Lions and Tigers and… Pagan Symbols, Oh My!

I recently received the following inquiry, and I thought it would be good to respond, as this is a somewhat common question. The following was sent to me from a Joy Bosworth:

Why do you use a masons, Jesuit, and pagan symbol with your sight? The square within a square and the egyptian sun disc in the middle? These are also symbols within the Catholic Church. These are things not to follow but yet you publish them openly. Very curious as to your answer. But I am sure you won’t publish this question or the answer.

My response:

Hi Joy,

Symbols by themselves do not have any inherent meaning or power. Further, any given symbol has many different meanings. What one person sees as the letter O, others see as a sign of Egyptian sun worship. While one person may see a particular hand gesture as a sign of Satan, another may see it as a sign of the Texas Longhorns college football team. While some may see a goat as a sign of Satan, others simply see goats as adorable farm animals, created by God. As Paul says, “To the pure all things are pure.” In other words, a symbol only has the meaning or power that one ascribes to it. While the Magen David star that I have fixed on my wall in my studio may be a pagan sign to you, to most people it simply symbolizes the current state of Israel or the Jewish people. Of course, biblically, the Menorah is a more appropriate symbol of the Jewish people, which as you can see, I also have on my wall. I am not however scared of the Star of David, nor should I be. Satan does not own that symbol, nor should we allow him to do so. As a lifelong artist, I have a love for the history of art and architecture. When I made my web-site some years ago, I chose three images of various ceramic tiles because I found them to be very aesthetically pleasing. One had an image of the Magen David to represent the Jewish people, another had a classic Arabic design, to represent the Muslim world, and another had an image of an icon of Jesus to represent Christians. These three tiles were intended to represent the three main people groups I feel called to minister the Gospel to. When I built my studio, I used these same images. This is simply called “branding.” One uses consistent images and logos to make folks familiar with you and your message or “brand.” While you may believe all of these signs have some inherent evil power, I believe the Lord is so much bigger and more powerful than Satan. Again, Satan doesn’t own shapes or symbols anymore than Satan owns all goats. Others have asked about the statues behind me. These are from Iran, given to me as a gift by my friends who lead the underground Church there. One is a Sassanid soldier, essentially the Green Berets of ancient Persia, and the other is Cyrus (the Lord’s anointed).

I pray you will receive what I am about to say as a brother, but I hope that you will grow beyond the relative superstitiousness that has caused you to assume the worst about me, your brother. Not everything is an evil Illuminati, Jesuit, Masonic, or Satanic conspiracy.

May the Lord Bless you,

  • Linda keyes
    Posted at 11:31h, 19 April

    I must confess Joel

    Heresy hunters have frustrated me ‘not a little’😓

  • Linda Dodge
    Posted at 12:40h, 19 April

    Silly me I just thought it was pretty artwork. Everything is in the eye of the beholder. We don’t want to make a brother stumble by what we allow, but gee whiz we can find a negative in almost anything these days. Let us judge by the fruit (I’m including myself in this admonition) of a ministry please!

  • Taryn
    Posted at 18:47h, 19 April

    When I see any shape other than a square, I freak out!!!

  • Taryn
    Posted at 18:53h, 19 April

    Although one can’t even fully trust a square, as they tend to be a little too..”.hip.”

  • Joel
    Posted at 20:16h, 19 April


  • Leo Watson
    Posted at 22:14h, 19 April

    Joel, Well said. So often in our society we look not for the good but for the bad in things. We as Christians do not need to fear the things of the enemy. Unfortunately, so many ministries feed off of fear. Selling books, survival supplies and who knows what else to the fearful. Jesus said, “Fear not I am with you!” Thanks for the work that you do.

  • Kelly J Simpkins
    Posted at 23:29h, 19 April

    Not that anyone cares, but I love the “Star of David” -and Israel is exactly what it makes me think of, and Jesus ( Yeshua reigning there- Lord let it be soon!)
    As green is my favourite colour – I love love the green tile – have no idea what it’s supposed to mean to ‘Joy’, I just think it’s beautiful!
    No the gold one isn’t my style – but as I’ve listened to Joel teach, watched the “Underground”, and read his blogs for the last couple of years and
    I’ve recognized his great love for history and thought the office totally suited him!
    Your heart, Joel for the Islamic nations and people – pierced my heart! I wept thru the last chapter of your book “Mideast Beast” and began to pray for them, with a new heart!
    I have loved and prayed for Israel, as God commands! And as the ” time of Jacobs Trouble” grows closer – I pray with more urgency that their eyes & hearts would be opened.
    We have so much to get before God for, to be prepared for His work in the “GREAT & Terrible times that are just ahead of us!
    Sorry but there is no ‘ secret rapture’ – We get see first hand – like Israel in Egypt – the MIGHTY HAND OF OUR GOD!!
    So let’s focus on the ‘Message’ Joel brings and hear his heart – not critique his design elements!! God is so much bigger!
    Thanks Joel, for the “Light” you have brought to my life! I so appreciate your faithfulness to Gods Word as your authority; and the heart of love you reveal for the lost in every nation.
    Gods blessings and His Shalom on you & your family
    Kelly JS

  • Joel
    Posted at 07:00h, 20 April

    Thanks so much Kelly. I fully concur. Much Blessings!

