Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Children's Jesse Tree Index

       The practice of crafting a Jesse tree for the purpose of sharing the family of Christ with young children began in the Medieval Era. Many stained glass windows and illuminated texts still survive with detailed illustrated Jesse trees depicted in them. 
       Jesse trees are taken from two biblical records of Jesus's genealogy. Although those Jesse trees used in classrooms and homes to teach young children are shortened versions of the biblical records. The first is from Joseph's side of the family in The Gospel of Matthew. The second, from Mary's family genealogy (Calmet;Watson) in The Gospel of Luke. Both of Jesus's Earthly parents were from the house of David and they share 34 common forefathers out of 75 generations. (Allen, below)
Jesse Tree from a Folio, 1529.
       I have included below a template for how traditional Jesse trees are taught, practiced, and developed. Hopefully this model will help people to understand why Jesse trees look a bit different from church to church and publisher to publisher. 
       Among Orthodox Christians, there is a day of introduction, two weeks of telling stories about David's ancestral lineage which is the same as Christ's, a third week is spent telling the story of the Nativity and the last week, is devoted to the "O" Antiphons, Dec. 17 - 23. 
       Many Protestant denominations stretch out the telling of Old Testament stories for three weeks and simply end the last week of December with the Nativity story.
       If you should develop a calendar that covers only one person or story a day, you will soon discover that many characters get eliminated. If your church follows the Orthodox Liturgy, you will begin to see that their Jesse trees sometimes reflect a rotation of Old Testament ancestors and stories that compliments a three year liturgical calendar.
       Modern Jesse trees often include women from the family of Christ. This is not a new idea; The Gospel of Matthew includes women in Jesus' family tree from the very start. Some scholars have noted that these four: Tamar, Rehab, Ruth and Bathsheba are introduced to readers in Matthew's gospel because they were Gentiles. 
      Sarah, Rebekah and Leah were also ancestors of Jesus yet they are seldom seen on modern Jesse trees for some strange reason. Some folks have begun to practice the inclusion of couples in their daily readings around their Jesse tree. As long as the practice is in keeping with basic doctrine, you may construct your own Jesse tree using as many symbols and characters from the ancestors of Jesus as you like.
       The symbols associated with the characters generally have scriptural references and are often included in artworks about those persons depicted in: illuminated manuscripts, paintings, stained glass windows, sculptures, reliefs etc... throughout all of Christendom.
       In the near future, I intend to include links to those Jesse tree symbols and patterns from my blogs for personal or non-profit use through the listing below. Each of these posts will also list the scriptures used to teach each symbol and photos of completed ornaments.

Day of Introduction: The Sunday Prior to December 1rst:
  • The Root of Jesse: tree stump
    The Old Testament Characters Wait for Jesus: First 2 Weeks of December: If you are following a calendar, you will need to pick and choose stories to include or exclude. The characters below are typically included on many trees of Jesse at this present time. Not all of the ancestors of Jesus are included in this listing. More names and symbols will be added over time. Many characters have optional symbols associated with their lives.
    1. God The Creator: planets, stars, creation elements
    2. Adam The First Man/Men: spade, tree, apple with snake, man
    3. Eve The Mother of All Humanity: tree, apple, apple with snake, woman
    4. Noah Who Obeyed God: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
    5. Abraham Our Spiritual Father: torch, sword, mountain
    6. Isaac Accepted The Sovereignty of God: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
    7. Jacob Father of 12 Tribes: kettle, ladder, staircase
    8. Joseph Protector of Israel: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
    9. Moses Saved His People from Slavery: baby in basket, river and rushes
    10. Israelites The People of God: sheep
    11. Joshua "Jesus son of Naue": ram's horn trumpet
    12. Gideon a Great Warrior: clay water pitcher, fleece
    13. Samuel Dedicated to The Temple: lamp, temple
    14. Ruth Faithful and Devoted: wheat, basket
    15. Boaz The Kinsman Redeemer: shoe (*suggested)
    16. Obed The Father of Jesse: seed (*suggested)
    17. Jesse Son of Obed and Father of King David: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
    18. David Son of Jesse and Anointed King of Israel: slingshot, 6-pointed star 
    19. Solomon Wise Among Men: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
    20. Elijah Who Will Return: stone altar
    21. Hezekiah Held Fast to The Lord: empty tent
    22. Isaiah Preached The Coming of Messiah: fire tongs with hot coal
    23. Jeremiah The Weeping Prophet: tears of the prophet
    24. Habakkuk Waited On The Lord: stone watchtower
    25. Nehemiah Rebuilt God's Defenses: city wall
    The Nativity Story Week: The Third Week in December: The third week's ornaments represent both the family of Jesus, the story of his birth and those who are related to Christ spiritually, i.e. the descendants of Abraham.
    1. Joseph Protector of The Messiah: hammer, saw, chisel, angle 
    2. Mary The Virgin Mother: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
    3. Elizabeth Mother of The Baptist: holding infant St. John, pregnant elderly woman 
    4. Zechariah The Lord Has Remembered: temple building, holding a stone with eye on each of its faces
    5. John the Baptist and The Voice Crying Out in The Desert:  shell with water, river 
    6. Magi Represent Gentile Kings/Nations: gold, frankincense, myrrh
    7. Shepherds The Keepers of God's Flock: sheep, shepherd's staff
    8. Baby Jesus God's Gift of Mercy: manger, swaddled babe, natal star
    The Jesus Is Week: The Fourth Week in December: The symbolic ornaments crafted for the fourth week of December are typically made from Chrismon patterns.
    1. Jesus is Wisdom: oil lamp, open book
    2. Jesus is Lord: burning bush, stone tablets
    3. Jesus is the Flower of Jesse: flower, plant with flower
    4. Jesus is Key of David: key, broken chains
    5. Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: sun rising or high in sky
    6. Jesus is King of Gentiles: crown, scepter
    7. Jesus is Emmanuel: tablets of stone, chalice and host
    8. Jesus is Light of the World: candle, flame, sun
     (*suggested) - No visual emblem or symbol found, only literary symbols 

