Sunday, December 30, 2007

Preached at Cradley Chapel

I preached at Cradley Chapel today, a very small congregation out in the countryside.

I was a bit worried about this sermon, with it being a very theological text, but it went rather well.

I hope you will be edified by my sermon:

Hebrews 2
5: For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
6: But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7: Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9: But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10: For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11: For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

I think it is safe to say that some people really enjoy reading Hebrews and some people don’t. I knew a young man who said he wished Hebrews had never been included in the New Tesament. I am very sorry he felt that way. There are some difficult issues in Hebrews, nevertheless there is some wonderfully rich theology in it.

In the first chapter of Hebrews, the author establishes Christ’s superiority over angels and His supremacy. The question in the first chapter is the deity of Christ.

The second chapter that we are looking at today deals rather with the humanity of Christ. Many of us will have been remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The incarnation of God is perhaps the most wonderful and unique aspects of Christianity.

Yet often those of us who are conservative in theology become so focused on defending the deity of Christ that we forget the significance of our Lord’s humanity. Why does it really matter that God became man?

Hebrews 2 gives us a glorious insight into the significance of the incarnation of the Word of God.

The author quotes from Psalm 8 and shows that this Psalm is messianic and futurist in its outlook.

‘What is man that thou art mindful of him?’

In the Milky Way, our galaxy, there are at least 200 billion stars. There are billions of galaxies in the universe, all containing billions of stars. Yet God is concerned about this planet earth and those that live on it.

Is there life on other planets? Some Christians say definitely not. The Bible does not say. If there is life on other planets, it is there because God made it, not because of any statistical probability that has been dreamed up by those that think life came about by chance. I leave it to you to think about that. Regardless of whether there is life on other planets, God cares most about this one.

We do know that there is another kind of life in the universe. That is angels. When God made Adam, He made him to be perfect in his body and mind. Yet he was still made a little lower than the angels. Angels have glorious bodies that are mighty in power and strength. The bodies of angels are not subject to the same limitations that we are subject to. They can travel between earth and heaven, while we are bound to stay here on earth. Angels seem to excel over man in their beauty. Yet God chose to put man in charge of this earth. God is working out his purposes through men and women. He chose those that are weak.

Think for a moment about the dream that Jacob had of a stairway to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. What did those angels think as they looked upon Jacob? Jacob would have been sweaty and dirty from his travels.

The feet of the angels must have gleamed as they gracefully trod that celestial staircase. In contrast, Jacob’s feet must have been covered in dust. What did those angels think as they looked upon this man?

Did they say “Look, its that man! The man our Lord commanded us to watch over. What’s so special about him?”

Yet Jacob was special to God, as are all God’s elect.

God gave Adam the responsibility to care for this world and to have charge over it. It must be said that mankind has made something of pickle of exercising dominion over the earth. Mankind has run the earth with the same efficency that the present governments have shown in looking after confidential data.

Yet though God knew that man would fail to exercise dominion over the earth with justice and righteousness, it was always God’s purpose to give man more responsibility.

We see here in the Psalm quoted in this chapter that God put all the works of His hands into the power of man. That includes the moon, the stars, heaven and the angels in it. God is going to put mankind in charge of the entire universe. God created man in his image, so that man could exercise governmental authority over the universe. As the apostle Paul said, ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels?’ God’s people in heaven are going to be in charge of the angels. Thus, the author of Hebrews points out that not all things are yet put under him. The time when mankind is the chief administrator of God’s kingdom is not yet come.

What an incredible thought that God is going to give the government of the universe to mankind?

Yet there is the problem of man’s failure. God cannot overlook the sinfulness of man and the failure of humanity to follow God’s blueprint for life.

That is why God became man. Jesus was made a little lower than angels for our sakes.

In the Old Testament, God appeared several times in bodily form as an angel. Yet Jesus in the incarnation did not take on the flesh of angels, but became a man as we are with all it limitations. The glorious form of an angel might have been a fitting form for Him, yet He became a man.

As this passage tells us, He did this so that He might taste death for every man. That He might suffer the penalty for sin, which is death.

The crucifixtion of the Lord Jesus Christ seems like a horrible event, yet He was crowned with glory and honour because of it. Christ has proved Himself to be the only man who has been faithful and obedient to God.

Thus He is the new Adam, or more correctly the Last Adam. Adam failed in His obedience to God, yet Christ was perfect in faithfulness. While Adam failed as a candidate to exercise dominion over the earth, Jesus Christ proved Himself, by His faithfulness to be worthy to rule over the universe and when all things are subject to Him, He shall exercise that authority.

As the last Adam, Christ is the head of a new race of heavenly humanity, a new kind of humanity made in His image. Born-again believers in Him are united to Him sharing His life. They have the power by the Holy Spirit to live as He did, perfect in their faithfulness. If you are in Christ, you have the power to live a victorious life. Those who are in Christ by faith can become ever more Christ-like in their conduct.

It is God’s purpose that this new humanity should inherit His kingdom. It is His purpose that all things, things in heaven and things on earth should be subject to Christ and those that are in Him. In the future, the resurrected saints will constitute a kind of celestial aristocracy that will govern the universe.

