The Christian fish symbol, known as the Ichthus dates back to as early as the first and second century A.D. The symbol is not just a sticker that people put on their bumpers or a charm on a necklace, it has a much deeper meaning and is very significant to both early Christians and the Christians of today.
Ichthus, also spelled ichthys is the Greek word for fish. The spelling in Greek is IXOYE for Iota, Chi, Theta, Upsilon, and Sigma which mean Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.
At the time the Ichthus first started being used, the cross was not used as a Christian symbol. The fish became a natural religious symbol to be used by Christians as fish was a common food of the day and fish was often used by Jesus in His ministry.
Some Biblical examples of Jesus using or referring to fish:
* Matthew 12:40 “…Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
* Matthew 14:17 “And they said to Him, ‘We have here only fives loaves and two fish.”
* Mark 1:17 “Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
* Luke 5:6 “And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.”
* Luke 24:42 “So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.”
* John 21:6 “And He said to them, ‘Cast the Net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”
During these early days, Christians were often put to death for practicing their faith. Because of this threat they were forced to worship in secret places. The Ichthus was often written as graffiti, and was used by Christians as a password in the times of Christian persecution by the Romans. The symbol was used as a means of identification and to designate a place for Christians to gather. A fish painted on the outside of a door on a house let other Christians know that they could be safe and would be welcomed inside.
Today, the Ichthus is making a comeback. It is often seen on stickers, t-shirts, jewelry, business logos, and more. It is even being used in emails and signatures by typing a left pointing arrow, a right pointing arrow, and then another left pointing arrow. Often, the inside, or the body of the fish is empty. Other times the word Jesus or the Greek letters ICTUS are found inside the middle of the fish.
I don’t know if you are anything like me… But when I go to church I come away wondering what God truly thinks of it. I mean… I thought church was supposed to be a place where the focus was on Christ. Instead I find that preachers are more interested in trying to make people feel good, teaching them that God wants them to have an abundance of everything that this world has to offer. They teach us that if we give them lots of money then God will give us lots of money. And as for their preaching… Well, it seems that the gospel according to Paul suits their needs more than the Gospel of Christ does.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many pagan traditions celebrated within the church?
Have you ever wondered about Christmas? The supposed Christian celebration of the birth of Christ? Serious scholars of the bible will tell you that Christ wasn’t born any where near December 25th. Roman pagans celebrated December 25th as the birth of their ‘god’ of light, Mithra. Other pagan ‘gods’ born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules the son of Zeus (Greeks); Bacchus, ‘god’ of wine (Romans); Adonis, ‘god’ of Greeks, and ‘god’ Freyr of Greek-Roman pagans.
And what about Easter? Look up the word “Easter” in Webster’s dictionary. You will find: “AS. (Anglo-Saxon), from name of an old Teuton goddess of spring”. The name “Easter” is merely the slightly changed English spelling of the name of the ancient Assyrian goddess Ishtar, pronounced by the Assyrians exactly as we pronounce “Easter.” The Babylonian name of this goddess was Astarte, consort of Baal, the Sun god, whose worship is denounced in the Bible as the most abominable of all pagan idolatry.
There are many other Christian traditions that have deep roots in paganism that I won’t go into here.
I was under the impression that Christ and His disciples taught all men everywhere to repent. Yet when you go to church you wouldn’t think so. “Just say this prayer and you’ll be saved” they tell us. “There is no need to repent, Christ paid the penalty for your sins”.
The truth is… Two seperate and distint churches formed and developed after the resurrection and ascension of Christ.
1. The Nazarenes: The origal disciples of Yehoshua the Christ.
We know a little about the Nazarenes from Jewish Rabbinic writings, but the more important description of them, although negative, can be found in the writings of the Early “Church Fathers”. You see, just as now, the Nazarenes were misunderstood and hated by both the “Church” and Pharisaic Judaism. The fourth century “Church Father” Jerome, described the Nazarenes as “those who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the Old Law” (Jerome; On. Is. 8:14).
Another fourth century Church Father, Epiphanius, gave a more detailed description of how the Netzarim were viewed:
“We shall now especially consider heretics who… call themselves Nazarenes; they are mainly Jews and nothing else. They make use not only of the New Testament, but they also use in a way the Old Testament of the Jews; for they do not forbid the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings… so that they are approved of by the Jews, from whom the Nazarenes do not differ in anything, and they profess all the dogmas pertaining to the prescriptions of the Law and to the customs of the Jews, except they believe in [Messiah]… They preach that there is but one [Elohim], and his son [Yahshua the Messiah]. But they are very learned in the Hebrew language; for they, like the Jews, read the whole Law, then the Prophets… They differ from the Jews because they believe in Messiah, and from the Christians in that they are to this day bound to the Jewish rites, such as circumcision, the Sabbath, and other ceremonies.” (Epiphanius; Panarion 29; translated from the Greek).
