George/Giwargis of Lydda is without doubt one of the most beloved and venerated of all Christian Saints, almost inexplicably so. Much of this may come from his career as a soldier, rising through the ranks of the Roman army at a young age to become a Tribune, one of the six officers who commanded a Roman legion. He was a man of great power, valour and standing, which meant that, when the Emperor Diocletian ordered his armies to clamp down on Christians throughout the Empire, George’s refusal, protest, and public declaration of loyalty to Christ before the Emperor was unprecedented. Diocletian, shocked by this impudence, had George tortured, then decapitated outside the walls of Nicomedia.
Over time, George’s legend grew, and may have spawned, in the spirit of his profession as a soldier, the notion that, in his life and martyrdom, George had done battle with the dragon (ie. the devil) and defeated him. By the 11th Century, this metaphorical narrative had turned into one in which George had somehow saved a princess and defeated a flesh and blood creature with fire-breath and bat wings. But no, the Church does not believe in material dragons, only the dragon of old that deceives the nations, and that is what is depicted in icons of George, who now has a country named after him, many British kings, a State of the United States, and is the patron Saint of England, Palestine, and his eponymous Georgia.
Holy George, help us defeat the dragon! Pray unto God for us!
GREGORY V of CONSTANTINOPLE (22n April, 1741-1821AD) The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is the first Bishop of the Orthodox Church, or at least has been so since the apostasy of the Bishops of Rome (the Popes) in the 11th Century. Gregory V had the dreadful misfortune to be the Patriarch during the Greek uprising which was to result in the formation of an independent Greek state. In retaliation for this, the Sultan decided to execute Gregory, despite the fact that he had, in an effort to protect the Christians in his See, denounced the uprising. He was seized upon immediately after serving the Easter/Pascha liturgy, taken out to Saint Peter’s gate at the Phanar (the Patriarchal compound), and after the age-old enjoinder to save his life by declaring Mohammed the Prophet of God, and the inevitable refusal, he was hanged there for two days.
“Theistic Faith is Optimistic and springs from a Possiblity Thinker, whereas Atheistic doubt is Pessimistic and springs from an Impossiblity thinker”. Robert Schuller Senior.
It is with both sadness and pleasant memories, that I and my wife joy say good bye to a wise old Christian, whose ‘Hour of Power’ brought inspiration and faith into our Non-Churchgoing lives.
Dr Robert H Schuller
For years his ‘Hour of Power’ was our TV church.
Now Dr Schuller was not a 1611 King James Guy.
He was not an exponent of Dispensationalism.
He was even lacking in preaching the Gospel of grace… yet still I say he was a Great Christian man, and one of my Spiritual Fathers.
He reminded me very much of my own Grandfather… John Steel Clark… and that is how millions of people around the world saw him, as a Caring and Wise Christian Elder.
God creates Individuals each with specific contributions to make, so that all knowledge, all truth, all the godliness and virtues of Christ do not reside in any one person/ sect.
We are all single members of the Body of Christ.
I Add Dr Shullers personal contributions to Christian Thought as one of the necessary pillars in my Ideological Fortress.
His is an ideology to help us master our Psychology, and steer us towards bold action and positive outlook.
To his credit Dr Schuller was very Libertarian in his Political Ideals and beliefs about Voluntary action in the pursuit of values.
He taught Pragmatism….
His Ministry brought many Great testimonies of faith from Achievers, and people with amazing stories,
His Sermons were inspirational calls to action… to pursue your God-given visions and dreams.
He wrote about how to rally back from personal loss… ” Tuff times never last, Tuff people do…”
We wrote about the psychology of the ‘Impossibility thinker’… “..trapped in the tiger cage of their own mind.”
For the Bi-centenary of The Birth of America, Schullers Message ‘I am the American Flag’, was an Epic on Freedom and prosperity… as long as the Morals of the people do not themselves ‘flag’.
Freedom is only fit for a people of strong Personal values and Self governing Self reliant ethics.
Unfortunately Later deliveries of that great speech have been trimmed down to the extent that they do not do justice to the Libertarian theology in the original.
Years Before facebook, … Joy and I would share with our Battling Kin… positive insights we had picked up from watching Hour of power on Sunday morning, or comment on what fantastic musicians, Choirs, etc… we enjoyed very much.
Robert Schuller built his ministry from the ground up into a global audience.
I do not know the details of the eventual collapse of his TV ministry, so I wont make any comment on that.
