Symbols Used Here At NRP
In our efforts to make products and information available on our website, we have also delved into old symbols which used to not only contain significant meaning to Christian believers, but also was sometimes extremely risky to display openly.
We are working to bring old Christian symbols like these back to the forefront of the theological and doctrinal discussions in our age as one more way to help re-focus attention back to the Gospel as rediscovered in the writings of St. Paul by Dr. Martin Luther in the 16th century. As powerful as these symbols were for Christians when they were originally used or worn, we here at NRP look forward to returning them and their meanings to the common vernacular of our day, hopefully instantly conveying one’s belief in the 200-proof Gospel given to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Please refer to this page if you’re not sure of the history, original text or translation of any of the symbols we use in our products here at NRP.
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation, a confident expression of the enduring power and authority of God’s Word. The motto is based on 1 Peter 1:24-25. It first appeared in the court of Frederick the Wise in 1522. He had it sewn onto the right sleeve of the court’s official clothing, which was worn by prince and servant alike. It was used by Frederick’s successors, his brother John the Steadfast, and his nephew John Frederick the Magnanimous. It became the official motto of the Smalcaldic League and was used on flags, banners, swords, and uniforms as a symbol of the unity of the Lutheran laity who struggled to defend their beliefs, communities, families and lives against those who were intent on destroying them.
(Description from Book of Concord, Reader’s Edition – Copyright © 2005 Concordia Publishing House)
The Chi Rho is one of the earliest cruciform symbols used by Christians. Also known as the more commonly named labarum, it is the literal monogram of Christ.
It is formed by superimposing the first two letters of the word “Christ” in Greek, chi = ch and rho = r. Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ.
The earliest evidence of the Chi Rho symbol is Constantine’s use of it on the labarum, the imperial standard, in the early 4th century AD. Lactantius, a 4th century Christian apologist, reports that on the eve of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, Constantine had a vision of God in which he was commanded to mark his men’s shields with the Chi Rho symbol.
After Constantine’s success at the Milvian bridge, the Chi Rho became the official imperial insignia. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence demonstrating that the Chi Rho was emblazoned on the helmet and shield of Constantine as well as those of all of his soldiers. Coins and medallions minted during Constantine’s reign also bore the Chi Rho. By the year 350 AD, the Chi Rho began to be used on Christian sarcophagi and frescoes.
(Description from ancient-symbols.com)
The Luther Rose
The Luther Rose, also known as the Luther Seal, is easily the most recognized symbol for Lutheranism, and for good reason. Martin Luther personally oversaw the creation of this symbol. It provides a beautiful summary of his faith, a faith that is common to all Christians, of every place and every time. Here is how Luther explained the meaning of his seal:
Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For one who believes from the heart will be justified” (Rom. 10:10). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17) but by faith in the crucified. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal.This is my compendium theoligae [summary of theology]. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation. May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen.
(Description from lcms.org)