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Stone A. Washington - 1/30/2013
My father, Ellis Washington, is a law professor and a legal commentator for WorldNetDaily.com and GlobalPolitician.com. Every year he writes a special Christmas essay during Advent. For Christmas 2011 he wrote an article titled, Prophetic Women regarding the little appreciated, but magnificent historical legacy of the Sibyls—Women prophets, who in biblical and pagan sources were also known as seers and oracles. Sibyls were often residents at shrines and temples throughout the ancient world. Inspired by my father’s opus, I am writing my own essay on the Sybil.
In modern culture, the Sibyl or “Oracle” played a major role in saving mankind from in the movie trilogy, The Matrix.
Sibyls were women prophets who proclaimed the powerful message of God which they spread throughout the ancient world. This essay is my tribute to my family and friends to express the meaning and legacy of Sibyls who upheld and the true spirit of Christmas.
My father begins his essay with a quote from the ancient Roman poet Virgil's Eclogues IV titled Song of the Cumaean Sibyl:
Now is come the last age of Cumaean song; the great line of the centuries begins anew. Now the Virgin returns, the reign of Saturn returns; now a new generation descends from heaven on high. Only do you, pure Lucina, smile on the birth of the child, under whom the iron brood shall at last cease and a golden race spring up throughout the world! Your own Apollo now is king!
Virgil (70 BC – 19 AD), though a pagan poet, had the prophetic foresight 50 years before the birth of Christ to proclaim that the “Virgin returns” will hearken the “birth of the child” who will usher in a new Golden Age or “golden race” and ended with “your own Apollo now is king!” Who is the Apollo Virgil spoke of who is now king?—None other than Jesus Christ.
Besides Virgil, my father used another epigram at the beginning of his essay containing a beautiful quote from the Bible regarding a women prophet who personally witnessed the confirmation of baby Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.
The Gospel of St. Luke chronicled this historical event:
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old. … She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
~ Luke 2:36-37
Also in the essay it mentions how after Virgil the first Christian emperor Constantine the Great (272-337) in his Oration to the Assembly of Saints envisioned how Virgil’s prophecy was a sign for the coming of Christ, by quoting extended passages from Book VIII of The Sibylline Oracles.
My father’s interest in the meaning and purpose of the Sibyl began over 30 years ago when his high school orchestra and choir performed Mozart's masterpiece Requiem Mass. From that point forward my father taught himself Latin while concentrating specifically on the Latin text of the Dies Irae:
Dies iræ! Dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla!
[English:] The day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the world in ashes
As foretold by David and the Sibyl!
This text not only taught me about the prophetic women called Sibyls, but it has amazingly helped me with my knowledge of the beauty that Latin brings particularly in music, philosophy, and religion. I now see Latin (which I am presently studying in high school) as more than just a “dead language” from which grew Western civilization; I now see Latin as a living language, an important opening to life, a connection toward the Bible itself and a realm toward excellence and success in life.
In this essay the author further explains how the origins of the Sibyl was not found throughout Homer’s legendary epic poems like his Iliad and Odyssey (8th century B.C.), but mentioned by Heraclitus in the 5th century B.C. My father expresses how much Christians treasured the Sibyls and honored their prophetic vision as they foresaw the coming of the savior Jesus Christ, "a new progeny of Heaven" who would bring about a return of the "Golden Age" as written in Virgil's Fourth Eclogue. Furthermore, many historians believe this is a message proclaiming the coming of Jesus; and the sole purpose of why Dante chose Virgil in Book 1, called Inferno, in Dante’s classic trilogy Divine Comedy (which he wrote from 1308-21) to accompany him through the dangerous perils of Hell.
The author included a painting of a Sibyl expressing the remarkable genius of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, who painted this beautiful painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling 500 years ago. Michelangelo’s immortal work of the 5 Sibyls described these women as residing in various parts of the ancient world such as Africa, Greece, Roman, Asia, and Ionia (modern day Turkey). Bringing the ancient traditions to modern times, this essay reminds us of the importance of prophetic women in all of our lives.
Society has always had prophetic women. Everyone had a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a godmother, a teacher, a Sunday school teacher who gave us judicious advice, took care of us and kept us from doing stupid things which is an important comparison toward the Sibyls who watched over the whole world and spread the word of truth.
God has sent us these powerful women to mold us and prepare us for the sinful challenges we face daily by feeding us knowledge sent from the Lord himself, just as the Sibyls spread God’s word throughout all the land in antiquity. Also remember the importance, the sole purposes of each of the women in the Bible such as—Sarah who was Abraham's wife, Isaac's wife, Rebekah, the wives and concubines of Jacob who birthed the 12 tribes of Israel, Naomi, Ruth, Tamar, Hannah, Isaiah's wife (who in Isaiah 8:3 was called a “prophetess”), Huldah, Deborah, Mary Magdalene and Anna the prophet (who witnessed the infant Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.
In conclusion, Professor Ellis Washington’s essay asks the reader to carefully examine the physical features of the Sibyl in Michelangelo’s painting above; her mystical appearance creating the sheer power of a true woman of God at the very moment she has received God’s word, leaving His presence, and is carefully delivering it to all humanity; reminding us to worship his divine path of God’s love and we will live through his judgment. We must also praise the genius of Michelangelo for his ultimate foresight in recognizing the immense historical importance of the Sibyl and concludes his article by reminding us the true mission of the half mortal half divine Sibyl was not just to spread the Word of the Lord, but to expand the meaning of his word spreading it throughout countless ages constantly bringing more followers into the light of righteousness, following the almighty path of God.
This essay truly brought out the true spirit of Christmas bringing us the holy word of God which the Sibyls dutifully spread from antiquity. I am truly amazed by how powerful these Sibyls were and how a piece of their spirits live in all the true Christian women across the world, spreading holy advice to love ones in an never ending cycle of rebirth. This Christmas of 2011 shall be a Christmas of remembrance and a Christmas of true respect toward Jewish, Christian and all women of faith around who reflect the aspects of the Sibyls and uphold their powerful vision of a true prophetic woman. The spirit of the Lord runs deep through these strong women as they remain legends on this planet dispersing the Word of God.
For that reason, this is my Christmas tribute toward all my family, friends and to the prophetic women in our lives, no matter how distant they may be, the Word of God and the Sibyls shall always guide them…as they guide all mankind, all nations towards Veritas (truth)!
|Sophomore, Grosse Pointe South High School|