What I will say is that irrespective of that unfortunate end to his ministry, his character, example, and intellectual contribution to the faith building self reliance , tolerance, Christian thinking of his day is secure.
I believe his greatest legacy will be found in his Children and Grand children.
The Schuller family are and have always been Exemplary.
They were a Pillars of strength in America’s darkest hours after 911, and no doubt we can continue expect great things from them.
Robert A Shculler’s Hour of Power message “God’s truth is Marching on” is an Inspirational call to America to Keep Strong in faith, esp in Religious liberty.
I pray God’s grace and providence remains upon them.
Dr Scheuller in New Zealand.
A great orator like Dr Schuller must have been used to having a few Zealots in the crowd… and so it would be when he came Down under.
I have my own Robert Schuller story.
I met Dr Schuller very briefly in about 2002.
Joy and I travelled up to Auckland to see him at a large Central City Church.
Several 1000 people in attendance.
Joy and I are Big fans of the Schuller family, Though we have always thought Dr Schuller needed some ‘encouragement’ regarding The Gospel of Grace, The King James Bible Issue, Dispensationalism, and Libertarianism, and I would not let this opportunity pass….so I had packed a small pile of pamphlets and small ‘tracks’, etc to give to him.
The question remained as to exactly how I was going to achieve ‘the drop’.
This was post 911.
GW Bush era.
War pending in Iraq.
The Schullers had been a source of Moral Spiritual support for the American people directly after 911, and in the War years that have followed.
Back then there were Anti-American terrorists and Jihadists, hiding on every grassy knoll.
The Program we had been given told everyone to remain seated when Dr Schuller exited.
Well…. the moment was fast arising, and Joy ribbed me saying that if I was going to give him the package that I had better do something fast… and Being a subscriber to ‘Possibility thinking’… I decided I would simply break the rule of remaining seated, and walked up out of the Auditorium over to the exit.
There I met him for a few seconds, and gave him my ‘present.’
I called on God to bless him, and America as he was getting into his car.
Possibility thinking may involve some risk, yet can get spectacular results!
I got to shake Dr Schullers hand.
I Figure he would forgive me for being cheeky enough to ignore the Rules.
I was ‘Optimistic’ and opportunistic.
What he did with my gift, I have no idea.
I had Fulfilled *my Part*… my moral duty to put the goods into his hands.
It was now up to God to inspire him to read it.
Insignificant as this tale is it actually is descriptive of how his teachings have moulded my thinking and motivated me to action and activism.
Dr Schuller is one of my Mentors whom has been helping me get out of my seat for the last 15 years.
Robert Schuller’s legacy will continue through his Children, and Grandchildren whom in many ways exemplify Enlightened Christian character, and through his fans as they continue to share his Humanity, His wisdom, his Possibility thinking.
He will continue to be a source of my own resolve to always be an optimistic chaser of of big ideas and visions.
His Son Robert Jnr says on Facebook “My Father is now in Heaven with Mum”.
Thank you Robert H Schuller.
Update: Schuller’s Funeral …
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will be glad and rejoice in it.”
Bobby Schuller lifted up his chest and enunciated those words in a booming voice – exactly as his illustrious grandfather had done for more than half a century opening the “Hour of Power” program every Sunday, beamed across the globe to millions.
The more than 2,000 attendees at Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller’s memorial service Monday morning, who packed the Christ Cathedral plaza in the shadow of the gleaming glass tower and sanctuary, burst into laughter, tears and thunderous applause….
Before Martin Luther King, before Martin Luther, there was Martin, a Saint no less worthy than his progeny in his labour against the zeitgeist. As hard as it is to believe nowadays, once upon a time, Roman Popes were the last and greatest defenders of Christian Orthodoxy, even when other Bishops and Patriarchs would go wobbly. Martin is one of the more famous examples of this. At the time of his accession to the Papal throne in 649AD, much of the Roman Empire, of which he was technically a governor of its Italian territories, had fallen under the rule of an heretical Emperor and Bishops. The heresy du jour was monothelitism – the idea that Christ had only a single, divine will. Martin saw this as a great threat to the Church and its doctrine, and argued vigorously in favour of the traditional Orthodox view – that Christ had two wills – a human and a divine, and that to argue otherwise was to either make Him less than human, or less than God.
For daring to defend Orthodoxy, the Emperor attempted to dethrone Martin by charging him with heresy, and when this failed, he had him kidnapped and exiled to the Greek island of Naxos, where he was subject to torture and deprivation. Eventually he died of starvation, the last Papal martyr of the Church to this day.
