The Messianic cross is one of the primary symbols of Messianic Judaism.(ThoughtCo., 2017) It is a combination of the Christian cross and the Jewish Star of David, symbolizing the combination of the beliefs within the faith of Messianic Judaism. This particular cross is made of wood and is about six inches tall and six inches wide. While not typically used in their religious services, this cross plays an important role in symbolizing what they stand for.
Although Messianic Judaism initially began around the time of the death and resurrection of Jesus, it gained popularity in the 1960s and 70s in the United States. Many today know it as “Jews for Jesus” because of the ways it straddles the line between Christianity and Judaism. (Rudolph & Willitts)It is seen as a branch off of traditional Judaism, with the main difference being the belief of Jesus at the Messiah whereas traditional Judaism believes the Messiah has not come yet. The belief of Jesus as the Messiah is what links Messianic Judaism to Christianity. A lot of Messianic Jews still follow the laws stated in the Torah such as eating clean. It is because of this that people often disagree about whether the religion is more Christian or Jewish. Even within their faith, everyone has their own opinion on this. Many of the traditional Jewish denominations reject it as a form of Judaism because of their belief in Jesus and are criticized by Christians for missionizing, or trying to convert, within the Jewish community. This makes it hard for them to have their own identity while being so similar to two common faiths.
The Star of David, which is centered in the middle of the messianic cross, is full of Jewish history. The star, also know as the Shield of David, is a six-sided star that symbolizes how God protects us from all six directions: north, south, east, west, up, and down. It is made from two triangles, one pointing up to God to represent good deeds and one pointing down to represent God’s holiness flowing down towards Earth (Jewish Gift Place). The Star of David is seen today as the symbol for Judaism and is pictured on the Israeli flag.
The cross, which forms the base of the Messianic cross, is the most common symbol of Christianity. They believe that Jesus, who was a Jew, was the son of God and that he was crucified on a cross and resurrected three days later to forgive them of their sins. In the Christian faith, the cross serves as a reminder of the sacrifice that was made for them and the promise of Heaven for those who believe in Jesus. It is often found on jewelry, in paintings and on clothing in today’s society.
The Messianic cross combines the two most well-known symbols of both of these faiths, much like how they combined the beliefs. It symbolizes what is important about both Christianity, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and Judaism, following the laws laid out in the Torah. While it is not used in their religious services, it is often used for decorative purposes in the home. It serves as a personal reminder of their beliefs and visual representation description for those outside of the faith of Messianic Judaism.
The Messianic cross has become a very commercialized symbol in American culture today. This cross in particular was found in a Christian bookstore. It is often on jewelry such as necklaces, earrings, and rings and other accessories like tie clips as a personal way for Messianic Jews to show their beliefs.
Messianic Judaism is practiced all over the United States. Although the modern version that we know today originated in England, it has gained popularity all over the world. There are large numbers of Messianic Jews in the United States as well as Europe, Latin and South America, and Africa (ThoughtCo.).
By: Ben Hohman, Shaan Bhatnagar, and Abby Crawford
Jewish Gift Place. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.jewishgiftplace.com/Jewish-Star-of-David.html
Rudolph, D. J., & Willitts, J. (n.d.). Introduction to Messianic Judaism: Its Ecclesial Context and Biblical Foundations. Zondervan. Retrieved 3 21, 2018, from https://books.google.com/books?id=3jf-epevPJ4C&pg=PT137
ThoughtCo. (2017, March 17). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-messianic-judaism-700972