All posts filed under: The Arts

Credit: Markku Sandberg/Flickr/Creative Commons

Temple Incense Spices

Incense and Intercession [by Helene Rudolph] Alongside the fragrant precious anointing oil was the Temple Incense.  Incense is associated with intercession in scripture. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; thee shall be an equal part of each.  And with it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure (and) holy.  And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I shall meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.  And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the LORD”. Whoever shall make (any) like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people”. (Exodus 30:34-38) Pleasant Smells Revive the Soul The priesthood of old burned incense daily as a fragrant offering unto the LORD.  The Jewish Talmud records that women, as far …

Credit: Ram Balmur/Flickr/Creative Commons

Skillful Musicians or Musicians of Snobbery?

While there has been much discussion that  musicians must excel to be part of a worship team, one wonders if Christian leaders often revert to snobbery rather than skilfulness when selecting musical players. Biblical Pattern In the first book of Chronicles we are shown the selection pattern used in David’s tabernacle to determine those who were to have a ministry in music. “And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.  And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then waited on their office according to their order.” (I Chronicles 6:31-32) The musicians selected were Levites, those separated to the work of the LORD. “And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethern to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.” (I Chronicles 15:16) …

Credit: luke siemens/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Lost Art of Story Telling

For thousands of years, the Elders of a people have verbally passed true life stories down to their children.  This was a major way for history to be recorded before the time when individuals began to record events on writing materials. Today, with the invention of the printing press and the explosion of digital technology, communication is transferred, more often through electronic means than from the voice of a loving father. This makes one question, ‘Who’s voice are your children hearing?” Story Telling is an Elder’s Duty The Israelites understood it was their responsibility to pass true stories from one generation to another.  In fact, they recognized it was the way the Lord God would make His ways and acts known to the nations. Even within the Song of Moses, this reality was communicated to the congregation. “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations.  Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:” (Deuteronomy 32:7). Not only was the Song of Moses sung to the …

Credit: schmuu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Craftsmen in Captivity

Coveting Works for Gain History records that craftsmen, artists and musicians have been consistently targeted by their enemies.  They are often taken into captivity since those who carry a Babylonian spirit desire to make merchandise of their creative gifts. Multiple stories of coveting works for gain are documented repeatedly throughout the Bible. “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!” (Habakkuk 2:9) They Only Want to Worship Moses was called to bring deliverance to his people the Israelites, who were slaves to Pharaoh (Exodus 5).  Pharaoh became furious when he discovered the Israelites wanted to go into the desert and sacrifice to the most High God.  Ever consider that it was a Jewish workforce who helped build the Egyptian Pyramids? Today that Egyptian spirit still runs rampant. Have you wondered why anointed musicians and artists who only want to exalt the most high God are targeted in our modern age?  It all has to do …

Jacob's sons show their father Joseph's cloak telling their father Joseph was killed by a wild animal Credit: Wikipedia Painting by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

Coat of Many Colors

We live in a world that often obsesses about the latest fashion trend.  Models and actors display top designers’ latest creations in magazines, fashion shows, movies, television and other multi-media venues. A culture of image-making has emerged causing a mass identity crisis for youth and adults alike. How tragic it is when an individual is shunned because of the clothes they are wearing, yet this happens multiple times a day.

While most of our garments are bought on a rack at a local shop, the mass production of clothing is a more recent phenomena.  At one time, all clothing was made by hand and tailored to fit an individual’s frame. Sewing and designing clothes was a skill passed down from generation to generation. Mothers were concerned that their children wore garments suited to their local climate and lovingly designed clothes which fit the environment. Proverbs 31 gives a detailed description of a virtuous woman who is known by her many good deeds and creative works.  This includes making garments for her household and her community. Her …

Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr/Creative Commons

It All Begins with a Story

The Bible is a collection of 66 Books containing hundreds of stories.  It starts with, “In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1), and ends with John’s vision of Jesus declaring, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). These biblical stories record the history of mankind from Adam to Abraham and the birth of the nation of Israel.  It gives a chronicle of Israel from generation to generation.  It tells us of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, unto the early years of the church age. The Bible contains prophesies, some fulfilled within the context of the entire Bible, some fulfilled the past 2,000 years since the New testament writings.  Still others of these Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled today and some will be fulfilled in the future. More copies of the Bible has been sold or freely distributed than any other book in the world.  It is recognized world-wise as the greatest Book ever written.  It …

Blind leading the blind by Francesco Pieter Brueghel the elder (1525-1569) Credit: Choo Yut Shing/Flickr/Creative Commons

Insight into Riddles

Webster’s Dictionary defines riddle as,  “Something proposed to be solved by guessing or conjecture; a puzzling question; an ambiguous proposition; an enigma; hence, anything ambiguous or puzzling.”