  • peter owens
    Posted at 19:00h, 20 April

    joel the real name of the star is the star of remphan the star Stephen was talking about when he was stoned to death acts 7.43

  • Kelly Christman
    Posted at 21:04h, 20 April

    I love your studio and find all of your design choices aesthetically pleasing and perfect for your program. I knew, without asking, what and who you were trying to represent through your design style. So thanks for sharing!!!

  • Michael Rhodes
    Posted at 22:12h, 20 April

    Thanks for posting this on ur site. I think some Christian’s confuse being a berean with witch hunting. They use factually inaccurate yet convincing YouTube videos as their source of Truth instead of the real SOT, JESUS. Keep up your ministry and take heart, some of us see the fruit of the spirit in your ministry and focus on His power and how he is working through you. God bless
    Also I just finished Mystery Babylon, wow great work! Each time I look at the Saudis my eyes seem to be a little more open to who they are and what they are doing.

  • Joel
    Posted at 22:16h, 20 April


    Nonsense. There is absolutely no historical or biblical proof whatsoever to make such a claim. Nowhere in the text does it say how many sides or points the star of Repham had. Scholars and commentators say Steven’s reference was not merely to some symbol, such as the Star of David, but an actual three dimensional idol that was worshipped. This is in fact what the text states. This unsubstantiated and bogus claim that the Star of David is the Star of Repham is becoming very popular on various online Christian sites, but it was very popular for quite a while on various white supremacist, anti-semitic, Jew-hating, conspiracy sites. It likely originated from a book called The Six-Pointed Star, by O.J. Graham. This book is not at all genuine scholarship by the way.

    Far more likely, the Star of David symbol originated in the Messianic Biblical prophecy of Balaam who said:

    “I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near;
    A star shall come forth from Jacob,
    A scepter shall rise from Israel,
    And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,
    And tear down all the sons of Sheth. Numbers 24:17

    What does Jesus say of Himself?

    “I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright, Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16

    What was the symbol that Hitler forced all Jews to wear? The Star of David. I happily identify with that which was used by Satan as a sign of reproach toward God’s covenant people.

    Finally, I repeat, mere symbols do not have any inherent meaning or power. Nor does a star have, as you said, a “real name.” It only means what you ascribe to it. It only has as much power as you give it. Saying a shape has a “real name” as if pagans have the right to name a shape, is like saying the “real name” of the goat is Bamphomet. Those who make such absurd comments have a God who is far too small, and a Devil who is far too big.

    Many Blessings,

  • Joel
    Posted at 22:29h, 20 April

    Thank you with all sincerity Michael. May the Lord bless your socks off!

  • peter owens
    Posted at 22:30h, 20 April

    thanks joel im always willing to learn

  • Joel
    Posted at 04:58h, 21 April

    Blessings Peter.

  • Erik Davis
    Posted at 07:47h, 21 April

    Some of us wonder if the hand gesture you allude to does point to the fact that the University of Texas football team is the chosen collegiate squad of Satan! I KID! Thanks for the background on the Star of David, by the way.

  • Steven Vance
    Posted at 09:54h, 21 April

    I like’s view of the Magen David: “The six points of the Star of David symbolize God’s rule over the universe in all six directions: north, south, east, west, up and down.” ( Whatever its origins, it is now a symbol of the state of Israel, which God brought back into being after 2,000 years of exile. SO exciting, SO prophetic! Baruch HaShem Adonai! Come Yeshua HaMaschiach!
    Thanks for your informative and corrective post. Exhortation is one of the least-used gifts in this politically-correct environment we live in. Please continue to use our gift for the uplifting and encouragement of Christ’s bride.

  • Jeanne T.
    Posted at 12:08h, 21 April

    Joel, thank you for this article. I have admired those tiles in your studio because they are beautiful. Thank you for sharing the stories behind them.

  • Andrew M
    Posted at 20:53h, 21 April

    Great response Joel! Thanks for all you do!

  • John Lund
    Posted at 21:45h, 22 April

    Joel, I was also wondering about a symbol, namely the one that was pictured behind Erdogan when he gave his victory speech after the referendum. Not only did I see it then but also in a picture within a picture that a supporter of his was holding up. The symbol is a multi-pointed golden star-like symbol that is surrounded by many other smaller stars. I can’t help but to assume that there is some historical/Islamic significance to this. I could be wrong, just curious.



