Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Star of David as a Symbol of Judaism

Recently I had a friend ask me about the Star of David as a symbol of Judaism. The concern was that this symbol had been taken from or used as a symbol in pagan worship. If that was the case, what action if any should we take in regard to the Star of David? Does having a Star of David mean we are inadvertently endorsing a pagan religion, or even worse, participating in the worship of an idol? Those of us who have embraced our Hebrew Roots and seek to live sanctified lives are examining every aspect of our lives. We search the scriptures allowing the Word to wash us so we may be presented to Him as holy and without blemish. We read over and over again in the Scriptures that Israel turned from the worship of God to worship the idols and gods of other nations. We know that we are not to make carved images to bow down to them, nor even to make an image of God and worship it as if it were God. This was the sin of the Israelites in making and worshiping the golden calf. We seek to avoid this pitfall, but what exactly is the worship of idols and what constitutes endorsing or participating in worship of another god?

God actually gave detailed instructions as the children of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land. He describes the worship of the pagans and tells us not to worship that way.

Deuteronomy 12:30-31 NKJV 30 "take heed to yourself …that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' 31 "You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

What are the abominations that the Canaanites did to their gods that the LORD hates? One is the sacrifice of their sons and daughters. Other abominations are described in Leviticus 18; these include various sexual sins. After listing these sexual taboos, Moses concludes with these words from God:

Leviticus 18:24-25 NKJV 24 'Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 'For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.

We read another description of the abominations of their “worship” when the women of Moab enticed the Israelites to sin.

Numbers 25:1-3 NKJV 1 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. 2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel.

The worship included sexual immorality as well as joining in the sacrifices to their gods, eating and bowing down to their gods. During the days of Paul, the believers in Corinth lived in a city saturated with temples to various gods, chief of which was Aphrodite whose worship incorporated temple prostitution. The phrase “to live like a Corinthian” was synonymous with sexual immorality. Paul addresses this issue bluntly; he instructs them not to have fellowship with those brothers who engage in sexual immorality. He includes a few other activities as well.

1 Corinthians 5:11 NKJV 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person.

But the Corinthians believers had another problem, what could they eat or not eat to avoid participating in worship of other gods. We saw in Numbers 15 that the worship of Baal of Peor included eating. Paul basically says it is all in how the believer views the meat or food. If he views it as a thing offered to an idol and, thus, in his mind he participates in the worship to the idol, then He is defiled.

1 Corinthians 8:4 NKJV 4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one… 7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

Paul readdresses this problem in chapter 10. He begins by once again exhorting them to flee from idolatry but then goes on to tell them that eating meat sacrificed to an idol is not idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:25-26 NKJV 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake; 26 for "the earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness."

He does make an exception to this. When a non-believer invites a believer to eat with him and states that the meat has been sacrificed to idols, the believer should reject that food. But, the reason to reject it is not because of the believer but for the good of the non-believer! He reiterates that all things belong to the LORD.

1 Corinthians 10:27-28 NKJV 27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience' sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness."

We have traveled far afield from our original question. Is the Star of David, or indeed any other symbol, inherently an instrument of idol worship? If we take the example of food sacrificed to idols, we can see that it was not merely the act of eating but the act of bowing down to the gods, of eating it as a thing offered to an idol. By doing so, one participates in the idolatry. So, whether or not the shape of the six-pointed star was ever used in a pagan ritual is not important. What is important is whether, when you observe it, you see it as an object of paganism. Paul concludes his discussion on eating food sacrificed to idols with these words:

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 NKJV 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

But what about these symbols? Lots of groups try to take over symbols for their own purposes. One of the most prominent symbols that have been taken over in today’s world is the rainbow, the sign of God’s covenant with man. The gay and lesbian community has adopted it as their symbol. The symbol we now associate with the Nazis used to be the sign of the thunderbird in Native American history. It is also prominent in ancient Chinese and Japanese cultures. Even the idea of the trinity was “stolen” by the ancient Babylonians with the mother Ishtar, the son Marduk (who marries the mother) and has an offspring, Tammuz. Some give the names as Nimrod and his mother Semiramus giving birth to Tammuz. Satan would love for us to reject the Father, Son and Spirit on the basis of this forgery. Satan has set it up so that the similarities would cause us to reject the trinity. But, similarity does not mean relationship. Satan is always trying to steal what belongs to God. He is a thief, a liar, and a murderer from the beginning. Everything he says and does has an element of truth in it; just twisted to make it all false. Just examine what he says to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Everything he says is ALMOST true.

The fish, long a symbol used for one Christian to recognize another in the dangerous world of Roman persecution, has been stolen by the Darwinists by adding feet to symbolize evolution over creation; atheism over Christianity; chance over God’s design. Should we then reject the fish because Darwinists have decided to take it over? Should we reject the rainbow since the gays and lesbians have taken it over? Satan has also stolen the signs in the heavens and re-packaged them as astrology. God has written His word in the skies. One of the most prominent of which is the star over Bethlehem that marked Yeshua’s birth.  But man has chosen to disregard God’s signs and allow Satan to replace them with personal horoscopes.

God is the creator of the universe including Geometry and geometric symbols. In fact, that is the message of Psalm 24 that Paul quotes when he said that, “the earth is the LORD’s and all its fullness.” Psalm 24 concludes with the words:

Psalms 24:10 NKJV 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

A word search for the LORD of hosts reveals that this name reveals the total authority of God over all of creation. He is the LORD of might and absolute authority. The signs in the heavens belong to Him; mathematics, physics and all the sciences belong to Him.

So what does the symbol of the Star of David represent?  The Star of David is two complete triangles, the simplest closed figure which represents the number three. Three is the number of spiritual completion. Two entwined triangles is an emphasis of the number 3. We have a double portion of divine completion in the Star of David. Our King Messiah is the Son of David. Zechariah actually calls the Messiah David when he writes about the time when David will sit on the throne forever. Is there anything inherently “good” or “bad” about the Star of David? It has no power or virtue in itself so there is no “good” inherent in having a Star of David. Unless one begins to attribute the power of God to the star itself, there is nothing “bad” about the star either. Some say that the Star of David is a mark of shame because of its use by the Nazis to identify and humiliate the Jewish people. It became a mark of shame because it was treated as a mark of shame, just like the Nazi symbol is now a mark of shame to the German people. But, the Dutch rejected the Star of David as a mark of shame, proudly wearing it with the Jews. The Jewish people today reject it as a mark of shame; instead it is a mark of triumph over evil and those who would kill them.

So the Star of David is nothing in itself. If you wear it, do so to the glory of God.  This is true of any other symbols associated with our faith when they are used to remind us of God, our relationship with Him, and as a public statement of our faith.

In our journey to seek to live a life pleasing to God, we need to ask ourselves, “What is pleasing to God?” Micah brings God’s complaints to the children of Israel about their continual idolatry, and then reminds the people of what the LORD requires.

Micah 6:8 NKJV 8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Shalom and be blessed,
Dan and Brenda Cathcart
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