Six Hundred Christian Warriors Put The Cross On Their Foreheads And Are Now Fighting ISIS Who Put On Their Foreheads The Mark Of The Beast

By Walid Shoebat and Theodore Shoebat

Iraq’s first Christian-only brigade of regular forces graduated Thursday to help retake the community’s towns and villages from the Islamic State group while they put the mark of God — the Holy Cross — on their foreheads, before marching to battle against ISIS. Christians are reviving a biblical custom from Ezekiel’s time in which God demanded to mark the foreheads of the followers of the true God (explained later).



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Notice the Mark of God on the foreheads of Christians, the same as the Taw in Ezekiel’s time which was a foreshadow of the Cross.



Christian warriors have on their foreheads the Holy Cross -- the Mark of God, while the Muslims have the Mark of the Beast

Christian warriors have on their foreheads the Holy Cross — the Mark of God, while the Muslims have the Mark of the Beast


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The new brigade will answer to the government of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, whose peshmerga fighters are playing a leading role in the war against the jihadists.
Fighters paraded and jumped through fiery rings in front of Kurdish and Assyrian officials in the northwestern town of Fishkhabur, near the borders with Syria and Turkey.

Assyrian Christian warriors

Assyrian Christian warriors

Assyrian Christian warriors

Assyrian Christian warriors

Assyrian Christian warriors

Assyrian Christian warriors

Most of Iraq’s Christians lived in the Nineveh plain, an area between the main IS hub of Mosul and the Kurdish capital of Arbil, before IS fighters swept in seven months ago.
“Around 600 peshmerga from our Christian brothers in the Nineveh plain joined this course, which focused on physical training, military lectures and shooting exercises,” said Abu Bakr Ismail, the commander of the training academy.

“All the participants are volunteers… and want to liberate their land from IS and then protect it,” the Kurdish special forces major general said.

Iraqi Christian forces march during their graduation ceremony in the northwestern town of Fishkhabur 

Iraqi Christian forces march during their graduation ceremony in the northwestern town of Fishkhabur

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The new brigade is called the “Tiger Guards” and was formed out of the remnants of an Assyrian force first created in 2004 to protect churches in the region.
Up to 100,000 Christians fled their homes overnight in early August when IS fighters who had already conquered large parts of Iraq thrust into areas controled by the peshmerga.
The exodus has been described as the worst disaster to befall the minority, which is one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

Iraq’s Christians have not traditionally had strong home-grown militias and adopted a low profile when sectarian violence flared across the country a decade ago.

But those who haven’t already fled the country have in recent months shown a willingness to take up arms and take their future into their own hands.

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Several other Christian groups have formed in recent months in northern Iraq. They do not fall under the peshmerga’s command but are hosted and supported by Kurdistan.

There are also Americans joining the Christian militia, two of whom are Tim Locks and Bret, two courageous men has written on before.

Tim 38 years old and was a bouncer for  Cheekies nightclub in Staines, Surrey. Now instead of fighting troublemakers, he is fighting Islamic terrorists.

Locks said:

‘I didn’t come out here to be a celebrity but it is a way of gaining awareness. Some people move out here to make a name for themselves.

locks 3 locks 2 tim lockes

He also said:

The situation out here is dire. Blankets and rice cannot defend the people against Daesh. …The western world needs to pull their finger out. Send us some kit, send us some food. Send us weapons. If you don’t send it, you are failing the world.

Tim, and people like him, are very wanted targets since ISIS sees them as more of a threat than the local Christian fighters. Many of them are former military or have a very helpful trade or skill. Tim is a very experienced builder and with his skills in building he is very resourceful in the battlefield, where construction is needed. Tim also said that his country, England, is doing absolutely nothing to fight ISIS:

We are here. We are the boots on the ground. There is no pay. I am here to protect the local people and democracy. But we are seriously under resourced. …Britain has done nothing to help the situation. I have done more to help people here in a week than David Cameron has done. He has done nothing.

Locks said this of the local Christian fighters:

The people here are fantastic. We have been very well looked after. We are never on our own and always have someone who speaks one of the local dialect. Daesh are far too cowardly to get us.

According to the report:

Brett is 28 years old and a Christian militant who calls himself a Soldier of Christ. He always carries with him the a pocket Bible which he carried with him while deployed in Iraq in 2006, and in the same Bible there is a picture of the Virgin Mary “tucked inside its pages and his favorite verses highlighted.”

