04 February 2010

The False and the True "Keeper of the Gate"

In the Prophet Joseph Smith’s teachings and revelations, Lucifer is described as "a son of the morning" and "an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God" who "rebelled...and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ." He was jealous, "selfish, ambitious, and striving to excel," and "became Satan" as he wickedly sought that God should give him His "own power."

Consistent with the Prophet’s character sketch of this arch criminal and deceiver, William Blake’s image of Lucifer emphasizes his original glory while subtly conveying his consuming ambition to usurp God’s throne. Lucifer’s overall appearance is inspired from the Latin Vulgate translation of Ezekiel 28:14 that sees him as the “cherub with extensive wingspan.” The orb and scepter symbolize the power and authority from God given him before his fall from heaven.

To highlight Lucifer’s perversity, Blake has conspicuously reversed the hands in which the emblems of monarchy are normally held. For example, in British coronation ceremonies, the sword is meant to be held in the right hand so that it may be used “to stop the growth of iniquity, protect the Holy Church of God and defend widows and orphans.” The Orb—a late replacement for the original symbolism of the incense offering of temple priests in Israel—is to be held in the left hand in order to signify “the domination of Christ over the whole world.” ...

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