Although it’s hard for some to accept, the fact is that those being described here were the direct disciples and followers of Yehoshua (Jesus). So obviously, this is what He taught! These are the direct followers of Yehoshua, and yet there are so many who claim to be his followers and who follow a different Gospel, teachings of someone other than those of Yehoshua from Nazareth. There is evidence that the Nazarene Sect continued to exist until at least the 13th century. The writings of the Catholic teacher, Bonacursus, entitled “Against the Heretics,” refer to the Nazarenes, who were also called “Pasagini.” Bonacursus wrote:
“Let those who are not yet acquainted with them, please note how perverse their belief and doctrine are. First, they teach that we should obey the Law of Moses according to the letter – the Sabbath, and circumcision, and the legal precepts still being in force. Furthermore, to increase their error, they condemn and reject all the Church Fathers, and the whole Roman Church.”
2. Pauline (Roman) Christianity: A term used to refer a branch of Early Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings. Paul’s writings and teachings are radically different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of James.
Proponents of the perceived Pauline distinctive include Marcion of Sinope, the 2nd century theologian who asserted that Paul was the only apostle who had rightly understood the new message of salvation as delivered by Christ. Opponents of the same era include the Ebionites and Nazarenes, who rejected Paul for teaching against the Law.
The doctrine of ‘saved by faith’ found in the writings of Paul is radically different from that found elsewhere in the New Testament, nonetheless his influence came to predominate.
Paul’s supporters, as a distinct group, had an undue influence on the formation of the canon of scripture, and certain bishops, especially the Bishop of Rome, influenced the debates by which the dogmatic formulations known as the Creeds came to be produced, thus ensuring a Pauline interpretation of the gospel. The thesis is founded on the differences between the views of Paul and the church in Jerusalem revealed in his letters, and also between the picture of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles and his own writings, such that the essential Jewish or Old Testament character of the faith is said to have been lost. It has arguably been given impetus by the growth in importance of Evangelical Christianity, most especially in the United States, which rely very much on certain of Paul’s writings, in particular the Epistle to the Romans.
The theological aspect is the claim that Paul transmuted Jesus the Jewish Messiah into the universal (in a wider meaning “catholic”) Saviour.
Christianity today is based more on the doctrine of Paul than it is on the doctrine of Christ.
My origianal question was… Do I Need To Go To Church To Be A Christian…?
Well… Considering the history of the Pauline Roman Church…
– The Dark Ages
The period from 426 A.D. to 1628 A.D. is called the “Dark Ages.”
With the establishment of the new Catholic temporal power a bloody persecution began. Loyal, New Testament churches, by whatever name they were called, were hunted and hounded to the utmost limit by this new Catholic power.
The now established Catholic Church began a war of extermination upon all who opposed her.
It is reliably reported that 50,000,000 died of persecution during the Dark Ages.
During the bloody times of persecution, as Catholicism tried to exterminate the true churches, many of the false doctrines of the Catholic church of today began to take place.
– The Inquisition 1198-1700
The Inquisition was instituted by Pope Innocent lII and perfected under Pope Gregory IX. It was a “Church Court” established by the popes for the trying and punishing of “heretics” … a heretic being anyone who did not agree with Roman Catholicism. The lnquisition lasted for 500 years and was a time of indescribable horror.
– Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was a Pauline Christian. You will find it in Mein Kampf.- “Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.”
Hitler said it again at a Nazi Christmas celebration in 1926: “Christ was the greatest early fighter in the battle against the world enemy, the Jews . . . The work that Christ started but could not finish, I–Adolf Hitler–will conclude.”
In a Reichstag speech in 1938, Hitler again echoed the religious origins of his crusade. “I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord’s work. ”
Hitler regarded himself as a Catholic until he died. “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so,” he told Gerhard Engel, one of his generals, in 1941.
There was really no reason for Hitler to doubt his good standing as a Catholic. The Catholic press In Germany was eager to curry his favor, and the princes of the Catholic Church never asked for his excommunication. Religions encourage their followers to hold authority in unquestioning respect; this is what makes devout religionists such wonderful dupes for dictators.
Historically, all modern forms of Christianity stem from the Pauline Roman Catholicism.
Given the church track record I would have to say that we would do well to heed the voice from heaven that John heard in revelation 18:
4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
My advice…? Just stick to the teachings of Christ… And you can’t go wrong.