If Christ Has Not… Uncomfortable Bible Imagery No.5

This illustration is taken from 1 Corinthians 15:14, 16-18, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”

Paul the Apostle writes a letter to the Corinthian church about how their church needs to act as believers in Christ; such as there should be no division among the congregation, church conduct in various instances, what are spiritual gifts and how they should be used appropriately. In chapter 15, Paul responds to the discovery of the Corinthian church accepting the doctrine of no resurrection of the dead, which is belief that is highly problematic for believers in Christ.

But why is it important to believe in resurrection of the dead?  Why is it important that Jesus has risen from the dead? Is not Jesus’s death on the cross enough for salvation?

To answer these questions we must go back to the origins of sin and death in the Bible. In the beginning few chapters of Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them, including man and woman, and God gave man one command, Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'” In Genesis 3, Man (being Adam) disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; because of that, God says in Genesis 3:19b, “…till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to the dust you shall return.” Because Adam sinned against God, the curse of sin and death damaged all of creation with decay; and because of one man, every person is born into the curse of sin and death, because of one man. Just as Paul says in Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned–“

Sin against God does not only produce physical death, but produces second death which is spiritual death. Revelation 20:14-15, “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” This is why Jesus, the Son of God, was sent. Through him, that we could have eternal life. Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Because Jesus is the only way to resurrection and eternal life. Jesus spoke about this to Martha just before he raised her brother Lazarus from the dead in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” Jesus even predicts his own death and resurrection in Mark 9:31, “for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”

That is why Christ’s resurrection from death is so important. If Christ has not conquered death, then there is no resurrection to eternal life for the believers. If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then everything that believers in Christ do in life, in suffering, and putting our faith in Christ is a lie, and it would be for nothing. If Christ has not been raised, then Christianity would be a utterly pointless endeavor. This would not only be a very uncomfortable hypothetical outcome for the believers, but for the unbelievers as well. If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then we are still in our sin, and we will be judged as being spiritually dead, in which we will not enter in the presence of God. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then no one could come to God’s presence. We would all be like bones ushered into the consuming fires of spiritual death with no hope of averting the coming judgment and the eternal doom before us.

Thank God and Christ that he has conquered sin and death. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Because Christ has been raised from death to life, believers in Christ have eternal life and hope. A hope that has been endowed to all mankind. Anyone who believes and trusts in God, and in His son Jesus will be saved having eternal life. Romans 10:8-10, “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

In creating this illustration, I was also inspired from imagery in passages of Ezekiel 37:1-14 of Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones and Revelation 20:11-15 of the white throne judgment. This illustration created with the use of pencils, artist pens, and markers.

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A Circumsicional and Phillacious Perspective of a Faithful Covenant Uncomfortable Bible Imagery No. 4

This illustration is taken from Genesis 17:24, “Abraham was ninety-nine years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.”

Now, you might have questions like: Why did God have Abraham circumcised at an old age? Why do a Bible illustration on a painful and awkward event like circumcision? What is circumcision? What is with the illustration, and what is with the title of this post?? Two of the words aren’t even real words!

First off, God called Abraham (at that point was called Abram) out from Ur to go to the land of Canaan to make from him a great nation, and that he would be a blessing. This promise God gave to Abraham when he was seventy-five. Then twenty four years later, while Abraham was waiting for God’s promise, God makes this promise, a covenant by circumcision. Genesis 17:13, “So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.”

Circumcision is a ritual where a male’s foreskin is cut off from the male’s penis. Circumcision was physical demonstration of two things: One, it is a permanent and very personal act of obedience in holiness to God. The LORD is holy, and God commands his people to be set apart from the world. Leviticus 19:2, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” The cutting off the foreskin is a physical symbol of iniquity being removed from the person to live holy before God. This act was passed down through Abraham’s offspring (his promised offspring, Isaac, was born when Abraham was one hundred years old) to this day through every Jewish boy on the eighth day of his birth.

