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Christians have used the cross symbol in their worship and even to identify themselves as Christians for hundreds of years. The question is was Jesus crucified on a cross? We will answer that question later in this study. If not where did this belief come from and how did it find it's way into the Christian religion? The question is can we find cross worship in the period before the birth of Jesus and if so how were they used? We can see in the forth depiction above that the cross was used long before Jesus was born. The first depiction above show the true cross as an "X" because that is what the word cross means and this symbol of Constantine the Great who stated that he saw a sign from the Christian, (Catholic) god showing that he would win the battle he was about to engage in. The sign Constantine saw was an X in the Sun and that is why he commanded it put with the Catholic cross as shown above. This cross is also called a Chi Rho Cross.
The first crucifixion scenes didn't appear in Christian art until the 7th century by the Catholic Church. The dead body on the cross was not shown at that time like the second depiction seen in the rows of pictures above and this cross is of the "Franciscan Order". There is also what is called the Iron cross as we see often worn by the Pope. The original cross symbol was in the form of a Tau Cross as shown in the fifth picture and it was so named because it looked like our letter " T ". The use of the Tau Cross in Christianity dates back to the beginnings and St. Anthony of Egypt bore a cross in the form of a tau on his cloak. The Tau Cross is most commonly used in reference to the "Franciscan Order" and Saint Francis of Assisi, adopted the Tau cross as his personal coat of arms. It is now used as a symbol of the Franciscan Order.
The reason this type of cross was accepted was so those that worshipped this pagan god Tau would come into the Catholic Church. The Tau cross later became associated with St. Philip who was allegedly crucified on such a cross in Phrygia. Later in Catholic church history, the Tau Cross became the "Roman Cross" that we are familiar with today.
The Pre-Christian History of the Cross:
It should be noted that Constantine was a Sun worshipper and that is why he looked into the Sun for a sign. We have found in our research that many monuments in ancient Babylon depict the mother goddess Semiramis, and the child in her arms which is the old pagan god Tammuz and is where some of the worship of the Catholic and Protestant crosses came from. It has been proven that the cross represents the first letter of the name Tammuz with the top moved down. The 3rd picture of a cross above is called an ankh cross and is from Egypt (A Tau cross topped by an inverted tear shape.) and is associated with Maat, their Goddess of Truth. It also represents the sexual union of Isis and Osiris. In historic times a human would be sacrificed and hung on a cross just the way the many Churches of the Christian religion depicts the person hanging on the cross today. The sacrifice would later be chopped to pieces; his blood and pieces of flesh were widely distributed and buried to encourage crop fertility.
The truth is that the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament from the dawn of man's civilization. Various objects dating from periods long before the Christian era, have been found through archaeological discoveries, marked with crosses of different designs in almost every part of the old world. The cross symbol was found in Scandanavia: The Tau cross also symbolized the hammer of the God Thor. In Hinduism, the vertical shaft represents the higher, celestial states of being; the horizontal bar represents the lower, earthly states.
The honest bible researcher will acknowledge that the New Testament scripture that refers to the cross is a "mistranslation." I looked up the word "cross" in William Tyndale's "original writings" and he spells it "Crosse" but still we know that the Greek word he should have translated from is "Stauros" and should be translated as "Stake". Our research has revealed that the true word for cross is "crux" and came from Latin. It is interesting to note that this Greek word "Crux" cannot be found in the origional New Testament at all, but the word "Stauros" which translates as "Stake" is found in every place where Tyndale used the word Cross. The reason Tyndale used the word "Cross is either someone changed it after his death or because he was a product of his Catholic teaching. (God knows.) We found that there are four basic types of representations of the cross: The crux quadrata, or Greek cross, with four equal arms; The crux immissa, or Latin cross, whose base stem is longer than the other three arms; The crux commissa, in the form of the Greek letter tau, sometimes called St. Anthony's cross; and crux decussata, named from the Roman decussis, or symbol of the numeral ten. (This Information is from the Encyclopedia Britannica.)
