo Del Prado, by Italian artist, Giambattista Tiepolo. The smaller picture is not as clear, bit has the same title, although it appears different to me.

His peace, Rebecca Jones