Delivered with our Parish magazine, these little bags arrive every year. We first thought they were for scenting the cupboards. Wrong! They are filled with little rocks that burn and give out a smoke – frankincense, maybe myrrh, the rest unknown . You burn them on a shovel and the smoke along with your prayers will protect your house and buildings for the coming year. Prayers I think are ok, but smoke? As if God would change his mind about giving you a bad year (not that he would) because you walk around with smoke, or that the smoke will make the devil run away? Na, a mixture of superstition, custom and belief, complete nonsense! When we opened the bag, the little stones were prettier than the smoke, like little jewels!
Wow, I’m really going off trumpets! What mega devastation. How long till some bright spark call a meteor Wormwood and creates a self fulfilling prophecy? But it seems that in those days, as long as you are true to God and have the safety seal, you will get by, but still unable to pray to him.
And that abyss? Maybe I’ve seem too many episodes of Dr Who, but I can see this. But the plants live on……….
6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood.[a] A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
Out on a recent photo session in October, we visited out local church in Tamsweg, which has been partially restored. There is a little side chapel which is being done. On it was a patch of graffiti , with a picture of the church dated 1709, but probably meant in all honesty and worship, I wonder if more can be revealed?
Since we’ve been here, I’ve always had an Advent Crown or Kranz to celebrate the four Sundays in Advent. No religous significance for me, I just like Christmas. I’ve also always gone to the local church service where people take their crowns and get them blessed with incense. I did wonder why, until I found just how quickly the candles can burn down, through the reef and to the table. However, this year, Dave said lets make one, so we did!
We bought a straw ring from a local shop and then Dave hacked our hedge and bound the small branches to the ring. We then put the little candle holders in, they have a big pin underneath and one on top for the candle.
I bought a set of four different sizes, so will light the largest first. I also bought a metalled plate as a fire precaution! Then I added lots of bits, with this year’s green and silver theme (!) .
This is such an astounding picture of all our prayers going up to God. Then the empty censer is hurled back to earth. Effectively saying we no longer have a way to pray or talk with God. Cut off from God, what a thought. I hope I’m already there, stood at the altar! The thought of all those years when people on earth cannot pray is awful. And where is the Holy Spirit at this time? I’ll have to head to a commentary later for this, if I haven’t already got it wrong!
1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
It’s the middle of November and the birds are returning t0 the garden. We’ve had a couple of light falls of snow that have melted.There’s been a pair of Jays at the table for several weeks, extremely shy. I saw the Nutcrackers yesterday too, one with a noisy Juvenile, shouting in one of the trees. The Tits have been around to. But mostly the sparrows have arrived. And what a summer they must have had. From a small group, I think there must be about 30 in the noisy, ever arguing family. Heavens knows what it will cost to feed the gang this winter!
Ok, Jehovah’s witnesses. Read the Bible. It says the 144,000 are the tribes of Israel. Are you Jews? NO. Sorry, but if you’re there at all it’s with great multitude.
It also says that this lot has come through the tribubulation, so there is a bit of a wibblwobbly timeywimey thing here, already there before it’s happened!
When you go on to Chapter 14, the elect are those who have also kept pure – so all you JWs haven’t married ? It struck me that there even might be a further 144,000 to the first lot, but whatever, unless God has written his name on you, you get no priority entry!
1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
The Great Multitude in White Robes
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’[a]
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’[b]
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’[c]”
Have you been to some sort of an event recently? We were recently at a Museum opening festival in our local Church. Pressies were being given and all sorts of thanks. The local Press were there, fair enough. But the photographers almost ruined things. Taking snaps with huge show off cameras – the pretend shutter noise was intrusive, it can be turned off. Then the little digitatallers were waving their cameras about and using the flash unnecessarily. For the first time I felt, enough is enough! I see it all the time, everywhere, everyone is taking shots. Never before has our life been so recorded. Of course it has a use in catching criminals BUT! There must be a pixel dust all over the world these days.
What do we do with these photos? Leave them on the camera or on the PC. I know I take a lot, but I use and edit mine. I wasn’t going to take any photos on Saturday, but in the end did just to show the pandemonium caused by all these snappers, and of course I couldn’t get the shot I wanted, someone was in the way!
Here I think the imagery ceases to be symbolic as we are told exactly what is going to happen (if not already happened), conquest, remove peace, make men slay each other. Then the details of how much would be paid for a days wages is of how people would be paid in a famine – a little wage for much work (OK I did use the commentary here). Then we get it, sword plague, famine, and the wild animals of the earth . Animals ? They’re mostly locked in zoos today and have little power over us. Earthquake, sun black, moon red, stars falling,the sky being rolled up and mountains removed – ok maybe this bit is still to come, but most of the others are being experienced now.
Wake up guys!
1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been.
12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[f] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
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