I AM the Root and the Offspring of David,

and the Bright and Morning Star

22: 16

    Jesus Himself affirms that it was He who sent the angel to John to reveal everything found in the book of Revelation, so that John could deliver it to the churches in Asia Minor. It is the same Jesus who, in His humanity, is the root and the offspring of David; but to His deity, He is the Shechinah glory, as seen in the brightness and visibility of the light of the morning star.525

    There are many beautiful symbols associated with Judaism, but perhaps the most recognizable one today is the Star of David. It might surprise many people, however, to realize the star, as a strictly Jewish symbol, is a rather modern development. To look at the origins of the Star of David is to take a look into a diverse and interesting history.

    The earliest apparent mention of this symbol is found in the Talmud, the written form of the Oral Law (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Ei – The Oral Law), and it’s rabbinic commentary. In describing the reign of King Solomon, the mention is made of how he had power over demonic forces by the emblem on his ring known as the “Seal of Solomon” (Gittin 68). Although the specific design of this seal is not described in this passage, it is also called the “Shield of David” (Magen David) because according to later tradition this also appeared on King David’s battle gear. The first concrete evidence in archaeology was found in the city of Sidon. This consisted of a ring with a seal on it in the shape of a six-pointed star, which was dated from the seventh century BCE. For those who have been to Israel, you will remember the famous six-pointed star on the synagogue of Capernaum. This structure has been dated from the second century CE but it is believed to be directly over the site of an earlier synagogue, the one likely used by Jesus, or Yeshua Himself (Luke 4:31-37).

    For the centuries to follow, the Star of David diversified beyond the Jewish community, with traces being found in Muslim and Christian circles as well. In the year 1190 CE, the hexagram was adapted by Christian groups in Spain as a notary for documents. Of course, the Jewish community continued to use the star, as is noted by the King of Prague, as the symbol for a Jewish flag in 1354. The Encyclopedia Judaica makes an interesting note that the symbol seems to have been especially used among the earlier “Judeo-Christians”, in other words, Messianic Jews! (See Encyclopedia Judaica article on Magen David).

    By the middle ages, the Star of David seems to have taken on a more focused emphasis. The Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) expanded the concept of the star from being merely the “Magen David”, or the shield of David, to “the shield of the Son of David”; namely, the Christ, or the Messiah Himself! Of course, according to traditional Judaism, there would be no greater warrior and deliver than the Messiah, so this interpretation is a very logical progression.

    The Jewish star basically fell into disuse again until the rise of modern Zionism in the nineteenth century. At that time it was revived as a particularly Jewish symbol to identify the faith and political aspirations of our people. On the dark side, the satanic movement of Nazism turned the symbol into a mark of persecution as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star, millions dying in the process. One might think that the star as a Jewish symbol would be tarnished forever, but despite the horrific disaster, I believe God’s justice has won out. Hitler and his evil kingdom was brought down, but the star of David today graces the flag of the modern state of Isra'el. No wonder the Star of David has become the most cherished symbol of Jews today.

    Besides this distinctive history of the shield of David, messianic Jews also see an important spiritual truth associated with it. We would agree with those in rabbinic tradition who saw some kind of “messianic” connection with this particular symbol. After all, the Torah says that the great deliverer of Israel, the Messiah, will have some association with a star. As Balaam predicted concerning the future salvation of the Jewish people: I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Isra'el, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth (Numbers 24:17).

    That this verse was interpreted in a messianic way is clear from the events of the last Roman revolt (132-135 CE). There was a famous Jewish military leader named Bar Kozba who was leading the Jewish rebels in a last ditch effort. Somehow, it became apparent to the leading Rabbi of the day, Rabbi Akiva, that this Bar Kozba must be the long awaited Messiah. The rabbi was so convinced that he publicly called upon the Jews to accept him as the fulfillment of the promise of Numbers 24, even giving the General a new name; Bar Cochba (Son of the Star)! Sadly, this was proven to be a false hope as tens of thousands of Jews perished under the Roman sword.

    We honestly can’t blame Rabbi Akiva for wanting the messianic redemption in his day, or even looking for this person in connection with the star. What is unfortunate is that the Rabbi along with many other Jews may have missed the true messianic redemption and the star just a few years earlier: I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am, Shoresh, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star (22:16).

    Just as the roots of a tree provide stability, nourishment, and a firm foundation for growth, our Messiah, the Root of David, provides all this and more in our lives (His Names Are Wonderful, by Elizabeth Vander Meulen and Barbara Malda, Messianic Jewish Publishers, 2005, page 43).

    Indeed, a star has arisen from David who has fulfilled the first part of that redemptive plan and who will complete God’s plan at His glorious return to Jerusalem. No wonder the symbol of the star of David is especially precious to those Jews and Gentiles alike, who have acknowledged Jesus of Nazareth as that promised One!526


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