  • Joel
    Posted at 06:32h, 23 April

    Hi John,

    I may be wrong, but I believe it harkens back to a star used prominently on many of the Ottoman flags. I could be wrong.

  • Linda keyes
    Posted at 17:54h, 23 April


    Something to watch for.
    According to Melanie Phillips, it is reported (in Al Quds) that Mr Trump is going to backtrack on moving the Us Embassy. His son in law is not in favour.

  • John Lund
    Posted at 21:01h, 23 April

    Thanks Joel. Here is something else that struck me, and this is a kind of half-hearted observation: foot rests like the ones that go along with couches are called ottomans correct? So, you know how the Bible says that Jesus will be at the Father’s right hand until he makes his enemies his footstool? Just saying, an ottoman is a footstool. I don’t mean that as racist or ethnic slur by the way, just a half-hearted observation. A lot of focus is on the immediate picture and not the ultimate one. Jesus is already victorious. We fight from victory in our walk with Him in this world. Relax, prop your feet up, just not before you pray for your enemies.

  • Tamaira
    Posted at 22:41h, 23 April

    Can’t something just be pretty? Do you even have time for this nonsense? Which one is pagan-The green one? If you flip it over .. wait.. I see it… still just a tile. Finished your book-great and thorough argument. Concidering any other country as the harlot leads to other rabbit holes of misunderstanding in order to make it all make sense. Great Job. Hope you are working on another!

  • Meat Hook
    Posted at 21:45h, 26 April


    Though it has been awhile since I’ve “piped-up”, I wanted to say thank you for this post. Though I did not see a response to this from Joy, I hope she understands that her questions are held by many others. I also hope she does not feel attacked or looked down upon, because similar questions have been on my mind in the past. Not that I think you came across that way. I must constantly remind myself to,

    “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”(Romans 14:1-3).

    Therefore, Joy, who at this juncture may not have accepted these symbols to be of God. You Joel, have accepted each of these symbols as something else altogether. As I see in this Q&A between the two of you, as well as many of the responses, I think of the following…

    “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:22-23).

    We can look to this entire chapter, in Romans 14, for wisdom and understanding about many situations regarding each other’s beliefs. We must love each other, and direct ourselves to mutual edification. So, I thank you Joy, for the question, because there are many who question symbols in Christianity. I also thank Joel for his thoughts. Each of us has his or her own way of seeing this world, and if we all remember what our faith is rooted in, The Gospel of a Crucified and Resurrected Christ for Salvation to All Who Believe, then I think we can look at each other in love and respect for the sake of Christ’s body.

    Meat Hook

  • Linda Keyes
    Posted at 15:11h, 28 April

    Wow look at this Joel

    Jews thrown out of parliament by armed police for asking distruptive questions
    at an anti-Semitic Labour event

  • Josh Driscoll
    Posted at 21:44h, 03 May

    By that very reasoning, Joel, there is no reason to not post up an upside down pentagram in a circle behind your head, because – of course, God is the God of circles, as well as pentagrams, and it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Fallacious reasoning at best. Symbols are absolutely meaningful, as they have been throughout millennia, speaking both to the conscious and subconscious. Furthermore, these symbols are deeply ingrained in culture as having specific meanings and are being used in contexts which clarify and hone the meaning to the mind (quick example: look at games like ACI,II, III, IV… etc, watch dogs, basically anything by Ubisoft or even the all seeing eye symbolism rife throughout our entertainment media) and you’ll see that not only is symbolism used publicly today to lift up Masonry, Islam, and Satan, but to demean and despise the cross and Christ. To purport that there is no meaning behind a symbol because you simply wish it so is either ignorant or deceitful. I’d hoped for more from someone who purports to be so well-studied,

  • Joel
    Posted at 00:59h, 04 May


    You’ve perfectly contradicted yourself. Symbols do not have inherent meaning. They are only meaningful to those who ascribe them particular meaning. 99% of anyone who sees an upside down five sided pentagram within a circle today recognizes it as a symbol of Satan. 99.99% of anyone who sees the Star of David sees a symbol of Israel. As I said before, your God is far too small and your devil far too big.

  • Levy
    Posted at 17:52h, 09 May

    I love your art and wonder where you found the menorah piece!

    Thank you for your reasoned teachings!

  • Joel
    Posted at 18:57h, 09 May

    I made the menorah. I call it the Olive Tree Menorah. Blessings!

  • Levy
    Posted at 21:00h, 09 May

    You made it?!! Wow, very beautiful! May I ask what you made it from, it’s difficult to see it on the video I watched but it seems to be metal? If you have a picture of it I’d love to see it!


  • Joel
    Posted at 21:30h, 09 May

    Its a board with joint compound through a ground bag, sculpted and sanded, then sealed, painted, gold leafed, and aged.

