Христианские символы

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BDGS - Христианская символика

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Advent Wreath

	The Advent wreath was adapted from a pagan custom of lighting candles in anticipation of the winter solstice, the day on which daylight hours once again begin to lengthen. Because the winter solstice roughly coincides with Christmas, Medieval believers used the Advent wreath as a symbol of watchfulness and increasing joy as the Lord's Nativity approached. The circular wreath represents eternity, as do the evergreen branches from which it is made, reminding us of God's gift of eternal life in Christ. A new candle is lit on each of the four Sundays in Advent. The growing light represents the Christian's increasing joy. The candles are colored purple (or blue), a color which represents watchfulness and preparation. In some churches, a pink or rose candle is used for the third or fourth candle. This candle represents joy. The day on which this candle is lit is sometimes called Gaudete ("Let us rejoice"). Some churches attach meanings to the other candles, such as hope, love and peace. A white candle is sometimes placed in the middle of the wreath to be lit on Christmas Day.

Season: Advent ________________________________________ Agnus Dei

The Agnus Dei (Latin for «Lamb of God») may appear in several postures. Standing with a banner, it represents the risen Christ who triumphs over death. Standing with a cross and bleeding from a gash in its side, it represents the suffering and death of our Lord. Seated on a book with seven seals, it represents the final judgment when Christ returns in glory. This symbol is rich in significance. John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In the Revelation, Jesus is portrayed as a lamb. Even in the Old Testament, God’s provision of a ram as a substitute sacrifice for Isaac is an important type of Christ.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (NIV) Rev. 5:11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang: «Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!» (NIV) Gen. 22:9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, «Abraham! Abraham!» "Here I am, " he replied. 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy, " he said. «Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.» 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram(n) caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, «On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.» (NIV) ________________________________________ Alpha and Omega

	Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and thus refer to the eternal nature of Christ.

Rev. 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, " says the Lord God, «who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.» (NIV) Season: Advent, Ascension Sunday ________________________________________ Alpha Mu Omega

	These letters are the initials for the Greeks words for "yesterday, today and forever," emphasizing not only Jesus' eternal nature, but His presence with us.

Hebr. 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (NIV) ________________________________________ Altar

See Cathedral Floor Plan

________________________________________ Anchor

See Cross (Anchor)

________________________________________ Angel

	The word "angel" means "messenger," and angels most often appear in the context of a message from God. Examples are the Annunciation to Mary, the appearance to shepherds at Christmas, the announcement of the Resurrection, and many others. Angels may also represent the watchfulness or presence of God.

(Read more about angels …) ________________________________________ Ankh

	The ankh, or ansate cross, is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph representing life and regeneration. It was adopted by Christians as a symbol of eternal life.

________________________________________ Apple

	Probably because the Latin word for "apple" and for "evil" are identical (malum), the apple came to represent the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden. It is therefore often used to symbolize the fall into sin, or of sin itself. When Christ is portrayed holding and apple, He is acknowledged as the Second Adam who brings life.

1Cor. 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (NIV) ________________________________________ Apostles (Shields)

Click here for shields of the Apostles

________________________________________ Apse

See Cathedral Floor Plan

________________________________________ Ark (Noah’s)

See Noah’s Ark

________________________________________ Ark of the Covenant

	The word "ark" means, literally, "chest." The ark of the covenant was the chief artifact of the tabernacle, the place where God dwelt and where his glory shone. It was a wooden box overlaid with gold and covered with a lid, called the "mercy seat," made of solid gold. On top of the lid were two golden angels (cherubim) whose wings extended over it. Inside of the ark were kept the tablets of the law, a pot of manna, and Aaron's staff. The ark of the covenant is perhaps the most profound of all the Old Testament types of Christ. As the mercy seat covered the law and hid it from view, so Christ covers his people from the judgment of the law. As God spoke from between the cherubim, so God now reveals Himself to us in Christ Jesus.

________________________________________ Arks (Three)

	Three arks (or "chests") may be used as a symbol of the Magi who came to visit the Baby Jesus after he was born. The arks represent their three gifts, listed in the Bible as gold, frankincense and myrrh. (It is because of the three gifts that tradition has given us three wise men -- scripture says nothing about the number of Magi.)

Matt. 2:9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east(n) went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (NIV) ________________________________________ Aureole

	The word "aureole" comes from the Latin word for "gold." It is symbolic of divinity and supreme power. An elongated aureole is called a "mandorla" or "almond." It is sometimes used to surround the entire body of Christ or the Virgin Mary and Child.


Ladder

	The ladder was one of the instruments used in the crucifixion of Christ, and so may be used as a symbol of His Passion. In this case, it is often shown together with a sponge affixed to a reed which was used to offer Jesus vinegar to drink while he was on the cross. The ladder may also call to mind the story of Jacob and his dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder (or staircase).

