Holy Week 2021-1
The Mark of the Tav
(A Possible Origin of the Catholic Ash Wednesday Symbol)
Key Verses – Ash Wednesday and “The Mark of the Tav”
Ezekiel 9:1-11 (NASB) *A vision of God’s judgment upon His sinful chosen people Israel “Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice saying, ‘Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.‘ Behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. The LORD said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.’
But to the others He said in my hearing, ‘Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.’ So they started with the elders who were before the temple. And He said to them, ‘Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!’ Thus they went out and struck down the people in the city.
As they were striking the people and I alone was left, I fell on my face and cried out saying, ‘Alas, Lord GOD! Are You destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath on Jerusalem?’ Then He said to me, ‘The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!’ But as for Me, My eye will have no pity nor will I spare, but I will bring their conduct upon their heads.’ Then behold, the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case reported, saying, ‘I have done just as You have commanded me.’”
Job 31:35 (NASB) *In this verse “tav” – or the “mark” – is translated “signature” “Oh that I had one to hear me! Behold, here is my signature [lit. “mark”]; Let the Almighty answer me! And the indictment which my adversary has written…”
Exodus 12:23-24 (NASB) *Similar mark of separation during the Exodus
“For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.” *The sign of the cross!
2 Thessalonians 3:17 (NASB) *Similar concept in the New Testament
“I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.”
Key Terms (most words have a ‘field of meaning’ —> various translations)
“mark” (vv.4,6) Hebrew #8420a (3x), NASB tav, from an unused word; a mark:– Mark (2), signature (1)
“mark” (2 Thess. 3:17) Greek #4592 (x), NASB semeion, from the same as 4591; a sign:- distinguishing mark (1), miracle (2), sign (32), signs (39)
Holy Week 2021 Online Devotional #1 “Now the Passover of the Jews was near…”
John 11:55 (NASB)
Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) Ezekiel 9:1-11
Ash Wednesday / Lent The Mark of the Tav
Have you ever wondered why some Christians take the palm leaves from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration and burn the dried-out fronds to make the ashes which they then place on the foreheads of the worshippers in the shape of a cross? That’s why it’s called “Ash Wednesday,” and this year it took place on February 17th, more than a month before Resurrection Sunday.
For many of these Catholic Christians and others, this holy day actually follows the previous day which is called “Fat Tuesday,” more commonly known as “Mardi
Gras” (French meaning “fat Tuesday”). Fat Tuesday is the last festival celebration prior to Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent is a time when some Christians give up something to remind themselves what Jesus had to give up to come and die on the cross in order to become our Savior. Not a bad idea when you stop to think about it!
Lent means “the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting.” Between Ash Wednesday and Easter many Christians observe Lent by voluntarily giving up something that they like or enjoy in order to enhance personal reflection and preparation for the Resurrection celebration commonly referred to by the pagan name “Easter.” The 40-day period of Lent is based on the 40-day trial of Jesus by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
The Hebrew word “tav” is actually the 22nd (and last) letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In Hebrew it is also a word that actually means “mark” or “signature.” The Early Semitic script (below) is the origin of the Greek and Latin letter T.
In addition to the possible Ash Wednesday link, what about the expressions “x marks the spot” on a map or “make your mark” which was the letter x for people who were unable to write or even sign their name.
The Evolution of the Hebrew Letter Tav Early Mid Late Modern Hebrew Hebrew Hebrew Hebrew
Saturday, March 27
Holy Week 2021-1