Sometimes, the Romans executed people on a Tau cross, sometimes on a Roman cross and sometimes on a simple stake, but we know Jesus was crucified on a stake because as stated above the Greek word stauros (stow-ros'); which means a stake or post (as set upright), specifically a pole without a cross piece was used. Hermann Fulda, author of The Cross and Crucifixion has commented that: "the description of Jesus' suffering during the last hours of life also indicates that he was crucified on a stake rather than a cross and that some of the writings of the early church fathers confirms the use of a pole, and that the very earliest depictions of Jesus' crucifixion in Christian art show him on a stake." I would also like to refer you to some scriptures that accurately reflect this. Acts 5:30 refers to hanging Jesus on a tree and 1 Peter 2:24 states that He bore our sins in his body on the tree. These two Greek words for "Tree" is xulon (xoo'-lon); and means a timber, stick or staff. But what about the scripture where Jesus stated "Take up your cross and Follow Me in Mark 10:21? "Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, follow Me." These words underlined in bold were not in the original text! The original reads.. "you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me." Look it up for yourselves so you can be sure when you state this to others. The best book to check out is in what is called the "Interlinear" which is a great tool for researching the subtle nuances and layers of meaning within the original biblical languages. This book called the "Interlinear" has the complete Hebrew and Greek texts with a direct English rendering below each word, if you use a good one it also includes the Literal Translation of the Bible in the outside column.
More research Information:
The term "crucifixion" derives from the "Latin noun of process crucifixio, from perfect passive participle crucifixus, fixed to a cross, from prefix cruci-, cross, + verb ficere, fix or do, variant form of facere, do or make." In Latin, a "crucifixion" applied to many different forms of painful execution, from impaling on a stake to affixing to a tree, to an upright pole (what some call a crux simplex) or to a combination of an upright (in Latin, stipes) and a crossbeam (in Latin, patibulum). Crucifixion was usually performed to provide a death that was particularly painful (hence the term excruciating, literally "out of crucifying"), gruesome (hence dissuading against the crimes punishable by it) and public, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal.
During the Middle Ages, the crucifix, along with other religious images, came to have very extensive devotional use. Many of the Reformers of the sixteenth century, fearing idolatry, dispensed of all such devices, and the crucifix disappeared from Protestant homes and churches. In the nineteenth century, those American Episcopalians who were influenced by English Tractarianism began to reinstate the crucifix as a liturgical furnishing, causing bitter debate within the Episcopal Church. More recently, with concern over idolatry abated, some American Protestants are regarding the crucifix more sympathetically, as a valid way of calling to mind the events of the Passion. (From Dictionary of Christianity in America, edited by Daniel G. Reid, Robert D. Linder, Bruce L. Shelley and Harry S. Stout. © 1990 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA; published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
Some History of crucifixion:
Punishment by crucifixion was widely employed in ancient times. In the sense of impalement, it was used from very early on in Ancient Egypt and Assyria. Crucifixion, in one form or another, was also used by Achaemenid Persia, the Greeks, Carthaginians, Macedonians and from very early times Rome. There is evidence that captured pirates were crucified in the port of Athens around the 6th century B.C.E. Alexander the Great is reputed to have executed 2000 survivors from his siege of the Phoenician city of Tyre, as well as the doctor who unsuccessfully treated Alexander's friend Hephaestion. Some historians have also conjectured that Alexander crucified Callisthenes, his official historian and biographer, for objecting to Alexander's adoption of the Persian ceremony of royal adoration. In Carthage, crucifixion was an established mode of execution, which could even be imposed on a general for suffering a major defeat. "The first recorded instances of crucifixion are found in Persia, where it was believed that since the earth was sacred, the burial of the body of a notorious criminal would desecrate the ground. The birds above and the dogs below would dispose of the remains.
I have found in the historical writings of Josephus that the word "Cross" was used and crucifixion was carried out in many ways under the Romans. Josephus describes multiple positions of crucifixion during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. when Titus crucified the rebels; and Seneca the Younger recounts: "I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with head down to the ground; some impale their private parts; others stretch out their arms on the gibbet." At times the gibbet was only one vertical stake as shown in the picture below. This was the most basic available construction for crucifying. Other forms were in the shape of the letters X and Y. The writings that speak specifically of the shape of the cross on which they say Jesus died as describe shaped like the letter T have not been found except as stated by the Catholic Church!
I would like to make a very important point here concerning why Jesus could not been killed on a Cross:
The bible teaches that Jesus had to carry the stake or as some believe cross, outside of the city. A very important point is that we can go back in history and find that there was a wall around the city, and many gates on each wall to exit the city. The design only allowed a man to enter by walking, and his mount had to squat or be left outside the city. The reason for this was to not allow their enemies to ride into the city with the advantage of being on a mount while attacking. Giving this understanding I would like to present a point which shows why Jesus could not have carried a Cross outside the city. As you will see by the minimum dimensions necessary to place the cross at least four feet into the ground so it would not topple over, and still having adequate room to stretch a man at least six foot tall on the cross with at least two feet left from the ground, and adequate room for the sign that was hung above Jesus' head would make it at least thirteen feet tall. A man's arms stretched out is as long as the man is tall, so the side arms had to be at least five foot 10 inches in order to stretch his arms out the way they had to be stretched. I would like to ask how Jesus, or anyone could have gotten this thing through the small gates of the city that a horse or camel had to squat in order to enter? Plus, the cross would have to be at least eight inches square, so if you think about the weight of this cross you will see it would take two men to carry it. I submit that a man that had been beaten all night long as the reports states Jesus was would not be able to pick it up.
