Bread also represents the physical body of Christ. Wine represents God's covenant in blood, poured out in payment for mankind's sin. Jesus said in Luke , "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. Believers partake of communion on a regular basis to remember Christ's sacrifice and all that he has done for us in his life, death, and resurrection. The Lord's Supper is a time of self-examination and participation in the body of Christ.
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The Christian rainbow is a symbol of God's faithfulness and his promise to never again destroy the earth by flood. This promise comes from the story of Noah and the Flood. After the flood , God placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of his covenant with Noah to never again destroy the earth and all living creatures by flood. By arching high over the horizon, the rainbow shows the all-embracing expanse of God's faithfulness through his work of grace.
The gospel of salvation , like a rainbow, is all-encompassing, and everyone is invited to behold it:. Writers of the Bible used rainbows to describe the glory of God:. In the book of Revelation , the Apostle John saw a rainbow around the throne of God in heaven :.
The unending circle or wedding ring is a symbol of eternity. For Christian couples, the exchanging of the wedding rings is the outward expression of the inward bond, as two hearts unite as one and promise to love each other with fidelity for all eternity. Likewise, the wedding covenant and the husband and wife relationship is a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his bride, the church. Husbands are urged to lay down their lives in sacrificial love and protection. And in the safe and cherished embrace of a loving husband, a wife naturally responds in submission and respect.
Just as the marriage relationship , symbolized in the unending circle, is designed to last forever, so too will the believer's relationship with Christ endure for all eternity. The Lamb of God represents Jesus Christ, the perfect, sinless sacrifice offered by God to atone for the sins of man. The Holy Bible is the Word of God. It is the Christian's handbook for life. God's message to mankind — his love letter — is contained in the pages of the Bible.
In essence, they are a summary of the hundreds of laws found in the Old Testament Law. They offer basic rules of behavior for spiritual and moral living. The story of the Ten Commandments is recorded in Exodus and Deuteronomy The Cross and Crown is a familiar symbol in Christian churches. It represents the reward awaiting in heaven the crown that believers will receive after the suffering and trials of life on earth the cross.
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. Together these two letters form a monogram or symbol for one of the names of Jesus Christ , meaning "the Beginning and the End. This statement by Jesus is critical to Christianity because it clearly means that Jesus existed before creation and will continue to exist for all eternity. He was with God before anything was created, and therefore, took part in creation.
Jesus, like God, was not created. He is eternal. Chi-Rho is the oldest known monogram or letter symbol for Christ. Although the truth of this story is questionable, it is said that Constantine saw this symbol in the sky before a decisive battle, and he heard the message, "By this sign, conquer. Ihs is an ancient monogram or letter symbol for Jesus that dates back to the first century. Share Flipboard Email. Mary Fairchild is a full-time Christian minister, writer, and editor of two Christian anthologies, including "Stories of Cavalry.
Updated December 06, Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness The lived and worked in the light of it. It shone in their symbols. It is the soul of symbolism that every emblem expresses a reality too great for words.
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Masonry is mystical, as music is mystical, like poetry, love, faith and prayer, and all else that makes it worth our time to live. But its mysticism is sweet, sane and natural, far from fantastic, in no wise eerie, unreal, or unbalanced. Of course, these words fail to describe as all words must, and it is therefore why Masonry uses symbols. Newton suggests that some things can not be expressed sufficiently using words; that there are other, less obvious ways of understanding. Masonry, by its very structure and content of the three craft degrees, suggests that humans have a triple nature.
We have a physical body, and senses which bring us into contact with, and translate the meanings of, the physical world of earth, air, fire and water which is all around us. We have a brain and mind through which we can reason and understand the physical matters of which our senses inform us.
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And we have Something Beyond. You may call it soul, heart, imagination, personal unconscious, inner being, true self, spirit, or any other name that feels right for you. It is something which is allied to, but not really a part of, our reason. It is connected with the physical side of life directly, and only through our sensory contacts.
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This true self comprehends a language which the reason of the brain does not comprehend. The keenest of minds of history have striven without success to make this mystic language plain to reason. When you hear music which brings tears to your eyes, grief or joy to your heart, or a shiver down your spine, you are responding to a language your brain does not understand and cannot explain. It is not with your brain that you love your child or your wife; and the language with which that love is understood is not the language of the tongue. A symbol is a word in that language.
Words appeal to the rational mind; but with a little instruction and practice we gradually understand that symbols appeal directly to the true self. If you translate that symbol into words which appeal only to the mind, then the full deeper meaning of the symbol is lost.
Freemasonry employs symbols to speak directly to our imagination, or our true self. We appeal to the imagination when communicating a truth which is neither mental or physical, and the symbol is the means by which one imagination speaks to another. Nothing else seems to be as effective; no words can do it unless they are themselves symbols ; no teachings expressed in spoken or written language can be as easily learned and absorbed as those which come via the symbol.
If you only hear or read the words of Freemasonry, you miss the true meaning entirely. This is the difficulty for the profane, or the uninitiated.
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Unless one has been immersed in our symbols through the experience of our rituals, and not just watching, but performing them, they appear to have little meaning at all. This is why the symbols seem to mean more and more to each of us as we progress in Masonry. The more contact we have with our symbols, the more we practice, the more we try to explain them to our brothers following the path behind us, the more they speak to us. When I became a JW and had to learn the Working Tools Lecture for each degree, a whole new layer of meanings for these symbols spoke to me, and so it continues.
Most symbols have many layers of interpretation which do not contradict but rather amplify each other. The square is a symbol of perfection, of rectitude of conduct, of honour, of honesty, of good work. These are all different, and yet allied. The square is never a symbol of wrong, or evil, or meanness or dishonour. Ten different men may read ten different meanings into a square, and yet each meaning fits with, and works with the other meanings, and each will be right for him.
Different men have different imaginations and different abilities to comprehend. So each takes from a symbol what he can, and using his imagination, he translates to his soul as much of that truth as he is able to make a part of him. This we cannot do with truths expressed in words. Freemasonry uses symbols because only by them can the Craft speak and teach in the language of the soul.
Symbols form the only language which is elastic, and the only one by which soul can be directly touched. Freemasonry without symbols would not be Freemasonry.
Almost all Masonic symbols have more than one recognized meaning, but as a rule only one often the simplest is described in any one part of the ritual. Each brother is encouraged to discover other, perhaps deeper meanings, by studying the hidden mysteries and making a daily advance in his Masonic knowledge. An undefined and therefore unlimited truth results from the slow growth in meaning and understanding of a symbol not tied down by confining words.
The well defined symbol has a truth that is as broad as the words used to define it. The undefined symbol is as broad in meaning as the mind and heart can understand or imagine. You are invited to bear in mind that all meanings attributed to symbols are, to some extent, personal to the one who first defined it or the group to which it had a specific meaning. A particular explanation or meaning may resonate to some brothers, but perhaps not to others. Over time we all see and hear different meanings attributed to our symbols, and a Freemason who understands the true nature of his craft would not allow himself to reject out-of-hand the meaning or explanation assigned by any group, society or Brother, but look at that meaning to see if there is something in it for him; perhaps different, perhaps modified, but meaningful for him.
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