The Vibe of the Angel of Death

The Angel of Death, aka the Destroyer, has the vibe of a divine Terminator. The clue is in the name: wherever the Angel of Death roams, death follows. It is this angel that God sends into Egypt as a deal breaker when Pharaoh insists on holding the Jews in Egypt against their will. God has already sent plagues of frogs, lice, boils, locusts and other nasties but when Pharaoh refuses to let the people go, God plays his trump card and the Angel of Death is mobilized to kill every firstborn human and animal in Egypt. Only families that daub lambs’ blood on the outside of their doorposts will be passed over unharmed. The night is a success: Pharaoh gives in, the Jews escape and the vibe is still remembered today as the Passover. However, Passover isn’t the Destroyer’s only outing, he is employed a couple of other times in the Bible. Israel’s King David is punished by God for wanting to know just how powerful a king he is and taking a head count of all his soldiers. The Angel of Death brings a plague that wipes out seventy thousand of these warriors. Later on, the aggressive Assyrian King Sennecharib is brought down to size by the Angel who lays waste to 180,000 troops who are about to attack Jerusalem. An inspiration to countless metal bands and writers of horror movies, the Angel of Death is God at his angriest, and not a vibe you want to meet face to face.

General vibe of the Angel of Death: the Destroyer

Factvibe: Some believe that the Angel of Death reappears in the book of Revelation as one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Angel

How much metal fans love the Angel of Death is evidenced by the millions of images such as this that proliferate the internet

Advertisements
Tagged

The Vibe of the Sabbath

 

The Sabbath, or Shabbat as it is known to the Jews has an ultra-chilled out vibe. Very little goes on during Shabbat aside from resting, praying and meeting friends and family. This beautifully relaxed vibe has its origins right at the beginning of Creation. God has expended so much energy creating the world in six days that he needs a day off, and it is in honour of this self-enforced quiet time that Jews throughout the world keep Saturday free and Christians do their best to keep Sunday special. The original Shabbat was not just to remember God’s incredible creative achievement – there is no record of a Sabbath being kept in Egypt. The Sabbath became a combined celebration of the Creation and the release from Egyptian slavery. Not only that, Jews see this weekly day of calm, peace, idleness and prayer as a foretaste of the vibe to come when the Messiah returns. Nowadays, the Sabbath has an almost exclusively Jewish vibe and many Jews spend part of their day off in a synagogue. That doesn’t mean that Christians are excluded from the party – they just choose Sunday as their special day and often spend some of that day in a church. Officially, Jewish Shabbat begins around eighteen minutes before sunset on Friday and lasts until three stars are clearly visible in the night sky on Saturday. The Jews have a list of thirty-nine kinds of work that may not be carried out on the Sabbath, plus any number of rituals which the faithful must adhere to in order to keep the faith. Christians are less focused on Sunday rituals, though many choose not to work or go shopping unless absolutely necessary. An easy going, not much to see here vibe with a trip to church or temple thrown in.

General vibe of the Sabbath: day of rest

Factvibe: the word sabbatical comes from the word Sabbath

closed-sign

This is the kind of vibe you might expect to come across on the Sabbath

Tagged

The Vibe of Rahab

Rahab turns a dollar for tricks, or in other words, she sells her body for money. Whether she lives in a whorehouse or just works out of her own bedroom is unclear, but her den of vice is built into the wall that surrounds the city of Jericho. When Joshua takes charge of the three million or so Jews still wandering in the Sinai Desert after the death of Moses, he sends spies into Jericho to see how the land lies. The men go straight to Rahab’s house, no doubt because she knows the mood of the city very well, having slept with so many of its townsfolk. Here, she assures them that the city is utterly terrified of the mass of Israelites over the hill, especially as word of the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea has got out. Still, the spies are spotted and the King of Jericho sends soldiers to arrest them at which point Rahab assures them that the men have long since left the city. In reality, she has hidden the spies under bundles of flax on the roof of her brothel. The soldiers buy Rahab’s story that the Israelites have already left and hurry off in pursuit, shutting the city gates after them. Rahab then bags a deal with the spies that, should they choose to destroy Jericho, they will spare her and her family. The men agree and are able to escape from a window and climb down the city wall using a rope and a basket. Before they leave, they give Rahab a scarlet cord to tie in her window and tell her to make sure it is visible and that her entire family is in her house when they return, otherwise they cannot be accountable for the terrible vibes that might be unleashed. Sure enough, Jericho is looted and burned by the Israelites but Rahab and her family survive and live happily among their new neighbours. As if to complete Rahab’s rehabilitation, her son Boaz becomes the great grandfather of King David, and a direct bloodline to Joseph, father of Jesus.

