Unlocking the Symbol of Christ: further evidences
The so-called Seal of Melchizedek is a symbol. Those who chose to unlock the multiple meanings of the symbol may be edified and directed towards Christ when reminded of the possible principles, representations, and meanings of the symbol. The Seal of Melchizedek has great historical and modern context in its relation to Christ, His Priesthood, even His Church and Gospel.
According to Alonzo Gaskill, author of The Lost Language of Symbolism, “symbolism is the language of scripture and ritual,” and, “symbols are the language in which all gospel covenants and all gospel ordinances of salvation have been revealed.” How significant then, to learn that symbolism!
In the mosaic from which Nibley recalled the SoM, the symbol is found on the front of the altar of Melchizedek; hence it was called the “seal of Melchizedek.” However, as rendered, the symbol may also be a set of eight right angles, the right angle being called a gamma. Gaskill notes:
“Curiously, a recently discovered Egyptian undergarment dating from the Greco-roman period has ‘small rosettes…woven into the material in particular locations. There is one rosette over each breast and one on the right leg near the knee, but there is no corresponding rosette on the left leg. Across the lower abdomen, the material also has a hemmed slit about six inches long.'”
Thus the design in the center of the San Vitale mosaic, which has come to be known as the “seal of Melchizedek,” may in fact be a rosette design made of gammas or right angles, specifically tying the design into the fourteen other gamma symbols prominently displayed on the altar cloth depicted. Scholar Tim Barker notes that early Christianity made frequent use of the gamma as reference to Christ:
“…The Greek cross, also known as the gammadia, combines the four gammas into the shape of a cross, as illustrated below:
This design is explained by some Lutherans as the voided cross, comprised of gammadia. ‘The name gammadia refers to its being made up of four shapes similar to a capital Greek letter gamma. This is the third letter of the Greek alphabet, which can symbolize the Holy Trinity. The four angles represent the four Gospels being spread to the four corners of the earth, and the voided lines show us that Christ left the cross to proclaim His victory over sin, death, and the devil.'”
Hence, while we have no direct historical connection of the gamma with Melchizedek, its symbolic meaning has numerous connections with Christ, and such a garment has obvious connections to the Melchizedek Priesthood and the temple, for those with a restored gospel background.
Through this recent historical find, the eight-point star, now known as the Seal of Melchizedek, seems to be well-named and a wonderful symbol of Christ, His Priesthood, and the temple.
To be continued…