Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deuteronomy 6:8
This symbol might be the seal of the first / second Century Messianic Church in Jerusalem
In 1990 Ludwig Schneider, editor in chief of "Israel today" magazine was handed, by a monk who is no longer with us, a collection of artefacts which had been recovered from a cave on Mount Zion. Many of the pieces were marked with a previously unknown symbol which comprised the menorah at the top, the fish at the bottom, with the two joined in the star of David. Schneider was convinced that this was a symbol of the first Jewish-Christian church.
The Menorah (candelabra) represents Godís covenant with the people of Israel and the torah. The fish is a symbol for Yeshua, from the Greek word for fish, icthys, which was used as an acronym for Iosus Cristos, son of God, saviour. The star of David, Magen David, literally shield of David, represents Israel and particularly the Davidic kingdom.
This fusion of symbols speaks of the joining together of Jew and Gentile in the atonement of Yeshua, who has broken down the wall of partition.
There are various opinions and beliefs about the cave where these seals were found, but it is believed to be the sacred baptismal grotto of the first Nazarene (Messianic) church dating from the first to second century CE. One piece bearing the symbol also carries an Aramaic inscription, "For the Oil of the Spirit." This text is nearly identical to James 5 v14-16, which refers to the spiritual use of oil for anointing. It appears that this cave was the baptismal centre below the first church in the Upper Room where the Holy Spirit fell on the believers, and that these pieces were used in rituals of Baptism and anointing for new converts to the Faith.
Unfortunately there are archaeological problems with this idea, as explained to me by Yehuda Repuano, a field and research archaeologist working for the Israeli government.
The first thing that aroused his suspicion that it was not an ancient Jewish-Christian symbol was the use of a Magen David, the Star of David. It is well known that it only became a symbol of Judaism beginning in Medieval times.
The lamp was from the Late Hellenistic period (somewhere around the first century BC), before the birth of Yeshua. The bowl was hand made from the Ayyubid/ Mamaluk period (13th to 16th centuries AD), or Ottoman period (16th to 20th centuries AD). The symbol was etched on to the lamp that, though earlier than the birth of Yeshua, could have been added during the Hellenistic period or any time thereafter. The bowl was typically painted with red pigment. The symbol was also painted onto the bowl, but in a slightly different color that appeared to be on top of the original paint of the bowl. Thus, the symbol must have been painted no earlier than the 13th century AD. However, it was likely added to the bowl at a much later time. It is hard to say where this symbol came from and what the motive is for its having been presented as ancient. My guess is that the monk was not altogether straight forward with Mr Schneider and may have created it. Although Hebrew Christianity has been around for some time, I understand that Messianic Judaism was revived only in 1967. Before this time I doubt that such a combination of a Magen David, fish and menorah would have been put together in such a manner.
Whatever its origin, this symbol seems the most excellent and natural one for wild olive branch Christians to show their grafted in allegiance to their elder brothers of Israel.
Having been challenged on how I see the coming together happening, I had to sit and think it through. I do not think that the Jews will join Christian churches or convert their synagogues into churches. I do not think that Christians will become Jews, attending synagogues and forgetting about Jesus and the cross. Neither do I see a man made, ecumenical, bolting together of Church and Synagogue; of Christianity and Judaism and all their traditions and practices.
I was given a picture, which helps me.
Consider the butterfly and the dragonfly. Both start their life cycle as an egg, and hatch into an unprepossessing creature that goes around eating and growing. The butterfly caterpillar lives among land plants and the dragonfly nymph in the pond.
When the time comes, the caterpillar spins a chrysalis and settles down to metamorphose, and the dragonfly nymph crawls up a stalk out of the water and waits. When the chrysalis and the nymph split open, new creatures emerge and, after pausing to harden their wings, take flight as gorgeous creatures in rainbow colours and iridescent sheens.
The old, discarded skin is left behind.
I would not try to say which is the caterpillar and which the nymph, but I feel that Jews and Christians will only be revealed as one glorious, beautiful creature after leaving the old skins behind. Neither would I care to speculate on timings for these two transformations. Meanwhile we are, in some way, being transformed ready for that day. We will be united in the glory, beauty, righteousness and love of Yeshua the Messiah after He has come for us.
The discarded skins left behind will be the organizational structures and dead traditions of church and synagogue, and those who refuse to allow God to transform them into His image and likeness.
I wanted to carry the messianic seal as a sign of my belief in Godís purpose of uniting Jew and Gentile as they should have been, combined with a sign of my commitment to Israel, the land of Godís promise and of the roots into which I am grafted. I have purchased a blank IDF dog-tag to use as the template. ( www.israelmilitary.com )
There is considerable symbolism in a dog tag.
A dog-tag is about commitment to the cause, with acceptance of death as a possible outcome. The holes, top and bottom and the row of slots are to allow the tag to be broken in two in the event of death in action. One half remains with the body for its identification while the other half can be used for record keeping purposes. Jesusí body was broken for us on the cross, and He told us to "take up your cross and follow me."
The original appears to be stamped aluminium alloy sheet, but my wildolive version is made of silver.
Items bearing this symbol can be obtained from www.galileeexperience.com , including the tee shirts bearing a version of this symbol and the wording,
"Grafted in Romans 11 v17".
These tee shirts are also, usually, on sale at the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.
The wildolive messianic seal is copyleft - free to use but authorship must be acknowledged.
A Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) version can reproduced in any size, without pixels using a programme such as Inkscape. The SVG file is available on the wildolive server - you may be able to download it (Grafted.svg)
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