The Chevron & Circle on “Jesus’” Tomb 20

I stumbled across this today. I nice bit of work showing a far more likely explanation of theCoin of Philip (British Museum) marks on the tomb that Jacobovici has been “documenting.” This is from a blog that is new to me, EVIDENCE by R. Kirk Kilpatrick, Ph.D.

In a previous post I mentioned the possibility that the symbols that are being used in such a sensational way on the official “Jesus Tomb” website ( –just as they were used in the “documentary” — might not be early Christian symbols at all.

On the coins above (Herod Phillip) a “chevron and circle” pattern is clearly visible as a depiction of the facade of the Nicanor gate of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The Nicanor gate marked the end of a pilgrimage. The last fifteen steps are still marked by the “Psalms of Ascent,” or better, “the Psalms of the ascending ones.” The entrance to the tomb also marked the end of a pilgrimage.

(Emphasis is his.) This makes a lot of sense to me. It does not identify who was interred in the tomb, but it does strongly suggest not the Knights Templar, but rather those for whom Jerusalem and the Temple (or even death) was the goal of their journey.



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20 thoughts on “The Chevron & Circle on “Jesus’” Tomb

  • Brian

    The chevron and circle to me clearly relate to the ancient Egyptian symbol, used by the Rosicrucians, which appears on the reverse of our US dollar bills and which shows the “all-seeing eye” inside a triangle at the top of a pyramid, underscored by the words “Novus ordo seclorum”, New World Order.

  • R. Kirk Kilpatrick


    Perhaps in modern times (looking back) it struck your mind in this way; however, often features related to the Temple of God at Jerusalem were connected to the tombs of the area. Sometimes it was the “golden vine” that surrounded the facade ot the Temple itself that was also used as tomb decoration around a doorway. Those buried in this tomb near Jerusalem were Jews. Unless they were priests, the Nicanor gate was where they stopped when they came to worship God at the Temple. That is what appears on this coin… regardless of what appears on our dollar (couldn’t resist).

    R. Kirk Kilpatrick
    Associate Professor of OT & Hebrew

    PS: Nice blogsite Chris

  • Chris Brady

    Thanks RKK! Again, I appreciate your site and research on this. As one of your commenters noted: Occam’s razor. This really is the simplest explanation. Kudos on noting it.

  • Helena

    Isn’t it a little strange to call it the temple of God? It was the temple of Yahweh, one particualr god, and sometimes also a temple of Zeus, and very nearny a temple of Gaius.

  • Chris Brady


    The Israelites/Jews at various times called it “the Temple of God” and in the Bible God (‘elohim) and Yhwh were used interchangeably. So why shouldn’t an historian use that term?

  • Brian

    This discovery of the origin of the tomb icon makes the “Tomb of Jesus” documentary all the more laughable. There was no scholarship involved during the reopening of the tomb. Jacobovici mentions his puzzlement when he sees the chevron and circle and leaves it at that – he’s just baffled ! No attempt was made to research it, no scholar was questioned about it. As I mentioned on, the program might as well have been called “The Three Stooges Find the Tomb of Jesus” ! For Pete’s sake, they even hired a plumber to help them get back into the tomb. %-?

  • R. Kirk Kilpatrick


    The coin depicts the Temple of God. Some would use the Name in the way it is widely believed to have been pronounced. But no one knows the pronunciation of it beyond dispute. Also, it offends observant Jews to use the Name. I choose not to do that. Reverence toward His Name has a history all the way back to the time of Moses when he bowed in reverence when the Lord spoke His Name. Moses responded “Adonai” which is still the replacement used today by observant Jews and some Christians (see Exodus 34:6-9). The land for the temple at Jerusalem was purchased by David and built up from the bedrock by Solomon. When this coin was minted the Temple of God was standing. The other name(s) that you mentioned came along after the destruction of the Temple of God by the Romans. I believe that the rest of the “gods” are simply myths. The Temple of the God worshipped from biblical times, revealed in the Bible, and revealed in Jesus the Messiah is on that coin.

