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Slide Flags showing the pentagram The star pentagram appears on many flags. According to Betsy Ross' daughter, Washington and some others came to her mother's upholstery shop in Philly in June of with a rough draft of a flag. It had 6-pointed stars. Betsy showed them how to make a 5-pointed star by folding a piece of paper and making one cut with the shears. Washington then changed the design. This story was later discredited.
But it is interesting to note that George Washington studied engineering, geometry, trigonometry and surveying. His family crest contained stars and stripes, and some say that this may have influenced the flag design. Also, Washington was a Freemason. Seven Virtues and Seven Vices. Art Bulletin. June , p. These combine to make the Seven Virtures, one of the best-known heptads of Christianity. They are common art motifs.
The seven virtues and seven vices are sometimes shown in opposition. In the Scrovegni chapel, the Last Judgement shows God with his right hand palm up towards the saved, and along the right wall are the seven virtues. His left hand is palm down towards the damned, and along the left wall are the seven vices, each opposite its corresponding virtue.
The seven sins are sometimes shown as the seven-headed dragon of Revelation , a favorite motif of Durer's. The Gothic Image. NY: Harper, There are also seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and Seven Joys of the Virgin, both popular art motifs. Lorenz, Nurnberg. Busch, Harald et al. Renaissance Sculpture. NY: Macmillan, Slide Seven Liberal Arts on a cathedral Throughout the Middle Ages, the seven arts represented the sum of human learning. The Medieval course of study consisted of:. The trivium , grammar, rhetoric, logic, for a Bachelor of Arts degree, and The quadrivium, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy, for a Master of Arts degree.
The quadrivium has its roots with the Pythagoreans, who gave us the very word Mathematics, and its branches. Medieval alchemy identified seven metals. With their fondness for correspondences, these were assigned to the days of the week and the planets. Eight and Baptism Slide Baptismal font in Pisa Eight and the octagon represent resurrection and rebirth, because Christ rose from grave 8 days after entry into Jerusalem. Thus they became symbols of baptism, the spiritual rebirth of a person, and many baptistries and baptismal fonts are octagonal.
Place a compass at each corner of a square and strike an arc which intersects the two adjacent sides and passes through the center of the square. This subdivides the square into a nine-module grid with modules of different proportions. Connecting the points where the arcs cut the square gives an octagon. He claims it is the fundamental construction which forms the basis for system of geometry which has governed the construction of monuments in every period, from the Egyptian to the Medieval. We just spoke about the Four Hierarchies of the Universe. One of which was the translunary world , including the moon and everything above.
The translunary world is divided into nine spheres, the empyrium, the stars, and the seven planets. Each had its own kind of angel; seraphims, cherubims, archangels, and the lot.
This figure also shows the Four Worlds that we discussed earlier, in light grey circles. It also shows the Sephiroth, which emanate or radiate from the divine power, each with its associated name, number and celestial body. From the New Testament, the main appearence of twelve is, of course, the 12 Apostles, or disciples. They are a popular art motif; on cathedrals, the 12 disciples are often arranged in 4 groups of three. This also relates twelve to seven : both are composed of 3 and 4, one by multiplication and one by addition, and both 7 and 12 are important astrological numbers.
Thirteen and Bad Luck.
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The number of faithlessness and betrayal, the number of the twelve apostles plus Judas. In the New Testament, after Jesus' baptism he was 40 days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. The 40 days of lent commemorate this event. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Some interpreted the beast as the antichrist, Nero, Mohammed, or the Pope. The theologian Peter Bengus wrote a page book, mostly devoted to , which he found equivalent to the name of Martin Luther. Luther replied with an analysis equating with the duration of the Papal regime and rejoiced that it was so near its end. Summary So into Alexandria, the great mixing bowl, were poured the symbolism of the Greeks Pythagoras and Plato, along with Old Testament, and Oriental Mysteries like cults of Isis and Osiris, and Mithraism, with their astrology and number lore.
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Out of Alexandria came sects like the gnostics, and forms of mysticism like the Cabbala with its number lore of Gematria, and the New Testament, itself mostly lacking in number symbolism, but where the gnostics found numerical secrets later amplified by Augustine, Hildegard, and Aquinas. All these sources, along with the geometry from Islam, impregnated the Middle Ages with number symbolism, and number lore flourished wherever cosmic secrets were valued, as in astrology, Medicine, alchemy, magic, and the Tarot. As with our earlier units on number symbolism and the polygons, we're on shaky ground with things that are ambiguous and poorly documented, and capable of multiple interpretations.
But as before, we have tried to focus on those things that hve come down to us in literature, and especially in art motifs. The geometry and number lore that permeated the Middle Ages could not help but affect the most prominent architecture, the Gothic Cathedrals, and the Masons, to be covered in upcoming units.
Projects Fold a pentagram by Betsy Ross' method. Do a semiregular tiling using the octagon as one of the elements. Find out what is meant by each number in Green Grow the Rushes, Ho. NY: Dover, p. The Book of Kells. London: Studio, Plate XIII. Slide A Crucifixion Christiansen, Keith. Women's auxilliary of the Freemasons. John therefore did not choose the form of the vision; God did. Though there are more variant manuscript readings of the text of Revelation than that of any other New Testament book, these are not sufficient to cause uncertainty on the meaning of a single paragraph taken as a whole.
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One cannot fully appreciate the message of the book, therefore, until one can see past the symbols to the vast realities for which they stand. Fortunately, Revelation is quite helpful in the task. In a few instances it actually interprets the symbol for the reader. For example, the seven stars in chapter 1 represent the leaders of the various congregations of the Church, while the candlesticks represent the churches see verses 12, 16, Indeed, the use of major symbols is uniform throughout Revelation.
The trumpets, seals, bowls, beasts, and so forth, all have a fixed and consistent meaning. Further, modern revelation, as noted, helpfully elucidates and provides the key to understanding others.
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The Doctrine and Covenants is particularly helpful on this point. Section 77 explicitly defines certain symbols and thereby acts as a check on the meaning of others. For example, in chapter 10, God refused to let John write what the seven thunders uttered. We do not know why. Another example comes from chapter 13, where we meet a great beast.
What we do not know, however, constitutes but a small portion of the book and in no way hampers the message.