Thursday, September 17, 2009


I started this composite last year, I think, and once I got the images pieced together, it was mind-bogglingly tedious work getting it all blended. I am now glad that my work on it was temporarily suspended as I gathered my resolve to finish it. Right after I did, my pastor began teaching on some things that gave me more insight into this image.

As I had already chosen to call it "Entrance", I had realized I was depicting an entrance into the Kingdom of God. The circular doorway represents eternity. The woman standing there is symbolic of the Church of believers, and the lion on the top left stands for Christ, the Lion of Judah. To me it seems the woman is curtsying to Him, or greeting Him in a loving and worshipful manner. She has on a veil, since she is His Bride, but she is not dressed in white linen yet, as the works she is to do are empowered from the Kingdom, which she has not yet entered.

On this side of the wall, we see a rather watery garden, representing the Earth. At this point, the woman is still facing the Earth, or her earthly life. There are three "waters" here: the sea (humanity), the fountain which is old and toppling over into the sea (religion), and the stream of Life, which is flowing out from the Kingdom. The Tree has roots going down into the sea, showing that Jesus has roots in the Earth because He was the Son of Man. But the Tree is on top of the wall, and if we use our imaginations we can see there are roots going down the other side of the wall into the heavenly Kingdom, because Jesus is also the Son of God. The stream represents "the Way", which is full of difficulties, but leads straight to the Kingdom. The stream also is Jesus, as He is the Way. He is also the Entrance.* Above the circular door are the Greek letters alpha and omega, which represent the beginning and the end, and this is a name used for Jesus in the Bible. Jesus, the King, is overseeing the earthly garden as well as the heavenly Kingdom and the gateway into it. He glows with His own light.

On the other side of the entrance, we see a vista of glowing mountains, clouds and heavenly lights representing a spiritual and perfect realm we've rarely or never seen with our eyes. There is a sunrise/sunset because the sun is setting on one era and rising on another. There is outer space and galaxies because the Kingdom is much greater than anything we can grasp or imagine. It encompasses all of creation. The huge mountain represents the Kingdom of God as is depicted in Daniel's dream: a mountain that is covering the whole world (Daniel 2:35,44). Until the Bride enters the Kingdom, the government of God does not cover the earth. But when she submits to her Lord, she becomes part of the Entrance, and the Kingdom of God will enter the earthly garden through her, creating the situation needed for the King to return to Earth in person.

Although the earthly garden reflects some of the heavenly realm, and one can see some of it if one lifts the eyes upward or gets close to the Entrance, it is still difficult to see from the vantage point shown in this artwork. This is where my pastor's teaching offers some insight.

He began with this scripture, where Jesus says:

"If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" John 3:12

At church, we discussed how the earthly things were those things revealed by scripture, especially things Jesus said and did, that pertain to life here. This includes repentance and forgiveness, all kinds of healing and deliverance, and learning how to walk in Spirit and Truth. Most scripture has to do with earthly things, things we need now. Since Jesus is the door into Life, and the Way to God, we must accept Him as Savior in order to see the Kingdom.*

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3

After we've followed Him for a while we begin to see what the Kingdom of God is all about. We start out thinking it's just about after we die we get to go to heaven. But as we mature, we realize there is much more, and that it is for now as well as later.

". . . as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3-11 NKJV

Notice that he says that if we lack these things we are shortsighted, or blind, meaning that we can't see the Kingdom! But if we are diligent about obtaining them, we will be supplied an entrance into that Kingdom.

After Jesus' initial statement to Nicodemus about being born again, he said something else:

Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' John 3:5-7

Nicodemus didn't get it, and this is where Jesus said "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" Being born again is an earthly thing! How do we get born again? By believing the Word and receiving it/Him. The Word is Truth and Jesus is Truth. First our minds our renewed by hearing the Word; we begin to change and grow by acting on it in faith. But we also need to receive it into our hearts: this is being born again in the Spirit. The Word grows in our hearts until He is all in all~ of full stature. This is when we gain an entrance into the Kingdom. But first we must see it, or we won't keep on the difficult Way to Life.

Jesus' prayer to the Father, before he was crucified and resurrected, was that we would be one with Him, the Father, and one another (John 17). This is accomplished in the Spirit as we lay down the things that hinder us and we allow God to rule us. We are "seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:20), but we have to learn to walk in that reality. He has already purchased it for us, and He is in us and we are in Him if we are born again. But how many of us participate in that? It is His desire that we not only see the Kingdom from afar and hope to enter it after we die, but that we see it as right near us, that we press on to enter it, and that we regularly take what we gain there and demonstrate it in the earthly realm. This is my spiritual quest.

'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:14- 22 NKJV

In Victorian lore, as far as I can find, wisteria represents "youth and poetry". If I take it in a spiritual sense, to me it represents humility, teachability and prophetic revelation. It also has an appearance like grapes, so it also says fruitfulness to me. And I have to say, it partly just needed to be there as a visual balance. The irises are quite significant, I found out after I put them there. It's not a biblical meaning, but a traditional, Victorian one (I think the Lord can still use our understood languages as a means of communication). It means "I have a message for you", and also stands for faith, wisdom, promise in love, hope and valor. All these are found in the 2 Peter passage.

I hope this stirs you to pursue what has been offered us through Christ. I am seeking to see much more of the Kingdom, so that I can help others enter in.

*To the sides of this picture there are two other openings in the wall. These are not "other ways to God". The fact is that God is a triune being, and He's the only door into His own Kingdom. The reality that Jesus is the Way to Life and God is not my idea: it is not a product of personal prejudice or intolerance. It's God's own statement: He chose to give Christ "all authority in heaven and on earth". If it were up to me, I'd make it easy. But it's not up to me. If you don't believe my testimony and that of the Bible, then ask God to show you the truth of it, and if you really want to know, He will show you. Then you'll know I'm not making it up. You can have an internal witness that is unassailable.

Credits for this artwork:

Many images went into making this~ my thanks to all the photographers: [irises]
[tree image no longer available]
My own sunset and ocean photos were used, along with a public domain space photo. The image inside the circular entrance is also a composite of my own photos.

No comments: