Immortality and Resurrection
- Greek: Χριστός Ανέστη – Αληθώς Ανέστη
- Latin: Christus resurrexit - Vere resurrexit
- English: Christ is risen from the dead – He is risen indeed
- Spanish: Cristo ha resucitado - Verdaderamente ha resucitado
- Russian: Khristos voskres - Voistinu voskres
Immortality, the hidden meaning and how it is linked to Christ’s resurrection.
Immortality, the hidden meaning
The Tree of Life, in the Book of Genesis is a tree planted by God in midst of the Garden of Eden (Paradise), whose fruit gives everlasting life, i.e. immortality. Together with the Tree of Life, God planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9). After eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the biblical account states that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life:
“ And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22)
The Eastern Orthodox Church has traditionally understood the Tree of Life in Genesis as a prefiguration of the Cross, which humanity could not partake of until after the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus
One of the hymns chanted during the Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ says:
Make ready, O Bethlehem, for Eden hath been opened for all. Prepare, O Ephratha, for the Tree of Life hath blossomed forth in the cave from the Virgin; for her womb did appear as a spiritual paradise in which is planted the divine Plant, whereof eating we shall live and not die as did Adam. Christ shall be born, raising the image that fell of old.
The cross of Christ
- The cross of Christ is also referred to as the Tree of Life, and in the service books, Jesus is sometimes likened to a “Divine Cluster” of grapes hanging on the “Tree of the Cross” from which all partake in Holy Communion.
There are numerous symbols representing immortality. Pictured here is an Egyptian symbol of life that holds connotations of immortality when depicted in the hands of the gods and pharaohs who were seen as having control over the journey of life, the ankh (left).
The ankh appears frequently in Egyptian tomb paintings and other art, often at the fingertips of a god or goddess in images that represent the deities of the afterlife conferring the gift of life on the dead person’s mummy; this is thought to symbolize the act of conception.
The precise origin of the symbol remains a mystery to Egyptologists, and no single hypothesis has been widely accepted.
- The ankh symbol was the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read “life”. Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest. It is also known as the Egyptian Cross, the key of life, the key of the Nile, or as crux ansata, Latin for “cross with a handle”.
Ancient Egypt appeared as a unified state no earlier than 3300 BC. Christ appeared in the scene of world almost 3000 years after the ancient Egyptians, he suffered scornfully on a cross and was treated like a common convict of His era. But because of His resurrection and the evangelism of the apostles His “cross” became the most sacred symbol for Christians to venerate. The resemblance with the connotation of the Egyptian Cross (ankh) strikes me. It is astonishing how the radiance and glory this symbol had in Ancient Egypt was eventually restored in Christianity.
Eastern Orthodox Cross
- The Eastern Orthodox cross (also known as Crux Orthodoxa, the Byzantine cross, the Eastern cross, and the “Russian” cross) can be considered a modified version of the Patriarchal cross, having two smaller crossbeams, one at the top and one near the bottom, in addition to the longer crossbeam. The top beam represents the plaque bearing the inscription “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (often abbreviated in the Latinate “INRI”, and in the Greek as “INBI”). The lower crossbeam represents the footrest (suppendaneum) to which the feet of Jesus were nailed. One tradition says that this comes from the idea that as Jesus took his last breath, the bar his feet were nailed to broke, thus slanting to the side. It is also said that the slanted bar represents the repentant thief and the unrepentant thief that were crucified with Christ. In this manner it also reminds the viewer of the Last Judgement.
All quoted passages are from Wikipedia