Bret has a tattoo of “Saint Michael, the archangel of battle”, signifying what Bret beautifully sees “as a biblical war between good and evil.”

Bret, center right with beanie and sunglasses, and Tim, to his left

Bret, center right with beanie and sunglasses, and Tim, to his left

“It’s very different,” he said, asked how the experiences compared. “Here I’m fighting for a people and for a faith, and the enemy is much bigger and more brutal.”

He also said:

These are some of the only towns in Nineveh where church bells ring. In every other town the bells have gone silent, and that’s unacceptable

With all of this said, we would like to go into a deep explanation on what the Mark of God — the mark that these warriors put on their foreheads — is.

Are such marks spiritual marks or are they intended to be literal as a physical mark that is visible by the naked eye? Is only the Christian marked with a spiritual mark, or is he also required to have a physical mark, or even both? Or is it possible that this whole issue be simpler than we all think; is it unusual after all for two opposite sides, the followers of Christ on the one side and the followers of Antichrist on the other, to express their allegiance to their god by displaying physical marks that are visible to everyone; either for Christ or for Antichrist to show the world which side they are on?

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Notice the visible Mark of The Cross on the foreheads of Christian fighters


Nothing changed, from Genesis and the mark of Cain, Moses and the mark on doorposts, to the Temple era in which the Tefillin is placed on all believers on the foreheads to the coming of Christ, markings are commanded by God. In Ezekiel 9:4 Ezekiel depicts a vision in which the tav plays a Passover role similar to the blood on the lintel and doorposts of a Hebrew home in Egypt.

In Ezekiel’s vision, the Lord has his angels separate the demographic wheat from the chaff by going through Jerusalem, the capital city of ancient Israel, and inscribing a mark, a tav, “upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”

In Ezekiel’s vision, then, the Lord is counting tav-marked Israelites as worthwhile to spare, but counts the people worthy of annihilation who lack the tav and the critical attitude it signifies. In other words, looking askance at a culture marked by dire moral decline is a kind of shibboleth for loyalty and zeal for God, (Cf. the New Testament’s condemnation of lukewarmness in Revelation 3:15-16) and so it will be when Christ comes, that the ones with the proper mark are saved while the ones without it are excluded as worthless lazy servants, regardless that they consider themselves “Christian” “saved”, do not be deceived into easy believism.

Since Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and onward, even when Christ finally comes, if we examine the history of the faith, God always had divided between the “Cain” and the “Abel”; people who followed the correct instruction and people who refused to obey. Imagine if you were there during the Exodus and you told Moses “Its all simply blood, man,” “Yahweh is in my heart,” and then to be only shocked that your eldest son is found dead in the morning. It is an issue of obedience and disobedience. If we disobey in an investment of one talent, what then will we be like when the investment is a higher amount?

So many speculate about the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13:16-17. They usually speculate about computer chips and such, yet they rarely if ever think of the Mark of Christ:

“… they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4)

“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” (Revelation 7:3 NAB)

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Revelation 14:1)

“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4)

The Hebrew letter “taw” which in its primitive form of that letter is the “North Semitic taw” which is the common ancestor of both that Hebrew letter and our own letter “T,” and it looked like a plus sign. (See This Rock, September 1990, page 4, article by Don Schenk.)

The sacred symbol of the Cross went as far back even to Moses’ time. When the Israelites fought in a battle in the Seventeenth chapter of Exodus Moses prayed for God’s help. However, Moses prayers were only heard when he prayed with his hands extended making a cross or a “T” shape similar to the form of Christ when He was crucified. (Exodus 17, 9-14, see Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 90.) Moses who was an Old Testament prefigurement, or type of Christ demonstrated, probably unknowingly, the symbol by which we would be saved.


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Notice the Mark of God on the foreheads of Christians, the same as the Taw in Ezekiel’s time which was a foreshadow of the Cross.


