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One Nation Under God
and other artwork by artist Jon McNaughton can be viewed in our artist slideshow
One Nation Under God List of Symbolism by John McNaughton
A symbolism list and picture key for the painting One Nation Under God by artist Jon McNaughton can be found at Christ-Centered Art.
Click on the for a closer look
List of Symbolism
Below is a list symbolism for the epic painting One Nation Under God
in artist Jon McNaughton's own words:
- The Tree of Life emblem on Christ's chest I designed to be filled with symbolism and it has many meanings. It represents the love of God and that He is the Messiah.
- There are seven branches to represent the seven dispensations of time.
- The center branch is the most fruitful and points to Christ. It represents the Millennium.
- There are twelve fruit on the branches to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
- There are seven roots to represent the seven periods of creation. The center root represents the day God rested from His labors.
- The trunk is divided into three parts to represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
- The red sash symbolizes the blood spilled by Americans for God and country.
- The writing on the sash is ancient Hebrew and says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord"
- At the top of both sides of the hemmed robe are the signs of Alpha and Omega, or the beginning and the end. A symbol of God's power.
- Along the hem of the robe is the embroidered design of the olive branch which always represents "peace."
- The robe is golden in color because I wanted Christ to appear as the King of Kings and the God of all creation.
- Behind Christ's head is light, almost like a halo which emanates from the East. This is the light of Christ, and it says in Matthew 24:27, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
- On Christ's hand is the nail mark of His crucifixion. This is a symbol of His sacrifice for mankind.
- Jesus moves his right foot forward to mean that He is coming and things are in motion.
- Christ stares into the distance. He has almost a sad face as he sees the future of America. We face hard times ahead. Everything in this painting is symbolic. Even Christ's face is a symbol. As an artist this is a tricky thing to do. Many people throughout the world have a different view of how He looks to them. I chose to create a face of Jesus that would be recognizable, but not too much toward any particular religious denomination.
- Christ's hand points to the U.S. Constitution, the young boy, the mother, and the good Americans to signify their importance to maintaining our freedom in this great land.
- In the background are the Federal Capitol Building and the U.S. Supreme Court Building to represent the Legislative and Judicial branches of our government.
- Only some of the lights are lit, and some are very dim to symbolize the waning of the cause of liberty among many of our elected officials.
- The American Flag waves in the distance, but it is dimly lit to represent that our country, although strong, is facing perilous times.
- There are fifty stars shining in the heavens as they peek through the breaking clouds. These stars represent the fifty states of the Union. Some stars shine brighter than others.
- There are three steps which represent the past, the present, and the future.
- The patriots of the past are speaking from the dust to the living Americans.
- The good Americans are divided from those who have weakened the country.
- The righteous are on the right hand of God. Notice there are more on the good side. I believe the majority of Americans are good.
- The fact that Christ is holding the U.S. Constitution symbolizes His approval of this incredible document.
- The young boy represents the rising generation which may have to fight to save our country from those who would want to destroy it. Hopefully, their leadership will be enough to make the difference. How many of our youth understand what is at stake?
- The papers spread out in front of the Supreme Court Judge represent some of the more notorious Supreme Court cases which I believe have weakened our country. They start with Marbury vs. Madison which began it all and go in order down to Kelo vs. New London which concerns eminent domain and the right to own private property. The papers look as if they have been literally dropped on the steps.
- The time on the judge's wristwatch is 11:59 PM to signify that time is running out and the time of His coming is nigh at hand.
- The black college student holds a copy of a book by Cleon Skousen entitled The Five Thousand Year Leap. This book is in my opinion is the most important book written as to why America is so great. It explains that the U.S. Constitution created an environment that allowed mankind to literally go from picks and shovels to putting a man on the moon. Mankind took a five thousand year leap in human development. Who is to say those men were not inspired!
- I grouped several men together that shared a commonality. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were all shot by an assassin. I had to remove Martin Luther King because of copyright issues. Of course, Reagan survived the attempt on his life. Nathan Hale was executed by the British for being a spy, but not before he said the famous words, "My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country."
- I have John Adams kneeling with his wife Abigail Adams behind him. Behind Abigail is her son John Quincy Adams.
- Patrick Henry was one of our greatest American patriots. He stands closest to the American flag and next to another great patriot of the Revolutionary War, Samuel Adams.
- Lincoln, the great emancipator, kneels before the living Americans pleading for them to change. He kneels in front of a black modern day soldier.
- James Madison stands behind the U.S. Constitution. An appropriate place for the man who is considered the "Father of the Constitution."
- Thomas Jefferson holds the rolled parchment of the Declaration of Independence in both hands. Without the Declaration of Independence we would not have the Constitution.
- George Wythe stands behind Thomas Jefferson. This is significant because Wythe was the mentor and teacher to one of our most important Founding Fathers, and he was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
- Both Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston stand behind Thomas Jefferson as members of the Committee of Five who helped to draft the original Declaration of Independence.
- There are five generations of soldiers from the Revolutionary War through the modern U.S. Marine. If the boy touching the Constitution serves in the military, that will make six. The WWII soldier in my mind covers those who have served in WWII, The Korean War, and Vietnam War.
- John Jay, the first U.S. Supreme Court Justice stands directly in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building.
- The Civil War soldier holds his hands in front of his face to symbolize that this was the only war where American fought against American, brother against brother. You can sense the deep sadness in his gesture, and hopefully no such war will ever happen again.
