Tag Archives: Faith

Skyway to Heaven

heaven1Two days ago, we made a really quick trip to fire and brimstone Hades.

Today, our jaunt is ever so much more pleasant. Destination: Heaven. Aka Arcadia, Elysium, Utopia, Zion, Pearly gates, Paradise, Canaan, happy hunting ground,and a few other divine euphemisms.

Note: Heaven is a vast subject–and my blog references mostly judeo-christian beliefs.

For expediency’s sake, we will zoom past Limbo–where the souls of the righteous missed the Jesus boat—-fly over the Island of the Dead–where legends & demi-gods enjoy their Atlantis vacation—glide past Purgatory–where the righteous are purified before entering Heaven—and crash through those Heavenly Gates!

The word paradise comes from the Old Persian pairidaeza, meaning encosure, or park.heaven 2

You must pass Peter before you can be enfolded into the Bosom of Abraham.

The gates are made of pearls and the walls made from precious stones. The foundations are made of jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, topaz, amethyst and a bunch of other stones I never heard of.

The city is made of gold.

Main Attractions: Tree of Life, Fountain of Grace, Mystic Lamb

There’s a few rivers ( some say 4) and about a gazillion angels.

Empyrean is the highest level of Heaven. ( It means flames in Greek). It’s infinite, white_clouds.jpgmotionless, and blazes with God’s light.

Jewish mysticism/Kabbalah states that Heaven has 7 levels.

From lowest to highest, they are:

  • 1. Shamayin: Closest to earth. Governed by Archangel Gabriel.
  • 2. Raqia: A realm governed by Raphael and location where Moses met the angelic host.
  • 3. Shehagim: Home to the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life. Manna comes from this realm, and, oh, yeah, Hell is just to the north.
  • 4. Ma’on: Home of heavenly Jerusalem and ruled by Archangel Michael.
  • 5. Makhon: Ruled by Samael–a dark servant of God.
  • 6. Zebul: Ruled by Sachiel.
  • 7. Araboth: The most holy of the 7 heavens and governed by Cassiel. Houses the Throne of God. Residence of:

Seraphim: Highest order of angel. They repeat “holy, holy, holy” foreever and all eternity.  They have 4 faces,  6 wings and have been likened to fiery serpents ( Numbers 21:6).

Cherubum: Huge winged creatures with 4 faces and 4 wings. Best known for guarding the Tree of Life with a flaming sword.


merkabahHayyoth:
Heavenly beasts and class of Merkabah angles with 4 wings, 4 faces, 2,000 thrones.

God dwells in the highest level.  location,location, location, right?  Under the throne resides all the unborn human souls.

Well,  it’s time to return to Earth. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Paradise.

Related Links: Engaging Enigmas
Click  Amazon link for novels.

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Mary of Nazareth

It’s  Fab Female Friday and with only several days left before Christmas, I had no choice but to write about Mary, Mother of God. Icon. Saint. Legendary Jewish mother.

Naturally, everyone knows about the biblical Mary. The woman is an icon of epic proportions. Images of her are ubiquitous, and yet Anglican, eastern Orthodox, Islamic (yes), Lutheran, Protestant, and Catholic all hold different views about her.

With that in mind, remember this as I offer a few pieces of information about the Virgin Mother. Dogma and opinions vary!

WARNING: The following is non-academic.

 For scholarly information check out the University of Dayton’s The Mary Page, which has amassed the world’s largest collection of printed material about Mary
or The New Advent Organization, Catholic Encyclopedia.

And for all you Catholics out there, don’t forget, the Pope Tweets. His handle is: @Pontifex

A few non-academic Mary facts:

  • Mary is known by many names. Here are a few: In Hebrew she is Miriam; in Arabic, Maryam. She also goes by Saint Mary, Mother Mary, Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Bearer of God, Mother of the Church, and Our Lady.
  • She was born in the late 1st century BC and died sometime in the 1st centaury AD
  • She is identified in both the Qur’an and New Testament
  • Mary was engaged ( betrothed)  to Joseph at 12 years old ( this was typical)
  • Both Mary and Joseph were from the House of David and  from the Tribe of Judah. The genealogical aspect is fascinating.
  • The Angel Gabriel gives her the prophetic news during her betrothal.
  • Joseph is informed by an angel several months later—important, since there is no way he would have married a non-virgin.
  • Mary and Joseph complete wedding rites.
  • Elizabeth greets Mary as “the mother of my Lord.”
  • By order of Roman Emperor Augustus (Octavious- Julius Caesar’s adopted son), Joseph had to return to his home town of Bethlehem to be taxed (the Romans were tax-happy—but that’s another story).
  • Mary gave birth to Jesus at 13 yrs old and canonical gospels attest to her virginity.
  • Per Jewish law, Jesus is circumcised 8 days later.
  • A month or so later, Jesus is presented to the temple. Mary makes the traditional burnt offering for her sins and is thereby “cleansed.”
  • Months later, Wise men pay homage with their symbolic gifts The word Magi describes the Zoroastrian priests who used astrology. Note: Our word magic comes from Magi.
  • Gold is a symbol of royalty, kingship, or virtue.
  • Frankincense, an incense, is the symbol for a deity, or prayer.
  • Myrrh, an oil used to embalm, was a symbol of death, or suffering
  • The gospel of Luke mentions Mary the most—12 times. Matthew refers to her 6 times. John, twice; Mark, only once.
  • Mary is mentioned when 12 yr old Jesus stays to teach in the Jerusalem temple.
  • Mary watches her son turn water into wine.
  • She was believed to be present at her son’s crucifixion ( a favorite Roman death sentence).
  • Mary disappears  from scripture after she is mentioned  attending a meeting with the 11 apostles
  • Some  religions believe her physical body ascended to heaven after she died—her grave was found empty
  • Nobody knows exactly when she died: There are no records. If you do the math, Mary would have been 46 yrs old at the time of her son’s crucifixion. This was well past the average life expectancy of the time.

My humblest apologies if I got some information wrong.

There is a wealth of information about Mary of Nazareth. If you’re a reader of Dan Brown, you might wonder if, in fact, the Vatican secret treasure vault holds more information about this mysterious figure. Who knows?