The first official translation of the Bible into Afrikaans was completed in 1933 by J.D. du Toit, E.E. van Rooyen, J.D. Kestell, H.C.M. Fourie, G.B.A. Gerdener and B.B. Keet. This Bible was launched in Bloemfontein on 27 August 1933. This year (2023), we celebrate its ninetieth anniversary. In celebration of that, the Anglo-Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein asked me to paint a painting.
In preparation, I read several books about stories that happened in the war. More specifically, the concentration camps for women and children. One thing stood out - the hope they had. They were anchored in their hope in God's Word. It was hope that kept their spirit from being broken by all the immense misery they had to endure
Oil painting done on stretched canvas
sides are painted, ready to hang.
No need to frame
Size of canvas : 70cm
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Meaning of the painting
We read about the candlestick in Exodus 25. The 2020 translation speaks of the "menorah". Here Father explains how the tabernacle and all the furniture should be made. Among other things, the menorah - the golden candlestick.
This lamp was the only light inside the Holy part.
PS 119:105 "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
The candlestick refers to the living Word, Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
John 8:12 "And Jesus spoke to them again and said: I am the light of the world; whoever follows Me will surely not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
All the furniture in the Holy part of the tabernacle is made of wood overlaid with either gold or copper. The candlestick was the only item of solid gold. It further points to Jesus' divinity, purity of the Word and his glory.
PS 119:140 "Your word is refined through and through, and your servant loves it."
The candlestick consisted of seven oil lamps. Seven represents fullness, completeness and perfection and the sevenfold Holy Spirit of God (Rev. 4:5).
It had three branches on the left and right, with three almond blossoms on each branch. The shaft had four blossoms. A total of 22 flowers. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, the building blocks of God's word. Each of these 22 blossoms consisted of a bowl, button and blossom. So 22 times 3 ornaments on the candlestick. A total of 66. The Word of God consists of 66 books. Remarkable! Nothing in God's word is accidental.
The Gold in the Menorah
Ninety means something that has been tested and approved based on the visible fruit.
PS 66:10 "For You have tested us, O God, You have refined us as a man refines silver."
2 Cor. 8:2 (NLV)" Even though they were also severely tested by hardships, they remained exceedingly joyful, and their great poverty resulted in abundant generosity."
If we look back at all the trials and tribulations that the Afrikaner had to endure since the Boer War, we can say with conviction that God has not abandoned us. He is still in control.
Jer. 1:11-12 “… What do you see, Jeremiah? And I answer: I see an almond branch. Then the Lord said to me: You have seen well, because I am awake about my word to fulfill it."
God himself answers Jeremiah here and explains what the almond stands for. The almond is the emblem of God's promises, His Word that will come true, because God himself keeps watch over his word.
Round canvas with two sparrows
I painted the painting on a round canvas. This symbolize South-Africa’s ancient half and one cent coin with the two sparrows on it. The origin of the sparrows on our money comes from the Anglo-Boer War.
Anette Marais, a prisoner in the Bethulie concentration camp, begged God for a message to encourage her fellow prisoners. She receives Matt. 10:29 “Aren't two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to earth without your Father." The New Living Translation speaks of "a mere penny".
She was still reading, when a sparrow came and sat on her shoulder. This greatly encouraged and filled the woman with new hope. God was with them. The sparrow of Bethulie has become a beacon of faith and hope for these women.
After the war, General Jan Smuts had the two sparrows appear on the country's smallest coin (a quarter penny), in memory of the concentration camps and also the hope with which God filled them.
Rom. 15:13 "And may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace through faith, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."