Objectives of this dissertation
Within the world, which we live, the cross is universally accepted as the sign or symbol of Christianity. The notion of the cross being the symbol of Jesus Christ has in its very origins the acceptance of such by religious tradition. And the perpetuation thereof by means of mainline denominationalism through their overwhelming influence upon Christianity as a whole.
However, is the cross really the sign of our precious Saviour? Would the early disciples have recognized it as such during their day? It is the opinion of the writer, that they would have totally rejected the cross as the symbol of Jesus Christ for the reasons elucidated in this document. So, if the possibility exists that the cross is not the true symbol of our blessed Saviour; the question begs, is there actually a biblical symbol for Jesus Christ, and if so, what could it be? However, before we begin our study — via Matthew 24 we need to take cognizance of Jesus’ stern warning to the saints of the last days NOT TO BE DECEIVED!
- Present historically evidence supporting the theory that the cross (symbol) is pagan in origin and was erroneously adopted by early Christians in contradiction of Ex 20:4 and Matt 24:30 .
- Produce sound biblical evidence in support of the above supposition.
- Graphic modern medical evidence proving the hideousness of crucifixion.
“And then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens…” Matt 24:30
“And as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming,
and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many…”
“And the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. They, when they arrived, went into the synagogue of the Jews.And these were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so.” Acts 17:10-11
We are a generation of Christians that have free access to the Bible and have the beloved Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Our beloved Holy Spirit via the Bible teaches us that the Berean’s were commended (more noble) for daily searching the scripture, in order to ensure that what they were being taught was confirmed by the word (Acts 17:10-11). They did not want to be deceived!
In our day, we must do the same — especially when it comes to the various church (often pagan) traditions that have been accepted on face value as legitimate.
Historical origin of the Sign (symbol) of the Cross
In-depth historical evidence in support of this subject, in the writer’s opinion, would be just too time consuming for the average reader to assimilate. Therefore, the following abridged data will have to suffice for the purpose of this dissertation.
Quote: Wearing or making the so-called sign of the cross is a curse! “We Christians neither want, nor worship crosses as the pagans do” – Minucius Felix (Christian author, circa 200 A.D.)
Felix’s testimony makes it abundantly clear that the pagans were using and worshiping the cross (symbol) in his day.
“The cross was a pagan symbol borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner.” —The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, vol. 14, p. 273
“From time immemorial the cross has been used as a religious symbol. There is no portion of the earth inhabited by man and no time in the history of the world – that it has not been found. The cross primarily represented the divine union of the sexes. At first, however, the use of the cross in any form was not permitted by the early Christian Church, because it was a pagan symbol, and its introduction into Christian celebration was regarded as rank profanation, and sternly forbidden.” — Sex Worship: An Exposition of the Phallic Origin of Religion, by Clifford Howard. Published 1898; pg 154-170 Chicago Medical Book Co.
Via this exposition, should it be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the basic cross design (shape) was in use by different cultures prior to the crucifixion, then, the concept of the cross being a Christian symbol is nothing but pure error! On this basis the symbol must to be rejected as a wily deceptive scheme of Satan. We now turn our attention to History where there is ample evidence that proves the symbol of the cross was in existence thousands of years before Jesus Christ.
“The early Christians did not think to have a crucifix or a cross hanging on their doors or in their places of meeting. New Catholic Encyclopedia says: “The representation of Christ’s redemptive death on Golgotha does not occur in the symbolic art of the first Christian centuries.The early Christians, influenced by the Old Testament prohibition of graven images, were reluctant to depict even the instrument of the Lord’s Passion.” (1967), Vol. IV, p. 486 A History of the Christian Church says: “There was no use of the crucifix and no material representation of the cross.” (New York, 1897), J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366
“That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau for the Chaldeans and Egyptians – the true original form of the letter T – the initial of the name of Tammuz – which, in Hebrew, radically the same as ancient Chaldee, was found on coins and was formed as No. 1 (see below) of the accompanying woodcut (Fig. 43); and in Etrurian and Coptic, as in Nos. 2 and 3. That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol.
