The Archangel Michael
The Archangel Michael is robed in red with powerful wings and seen blowing a long golden horn. Scripture often refers to the Archangel Michael as a 'chief prince', who will play a significant part in end-time events. The long Gold horn may have some significance relating to use in the temple as well it's reference in the book of Revelation.
"And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer." Revelation 12: 7 - 8
Christ judges humanity
Christ is at the very top of the window, sitting on a rainbow. This symbolism reference God's promise to never destroy the world again after the great flood. He is clothed in white, wearing a green crown of thorns with a deep red halo and blessing the world below (in Hebrew, blessing means smile). Both of Christ's hands show the stigmata - the wounds made by the nails that were driven into his palms during his crucifixion.
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds." Revelation 20:11-13
The city is collapsing
Below the feet of the angels is a contemporary city which dived the window in two. The dark, murky buildings are collapsing and appear to be breaking apart into many different directions. Birmingham Town Hall is thought to feature in city. The Town Hall was built the same year that Burne-Jones was Baptised at St Philips. Other cartoons of the window don’t show it (the window may have originally been designed for another church).
Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Revelation 16:19
Christ and The Archangel Michael are framed by angels, distinguished by the different colours of their haloes and wings. It is believed that the faces of the angels were inspired by Burne-Jones' daughter Margaret, with whom he had a close relationship. Margaret can be seen in a number of portraits he produced, and there is a very strong resemblance between the two. One angel holds a golden key and a double chain which refers to binding of the dragon in Revelation 20. Another angel holds the Book of Life; which is understood to serve as a testament to those saved who will enjoy eternity with the Lord.
You can also count seven vials (or bowls) - believed to refer to the seven bowls of god's wrath described in Revelation 16:
- First Bowl: Loathsome Sores
- Second Bowl: The Sea Turns to Blood
- Third Bowl: The Waters Turn to Blood
- Fourth Bowl: Men are Scorched
- Fifth Bowl: Darkness and Pain
- Sixth Bowl: Euphrates Dried Up
- Seventh Bowl: Hail
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. Revelation 20:1
Below the city
In the lower portion of the window, a fearful and apprehensive group of people try to escape the doomed city, looking in different directions. However, unlike many other depictions of the end times, there are no serpents or dragons or devils – reflecting Burne-Jones' belief in love and forgiveness. Some of the figures you can see are:
Two fearful women, standing on a tomb, clasp each other.
A husband comforts his wife who holds holding a baby.
A barefoot, red-robed man with his back to the viewer twists in the foreground. He wears an elaborate crown - showing that Jesus is returning to judge both the rich and poor.
There are also those who appear to be the dead emerging from graves at the very bottom of the scene - rising up from the ground.
An anxious child wears a delicately patterned white robe, stands between his father and mother, clutching his father’s red garment.