Category Archives: Letter Vibes

The Vibe of the Pearly Gates

The Pearly gates make their appearance in a vision to the disciple, John, who by now is an old man on the Greek island of Patmos. The vibe of the dream is that John is being given a guided tour of Heaven by an angel. Heaven is a city that stretches for 1400 miles and, according to measurements taken by John during his vision, is as wide and high as it is long. The walls of the city are 200 feet thick and made of the precious stone, jasper, and the buildings and streets are made of gold. The foundations of the city are successive layers of precious stones – jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, ruby, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, turquoise, jacinth and amethyst. The city has twelve gates, each fashioned from a single gigantic pearl, and it is these that give Heaven its much-loved nickname. Tradition (though not the Bible) tells us that these are manned by Peter who, when we are dead, looks up our names on a celestial database and makes a snap decision on the spot as to whether we are allowed in or not. Those who don’t make the grade are sent packing to spend eternity to be prodded by demons with pointy sticks and everyone else is allowed in to make themselves comfortable in the city that they will call home for eternity.

General vibe of the Pearly Gates: Heavenly turnstile

Factvibe: The image of Peter as a heavenly porter originates in medieval Germany.

Apparently, the gates of heaven are made of vibes such as this

Apparently, the gates of heaven are made of vibes such as this

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The Vibe of Christianity

This is the essential vibe of the New Testament and, put simply, it is a vibe of love. There are one or two rules but nowhere near as many as in the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments are still de rigueur but ordering food at a restaurant is a little easier.

Christianity is about looking out for other people rather than adopting a ‘me me me’ vibe and there are plenty of helpful suggestions offered by Jesus – his parables and Sermon of the Mount for example. Despite no scientific evidence, Christians believe that Jesus really is the Son of God and that he speaks to them personally and listens to their prayers. This vibe is called faith and is not something that can be argued over a beer in a pub.

Many unpleasant things have been done in the name of Christianity and history books are full of them, but it is unlikely that Jesus would have given any of these the green light had he been consulted beforehand. Christians often disagree with each other, resulting in numerous different brands of Christianity, all of who run their churches slightly differently. However, Christianity remains a popular religion choice around the world and most Christians live peaceful lives and try to help people less well off than themselves.

            General vibe: Love everyone.

Factvibe: Today there are over 30,000 different Christian denominations.

Wherever you see a building like this, the vibe of Christianity is nearby

Wherever you see a building like this, the vibe of Christianity is nearby

The Vibe of Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell are two very different places. Heaven is where God lives and Hell is where he doesn’t even keep a toothbrush. Traditionally, Heaven has been ‘up there’ and Hell is ‘down there’ but no one actually knows where they are or what they’re like. We get given lots of vibes though. Heaven is a paradise and full of nice people who have spent good lives being kind and thoughtful to each other while Hell is full of selfish brats.

After he dies on the cross and comes back to life, Jesus tells his followers he is getting a place ready for them in Heaven before heading off there himself. Heaven is the place where people can be with God and each other, living life to the full without any of the negative vibes of life on Earth. Forever. Hell is the final destination for anyone who doesn’t buy into the Jesus vibe. Here they will be ‘disciplined’ for all the selfish things they have done and will be separated from God. Forever. There is also a suggestion that Hell gets quite hot, hence it being referred to a number of times as ‘the fiery furnace’.

Though the exact details of Heaven and Hell remain sketchy, the vibe is one of two options: eternity with God or eternity without God. It’s fair to say that the Bible is pretty biased in steering people towards option one.

General vibe: Good times or bad times – forever.
           Factvibe: The Book of Revelation describes twelve gates with ‘each gate being made from a single pearl,’ hence the vibe ‘pearly gates.’

Up? Down? You choose - the vibe of Heaven and Hell

Up? Down? You choose – the vibe of Heaven and Hell

The Vibe of the End Times

The End Times, aka the Second Coming, aka the Day of the Lord, aka the Day of Judgment, aka Doomsday, aka the Rapture, aka the End of Days brings with it vibes of doom and gloom. Unless of course you’re a Christian in which case it will be a nice day out and a chance to catch up with old friends. This is the day when Jesus comes back to do some final bits of housekeeping. The vibe is simple – life on earth will end. However, everyone who believes in Jesus will be OK. They will go straight to Heaven which, by all accounts is better that Earth. The others will be less fortunate – they will spend eternity without God. No one knows what this will be like but the vibe is that it’s less pleasant than earth and much less fun than Heaven.

Some of the prophets and the writers of the New Testament suggest that there will be wars, earthquakes and other disasters that will signpost the End Times and that one man who embodies all that is evil will be in charge of the world at the time. However, the important vibe is that none of us really know when this is going to happen so it’s best to keep our heads down, do the right thing, love each other and be in a state of general readiness for the big day.

General vibe: Everyone out.

Factvibe: Some believe that Jesus will only come back when everyone on Earth has had an opportunity to hear his vibe.

Armageddon outta here! The vibe of the End Times

Armageddon outta here! The vibe of the End Times

The Vibe of Emperor Nero

Emperor Nero is a complete psychopath. Absolute ruler of the Roman Empire and pathological hater of Christianity, some believe he is the one referred to as the Antichrist in the book of Revelation. Thinking nothing of murdering his mother and his wife, Nero enjoys watching Christians die horribly and, thanks to somewhat different values than we have today, many of Nero’s contemporaries see this as sport and came along to watch the slaughter. According to Christian legend, it is Nero who orders the brutal executions of Paul, Peter and several of the Disciples and it is Nero who, quill shaking with rage, The apostle John describes as the Beast of Babylon. An absolute vibe killer.