This calls for faithfulness. The apostle Paul wrote that “If we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with Him.” If we suffer for Christ’s sake we can be sure of reigning with Him in glory. In Revelation chapter 3, we read that great promise that the one who overcomes will sit down with Christ in His throne, even as He is sat in His Father’s throne. If we perservere in faith we can look to inheriting the throne of the universe.

Is this a wrong attitude? Some Christians talk as though seeking any kind of reward for faithfulness is selfish. However, the Bible encourages us to seek the rewards and privileges of the kingdom. God displays His glory by bestowing it on His subjects.

Christ is glorified by bringing many sons to glory, as it says in this passage. He is the head of a new race of humanity who He is pleased to make as He is. His people are to be like Him, not only in their resurrection form, but in the privileges they are granted in the kingdom.

Therefore we should seek more of the kingdom of God. We should seek the reward of inheriting all things.

But it is necessary to prove that we are fit to rule God’s kingdom. Have we to be faithful in small things before we are entrusted with everything. In the parable of the pounds, the one who had been faithful in little was entrusted with ten cities.

Sadly, often Christians show that they are not fit to be heirs of the kingdom. When there is division in churches, is this not a sign that Christians are not very good at running the affairs of their master? When Christian husbands and fathers fail to show the godly leadership that is called for in the home, is this not a sign that they are not fit to rule over one, let alone ten cities? If we are to inherit the earth we must show diligence over those things that we are entrusted with.

It may be that you are not yet a Christian. It may be that you have not yet found that heavenly position that is in Christ. I say to you, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Have faith on Him for everlasting life.

Jesus was made a little lower than the angels so that He could taste death for sinners like you and me. He ascended into heaven so that we can be granted access to that place. He possesses the very life of God and if we trust in Him, we receive eternal life.

If you would only believe on the Lord Jesus then you can be part of a new heavenly humanity. You can be assured of a glorious future in heaven and the opportunity to inherit the kingdom of God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 28, 2007

More beer on special offer

At Tescos today I found a 12-pack of Italian Peroni larger reduced to £10.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

BBC: Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

BBC: Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

I just saw the news a moment ago. This is such a tragedy for the nation of Pakistan.

She was such a brave woman returning to Pakistan when she knew this could happen.


I saw the Disney film Enchanted on Christmas Eve. It is a really fun film for both adults and children.

Some of the characters in this film cross from a standard Disney fairtale cartoon world into real life New York. Thus, they switch from being cartoon characters to live-action characters. This required some incredible acting skills, but they can certainly be found in this film.

I must admit the Postmodernism of this film is tedious. I think Postmodernity has been done to death in films.

Being a lover of all things medieval, I rather like fairytales. I think it is sad to see them ridiculed. Nevertheless, it is a really hilarious movie.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Times: Am I a criminal? I haven't a clue

Times: Am I a criminal? I haven't a clue

"This Government has relentlessly undermined the rule of law by its vague legislation and constant meddling."

Article by Jamie Whyte

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A 12-Pack of Polish Beer

At Tescos' supermaket today, there were packs of 12 bottles of Polish Tyskie larger on special offer at the wonderful price of £8.

I had not seen a multi-pack of Tyskie beer before. Normally I have to buy the individual bottles at a price of about £1.20 each.

Tescos are selling an increasing number of products from Poland. The Polish community in this country is getting bigger and changing the face of it. Who would have thought ten years ago that all of a sudden the Roman Catholic churches would be bursting at the seams with young people from Eastern Europe?

Times: Don’t squeeze defence to pay for foreign aid, warns ex-security chief

Times: Don’t squeeze defence to pay for foreign aid, warns ex-security chief

"Britain’s newly retired intelligence supremo has questioned whether the country spends too much money trying to alleviate poverty in the Third World and not enough on its own defence."

Times: Medicine without frontiers is arriving

Times: Medicine without frontiers is arriving

"Our healthcare masters are right to be frightened of a new EU plan"

An interesting article by Stephen Pollard.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Angels and Shepherds

Luke 2
8 ¶ And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men.

15 ¶ And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

I do like this Biblical scene.

It is appropriate that good news of our Lord's birth should be given to shepherds, as Jesus Christ, the Son of David is the shephed king of Israel who shall gather His people and lead them to safety and enjoyment of God's promises.

Ezekiel 37
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

22 and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

23 neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

24 ¶ And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.

26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

The angels make known to the shepherds the glory of the Lord. They had come from their dwelling place in the very presence of God and their own beauty and power reflected the glory of their creator.

When people behold the glory of God they are afraid. Naturally so, because the presence of God leads to consciousness of one's own weakness and one's own unworthiness. Yet by grace we can be allowed to enter into that presence, through the redemption that is in Christ.

The angels brought tidings of joy for the people of Israel. The messiah had come. Israel was to be restored to God's favour and gathered again to its land.

Yet at the same time, the birth of Christ was also good news for all nations. For in Christ there is redemption for sin and the granting of eternal life. The establishment of messiah's kingdom on earth entails the coming of peace to the earth and righteous rule amongst the nations. God's kingdom shall bring a state of universal blessing and order to the whole cosmos, as creation shall be restored by His working.