Matt. 27:48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, «Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.» (NIV) Gen. 28:11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway(n) resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it(n) stood the LORD, and he said: «I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.» (NIV) ________________________________________ Lamb of God

See Agnus Dei

________________________________________ Lamp

	The lamp is most often used to represent the Word of God. It may also be used as a symbol of wisdom taken from the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25. The lamp was associated in the Old Testament with worship, where it symbolized God's presence (see Candlestick). A lamp can also represent life itself, or the Holy Spirit's indwelling. An interesting use of the word "lamp" in the Old Testament comes from several references to God's promise to preserve King David's descendants ("maintain a lamp"). It is also an emblem of several saints. The lamp is sometimes portrayed as an oil lamp more common in the land of Palestine.

Ps. 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (NIV) Prov. 13:9 The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out. (NIV) 2Chr. 21:5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. 7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the LORD had made with David, the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever. (NIV) ________________________________________ Lamps (Seven)

	Seven lamps represent the seven gifts of the Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and delight in the Lord.

Isa. 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD — 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. (NIV) Season: Pentecost ________________________________________ Lectern

See Cathedral Floor Plan

________________________________________ Lily

	The lily is a symbol of purity and has become a symbol of the Virgin Mary. The Easter lily, a particular variety which blooms in spring from a seemingly lifeless bulb, has become symbolic of Christ's Resurrection. A lily blooming among thorns has been used to represent the Immaculate Conception. A lily can also be used as a symbol for Christ.

Song 2:1 I am a rose(n) of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. 2 Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. ________________________________________ Lion

	The lion is a symbol of Christ, the Lion of Judah. It is also symbolic of Christ because of the myth that lion cubs are born dead but come to life after three days, a tale which reminded early Christians of the Resurrection. A medieval belief held that the lion sleeps with its eyes open, leading to use of lions as symbols of watchfulness. A winged lion is a symbol of St. Mark the Evangelist because of his clear proclamation of Jesus' Resurrection. (See also "Eagle".) Conversely, the lion can also represent the treachery and stealth of Satan.

Rev. 5:4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, «Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.» (NIV) 1Pet. 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (NIV) ________________________________________ Loaves and Fishes

	Five loaves and two fishes call to mind the story of the feeding of the five thousand and represent Jesus' miraculous providence. They also remind us of Jesus' claim to be the Bread of Life.

Matt. 14:17 "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish, " they answered. 18 "Bring them here to me, " he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. (NIV) John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (NIV) ________________________________________ Lotus (Waterlily)

	Because a lotus blooms above the water from roots anchored in the mud, it it sometimes used as a symbol of the sanctifying power of Christ's Holy Spirit. It can also borrow its meaning from Greek mythology to refer to spiritual sleep or stupor.

________________________________________ Luther’s Seal

	This seal was designed by Martin Luther. At the center is a black cross to remind the believer of the terrible sacrifice of Christ on the cross for all people. The red heart represents the love, joy and peace produced by faith. The rose is white, the color of "angels and blessed spirits." The blue ground represents the hope of heavenly joy, and the gold ring represents heaven's eternal bliss.


Star (4-Pointed)

	A four-pointed star is usually styled to resemble a cross and is used as the "star of Bethlehem" or "natal star." The cross shape reminds us both of Jesus' birth and the purpose for which He was born.

Season: Christmas ________________________________________ Star (5-Pointed)

	The five-pointed star is the star of Bethlehem. Shaped roughly like a human being, it represents Jesus' incarnation.

The Christian five-pointed star should be distinguished from the pagan pentagram, which is formed of five lines which intersect. Most often shown upside down, the pentagram is associated with satanic ritual. Num. 24:17 "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. (NIV) Matt. 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi(n) from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, «Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east(n) and have come to worship him.» (NIV) Season: Advent, Epiphany ________________________________________ Star (6-Pointed)

	The six-pointed star is the Creator's star. Its six points stand for the six days of creation. The points are also said to represent the six attributes of God - power, wisdom, majesty, love, mercy and justice. This star is also known today as the Star of David, and is a symbol of modern-day Israel. The six-pointed star is of ancient origin and is used in many religions with a variety of meanings.

________________________________________ Star (7-Pointed)

	The seven-pointed star represents the seven gifts of the Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and delight in the Lord.

Isa. 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD — 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. (NIV) ________________________________________ Star (8-Pointed)

	Eight is traditionally the number of regeneration. (It is for this reason that many baptismal fonts have an octagonal base.) Jesus was circumcised and given his name when he was eight days old. Baptism is understood to be the New Testament equivalent of the covenant of circumcision.

________________________________________ Star (9-Pointed)

	The nine-pointed star symbolizes the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in the Epistle to the Galatians. This star is sometimes shown with the Latin initials for each of the fruits (charitas, gaudium, pax, longanimitas, benignitas, bonitus, fides, mansuetudo and continentia) placed within the points.

Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV) ________________________________________ Star (12-Pointed)

	A twelve-pointed star may be used to represent the twelve tribes of Israel or the twelve apostles. It may also be used at Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, on which the church celebrates the manifestation of Christ as the Son of God.

________________________________________ Stars with Sun and Moon

	Twelve stars surrounding a sun and moon represent Jacob and his wife and Jacob's 12 sons, who themselves became the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel. Together they are an Old Testament type of the whole company of God's elect.

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