Encyclopedia Britannica describes a riddle as a, “deliberately enigmatic or ambiguous question requiring a thoughtful and often witty answer. The riddle is a form of guessing game that has been a part of the folklore of most cultures from ancient times. Western scholars generally recognize two main kinds of riddle: the descriptive riddle and the shrewd or witty question.”

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary calls a riddle, “a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed.” Hebrew Definition The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ (chiyah) is the original word translated to ‘riddle’ in the Old Testament.  ‘Hdyx’ is also translated in some scriptures as, ‘dark sayings’ and ‘difficult questions’. The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ is  translated into English as, “riddle, difficult question, parable, enigmatic saying or question, perplexing saying or question”. Form of Entertainment In today’s society it is common for family members to watch television and play video …

Rembrandt and Me

[by Wayne Johnston] Passover (Easter to some) is almost upon us again, and it’s time to reflect on God’s great gift for all of Adam’s lost children, Jew and Gentile alike. Old Testament prophecies and New Testament accounts of Christ’s death and atonement on the cross show very clearly who is to blame. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24) All of us – rich, poor, Jew, Gentile, even Rembrandt, and me – we are all the cause of why “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16). We are all guilty of putting Him on the cross so that we can all share in God’s redemption through it and be at peace with God. But how does Rembrandt fit into this?

How Leonard Knight’s dream became Salvation Mountain

[by Dean Smith] If you ever wander into the Colorado Desert, Northeast of Niland, California, you will come across a strange place called Salvation Mountain. It testifies of one man’s faith, dream and determination. (Click here to view photos of Salvation Mountain.) After accepting Christ in 1967, Leonard Knight (1931 – 2014) had a dream to build a hot air balloon with the message “God is Love” emblazoned in bold red color on the fabric. After failing to raise enough money to buy one, he decided to sew his own. While working as a truck driver in Quartzite, Arizona in 1984, Leonard tried to fly it, but the balloon wouldn’t hold air. Defeated, he was preparing to move on when he decided to stay an extra week and build a small monument to Christ along the banks of a now dried river bed across the border in California. He grabbed a bag of cement, some paint and set to work. This was the beginning of Salvation Mountain and until his death, Leonard never left.

Did Shia LaBeouf become a Christian?

[by Dean Smith] I have always enjoyed Shia LaBeouf as an actor — from his childhood acting career in the TV comedy series “Even Stevens” to his role in “Transformers.” He is a great actor, but his life of late has been troubling. Over the past year or so he has been accused of plagiarism for a short film he produced and even arrested for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct during a New York Broadway show — Cabaret. So, I was a bit surprised to hear he had become a Christian during the filming of his most recent film “Fury,” a World War II epic. In the movie — which also stars Brad Pitt who plays “Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier,” the tank commander — Shia plays  “Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan” a member of the tank crew who is a Christian.

Redemption Box

Often in Scripture, God teaches us deep spiritual lessons about His kingdom by comparing them to the natural world, sometimes even to the mundane things around us. When Jesus wanted to teach about His kingdom, He talked about lost money, lost sheep, farming, fishing, things that the common person could relate to.  Even the Old Testament has such examples of God using common things to teach and extend His kingdom.  An example of this is found in Exodus 4:2, where God uses the rod in Moses’ hand to show His power and be a confirmation of who He was. Some time ago I experienced such a thing and I want to encourage others by what God revealed to me, saying, “What is that in your hand?”

The lost coins of Jesus?

Dr. Ronald Stewart, using special imaging equipment, believes coins dated to 33-47 AD depict the life of Jesus. Stewart says the hand-struck coins were part of a popular art form called “Portable Coinage Art”  first introduced by Grecian emperors in 336-300 BC and later popularized by Roman emperors. People of financial means would have sets of coins created to memorialize significant people. These coins would depict notable events of a person’s life in pictorial form starting on one side of the coin and continuing on the other side.