Not lightly do the shepherds seek to tell others of what they have seen. Let us also seek to be bold and swift in making known the good news which we have come to know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mystical Nativity, by Sandro Botticelli

I love the way heaven is seen openned up, like a hole in the sky. Our Lord came to earth from heaven. Through Him we are granted access to the heavens and the Christian is spiritually seated there.

Angels embrace shepherds. We see heaven reconciled with earth.

In the foreground we see demons hiding anc cowering. The coming of Christ to the earth was the first step in the defeat of the forces of evil.

Nativity, by Edward Burne-Jones

Quite different. The vertical and diagonal lines of this picture are quite distinctive, as is the deep blue colour, which creates a strong nocturnal feeling.

Nativity, by Piero Della Francesca

Angels worshipping at the birth of our Lord. Unusually in this picture, the angels do not have wings, which I suppose makes it a little more Biblical.

This picture may not have been completed and has sadly fallen into a poor state of repair.

Times: Be liberal, but not with the facts

Times: Be liberal, but not with the facts

Some commonsense from David Aaronovitch. Opponents of 42-day detention are quite wrong to claim that Britain has the most draconian powers of detention in Europe.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gloria in Excelsis, by Evelyn De Morgan

A nice picture of two angels, but I really hate Putti, those infant cherubs. I do wish that artistic tradition of painting Cherubim as Putti had never been invented.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Warfare in Heaven

Images taken from Gustave Dore's illustrations of Paradise Lost, with the exception of the last, which is an illustration from Dante's Divine Comedy by the same artist.

The Bible tells a titanic struggle between good and evil. We might enjoy reading about the clash between the forces of good and evil in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but in the Scriptures, we read of a far more epic and cosmic conflict. The warfare between the kingdoms of light and darkness is waged not just over this earth, but in the heavenly realms too.

The universe was created for God's glory. The glory of God is the chief end of all creation. He created the universe to be under His sovereign rule, to be ordered according to His purposes. However, Satan one of His angels sought to usurp the throne of the most high. We read of this in the Old Testament:

Isaiah 14
12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13: For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15: Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Satan or Lucifer became lifted up by reason of his great beauty and privilege in God's eternal kingdom. He desired to exalt himself.

Satan was joined in his rebellion by many angels. Revelation 12 would suggest that a third of the angels joined with Satan. Satan thus established his own counterfeit kingdom in the heavens. Just as God has His angels who serve Him, Satan has his own angels. Together they make up a hierarchy of evil, for they are called thrones, dominions, principalities and powers. This kingdom of opposition will wage war until its final defeat by the kingdom of God.

When did this rebellion begin? The Scriptures do not tell us. However, it would seem that it began in prehistory before the creation week of Genesis 1. There are good reasons for thinking that there is a period in between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. We cannot know how long and those who use this theory to explain geological time have many difficulties. Nevertheless, the state of formlessness in which we find the world in Genesis 1:2 is likely the result of Satan's original rebellion. Teh original would thus have been created to be inhabited and administered by angels, yet this creation fell into ruin and was replaced by the world in which we now dwell.

God closed the former dispensation of pre-history and began a new work with mankind. He entrusted to them the dominion of earth. Humanity, made a little lower than the angels was chosen to be the new custodians of God's kingdom.

Yet though Satan's original rebellion was judged and halted, he did not cease his war and corrupted the new creation by obtaining the loyalty of man. Through capturing the hearts of men, Satan was able to re-establish his rule over the world. So we find in Scripture that Satan is called the prince or god of this world. His kingdom holds sway over it. The apostle Paul tells of this kingdom of darkness and its influence over the world:

Ephesians 6
12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We read in Daniel of a 'prince of Persia', no doubt a fallen angel of great power, who presumably exercised dominion over the heathen people of Persia. There are some Charismatic Christians who make much of 'Territorial spirits' and seek to do spiritual warfare against such beings. This is folly. We do not begin to have the knowledge to know how to fight such beings directly, nor do we need to know the details of how Satan's kingdom works in some particular location. The Christian should not trouble about the details of what territorial spirits there might be and rather fight through simple prayer and the preaching of the Word. That is our place in this cosmic conflict.

It is necessary to mention a second fall of angels. There are some who connect this with Satan, though there is not sufficent evidence to make that connection. This is the fall of the sons of God, in the time of Enoch and Noah, who saw that the daughters of women were fair, as we read in Genesis 6. From the wicked intermarriage of angels and humans came a race of giants who were wiped out in the flood (though the giants of Canaan were probably a similar race). It is likely that the demons are the disembodied spirits of these beings.

God wasted no time in judging the angels of this second rebellion:

6: And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

We do not know how the course of the warfare in heaven effects events on earth, but we have reason to believe there is some connection, however mysterious. Deborah sang of how the battle on earth was waged in heaven too:

Judges 5
20: They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.

Elisha's servant was given a vision of the legions of angels who were on the side of Elisha:

2 Kings 6
15: And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16: And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17: And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

The marvellous thing about this story is not the vision that the servant received, but that Elisha had no need for it. By faith he knew of the spiritual forces that were on his side.

We must not forget to look at Job. At the beginning of the book of Job, we see Satan in heaven with the sons of God. We learn from this story that Satan's actions are limited by God's control. Satan cannot act outside the sphere that God limits him to.

