There are a number of controversial verses within the Bible and Acts 7:43 is one of them. The first thing we must do is always look at the contextual setting and then rightly divide the Word of God with other exegetical rules and this we shall do in this apologetic study.
Acts 7:42-43. Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:
“Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices
during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star
of your god Remphan, images which you made to worship:
And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.”
We read in the beginning of verse 42 that God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, meaning the planets and stars arrayed above within His creation. Some of Israel were in the habit of going after other gods forgetting they had the only one true and living God to look to. The Lord will always give anyone time to repent and turn back to Him but when He sees open rebellion He will act and so His people were carried off in captivity as the Lord promised.
This verse has been used to teach that the Star of David used in the Israeli flag is the star of Remphan a false god that Israel is still under. Is this true? The short answer is no. The flag of Israel is a national symbol which Jews in Eretz Yisrael and within the diaspora identify with including Messianic Jews.
1) Unger’s Bible Dictionary gives us this important information on Page 417 under the title – gods, false.
Rephan or Remphan, a stellar deity said to have been
worshipped by the Israelites in the desert (Acts 7:43).
The R.S.V. renders ‘the star of the god Remphan.’ The
quotation in Acts is from a corrupted translation of
Kaiwan (Akkad. Kaimanu), the name of Saturn, and was
understood to be the god Chiun (Amos 5:26 A.V.).
See: Chiun, Siccuth. M. F. U.
2) Nelson’s Quick Reference Bible Dictionary identifies Remphan as probably Saturn, worshipped by those settled in Lower Egypt. The name Remphan is the Egyptian equivalent of the god Chiun – Hebrew or Semitic. (Amos 5:26).
Amos 5:26. You also carried Sikkuth (LXX Vg. Tabernacle of Moloch) your king (a pagan deity) and Chiun, your idols, the star of your gods, which you made for yourself.
As we have no clear shape what their star was, round or pointed we are taking a quantum leap in the dark to insist it was in the shape of the Star of David. A little sense and sensibility is needed at times.
Do we see Jews carrying their national flag each week in procession as they enter their shuls to worship Yahweh the God of Israel? The answer is no!
This word occurs only once in the scriptures – in Acts 7: 43 – so we have to be very careful in seeking to understand it. My ‘Strong’s’ says it is an incorrect transliteration for a word of Hebrew origin, namely ‘kiyun‘ or Chiun as it is rendered in Amos 5: 26, it means statue or idol. This word seems to relate to an Egyptian idol.
Matthew Henry’s commentary says that some think Remphan alludes to worship of the moon, whilst others suggest it refers to Saturn. The allusion to Saturn is interesting because it would have been understood in biblical days as a bright star – though it has been known since very early on as the most distant of the five know planets of those days. Babylonian astronomers systematically observed and recorded the movements of Saturn and in ancient Roman mythology, the god Saturnus, from which the planet takes its name, was the god of agriculture.
We therefore have no verifiable notion of what the ‘star’ of Remphan was like – there are six pointed stars found in pagan temples in various parts of the world – but with no clear links to Remphan.
4) Next we shall go to The Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus in one volume, first published in 1987 and latest reprint 1990. William Collins Sons and Co Ltd Glasgow G4 0NB. ISBN Number 0 00 433186 9.
Page 977 – The word Star. noun. 1. Any of a vast number of celestial objects visible in the clear night sky as points of light. 2. a. a hot gaseous mass, such as the sun, that radiates energy, especially as heat and light, and in some cases as radio waves and x-rays. b. (as modifier): a star catalogue. Related adjectives;
Astral, sidereal, stellar. 3. Astrol. a. a celestial body, especially a planet, supposed to influence events, personalities etc. b. (pl.) another name for horoscope (sense 1). 4. An emblem shaped like a conventionalised star, often used as a symbol of rank, an award etc.
So we read that the sun is a type of or classified as a star within any of a vast number of celestial objects. Saturn is a planet but can be seen as a star and this star of Remphan we are told is really Saturn in Unger’s Bible Dictionary. The image then would probably be a round globe after the shape of Saturn possibly with bands representing Saturn’s rings. The Romans worshipped Saturn and sadly so did part of Israel for a time period. False gods were a particular sin that proved to be so attractive and fatal for the Israelites.
How many Christians today still look at horoscopes as they are enticing and seen as harmless! But it is still the sin of looking to the stars and planets for signs instead of looking to the Lord for signs and wonders as He works out His plan and purposes on this planet He created.
Occult hexagrams commonly have a circle enclosing the six pointed star or represent the star as interlocked triangles – neither of which apply to the Star of David. In occult practice a pentagram is probably a more commonly used symbol, but there are many occult/pagan symbols.
I have seen a website which suggests that the Rothschild’s (who have links to the Freemasons and the Papal Knights of Malta) put the hexagon star of Remphan on the Israeli flag in the face of opposition from Jewish people – but this seems to be apocryphal and without any clear verifiable evidence.
The link of the Israeli flag to Remphan and the occult seems to me to be a move by those who are anti-Israel, and sadly it probably stems from within the Church, to blacken Israel’s character by associating its flag with pagan roots – a claim for which there is no verifiable evidence (like so many claims by anti-Israel voices). We are constantly seeing anti-Semitism, Replacementism, or just pure indifference towards the State of Israel and the Jew in general. We need to ask ourselves why!
Is the Star of David then a demonic symbol as used by Satanists and in witchcraft? If there were a circle around it I would be worried but it does not have a circle around it which is known as the Hexagram used in demonic occultism worship.
The six pointed star is known as the Pentagram and is made up of a triple triangle interlocking: –
“Solomon’s Seal. The symbolical double triangle, adopted by the Theosophical Society and by many *Theosophists.