General vibe of Rahab: Tart with a heart

Factvibe: The red cord in Rahab’s window is a precursor of brothels using red lights to tell customers that they are open for business.

Amsterdam-Red-Light-District-Museum-of-Prostitution-Small-e1401285088188

Red light in a brothel window – a vibe which many think began with Rahab

Tagged , , , ,

The Vibe of the Lord’s Prayer

For those unsure of what to put into a prayer and what to keep out, the vibe of the Lord’s Prayer is a good place to start. The prayer is suggested by Jesus during an open air sermon on a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee and is short, simple and to the point. The first line, ‘Our Father in Heaven’ gets God’s attention while acknowledging that he is the heavenly father of the person praying – as creator of people God is seen by believers as the father of everyone in the world. ‘Hallowed be your name’ suggests that God’s name is holy and shouldn’t be used in vain – those who shreik ‘OMG!’ when they win a radio phone-in, beware. ‘Your kingdom come’ is not so much as a demand for the End Times to get a move on, it shows a hankering for a more heavenly way of life here on Earth. ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ is pretty straightforward – the believer’s job is to do what God wants them to, rather than push on regardless with their own plans. ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ is another simple vibe – we just need enough food to sustain us for a day: tomorrow’s prayer can take care of tomorrow. ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us’ is not about ignoring KEEP OUT signs, it’s about not holding grudges and accepting that people are sorry for the wrong things they have done that have hurt us. ‘Lead us not into temptation’ is an honest acceptance that we are easily led astray. Anything from chocolate éclairs to pretty girls and lottery jackpots sets our minds wandering and a daily dose of Lord’s Prayer ensures that believers at least try and stay on the straight and narrow. ‘Deliver us from evil’ may sound like something out of The Exorcist but really is a request for protection from anything that might harm us physically, mentally or spiritually. The prayer, which is also known by its Latin name, the Paternoster, was an instant hit with Jesus’ followers and is still recited regularly by around two billion Christians around the planet.

General vibe of the Lord’s Prayer: Pray this way

Factvibe: the addition of ‘For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen’ was first added to the Lords Prayer in the second century AD.

bread

Bread. Worth praying for long before it came sliced and wrapped in polythene.

The Vibe of Heresy

Heresy sits comfortably along its fellow vibes, apostasy and blasphemy. However, heresy is seen as more serious as it questions the central vibe of Christian teaching. Apostasy is switching to a different religion and blasphemy is really about being rude, dismissive or otherwise flippant about the things that the Bible holds dear. Throughout history, heretics have had a rough ride. The vibe, it would seem, is the vibe, and anyone who dares mess with the programme does so at their own risk. In the days when there was only one true faith and that faith was organized and governed by the Roman Catholic church, popes and bishops did not take kindly to any local ‘re-interpretation’ of the vibe. That was a place that only a few bold and enlightened souls dared to go. To their credit, many of these alternative believers stuck to their guns, even when the torture chambers of the Spanish Inquisition or the flames of the bonfire began to kick in. A lesser punishment for not towing the Catholic party line is excommunication, where a Pope informs you that you have been kicked out of the church for good (or at least until you change your mind about God), but many church bigwigs were able to take this one step further and hand out the death penalty. For many of these hardcore Catholics, the party ended when Martin Luther nailed a list of complaints against Roman Catholicism to a church door in Wittemburg and invented Protestantism. Now it was the turn of Protestant kings and queens to burn Catholics, many of whom ended up being made into saints. In the last two hundred years, the church has chilled out a little, especially as it has lost much of its power to the state. People are free to practice whatever religion they want, although the Roman Catholic Church continues to excommunicate people who claim to be Catholics but then break rules that Catholics are meant to keep. All in all, an ugly vibe that was dealt with very badly for hundreds of years and sent many otherwise good people to a premature and violent grave.

