Monthly Archives: March 2016

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

Advertisements
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 , ,

The Vibe of the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a bunch of ancient texts placed in large stone jars and hidden in caves in a place called Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea. Some of the scrolls contain chunks of the Old Testament and were written over a 300 year period leading up to 68AD when Jerusalem was besieged by Romans, after which the scrolls were hurriedly hidden. Bible boffins believe that the scrolls were written by an ultra-strict sect of hairy monastic vegans called the Essenes, and that Qumran was their library. The scrolls include almost a thousand separate texts and were written on a mixture of papyrus, animal skins and copper in a number of different languages including Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. After spending almost two thousand years enjoying the view of the Dead Sea, they were discovered by a young shepherd in 1947 when one of his flock disappeared into their cave. Needing money, the shepherd grabbed some of the jars and sold them to a local merchant for £5. Since then, the scrolls have had an adventurous life, passing from hand to hand and finally ending up in their own special museum in Jerusalem. As for the vibe of what is written on the scrolls, there are chunks of every Old Testament book apart from Esther. Apparently the Essenes weren’t pleased that she married a Persian and so she was excluded from the vibe. There are also some other bits and bobs that give rules and regulations of how to live and behave in the Qumran community. What makes the Scrolls special to those who believe in God is that, until their discovery, the earliest Hebrew Bible texts were from around 900AD. Amazingly, many of these texts are almost identical to those written on the Dead Sea Scrolls, almost one thousand years earlier. It appears that, with the Old Testament, the vibe is the vibe and despite not having the ancient texts to copy from, Bible scribes never strayed from the plot.

General Vibe of the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Very Old Testament

Factvibe: The shepherd who found the scrolls forgot where the cave was and it wasn’t found again for another two years.

goat-clip-art-image_farm009

If a beast like this hadn’t wandered into a cave, we would have no Dead Sea Scrolls

Tagged ,

The Vibe of Cornelius

A leader of an occupying military force makes for an improbable ‘good guy’ but the vibe of Cornelius proves again that it’s the unlikeliest people who become heroes in the Bible. An Italian soldier based in Caesarea, the capital city of the Roman province of Judea, Cornelius is a centurion; an officer in charge of at least eighty men and perhaps as many as five hundred. His vibe comes to life shortly after the death of Jesus. Jesus’ right hand man, Peter is in the town of Lydda, just south of modern day Tel Aviv and a stone’s throw from Caesarea. Here, his prayers have just brought a dead woman, Tabitha, back to life – an event that wins the Christians many new followers. Despite not sharing an ounce of Jewish blood between them, Cornelius and his family have also recently converted to Christianity and God decides that it’s time for the family to meet the man who has spent three years by Jesus’ side. In a vision, an angel congratulates Cornelius for all his good works and tells him where he can find Peter. The next day, Peter has a vision of his own where he is shown a menu of delicious food that is forbidden for Jews to eat. In the vision, God tells him that if an animal is made by God, then eating it is godly. The vision repeats itself another couple of times and just after the third screening, Cornelius’ men arrive inviting Peter to meet their leader. Peter accepts the invite but is clearly uncomfortable entering a gentile home. Still, he goes with the vibe and finds himself in the middle of a large gathering pulled together by Cornelius. The centurion explains his vision and Peter realizes that God sees no boundaries nor does he pick favourites – his message is for everyone. Peter then tells everyone about Jesus and the vibe is so powerful that the Holy Spirit makes an appearance and people who had never heard about God start to feel the vibe in a big way. Baptisms follow and for the first time, Jesus is no longer a Jewish Messiah, the cat is properly out of the bag and his vibe begins to spread throughout the whole world.

General vibe of Cornelius: Gateway to the gentiles

Factvibe: Cornelius is the first recorded gentile convert

DCF 1.0

The vibe of Cornelius, as a plastic figurine

Tagged

The Vibe of the Canaanites

The lush fertile coastal plain that spreads east from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan is such prime real estate that Moses spends forty years leading several million people to settle there. Advertised to Abraham as a ‘Land of Milk and Honey’, Canaan is there for the taking. Unfortunately for the Canaanites, their vibe turns sour early on in their history. After a night on the wine, Noah falls asleep naked and is discovered by his son Ham. Instead of making the old man decent, Ham blabs to his brothers and for his indiscretion, Noah curses him, telling him his sons will forever be slaves. Ham’s son is Canaan and it is his back yard that the Israelites have in their gun sights when looking for a new home. The Canaanites don’t help themselves by worshipping the pagan god, Baal and it is for this reason that their cities are utterly destroyed by zealous Israelites wanting to establish a pure nation whose focus is on God. Once the settlement is a success, the Land of Canaan is renamed the Land of Israel but despite being conquered, many surviving Canaanites choose to stick around. Thanks to a proliferation of seaports, the Canaanites become known as skilled merchants, exporting oil, cedar wood and wine to Egypt and Greece and bringing back Egyptian linen and Greek pottery. They are also famous for their craft vibe – it is the Canaanites who build and design Solomon’s Temple. The Canaanites even invent the first alphabet with letters we recognize today. To the Ancient Greeks, the Canaanites are known as the Phoenicians and their vibe covers an area which today includes Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and western Jordan. So despite a few bad religious choices and a thorough kicking when the Israelites first arrive, the defeated Canaanites generally thrive and live peacefully and profitably alongside their new landlords.

General vibe of the Canaanites: the pagans next door.

Factvibe: Papyrus scrolls imported from Egypt to the Canaanite port of Byblos were called Biblia, giving us the word Bible.

ABC

We have the Canaanites to thank for our alphabet. Thanks Canaanites!

Tagged , ,