Description: In 2009 while separated and living atop a church in Ouray Colorado because of its proximity to Telluride where my family was living at the time, I was informed that I had prostate cancer which required major surgery.
This being a tumultuous time in my life and even though I had been married for 20+ years, I was left on my own to manage the process no matter what the circumstances (I actually hitched a ride to the hospital because I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to drive a car home and hitched a ride back because my ex-wife decide that if she helped she would be showing me that she cared and that wasn’t something she was willing to do). Additionally, I was what you might say, quite afraid having gone through three years of horror with my first wife’s cancer and her subsequent death in my arms on her 24th birthday, so needless to say my mind was not in a very positive and upbeat state especially being unable to see my children either before the surgery or during my many weeks of recovery.
So over the next 6 months, I suffered, was terribly lonely and except for my faith, didn’t then know what my future held or when this hurt and heartbreak would conclude. With little to do in the mountains of Colorado during the winter months if you can’t ski, (we received as much as 400 inches of snow annually) I dug into my reading moving day by day through the darkness and incredible silence that accompanied each night. As it would happen, as I was reading Romans I came across a passage in chapter 5:3-5 which says, “We also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint, because God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which He has given us”. Beautiful words inspired by God and documented by the hand of a mighty Christian martyr who truly knew what it was to endure suffering. I gained hope and eventually survived the ordeal.
During this same time I had been studying Ezekiel, reading about the Ophanim and Ezekiel’s description of the “Wheels of Fire” showing him the Son of man. I had always been extremely interested in the prophecy of Daniel as well a very similar description in the book of Revelation but never put the two together as being the tier of angels known as the Ophanim.
You see the Ophanim are angels which support the throne of God and are actually the figures that were placed at the bottom of the Arch of the Covenant in the Old Testament.
“As far as the function of these Ophanim is concerned, most scholars can agree upon the conclusion that they shower God with glory and praise for all of time, and that they also deliver divine justice throughout the universe and material world. So in a way, they are the force behind the physical laws that govern the universe, as well as the force behind the universal laws of man.”
Now I don’t know your faith or even if you study scripture (by the way, I’m not some fruitcake, just a Christian who is very interested in and fascinated by, the books of the Bible and the teachings of Christ) but I find all of this amazing and discovered a release regarding my fears once reading this allowing God to take control of my pain and anguish.
Sooooo, in my great wisdom I decided that God would let the Ophanim support me during this time and provide strength to “persevere” no matter how difficult the challenge.
Upon this change, I began to search for a deeper understanding and began reading about angels and in particular Archangels. As you may know, there were eight but now only seven Archangels’, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Zerachiel and Remiel. The first Four Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel are the cornerstones of the universe and some have tied these four with writers of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (Remember Christ referred to John as one of the “Son’s of Thunder”). Anyway, of these four Archangels only one is described as being the guardian and of those requiring healing and suffering pain and that Archangel is Raphael the grand servant of God who holds this mantel. Furthermore Raphael is only mentioned in the Old Testament Hebrew book of Tobit which isn’t one of the books evangelical Christians are familiar as it isn’t a part of their Old Testament. However when reading Tobit you find that Raphael is often referred to as the Archangel of care and healing
“Raphael is one of the most widely recognized of the seven archangels. The Hebrew word rapha'el or raphach translates to mean "God heals the soul". Raphael was first mentioned in the Old Testament Book of Tobit, when he accompanies Tobias on his trip to heal his sick father, Tobit. During this trip Raphael is disguised as a human, but later in the journey reveals himself as an angel. Raphael's name is only mentioned in this Deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, outside of that particular scripture he isn't ever named.”
and in Milton’s poem “paradise Lost” (fiction) Raphael was the one sent to Adam as a mentor and guardian charged with directing Adam to avoid eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (of course Adam was the guy who defined free will and we know where that ended up).
“John Milton's 17th century epic poem entitled Paradise Lost. In this literary work Raphael is ordered by God to remind Adam about the deadly sin involved with partaking from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Raphael is also commanded by God to explain to Adam in full detail the spiritual battle that took place in heaven the day the mighty archangel Lucifer was cast out, shortly before the earth was created. Using the story, Raphael attempts to illustrate to Adam just how truly evil Satan is, and how he is attempting to trick Adam and Eve into forsaking God. Raphael goes on to tell Adam that he should only pursue knowledge that is actually needed, and avoid that which no human should concern himself with”.
Anyway, when painting Raphael’s Ophanim, I attempted to capture this little known Archangel Raphael and in naming this piece Raphael’s Ophanim also incorporated the ophanim who supported me through my trials and “perseverance”. I did want you to know that I do paint with my heart close to God and in my paintings The Fifth Trumpet (The Angel Michael), Beltashazzar’s Vision( Daniel), Akeldama (Field of Blood), Beryl Stone (The Wheels described by Ezekiel) and the Red Rock( Isaiah) my inspiration has come from His prophecy as voiced through the bible and my desire to seek answers about how in the Old Testament the life of Christ is mentioned in 350 different passages exactly as they would occur 2000 years before His life on earth.
Additionally I wanted you to know that during the process of creating this painting I had difficulty creating the face of Raphael as I was trying to give the figure a soft more feminine appearance as I see this being more representative of a nurturing, caring creature than I would find in a more masculine composition. I did have some difficulty with the features however and in frustration completed the image with my fingers rather than a brush.
Attached below is a site I thought you might like to see with images of my art and photography