General vibe of Heretics: Believers who dare to differ.

Factvibe: Jackie Kennedy Onassis was excommunicated for marrying the divorcee, Aristotle Onassis without getting permission from the church first.

ideal-clipart-bonfire3

A bonfire. Often the final station stop for heretics in less enlightened times.

Tagged ,

The Vibe of the Fruit of the Spirit

People are people and people are bad. Thus runs the vibe of the Fruit of the Spirit, seven lovely vibes that only true believers have access to. And because people are people, they can’t help screwing up. They are destructive, self centred, greedy, aggressive, angry, arrogant, cheating and many other vibes besides. Thanks to believers’ ability to channel the fruit of the spirit, all the bad impulses can be overruled. The fruit are named by Paul in his letter to the church in Galatia in modern day Turkey and include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. However, these vibes are very broad, and need to be narrowed down a little. Love is the self-giving type that thinks of others first, joy is the elation that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit and peace is the sense of serenity that comes with being at one with God. Patience is of the long-suffering and anti-revenge kind and kindness isn’t about being nice, it’s about doing the right thing to help people, hence the vibe ‘being cruel to be kind.’ Goodness is straightforward – this vibe is about being moral and virtuous. Faith keeps believers strong regardless of what hostilities they may face and gentleness keeps any headstrong, vengeful vibes away. Lastly, self-control is the power to have mastery over your own behaviour. The list is dished out by Paul in a letter that describes the new sense of freedom enjoyed by believers in Jesus. Or in other words, thanks to the Fruit of the Spirit, Christians have special superpowers that allow them to behave unlike other people and to break free from the old patterns of behaviour that usually end in tears, lawsuits or fisticuffs.

General vibe of the Fruit of the Spirit: Secret weapons for believers

Factvibe: The Greek word for peace, eirene, gives us the girl’s name, Irene

fruit cocktail

The fruits of the spirt aren’t the kind of fruits that can be peeled and kept in a can

Tagged

The Vibe of the Flood

This rather soggy vibe begins in the earliest days of Creation, by which time God’s people have already decided that doing their own thing is preferable to being obedient to their maker. In a fit of pique, God decides to reverse creation and to take the vibe back to day one, when the Earth was still covered with water. Thankfully for the human race, there is one good man left who God wants to survive the apocalypse: Noah. Noah is instructed to build a giant boat and to load it up with his family, two of every animal and enough food to keep them all going for a long time. The flood is vast. According to the Bible, it rains for forty days and the floodwaters are so deep that the highest mountain is still around twenty feet below the surface. The flood kills every living creature that needs dry land to survive and the earth is covered for 150 days. Eventually the waters start to recede, beaching the Ark on top of a mountain but the land is still completely waterlogged.  After another forty days, Noah opens one of the windows in the Ark and sends out a raven to find dry land. The bird is unsuccessful but eventually a dove fails to return, suggesting that it has found somewhere to make a home. Finally, more than a year after the first rains fell, God orders Noah and his family to leave the Ark and to begin the process of recolonizing the planet. Noah’s first move is to build an altar in honour of the God who has rescued him, and in return, God promises never to destroy his handiwork again. A gloomy vibe that turns out nice in the end.

General vibe of the Flood: Creation reversed

Factvibe: Some archaeologists believe the Flood occurred when melt water from the last Ice Age (10,000BC) flooded the area that is now the Black Sea