RAPHAEL, NICHOLAS and IRENE (14th April, d.1463AD)
These three Saints were residents of the Greek island of Lesbos during the Turkish conquest of the Roman Empire – Raphael, the Abbot of a local monastery, Nicholas, one of his Deacons, and Irene, the twelve year old daughter of the Mayor. They were brutally and viciously tortured at the monastery by the Turks – Raphael died after having his jaw sawn off, Nicholas through heart failure after torture, and Irene by being roasted and suffocated in a metal cask.
What makes this story even more interesting, however, is not so much the story of the Saints, but how these three were revealed to the world. They remained unknown for nearly 500 years until 1959, when Raphael’s relics were uncovered by chance, and the three Saints began to appear to the people of Lesbos. Soon, all three sets of relics were uncovered, and miracles of healing were reported at their visitation.
This Sunday, the Sunday after Easter/Pascha is the Sunday of Thomas, the Apostle. Famed for doubting the resurrection until confronted face to face with Christ, Thomas more than made up for his reluctance in his subsequent preaching of the Gospel. After persecution broke out against the Christians, he made his way east through Mesopotamia, Parthia, and all the way to India, preaching the Gospel, baptising, and founding churches along the way. He is said to have met the Magi who were present at Christ’s birth, and finally baptised them.
Settling in India, the Orthodox churches he founded there remains to this day, and he is considered India’s Patron Saint. It was there where he was martyred by the the local ruler of Melipur, for daring to convert the Prefect’s wife and son.
Orthodox tradition has Thomas being entrusted with Mary’s belt, miraculously offered to him upon her repose, although whether this actually happened or is merely a pious story is debated.
And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. (KJV)
It is both a political right and an epistemic duty to change one’s mind. Well, I’ve been thinking. And I’ve changed my mind. I no longer think that Romans 13 is libertarianism’s last bastion against the unrule of the godless. Nor do I any longer think that anarchy is the unrule of the godless. That’s not anarchy, that’s totalitarian chaos. Anarchy is libertopian order and the only moral system of government.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (KJV)
Here’s the first question for conservative Christians. Do you think that the Founding Fathers of the United States received to themselves damnation?
And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him. (KJV)
Note that to render means to give back.
Here’s the second question for conservative Christians. What belongings of Caesar’s did those whom Jesus addressed have in their possession that they could return?
I hereby declare that I am a governing authority. Send me your money.
A Christian anarchist is … one who turns the other cheek, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and does not need a cop to tell him how to behave. A Christian anarchist does not depend upon bullets or ballots to achieve his ideal; he achieves that ideal daily by the One-Man Revolution with which he faces a decadent, confused, and dying world.
I don’t know the history of the word ‘libertarian’, who first coined it, or what it originally meant. But today there are at least three senses of the word. In a broad sense, a libertarian is someone who advocates more freedom and less government. In a narrower Randian sense, a libertarian is a minarchist. Someone who asserts that the legitimate role of the state is restricted to maintaining law and order, administering justice, and defending the realm. In the increasingly common modern-day sense a libertarian is a selfish asshole.
I’m still a libertarian in the broad sense, but no longer call myself such, because of the modern-day sense of the word. We owe its rise to Ayn Rand and her followers and to the liberal left who seize upon such opportunities as are provided by libertarians promoting “the virtue of selfishness” to tar us all with the same Objectivist brush. Its the very same statists whose successful attempts to perniciously redefine the word ‘liberal’ meant that we had to relinquish that particular label in favour of ‘libertarian’ but now that label too has become more trouble than its worth for true freedom fighters. Rand herself was adept at pernicious redefinition (it’s a key ingredient of her philosophical fiction) and we are now reaping the grim rewards of her linguicidal legacy.
Am I still a minarchist? No. (But I’m still a monarchist. Thy kingdom come.)
