Thursday, 17 March 2016

Why is the FISH a symbol of Christianity?

Before I answer this question let me say that I've always wished to swim with dolphins. But I couldn't afford such a holiday so I went swimming with sardines instead.

Now sardines are not as clever as dolphins. Why else would they get into a tin and leave the key on the outside?

Every other canned fish you buy, tuna, salmon, pilchard and so on, you have to open with a can opener. But sardines ... they have a key on the outside. Why?

Unless of course you buy those tins with a ring pull. Again, on the outside ... so the sardines can't pull the ring and get out.

Anchovies thought they'd be clever by being so salty that no one would eat them. They were wrong. They've now become a delicacy much sought after and more fished than before.

And now about the original question ...

The symbol of a fish was found on ancient Christian monuments and buildings. It represents Christ.

The Greek word for "fish" is ICHTHUS.

If we take the letters of that word they provide the first letters of other Greek words.

Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour

So the symbol of the fish suggests all this to a Christian. It may well have been a secret sign used by early Christians to identify each other.

12 comments:

  1. Good lesson today, Victor. As for swimming with the dolphins, on my recent trip to the Bahamas--it was quite expensive to swim with the dolphins--skipped that one. We did go to a restaurant which fed the sharks every hour--no one dared complain about their dinner!
    Blessings, Friend!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lulu. Much appreciated, as well as your visits here.

      The thing about my swimming with sardines is that they all left as soon as I entered the water. It's really embarrassing when even the fish avoid me. A great number of my family have emigrated to Australia. I was told once they'd rather be with sharks than be near me.

      That's quite a restaurant you describe. Have you ever been to a French restaurant, Lulu? I went to one called Chez Fred once. I asked Fred: Do you have frogs'legs? He said: Yes. I told him to hop over the counter and get me a sandwich.

      God bless.

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  2. Thank you, Victor - I wasn't quite sure what the fish symbol stood for, though I have it on my car. I have the fish symbol with the name Jesus in the middle but I didn't know WHY it stood for Christ. I do now though :) I enjoyed your funny fish stories too!

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    1. Yes, Mary. I have a magnetic fish symbol on my car too. I also have a magnetic stripe with my website: www.holyvisions.co.uk

      Glad you enjoyed the fish stories.

      A monastery is in financial trouble, so it goes into the fish-and-chips business to raise money. One night a customer knocks on its door. A monk answers. The customer asks, “Are you the fish friar?”

      “No,” he replies. “I’m the chip monk.”

      Two fishermen rented a boat and fished in a lake one day. To their amazement, they caught 50 fish! The first guy said to his friend, "Mark this spot so that we can come back again tomorrow!". His friend reached down and put a big 'X' on the side of the boat. "You idiot!", the first guy said, "What if we don't get the same boat again tomorrow?"

      God bless.

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    2. Ha ha! Great jokes, Victor!!

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  3. Some swim with the sharks, others with the dolphins. You swim with the sardines. I swim with starfish. I just lay on the sand and let the waves come over me. ;)

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    1. Swimming with sardines is the cheaper version of swimming with dolphins. It's a holiday for those who can't afford swimming with dolphins. How much does a holiday swimming with starfish cost?

      God bless you Manny.

      By the way: There is an even cheaper version - swimming with tins of sardines.

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    2. You're too funny Victor. But wasn't the fish symbol also because many of the apostles were fisherman, and because Jesus multiplied fish for the thousands and at the end of John's Gospel Jesus comes when they are eating fish?

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    3. What you say is also a possibility, Manny. I suspect no one really knows. After Christ was raised to Heaven the early Christians were persecuted, so I guess they needed a sign to identify themselves. The fish, it is said, was an early such sign that was not (yet) understood by their enemies. It was many years later that the Cross became a sign to identify Christians.

      God bless you and yours, Manny.

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  4. Victor, thank you for sharing your knowledge and humor. I find some of the symbols and their history fascinating. I also find it interesting how much we accept many of them without understanding (or remembering) the meaning behind them.

    I remember reading a book once, and the author was commenting on how many Christians walk around with Cross necklaces these days ... but doing so back in the day would be the equivalent of walking around with a guillotine or some other torture device! Over time, we as a faith have swapped out the torture of the cross with the Love of Christ.

    God Bless you.

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    1. You're right, Michael. Many people wear the Cross without knowing the history behind the symbolism. It is sad that over time, we accepted the Cross as a Christian symbol and not an empty grave to signify the Resurrection. Or perhaps a risen Christ with arms outstretched welcoming the world would be more appropriate.

      God bless.

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