Catholic for a Reason series

Just got this set from Amazon last week. After reading half of one book, I must say that, so far, it’s AWESOME. The book on the Mass has given me a deeper insight into the meaning of the Mass, and I haven’t even gotten to the chapter on the Mass in Apostolic times.

Right off the bat, I saw something that just crushes one of the famous ‘Boettner list’ claims, that being the Sign of the Cross being invented by the Catholic Church around the time of Constantine (I think it’s supposedly around 310?).

Well, in Ezekiel 9:4, God instructs an angel to “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” What is that mark? Literally, it’s the Hebrew letter Tau, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and can anyone guess what it looks like?

Isn’t that interesting?

That is interesting! I had never heard that before. Thanks!

Very interesting! Can you give any backup for this?


The word for mark is literally a Tau, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This, in many of the ancient alphabets, and especially in that in use among the Hebrews up to this time, and long retained upon their coins, was in the form of a cross—X or +.

The command reminds us of that given to the destroying angel in Exodus 12:13, and has its earlier and later analogues in the mark set upon Cain (Genesis 4:15), and in the “sealing” of the servants of God in Revelation 7:3. Here, as in the last example, the mark is set, not on the lintels of the doorposts, but upon the “foreheads” of the men. And the mark is the letter tau, in old Hebrew, that of a cross + , and like the “mark” of mediaeval and (in the case of the illiterate) of modern usage, seems to have been used as a signature, and is rightly so translated in the Revised Version of Job 31:35.

The word is Tav, the last letter of the alphabet, the old form of which was a cross. The term is used here as in Job 31:35, of a mark in general, though perhaps the Tav or cross was the simplest form the mark could take. The passage is imitated, Revelation 7, though the mark there is the name of God. All who mourned over the abominations done in Jerusalem were to be thus sealed and spared.

I guess i dont understand.

Reading here…
The Hebrew symbol looks more like a small “n” (as best as my font can type), the Phoenician is “X”, and the Greek, Latin is “T”. Since we are talking about the Hebrew letter why would we assume the “n” would be written “X” or “T”? I get these are translations from one language to another but since we are spraking of a symbol i dont see where the translation is relevant.


Take a look at the Proto-Sinaitic character under ‘origins of taw’ in the same link you posted.

Ok got it. Thanks!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit