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Esther Olsson discovered Hillsong Church designed a cover that resembles her own art Photo credit: Instagram / @estherolsson

Lance Goodall 23 March 2018


Hillsong church has been accused of plagiarising a Melbourne artist’s work and she has taken to social media to name and shame them.

Melbourne-based artist Esther Olsson discovered that Hillsong, a church that originated in Sydney but has expanded across the globe, has created a new album cover and merchandise that resembles her own artwork.

 

Email screenshots appear to show that in November last year, Hillsong’s Art Director Nathan Cahyadi contacted Ms Olsson prior to the designs being created, to let her know her work had inspired the concept for an upcoming album.

 

Esther took to her Instagram account to spill the entire story. According to email screenshots, the Art Director of Hillsong Church had contacted Esther prior to the designs being created, to let her know her work had inspired his concept for their upcoming album, and asking her to potentially work with Hillsong on the project. This was on the 5th November 2017.

Esther told her Instagram followers via Insta Story that she had passed on the offer, only to learn later on that they had designed something “heavily influenced by her work” anyway.

“So I have a sad story, I had a company  contact me, and I didn’t align with their views and I decided that I probably wouldn’t maybe work with them, and then they sat me down for a meeting and told me that they ended up designing something heavily influenced by my work.”

“So they sat me down at a little cafe by my house, and showed me the development and then basically showed me the final image. And I was like, ‘do you want me to recreate this?’, in my head I was thinking this, and then they were like ‘this is what we’re running with’.

And then closed the computer, and that was the meeting.”

 

He also asked if she could work with Hillsong on the project.

She told her followers via her Instagram story that she’d passed on the offer, but later learnt the group had designed something influenced by her pieces.

“I got no reply,” Esther said of that email.

“Then, I finally saw the work on their Instagram, shown by a friend,” she says.

Images of Ms Olsson’s art that she’d posted to her Instagram show that the cover looked uncannily like her own, and appeared to borrow entire symbols.

 
Ms Olsson took to her Instagram account to share her side of the story.

 

Although I am concerned about Ms. Olsson’s artwork being ‘ripped off’, my main concern is the flagrant Roman Catholic motifs that show a spirit of anti-christ and pagan idolatry has well and truly infiltrated Hillsong’s artist department, (and the church),  and is a sign of things to come!

 

 

                               

 

                                                                                            

The Sacred Heart 

Britannica.com explains that the Sacred Heart, also called Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Roman Catholicism, the mystical-physical heart of Jesus as an object of devotion.

In addition to a feast, now celebrated on the Friday of the third week after Pentecost, devotion includes acts of consecration and honour given to the image of the Sacred Heart. Such images are often depicted with a wounded heart, encircled by a crown of thorns and radiating light.

 

 

The use of Jesus’ heart to symbolize his love for humanity is not found in the Bible but in the writings of some medieval mystics.

The devotion was fostered by Carthusian and Jesuit priests and promoted by St. Francis de Sales.

 

The devotion became especially popular following the disclosure of private revelations to a French Visitandine nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, in the late 17th century. Assisted by Claude de la Colombière, her confessor, she called for the establishment of a feast in honour of the Sacred Heart and for prayers of reparation for sins, especially for those directed against the Eucharist. In 1856 Pope Pius IX introduced the feast into the general calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

 

The Two Babylons
Chapter V  – Section IV

The Worship of the Sacred Heart

 Every one knows how thoroughly Romanist is the use of the rosary; and how the devotees of Rome mechanically tell their prayers upon their beads. The rosary, however, is no invention of the Papacy.

In the Church of Rome a new kind of devotion has of late been largely introduced, in which the beads play an important part, and which shows what new and additional strides in the direction of the old Babylonian Paganism the Papacy every day is steadily making.

I refer to the “Rosary of the Sacred Heart.” It is not very long since the worship of the “Sacred Heart” was first introduced; and now, everywhere it is the favourite worship. It was so in ancient Babylon, as is evident from the Babylonian system as it appeared in Egypt. There also a “Sacred Heart” was venerated.

The “Heart” was one of the sacred symbols of Osiris when he was born again, and appeared as Harpocrates, or the infant divinity, * borne in the arms of his mother Isis.

