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,
Joel

25 Comments
  • 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

    Ditto.

  • 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

    Peter,

    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

  • 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

    Joel,
    I like Aish.com’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.” (http://www.aish.com/jl/sp/k/48942436.html). 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.
    Shalom!

  • 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.

    Thanks,

    John

  • 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

    Joel

    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.

    http://melaniephillips.com/not-deal-surrender/

  • 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…..no 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!
    Tamaira

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

    Joel,

    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

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