Tuesday, June 28, 2011

finally understand

Ichthys (sometimes spelled Ichthus, or Ikhthus, from Koine Greekἰχθύς, capitalized ΙΧΘΥΣ or ΙΧΘΥϹ) is the ancient and classical Greek word for "fish." In English it refers to a symbol consisting of two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish, used by Early Christians as a secret symbol[1] and now known colloquially as the "sign of the fish" or the "Jesus fish."

Ichthys can be read as an acrostic, a word formed from the first letters of several words. It compiles to "Jesus Christ God's son Savior" in ancient Greek "Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", Iēsous Christos, Theou Huios, Sōtēr.
  • Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for "Jesus".
  • Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for "anointed".
  • Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for "God's", the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos, Greek for "God".
  • Upsilon (u) is the first letter of huios (Υἱός), Greek for "Son".
  • Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for "Savior".
Historians say the 20th-century use of the ichthys motif is an adaptation based on an Early Christian symbol which included a small cross for the eye or the Greek letters "ΙΧΘΥΣ".
Fish are mentioned and given symbolic meaning several times in the Gospels. Several of Jesus' twelve Apostles were fishermen. He commissions them with the words "I will make you fishers of men".
At the feeding of the five thousand, a boy is brought to Jesus with "five small loaves and two fish". The question is asked, "But what are they, among so many?" Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish to feed the multitude.
In Matthew 13:47-50, the Parable of Drawing in the Net, Jesus compares God's decision on who will go to heaven or to hell ("the fiery furnace") at the end of this world to fishers sorting out their catch, keeping the good fish and throwing the bad fish away.
In John 21:11, it is related that the disciples fished all night but caught nothing. Jesus instructed them to cast the nets on the other side of the boat, and they drew in 153 fish.
A less commonly cited use of fish in Christ's life may be found in the words of Matthew 17:24-27, in which, upon being asked if his Teacher does not pay the temple (two-drachma) tax, Simon Peter answers, "Yes." Christ tells Peter to go to the water and cast a line. He says that a coin sufficient for the tax will be found in the fish's mouth. Peter does as told and finds the coin.

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