However, the act of physical circumcision is not what makes a person a son of Abraham, aka a child of God. God made this act of the covenant before God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled through his coming son Isaac. Abraham acted entirely by faith that God would complete his promise to make a great nation. That is why circumcision is not what makes a person into child of God. Romans 4:9-12, “Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted for them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”

This illustration is a depiction of the circumcision of Abraham, but in a punny and humorously awkward perspective that is both circumstantial and a fallacious in nature, the opposite would probably be a explicit and graphic depiction.

Without displaying the actual circumcision, phallic suggestions were made with the exaggerated knife pose; Abraham’s head cover flying off his bald head; with the knife, head cover, and bald head in close proximity with each other; and the nervous expression of Abraham as he gazes below frame.

The reason for a more exaggerated perspective of the event is because, coming from a view in a western Christian culture, the term “circumcision” is a touchy subject that is commonly avoided because of the method of circumcision. Even though the origins and purpose of circumcision is the outward display of faith and obedience to God who rightly demands holiness.

This illustration was created by a mix medium of pencil, artist pens, and markers.

A Naked Prophecy Uncomfortable Bible Imagery No. 2

A Naked Prophecy- Uncomfortable Bible Imagery- No. 2
Illustration from Isaiah 20:3-4 from the Bible.

This imagery is taken from Isaiah 20:3-4, “Then the LORD said, ‘As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cush exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt.'”

What a seemingly strange story. Why would a prophet of God have to walk around naked for three years? Why is Isaiah prophesying about two Gentile nations that do not have to do with God’s chosen people of Israel?

All of these questions can be answered by God’s sovereignty. Because God created the heavens and the earth, God is ruler over all the heavens and the earth. The LORD establishes the nations of the earth, not just God’s chosen people. Just as it says in Psalm 96:10, “Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.'”

This prophecy foretold of the defeat and utter humiliation the people of Egypt and Cush. Because they were proud and over confident in themselves, God humiliated these nations by using the king of Assyria, because God is sovereign.

Isaiah being the messenger for the LORD, instead a verbal message of God, undergoes this act of humiliation. Although it seems strange that it was done this way, Isaiah nevertheless is obedient to God’s command, because God is sovereign.

I wanted to illustrate Isaiah walking naked, with crestfallen countenance, and covering his genitalia in a blue monochromatic wasteland to not only illustrate the act of the prophecy, but also the tone of the prophecy for the Egyptians and the Cushites.

This illustration is created with a mix medium of pencil, artist pens, colored pencils, and oil pastels.

Vomiting Up A Message Uncomfortable Bible Imagery No. 1

This is the first of a series of biblical illustrations, that most people do not always think, or like to not think about. Imagery that is not uncomfortable just to be uncomfortable, but that has a significant meaning. Vomiting Up A Message is an illustration of Jonah 2:10, where “…the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.”

Jonah, a prophet of God, was commanded to pronounce judgment on the people of the Assyrian city, Nineveh. Because Jonah, like most Israelites, hated the Ninevites, he went the opposite way and fled in a ship. Jonah suffered for his actions of disobedience by being thrown into the sea and swallowed by a great fish. Jonah stayed in the belly of the fish for three days and nights. After that time, when he prayed for repentance, “…the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.”

This is an illustration of repentance and rebirth. Because Jonah repented of his disobedience, the LORD brought him right back where he started at God’s command, “Go give my message of judgment to the Ninevites.” In which he did, and the people of Nineveh repented and turned to the LORD. As a result, God relented his judgment on the Ninevites.

It is also a foreshadow of Christ’s death and resurrection, just as Jesus foretold in Matthew 12:40, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Which leads me to describe a similar, but not exact, death and resurrection of Jonah. For Jonah, it is a rebirth from repentance. Just as a newborn is birthed out of the mother’s womb, so is Jonah reborn from the belly of the fish, and burst out onto land with the divine purpose that every believer of God, whether a prophet or not is endowed with: “Go give my message.” The message of repentance.