General vibe: Christians must die.

Factvibe: Nero committed suicide in AD68.

As vibes go, his was a bit of a downer. The vibe of Nero

As vibes go, his was a bit of a downer. The vibe of Nero

The Vibe of the Whore of Babylon

The Whore of Babylon, also known as Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth never actually turned tricks in cheap hotel rooms. Instead, the whore is a metaphor for Rome: her throne is the seven-headed beast and Rome has seven hills. Rome is also the place where Christians are being killed for sport in giant amphitheatres while people cheer. 

Babylon is a byword for any terrible place, as the Old Testament Jews were forced to spend a sixty-year stretch in the city by king Nebuchadnezzar. Basically, Babylon is anywhere that persecutes God’s people, particularly where this is combined with vibes of excess and self-indulgence. It’s fair to say that the Bible isn’t a big fan of selfishness and in St John the Divine’s vision, the Whore eventually meets her come-uppance. This suggests that Rome will eventually fall and anyone who joins in the ‘anything goes’ vibe that the world is dancing to will fall with it.

In reality the Roman Empire does fall but not before Emperor Constantine embraces the vibe of Jesus and the city formally identified with the Whore becomes the centre of world Christianity. A bad vibe that comes good in the end.

General vibe: Hurt God’s people at your peril.

Factvibe: Roman coins at the time St John was writing showed Rome as a woman sitting on seven hills.

The Whore of Babylon - not to be found anywhere that you see this sign

The Whore of Babylon – not to be found anywhere that you see this sign


 

The Vibe of the Beast

The Beast carries a lot of apocalyptic baggage with it. Anyone who has watched the Omen movies will know that the Beast comes from a dark place. And they’re not wrong. There are actually two beasts, one who pops out of the sea and the other who is more land based.

The marine Beast represents the powers that are against God, who are fuelled by ‘the evil one’ and who persecute Christians. Which, in first century AD vibes, means the Roman Empire led by the Christian killing emperor, Nero. The land bound Beast is more of an enforcer to the marine Beast and makes the world worship him. Back in Roman times, people were encouraged to worship the Emperor but today the Beast is anyone who encourages people to worship anything that isn’t God.

The Beast has a number – 666. This is because God’s number is seven and man’s number is six, so any number of sixes still falls short of seven. A heavy metal, B-Movie horror vibe with a bit of mathematics thrown in.

General vibe: The Antigod.

Factvibe: Seventh Day Adventist Christians believe the Beast is actually the Pope.

Wingèd, hornèd, bearded: the vibe of the beast

Wingèd, hornèd, bearded: the vibe of the beast

The Vibe of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

High drama and testosterone tear through this vibe. It’s a heavy metal all the way as Victory, War, Famine and Death are all represented by men on different coloured horses.

Victory rides a white horse and carries a bow but no arrows, War is on a red horse and carries a sword, Famine is on a black horse and carries weighing scales and Death is on a pale horse carrying nothing. The horsemen are given the power to destroy one quarter of the earth using only war, hunger, plague and wild beasts which, when it comes to it, is not a bad bag of guns.

The horsemen are seen as forerunners of the grand finale when Jesus comes back to judge the world and their thundering hooves provide one of the most terrifying vibes in the Bible. Run to the hills!

General vibe: Victory! War! Famine! Death!

Factvibe: Despite popular opinion, none of the horsemen represent plague.

The messengers of armageddon, on horses

The messengers of armageddon, on horses

The Vibe of Revelation

Revelation has a cinematic action vibe. It begins with an angel handing the apostle John a scroll and telling him to write letters to seven churches, and the pace never slackens. John obeys the angel, puts pen to parchment and doesn’t mince his words. The churches have fallen way short of God’s expectations and John points the finger of wrath straight at them. The vibe is that Jesus is coming back and John’s vision continues in widescreen with Dolby stereo surround sound. He sees Heaven and is shown a scroll that contains the world’s destiny and various life ending disasters that will happen when the seals to the scroll are opened.

Trumpet blasts herald disasters of epic proportions but people still dig their heels in until one final trumpet introduces the dramatic arrival of the Kingdom of God. The Roman Empire is portrayed as dragons and beasts – the destroyers of religion. Seven angels appear to pass God’s judgement, seven more angels bring seven plagues on those who do evil and finally God triumphs. Babylon is overthrown, Satan is defeated and a new Jerusalem is built. Fists punch the air – Jesus is coming home. Soon.

General vibe: He’s coming back. 

Factvibe: Revelation was written on the Greek holiday isle of Patmos.

The trumpet: the instrument of choice in the book of Revelation

The trumpet: the instrument of choice in the book of Revelation

The Vibe of Jude

Jude rages at the new churches like an Old Testament prophet. He throws vibes of fury at people who have slipped under the radar and have started to change the rules. Their Godless message will have an unhappy ending, he warns – God will destroy them with vibes of doom. They are shepherds who feed only themselves and they are clouds without rain.

A cloud without rain? Utterly pointless!

A cloud without rain? Utterly pointless!

Jude reminds us that at the end of man’s time on Earth there will be trouble makers who will try and get God’s people to fight each other. We are to stand firm, keep the faith, say our prayers and wait for God to bring us eternal life. And everyone else can go to Hell.

General vibe: The rules are still the rules.

Factvibe: Jude was related to Jesus – possibly even one of his brothers.