Library of Congress

A man “dressed in linen” draws a cross-mark on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of protection, in the lower panel of this 12th century A.D. frontspiece to the Book of Ezekiel. The artist understood the mark—the taw—mentioned in the vision of the prophet (chapter 9) to be a cross-mark.

Pictured from left to right on this bottom panel are the six men of the prophet’s vision, one, a man “dressed in linen with an ink well by his side,” and five armed men. Next the faithful receive the mark (taw); lastly five armed men massacre the unfaithful; at their feet lie the cadavers of the condemned.

The upper frames of this illumination from the Lambeth Palace Library Bible show the Divine hand directing Ezekiel to preach in Jerusalem, and Ezekiel, scroll in hand, then walking through the city.