The illustration was made from a mix medium of pencil, artist pens, markers, and photo effects.

True Worship

True Worship
What is “worship”? How does one illustrate the concept of “worship”? I asked myself this when I was working a sound board during worship practice one night. One dictionary definition of worship is this: “Reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.” The first images I thought about specifically worshiping God were: lifting of hands, praying, singing songs, and to bow or to prostrate oneself. However all of these and more are expressions of reverent honor and respect, but they are not what true worship is. True worship comes from the heart. We refer to the heart as the center of our emotions and personality. In ancient times the seat of the emotions was referred as the bowels or the loins (which could drastically change the interpretation of image). We can do the actions or say the words that is pleasing to who we are holding in high regard, but if our hearts are not intertwined in the expressions of worship, then they are lies and in vain. We may be able to fool others in our words or our hands, but we can never fool God. It says in Psalm 44:21, “would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.” Or what God spoke about the people of Israel, in a time before the kingdom of Israel crumbled, saying in Isaiah 29:13, “And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.” I believe that we as human beings are made to worship. What we revere or hold sacred can be expressed in one or many forms. Our family, our friends, our sports, our art, our jobs, our country, our church, ourselves, our homes, our idols, our cars, our wealth, and a plethora of other nouns can be worshiped, but none of these entities are entitled to our highest and true form of worship, except God. Just as it is written to the Israelites as well as Jesus quoted to be one of the greatest commandments to God, Deuteronomy 6:5-6, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” This is image is what came to mind to illustrate “worship”. Inspired in the art style of Keith Haring. Using a pencil, a small pad of drawing paper, a calligraphy pen, and a smart phone. This is a vibrantly metaphorical image of a person who takes their heart, and offers it in the highest adoration to the One who created it within every human being in existence. The heart is yellow as gold to depict great and pure quality that is offered up. The person is covered in a dark blood-red to illustrate the Gospel message of the Messiah Jesus; whom God, out of love and grace, sent the Son of God to die for all mankind’s sin. On this day that I was born, I wanted to express my thanks and adoration to God who not only gave me existence, but also gave me eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Birth of the Restorer of Heaven and Earth

I know this image does not seem very much in traditional aspect of Christmas. However, in the spirit of Christmas Day, I created this abstract image to represent Jesus as a child gathering together the hosts of heaven and earth, to restore man and all creation before Sin and Death entered the world as a result of man’s transgression. I wanted to emphasis the Christ child by placing him center of the image, triangulate the hosts of heaven and earth to point to the Child, and to leave the Child white to stand out from the complementary colors surrounding the Christ Child and to have him white as a symbol of purity.I was inspired from a few different sources. First, was two passages in the Bible from Luke 2:9-14 when an angel of the Lord proclaimed to the shepherds of Jesus’s birth, and from Ephesians 1:3-10 where Paul talks about Jesus uniting all things of earth and heaven to him. Second, from listening to Christmas music; specifically to three of my favorite Christmas songs which are “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, “Hark, The Herald Angel Sings”, and “O Holy Night”, because I love the lyrics of the songs. Lastly, watching the 2006 film “Children of Men”, which I know is not a traditional “Christmas movie”, but it’s thematically similar to the Nativity story. The mediums used to create the image with pencil, watercolor, color pencils, and markers.

IMDBen’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens- Similarities List

WARNING THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!!

IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, THEN DO NOT KEEP READING!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

LAST CHANCE TO NOT BE SPOILED, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!

 

 

 

For those people who HAVE seen the movie or who do not care about spoilers, this is for you!

 

FULL DISCLOSURE: I really enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens! It has its problems (which I am putting together a movie review in the future.) However, overall the movie was a good and wisely made for what it was suppose to be, blending and appealing to a wide audience as much as possible. Not to mention that going to the “midnight showing” was one of the best experiences I have ever been.