  • Helena

    Do you happen to ahve any evidence that persons such as Moses,David, of Solomon existed? Or that the Hellensitic traditions you’re refering to are reliable for the bronze age? If you do there’s a Noble Prize in it for you, so don’t keep it to yourself.

    Also, if you can demosntrate the existence of Yahweh in some more definite way than you can Zeus Hypistos, please do.

  • R. Kirk Kilpatrick


    You have raised some interesting questions.

    The Pentateuch is an area of study that I enjoy. So far as inscriptional evidence for Moses there is none–though there is for early Israel. His given name near the time of his birth, however, would have likely included part of the name of an Egyptian god (the account says that Pharaoh’s daughter named him). Like Rameses (Ra mss, the sun god brought him forth) or “Thuthmosis” (Thoth brought him forth)… Moses’ original, full name is not recorded in the Bible. He left that in Egypt and on the other side of Sinai where God said, “You shall have no other gods…”

    But the existence of the Pentateuch itself is testimony to his existence. There are interesting things in several places that would have been known to someone with the background described for him in the Pentateuch–but not for a Jew of the “Hellenistic” period. I wrote my dissertation on the record of the Plagues in Exodus 7-12. There is a gradual crescendo of the Plagues that move from the low point in creation to the high point (from the waters to the heavens). God gave Himself two witnesses that He was the Creator of–

    The waters: turned to blood/frogs come up from
    The dry land: turned into lice/defiled by flies
    The creatures of the dry land: disease/boils
    The vegetation of the dry land: hail/locusts
    The heavens: darkness and death of the firstborn

    As God showed His power over all of creation, a circumstantial evidence may be seen in the last few plagues. As the locusts invade, the writer comments that they covered the “eye” of the land. This is not a normal expression for a Jew (especially of the Hellenistic period). The “eye” of course is a reference to the sun (sun and moon were the eyes of the heavens for the Egyptians). Such an observation matches the description of Moses who had an extensive background in Egypt.

    The last two plagues are judgments showing God’s power over the sun and the moon. During the ninth there is total darkeness. The primary target was the sun (Pharaoh was also the embodiment of Amun-Ra). The tenth plague was calculated by a lunar cycle. The 10th day of Nisan they set aside a lamb. The 14th at eve they killed it for a memorial meal. When the sun set the 15th began (full moon). This was the center of a lunar cycle. The son of Pharaoh was believed, from the 18th dynasty, to be the incarnation of Khonsu, god of the moon. At the height of the power of the god of the moon, pharaoh’s son was slain.

    In that night there was grace and wrath. Where the blood of the lamb was the Destroyer passed by. Where there was no blood there was death. About 400 years before the LORD had said to Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Much earlier, Pharaoh had killed the Hebrew babies by having them cast into the Nile by his people. God did not forget.

    The God of the Bible gave His law at Sinai. But with it He gave the Tabernacle. His law was the standard of justice and call for wrath if broken. The Tabernacle was His provision for the atonement for sin. Paul reflects on this in Romans 3 when he wrote that God desires to forgive but will also judge. He will be Just, but He is also Justifier.

    The Pentateuch is reflected upon in the Prophets and Psalms of the Hebrew Bible. Though there isn’t complete agreement on the date of some of these, they predate the hellenistic period by centuries.

    I would suggest that you consider reading Ken Kitchen’s work “On the Reliability of the Old Testament.”

    For David and Solomon the evidence is slowly coming in. From the “Heights of David” inscription mentioned to Kitchen to the Tel Dan inscription, to the Mesha Stele… Please see:
    Tel Dan inscription mentioning the “house of David”

    God is Light and He has revealed Himself in the Bible. The God of the Bible gave prophecies in the Bible that were both short term, so far as time is concerned, and long term. There were many prophecies written of Jesus long before His birth. There is one true God and He has revealed Himself via the Bible and in His Son, Jesus the Messiah.

    Helena… we both have faith. It sounds like your faith is in Zeus or the science of the day. I have found the Bible to be true for many more reasons than I can write here. Mine is in Jesus.

  • Don Johnson

    A grace-filled and stout defense of orthodoxy, as good as I remember from OT class in ’96-’97. I referenced some of my notes from OT when I taught Biblical Backgrounds for Golden Gate extension in 2004. Good to see you’re still going strong.

