[The symbol currently being used by the Christian Community is in fact much
older than Shoemaker believes. Many know that the symbol of Pisces, which Age
(Biblical "Aeon") Jesus ushered in, is this same symbol. At the beginning
of each Aeon a new Prophet is choses to "lead the people," (re: Mosses,
Buddah). They have always adopted the Astrological symbol which most closely
matches the Aeon. The so-called Aquarian Aeon, which will start in about
250 years, will use the sign of the wave (two squigily lines). - DMR]
filename : IXOYE.TXT
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Christian Information Exchange
Fountain Valley, CA
Sysop : Mike Wallace
Courtesy : The Manna System
THE SIGN OF THE FISH
Author: Donald P. Shoemaker
Submitted by: Jim Fox
Have you been asking, "What's it all about?"
A symbol nearly as old as Christianity has come out of the history
books in recent years. Whether worn as jewelry, attatched to a car
window, or placed on a front door, this symbol probably has caught
your attention; and what the person displaying it was trying to
The symbol is that of a fish. It is the earliest of Christian symbols
and was the most common representation of Jesus Christ from the second
through the fourth centuries. It appeared in many forms very
meaningful to the followers of Jesus.
Why was the fish meaningful to Christians? The Biblical account of
Christ's days on earth relates an interesting event which followed His
resurrection. On one occasion (John 21:9-13) the resurrected Lord
served a meal of fish and bread to His disciples. Fish was a common
food shared in the community meals of the early Christians.
It was easy then for the fish to become to early Christians a constant
symbol of continuing fellowship with their resurrected Lord. To them
He was more than a philosophical memory and moral ideal. He was a
living, present reality!
The living faith of early Christians soon brought organized opposition
from the pagan world. Frequently Christians were forced to worship
secretly. The fish symbol served them well in the difficult times
because it generally would go unnoticed by a foe of Christianity when
Christians used it to communicate. Placed outside a Christian's home,
this symbol would announce silently that Christian Communion was to
be observed secretly there that night. Artistic forms of the fish
frequently decorated the Roman catacombs where Christians were forced
to meet during persecution.
Soon Christians began to attach meaning to the word "fish" itself. The
Greek letters for "ichtus" (fish) became an acronym: I - Jesus, X -
Christ, O-God's, Y - Son, E - Saviour. Christians picked these titles
because they gave the Christian response to the question Who is
Jesus? To them, He was no mere social or political hero, no misguided
master of a misguided cult. They declared that the Son of God had laid
aside the lories of His eqaulity with God and entered human history as
a man. This God-man lived sinnlessly and died as a substitute for the
humanity He loved in spite of man's rebellion against God's moral law
(see Romans 3:10-11, 23; 5:6-8; and John 1:14; 3:16).
The person who displays the fish symbol today has accepted the same
New Testament teaching that these early Christians accepted - that
Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour. By a descision of faith, he has
entered into a new relationship with God and knows the reality of
God's forgiveness and the joy of Christian living.
This same reality is yours through your simple recognition of Jesus
Christ as God's Son and your Saviour. "If you confess with your mouth
Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the
dead, you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9).