That being said, I have seen Star Wars: A New Hope a great many times to know the movie like the back of my hand. When I was watching the recent movie, about roughly three to five minutes in the film, when BB-8 rolled away alone on Jakku’s sandy dunes , I came to the realization that there are parallels to Star Wars Episode: A New Hope. Throughout watching the whole movie I was picking out more and more similarities. However I was not taken out of the movie, but it stuck in my mind.

Now when I mean to say that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was very similar to A New Hope, I am expressing that the PLOT POINTS have likenesses. When I mean by plot points, I am referring to events that happen in the sequence of the story.

With that, I made a list of fifteen plot point parallels between Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: A New Hope that stood out to me upon my first viewing of The Force Awakens. I hope you find this entertaining if not interesting…..

1st) After the opening crawl, A huge star destroyer looms over a desert planet. (Imperial star destroyer over Tatooine/First Order star destroyer over Jakku)

2nd) Stormtroopers shoot and kill freedom fighters in beginning scene, but are later unable to hurt or maim the main characters. (Stormtroopers killing rebel soldiers in the rebel blockade runner/ Stormtroopers killing resistance soldiers in a Jakku village.)

3rd) A droid is given a map for the rebels/resistance to further the plot, who will later show it to the old mentor/war hero of the film. (Princess Leia gives map of plans to Death Star to R2D2 to be revealed to Obi-Wan Kenobi/ Poe Dameron give BB-8 map to Luke Skywalker’s hiding place to be shown to Han Solo.)

4th) Good guys escape from the clutches of a star destroyer, and crash on the desert planet where the main protagonist lives. (C-3PO and R2D2 escape via escape pod/ Poe and Fin escape via damaged TIE fighter.)

6th) Scavengers are after the droid as property, who is taken in by the main hero, and the droid is reluctant to reveal secret information to the main hero. (Jawas after R2D2 who is taken in by Luke Skywalker/ Teedo after BB8 who is taken in by Rey.)

7th) Main protagonist is stuck on a desert planet wishing a better life, but who is reluctant to leave the home planet. (Luke Skywalker is stuck on Tatooine, but mildly refuses to leave his uncle and aunt/ Rey is stuck on Jakku, but refuses to leave because her family may come back.)

8th) Main characters make a daring escape out of the desert planet with the Millennium Falcon. (Han, Chewie, Ben Kenobi, Luke, C-3PO, and R2D2 running away from star destroyers/ Rey, Fin, and BB8 running away from TIE fighters.)

9th) Han Solo gets accosted for failure to pay a vile debtor. (Greedo accosting Han by Jabba the Hutt/ Bala-Tik accosting Han for the Guavian Death Gang.)

10th) A huge satellite base destroys a planet(s). (Death Star destroys Alderaan/ Starkiller Base destroys five republic planets.)

11th) Main characters go to the huge satellite base; sneak around  and rescue the leading lady. (Han, Luke, and Chewie sneak around Death Star and rescue Princess Leia/ Han, Fin, and Chewie sneak around Starkiller Base to rescue Rey.)

12th) The villain who is a rogue Jedi who help disband the generation of Jedi with the help of the ancient leader of the Empire/First Order, murders his father figure. (Darth Vader kills Obi-Wan/ Kylo Ren kills Han Solo.)

13th) When Leia realizes the old war hero/mentor character is dead, she is only mildly depressed, but soon forgets. (Princess Leia with the death of Obi-Wan/ General Leia with the death of Han Solo.)

14th) Rebels/Resistance star fighters attack the huge death base in a desperate attempt before time runs out before the rebel/resistance base is destroyed. (X-Wings attack Death Star before it destroys Rebel base/ X-Wings attack Starkiller Base before it destroys Resistance base.)

Finally,

15th) Huge death base is destroyed with the Millennium Falcon and X-Wings returning to base being rushed by a cheering mob of soldiers.

I hope you enjoyed this list. I’ll be making my review for the movie in a future coming date, and may the Force be with you!

 

Article by Ben De Leon