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Angels by Benozzo Gozzoli

    Description of Illustration: Group of Angels by Benozzo Gozzoli, Chapel of the Riccardi Palace, Florence, below a detail from his "Paradise" painting at the Riccardi Palace, greyscale photographs
           Benozzo Gozzoli (c. 1421 – 1497) was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. He is best known for a series of murals in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi depicting festive, vibrant processions with fine attention to detail and a pronounced International Gothic influence. He is considered one of the most prolific fresco painters of his generation. While he was mainly active in Tuscany, he also worked in Umbria and Rome. Read more...
    Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject folks.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    The Seven Candles Symbol

            The candelabra symbol, Christ and His church, the light of true doctrine, with seven branches, references the seven Churches in the Book of Revelation.
    Scriptural References for Seven Candles in Chrismons:
    • "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15 (NIV)
    • "But if we live in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim to be already free from sin, we lead ourselves astray and the truth has no place in our hearts. If we confess our sins, He is so faithful and just that He forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:7-9 (WNT)
    • "Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night"-- even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You." Psalm 139:7-12 (HCSB)
    • "to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God's people, who are set apart by faith in me.' Acts 26:18 (NLT)
    • 'But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9 (BSB)
    •  "I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." Revelation 1: 9-11 (NIV)
    A traditional Jewish Menorah.

           The original menorah was made for the Tabernacle, and the Bible records it as being present until the Israelites crossed the Jordan river. When the Tabernacle tent was pitched in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1), it is assumed that the menorah was also present. However, no mention is made of it during the years that the Ark of the Covenant was moved in the times of Samuel and Saul. There is no further mention of the menorah in Solomon's temple, except in (1 Kings 7:49) and (2 Chronicles 4:7) as he creates ten lampstands. These are recorded as being taken away to Babylon by the invading armies under the general Nebuzar-Adan (Jeremiah 52:19) some centuries later.

    The Everlasting Gospel Window

    Description of Illustration: An angel kneels before the throne of God. In his hands is the Bible with God the Father's Monogram on it - Alpha Omega. wings, flames, stairs, radiant halos, stained glass clip art, transparent background

    Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject folks.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    The Creator of Souls Chrismon

            Little Naked Bodies are the symbols of the souls of men, and are seen in pictures of St. Michael and when he is represented as the Introductor of souls. They are also placed in the hand which symbolizes God the Father.
           Before the twelfth century there were no portraits of God the Father, and the symbol used to indicate his presence was a hand issuing from the clouds.

    Scripture References for the Creator of Souls Chrismon:
    • "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJB)
    • "Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn't we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?" Hebrews 12:9 (NLT)
    • "The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,..." Zechariah 12:1 (NASB)
    • "This is what the true God, the LORD, says--the one who created the sky and stretched it out, the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it, the one who gives breath to the people on it, and life to those who live on it..." Isaiah 42:5 (NET Bible)

    The Divine Three in One

           Representations of the Divine Three in One were employed in art from its earliest ages. It was symbolized by the combination of three triangles, three circles, three fishes, and many other representations more obscure in their meanings. In later art the three persons of the Trinity have been represented by three human figures, each with its special attribute, that of the Holy Ghost being the dove. Another mode represents the Father and Son with the dove between them ; in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the dove was often seen hovering between the first and second persons of the Trinity, with the tips of the wings touching the lips of each. This representation is called the double procession of the Spirit; illustrative of the words of the Nicene Creed, "proceeding from the Father and the Son." This representation belongs to the Latin Church. In these representations, when the locality is heaven, the figures are always seated. There is a device called the Italian Trinity, which was popular from the twelfth to the seventeenth century. In this the Father holds a crucifix by the ends of the transverse beam, the figure of Christ hanging between his knees ; the dove proceeds downwards from the lips of the Father, and touches the head of the Son, or is merely sitting on the cross.

