When I was a child, handwriting and where our letters came from, fascinated me. We had WorldBook Children’s Encyclopedias in the house that had certain themes. The one volume on language had a few pages showing the progression from Ancient Phoenician writing to the English lettering, and the progression from Arabic numerals to modern numerical digits. I can still see those pages in my head when the memory comes back to me. In my tween years, I found a book of symbols and what they meant. This was a really large, thick book at the local public library that I hauled home and studied for quite some time. It would be at that time, that I learned the commonly-seen peace symbol with the upside down broken cross, was used by witches and satanists as a curse symbol. Ever after reading this little tidbit, any time I’ve seen this symbol used for peace, I have cringed. I also learned via this book of symbols that the two-finger peace sign is actually representative in satanism as the symbol for the satanic head god. The folded hand is the goat’s head with the two fingers as the two horns. Again, ever since discovering this tidbit, any time I see Christians using this symbol, or putting it over other people’s heads, I cringe.
Fast-forward a number of years. I now have my own daughter who loves all things historical and etymological. We end up in some great, fascinating discussions at times because of her own interest in such things. I’ve had to caution her occasionally on the spiritual nature of some of her findings throughout history, and that those spiritual overtones still hold power today. One of her fascinations is with our family’s Celtic heritage, the history of the northern peoples of Europe, their artwork, their clothing, and of course, their stories, legends, mythos and languages. But while she was working on a yet-to-published novel in the years surrounding high-school graduation, she decided to see if the name of Christ would change in her fictitious language created for the world she’d placed her characters in. To our amazement, this translation of Jesus’ name into this fictitious language had the same effect as when translated into any other known earthly language. In other words, Christ’s name didn’t change, it merely changed spelling. The pronunciation stayed largely intact. Discovering the Wycliffe translation and the resulting dive into Middle English and by extension, Anglo-Saxon, morphed into her latest fascination. She recently decided to do a personal challenge. If God said that the name of Jesus would be the name above all names at which all peoples must bow in heaven and earth, and by which all men must be saved, then would His name translate into an ancient northern European writing system that today we now associate with the dark arts?
It was the time of tribal Europe when each people group gathered around the fires of their own kind, language, and way of life. The Northmen as they called themselves, or the barbaric celts as the Romans knew them, had their own stories, writings, alphabet and numerical system. Writing in those days was done with a chisel and a hammer on pieces of wood, thick leather, metal, stone, etc. Some people wrote in a hurry. Others needed lines or their words went everywhere. Others became artists at the craft and would do up signage for estates, businesses, road markers, grave stones, and more. A young mother wound her way through the worn paths back to her home from shopping in town at the market. There it was again, that crazily-chiseled stone out front of her neighbour’s gate. Why oh why hadn’t they hired the services of her nephew she’d never know. Oh it was an eyesore to behold! She hurried past and on toward her own stone marker that was carved much tidier, neater, and far easier to read, announcing her home as the place where one could get special notes carved to their loved ones featuring flowers or animals and other finely-carved features. She was proud of her family tradition. Upon entering her home, she set down her goods, and put the perishables in the root cellar. She’d have to send her son for more ice from the docks soon.
Her son was the inquisitive type, always asking questions and wanting to learn new things. Strange people calling themselves missionaries from the Asian peninsula had come through the village recently. She’d gone to their meetings and accepted Yeshua as her Lord and Saviour. This had her now at odds with the local tribal leaders because she would no longer show up at their celebrations, but instead stay home to have celebrations of her own. Her husband too accepted Yeshua, but this was all so new, they hadn’t yet figured out how to tell their son.
This day however, her son came running in from the garden, excitedly yelling at the top of his lungs, “Mom! I heard someone say there are people spreading strange stories again! They say YOU are helping tell those stories! They say you could be in trouble Mom! Are you safe? Shall I chase them with my axe?”
The young mother laughed at her son’s desire to protect her. She went over to a small pile of wood bits left over from her husband’s latest carvings. She picked up a piece large enough for what she was about to do. Laid it on the stone table, and waved at her son to grab the chisel off the block. He frowned, but obediently grabbed the chisel and hammer and brought them over. “Sit down my son, and let me tell you a story indeed!”.
Her son pulled the stool out, sat down and watched as his mother began to chisel the wood.
“You see son, many years ago a great king left his estate of the sun and came down to earth. His light was brighter than ours, but his torch was much more humble than the sun’s rays. He taught how to find true Joy in His strength, that though one’s faith might be as small as a mustard seed, it could grow to become a mighty oak tree.” She lifted her chisel and moved it to begin a new line of letters on the wood.
This once great king had come to earth to rescue His people, and as we say around here my son, he had to drink from a cruel cup. The cup of wrath would not be moved from him and he died. While in the otherworld, this great king rode to the abode of death and hela, snatching their keys, and like the slippery nature of an eel, he slipped out of their grasp, returning to the tomb and the body he’d left behind. An angel rolled the stone away from the tomb and the great king walked out. 40 days later, he ascended into heaven to be at the right hand of God the Father. This great king is none other than God the Son, called Yeshua Christos.”
The son looked in amazement at the two words his mother had just chiselled out. Taking the board, he ran to his room, vowing to never let it out of his sight. Mother risked dieing a martyr’s death in their village, but he would carry her message on to future generations.
The language this mother wrote in, was none other than Anglo-Saxon Futhorc Runes. Ancient Runes had two main dialects: The Futharc of the Norse folk, and the Futhorc of the Anglo-Saxons. Today, we generally associate the concept of runes with magic or the dark arts. However, these languages were not merely used for dark arts, but according to various historical sources, used in general day-to-day life as well. Just as English words and letters can be used for good or evil, so the runes were also used for good or evil. Let’s look at the letters the young mother in my story above actually carved out:
It should be noted that the following pronunciation guide is also the names of the rune letters themselves, very much like how we in Canada say “Zed” to not only name the last letter of the English alphabet, but also to denote how to say that letter in a word. We want the zzz sound for that letter. Zed therefore, is both a name, and a pronunciation guide all in one and is never confused with pronouncing C “see”, because we can’t slur the word Zed very well into a fuzzy “s” sound.
Together, sun and cen runes are pronounced with a softer “sh” sound.
*** This is only a partial list of the full runic alphabet as given by Omniglot.com.
If we take all the runes above, and re-arrange them, using the Hebrew and Greek words for Jesus Christ, we suddenly become aware of the fact that the Futhorc Rune spelling of Christ’s name, is the Gospel in a nutshell! Take a look at the following graphics.
From this arrangement of runes,we have the following letter names:
Year, Estate, Sun, Torch, Joy, Oak, Chalice, Ride, Eel, Stone, God, Sun. Together they spell “Yeshua Christos”. Now to back and re-read the fictional story I wrote above about the young mother and her son. Could this particular use of the written language of that time, indeed have been used to tell the story of Jesus in this way? It certainly lends itself to the idea.
Yes, truly, the name that is above all names, trumps even alphabets that today are relegated to the dark arts. Christ is King, even there.