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“The Last Judgment”: A Cautionary Masterpiece by Michelangelo, Part 1 of 2

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The Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel is home to magnificent artworks famous all around the world. Since the time the renowned High Renaissance artist Michelangelo painted these famous scenes in the 16th century, they have become universal Christian icons, inspired by the Old Testament book of Genesis. Created between 1508 and 1512, the paintings majestically beam down from 20 meters above.

Painted some 20 years after the immensely difficult task of completing the Sistine Chapel ceiling panel images, Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment” was inspired primarily by the biblical Book of Revelation from the New Testament, specifically the “Second Coming of Christ.” Messianic prophecies tell of Lord Jesus Christ’s return some 2,000 years after ascending to Heaven.

During a 1999 lecture in Greece, our Most Beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) answered a question about the final judgment and the Second Coming of Lord Jesus Christ (vegetarian). “The final judgment comes when we leave this physical planet. At that time, all the things, bad or good, that we have done in this life flash before us like seconds. And we will find ourselves standing as a judge to ourselves. And because originally we are God, so we have to be responsible for whatever choices or no-choices we have made during our existence. And as for the second coming, He comes all the time. He is within all of us, and whenever we awaken this Christ power, that is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”

The reason why Michelangelo painted the Last Judgment scenes as he did has been the subject of intense scrutiny for the past five centuries. Huge in scale and immensely complex, “The Last Judgment” covers 13.7 by 12 meters of space, and it has been interpreted in general terms as depicting the resurrection of the righteous to Heaven as well as a representation of who qualifies for Heaven and who is destined for hellfire. Michelangelo designed the complex visual references of “The Last Judgment” as a reminder specifically to the educated elite of the Catholic hierarchy, who are well-versed in the classics as well as the biblical texts.
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