    Monday, June 19, 2017

    Seraphim in The Throne Room...

    Thrones. Fiery Two Winged Wheels.
           The following is the most complete illustration that we are acquainted with of the winged and fiery wheels spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel, "full of eyes round about." It (above) comes from a little church at Athens, now probably destroyed, but which, at the date of it's recording as a drawing 1839. (from a mural)
    In biblical tradition seraphim and cherubim are interchangable.
    Both refer to the pure and holy angels surrounding God's throne.
    However, in western culture cherubim are given symbolic "infant"
     bodies because we associate purity with the innocence of babies.
            "In a representation on the imperial dalmatic now preserved in the treasury of St. Peter at Rome, the feet of Jesus Christ rest on two wheels which exactly resemble the above. This magnificent vestment is of Byzantine origin, and indeed throughout all the ancient empire of Byzantium, angels are found of this wheel form, intended to bear the figure of God the Father or of Jesus Christ. 
           These wheels, specially assigned to the order of Thrones by the Byzantines, but attributed by Ezekiel to all angels in general are various forms. At Chartres, they have neither flames, nor wings, nor eyes; they rather affect the more material form of a chariot wheel." Didron
    Sculptured Angel, Chartres, XIII. Cent.
          "The Latins, more rational than the Easterns, have preferred representing angels under human form. As regards the ideal, Latin nations are divisible into two classes: ultramontane or Italian, and western. Italians, nearest to that Greece who planted her foot among them at Venice, at Ravenna, and throughout all Sicily." Didron

    Scripture Resources for Winged Wheels Chrismon:
    • "Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel." Ezekiel 1:15-16 (KJB)
    • "The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle." Revelation 4:7-8 (NIV)
    • "Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew." Isaiah 6: 2-3 (NLT)

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    The illuminating lamp light...

    "This is why it is said: "Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and
    Christ will shine on you." Ephesians 5:14 (NIV)
    Description of the illustration: black and white, table lamp, light on, four scriptures, illuminated scriptures

    "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the
    Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
     James 1:17 (NIV)
    "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
     John 1:5 (NIV)
    "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
    Have a question about the illustration? Just type it in the comment box and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I only publish content that is closely related to the subject folks.

    Lion and Palm Leaves Chrismon

            Lions during the Middle Ages were sometimes used to symbolically represent Jesus' Resurrection (because lions were believed to sleep with open eyes, a comparison with Christ in the tomb), and Christ as king. Although science has proven this idea, lion's sleeping with eyes open, to be a myth, the tradition of associating lions with Christ prevails for a wide variety of reasons that continue to prevail. 
            I've combined this stained glass lion from Heraldry and palms leaves to represent Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem one week prior his crucifixion.

    Scriptural References for This Lion and Palm Leaf Chrismon Combination:
    • "Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.  Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD." Psalm 118:25,26 (KJB)
    • "And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9 (ESV)

    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    Chalice Pattern No.1 for Chrismons

    drawing of a chalice
            A chalice (from Latin calix, mug, borrowed from Greek kalyx, shell, husk) is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In religious practice, a chalice is often used for drinking during a ceremony or may carry a certain symbolic meaning. 
           The ancient Roman calix was a drinking vessel consisting of a bowl fixed atop a stand, and was in common use at banquets. In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and some other Christian denominations, a chalice is a standing cup used to hold sacramental wine during the Eucharist (also called the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion). Chalices are often made of precious metal, and they are sometimes richly enameled and jeweled. The gold goblet was symbolic for family and tradition. Read more...
    simple chalice shape

    The Fish Symbol or ICHTHYS

           The ichthys or ichthus (/ˈɪkθəs/), from the Greek ikhthýs (ἰχθύς 1st cent. AD Koine Greek [ikʰˈtʰys], "fish") is a symbol consisting of two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish. Now known colloquially as the "sign of the fish" or the "Jesus fish". 
           According to tradition, ancient Christians, during their persecution by the Roman Empire in the first few centuries after Christ, used the fish symbol to mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes:
    "According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company. Current bumper-sticker and business-card uses of the fish hearken back to this practice."