So many who never mention the Mark of God, yet they give themselves the liberty to expound on computer chips and bar codes while so many others say that the Mark of the Beast is also an invisible mark. Yet we can see the beginning of marking on foreheads and the Muslims have the mark of blasphemy:



When the crusaders fought the Muslims, they had the cross engraved onto their chests and their shields so as to signify the mystical lifting of their crosses within the heart and the spirit, and the burning flame of love which they held up in their souls. As Pope Innocent II wrote once to the knights who fought the Muslims in Jerusalem:

as proof that you are to be specially counted in the army of Christ, you always bear on your chest the sign of the life-giving cross. It has come to this that, like true Israelites and the most disciplined fighters of the divine battle, kindled by the flame of true charity, by your deeds you fulfill the words of the Gospel which says: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Innocent II, Omne Datum Optimum, in Barber and Bate, Templars)

This is also why Christian armies would hold up the Cross as their banner in warfare. In the Russian Primary Chronicle, which is amongst the oldest of records for the Russian Church, it reads: “By the Cross are vanquished the powers of the devil. The Cross helps our princes in combat, and the faithful who are protected by the Cross conquer in battle the foes who oppose them. For the Cross speedily frees from danger those who invoke it with faith, for devils fear nothing as much as the Cross.” *Russian Primary Chronicle, Laurentian Text, 172, trans. Cross & Sherbowitz-Wetzor* Spiritual war, in which the Cross conquers, transitions into a temporal war in which the darkness is combated through arms.

When the holy Moses kept his arms stretched out while holding the sacred wooden staff for the victory of the Hebrew warriors against the pagan Amelekites, he was as Christ Whose divine body was held to a Cross and Whose sacred limbs were outstretched for the valiant conquest over our enemy the devil. In the words of St. Gregory of Nysa, “the outstretched hands of the lawgiver became the cause of victory foreshadowing the mystery of the cross”. (St. Gregory of Nysa, Life of Moses, 2.153)

And such is the life of the warrior, picking up his cross and following Christ, denying himself and no longer clinging onto the things of the world, breaking the chains of the flesh and liberating himself in the Spirit, he becomes an instrument for the divine justice through his own crucifixion, fighting even until the death.

The most Holy Cross, the Glorious Wood of our victory, our light, our hope, truly is it the emblem of the pious crusader and the knights of Christ! Let the Holy Cross be our banner, let it be our sword against the devil when the gallant fighters of God strike with the blade and spill the blood of infidels! Let the Majestic Cross repel the demons, let it repulse Satan, for by this most profound sign shall the saints conquer! In Christ, there is no death, there is only life.

As St. Paulinus wrote: “Let us be cast down for the sake of Him, for if we fall it means resurrection. Let us die with Him in whom is life.” (St. Paulinus of Nola, letter 23.42) St. Maximus of Turin declared the Cross our sign of victory, and called for it to be placed on the forehead of every Christian, and connected the Holy Cross with warfare by referencing it to the slaughter of the heretics in the time of Ezekiel who did not bear the mark of God on their foreheads:

The Son of God had no need to be born and to be baptized, for He had not committed any sin that needed to be forgiven Him to be baptized, for He had not committed any sin that needed to be forgiven Him in baptism, but His humiliation is our exaltation, His cross our victory, and His gibbet our triumph. With joy let us take this sign on our shoulders, let us bear the banners of victory, let us bear such an imperial banner, indeed, on our foreheads! When the devil sees this sign on our doorposts he trembles.

Those who are not afraid of gilded temples are afraid of the cross, and those who disdain regal scepters and the purple and the banquets of the Caesars stand in fear of the meanness and the fasts of the Christian. In Ezekiel the prophet, when the angel who had been sent had slain everyone and the slaughter had begun at the holy places, only they remained unharmed who he had signed with the letter tau — that is, with the mark of the cross. Let us rejoice, then, dearest brethren, and let us lift holy hands to heaven in the form of the cross! When the demons see us thus armed they will be cast down. When Moses’ hands were lifted up Amalek was conquered; when they came down a little he grew strong. (St. Maximus of Turin, sermon 45.2-3)

When the Temple of God was being tainted and corrupted by the presence of pagans and heathen rights, in which “women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz” (Ezekiel 8:14), “men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east,” worshipped “the sun toward the east” (Ezekiel 8:16), and “filled the land with violence” (Ezekiel 8:17), the Lord turned to “the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side” (Ezekiel 8:3) and commanded him:

Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it. (Ezekiel 9:4)

What is this mark? It is, as we learn from St. Maximus of Turin, the Hebrew Tau, which is in the shape of a cross, and it was the holy mark which the saints were put upon their foreheads.

The saints who weep and suffer for the evils of the world, are as Christ Who wept for Jerusalem; they are the ones who bear this mark, they are the soldiers of God who ceaselessly exert themselves in the intense combat against the devil, who “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and who deny themselves, bear their cross and strive for victory.

Those who bear the Tau, the Cross, on their foreheads, this is the spirit that they hold up. And those who did not bear the Tau on their foreheads, they were the enemies of God, for God declared to the six warriors who were armed with battle-axes,

Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. (Ezekiel 9:5-6)

So shall it be in the end, with the last and final Crusade: the children of God will have upon their foreheads the sign of the Cross, and — to use the words of St. Paulinus when he wrote of the last days — “those who do not bear the sign of salvation on their heads will flaunt before them the mark of impending death.” (St. Paulinus of Nola, poem 7, 23) In another place the same saint wrote:

God revealed in the persons of the few — as clear truth of the great mystery — that at the end of the world there will be a division among the tribes and a separation among all mankind, when the avenging angel will leave unscathed those whose faces are marked with the banner of the cross. (Paulinus, poem 24)

In the Cross, the Son of God undergoes the greatest of suffering, to only eventually pass into glory. And so this is the mark the warriors place on themselves, when they undergo suffering for the cause of Christ, become martyrs and gain the crown of glory. They fight for the advancement of truth, the obliteration of the darkness through the light that never hides itself, when they slay and defeat the acolytes of Satan. In Pope Innocent III’s sermon in which he called for the crusaders to combat the Muslims and the Cathar heretics, he told the warriors who bore the Cross to kill the heretics who did not have the Cross, and by this, bring back life to Christendom:

“Those marked [with the Tau] are not to be harmed, just as it is said elsewhere, ‘Do not harm the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees until we mark the servants of our God on their foreheads [Revelation 7:3].’ As to the others, however, it is said, ‘Let your eye spare no one,’ so that there will be no partiality toward any person among you. …May you henceforth similarly carry it out: so strike, that you heal; slay, that you may give life, by the example of him who said, ‘I will kill and I will give life; I will strike, and I will heal.’ [Deuteronomy 32:39]”

The crusader who kills the wicked for the cause of the Cross, heals the Church by the cutting off the disease of the diabolical like a cancer.


  • Julie LaBrecque

    God bless and protect these warriors for Christ!

  • Trevor

    Serious question – having the cross applied to my forehead, is it only by a priest or is it something I can apply on my forehead?

    • Julie

      If you are a Trinitarian Christian, you already have the invisible sign of the Cross on your forehead.

      You can make the sign of the Cross, with your R hand touch your forehead, and say, “In the name of the Father”, then touch your heart and pray, “and of the Son”, and then with your right hand touch both your left then right front of shoulders, praying, “and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

      The sign of the Cross signifies your on going belonging to Christ until you are truly with Him in heaven, as well as signifying the great price of your redemption by Christ’s death on the Cross.

      • Trevor

        Thanks. But what about being marked with ash like they do in Orthodox churches?

        • Julie

          That is always done on Ash Wednesday…so you are weeks late.

          • Julie

            This is done in both Latin and Eastern Orthodox Churches….we used to be one…church with two lungs…

        • Woody

          The ashes are from the Palms handed out at Church derived from last years Palm Sunday which have been blessed.

  • Kamau41

    Very well written piece about what it truly means to carry the cross of Christ. May God’s hands of protection be upon these valiant warriors.

  • Trevor

    Ok. When Jesus directed John to write seven letters to the seven churches in Asia (Turkey), he began with “To the Angels of…” Was he referring to angelic beings or to pastors of each churches?

    The Catholic Church along with other Orthodox churches around the world have been marking believers with the sign of the cross since the beginning. Therefore, the pastors or priests were doing what they have been taught to do since the beginning.

    Your answer does not satisfy me.

    • Grandmere

      The ashes we receive at church are blessed by and administered by a priest. I would think, however, that in the absence of a priest and in urgent circumstances it would be reasonable to have a lay person do it. The ashes are surely an outward and visible sign of an inner and spiritual grace.

  • Trevor

    I have read their Catechism and it is, in fact, Scriptural backed by the Word of God and the many councils they have throughout history. Why do they have so many councils? To combat heresy. The first council the early church had was to draw lot to replaced Judas Isachorit. The second was to investigate the aunthencity of Paul’s conversion. The third, and major, was to settle the issue about what to do with the increasing number of Gentile believes. The original apostles laid the first row of bricks, upon which Jesus, the cornerstone, was the first stone to be laid to build up Christ’s church.

    The apostles throughout the Book of Acts, the Pauline Epistles, Peter’s, John, and James were addressed largely to combat heresy.

    The church fathers, such as Clement, also were among the first earliest apologists who further shaped the budding Church. The Catholic Church is remarkable consistent in their message and mission, which is to carry out the Great Commission, no matter the personal cost. A great many of the church fathers were maryted for Christ.