There’s a universal human tendency to latch on to appealing doctrines and dogmas, often at an early age, and then to fall prey to confirmation bias. We all do this, and typically we spend the rest of our lives with blinkers on, rehearsing and attending to information that supports our own settled opinions. And we give succour to inner demons who prowl around our minds like roaring lions looking for anomalous data points to devour. A typical example is that of a child who is raised by overbearing parents in a puritanical Christian household and who in adolescence is introduced to Ayn Rand’s novels and fictional philosophy. No doubt such is a liberating catharsis. But theirs is a sad fate. They throw out the baby Jesus with the religious bathwater of their parents but lose none of their parents’ zealotry which they take up in service of a seductive but ungodly cause, personal liberty that knows no master but the self. Most tragic of all, however, is the ongoing damage that the mistress of pain inflicts on their already injured minds. Rand both corrupts the soul and rots the brain. Objectivists and other assorted new atheists delude themselves that they are freethinkers yet the truth is that they have shaken of the shackles off their religious upbringings only to straight away submit to mental slavery in a different guise.
The mind of a true freethinker knows no bounds. At will it soars the celestial heavens of human cognition or traverses the valley of the shadow of brain death unscathed. What the mind of a true freethinker does not do is roam only throughout the earth, going back and forth over the same old ground, expecting to revise its worldview according the same old data every time. That’s insanity.
All of which is by means of getting around to saying that I’ve recently reviewed my political belief system and found minarchism wanting. The unexamined belief is not worth believing. Have you ever stopped to question your fundamental minarchist tenets? Minarchists assert that the state should have a legalised monopoly on violence and that it is good and proper that the citizenry should subject themselves to the authority of a gang of armed thugs whose ostensible duty it is to protect us from criminal aggression. But wait. Isn’t that the job of private security companies? How much protection is the state supposed to afford us anyway? Our tax dollars already pay for signs chiding us to lock our vehicles whilst blaming the victims of car thefts for the consequences of their own laxity. Shouldn’t the state extend this protection to subsidising deadlocks for our front and back doors? State agents could install them at the same time as the (soon-to-be if not already) mandatory insulation in our ceilings and wall cavities, while Nanny checks to makes sure we’ve shut all the windows before we go out.
Here’s what surely amounts to a strong case for anarchism as the only moral system of government. Ayn Rand hated it. She had this to say about the Libertarian Party of her day.
For the record, I shall repeat what I have said many times before: I do not join or endorse any political group or movement. More specifically, I disapprove of, disagree with, and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called “hippies of the right,” who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultanteously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism. Anyone offering such a combination confesses his inability to understand either. Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshiping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs.
A recent variant of anarchistic theory, which is befuddling some of the younger advocates of freedom, is a weird absurdity called “competing governments.” Accepting the basic premise of the modern statists—who see no difference between the functions of government and the functions of industry, between force and production, and who advocate government ownership of business—the proponents of “competing governments” take the other side of the same coin and declare that since competition is so beneficial to business, it should also be applied to government. Instead of a single, monopolistic government, they declare, there should be a number of different governments in the same geographical area, competing for the allegiance of individual citizens, with every citizen free to “shop” and to patronize whatever government he chooses.
Remember that forcible restraint of men is the only service a government has to offer. Ask yourself what a competition in forcible restraint would have to mean.
One cannot call this theory a contradiction in terms, since it is obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms “competition” and “government.” Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately. One illustration will be sufficient: suppose Mr. Smith, a customer of Government A, suspects that his next-door neighbor, Mr. Jones, a customer of Government B, has robbed him; a squad of Police A proceeds to Mr. Jones’ house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of Mr. Smith’s complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then? You take it from there.
Very well, then. Let’s take it from there. A weird absurdity called “competing governments”? It’s what the world has now and has had since the dawn of civilisation. A number of different governments in the same geographical area? Yes, that’s how the habitable surface of the planet has always been carved up. Nor can one call it a floating abstraction? No, let’s call it God’s green earth, a glorious gemstone floating in space. Cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately? Third rock from the sun.
Rand’s objection to anarchism amounts to no more than a description of the state of global politics. Terra firma is today divided up into a relatively small number of nation states, all controlled by governments that oppress the citizenry to a greater or, thankfully, lesser extent.
Why shouldn’t every citizen be free to “shop” and to patronise whatever government he chooses? Standard libertarian thinking is that borders should be open to peaceful people. So why don’t we have open borders globally? Because, as Rand rightly observes, forcible restraint of men is the only service a government has to offer!
Ask yourself what a competition in forcible restraint would have to mean. It would mean anarchy. Which is what the world has now. Except that size does matter. Anarchists support there being a relatively huge number of nation states. Fragments of what used to be. The only limit to the number of nation states on the planet being the number of sovereign individuals.
Now consider what it is that Rand inadvertently (yeah right) is actually advocating. She’s advocating a single, monopolistic world government. That tyrannises the entire world, erasing all and any borders for inmates of what is now a prison planet to flee across. Welcome to Ayn Rand’s new world order.