  • Peter Hartgerink
    Posted at 17:41h, 19 May

    I’ve been away from your site for a while (very busy times) but glad to be back, and totally concur with your perspective on symbols. Thanks for bringing some Biblical clarity and common sense to this topic. Blessings.

  • Ken Salaets
    Posted at 14:54h, 27 May

    Regarding “squares,” Jesus’ life preministry was the epitome of what was once termed a pretty ‘square’ life: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52 NIV. He grew in wisdom (pursuit of knowledge, including skills in carpentry), stature (or health, respecting His body as a temple), God (spiritual, via prayer, worship and scriptural pursuits), and man (social, as a member of the local synagogue and larger community). Seems to me a pretty good recipe for life.



  • Tim (Onesimus)
    Posted at 17:48h, 05 June

    At LAST!!!!

    Thank you for this.
    For so long I’ve been uncomfortable with the way so may Christians give undeserved credit and far too much authority to Satan with regard to symbolism – as if some kind of inherent evil power can be stored within symbols.

    The significance of symbols often differs significantly from culture to culture.

    I remember in the 70s, an upraised forefinger was used by Christians to indicate there was one way to God (through Jesus) – and yet now that same hand gesture has been adopted by Islamic State. Does that mean those 70s Christians were unwittingly supporting a future evil, violent ideology? Or that IS supporters are unwittingly proclaiming Jesus as the “one way” to God?
    Clearly not on both accounts.

  • Ellen Blessing
    Posted at 17:29h, 10 June

    Joel, I am new to all this, but sort of understand where Joy is coming from. I’ve been told wearing jewelry is pagan, tattoos and piercings are pagan and that these symbols and practices are clearly wrong in Gods eyes. I looked in the bible and did find a passage about adorning ones self with gold…(.this was specifically about me wearing a cross…that it was wrong.). I saw Jim Bakker with a cross on his hat….what is your take on this? Trying to understand!

  • Joel
    Posted at 17:39h, 10 June

    There is nothing wrong with wearing a cross. Many misguided and often legalistic folks will seek to overly emphasize minor issues. Of course we should seek modesty, but the idea that any jewelry is sin or this sort of thing is simply not true.

    Posted at 21:10h, 18 June

    I think you’re right about making things holy, and some having freedom where others don’t. (Romans 15 talks about that.)

    However, it’s not the star of David and is in fact mentioned in Acts.

    You took along the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

    Rephan is Saturn, the sixth planet. The six sided star with six inner triangles, with a hexagon in the center. (6,6,6)

    Again, I don’t think you using it makes it Satanic, but it’s clearly of that origin and the Jews were criticized for using it.

  • Joel
    Posted at 21:43h, 19 June

    There is zero scholarly or historical evidence that the star of Rephan mentioned in Acts is the six sided star now used by the State of Israel.

  • Tim (onesimus)
    Posted at 23:27h, 21 June

    It’s sad how some people spend so much time become “experts” in alleged occultism.

    A year or two ago I was accused of having occult associations because the name I use on my blog and on forums (Onesimus) contains “simus” – who I was told was a dark lord in the Star Wars universe. That accusation came from a self-proclaimed “watchman” who created a ministry out of exposing occult events behind the news.

  • Amanda
    Posted at 14:44h, 25 June

    Numbers 12:3 (Tyndale Bible)
    3 But Moses was a very meke man aboue all the men of the erthe.
    When something is bought to our attention from a well meaning believer we ought to enquire to the Father as if what they say is correct.
    Moses was meek and teachable and more importantly so was Yahusha.

  • Elaine Fifield
    Posted at 18:19h, 25 June

    Hi Joel:

    Thanks for taking the time to post Joy’s letter and your response. It’s good that we can ask each other these ‘awkward’ questions and even better, that we can respond with gentleness and humility.

    I love your studio as I find it a very fitting ‘ambience;’ for what you are ‘all about’. (It was a little disconcerting to first time I to saw you sitting in a leather armchair with a makeshift backdrop!!) I am aware of the controversy surrounding some of these symbols and must confess, the question about them has ‘flitted’ through my mind from time to time while viewing The Underground. However, I have enough respect for you as a preacher, researcher and missionary – especially within the context of the Middle East – that I was confident you would have an interesting and excellent perspective on these pieces of artwork, as indeed, you do!!

    Thanks for all the work you do, Joel. I have been edified enormously by your films, interviews, preaching sessions, and of course, “The Underground”.

    Many blessings,

  • Joel
    Posted at 18:36h, 25 June

    Thanks Eliane!

    Confession: Its actually bonded leather at best.

  • Kaye
    Posted at 16:52h, 20 May

    Joel I just thought it all looked pretty especially the one with all the green.

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