Rendring by Timothy M. Youngblood
Some may argue that Jesus carried only one piece and the main stake was at the site of crucifixion. I submit that Jesus did in fact carry only one piece because of the word stauros, which means steak, however there is not one scripture I have found from that era stating they had a stake ready at the site of Crucifixion. Also there is no indication in scripture from that era stating Jesus had to be hoisted up on another stake. This stated I will submit that it is possible I have missed records that the other points concerning that Jesus carried only one piece and the main stake was at the site of crucifixion could be true. What I have a big problem with is that Satan has been successful in deceiving thousands into worshiping the pagan cross which was used in pagan worship hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Today many churches even remove the man figure and leave the pagan cross alone. The song titled... "I come to the cross" is another example of this deception which states in part..."I come to the cross, I come to the cross, I lay my sins at the foot of the cross." If Christians are not worshiping the cross than what is wrong with; I come to Jesus, I lay my sins at the foot of Jesus? Another point is what if Jesus was sacrificed with a guillotine? Would Christians have this instrument of death around their necks with beads to pray with, or would we hang a guillotine in our churches "up front" to be viewed while praying in a bowed position? I want all to understand that it is important that Jesus died for our sins but it is more important that He did rise from the grave and ascended back to heaven spreading His Holy blood on the holy of holies thus defeating death for us. We need to understand His sacrifice in relation to our salvation rather than making an issue out of the manner in which He was put to death. Also never forget the command by God that we should NEVER have anything or any likeness in our worship of Him. I added these points to this study concerning the pagan cross so I can be true in the balance of the issue.
Please understand that I'm using this picture as a representation of the way men were hung during the Roman period and not that this is a representation of the Messiah as we do not believe we should make any graven or painted images of God or His Son the Messiah as stated above.
Another place is in Jewish War 4: Chapter 5.
2. "But the rage of the Idumeans was not satiated by these slaughters; but they now betook themselves to the city, and plundered every house, and slew every one they met; and for the other multitude, they esteemed it needless to go on with killing them, but they sought for the high priests, and the generality went with the greatest zeal against them; and as soon as they caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall. Nay, they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial, although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down of the sun. I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city."
1. "So now Titus's banks were advanced a great way, notwithstanding his soldiers had been very much distressed from the wall. He then sent a party of horsemen, and ordered they should lay ambushes for those that went out into the valleys to gather food. Some of these were indeed fighting men, who were not contented with what they got by rapine; but the greater part of them were poor people, who were deterred from deserting by the concern they were under for their own relations; for they could not hope to escape away, together with their wives and children, without the knowledge of the seditious; nor could they think of leaving these relations to be slain by the robbers on their account; nay, the severity of the famine made them bold in thus going out; so nothing remained but that, when they were concealed from the robbers, they should be taken by the enemy; and when they were going to be taken, they were forced to defend themselves for fear of being punished; as after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy; so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more: yet it did not appear to be safe for him to let those that were taken by force go their way, and to set a guard over so many he saw would be to make such as great deal them useless to him. The main reason why he did not forbid that cruelty was this, that he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at that sight, out of fear lest they might themselves afterwards be liable to the same cruel treatment. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies."
It is recorded in the book of John chapter 4: verses 23-24 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (Those that profess to follow Jesus should take His words to heart and as I have written before those that want to truly worship the way Jesus taught should replace the pagan cross with these words..."We who worship here worship in spirit and in truth.")
We also find that the apostle Paul stated in Acts 17:29-31 “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
I want to say again that it is more important that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead and we need to understand His sacrifice in relation to our salvation instead of making an issue of the manner in which He was put to death. I added these points to this study concerning the pagan cross so I can be true in the balance of the issue and information found in our research and show we never should worship or use anything contrary to the word of God. Let us rather use the true rendering of the Scriptural words stauros that means "stake" and eliminate the word cross that we have found in this research to be incorrect and even pagan.
"He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." I John 2:4
Many say they don't worship the cross but just use it to show their faith. Is this true?
Would you be willing to take the test to see if you worship it? If so check out this page...
You also might want to check out Christian and Paganism?
It is the nature of mankind to digress from the creator God. It is the nature of mankind to follow and worship the creation they can see rather than the creator they can not see and that is the reason they will not give up the pagan worship of the cross, Christ-mass and Easter ~ Timothy M. Youngblood