Ask yourself what no competition in forcible restraint would have to mean. It would have to mean one world government, a statist hell on earth, and one head of state. And all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour would now be his.
If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have laboured long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in no wise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honour, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.
And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honours the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second! You rich and poor together, hold high festival! You sober and you heedless, honour the day! Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast! The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously! The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away!
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free! He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it! By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive! He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.
It was embittered! for it was abolished!
It was embittered! for it was mocked!
It was embittered! for it was slain!
It was embittered! for it was overthrown!
It was embittered! for it was fettered in chains!
It took a body, and met God face to face! It took earth, and encountered Heaven! It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen!
O Death, where is your sting?! O Hell, where is your victory?!
Christ is risen! and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen! and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen! and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen! and life reigns!
Christ is risen! and not one dead remains in the grave!
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen!
LAZARUS (d.33AD & 63AD) Just the one Saint this week. The day before Palm Sunday is the Saturday of Lazarus, when Christ raised His friend from the dead. In doing so, He forshadowed His own resurrection, and showed that He has power over all death, including our own.
After his revival, Lazarus, as living proof of Christ’s works, was forced to flee Jerusalem, and he travelled to Cyprus where he preached Christ and established the Church there. Paul and Barnabas ordained him the first Bishop of Cyprus, where he led the Church and is regarded as their patron Saint.
He is famously reputed never to have smiled in the thirty years after his revival, except for one occasion where he saw a pot being stolen, smirking that “the clay steals the clay”
I missed the deadline for an Easter Sunday blog post, partly because, unlike Jesus, I’m not an early riser, and partly because I got a bit carried away studying scripture. I might have to lay off the Bible study for a while, because I’m starting to see things that aren’t really there. Or are they? Incipient psychosis or hidden meanings in scripture?
So I was listening to my favourite metal band, Slayer. In particular I was listening to my favourite track on their Christ Illusion album, Skeleton Christ. And reading the lyrics. And I got to wondering, is Slayer, in fact, a crypto-Christian band and their lyrics also the product of supernatural engineering?
Psychosis. That’s what you’re thinking. But bear with me. The idea is not as crazy as it might at first seem. A strong case can be made that the band who gave birth to the entire heavy metal genre, Black Sabbath, was the first Christian rock band. If Black Sabbath is a crypto-Christian band, then why not too the undisputed (by me) masters of the genre, Slayer?
Here’s a verse from the Second Epistle of John.
many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (NIV)
And here’s an excerpt from the lyrics to Skeleton Christ.
You’ll never touch God’s hand
You’ll never taste God’s breath
Because you’ll never see the Second Coming
It’s all a fuckin’ mockery
No grasp upon reality
It’s mind control for compulsory religion
And the Skeleton Christ
What if this song is not the attack on Christianity it superficially appears to be, but an attack on corrupt organised religion (“mind control for compulsory religion”) and the false gospel of the antichrist and those he’s deceived into worshipping a false Skeleton Christ? A skeleton, you see, is not “coming in the flesh”, it’s all dead bones, such as you might find in a whited sepulchre. It’s worth a thought, don’t you think? Feel free to take it cum grano salis.
Speaking of sepulchres, back to the main story.
I got to pondering the symbolism of stone in the Bible, and found this verse.
Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ (NIV)
You see where I’m going with this? Jesus is the stone. It’s no wonder the women couldn’t find Jesus in the tomb. He’d been rolled away! But by whom?
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. (NIV)
Please understand that I do not deny that it was “an angel of the Lord came down from heaven” who rolled away the stone. That is the plain meaning of this passage from the Gospel of Matthew.
But please do consider the possible hidden meaning in the possible alternative scenario I’m sketching.
Who would roll Jesus out of the way, so that his own disciples couldn’t find him, finding instead a decaying soon-to-be-Skeleton Christ? One of the Devil’s angels, for sure, if not the Devil himself.
Here are a couple of clues.
[Jesus] replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (NIV)
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (NIV)
The angel’s appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow … like an angel of light or, indeed, Jesus himself transfigured. And, in a final coup de disgrâce, the angel then sits on the stone, making the Devil’s most feared enemy a buttstool for his sulfurous butt.
It’s a complete inversion of Bible truth. Which is, of course, the Devil’s calling card.
Beware of false prophets and false messiahs. And the Skeleton Christ.