Rain Cloud Symbol_tcm31-343767

Forecast: wet

Tagged ,

The Vibe of the Fiery Furnace

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are three young men born into Jewish nobility and who have the misfortune to be in Jerusalem when King Nebuchadnezzar’s conquering army arrives to defeat the city. Dragged off to Babylon with the rest of Judah’s ruling elite, their vibe improves a little. The men are good looking, smart and quick to learn and are fast tracked to good jobs in the royal household alongside their countryman, Daniel. However, the vibe turns sour when Nebuchadnezzar erects a ninety foot high gold effigy in the desert. The crowds who show up for the statue’s grand unveiling are warned that, if they don’t worship it, they will be thrown into a blazing furnace. Not fancying the vibe of worshipping anyone other than God, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego decide to pass, a move that fast tracks them to a face to face meeting with King Nebuchadnezzar himself. The king is furious and offers the men one last chance to change their minds. They pass again and Nebuchadnezzar is so angry that he orders his guards to make the furnace seven times hotter than usual. In fact the flames are so hot that the guards whose job it is to push the three men to their deaths die of heatstroke themselves. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fall into the furnace and moments later an astonished Nebuchadnezzar asks onlookers why a) there are four men in the furnace, not three and b) why they are walking round as if nothing is wrong. According to the king, the fourth man in the furnace looks like ‘a son of the gods’, leading to many Christians believing that this is an early appearance of Jesus. Nebuchadnezzar then forbids anyone in his kingdom to say a bad word about the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and gives the three men important jobs in the equivalent of the Babylonian Civil Service.

General vibe of the fiery furnace: very very hot

Factvibe: history doesn’t relate how the men get out of the furnace

oven-mitts-250x250

Not even these can act as protection from this oven

Tagged , , ,

The Vibe of Demons

It’s easy to think that the vibe in Heaven has always been one of milk, honey and gentle harp music. Not so. Christians believe that there was once a war in the Heavenly realm. Several angels, led by Lucifer, decide they can make better decisions than God and organize a rebellion. Their plan is at best misjudged and at worst, a one way ticket to an eternity in exile: God casts them not just out of Heaven but straight into Hell. The angels who follow Lucifer become demons – agents of evil who generally do their best to mess everything up on earth. These demons attempt to take control of their victims and lead them down dark and destructive paths. However, when confronted by Jesus, demons instantly lose their vibe. As God in human form, Jesus is instantly more powerful than any angel, even one who has gone over to the dark side. In fact there are sixty three mentions of demons in the New Testament, and several of these agents of darkness come face to face with Jesus, most notably in the form of two men living in tombs and who are possessed by demons who shout abuse at Jesus. Jesus orders the demons out and they then inhabit a herd of pigs who, unsure what to do with the vibe, leap off the nearest cliff. Over the centuries, much mental illness has been mistaken for demon possession by Christian do-gooders, but more discerning Christians still believe that demonic forces are at work on Earth and that the battle for souls is an ongoing one. A good versus bad vibe, with horns on.

General vibe of Demons: Bad angels

Factvibe: Someone possessed by a demon is called a demoniac

Demon

The vibe of demons, in a highly caffeinated canned drink

Tagged ,

The Vibe of the Cross

The cross, aka the tree, is the instrument of death which the Romans believe is appropriate to use in order to execute Jesus. No one today is one hundred per cent sure of what this cross looks like, or whether it is even shaped like a cross. Some believe that, as wood is scarce in first century Judea, the cross will have been a single upright post. Some believe this upright post has a T-bar across it. Others believe the cross is Y shaped, or shaped like an X. Historians can’t agree on whether criminals are nailed or roped to their crosses, or whether they have a small ledge to rest their feet. No one is entirely sure if the victim is attached first to a crossbar which is then hung on an upright beam or whether the whole shenanigans is in place before the crucifixion begins. One thing is certain, the cross is a brutal instrument of torture and the last place anyone would want to take their final breaths. Death comes from (among other vibes) suffocation, blood loss and heart failure and if it is too long in coming, it is sped up by smashing the victim’s legs with large hammers. The gruesomeness of the Crucifixion combined with the innocence of Jesus only helps emphasize the power and generosity of the gesture: not only is Jesus punished for every wrongdoing ever done by his followers (plus any that will ever be done), he does it by going through one of the most painful and drawn out executions devised by one of the most brutal regimes ever to come to power. As for the cross itself, it is such an unpleasant vibe for the earliest followers of Jesus that they prefer not to look at anything that reminds them of it. In fact the first crosses to appear as a Christian symbol surface around two hundred years after the crucifixion. A gruesome vibe, despite no one being entirely sure what it looked like or how it worked.

General vibe of the cross: Execution by torture

Factvibe: The Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t fans the cross as they believe it constitutes worshipping an idol

original_silver-cross-pendant

Roman instrument of death, available at most good jewellers

Tagged , ,