    — Christianity Today, Elesha Coffman, "Ask The Expert"
           There are several other hypotheses as to why the fish was chosen. Some sources indicate that the earliest literary references came from the recommendation of Clement of Alexandria to his readers (Paedagogus, III, xi) to engrave their seals with the dove or fish. However, it can be inferred from Roman monumental sources such as the Cappella Greca and the Sacrament Chapels of the catacomb of St. Callistus that the fish symbol was known to Christians much earlier. Another probable explanation is that it is a reference to the scripture in which Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 people with fish and bread Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:12-17, and John 6:4-13). The ichthys may also relate to Jesus or his disciples as "fishers of men" (e.g., Mark 1:17). Tertullian, in his treatise On Baptism, makes a pun on the word, writing that "we, little fishes, after the example of our ΙΧΘΥΣ Jesus Christ, are born in water." Still another explanation could be the reference to the sign of Jonah. Just like he was in the belly of a big fish, so Christ was crucified, entombed for three days, and then rose from the dead.
    The ICHTHYS with lettering.

    ΙΧΘΥΣ, or also ΙΧΘΥϹ with lunate sigma (Ichthys) is a backronym/acrostic for "ησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr) contemporary Koine [ie̝ˈsus kʰrisˈtos tʰeˈu (h)yˈjos soˈte̝r], which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour."
    • Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for "Jesus".
    • Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for "anointed."
    • Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for "God's", the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos," Greek for "God."
    • Upsilon (y) is the first letter of (h)yios (Υἱός), Greek for "Son".
    • Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for "Savior."
           This explanation is given among others by Augustine in his Civitate Dei, where he notes that the generating sentence " Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς [sic] Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ" has 27 letters, i.e. 3 x 3 x 3, which in that age indicated power. (This suggestion is obviously spurious, resulting from Augustine's ignorance of Greek.) Augustine quotes also an ancient text from the Sibylline oracles whose verses are an acrostic of the generating sentence.
           A fourth century A.D. adaptation of ichthys as a wheel contains the letters ΙΧΘΥΣ superimposed such that the result resembles an eight-spoked wheel.

    Scripture References for ICHTHYS Chrismons:
    • "Jesus called out to them, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" Mark 1:17 (NLT)
    • "Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You." And answering He said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, and no sign will be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it." Matthew 12: 38-42 (BLB)
    • "You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." Acts 3:15 (NIV)

    Wednesday, June 14, 2017

    An Inhabited Cross Chrismon

    Inhabited Cross, Florentine, 1491. All inhabited crosses have one of the
    following depicted on them: people, animals and/or villages/cities.
    Inhabited crosses look different depending on the culture of the artist
    who designs the cross. The above is one of many types.
           The inhabited cross is an ancient variety of this symbol, described by Dante in his Divina Commedia, printed in Florence in 1491. This cross is resplendent with a glory far more radiant then the suns and constellations of every kind which blaze around it. Arriving with Beatrice in the planet Mars, the poet exlaims:
    "For with so great a lustre and so red
    Splendors appeared tome in twofold rays,
    I said: "O Helios who dost so adorn them!"
    Even as distinct with less and greater lights
    Glimmers between the two poles of the world
    The Galaxy that maketh wise men doubt,
    Thus constelled in the depths of Mars,
    Those rays described the venerable sign
    That quadrants joining in a circle make.
    Here doth my memory overcome my genius;
    For on that cross as levin gleamed forth Christ,
    So that I cannot find ensample worthy:
    But he who takes his cross and follows Christ,
    Again will pardon me what I omit,
    Seeing in that aurora lighten Christ.
    From horn to horn, and 'twixt the top and base,
    Lights were in motion, brightly scintillating
    As they together met and passed each other"

           Among the twelve little figures inhabiting the cross, representing the souls of valiant warriors, Dante gives the names of eight who occupy the arms of the cross, beginning from left to right. These are Joshua, Judas Maccabaeus, Charlemagne, and Roland in the left arm; and the right, William the Conqueror, Richard Coeur de Lion, Godfrey de Bouillon, and Robert Guiscard. Cacciaguida, and ancestor of the poet, is one of the four souls, not named, who are kneeling in the stem, and upper part of the cross. 

    "This cross does not contain the Crucified in person, and yet Dante declares that there Christ shone resplendent; in fact, as has been said, the Cross is the symbol of Christ. Iconographically considered, the Son of God is in the Cross, as He is in the Lamb, and in the Lion; He is there hidden under the semblance of the instrument of punishment on which He died. The second Person of the Trinity is figured by an infinite number of different objects: three alone, the Lamb, the Lion, and the Cross, are symbols of our Lord. Even the Fish does not rise to the dignity of a divine symbol." (Didron, Christ. Ion., vol. i., p. 405.)

    Scriptural References for Any Inhabited Cross Chrismon:
    • "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold." Psalm 48:1-3
    • "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband." Revelation 21:2
    • "But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:16