* The name Harpocrates, as shown by Bunsen, signifies “Horus, the child.”

Therefore, the fruit of the Egyptian Persea was peculiarly sacred to him, from its resemblance to the “HUMAN HEART.” Hence this infant divinity was frequently represented with a heart, or the heart-shaped fruit of the Persea, in one of his hands (Fig. 40). The following extract, from John Bell’s criticism on the antiques in the Picture Gallery of Florence, will show that the boyish divinity had been represented elsewhere also in ancient times in the same manner. Speaking of a statue of Cupid, he says it is “a fair, full, fleshy, round boy, in fine and sportive action, tossing back a heart.”

Thus the boy-god came to be regarded as the “god of the heart,” in other words, as Cupid, or the god of love.

To identify this infant divinity, with his father “the mighty hunter,” he was equipped with “bow and arrows”; and in the hands of the poets, for the amusement of the profane vulgar, this sportive boy-god was celebrated as taking aim with his gold-tipped shafts at the hearts of mankind. His real character, however, as the above statement shows, and as we have seen reason already to conclude, was far higher and of a very different kind. He was the woman’s seed. Venus and her son Cupid, then, were none other than the Madonna and the child. Looking at the subject in this light, the real force and meaning of the language will appear, which Virgil puts into the mouth of Venus, when addressing the youthful Cupid:–

“My son, my strength, whose mighty power alone
Controls the thunderer on his awful throne,
To thee thy much afflicted mother flies,
And on thy succour and thy faith relies.”

From what we have seen already as to the power and glory of the Goddess Mother being entirely built on the divine character attributed to her Son, the reader must see how exactly this is brought out, when the Son is called “THE STRENGTH” of his Mother.

As the boy-god, whose symbol was the heart, was recognised as the god of childhood, this very satisfactorily accounts for one of the peculiar customs of the Romans. Kennett tells us, in his Antiquities, that the Roman youths, in their tender years, used to wear a golden ornament suspended from their necks, called bulla, which was hollow, and heart-shaped. Barker, in his work on Cilicia, while admitting that the Roman bulla was heart-shaped, further states, that “it was usual at the birth of a child to name it after some divine personage, who was supposed to receive it under his care”; but that the “name was not retained beyond infancy, when the bulla was given up.” Who so likely to be the god under whose guardianship the Roman children were put, as the god under one or other of his many names whose express symbol they wore, and who, while he was recognised as the great and mighty war-god, who also exhibited himself in his favourite form as a little child?

The veneration of the “sacred heart” seems also to have extended to India, for there Vishnu, the Mediatorial god, in one of his forms, with the mark of the wound in his foot, in consequence of which he died, and for which such lamentation is annually made, is represented as wearing a heart suspended on his breast (Fig. 41).

It is asked, How came it that the “Heart” became the recognised symbol of the Child of the great Mother? The answer is, “The Heart” in Chaldee is “BEL”; and as, at first, after the check given to idolatry, almost all the most important elements of the Chaldean system were introduced under a veil, so under that veil they continued to be shrouded from the gaze of the uninitiated, after the first reason–the reason of fear–had long ceased to operate.

Now, the worship of the “Sacred Heart” was just, under a symbol, the worship of the “Sacred Bel,” that mighty one of Babylon, who had died a martyr for idolatry; for Harpocrates, or Horus, the infant god, was regarded as Bel, born again.

That this was in very deed the case, the following extract from Taylor, in one of his notes to his translation of the Orphic Hymns, will show. “While Bacchus,” says he, was “beholding himself” with admiration “in a mirror, he was miserably torn to pieces by the Titans, who, not content with this cruelty, first boiled his members in water, and afterwards roasted them in the fire; but while they were tasting his flesh thus dressed, Jupiter, excited by the steam, and perceiving the cruelty of the deed, hurled his thunder at the Titans, but committed his members to Apollo, the brother of Bacchus, that they might be properly interred. And this being performed, Dionysius [i.e., Bacchus], (whose HEART, during his laceration, was snatched away by Minerva and preserved) by a new REGENERATION, again emerged, and he being restored to his pristine life and integrity, afterwards filled up the number of the gods.”

This surely shows, in a striking light, the peculiar sacredness of the heart of Bacchus; and that the regeneration of his heart has the very meaning I have attached to it–viz., the new birth or new incarnation of Nimrod or Bel. When Bel, however was born again as a child, he was, as we have seen, represented as an incarnation of the sun.

 

 

Therefore, to indicate his connection with the fiery and burning sun, the “sacred heart” was frequently represented as a “heart of flame.” So the “Sacred Heart” of Rome is actually worshipped as a flaming heart, as may be seen on the rosaries devoted to that worship. Of what use, then, is it to say that the “Sacred Heart” which Rome worships is called by the name of “Jesus,” when not only is the devotion given to a material image borrowed from the worship of the Babylonian Antichrist, but when the attributes ascribed to that “Jesus” are not the attributes of the living and loving Saviour, but the genuine attributes of the ancient Moloch or Bel?

 

 

The Eucharist (The Unbloody Sacrifice)

 

The Two Babylons Chapter IV  – Section III
The Sacrifice of the Mass

If baptismal regeneration, the initiating ordinance of Rome, and justification by works, be both Chaldean, the principle embodied in the “unbloody sacrifice” of the mass is not less so.

We have evidence that goes to show the Babylonian origin of the idea of that “unbloody sacrifice” very distinctly.

From Tacitus we learn that no blood was allowed to be offered on the altars of Paphian Venus.

Victims were used for the purposes of the Haruspex, that presages of the issues of events might be drawn from the inspection of the entrails of these victims; but the altars of the Paphian goddess were required to be kept pure from blood. Tacitus shows that the Haruspex of the temple of the Paphian Venus was brought from Cilicia, for his knowledge of her rites, that they might be duly performed according to the supposed will of the goddess, the Cilicians having peculiar knowledge of her rites. Now, Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia, was built by Sennacerib, the Assyrian king, in express imitation of Babylon. Its religion would naturally correspond; and when we find “unbloody sacrifice” in Cyprus, whose priest came from Cilicia, that, in the circumstances, is itself a strong presumption that the “unbloody sacrifice” came to it through Cilicia from Babylon.

This presumption is greatly strengthened when we find from Herodotus that the peculiar and abominable institution of Babylon in prostituting virgins in honour of Mylitta, was observed also in Cyprus in honour of Venus. But the positive testimony of Pausanias brings this presumption to a certainty. “Near this,” says that historian, speaking of the temple of Vulcan at Athens, “is the temple of Celestial Venus, who was first worshipped by the Assyrians, and after these by the Paphians in Cyprus, and the Phoenicians who inhabited the city of Ascalon in Palestine. But the Cythereans venerated this goddess in consequence of learning her sacred rites from the Phoenicians.”

The Assyrian Venus, then–that is, the great goddess of Babylon–and the Cyprian Venus were one and the same, and consequently the “bloodless” altars of the Paphian goddess show the character of the worship peculiar to the Babylonian goddess, from whom she was derived. In this respect the goddess-queen of Chaldea differed from her son, who was worshipped in her arms.

He was, as we have seen, represented as delighting in blood. But she, as the mother of grace and mercy, as the celestial “Dove,” as “the hope of the whole world,” (BRYANT) was averse to blood, and was represented in a benign and gentle character. Accordingly, in Babylon she bore the name of Mylitta–that is, “The Mediatrix.” *

 

* Mylitta is the same as Melitta, the feminine of Melitz, “a mediator,” which in Chaldee becomes Melitt. Melitz is the word used in Job 33:23, 24: “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter(Heb. Melitz, “a mediator“), one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness, then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.”

Every one who reads the Bible, and sees how expressly it declares that, as there is only “one God,” so there is only “one Mediator between God and man” (1 Tim 2:5), must marvel how it could ever have entered the mind of any one to bestow on Mary, as is done by the Church of Rome, the character of the “Mediatrix.”

But the character ascribed to the Babylonian goddess as Mylitta sufficiently accounts for this. In accordance with this character of Mediatrix, she was called Aphrodite–that is, “the wrath-subduer” *–who by her charms could soothe the breast of angry Jove, and soften the most rugged spirits of gods or mortal-men. In Athens she was called Amarusia (PAUSANIAS)–that is, “The Mother of gracious acceptance.” **

* From Chaldee “aph,” “wrath,” and “radah,” “to subdue”; “radite” is the feminine emphatic.

** From “Ama,” “mother,” and “Retza,” “to accept graciously,” which in the participle active is “Rutza.” Pausanias expresses his perplexity as to the meaning of the name Amarusia as applied to Diana, saying, “Concerning which appellation I never could find any one able to give a satisfactory account.” The sacred tongue plainly shows the meaning of it.

In Rome she was called “Bona Dea,” “the good goddess,” the mysteries of this goddess being celebrated by women with peculiar secrecy.

In India the goddess Lakshmi, “the Mother of the Universe,” the consort of Vishnu, is represented also as possessing the most gracious and genial disposition; and that disposition is indicated in the same way as in the case of the Babylonian goddess. “In the festivals of Lakshmi,” says Coleman, “no sanguinary sacrifices are offered.” In China, the great gods, on whom the final destinies of mankind depend, are held up to the popular mind as objects of dread; but the goddess Kuanyin, “the goddess of mercy,” whom the Chinese of Canton recognise as bearing an analogy to the Virgin or Rome, is described as looking with an eye of compassion on the guilty, and interposing to save miserable souls even from torments to which in the world of spirits they have been doomed. Therefore she is regarded with peculiar favour by the Chinese. This character of the goddess-mother has evidently radiated in all directions from Chaldea.

Now, thus we see how it comes that Rome represents Christ, the “Lamb of God,” meek and lowly in heart, who never brake the bruised reed, nor quenched the smoking flax–who spake words of sweetest encouragement to every mourning penitent–who wept over Jerusalem–who prayed for His murderers–as a stern and inexorable judge, before whom the sinner “might grovel in the dust, and still never be sure that his prayers would be heard,” while Mary is set off in the most winning and engaging light, as the hope of the guilty, as the grand refuge of sinners; how it is that the former is said to have “reserved justice and judgment to Himself,” but to have committed the exercise of all mercy to His Mother!

The most standard devotional works of Rome are pervaded by this very principle, exalting the compassion and gentleness of the mother at the expense of the loving character of the Son.

Thus, St. Alphonsus Liguori tells his readers that the sinner that ventures to come directly to Christ may come with dread and apprehension of His wrath; but let him only employ the mediation of the Virgin with her Son, and she has only to “show” that Son “the breasts that gave him suck,” (Catholic Layman, July, 1856) and His wrath will immediately be appeased. But where in the Word of God could such an idea have been found?

All this is done only to exalt the Mother, as more gracious and more compassionate than her glorious Son.

Now, this was the very case in Babylon: and to this character of the goddess queen her favourite offerings exactly corresponded. Therefore, we find the women of Judah represented as simply “burning incense, pouring out drink-offerings, and offering cakes to the queen of heaven” (Jer 44:19).

The cakes were “the unbloody sacrifice” she required. That “unbloody sacrifice” her votaries not only offered, but when admitted to the higher mysteries, they partook of, swearing anew fidelity to her.

In the fourth century, when the Queen of heaven, under the name of Mary, was beginning to be worshipped in the Christian Church, this “unbloody sacrifice” also was brought in.

Epiphanius states that the practice of offering and eating it began among the women of Arabia; and at that time it was well known to have been adopted from the Pagans.

The very shape of the unbloody sacrifice of Rome may indicate whence it came.

It is a small thin, round wafer; and on its roundness the Church of Rome lays so much stress, to use the pithy language of John Knox in regard to the wafer-god, “If, in making the roundness the ring be broken, then must another of his fellow-cakes receive that honour to be made a god, and the crazed or cracked miserable cake, that once was in hope to be made a god, must be given to a baby to play withal.”

What could have induced the Papacy to insist so much on the “roundness” of its “unbloody sacrifice”?

Clearly not any reference to the Divine institution of the Supper of our Lord; for in all the accounts that are given of it, no reference whatever is made to the form of the bread which our Lord took, when He blessed and break it, and gave it to His disciples. The importance, however, which Rome attaches to the roundness of the wafer, must have a reason; and that reason will be found, if we look at the altars of Egypt.

“The thin, round cake,” says Wilkinson, “occurs on all altars.” Almost every jot or tittle in the Egyptian worship had a symbolical meaning. The round disk, so frequent in the sacred emblems of Egypt, symbolised the sun.

Now, when Osiris, the sun-divinity, became incarnate, and was born, it was not merely that he should give his life as a sacrifice for men, but that he might also be the life and nourishment of the souls of men. It is universally admitted that Isis was the original of the Greek and Roman Ceres. But Ceres, be it observed, was worshipped not simply as the discoverer of corn; she was worshipped as “the MOTHER of Corn.”

The child she brought forth was He-Siri, “the Seed,” or, as he was most frequently called in Assyria, “Bar,” which signifies at once “the Son” and “the Corn.”  (Fig. 37).   The uninitiated might reverence Ceres for the gift of material corn to nourish their bodies, but the initiated adored her for a higher gift–for food to nourish their souls–for giving them that bread of God that cometh down from heaven–for the life of the world, of which, “if a man eat, he shall never die.” Does any one imagine that it is a mere New Testament doctrine, that Christ is the “bread of life”? There never was, there never could be, spiritual life in any soul, since the world began, at least since the expulsion from Eden, that was not nourished and supported by a continual feeding by faith on the Son of God, “in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell” (Col 1:19), “that out of His fulness we might receive, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Paul tells us that the manna of which the Israelites ate in the wilderness was to them a type and lively symbol of “the bread of life”; (1 Cor 10:3), “They did all eat the same spiritual meat”–i.e., meat which was intended not only to support their natural lives, but to point them to Him who was the life of their souls. Now, Clement of Alexandria, to whom we are largely indebted for all the discoveries that, in modern times, have been made in Egypt, expressly assures us that, “in their hidden character, the enigmas of the Egyptians were VERY SIMILAR TO THOSE OF THE JEWS.”

That the initiated Pagans actually believed that the “Corn” which Ceres bestowed on the world was not the “Corn” of this earth, but the Divine “Son,” through whom alone spiritual and eternal life could be enjoyed, we have clear and decisive proof. The Druids were devoted worshippers of Ceres, and as such they were celebrated in their mystic poems as “bearers of the ears of corn.” Now, the following is the account which the Druids give of their great divinity, under the form of “Corn.” That divinity was represented as having, in the first instance, incurred, for some reason or other, the displeasure of Ceres, and was fleeing in terror from her. In his terror, “he took the form of a bird, and mounted into the air.

That element afforded him no refuge: for The Lady, in the form of a sparrow-hawk, was gaining upon him–she was just in the act of pouncing upon him. Shuddering with dread, he perceived a heap of clean wheat upon a floor, dropped into the midst of it, and assumed the form of a single grain. Ceridwen [i.e., the British Ceres] took the form of a black high-crested hen, descended into the wheat, scratched him out, distinguished, and swallowed him. And, as the history relates, she was pregnant of him nine months, and when delivered of him, she found him so lovely a babe, that she had not resolution to put him to death” (“Song of Taliesin,” DAVIES’S British Druids). Here it is evident that the grain of corn, is expressly identified with “the lovely babe“; from which it is still further evident that Ceres, who, to the profane vulgar was known only as the Mother of “Bar,” “the Corn,” was known to the initiated as the Mother of “Bar,” “the Son.” And now, the reader will be prepared to understand the full significance of the representation in the Celestial sphere of “the Virgin with the ear of wheat in her hand.”

That ear of wheat in the Virgin’s hand is just another symbol for the child in the arms of the Virgin Mother.

Now, this Son, who was symbolised as “Corn,” was the SUN-divinity incarnate, according to the sacred oracle of the great goddess of Egypt: “No mortal hath lifted my veil. The fruit which I have brought forth is the SUN” (BUNSEN’S Egypt).

What more natural then, if this incarnate divinity is symbolised as the “bread of God,” than that he should be represented as a “round wafer,” to identify him with the Sun? — Is this a mere fancy?

Let the reader peruse the following extract from Hurd, in which he describes the embellishments of the Romish altar, on which the sacrament or consecrated wafer is deposited, and then he will be able to judge: “A plate of silver, in the form of a SUN, is fixed opposite to the SACRAMENT on the altar; which, with the light of the tapers, makes a most brilliant appearance.” What has that “brilliant” “Sun” to do there, on the altar, over against the “sacrament,” or round wafer? In Egypt, the disk of the Sun was represented in the temples, and the sovereign and his wife and children were represented as adoring it. Near the small town of Babain, in Upper Egypt, there still exists in a grotto, a representation of a sacrifice to the sun, where two priests are seen worshipping the sun’s image, as in the accompanying woodcut (Fig. 38).

In the great temple of Babylon, the golden image of the Sun was exhibited for the worship of the Babylonians. In the temple of Cuzco, in Peru, the disk of the sun was fixed up in flaming gold upon the wall, that all who entered might bow down before it. The Paeonians of Thrace were sun-worshippers; and in their worship they adored an image of the sun in the form of a disk at the top of a long pole.

In the worship of Baal, as practised by the idolatrous Israelites in the days of their apostacy, the worship of the sun’s image was equally observed; and it is striking to find that the image of the sun, which apostate Israel worshipped, was erected above the altar.

When the good king Josiah set about the work of reformation, we read that his servants in carrying out the work, proceeded thus (2 Chron 34:4): “And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence, and the images (margin, SUN-IMAGES) that were on high above them, he cut down.”

By the dawn of morn they get up and run out of town, to wait the rising sun, to whom, on every altar, there is a consecrated image, not in the likeness of a man, but of the solar orb, framed by magic art. These orbs, as soon as the sun rises, take fire, and resound with a great noise, while everybody there, men and women, hold censers in their hands, and all burn incense to the sun.” From all this, it is manifest that the image of the sun above, or on the altar, was one of the recognised symbols of those who worshipped Baal or the sun. And here, in a so-called Christian Church, a brilliant plate of silver, “in the form of a SUN,” is so placed on the altar, that every one who adores at that altar must bow down in lowly reverence before that image of the “Sun.”

Whence, I ask, could that have come, but from the ancient sun-worship, or the worship of Baal? And when the wafer is so placed that the silver “SUN” is fronting the “round” wafer, whose “roundness” is so important an element in the Romish Mystery, what can be the meaning of it, but just to show to those who have eyes to see, that the “Wafer” itself is only another symbol of Baal, or the Sun. If the sun-divinity was worshipped in Egypt as “the Seed,” or in Babylon as the “Corn,” precisely so is the wafer adored in Rome. “Bread-corn of the elect, have mercy upon us,” is one of the appointed prayers of the Roman Litany, addressed to the wafer, in the celebration of the mass. And one at least of the imperative requirements as to the way in which that wafer is to be partaken of, is the very same as was enforced in the old worship of the Babylonian divinity.

Although the god whom Isis or Ceres brought forth, and who was offered to her under the symbol of the wafer or thin round cake, as “the bread of life,” was in reality the fierce, scorching Sun, or terrible Moloch, yet in that offering all his terror was veiled, and everything repulsive was cast into the shade.

In the appointed symbol he is offered up to the benignant Mother, who tempers judgment with mercy, and to whom all spiritual blessings are ultimately referred; and blessed by that mother, he is given back to be feasted upon, as the staff of life, as the nourishment of her worshippers’ souls. Thus the Mother was held up as the favourite divinity. And thus, also, and for an entirely similar reason, does the Madonna of Rome entirely eclipse her son as the “Mother of grace and mercy.”

In regard to the Pagan character of the “unbloody sacrifice” of the mass, we have seen not little already.

But there is something yet to be considered, in which the working of the mystery of iniquity will still further appear.

There are letters on the wafer that are worth reading. These letters are I. H. S. What mean these mystical letters?

To a Christian these letters are represented as signifying, “Iesus Hominum Salvator,” “Jesus the Saviour of men.”

But let a Roman worshipper of Isis (for in the age of the emperors there were innumerable worshippers of Isis in Rome) cast his eyes upon them, and how will he read them?

He will read them, of course, according to his own well known system of idolatry: “Isis, Horus, Seb,” that is, “The Mother, the Child, and the Father of the gods,”–in other words, “The Egyptian Trinity.”

Can the reader imagine that this double sense is accidental? Surely not.

The very same spirit that converted the festival of the Pagan Oannes into the feast of the Christian Joannes, retaining at the same time all its ancient Paganism, has skilfully planned the initials I. H. S. to pay the semblance of a tribute to Christianity, while Paganism in reality has all the substance of the homage bestowed upon it.

When the women of Arabia began to adopt this wafer and offer the “unbloody sacrifice,” all genuine Christians saw at once the real character of their sacrifice. They were treated as heretics, and branded with the name of Collyridians, from the Greek name for the cake which they employed. But Rome saw that the heresy might be turned to account; and therefore, though condemned by the sound portion of the Church, the practice of offering and eating this “unbloody sacrifice” was patronised by the Papacy; and now, throughout the whole bounds of the Romish communion, it has superseded the simple but most precious sacrament of the Supper instituted by our Lord Himself.

Intimately connected with the sacrifice of the mass is the subject of transubstantiation; but the consideration of it will come more conveniently at a subsequent stage of this inquiry.

Stairway to Heaven

It has been said that the lyrics at the beginning of the song “Stairway to Heaven” refer to a woman who gets everything she wants and doesn’t give back. No matter how much money she has, no matter how much she accumulates, she will not get into heaven. Whether or not that is the true meaning of the opening lines to this mysterious song, what is true is that so many of us are trying to buy a stairway to heaven, trying earning our way to heaven  and through good works, and comparing ourselves to others; in other words, we are often trying to rise up and secure our own salvation.

However, no matter how hard we try we will always fall flat.

Do we try to buy a stairway to heaven (regardless of our conception of heaven) because we feel unworthy and are anxious about our eternal destiny? Is it because we possess self-confidence and believe we have the resources to make it on our own? Whether it is anxiety and despair on the one hand or pride on the other hand, we fail to see that entrance to heaven is not based on our ascent but the divine descent. What do I mean? Clutch the step or hold on to the wrung of the ladder you’re ascending and I’ll unpack what I mean.

Martin Luther realized the need for the divine descent a long time ago. The story goes that Luther climbed the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) during his visit to Rome. According to Roman Catholic tradition, these stairs were the steps on which Jesus walked at the time of his trial before Pilate (the stairs were supposedly brought from Jerusalem to Rome in the fourth century). In Rome, the steps lead to a chapel called Sancta Sanctorum (Holy of Holies).

Scala Sancta – the Holy Stairs in Rome

Over the centuries, pilgrims wishing to honor Christ’s passion have climbed the steps on their knees; some have hoped that through doing so they would acquire plenary indulgence (a plenary indulgence removes all the temporal punishment for sin).

Luther had supposedly climbed the stairs on his knees in the hope of being relieved of his burden in seeking assurance of God’s mercy and forgiveness. I can even imagine Luther kissing those steps. He would have kissed anything, tried anything to accumulate enough merit to make it to heaven. We are told that somewhere on his climb Luther realized that it is not our merit that saves us, but Christ’s merit and Christ’s descent from heaven. This realization led Luther to reference Jacob’s ladder and Jesus’ raising us to heaven.

In writing of Jacob’s ladder, Luther was alluding back to the biblical  account where God appeared to Jacob at Bethel (the house of God) and to that account where Jesus claimed to be greater than Jacob. Jesus is our ultimate meeting place with God–he is Bethel: while Jacob saw angels ascending and descending on the staircase (Genesis 29:10-22), Jesus told Nathaniel, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (that is, on Jesus; John 1:51).

In his reflections on Jacob’s ladder, Luther maintained that Christ descends to us from heaven and we ascend to Christ by faith as the love of God is poured out into our hearts.

Who will save us? Not someone from below like us, but someone who is from above who descends and brings us home (See John 8:21-30; 14:1-14). Only as Jesus descends and carries us up the ladder can we bear one another’s burdens and journey to our eternal home.

Why is Hillsong including this Catholic view of salvation in its album cover?

Peacock

symbols: peacock

n his 1836 book On the Mental Illumination and Moral Improvement of Mankind, Reverend Thomas Dick calls the peacock “the most beautiful bird in the world.”