The warfare in heaven will come to a climax in the end times, at the middle of Daniel's Seventieth Week. We read in Revelation chapter 12:

7: And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8: And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9: And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10: And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11: And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12: Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Satan will be defeated in heaven and he and his angels will be sent down to earth. There he will aid the Beast and the Antichrist in opposing God on earth through persecuting the church and the remnant of Israel. Once he is expelled from heaven, Satan will no longer be able to domminate the affairs of earth with the same governmental authority. He will have to rely entirely on his human intermediaries. After the defeat of his followers at Armageddon, he will be bound for a thousand years. He will no longer be able to wreak havoc in the earth.

Once Satan is removed from heaven, the celesital realms are ready to be purified and made fresh. They shall burn with fire at Christ's coming, as we read in 2 Peter 3:12.
The removal of Satan and his angelic kingdom is a vital step in God's purposes. For the new heavens shall be the seat of government for a new celestial hierarchy. The Lord has prepared a replacement for the old angelic government of angels in a people He has gathered to Himself. This is the church and the resurrected saints of the Old Testament. They shall reign with Christ and consitute a new celestial aristocracy to govern the universe. By grace, the fall of Satan and his angels made way for the uplifting of man to the highest place in the universe. All things shall be subject to mankind (the son of man and those that are in Him).

The final battle shall take place after the millennium. Satan shall be let out and shall again gather a rebellion of wicked men. Though the earth shall be governed in the millennium by peace and righteousness, the heart of man is wicked. Sinful man can never be satisfied with God's goodness. People shall turn again to Satan's lies. Yet they shall be defeated swiftly. Though they may hope that Satan might have some last trick to save them, they will be vanquished and sent to the lake of fire forever, to be tormented day and night with Satan, the one to whom they offered their lives.

With the ultimate defeat of death and sin, God may be all in all. The cosmos shall be restored to perfect fellowship with God and all of creation, man, woman, beast, angel shall all be joined in harmony with the eternal love of the Triune God, experiencing the perfect fellowship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and being transformed and transfigured by that divine love.

The Genesis Gap Theory: A Re-appraisal

The Genesis Gap Theory: A Re-appraisal

Article by Maurice Lloyd

Times: Swedish military lion shorn of his equipment after women troops protest

Times: Swedish military lion shorn of his equipment after women troops protest

Times: A home for the homeless

Times: A home for the homeless

Article by Kit Malthouse

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lot and his daughters, by Orazio Gentileschi

In this picture we see the daughters of Lot with their father looking hopelessly at the lost home they have left.

The end of Lot is a sad one. Living in a cave, seduced by his own daughters and father of nations that were enemies of God.

Lot is the type of the carnal Christian, the believer who has his heart set on the things of this world and who thus fails to inherit the riches of God's kingdom.

Lot chose to dwell in the well-watered plains of Sodom and Gomorrah. He looked upon the material gain he could make in that region. he thought nothing of the fact that the people their were wicked.

In Genesis 13, we see Lot pitching his tent toward Sodom. He did not intend to live in the wretched city. He just wanted to be close enough to it to trade with the people there. Yet when we see him next in chapter 19, he is living in a house in that very city. When we get involved with the world we put ourselves in danger of getting sucked deeper into its ways. The initial compromise draws us into more involvement with the kingdom of Satan.

When he was finally put to the test, events showed that Lot had been corrupted by his time in Sodom. He had adopted a spirit of compromise. For when faced with an angry mob, he offers them his daughters to molest.

The mob of Sodomites then show the contempt with which they view him:

And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
Genesis 19:9

Lot probably believed that in coming to dwell in Sodom he would be a positive influence for good in the place. He perhaps thought that he might show them something of godly ways. Yet in the end it turned out that he had absolutely no influence at all upon the folk of Sodom. They had only contempt for the man. A lot of Christians seek to make friends with unbelievers and spend much time with them, in the hope of being 'salt and light' and being a witness. This is good, but they must beware adopting the ways of the people they seek to befriend. The world has nothing but contempt for the hypocritical Christian and will never be won by such a person. There attitude is this:

"You might think that we are sinners, but you don't mind spending time with us. You might think you are holy, but you laugh at the same jokes as us. You might think we are going to hell, but you dont mind making money off us."

And thus in the end we find Lot living in that cave, a pathetic figure. When we do not walk as the Lord would have us walk, we are in danger of the Lord's chastening. If we fall from the right path, our end state can be worse than our first.

The believer can rest assured of being in heaven, but there is judgment for the worldy Christian. The carnal Christian who has little work to show will be saved only as one saved by fire. She will not be told 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' She will not enter into the joy of the Lord.

The final fruit of Lot is his descendents. Through the incestous act of his daughters, Lot became father of two nations that were enemies of God's people, the Moabites and Ammonites. There is a lesson here. The worldliness of Christians can have lasting fruit, just as the righteous deeds of the Phillians had lasting fruit. The testimony of the carnal Christian will not be a sweet savour, but a stumbling block to the perishing. What a terrible thought, that through our hypocrisy, unbelievers might reject the Gospel and go to hell! Further, the carnal Christian is in danger of leaving a wretched testimony to her children. How many young people reject the faith of their parents because of the inconsistency of their lifestyle? Will your children grow up to be Moabites and Ammonites?