- John F. Kennedy stands directly beneath the American flag and behind Lincoln and the American soldier. The flag points to the heavens which to me represents JFK's contribution to the space program. He also contributed to American Civil Liberties.
- Sequoyah is the only Native American in the painting I included because this one man inspired the Indian nations. When the Indian nation drafted a constitution for statehood, they modeled their Constitution after the U.S. Constitution and named it after Sequoyah.
- The U.S. Marine holds the folded American flag under his arm in honor and has his closed fist over his heart to show his loyalty to God and country. The flag folded in this manner with the stars across the folds represents, "IN GOD WE TRUST." This tradition goes all the way back to George Washington.
- The mother is a key figure in the painting. She holds her hand out to recognize Christ and to also release her son to come forward and touch the Constitution. She represents every mother who is trying to raise up her children to love God and respect our country and the liberties we enjoy. I chose to have her wear the color purple. I believe in God's eyes these women have a royal duty to raise up a righteous generation. The color purple represents royalty.
- I wanted to have a child on the mother's lap so people would know her role in the painting. I felt it would make a powerful statement to have a child which was either handicapped or disabled on her lap. These children are so innocent and precious. And, in connection with the statement the painting makes in regard to abortion, I felt it would tie in with the pregnant mother on the right side pointing at the mother with the child and saying, "I want to keep my baby."
- The farmer was an important inclusion because of his role in the success of our great nation. At first, I wanted to somehow show the sweat on his back and the ruggedness of his callous hands; but I couldn't make it visible with the front lighting. Keep those thoughts in mind as you look at the farmer.
- The immigrant plays a big part in the history of our country. Many have come to our country seeking religious freedom or freedom from tyranny. This Asian immigrant has his hand up to show his surprise when he realizes that Christ is the source of our country's greatness. One does not have to be a Christian to be considered among the good of America.
- As I considered the different types of Americans to include among the good, I liked the idea of the family doctor and his concern for the wellness of our family and country. My own family doctor allowed me to use him as a model.
- The Supreme Court Judge has an important role in the painting. Right in the front, kneeling with his hands over his face, the judge feels remorse for the case decisions which have weakened our country. Having this figure up front plays a dramatic role in understanding the powerful message in this painting which is this: Our country was founded by Christian, religious men who believed that God was guiding them in the founding of this great nation. We have strayed from the path that guarantees freedom and liberty, and if we do not return to where we were, we may fail as a nation. Let us not allow that to happen!
- The politician represents all those who are elected to office who are busy making deals and spending their time furthering their own interests while pandering to the agendas of special interest groups. What happened to the true statesman of the past? The freedoms of our country are slipping away while Congress seems to be asleep at the wheel. I believe that the only way things are going to change is if the American people rise up and demand it.
- The professor represents the educational profession in America which is controlled mostly by the liberal, humanistic leadership that dominates from K-12 through our greatest universities. The professor lovingly holds his book, Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. I chose to have him hold this book because it symbolizes the removal of God from the classroom. I believe this book should be read and understood, but not to the extent that Creationism or even Intelligent Design is shut out. The arrogance of many of these individuals led me to paint this professor sitting on the top step, placing himself supposedly on the same level as God, although his feet are still planted on a level with the rest of the people. Just because we can't explain everything, doesn't make it any less real. Man's logic is child's play in the sight of the Master. I believe it is important that all theories and ideas be entertained in the classroom — not just what the liberal scholars find acceptable.
- The young pregnant woman behind the judge has an important role in the painting. She is significant in her placement in that the judge is feeling remorse for among others, the case of Roe vs. Wade. Over 42 million abortions have occurred in the United States since 1973. In a way, this young mother is a victim or our Godless society which has raised children without a strong sense of right and wrong. She has found herself in a situation where she has to make a choice. The reporter behind her says, "Will you keep the baby?" The expectant mother looks up toward the mother with the handicapped child and with a pointing hand says, "Yes, I will keep my baby." In my mind she represents hope.
- In the bottom right corner is a lawyer counting his hundred dollar bills. I say a lawyer, although he could represent the banking industry or even Wall Street. I feel that there is a certain amount of corruption in these areas which has fueled the destruction of many of our liberties.
- The man with the leather jacket and red shirt represents those in the entertainment business. The majority of those who work here are intensely liberal and lean toward a Socialist form of government. There is also an aspect of the entertainment industry that profits from the exploitation of women. Pornography is a great problem in the world and only weakens our country. Notice how the man looks with ridicule down on the judge and pregnant woman who are feeling repentant. Right behind him is the Adversary which whispers in his ear subtle lies which will eventually lead to his destruction.
- I painted Satan to be hardly noticeable as he lurks behind the movie director. I tried to make him creepy and dark to symbolize the enemy to all righteousness. I don't know for sure what he looks like, but I know he is very real. He probably is good looking; but, as a symbol for evil, I chose to paint him dark and sinister.
- The black modern U.S. soldier is significant because originally I had painted Martin Luther King, Jr. but had to remove him because of copyright laws regarding the use of his image. As a tribute to Martin Luther King, I placed this soldier in a prominent place in the painting and on his body armor it has the name, "KING" written as the name of the soldier. It feels appropriate that in the military all men are treated the same regardless of color. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the figure head of the Civil Rights Movement. As a side note, while I considered who to include with the patriots, I at one point contemplated the objections some may have to including figures that may have had some skeletons in their closet. It might cause some to ask the question, "Are they worthy to stand next to God?" I came to the conclusion that no man is perfect and all will fall short based on that criteria. Therefore, I chose to include patriots based on their contributions to the strengthening of America and our Constitution.