The pentagram is the triple triangle–the six-pointed star being the hexalp ha (See ‘Pentacle’… The way a triangle points determines its meaning. If upwards, it means the male element and divine fire; downwards, the female and the waters of matter; upright, but with a bar across the top, air and astral light; downwards, with a bar–the earth or gross matter, etc.” – H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary.
*Theosophists have their revelation of the inner meaning and unity of the great world religions. It is therefore a false ecumenical unity instead of the Lord Jesus Christ being the only Saviour for all and the only way to Heaven – John 14:6.
Within Israel there are those who are caught up in the occult and in New Age practices etcetera, but, ‘all Israel will be saved’ as it is written and today not all Israel are worshipping foreign gods past and present! We are meant to be making Israel jealous in that we have their God as prophesied that the Gentiles would turn to the God of Israel. See Isaiah 11:10; 49:5-6 and Romans 11:11. Instead we can get caught up with controversies about word meanings which Paul warns against. 1 Timothy 6:4b and 2 Timothy 2:23-24. Even the Church scholars are unsure regarding the exactness of Acts 7:42-43.
No one is worshipping the Israeli Flag, it is a flag at the end of the day, with a blue star shaped symbol between two blue horizontal bars on a white flag. Chosen for the nation of Israel re-established in 1948 fulfilling the promise of God to return His people to the Land given to them under His covenant. They do not have all of it yet but will do when Yeshua/Jesus returns to reign and rule over Israel and the Nations after the Great Tribulation Period. Israel is to be purged by God so that only a holy people who fear and revere Him will remain. It is the same for all gentiles, God has given one way of salvation and one way only. Until Messiah comes we should be concerned with declaring the Gospel of Salvation leading to eternal life as instructed by our Lord.
Finally, Nathalie & Martin Blackham run a Christian TV channel in Israel and have a website and issue weekly news bulletins about Israel. Their article dates from 8th August 2013 and is reproduced below for the readers’ interest:
The flag of Israel (Hebrew:דגל ישראל Degel Yisrael) was adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after the country’s establishment.
It depicts a blue hexagram on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes.
The blue colour is mandated only as “dark sky-blue”,
The flag was designed for the Zionist Movement in 1891. The basic design recalls the Ashkenazi Tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl, which is white with blue stripes. The symbol in the centre represents the Magen David (“Star of David”), a Jewish symbol dating from late medieval Prague, which was adopted by the First Zionist Congress in 1897.
The Israelites used a blue coloured dye called Tekhelet; this dye may have been made from the marine snail Murex trunculus. This dye was very important in both Jewish and non-Jewish cultures of this time, and was used by royalty and the upper class in dyeing their clothing, sheets, curtains, etc.
In the Bible, the Israelites are commanded to have one of the threads of their tassels (tzitzit) dyed with Tekhelet; “so that they may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them.” (Numbers 15:39)
Tekhelet corresponds to the colour of the divine revelation.
Over time, the Jewish community lost the tradition of which species of shellfish produced this dye. Since Jews were then unable to fulfil this commandment, they have since left their tzitzit (tallit strings) white.
However, in remembrance of the commandment to use the Tekhelet dye, it became common for Jews to have blue or purple stripes woven into the cloth of their tallit.
The idea that the blue and white colours were the national colour of the Jewish people was voiced early on by Ludwig August Frankl (1810-1894); an Austrian Jewish poet. In his poem, “Judah’s Colours”, he writes:
When sublime feelings his heart fill, he is mantled in the colours of his country. He stands in prayer, wrapped in a sparkling robe of white. The hems of the white robe are crowned with broad stripes of blue; like the robe of the High Priest, adorned with bands of blue threads. These are the colours of the beloved country, blue and white are the colours of Judah; White is the radiance of the priesthood, and blue, the splendours of the firmament.
In 1885 the agricultural village of Rishon Le Zion used a blue and white flag to mark its third anniversary.
A blue and white flag, with a Star of David and the Hebrew word “Maccabee”, was used in 1891 by the Bnai Zion Educational Society. Jacob Baruch Askowith (1844-1908) and his son Charles Askowith designed the “flag of Judah,” which was displayed on July 24, 1891, at the dedication of Zion Hall of the B’nai Zion Educational Society in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Based on the traditional tallit, or Jewish prayer shawl, that flag was white with narrow blue stripes near the edges and bore in the centre the ancient six-pointed Shield of David with the word “Maccabee” in gilt letters.
David Wolffsohn (1856-1914), a businessman prominent in the early Zionist movement, was aware that the nascent Zionist movement had no official flag, and that the design proposed by Theodor Herzl was gaining no significant support. He writes:
“At the behest of our leader Herzl, I came to Basle to make preparations for the Zionist Congress. Among many other problems that occupied me then was one that contained something of the essence of the Jewish problem. What flag would we hang in the Congress Hall? Then an idea struck me.
We have a flag – and it is blue and white. The Talith (prayer shawl) with which we wrap ourselves when we pray: that is our symbol. Let us take this Talith from its bag and unroll it before the eyes of Israel and the eyes of all nations. So I ordered a blue and white flag with the Shield of David painted upon it. That is how the national flag, that flew over Congress Hall, came into being.”
White: Symbol of light, honesty, innocence and peace.
Blue: It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.
THE DREAM OF ZION FULFILLED
“Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things?
Can a land be made to bring forth in one day?
Shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her sons”
The Flag became known as the Flag of Zion. It was accepted as the official Zionist flag at the Second Zionist Congress held in Switzerland in 1898, and the State of Israel later adopted the design as the official flag, upon its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948.
Date : 01/01/2016 Author : JG/JY