Ref: Two Babylon’s, Alexander Hislop, woodcut 43 page 197
“To identify Tammuz
with the sun
it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun as in No. 4 (above); sometimes it was inserted in the circle, as in No. 5. Whether the Maltese cross, which the Roman bishops append to their names as a symbol of their episcopal dignity
, is the letterT
, may be doubtful; but there seems no reason to doubt that that Maltese cross is an express symbol of the sun; for Layard found it as a sacred symbol in Nineveh in such a connection as led him to identify it with the sun.”
“The mystic Tau, as the symbol of the great divinity, was called “the sign of life”; it was used as an amulet over the heart; it was marked on the official garments of the priests, as on the official garments of the priests of Rome; it was borne by kings in their hand, as a token of their dignity or divinely-conferred authority. The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. …Tau, “†”, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah…”(The Two Babylons, 1959).
“The Egyptians did the same, and many of the barbarous nations with whom they had intercourse, as the Egyptian monuments bear witness. In reference to the adorning of some of these tribes, Wilkinson thus writes: “The girdle was sometimes highly ornamented; men as well as women wore earrings; and they frequently had a small cross suspended to a necklace, or to the collar of their dress. The adoption of this last was not peculiar to them; it was also appended to, or figured upon, the robes of the Rot-n-no; and traces of it may be seen in the fancy ornaments of the Rebo, showing that it was already in use as early as the fifteenth century before the Christian era.” (Fig. 44).
“Some 1600 years before Jesus Christ the cross was the unquestionable symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses. It has been well noted that drama works only because “the audience knows that it isn’t true.” Truth to tell, we sing at the foot of the old rugged cross only because we know that the blood of Jesus is not going to drip on us and we will not get jabbed with a spear.”
The picture below is a woodcut depiction of Bacchus the Babylonian Messiah. The symbol of the cross was the sign by which Bacchus was reverenced as deity.
Ref: Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, woodcut 45 page 199
Ref: Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, woodcut 44 page 198
The above woodcut depicts three Egyptians some 1500 years before Jesus Christ. Notice the crosses on the robe of the Babylonian priest on the right, in addition to the crosses around the necks of the other two men on the left – look familiar?
Signs of the Cross (3)
The mitre was a turban. The two-horned mitre, which the Pope wears, when he sits on the high altar at Rome and receives the adoration of the Cardinals, is the very mitre worn by Dagon, the fish-god of the Philistines and Babylonians…
Notice these are traditional crosses and not the crucifix that one normally associates with the Roman church.
Historical Evidence of the Existence of Crucifixion Long Before the Time of Jesus Christ
“Crucifixion: was an important method of capital punishment, particularly among the Babylonian, Persians, Seleucids, Jews, Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, abolished it in the Roman Empire in AD 337, out of veneration for Jesus Christ, the most famous victim of crucifixion. Punishment: There were various methods of performing the execution. Usually, the condemned man, after being whipped, or “scourged,” dragged the crossbeam of his cross to the place of punishment, where the upright shaft was already fixed in the ground. Stripped of his clothing either then or earlier at his scourging, he was bound fast with outstretched arms to the crossbeam or nailed firmly to it through the wrists. The crossbeam was then raised high against the upright shaft and made fast to it about 9 to 12 feet (approximately 3 metres) from the ground. Next, the feet were tightly bound or nailed to the upright shaft. A ledge inserted about halfway up the upright shaft gave some support to the body; evidence for a similar ledge for the feet is rare and late. Over the criminal’s head was placed a notice stating his name and his crime. Death, apparently caused by exhaustion or by heart failure, could be hastened by shattering the legs (crurifragium) with an iron club, so that shock and asphyxiation soon ended his life. Crucifixion was most frequently used to punish political or religious agitators, pirates, slaves, or those who had no civil rights. In 519 BC Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon; (Alexander the Great crucified 2000 survivors of his siege of Tyre in 332 B.C) in 88 BC Alexander Jannaeus, the Judaean king and high priest, crucified 800 Pharisaic opponents; and in about AD 32 Pontius Pilate had Jesus of Nazareth put to death by crucifixion…” Philip W. Goetz, “Crucifixion” (Encyclopedia Britannica: Chicago, 1988 ed.) Vol. 3, p. 762
In all cultures where crucifixion was practiced, there was a huge stigmatism factor attached to this form of capital punishment. It was considered thus, because of the disgrace it brought upon those that were crucified and their respective families. Indeed the scripture bears this out: “…looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising theshame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2
The origins of the cross, and above article, prove beyond a shadow of doubt that both the cross and crucifixion predate the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Crucifixion – A Medical Account
(C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S. —originally published in Arizona Medical Association’s Arizona Medicine, March, 1965.)