    It is unfortunate that many Prostentans continue to slander the Church without investigating their doctrine thoroughly. If you have a problem with my defense of the Church, being a Protestant myself, tough. I am sick and tired of our Lord’s Prayer for unity not being answered because so many refuse to open their heart and mind to see the wonder of the Church and their message.

    And that’s the last comment I will address to you.

    • Julie

      Please note that the churches you mentioned, no longer exist.

      Yet the Church of Constantinople is still there in Turkey.

      Every country has its guardian angel. Our leaders of countries, because…irregardless, they represent some form greater or lesser, of God’s order for society.

      Every local church has its angel and bishop.

      We each have our guardian angels.

    • Woody

      Well said; I could not have done better myself; I have and know of so many Protestants that have returned to the Church (Scott Hahn and his wife Elizabeth for two – she has 4 or 5 ministers in her family – I loved their Book “Rome Sweet Home” as they argued all the way through-She reminded Scott that he at one time hated the Catholic Church; and now he heads up the Religion Dept at Steubenville Ohio.] All of these ministers and others have one thing in common that I see–they have all read the early Church Fathers as I see you have too. Prejudice dies slowly, but another certain proof I see every day is that the Church of Satan ONLY steals Hosts (Jesus Body and Blood) from His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, for you can get bread and wine from any supermarket. So even the devil knows the truth…[they held a Black mass at Harvard this year and in Oklahoma]
      God Bless

  • ChurchMilitant Jo

    Hey Bill,

    If you can’t even state facts when speaking of Catholic teaching, perhaps you need to spend some time finding the TRUTH. You come off sounding like a complete dolt when you make statements about the Church which OBVIOUSLY, you know nothing about.

  • Lenn

    I am in awe over these amazing, brave, Christian men! I will pray for you, same as I pray for the persecuted Christians and for the Peshmergas that fight the most evil and satanic beasts this World has ever seen. Thank you, Shoebat, for the great articles that you bring! It is really a unique website that provides a lot of info that is otherwise hard to come across.

  • Lenn

    Thank you. Great info! I wish I could buy them 100 tanks and a couple of fighter jets….

  • richinnameonly

    I love the Christian Warriors! Truly inspirational.

  • richinnameonly

    Beats what we see now! We look towards Christ’s future milenial reign (if you believe it is to be here on this earth) and you have to wonder how we really are supposed to live. Should we be using nuclear power, living more of an independent agricultural life, spending a lot of effort on tech advancements? Generally, what’s in store for us is the fascinating question.

  • Trevor

    The 144,000 are the tribes of Israel, and they also follow the Lamb of God wherever He goes.

    No, the ones that came out of the Great Tribulation are the ones who have been martyred for their testimony of Jesus Christ. Remember, John saw under the altar of the souls of those who have been slain, and they were told to rest for awhile longer until a number of brothers who have been killed in like manner as them were completed.

  • Julie

    Only the Sign of the Cross will be victorious. I am praying now for all who wear the Sign of the Cross to fight evil.

  • Julie

    Please stop.

  • Julie

    Please stop.

    You are speaking from the flesh and not from the Holy Spirit.

  • Julie

    There are several explanations….recently I read that the 144,000 were the Nazarene Jews who quartered at Mt Zion when the Jews down below in Jerusalem were suffering by the destructive means of the Roman emperor. These Nazarene Jews…followers of Jesus, likewise were part of the Diaspora who fled Israel.

    The twelve apostles through the use of the number 12 represent the 12 tribes of Israel…and Israel being the foundation of Christianity and the Chosen Race to give us the Messiah, are the foundation of believers for the current predominantly Gentile Church.

    We have Our Lord. We are to worship and honor Him and to keep Sunday holy in honor of Him. We are to depend on His grace and allow Him to live through us more and more every day. We are to serve Him in the poor and needy and we are to trust in His mercy and not despair.

    We must follow His Divine Will and learn to listen to His voice. I heard my Baptist repair man share a story with me that was so beautiful. He said he never heard the Lord speaking to him. His sister told him it was because he was always talking so be quiet and learn.

    So later that evening, he got down on his carpet and prayed so hard to the Lord to hear His voice. He finally did, and the voice said, “Trust Me”.

    A few days later, the Lord told him to go to the beach and put his hands in the water. He said, “What?”…”Trust Me.” Ok, so he did and he wore his new cowboy boots.

