Monday, February 8, 2010

The Star of David

I was studying the Sunday School lesson for next week about the Abrahamic covenant. I wrote down some thoughts about the Star of David that relate and decided to post them.

In Abraham 3:12-14, God put his hands over Abraham’s eyes and showed him everything that his hands had made and there were so many that Abraham could not see the end of them. Then God showed him the stars in the night sky and said to Abraham “I will multiply thee and thy seed after the like unto these…”

The number of the stars was an important part of this comparison, but I think the most important part was the actual stars themselves. In Abraham 2:11, God told Abraham “…in thy seed after thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed…” This has absolutely happened as the descendents of Abraham, particularly the Jews, have spread throughout the earth and have brought with them stability and progress simultaneously. Their influence has been felt directly as they have built strong families and communities, and as they have developed medicine, arts, sciences, technology, and business. The seed of Abraham has also strongly influenced the inhabitants of the Earth in less direst ways. For example, the Constitution of the US was initially modeled after the laws of the Israelites. There were adaptations to make the laws relevant to the US, but the overall concept of the purpose of government came from Israel. Like it or not, that concept of government has become a standard for all other nations on Earth as well. With so much influence (for good in my opinion) coming from the descendants of Abraham, it seems appropriate to me that the Star of David has become a symbol of the Jews. They are a bright and shining people.

The Star has meaning beyond that though. Walter Wright of American Fork, UT pointed out that there are only two places in the scriptures where blood and wood appear together. The first is during the Passover, when the children of Israel put lamb’s blood on the posts and lintel of each door. (He started wondering why that specifically was the sign that would cause the destroying angel to pass and began looking for anything like that symbol in the scriptures.) The other place he found it was during the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ where Christ’s blood spilled from his hands and feet onto the wooden cross. He then observed that if one were to connect the dots, the blood of the Passover would make a right side up triangle, and the blood of the Crucifixion would make an upside down triangle. Placed together, the visual outcome of those two events is the Star of David. From that perspective, the Star becomes a symbol of freedom. The sacrifices of Israel during the Passover brought them political and physical freedom; the Crucifixion brought them freedom from sin, guilt, and death.

To me, the appearance of the Star of David is also an important part of its meaning. One triangle points up, the other points down. The one that points up is the symbol of the offerings made to God by Israel during the Passover. Prayers and sacrifices were given up to God. The triangle that points down is a symbol of the Crucifixion. The Son of God came down to live with the children of Israel and became a sacrifice given to them. The most beautiful part of the symbol to me is that the two triangles are overlaid in perfect symmetry. Placed like that, they symbolize the covenants binding God and Israel.

The Abrahamic covenant is one of the most important made in the scriptures and God gives tokens with His covenants. For example, the rainbow is a token of the covenant that God would never flood the earth again. I think that The Star of David is the token of the Abrahamic covenant. There are three things promised to Israel: 1. Land (Abraham 2:6, 19; Genesis 12:7;17:8), 2. Posterity (Abraham 2:9-10; Genesis 12:2-3;17:2, 4-6), 3. The Priesthood (Abraham 2:9-11;Genesis 17;7). There are three things required of Israel: 1. To bear the priesthood unto all nations (Abraham 2:9, 11), 2. To rise up and bless Abraham as their father (Abraham 2:10), 3. Obey God’s commandments (Genesis 18:19). Three promises in each direction and three points on each triangle. The outcome of that covenant is made clear in Revelation 22:19 when Christ says “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Going back to the beginning where God showed Abraham the stars and promised that his seed would become as they were, it is clear that the purpose of the Abrahamic covenant is to make the children of Israel like Christ.

The Star of David, as a symbol of the Jews, is the symbol of a chosen people, but as a token of a covenant, it shows that all people can become chosen by entering into the Abrahamic covenant. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that when people are baptized with appropriate priesthood authority, they become children of Israel. If they do not already have the blood of Israel in them, they are adopted into Israel. It is why baptisms for the dead are done in a font placed on the hinder parts of twelve oxen. The oxen are a symbol of Israel and baptism is a symbol of burial and rebirth. Through baptism, people are reborn into Israel.

I have thought a lot about the Holocaust as I have considered the Star of David. There is such cruel irony that a symbol of freedom and of a chosen people was used as a mark to captivate and to kill those very people who were chosen and meant to be free. There are many times in the scriptures when it is stated that the blood of the Saints cries up unto God when they are murdered (particularly when they are killed because of their religious affiliation). A Saint is someone who has entered into the Abrahamic covenant and who keeps it. The Abrahamic covenant was sealed with blood at the Passover and again at the Crucifixion. I haven’t quite grasped the significance of it yet, but I think that it is not a coincidence that the spilled blood of Saints cries unto God when they were killed for a covenant sealed with blood.

1 comment:

Carroll said...

Great insights. Thanks. The Abrahamic Covenant is eternal. All God's children that except it and are worthy are blessed by it. The blessings are very tangible, spiritually and physically. It is The Gospel. I especially like the 12 oxen-baptismal font explanation.