What is the Grafted-In Symbol (the Messianic Seal) and How Does it Bridge Believer to the Old Testament?
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! – Romans 11:22 – 24
This is a beautiful picture that was painted by the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the church in Rome. He wrote about branches that were cut off from the tree with some wild olive shoot being grafted in and the natural branches that will be grafted in again when the right time comes. He used it as an illustration of the nation of Israel who rejected Jesus before and the Disciples of Christ that composed of Jews and Gentiles alike.
Jesus Christ, based on His earthly ancestry, came from the line of King David. He was a member of the people of Israel, a true blooded Jew based on His family lineage. However Jesus was seen as an enemy of the Law, a dangerous teacher that went opposite to the teaching of the Scriptures, a threat to the belief system that was founded by their ancestors and through Moses. So His own people, the Jews, did to Him what was prophesied long ago and crucified Him. His followers were persecuted and some were driven away from Jerusalem. With these events that were written in the Bible, a person could easily conclude that the Christian Church today who believes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah has replaced the people of Israel in God’s promises.
The discovery of the Grafted-In Symbol changes this assumption! Presumed to be used by the early believers in the first century, the Messianic Seal is an expressive emblem of the connection between the Jewish and Christian faith. It is composed of two symbols: The Menora and the Fish which intertwined at the center to create a Start of David. This seal communicates a strong message that God wants the Gentile believers and the Jewish people to be connected as one in which Christ is to be the center. So let’s go in detail on what the symbol signifies:
1. The Menora
The Menora represents the Torah or the Jewish written Law which constitutes the first five books of the Bible. It is a symbol that is strongly related to and identified with the Jews. It also reminds us of the Old Testament, specifically the Tabernacle of God where the Lord has commanded Moses to fashion a golden lampstand which will light up the Holy Place. In the Bible, the Psalmist says of God’s word as ‘a lamp to my feet, and a light unto my path’ (Psalm 119:105).
The Word of God is indeed alive and active and a person that lives according to its word will find guidance and direction in his life. Christianity will always find a connection with the Jewish faith because the Laws, the Prophets and the other writings of the Old Testaments point to Jesus! A Bible with only the New Testament is not complete without the teachings and the wisdom from the Old Testament. Indeed, we cannot disregard the Menora, the Golden Lampstand of God in our lives.
2. The Fish Symbol
The Fish Symbol or the Ichthys is a symbolism that was being used by Christians for almost 2,000 years now. It was linked to what Jesus said when He called the first apostles giving them the promise that He will make them fishers of men. It was also connected to the miracle that Jesus did when He multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fishes to feed the 5,000 people who followed Him. Like the Menora, the Fish Symbol communicates truths about the Christian faith.
God has called us to be fishers of men. In this world where many people are pursuing things that are only temporary and fleeting, God is calling His people to take a stand and be a fisher that will catch those that are being driven by the current and waves of the enemy’s tactics. He also wants us to become like a fish and used our lives as living sacrifice to worship Him for the salvation of many souls.
In a history that spans around 4,000 years, it is really amazing to see how God has revealed His purpose through the Messianic Seal. The Jewish Faith and Christianity are not in enmity. The Jews and Gentiles are the same: both needs to be rescued from sin’s bondage, both needs to be saved through the cross, both needs to experience the resurrecting power of Jesus. Both beliefs are being connected through Christ. The Law of the Hebrews and the Grace of Christian Faith is beautifully connected to form the heart of God which was represented by the star of David, ‘a man after God’s own hear.’ (Acts 13:22).
The Gentile believers should be grateful to God that He allowed them to be part of His chosen people. Instead of boasting to Jews who rejected Christ, each one of us should pray for and bless Israel. The Jewish people, on the other hand, should discover that Jesus is indeed the Messiah who is to come. Like all their brothers in ancient times who accepted the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior, let’s pray for Israel that God will once and for all reveal to them this truth.
And a time is coming, that the message that the Messianic Seal tries to communicate will happen in our midst. Where God will make His children, Jews and Gentiles, as one.