‘And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth’
Book of Revelation
Day of Judgement Depicted on Gravestones
The graphical account of the day of judgement can be found in the Book of Revelation. The earth is destroyed by seven angels with trumpets and the dead rise to be judged against their deeds in the book of life.
Most of the images depicting judgement day consist of angels blowing trumpets in the corners of headstones, but some depictions of the Day of Judgement are a mass of images as pictured below on this stunning headstone from Ireland.
The headstone features angels, cherubs, winged souls, doves and the recently risen dead with just a few scrolls and wisps of cloud to protect their modesty. All are smiling as this is a day of hope, with the bodies of the worthy dead joining their souls in heaven.
These reminded the observer that it was not only there impending death that they had to prepare for, but also a second death at the end of times when they would be judged against their deeds in the book of life. Ones deeds could be depicted on a headstone by figures writing into a book, those worthy to reside in heaven and St. Peter holding the keys to heaven.
This is also the reason the dead were buried with their feet pointing east, so that when the trumpets sounded they would rise facing the magnificent sight.