Yet let us not forget the work of grace in Lot's progeny. For Ruth the Moabitess was a daughter of Lot and an ancestor of our Lord. Grace so often works even in failure.

Times: Fossils show how fungi 'lassooed' prey

Times: Fossils show how fungi 'lassooed' prey

Carnivorous ‘cowboy’ fungi

Wow. That is so cool.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Destruction of Sodom

Sodom was a wicked place. Yet God did not allow the wickedness of Sodom to continue forever. Sodom was destroyed by fire from heaven.

God is holy. Holiness is a fundamental part of His nature and He cannot suffer evil to go unpunished. Hence, the Lord demonstrated in history His abhorrence of sin by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.

I knew an unbelieving girl who insisted to me that Sodom must have been destroyed by a volcano, an occurence which the Biblical writers must have interpreted as God's judgment. She gave absolutely no evidence whatsoever for Sodom's being destroyed by a volcano. Her interpretation of this event was entirely due to her naturalistic assumptions. She did not believe in God or at least doubted His existence, so she could never accept the idea of God destroying cities. Such scepticism is entirely irrational.

Men will always doubt the reality of God's judgment.

Romans 1
18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19: Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Men and women will ever deny or ignore God, yet God's wrath is revealed against them. They shall be without excuse when that wrath is poured out.

Just as God's wrath was poured out on Sodom, God's wrath will be poured out on the sinful world in which we live in the future.

2 Peter 3
3: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5: For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

People scoff at the idea of God's judgment, just as people scoffed before the flood. People assume that things have always been the way they are, yet they have not, for God intervened dramatically in the flood and changed the very face of the earth. The world before the flood perished utterly.

Likewise, the world is scheduled for another cleansing. The earth is reserved for a fiery transformation. All of the sinful system and order of Satan that governs this world shall be dissolved. It is not the physical creation that burns; no the earth was created to be inhabited. Rather, the sinful things upon it shall be burned up.

This wrath is poured out during the trumpet and vial judgments that we read about in the book of Revelation, judgments that are concluded with the battle of Armaggedon and the final destruction of sinful human government. This period of judgment is the Day of the Lord, which begins after the openning of the sixth seal:

Revelation 6
12: And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13: And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14: And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16: And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

As an advocate of the Pre-Wrath rapture, I believe that those who are in Christ are translated and glorified at this point. God's wrath is stored up to be outpoured on the sinful world system, not the believer (though the works of believers shall be judged by our Lord at His coming).

We read in Luke 17:

26: And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27: They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30: Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

As soon as Lot went out of Sodom, immediate destruction was poured out upon the city. Likewise, the rapture of the church shall be followed by the outpouring of God's wrath upon the nations that have rejected Him.

Knowing that judgment will be poured out on the world, we need to live in expectancy of the coming of Christ. In this time before the Day of the Lord, we need to make known the Gospel message to a sinful world. God commands all to repent and we need to call people to that position.

Knowing that the world is reserved for judgment means that we must not love it. It so easy to love the things of this world and to be occupied with them. Lot dwellt in Sodom, desiring to enjoy its riches. Yet in the end, he was left with nothing. All that wealth was burned up. Let us think on things above, not the things of this world.

Luke 17
32: Remember Lot's wife.

One of the shorter verses in Scripture and a stark warning.

Lot's wife looked back at burning Sodom. She had forgotten the warning she had been given. Her heart was still in Sodom.

There is danger in having our heart in the world. If we fail to watch for Christ's coming and become attached to this world, we shall fail to show the faithfulness that our Lord calls us to. Just as Lot's wife was turned to a pillar of salt, there is judgment for the believer who fails to overcome. Not loss of salvation, for the believer posesses everlasting life. To fail to overcome means to forfeit the great inheritance and privileges that our Lord would bestow upon those who follow Him.

Sodom burned and this world shall burn, yet we look to a new heavens and a new earth and the establisment of God's kingdom within them.

Times: We need GM crops, says new chief scientist

Times: We need GM crops, says new chief scientist

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Angel singing by Mussini

As you will have noticed, I am using this image as my 'avatar'.

The angel in this picture is singing.

In his hads, he holds a sheet with the lyrics of his song. We might question whether angels would need to read the lyrics of their songs from a sheet. After, all do they not eternally sing God's praises? Have they not memorised the words of their songs by now? Yet, perhaps there is no limit to what may be sung in praise to God. Perhaps singing of God's wondrous nature and works requires angels to ever be sining fresh songs in God's praise.

At the beginning of creation, the angels sang for joy. They watched as God created a new world and began a new work, bringing new glory to His name.

The angels sing of God's holy nature. We see in Isaiah, the Seraphim, the highest order of angels crying "holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the earth is full of His glory."

The angels sing of our salvation. There is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents.

There is much debate about the elders in Revelation 5; are they the church, are they the redeemed of humanity or are they angels? Some contend that the song they sing proves that they are humans. Yet it appears from verse 8 of that chapter that the four beasts or Cherubim also join in the song:

And they sung a new song, saying,
Thou art worthy to take the book,
and to open the seals thereof:
for thou wast slain,
and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood
out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
and hast made us unto our God kings and priests:
and we shall reign on the earth.

