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Captive Daughter of Zion by Br. Robert Lentz, © 1988
Courtesy of Trinity Stores, (http://www.trinitystores.com)
Since the creation of humanity, God had in mind a way of redemption. It is that crimson thread woven throughout Sacred Scripture from the slaughter of the animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve to Torah being given through Moses at Mt. Sinai to the resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah.
An important part of that plan conceived in Eternity Past, was the selection of a holy people—Israel. The Eternal (a Jewish referece to God) chose Abram out of the peoples of the earth, changed his name to Abraham (meaning father of a multitude), and made of him a great nation. Making a covenant with Abraham, God said, "...in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed...." (Genesis 22:18)
That Blessing came in the Person and Redemptive work of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus is a Jew, born of Abraham through Judah and through King David. The life He lived ws that of a devout Jew. He worshipped in synagogues, He went to the Temple, He kept the feasts. The entire Old Testament, and in particular the Torah, is fulfilled in Him. The icon, Captive Daughter of Zion depicts this by having Jesus—even in His Mother's womb—wearing a tallis (prayer shaw) and caressing Torah.)
Because the Jews are God's chosen people, they have always been persecuted. Haman tried to kill all the Jews inthe Persian empire. The Antiochian line of kings tired to stamp out Jewish worship. The Roman emperor Hadrian slaughtered Jews and forbad the bris (circumcision of eight day old Jewish boys). Most recently is the horror of Hitler's attempted genocide of the entire Jewish people. The barbed wire and the gold star with the German word for Jew in the icon are in reference to this.
The history of the Church has closely parelleled that of Israel. Also chosen by God as a sacred people, Christians have been hated, scorned, and murdered for the sake of Jesus. However, like Israel, God glories in the Church. He regards us as a precious possession purchased with the Blood of His Beloved Son. He promises us an eternal home in Heaven if we will only love Him and obey Him. He fills us with His Holy Spirit and gave us gifts. Those who in the flesh have descended from Abraham are heir to the physical promises made to Abraham. Those who in Christ are spiritually descended from Abraham—Jew and Gentile alike, for in Christ God sees no difference—are heir to every spiritual promise in Scripture. This includes all that Jesus has, as St. Paul the Apostle calls us joint heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17).