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Tau Cross
Question from Jenn on 11/2/2012:

I have been wondering about the Tau Cross and the relation to Ezekiel 9.

The Bible on EWTN says..."And the LORD said to him, "Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it."

Are there only certain translations that say the Thau or Tau cross? What does Tau actually mean? I just need some clarification so I can explain this is to people. Thank you and God Bless you

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 12/12/2012:

The text of Ezekiel 9 reads:

4 And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem: *and mark Thau upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and mourn for all the abominations that are committed in the midst thereof.

5 And to the others he said in my hearing: Go ye after him through the city, and strike: let not your eyes spare, nor be ye moved with pity.

6 Utterly destroy old and young, maidens, children and women: but upon whomsoever you shall see Thau, kill him not, and begin ye at my sanctuary. So they began at the ancient men, who were before the house.

7 And he said to them: Defile the house, and ill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew them that were in the city.

8 And the slaughter being ended, I was left: and I fell upon my face, and crying, I said: Alas, alas, alas, O Lord God, wilt thou then destroy all the remnant of Israel, by pouring out thy fury upon Jerusalem?

9 And he said to me: The iniquity of the house of Israel, and of Juda, is exceedingly great, and the land is filled with blood, and the city is filled with perverseness: for they have said: The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not.

10 Therefore neither shall my eye spare, nor will I have pity: I will requite their way upon their head.

St. Jerome and other Church Fathers associate this with the Cross of Christ. The text of Ezekiel refers to the last letter of the Hebrew alaphet, which resembles a cross in its form. St. Francis of Assisi adopted this form of the cross in his own life and apostolate. It would be an early Old Testament prefigurement of the Cross of Christ, by which we are saved. Those who bore this mark in the time of the Babylonian destruction were preserved by it, as were the Israelites in Egypt, with the blood cross on their doorways.

Thanks, Jenn

Father Echert

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