    He drove down to the beach and by the time he reached the water it began sunset. He never saw a scene so beautiful in his life. He put his hands in the water and it came up about 6 inches around his new cowboy boots. Then he felt so overwhelmed by the beauty and the profound movement of the Holy Spirit in his whole being, he said it was like a second baptism.

    He just told me this story today. God was showing him in his listening and responding driving almost 2 hours to the beach….how most profoundly he loved the watchman…and it made me think we have no idea what heaven will be like.

    I look at the beauty of where I live…and I read little sayings about people ‘coming back’ and saying they saw a little of heaven and how beautiful it was.

    Some how I see beauty all around me, natural beauty…and I am full of it. I can see videos and photos touched by digital enhancements that make nature look so incredibly more beautiful.

    So if someone now tells me how beautiful in heaven it is…my response is, “So what?” Is that all there is to heaven… natural beauty?

    Then I look at testimonies to the atrocities done to human beings in the name of some god….and I see so much evil…that for me, what heaven will be is absence of lying, murder and slaughter, conspiracy….

    Heaven will be where there is no sin, no crying, no atrocities.

    St. Paul said, we cannot imagine what heaven will be like and what awaits us.

    Seeing how bad this world is becoming, more every day….what will be so beautiful to me is to see God face to face and see all the pure and holy…and how this place called heaven….will be…i have no idea what it will be like or look like.

    I can only trust in His mercy.

  • Yaw Mhing

    I can ask about donation? It is possible to send it by bank instead of using credit card? Please reply, i’m willing to give a donation.

  • Woody

    There was no scripture (NT) until the Catholic Church held the Council of Nicea in 325 AD long after the Apostles had died. There are many things not in scripture which are true…the Didache (the first Bible) written about 50 AD; the prayer to St Joseph written about 50 AD; Our Lady’s Letter written to the city of Messina; the veil of Veronica which is in existence (when Jesus left His Image on it after she wiped His face);

    The practice of tracing the sign of the cross is most prominent in the Roman Catholic Church but is also practiced in the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Lutheran, Anglican, and Episcopalian churches. The history of the sign of the cross goes back as far as Tertullian, the early church father who lived between A.D. 160 and 220. Tertullian wrote, “In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting off our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross.”

    Originally, a small cross was traced by the thumb or finger on one’s own forehead. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the switch was made from tracing a small cross on the forehead to the modern practice of tracing a larger cross from forehead to chest and shoulder to shoulder, we do know that the switch had occurred by the eleventh century A.D., when the Prayer Book of King Henry provides an instruction to “mark with the holy cross the four sides of the body.”

    Catholics find support for the sign of the cross primarily in their many years of church tradition and, secondarily, in Exodus 17:9-14 and Revelation 7:3; 9:4; 14:1. While the passages do speak of a sign on the forehead for protection from God’s judgment, they must be interpreted in light of their context. On the basis of their context, there is no reason to believe any of the verses prescribe the ritualistic sign of the cross.

    In the sixteenth century, one of the central tenets of the Protestant Reformation was “sola scriptura,” whereby any practice that didn’t line up with Scripture was jettisoned. The English Reformers believed the use of the sign of the cross should be left up to the individual, as was written in the Prayer Book of King Edward VI. “…Kneeling, crossing, holding up of hands, knocking upon the breast, and other gestures, they may be used, or left, as every man’s devotion serveth without blame.” Protestants generally viewed the sign as a tradition that was unsupported by Scripture, or even as idolatrous, and it was therefore abandoned by most.

    While the Bible does not instruct us to cross ourselves, the sign of the cross is not without biblical symbolism. The shape of the sign is a reminder of the cross of Christ. Historically, the sign has also been viewed as representing the trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross, salvation is extended as a free gift to all of humanity. The doctrine of the trinity teaches the Godhead: one God existing in three distinct persons. Both doctrines are foundational to both Catholics and Protestants and are certainly well-founded biblically. The sign of the cross has at certain points been associated with supernatural powers such as repelling evil, demons, etc. This mystical aspect of the sign of the cross is completely false and cannot be supported biblically in any way.

    The mystical aspect aside, tracing the sign of the cross is neither right nor wrong and can be positive if it serves to remind a person of the cross of Christ and/or the trinity. Unfortunately, such is not always the case, and many people simply go through the motions of the ritual of signing themselves without a knowledge of why they do it. A final analysis of the sign of the cross is that it is by no means required of Christians because it is not instructed by the Word of God.

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