“Constantine looked up to the sun before the battle and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words “Ἐν Τούτῳ Νίκα” (“by this, win!”, often rendered in the Latin in “hoc signo, vinces”.) ; Constantine commanded his troops to adorn their shields with a Christian symbol (the Chi-Rho), and thereafter they were victorious.”
The Battle at the Milvian Bridge was not just a victory for Constantine but much more a victory for the cross, because when Constantine conquered the empire from Maxentius the sign of the cross is also conquering the world for itself. Although the emperor was gone and that his empire was already crumbled, the battle cry “in hoc signo, vinces!” (in this sign, conquer!) is still ringing upon the four corners of the earth with legions of soldiers under its banners – not the pagan Romans but those people who professed to be followers of Christ. In the Vatican, in fact, Constantine’s battle cry became a welcoming reminders to those world leaders who visited the Pope to pay their respect to him;
The phrase also appears prominently placed as a motto on a ribbon unfurled with a passion cross to its left, beneath a window over the Scala Regia, adjacent to the equestrian statue of Emperor Constantine, in the Vatican. Emperors and other monarchs, having paid respects to the Pope, descended the Scala Regia, and would observe the light shining down through the window, with the motto, reminiscent of Constantine’s vision, and be reminded to follow the Cross. They would thence turn right into the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica, ostensibly so inspired. (Wikipedia, “In hoc signo, vinces”)
Both Catholics and Protestants believe that the cross is the sign of the Savior, the emblem of Christianity, and they are using it to
beautify their churches, altars, and garments. Anywhere we can see the sign of the cross, and was highly regarded by the nominal churches of Christianity. The World Council of Churches states; “The cross is and will forever be the sign of the church. This is the symbol that we have together, the symbol of what we have together, the symbol of what the churches have to give to the world. From the beginning to the end.” (Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.) The high regard to the crucifix lies upon the fact that Christ, our Lord, redeemed the world by being crucified. Whenever people see this symbol, it reminds them the love of God that saved them from the bondage of sin and death. For them, the cross is Christ, and Christ is the cross. Hence, many professed Christians does not only looking to it with high respect but even worshiping it as Christ Himself. The Catholic Church states;
The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe, “honour”; from worth, meaning “value”, “dignity”, “price”, and the termination, ship; Latin cultus) in its most general sense is homage paid to a person or a thing. In this sense we may speak of hero-worship, worship of the emperor, of demons, of the angels, even of relics, and especially of the Cross. (Catholic Encyclopedia, art. “Christian Worship”.)
Now, let us try to consider this question: “What if Christ was not executed through the cross“? What if the Roman soldiers executed the Savior by means of “electric chair” or by “strangulating chord“? Is it possible that these objects will appear upon the pulpit, the ceiling, or above the roof of many Churches, even in their logos? Is it possible that if the Savior was killed through an electric chair, Christians in this modern age shall also bow down before an electric chair and adore it? That’s ridiculous! Christians are actually looking upon Christ in a wrong manner. They remembering the death of Christ in a way that is ridiculous and very much uncriptural in its principles. The cross represents the horrible punishment of criminals and wicked persons in the Roman empire just like how Filipinos regarded electric chair or the lethal injection chamber. There were plenty of people during the Roman age that has been killed through this mean! Many criminals and non-pagan people were hanged upon the cross. Can we say that the cross may also represent them just like how Christ represented by this? Therefore, saying that the cross is the symbol of Christ is absolutely wrong. The cross, where our Lord Jesus Christ has been crucified, was nothing but a Roman cross. It is not the cross of Christ which is being taught in the Holy Scriptures. We should not think that the cross of Christ is a wooden cross where criminals are hanged unto death. Rather, the Bible described the true cross of Christ as a soft and a burden that can be carried easily. The Bible said;
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29,30)
The cross or the yoke of Christ is not a wooden object. The true cross of the Bible was made up of sufferings, perseverance and righteous labors that our dear Savior endured until His death. And in order for us to carry this same cross everyday in our lives, as our Lord commanded us to do, we Christians should learn to look not upon those things that are seen, but upon those things which are unseen. The cross of Christ is not an object that can be literally seen by our naked eyes, but rather a thing that needs our understanding and faith. We don’t need any object to behold the beauty and righteousness of Him who loved and saved us from sins, but as the gospel teaches;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:18)
How horrible to think that the world today was already conquered, not by the real cross of Christ, but by the cross of Romanism. The more they look upon this object as an emblem of salvation, the more they become distant from the true meaning of the biblical “cross of Christ”, for where their eyes rests, that will be also the limit of their comprehension.
After the defeat of his rivals, (allegedly because of a divine intervention), Constantine still refused to be converted into the religion of Christ, but rather choose to remain pagan at heart and mind. Not even a little change happened in the life of the pagan emperor. Like him, the world also recognized the image of the cross with very high respect and adoration, but the fact remains that the state of human morality becomes more worse than ever. The true badge of Christianity is not an outward sign. Not the wearing of a cross or a crown, but the willingness of the heart to follow the steps of Christ. Peter says;
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (I Peter 4:13-16)
Today, the nominal churches of Christianity is continuing to spread the image of Constantine’s battle cry. By all means, they subjecting the entire world under the alleged symbol of Christ. Christians should be aware about those objects that has been used to replace the genuine religion of Christ. When Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippine archipelago in 1521 and when the cross was planted upon its soil, my beloved country began to experience a form of Christianity that brings darkness upon every soul. A kind of Christianity that for 500 years enslaved the Filipino people by errors and corrupted standard of morality. A kind of Christianity that rich in rituals and outward form of holiness, but devoid of the power from the gospel.