There are few that would dispute this description; however, throughout history, there has always been more to the peacock than its dazzling plumage.  At various times and in various cultures, it has served as a symbol of good and evil, death and resurrection, and of sinful pride and overweening vanity.  And much like its avian brethren, the crow and the raven, the peacock has figured heavily in folktales and fables, as well as in countless superstitions that still exist today.

First originating in India, peacocks can trace their history back to biblical times.  They are mentioned in the Bible as being part of the treasure taken to the court of King Solomon.  They are also associated with Alexander the Great.  In his 1812 book The History of Animals, author Noah Webster writes:

“As early as the days of Solomon, these elegant fowls were imported into Palestine.  When Alexander was in India, he found them in vast numbers on the banks of the river Hyarotis, and was so struck with their beauty, that he forbid any person to kill or disturb them.”

Pavo Cristatus by J. Smit after Joseph Wolf, 1872.

Peacocks were an important symbol in Roman times, most commonly representing funerals, death, and resurrection.  In the Encyclopedia of Superstition, author Richard Webster explains:

“This came about when people noticed that peacocks’ feathers did not fade or lose their shiny lustre.  This was seen as a sign of immortality or resurrection.”

Because of this belief, Webster states that early Christians “decorated the walls of the catacombs” with pictures of peacocks and peacock feathers to “illustrate their faith in resurrection.”  This link with resurrection was carried over into artwork of the period which often depicted peacocks in relation to the Eucharist and the Annunciation.

According to author Christine Jackson in her 2006 book Peacock:

“In typical scenes of art of the period, the peacock was closely linked to the Eucharist by two birds flanking the cup holding the wine…[Paintings of the Annunciation] included a peacock to signify Christ’s eventual rising from the dead. 

In scenes of the Nativity of Christ, peacocks were painted near the figure of the child to symbolize the Resurrection.”

In Greek Mythology, the peacock was believed to have sprung from the blood of Argos Panoptes, the hundred-eyed giant.  Later accounts state that it was Hera who, upon the death of Argos, placed his eyes in the peacock’s tail herself or—alternately—turned Argos into a peacock.  Because of this connection, the Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology explains that the peacock was the “special bird of Hera.”

The peacock is mentioned in Greek mythology. It was the bird of Hera, queen of the Gods. One myth told of Argus, Hera‘s hundred eyed giant whose job it was to spy on Zeus and discover his trysting places. When he discovered Zeus with the maiden IoZeus changed Io into a cow to escape Hera‘s wrath. Hera saw through the disguise and requested the cow as a gift, and Zeus could not refuse her. She entrusted Argus to watch Io day and night so she could not be changed back to her true form. Zeus then sent Hermes, messenger of the gods and god of thieves and trickery, to recover Io. Knowing that he could not escape detection from Argus’ 100 eyes, Hermes began to play sleepy tunes on his flute and one by one Argus’ eyes closed and he fell asleep. Hermes then cut off his head. When Hera found Argus, she removed his one-hundred eyes and placed them on the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock.

In addition to being seen as symbols of immortality and resurrection, peacocks figured into more mundane superstitions as well.  Jackson reports that, according to the 15th century Swiss physician Paracelsus:

“…if a Peacock cries more than usuall, or out of his time, it foretels the death of some in that family to whom it doth belong.”

But peacocks did more than foretell death.  Their cry was believed to predict the coming of wet weather, while their presence—or that of their feathers—inside a house might well lead the unmarried ladies in residence to end up old maids.  Peacock feathers were also believed to bring bad luck in a theater, either by initiating disaster among the props and the actors, or by causing the play to fail.

Perhaps what Peacocks are best known for, in terms of historical association, is their long connection with the sins of pride and vanity.  This arises not only from their great beauty, but also from their tendency to strut when displaying their magnificent plumage.  In Renaissance art, for example, the peacock can often be found representing the sin of Pride in depictions of the Seven Deadly Sins.

It also been said that that the peacock is the earthly manifestation of the phoenix.

Just like the Phoenix those who wear the peacock feather can rise from the ashes.

 

Hercules and the Lion

 

 

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To be contd …..