The salvation and glorification of man is the greatest and most wondrous display of God's glory and grace.

When the redeemed of the earth are in heaven in glory, they shall join their songs with the angels in praising the great Triune God.

Yet even now, we may praise God in our songs. We can have the confidence that when we sing, even though we do not see the angels, our celestial brethren, we are still in fellowship with them through our worship to God. As we sing on earth, they sing in heaven, delighting in the eternal goodness of God.

Notice that the angel, like in many other pictures, is barefoot. This displays his reverance toward God. Worshipping God is no light matter. It is the highest purpose for which we are created. So often our worship lacks reverance and respect. In many churches, music is used that is frivolous and shallow and does not truly honour God. In some churches, the music seems more designed to give glory to the performers than to God.

Yet even in churches which sing songs that are honouring to God there is no true reverance. Often worship is entered into as a ritual with little thought of what it truly involves. Often when I am presuming to worship God, my thoughts are on my own worldly cares and my own needs and desires. This is not true worship and is sin.

Times: I don't care if you don't vote

Times: I don't care if you don't vote

by Daniel Finkelstein

A sensible article.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Liberal: The Islamist as Ironist

The Liberal: The Islamist as Ironist

by TF Lane

A good article in The Liberal magazine.

The Long-necked Madonna and Packaging the Gospel

Madonna with the long neck, by Parmigianino (1503-1540)

This is a really silly picture.

The artist has attempted to paint the mother of our Lord in the fashionable Mannerist style of his day.

See her enormous long neck, like a swan! See her thin, slender fingers! Look at how long and narrow her feet are; she must find it so difficult to get shoes that fit. This lady looks just too delicate to be real.

Would anybody take this image seriously as a religious image? Would a Roman Catholic who venerated the mother of our Lord be able to view this picture as truly reverant?

In attempting to communicate Catholic theology in the contemporary style of his day, the artist has created an image that is silly and irreverant. It looks shallow.

It is nice to look at (apart from the rather poorly presented image of the infant Christ) and it is rather fun, but it cannot be taken seriously.

A lot of preachers and evangelists call for the Gospel to be proclaimed in a contemporary style. They call for 'translations' of the Bible that use contemporary speech. They call for contemporary music, Christian discos and heavy use of visual media.

However, do they not lose something with these things? Do they not remove the reverance with which sacred things should be treated?

When we attempt to package the Gospel in the trappings of contemporary pop culture, do we not patronize those they are trying to reach? I would suggest that young people do not reject Christianity because they think it is 'uncool', but rather because it has not been presented to them in a way that is persuasive. They do not believe it. If you persuaded them it was true (I make no comment here on how we should approach apologetics) then they would believe it regardless of whether or not they considered it to be 'cool'. What is necessary is to show them that the message is true, not that the message is 'cool.'

Is it not likely that the more Christians attempt to embrace contemorary media like dance music and comic books, the more likely they are to end up looking silly, like Parmigianino's picture of Mary?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Jepthath's Daughter: What do you think?

Judges 11

Did Jepthath offer his daughter as a burnt offering, or did he make her a perpetual virgin?

Some commentators say she was killed, others say she became a virgin priestess.

What do you think?

Jepthath's daughter is perhaps one of the most famous nameless characters in the Bible. No doubt in heaven, everybody will want to meet her and ask her what really happened.

Vermeer's Milkmaid and cosmic radiance

In the last post, I said that the beauty of this picture lies in the way the sunlight illuminates the surfaces of the humble room. In the same way, the Christian can see the beauty of the world through consciousness of the creating and sustaining work of God.

However, the world is not as it should be. It is darkened by the ruining effects of sin.

This state of things will not continue forever. The creation shall be renewed by the working of God. Creation shall be renewed in the future. The new heavens and the new earth is not, as is often thought, the destruction of the world, but rather its transfiguration and transformation through the working of Christ's resurrection power.

We read in 1 Corinthians that one day, God will be all in all, His presence being manifest in all creation and transforming its nature so that God's glory is displayed in it. The whole universe will be deified and bathed in the light of God's eternal energy.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Milkmaid by Vermeer

No angels this time!

I think this is one of the most incredible pictures ever. In its realistic detail, it is almost like a photograph.

The room looks very humble. The stone walls are rough and the woman wears plain and simple clothes.

Yet the picture is filled with a beauty that is radiant. The light of the sun plays on the rough stone walls illuminating them with beauty. The woman's hands may be rough, yet in the light of a bright morning they have a purity that shines.

When I look at this picture I feel like I just want to be in that room for a moment. I want to feel those stone walls. I want to smell the freshly baked bread in the basket.

Looking at the picture, one can almost hear the splash of the milk as it is poured from the jug.

What makes this painting so uncommonly beautiful is the way the artist has captured the effect of sunlight in a closed room.

It is the sunlight that makes the things in the room radiate so beautifully.

For the Christian, the light of God fills heaven and earth. When we walk with the consciousness of the ever-present reality of God, we can see His beauty and goodness in the most humble things of this creation.

Reader, do you have that consciousness of the reality and immanence of God?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Trying out a different 'avatar'

Although I love the 'avatar' that Rose created for me, I thought I would have a go with a different one.

