Limited Edition Print – The Fulfillment of Prophecy

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I’m excited to release this limited run of prints of “The Fulfillment of Prophecy.” The prints are 16″x 20″, black and gold printed on a cream colored paper. Right now I’m selling them for a sale price of $20. GET THE PRINT.

 

Lately, I’ve struggled with the symbol of the cross and it’s seemingly irrelevance in our culture currently. Its not that I don’t think it’s important theologically. I just think symbolically in our culture now it’s an ambiguous symbol. It’s ambiguous because of over use.

Look, some of the best people in the world use it as their symbol…

And then some of the worst people use it too.

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It’s become decorative.

We see it tattooed on celebrities who come from a range of attitudes and things they stand for.

And its on clothing of people bumping and grinding at clubs.

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Or maybe it symbolizes a bad church experience that you had. Most of us at some point or another have been “let down” by what you thought all this would be. And when the cross is the highest symbol of that community, it’s hard not to infer those feelings to the symbol.

So personally, I’ve been a bit confused on what to do with this.

So being of the Christian church, and being an artist… I decided to dive into it. And I decided to dive into it as a design problem.  So let’s talk about it from an art perspective for a second.

We need to define two terms.

Definitons:

Symbol – a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.

Icon – a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something.

In design… we are always trying to have the solution to telling a story be reflected in the most simplest way… so two lines is a pretty genius symbol.

But maybe some of our problem is that when we simplify the symbol into two lines, we think more about the wood crossed together than the person who was on it. Symbols often have more to do with an emotional response, whereas icons are more rooted in the story of a person.

Maybe to understand the cross a little bit better… we need to move into more complexity a bit.

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So I made this image. This image is about the person. The ways in which Jesus was fulfilling prophecies in the Old Testament of the Bible. Because being a 21st century person, I look at this event with all the historical and interpretive narrative of the last 200o years.

We need to remember that  in this moment…. on the day he was crucified… he was just another dissident being killed by empire. this was a horrible event… but a common place none the less. This was Rome’s way of squelching the unease of their imperial rule. A public display of power. The slow and painful public death of those that would oppose their power.

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And in this moment… nobody following Jesus was like… “oh yeah… all part of the plan.”

No! Their response was “Its over.” “It’s done.”  “It’s not going anywhere, is it?”

Because all of our experience with the cross is with modern eyes and context. We forget that this symbol was the symbol of “You’ll never win.” “You’ll never get out from under this.” “You’ll always be powerless in the presence of Rome’s power.”

Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension and the growth of the church… it wasn’t til the second century…. almost 200 years later… that people began to even feel comfortable co-opting this symbol.

Which is a genius move by the way.

It’s better than Kanye co-opting the confederate flag.

or Prince co-opting the symbol for men, women, and apparently swirly trumpets.

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As the reality of what Jesus had done kept seeping in and transforming people, and society, and culture… a bigger story began to emerge.

It was the understanding of how he was fulfilling the Old Testament that gave the church the confidence to take of symbol of death and say… no… One has come who conquered this symbol. Beat it out. Now when we look at it… we see a conquering symbol rather than a symbol of defeat.

As with most design projects, doing this helped inform my love and respect for the symbol of the cross again. In the image I created, I have listed below all the symbols in this piece and what they represent scripturally.

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SYMBOL MEANING:

bird with fire – psalm 2:7 – declared the beloved son – matt 3:17

spear/blood – psalm 22:14 – pierced with spear – john 19:34

pierced hands/feet – psalm 22:16 – pierced hands and feet – john 19:34

shepherd staff – psalm 23:1 – the good shepherd – john 10:11

coffin – psalm 40:2-5 – resurrection from death – john 20:20

crown – psalm 89:27 – king of kings – luke 1:32

flower – psalm 89:35-37 – david’s seed, kingdom endure forever – luke 1:32,33

hexagon/triangle – psalm 118:22,23 – the rejected stone is the cornerstone – matthew 21:42,43

branch – isaiah 11:1 – called a nazarene-the-branch, netzer – matthew 2:23

infinity symbol – isaiah 9:7 – to end to his government, throne, and peace – luke 1:32-33

bolt – isaiah 42:7 – blind eyes opened – john 9:25-38

lamb – isaiah 53:7 – sacrificial lamb – john 1:29

world – isaiah 53:8 – died for the sins of the world – 1 john 2:2

cup of blood – leviticus 17:11 – the blood of atonement – john 7:37

INRI – psalm 22:8 – mocked, “king of the jews” – matthew 27:43

shoot from stump – isaiah 11:1-2 – shoot from jesse’s stump – mark 12:35-37

whale – jonah 2 – sign of jonah – matthew 12:39-41

alpha and omega – psalm 90:2 – he is from everlasting – john 1:1

 

I also made a video about all this…