Faith/Spirituality Forum: Re:- Symbols around the Cross
Re:- Symbols around the Cross QUESTION from Steven Jarvis on May 22, 2002 I read with interest Adrian Buie's recent question regarding the symbols around the cross in his church, to which you seemed unable to provide an answer. I think I may be able to help shed a little light on this matter.
The symbols mentioned (viz: a man, a lion, a bull or calf and an eagle) represent the four living creatures mentioned in the book of Revelation (4:7):-
In the centre, grouped around the throne itself, were four animals with many eyes, in front and behind. The first animal was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third animal had a human face, and the fourth animal was like a flying eagle.
These animals have traditionally been used as symbols of the four Evangelists: Matthew being the man, Mark, the lion, Luke, the bull, and John, the eagle.
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable suggests possible reasons for these associations:-
...Matthew is symbolised by a man because he begins his gospel with the humanity of Jesus, as a descendant of David; Mark by a lion, because he begins with the scenes of John the Baptist and Jesus in the wilderness; Luke by a calf, because he begins with the priest sacrificing in the temple; and John by an eagle, because he soars high, and begins with the begins with the divinity of the Logos.
These four animals also appear as the faces of Ezekiel's cherubim (Ezek 1:10).
I hope this information will be of use in expanding your explanation.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on May 23, 2002 Dear Mr. Jarvis:
Yes, thanks for the information. Someone else came to my rescue too on this question.
I am happy that others can fill in for the empty spaces in my pointed head
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