Times: GM resistance is ‘threatening cheap food’

Times: GM resistance is ‘threatening cheap food’

'Failure to embrace the new technology will ultimately hinder the world’s ability to feed itself'

Every time I hear the word 'Organic', I reach for my hypothetical revolver.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Madonna with Angels, byAdolphe-William Bouguereau

I cannot agree with the Mariolatry of this picture, but the angels in it are really beautiful.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Genesis and Revelation

Have you ever noticed that Genesis and Revelation are the two books of the Bible that contain the largest number of angels? Count the references and see!

Angels were witnesses of God's creation of the earth in the beginning and they are witnesses of His ultimate judgment on a sinful world. In the new creation, they shall have fellowship with the redeemed of humanity, in that time when God is in all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Two pictures of an Angel of Death

The Angel of Death, by Evelyn De Morgan

This is a beautiful picture. Evelyn De Morgan was superb at painting beautiful figures.

This cannot be regarded as a truly Christian picture. We read in Matthew 24 that when Christ comes angels will gather the elect (the Post-Trib rapture). However, there is nothing in Scripture to suggest that the Christian meets an angel when she dies.

Neverthless, Christians will surely see angels when they are in heaven.

De Morgan suggests the idea that though death is very mysterious (the angel is cloaked) it brings something better.

Certainly, for the Christian death brings hope, for she knows that she will be in the presence of the Lord:

2 Corinthians
1 For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

3 if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

6 ¶ Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

While the aspect of hope in death is real for the Christian, we cannot identify with the mystery element that De Morgan suggests. We haev a certain hope of what is beyond the grave.

The Angel of Death, by George Frederick Watts

In contrast to De Morgan's picture, this painting presents a terrifying vision of death. I think this is actually one of the most disturbing pictures I have seen.

Watts presents death as an inescapeable a horrible reality.

Nobody can escape it, the king, the knight or the beggar. It comes to all regardless of age. The knight dies in his health and strength, the pale, consumptive girl dies in her sickness.

There is an incredible pathos in the resignation on the face of the king as he lays aside his crown at the feet of the angel of death. His greatness cannot save him.

The knight faces death boldly, laying down his sword, but even his bravado does not lift the mood of despair in this picture.

The angel's expression is blank and incomprehensible. Does he harbour any pity for those who come before him? What fate does he hold out for them?

For those who do not know Christ, death holds no joy or hope. Only mysterious uncertainty. Even those who follow false religion have no certainty that they will ultimately be accepted by their gods.

For those who reject God, death brings only an eternity of separation from all that is good.

Much as De Morgan's picture is very beatiful, I think Watts' is rather more interesting and challenging as a picture.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Meditating on the Angelic Hierarchy

The ranks of angels are traditionally divided into a hierarchy of nine, a hierarchy based on the various ranks of angels mentioned in the Scriptures. Each of these ranks reveals something of the character of God and of his purposes and are therefore worthy of our contemplation.


The angels closest to God are the Seraphim. These are only mentioned in Isaiah.

The word Seraphim literally means 'fiery flying serpents.' They are fiery. They reflect God's unapproacheable holiness. When Isaiah encounters them in the presence of God, he laments the uncleanliness of his lips. He becomes conscious of his sin.

Yet though we are impure, God has made a way for us to approach Him and that is through Jesus Christ. He cleanses the believer of all unrighteousness. Through Him we are able to enter into the presence of God.


In the Cherubim, we see the judicial aspect of God. He must judge sin.

The Cherubim were placed as guards of the Garden of Eden, excluding man. There were images of the Cherubim in the holy of holies, representing God's judicial dealings with Israel.

Yet Christ, the risen man, is now seated in heaven, dwelling among the Cherubim. He has entered into the heavenly sanctuary, reconciling man to God.


These have traditionally been identified with the chariot wheels on the throne of God. Ezekiel saw in his vision:

9 ¶ And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the color of a beryl stone.

10 And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.

11 When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went.

12 And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had.

Ezekiel 10

The wheels are full of eyes. God sees all. Nothing is hid from His knowledge.

These are wheels within wheels.

Romans 8
28 ¶ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God is sovereign over all. He is in control of our situation and works all things according to His eternal purpose. It may be hard to see that God is in control sometimes, but by faith in His promise we know that He is.


Here we see the sovereignty of God in its delegated aspect. Although God is sovereign, He gave up part of the exercise of that sovereignty by giving man dominion over the earth. Man in ruling the earth was to exercise the sovereign rule that God had given him. Although man failed to use that power rightly, the perfect man, Jesus Christ will exercise the true dominion over all things and those believers who have faithfully served Him will share in that delegated rule.

The upper ranks of angels have authority. They are great in power and responsibility. We do not know how such power is used by an angelic hierarchy, but we know that these mysterious celestial insitutions exist. We know that some of these angels fell. It may be that the creation of a new heavenly government in glorified humanity was God's response to the failure of angelic government in pre-history.


Alternatively translated as 'virtues.'

Here we have God's sovereingty displayed in common grace.

God makes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust. His power is displayed to all in creation that they may come to learn of Him and worship Him.

