Voice of the Kingfisher speaks out …from a different perspective
by Elinor Montgomery
Michelangelo’s Masterpiece and the Finger of God
June 11, 2011
It was over half a millennium ago that Michelangelo, an Italian artist from Florence, began his work on one of the defining masterpieces of Western Civilization. Was it a coincidence, that it was only two years after an Italian mapmaker from Florence placed the word ‘America’ on a map in honor of the Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci?
The year Michelangelo began painting his masterpiece was the year 1509. The location was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, some 65 feet above ground, in the private chapel of the pope, within Vatican City. This was at the heart of one of the most powerful political, religious and economic systems of the millennium.
He had just begun work on this, the largest multi-figure composition of the entire ceiling, when the plaster itself became infected by a kind of lime mold, which was like a great bloom of fungus, according to Andrew Graham-Dixon, chief art critic for London’s Sunday Telegraph. This meant Michelangelo had to chip his whole work back to zero and begin again.
Interestingly, one must ask oneself whether or not this was a natural picture of the condition of God’s creation since He created Adam, who so easily fell into the sin that led to the first religious belief system and separation from God and His truth. It was ultimately like the mold of sinful rebellion that led to the decay of death, at which God has been chipping away until man reaches out his finger to touch the finger of God, as was intended at creation.
It was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, calling for the reform of the church in protest to religious practices within Roman Catholicism. This began the process of freeing the apostolic church from the tomb of religion created by the Roman-built religious institution of Christianity back in the fourth century A.D. It would culminate in a pure, virginal church, free of the binding chains of religion, as God had always wanted from His marriage bed with man. Only then, can there be the good fruit that our Lord is seeking from His bride of the church.
Was it mere coincidence that these three events were happening together on the time-chart of history? Or was God preparing a land for those who had accepted Him as Lord of their lives over whom He would rule with His Law and His Word, free of the religious controls of the empire governments? Was He about to again stretch forth His right arm with His finger outstretched to touch the finger of man with His power, which He offered to Adam, Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, to now offer to His purified church, separated from religion and placed in her own homeland where she could be the light of kingdom living and of liberty to the world?
I have closely studied a picture of this amazing work of art and see the inspiration that comes itself from the very finger of God being placed upon the hand of Michelangelo to empower him to do such an amazing work of art. Was it not by the laser power of the finger of God that His Law was inscribed on the stone tablets given to Moses for His people, Israel? Is it so difficult then for God to touch the finger of man and empower him with the same power that can write on stone?
Jesus rebuked the religious Pharisees when they rebuked Him for expelling demons through Beelzebub, the prince of demons, better known as Satan, and He rebuked them for mistaking the Holy Spirit for an evil spirit. He said, “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you (Luke 11:20).” He is saying that kingdom living is empowered living, of which He is the first, fully empowered in truth in the kingdom of God on earth. There can be no religious liars there.
In this same passage Jesus declared that every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against itself falls. Had the moment in time come for the whole religious system to be brought down with all its differing doctrinal divisions? Is it time for the bride of mankind, the virginal woman of Christ’s church, to at last come to her time of labor? Through the infilling of the Holy Spirit and in faith and obedience to her Creator, she is able to bring forth sons of God, the good fruit the marriage bed of Adam and Eve could never produce in their harlotry to God. Will she not be empowered because she will reach out her finger to touch the finger of God, where Adam failed to do so?
As I looked carefully to study further this amazing masterpiece, I perceived that He was a very serious, purposeful God who extended His finger of power to Adam. He had just created him in His own pluralistic image, and had breathed the Spirit of life into him, giving him the most incredible gift anyone could receive, which had come straight from heaven.
Then I noticed that tucked safely under God’s arm and protected by the cherubim, the same beings, which protected the way to the tree of life and whose wings formed the seat over the arc of the covenant, was the virtuous woman of God whom He had not released to Adam. Was He holding her back, as He saw the limp arm with a limp hand from which was extended a limp finger that would never reach to the finger of God?
Then I noticed the innocent, upward gaze of the newly created man toward God as he reclined with his arm resting on his upraised knee, extending a limp hand toward Him but never connecting with His extended finger of power that created the Law and kept evil at bay. At that moment, did God determine to not release the woman, the bride of God, but rather take the woman from man so that they would be two of a kind – same bone, same flesh and same weakness of spirit – comparable partners in every way?
Was this a pivotal moment of creation, when God chose to reserve the virtuous, protected woman for another Son of Man, yet a true Son of God in the Spirit, One whose finger had reached out to touch the creative finger of God, imparting to Him the full power of creation? Did God decide to give the virtuous woman to the second Son of a crossover blessing, going from Adam to Him, the One who was not weak, and could resist the temptation of Satan, the devil known as Beelzebub?
This would be a Son whose finger had touched the finger of God and had the same power on it that could heal man of his sin. This was a Son to whom God would give the bride, a purified species of mankind as the pure church and virtuous woman of God, protected by the cherubim and placed on the way back to the kingdom. The Garden kingdom was as close as a finger-tip to Adam, had he chosen to receive it. But weakness and pride took over as he determined to move in his own weakness rather than in the power and strength of God, which he saw as liberalism from God.
Bottom line – Adam lost the right to the power offered by the finger of God and he lost the incredible gift of life, which the Spirit of God had imparted to him. He would never experience kingdom living.
I sat in amazement, reflecting upon all of this. It came to me that Michelangelo had to chip away at the result of sin before he could begin to paint with the understanding of the Spirit on this vaulted ceiling that overshadowed a religious system, which came straight from the lies of Satan. Was it not doomed to the same failure as that of Adam, in that it had never felt the touch of the finger like the prophets and apostles who witnessed only to the truth of God and never to religion? For He and His Son of the crossover are One; together, They are the way, the truth and the life.
When Moses confronted Pharaoh, having the power of God in his staff, bringing about his own kind of fungus growth with the plagues, the magicians of Pharaoh finally had to admit that, “This is the finger of God (Exodus 8:19).” For, as the agents of Satan, they had no such power. They had never sought the face of God like Moses who was rewarded with the power of God’s finger in his staff, which ultimately separated the seawater to set God’s people free from the religious fungus of the Egyptian world.
As I continued to gaze upon this amazing, artistic work of Michelangelo, I could see man’s entire history, beginning with the story of creation as told in the Word, the amazing Scriptures, which give understanding to the colors of the broken light used in creating this masterpiece, the colors of the rainbow broken for you and me. There is no doubt about it; it is His story.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen – even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth (Psalm 8:3-9)!
Reference: The Measure of Genius: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at 500 by James Katz, Smithsonian.com, April 10, 2009.