  • Jorge

    The coin is an important fine. It clarifies what could the chevron/circle represent. It does not discredit the Jesus Tomb debate, in fact it adds to it. Now we have another idea of what it could mean. But we really don’t know what it means. The spiritual talk of Jesus is different from more orthodox Old Testement commentaries. The Chevron/Circle could just as very well been an symbol of God, the end of a pilgrimage, the Aton, or the end and the beginning. We don’t know but we are indeed looking at the possibility that the Jesus family tomb was found and nothing will be done about it or it was not found and it doesn’t matter.

  • R. Kirk Kilpatrick


    If the coin is related to the symbol of the tomb facade, then the circle is a shield. The actual temple type depicted on the coin may be seen through links at my blog:

    The circle is a shield and the “chevron” simply a roof line. If this is the connection, then there is some connection to the cult of Caesar for the tomb. It woud be impossible without further evidence to suggest a connection with primary use or secondary use of the tomb in my opinion.

  • Masion

    I am a Mason and belong to the Masonic order.
    The study of symbols are just normal everyday study for most Masons. In fact it is difficult for me to understand. Why, so many people including the scientific world seems to be having a problem with these two simple symbols carved above the door way of what is being called
    “The Tomb of Jesus.”

    The Chevron and the Circle are just simple early symbols. They tie in to more than one ancient source including early Egyptian.

    For Instance a circle with a dot in the center. Represented the Universe and the Sun at it center . While the circle alone represented the Universe. The Chevron or V shaped symbol held several meanings. Depending on which way it was pointing.. When V symbol is pointing down it meant “architecture and construction.”
    When the V is pointing up is holds the meaning of purity or ascension.

    Therefore, the meaning was very simple and straight to the point .
    It simply means ” ascension to the universe.” ( Some may even go as far as to translate this as,” ascension to heaven” if one considers heaven to be the universe.) This does not mean or prove that these are early Christian Symbol. Many religions of the time believed in some form of Spiritual Ascension after death. Ascension after death was not necessarily only thought of as resurrection. The Egyptians believe ascension and life after death as did many other early societies.

    Therefore, we do know these marking were not early Christian Symbols. However, it also does not prove, that these symbols were not also used by the early Christians of the times. In Fact, the symbols could have been used by any group of people from that time and period. This could very well, include the early Christian families.

    I hope this is helpful to those that really wanted to know the meaning of the symbols. While, I can tell you the true meaning of the symbols, It is up to you to ponder and decide for yourself, who placed them on the tomb and why.

  • Kim

    What I find interesting about the image is it’s crude but powerful execution combined with the temple motif. Another tomb of the period; the Sanhedrin tomb, has a similar image on the pediment, but was evidently made for a member or members of the Jewish judicial body. In other words, it must have been for very important Jews at the top of their religious hierarchy and it’s execution is finely done. Why is such a humbly carved tomb as the Talpiot endowed with such a grandiose symbol if there is no one important in there? And, as an artist, I can tell you it is humbly carved, just compare it’s crudeness with the fine carving on the Sanhedrin tomb. I find it remarkable that the only other similar images are represented on such important items as coins, and the Sanhedrin tomb (the bone boxes are an exception): this symbol apparently indicates a place of respect or worship (whether for Jew or Pagan) and here it is – gracing a small, crudely cut, Jewish tomb! I can find no other “ordinary” cut rock tomb of the period that resembles the Talpiot tomb on the internet. It is an anomaly, and a striking one.
    Also, early Christians were Jews! Why wouldn’t they use Jewish imagery on the tomb of someone they believed to be their messiah? Why would someone expect a fish or cross over the door! I understand that the point of showing the symbol on the coin is to show it’s relevance for both Pagans and Jews, but as an earlier commenter pointed out, this graveyard was for Jews.

  • H. M. King Roman

    I have had a look at a number of sites re chevron talpiot tomb. What surprises me, except for the fact that it is hard to see, is that they mention chevron and circle but not the fact that there is a pyramid/triangle sitting on the diameter in the upper right quadrant of the circle. Surely this has a particular significance.