God has also revealed His righteousness by giving all a conscience. Thus even the heathen have a morality. They may come to know something of divine virtue without Scripture.


God has displayed His power in His relations, with man, giving Him revelation through history and in saving His people.

God's power is displayed in salvation. Paul wrote:

Romans 1
16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The ultimate display of God's power will be displayed in the salvation of the entire universe in the future. The earth will be restored to its original goodness. Sin and death will be removed and all shall be in harmony.


Not all of the angels are good. We read in Ephesians of principalities of darkness:

Ephesians 6
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Yet God has His own angelic principalities who make war against the principalities of darkness. There is warfare in the heavenlies. Elisha's servant was given a glimpse of this when he saw the chariots of fire that surrounded him and Elisha.

This warfare will be resolved when Satan and his angels are expelled from heaven to earth in the future.


The archangels show God's defence of His people.

When Gabriel appeared to Mary, he revealed that her child, Jesus, would be the messiah who would take the throne of David. He would be the saviour of Israel. Mary proclaimed her faith in this when she sang:

My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47 and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is on them that fear him
from generation to generation.

51 He hath showed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.

54 He hath holpen his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy;

55 as he spake to our fathers,
to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Luke 1

The other archangel of the Bible, Michael is the defender of God's people Israel:

Daniel 12
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Though the Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists are wrong in identifying Michael with Christ, we do see something of the character of Christ in Michael. Both defend God's people and both overcome Satan.

Truly God defends His people. God defends us. He hears our prayers. He has given the Holy Spirit to empower us and His Word to guide us and through Christ we can live an heavenly life on earth. And before that day on which His wrath will be outpoured He shall rapture us and remove us that we may be with Christ.


The word angel simply means messenger. The angels reveal God's will to mankind.

God has given the church the responsibility of preaching His word to the world. In this we can be like the angels. We can make known to a guilty world the salvation that is found in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

During the last days, an angel will preach the Gospel, as we are told in Revelation:

6 ¶ And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

7 saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Revelation 14

This may be what our Lord meant in Matthew 24 when He promised that the Gospel would be preached to the whole world before the end comes.

The Expulsion from Eden

A very striking image, the thought of majestic cherubim guarding the gates of paradise, shutting out mankind.

What thoughts went through the minds of our ancestors as they looked with fear at the mighty cherubim and with longing at the Garden?

I cannot help thinking of a ragged child being pushed away from a toy shop by a burly store clerk with the words:

These ent for the likes of you, son. These are for the nice kids.

Cherumbim represent the judicial aspect of God. They show His judgement against sin and His exclusion of that which was holy. At Eden they represent judgment on Adam's failing.

In the sanctuary, on the Ark of the Covenant was the mercy seat. This was decorated with statues of two Cherubim. These symbolised God's judicial deals with Israel. No man might approach the mercy seat, except the hight priest once a year on the Day of Atonement, to make intercession for His people.

Yet now there is man who dwells between the Cherubim. In Revelation chapter 4, we see Jesus Christ, the lamb of God being worshipped by Cherubim and hosts of angels. Though man was excluded from earthly paradise by Cherubim, now a man has ascended into heaven and been given access to the heavenly paradise. Through Him, our humanity can be raised to the heights of heaven. Those in Christ have access to heaven through Him.

Just as the high priest would enter into the sanctuary to intercede for Israel, Christ is entered into the heavenly sanctuary. Thriugh Him we have access to the throne of grace. Through Him we are made acceptable to the courts of heaven.

Times: No wonder they like Putin

Times: No wonder they like Putin

Article by Norman Stone

A different perspective on Putin.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I got tagged by Andrew.

I am asked for seven lesser known things about myself.

This is tough because I have given away so much information about myself on this blog.

1. I wear pyjamas in bed.

2. I usually have salami sandwiches for lunch.

3. Like Amanda, I read a lot of Fantasy. I especially like the Forgotten Realms books, especially those by RA Salvatore. I also really enjoyed Tad Williams' 'Memory, Sorrow, Thorn.'

4. I am taking a big risk making this public, but here goes. I listen to Heavy Metal music, particularly Norwegian Black Metal. I think the Burzum albums are the best music ever made in the Nineties.

5. I really enjoy a quiz show called the Eggheads. In this programme, a team of contestants competes against the Eggheads, a group of veteran quiz players who are incredibly knowledgeable about everything. Usually the Eggheads win. It is a fun programme because the Eggheads are so eccentric.

6. I have a problem with anxiety. My hand shakes quite a lot.

7. I suppose this is common knowledge already, but I really like people who visit my house to remove their shoes. If you come to my house and take your shoes off without being asked, I will find it hard to dislike you.

I am tagging:

Palm Boy

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Some more Edward Burne-Jones

One of the distinctive things about Edward Burne-Jones' images is that his people always have really blank facial expressions. They are not real people in real, historical circumstances. They are abstract. They represent a kind of idealised, timeless, Platonic beauty.

Edward Burne-Jones did not paint reality as it was, he painted it as he thought it was meant to be.

I think there is a lot to be said for his approach. As Christians we believe that the world is fallen, yet in the original creation, there was a perfect ideal of harmony and beauty. To make such an ideal the goal of aesthetics has much merit.