… and He WILL return again to judge the earth.
As Easter approaches, I have been musing on the Scripture images and verses on Parliament Hill in their contexts, especially the ones which point to Christ’s crucifixion, and the resurrection from the dead.
John A Pearson dubbed the South Window, ‘The Assembly of Remembrance’. In it are two rows of images representative of different people.
The First Row
In this first row there are four people: Michael the Archangel, St George slaying the dragon, the figure of Justice who holds a sword showing Christ’s crucified body on the cross, and Joan of Arc.
We will look at two of the four people there, what they represent, and the context of the Scripture verses under their feet.
There are Scripture verses under the image of Archangel Michael and under the feet of the figure called Justice.
Under Michael’s feet is the Scripture, ‘The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble (Nahum 1:7)’. The rest of that verse is not quoted but it says, ‘he knows those who take refuge in him’.
Under the feet of the figure called ‘Justice’ is the Scripture verse, ‘He shall execute justice and judgment in the earth (Jeremiah 23:5).’
The image in the South Window which is the most important for Christians at Easter, is Justice.
Justice tells the story of Easter and the crucifixion, while Michael points to the promise of the resurrection.
Look at the picture of Justice here
On a green ribbon over Justice’s head is the Latin word Retributionem (Retribution).
According to Webster’s dictionary, Retribution is the dispensing or receiving of reward or punishment especially in the hereafter.
On the Government’s website, it says that Justice bears ‘the great sword of judgment and the scales of justice; her sword-guard bears a figure outstretched as in the Crucifixion… symbolizing the suffering borne both by the victors and the vanquished’.
For Christians, the true meaning of the crucifixion is that Christ’s death paid the ultimate penalty for God’s justice and judgment against our sin.
The crucifixion does not symbolize the ‘suffering borne both by the victors and the vanquished’. If Pearson were alive today, he would probably be affronted by that interpretation. His doctrinal beliefs would not allow for it.
John A. Pearson was meticulous in his choice of Frank J. Hollister as the stained glass master. Hollister designed stained glass windows for Anglican churches in Ontario.
Based on the times in which they lived – a more Christian era – Frank Hollister and John A Pearson would have known the Scriptures intimately and would be unlikely to use them irreverently or arbitrarily.
Because of that, it is highly unlikely that they would agree with the sentiment that the crucifixion – the bedrock of our Christian faith – symbolizes the ‘suffering borne both by the victors and the vanquished’.
The crucifixion image would have been included for its Biblical meaning, not the interpretation given by the Government’s website.
Notice also, below Justice’s feet is a folded ribbon surrounding a shield which bears the inscription Justitia Libertas Perpetuo.
This can be translated as Justice, Liberty (or freedom) Forever.
Execute. Judgment. Justice. Freedom. Forever…
Written In Stone
Is it any wonder then, that in the concrete on the outside of the South Window is engraved the verse from Psalm 1:1– Give the king Thy judgments O God and Thy righteousness unto the king’s son?
Christ is the one Who will execute judgment.
He will be dispensing reward or punishment (retribution) in the hereafter… which is what the image of Michael the Archangel suggests.
In this window, Michael bears a trumpet in one hand and a sword in the other.
On the Government’s website at the time of printing of ‘The Legacy of 25 Scripture Verses on Parliament Hill’, this was the description of Michael:
‘In the first row (of the South window), we see the winged figure representing Archangel Michael bearing a trumpet, signifying a call to battle in the cause of righteousness’.
I’m not sure that the interpretation is correct, that Michael will be calling people to battle in the cause of righteousness.
Christians know that pastors and preachers issue that call to battle in the cause of righteousness. By the time Michael shows up, it’s too late.
According to Scripture, Michael’s job is judgment. He is God’s avenging warrior-angel. He leads God’s army of warrior-angels.
As a Presbyterian, Pearson would have held the view that Michael’s trumpet call would be for the dead at the end of time, but in the context of the Memorial Chamber, for the war dead who would rise to judgment – either to be with Christ in eternity or to be in hell for eternity (Retribution).
The call to righteousness will be a little too late, I’m afraid. This is not an earthly call to battle in the cause of righteousness.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 we read: For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
The dead in Christ will already be judged righteous. They will be resurrected to meet with Christ.
Politicians of The Dominion of Canada should look again at The South Window – The Assembly of Remembrance – and hear the call to righteousness and repentance that John A Pearson communicated over 100 years ago.
That is a perpetual call. The choice is righteousness and repentance or judgment.
So look again at the South window.
For Christians, it shouts, ‘He is Risen’, on Resurrection Sunday and every Sunday.
It shouts the remembrance of salvation from the avenging angel (Michael).
It shouts the message of forgiveness through the shed blood of Christ on the cross during that fateful Passover feast, as emblazoned on the blade of Justice’s sword.
That blood covers us, providing a refuge during the final judgment.
It reminds us that ‘The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows those who trust in Him’.
It reminds us that, ‘He will execute justice and judgment in the earth’.
It reminds us that ‘the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
It shouts Justice. Judgment. Retribution.
But most of all, the South Window shouts Salvation and Safety if we take refuge in Him.