“In this paper, I shall discuss some of the physical aspects of the passion, or suffering, of Jesus Christ. We shall follow Him from Gethsemane, through His trial, His scourging, His path along the Via Dolorosa; to His last dying hours on the cross. This led me first to a study of the practice of crucifixion itself; that is, the torture and execution of a person by fixation to a cross. Apparently, the first known practice of crucifixion was by the Persians. Alexander and his generals brought it back to the Mediterranean world – Egypt and Carthage. The Romans apparently learned the practice from the Carthaginians and (as with almost everything the Romans did) rapidly developed a very high degree of efficiency and skill in carrying it out.
A number of Roman authors (Livy, Cicero, Tacitys) comment on it. Several innovations and modifications are described in the ancient literature; I’ll mention only a few which may have some bearing here. The upright portion of the cross (or stipes) could have the cross-arm (or patibulum) attached two or three feet below its top – this is what we commonly think of today as the classical form of the cross (the one which we have later named the Latin cross); however, the common form used in Our Lords day was the Tau cross (shaped like the Greek letter Tau or like our T). In this cross the patibulum was placed in a notch at the top of the stipes. There is fairly overwhelming archeological evidence that it was on this type of cross that Jesus was crucified. The upright post, or stipes, was generally permanently fixed in the ground at the site of execution and the condemned man was forced to carry the patibulum, apparently weighing about 110 pounds, from the prison to the place of execution. Without any historical or biblical proof, medieval and Renaissance painters have given us our picture of Christ carrying the entire cross.
Many of these painters and most of the sculptors of crucifixes today show the nails through the palms. Roman historical accounts and experimental work have shown that the nails were driven between the small bones of the wrists and not through the palms. Nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers when they support the weight of a human body. The misconception may have come about through a misunderstanding of Jesus words to Thomas, “Observe my hands”. Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrists as part of the hand. A titulus, or small sign, stating the victim’s crime was usually carried at the front of the processions and later nailed to the cross above the head. This sign with its staff nailed to the top of the cross would have given it somewhat the characteristic form of the Latin cross.
The physical passion of the Christ begins in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of this initial suffering, I shall only discuss the one of physiological interest; the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground”. Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away this phrase, apparently under the mistaken impression that this just doesn’t happen.
A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting the medical literature. Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis or bloody sweat is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.
We shall move rapidly through the betrayal and arrest; I must stress that important portions of the passion story are missing from this account. This may be frustrating to you, but in order to adhere to our purpose of discussing only the purely physical aspects of the Passion, this is necessary. After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest; it is here that the first physical trauma is inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.
In the morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. You are, of course, familiar with Pilate’s action in attempting to pass responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate.
It was then, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion. There is much disagreement among authorities about scourging as a prelude to crucifixion. Most Roman writers from this period do not associate the two. Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who claimed to be the King of the Jews.
Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands are tied to a post above His head. It is doubtful whether the Romans made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter of scourging. The Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes. The Pharisees, always making sure that the law was strictly kept, insisted that only thirty-nine lashes be given. (In case of a miscount, they were sure of remaining within the law.) The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each.
The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus shoulders, back and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they are cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises, which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.
The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still need a crown to make their travesty complete. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.) After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. This had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes excruciating pain…almost as though He were again being whipped – and the wounds again begin to bleed.
In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans return His garments. The heavy patibulum of the cross is tied across His shoulders and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail of the Roman soldiers, headed by a centurion, begins its slow journey along the Via Dolorosa. In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden cross together with the shock produced by copious blood loss is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selects a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus follows, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650-yard journey from the fortress Antonia to Golgotha is finally completed. The prisoner is again stripped of His clothes – except for a loincloth, which is allowed the Jews.
The crucifixion begins; Jesus is offered wine mixed with Myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture. He refuses to drink. Simon is ordered to place the cross on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexibility and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain – the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this wrenching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet. At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.”
It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences which are recorded: The first, looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.
The second, to the penitent thief, “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise”.
The third, looking down at the terrified, grief stricken, adolescent John, (the beloved Apostle), He said, “Behold thy mother”, and looking to Mary, His mother, “Woman behold thy son”.
The fourth cry is from the beginning of the 22nd Psalm, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting joint rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber: then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
Let us remember again the 22nd Psalm (the 14th verse), “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” It is now almost over – the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level – the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissue – the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to draw in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps His fifth cry, “I thirst”.
Let us remember another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.” A sponge soaked in Posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, is lifted to His lips. He apparently does not take any of the liquid. The body of Jesus is now in extremis and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth words – possibly little more than a tortured whisper. “It is finished.” His mission of atonement has been completed.
Finally He can allow his body to die. With one last surge of strength, he once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
The rest you know. In order that the Sabbath not be profaned, the Jews asked that the condemned men be dispatched and removed from the crosses. The common method of ending a crucifixion was by cruxifracture, the breaking of the bones of the legs. This prevents the victim from pushing himself upward; the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when they came to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary, thus fulfilling the scripture, “…not one bone shall be broken”.
“Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel according to John: “And immediately there came out blood and water”. Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and blood from the interior of the heart. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Our Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.
Thus we have seen a glimpse of the epitome of evil which man can exhibit toward man – and toward God. This is not a pretty sight and is apt to leave us despondent and depressed. How grateful we can be that we have a sequel: A glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man – the miracle of the atonement and the expectation of Passover morning!”
Is there scriptural support for the Cross Symbol?
We have learned that in the days of the Roman Empire it was common practice after flogging the condemned person, to then force them to carry the patibulum (crossbeam) to their place of execution. If the individual concerned was physically unable to carry the crossbeam, then any by-stander was pressed into carrying the crossbeam. In the case of Jesus, the scriptures bear witness that Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the crossbeam (Matt 27:32, Luke 23:26 and Mark 15:21).
It is our belief that the deciding factor relative to the physical cross issue is the scriptures themselves. It therefore behooves us to do exactly as the Berean’s did (Acts 17:10-11); and diligently search the scriptures to see if they instruct us to make crosses in remembrance of our beloved Saviour’s death and resurrection. The following 27 verses in the New Testament are the only scriptures, one way or the other, which have reference to theword cross.
Matt 10:38 And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Matt 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. Mark 8:34 And calling near the crowd with His disciples, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said to him, One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, take up the cross and follow Me. Luke 9:23 And He said to all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 14:27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, he cannot be My disciple.
· Our observations from the above scriptures are that there is a clear linkage between taking up the cross and following Jesus. Furthermore, in order to accomplish this (become a follower of Jesus) the individual concerned MUST DENY him or herself. And of course, it is self-evident that dead men (as in crucifixion) cannot carry crosses.
Taking a closer look at the linkage principle as elucidated in Luke 9:23, we arrive at the following conclusion:
· Be My disciple — Deny yourself — Daily take up the cross — Follow Jesus.
Additionally, as opposed to the other scriptural references, we observe in Luke 9:23 that the word cross is conjoined to daily. This is a very important observation in relation to those who wish to use the above quoted scriptures in support of a literal cross interpretation. Based on Luke 9:23 the literal interpretation would require each one of us to daily be crucified on a physical cross — the implication of which makes the literal interpretation ludicrous! And once the new day begins we would need to come back to life — in order to perpetuate the exercise. Clearly this is not the intent of Luke 9:23; rather this verse reveals that Jesus wants us to understand the seriousness of the cost involved in relation to being His disciple (follower). Perhaps the above scriptures can be correctly understood as followers:
· On a daily basis we must deny ourselves (our wants and desires, etc) and by doing this, we will be taking up our cross by virtue of the daily experiences we will go through for being willing to live out and preach the gospel. These daily experiences will outwork in any number of ways, e.g. physical suffering (sickness), rejection, deprivation, and division within ones own household, etc. In extreme circumstance, we must be prepared to die for Christ (Gospel). At Golgotha Christ suffered all of the aforementioned and much more!
Heb 12:2 Looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.
Our explanation vis-à-vis the remaining cross scriptures follow:
Simon of Cyrene forced to carry Jesus’ cross (patibulum— crossbeam): Matt 27:32 “And going out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They forced this one to carry His cross.” See Luke 23:26 and Mark 15:21.
John 19:17 “And bearing His cross, He went out to a place called, The Place of a Skull (which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha).” Owing to Jesus’ severe injuries (received from the lashes) He was unable to carry the crossbeam – patibulum all the way to Golgotha. See: Matt 27: 32, Luke 23:26 and Mark 15:21.
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” 1 Cor 1:17. Here Paul makes it plain that he was called to live out the Gospel — deny himself — even unto death! As a dedicated follower of Jesus, were he not to ‘live’ out the gospel he believed the works of Jesus Christ (crucifixion) would be to no avail.
Gal 6:14 “But may it never be for me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.” Paul clearly reveals that the ‘cross of Christ’ (finished works thereof) made it possible for him to die to self, and hence the things of this world. It is only in this regard that he is prepared to boast in the cross of Christ. There is absolutely no way that this scripture admonishes Christians (of all ages) to construct crosses, and to PROUDLY wear them as a type of ‘badge of office’. God-forbid that they worship this image!
Heb 12:2 “Looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.” This scripture proves that crucifixion was a method of capital punishment that was absolutely despised and was a shame. The cross was a DISGRACE!! Why do Christians insist on advertising an instrument of utter disdain and rapprochement?
Matt 27:40 “…and saying, You destroying the temple and building it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down fromthe cross.” Matt 27:42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” Mark 15:30 “…save yourself and come down from the cross!” Mark 15:32 “Let Christ the King of Israel now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe. And they who were crucified with Him insulted Him.” John 19:19 “And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” John 19:25 “And His mother stood by the cross of Jesus, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” John 19:31 “Then the Jews, because it was Preparation, begged Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath. For that Sabbath was a high day” — self-explanatory.
1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, it is the power of God.” Once again, Paul makes it plain that the preaching of the cross is the Gospel and not the physical cross itself. It is very obvious that a physical cross cannot preach the Gospel. Also, the preaching of the cross (gospel) to those BEING SAVED is the power of God. A physical cross has no power to save!!!!
Gal 5:11 “And I, brothers, if I yet proclaim circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the offense of the Cross has ceased.” Gal 6:12 “As many as desire to look well in the flesh, these compel you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” These verses confirm that crucifixion was offensive just as the preaching of the Gospel is offensive to many people. And that preaching the Gospel can and will bring persecution. Even death!
Eph 2:16 “And so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross (completed works of Christ), having slain the enmity in Himself.”
Php 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Php 3:18 (For many are walking, of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ…” Once again, this refers to the completed works of Christ and not a physical cross.
Col 2:14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” Not the physical cross, but the blood of the Lamb — propitiation.
In our opinion, none of the above 27 New Testament scriptures support the making of crosses and the worshiping of the same. The cross is totally pagan!! We reiterate that there is absolutely no way that the scripture admonishes Christians (of all ages) to construct crosses, and then to PROUDLY
wear them as a type of ‘badge of office’.
The Cross is a Curse!
Gal 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (cross), that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” If the individual hung on the tree (stake/post) is considered a cursed one! Then, surely, by the same logic, the tree itself is also to be considered cursed!
Understood in context, the method of capital punishment used by the Jews was stoning. “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned…” John 8:5) – definitely not crucified! Jesus Christ is the Messiah and was decidedly Jewish, and therefore, if anything, a stone should be His sign. However, the Romans occupied Israel at the time of Jesus and Roman civil law demanded death by crucifixion. As barbaric as crucifixion was – it was an every day occurrence in the Roman world and there was nothing unique about it. Thousand were daily crucified throughout the empire. In fact, the upright stake or pole was left permanently in the ground in order to be used over and over again. What Simon of Cyrene carried on behalf of Jesus was the horizontal beam called the patibulum. The person’s name and crime commited was inscribed on the patibulum.
“Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out saying, ‘crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them ‘You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.’” (Jn 19:6) And elsewhere: “Then Pilate said to them, ‘You take Him and judge him according to your law.’ Therefore the Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,’ that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die”. (Jn 18:31-32) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…” (Jn 3:14)
.Surely, the litmus test in relation to the physical symbol of the cross — whatever shape and size it may be, is this: If you are a parent, and before your very eyes your baby, your only child is brutally hacked to death with a bush knife; would you then hang the ‘bloody’ bush knife up in a prominent position in your home — to continually remind you of your only child’s brutal murder? And worse still, would you bow down before the image and worship it? Or, would you prominently and consistently display it as a symbol of you belief system? If Jesus had been put to death by electrocution would the Christians make images of an electric chair, and then wear or hang them up? Truth to tell, Jesus’ cross was covered in blood and stank (as the upright portion was used over and over) — well and truly signifying it’s cursedness. Therefore, how arrogant and tactless of men to construct beautiful artistic looking crosses, embellished with all manner of jewelry and the like. They are nothing more than mere ornaments that are worn as the Christian’s badge of office — reflecting their membership, if you will. Mere trinkets to satisfy the delusory aspirations of men! Lets get real!!! There is no personal cost in wearing a cross, as there is in being crucified! Crucifixion is an agonizing death!! In some churches crosses even have special effects lighting, thereby anesthetizing the Christians to thegruesome reality of crucifixion — what a distortion of the truth! See medical report on the ghastly reality of death by crucifixion.
Satan’s Supreme Moment
We must get this one thing very clear in our minds, and that is: Jesus being flogged and then hung on the cross were Satan’s crowning moments, they were thus, because he thought he had gotten absolute victory over the Son of Man; thereby legally enabling him to retain the kingdom for eternity. He simply did not believe that beloved Abba could/would bring His Son back to life. For more information see document: Who currently has dominion over planet earth, Jesus or Satan? (www.thefinalword.co.za).
Matt 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you”.
Rev 13:14 “ And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the miracles which were given to it to do… Rev 16:14 For they are spirits of demons, working miracles… Rev 19:20 …and with him the false prophet doing signs before it, (by which he deceived thosewho had received the mark of the beast)…
Matt 24: 21, For then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. 22: And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened. 23: Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ! Or, There! Do not believe it. 24: For false Christ’s and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect. 25: Behold, I have told you beforehand.
Matt 24:29, And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. 30: And then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens.
The below prophecy is totally occultic; nevertheless, it confirms the demonic intent of the cross. Satan as the god of this world (age) has prepared a sign over thousands of years with which to deceive the Christians of the last days. And that sign is the cross!
A Roman Catholic Prophecy (Quoted off the Internet)
“Before I come as the just judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort
All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be a great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky,
and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Saviour were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day.”
On a later occasion Our Lady (Queen of Heaven) appeared to St Faustina and said the following words: “I gave the Saviour to the world. As for you, you have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Saviour, but as a just Judge. O how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still time for mercy. If you keep silent now, you will be answering for a great number of souls on that terrible day.”
There is one way, and one way only, wherein the Christians are admonished to remember the completed atoning works of Christ, and that is, the Lord’s Table, or Communion.
“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; And giving thanks, He broke it and said, Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me. In the same way He took the cup also, after supping, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; as often as you drink it, do this in remembrance of Me.For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show” the Lord’s death until He shall come.” 1 Cor 11:23 – 26
What is a Sign?
A sign is a symbol. A symbol identifies one with a person, product or system. For example: The Mercedes Benz is identified by a logo, which is circular with an inverted letter Y in the centre. There are literally thousands of branded products that are readily identified by their logo (sign).
Is there a sign for Jesus?
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven… Then the sign the Son of Man
will appear in heaven…” (Matt 24:29-30).
What then is Jesus’ Sign?
In all probability Jesus’ sign is a star. The following scriptures bear witness to this: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His Star in the East…” (Matt 2:2) When they heard the King they departed; and behold the star… When they saw the star…” (Matt 2:7-10) “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a star shall come out of Jacob…” (Num 24:17). Rev 22:16: Jesus Christ is referred to as the ‘Bright Morning Star’.
Worshiping the Cross
Many non-catholic Christians say they do not worship the crucifix as the Catholics do, because unlike the Catholic’s their cross is empty. And the cross is just to remind them of what Jesus did for them. This is serious error, because as previously elucidated via the scriptures, nowhere in the Bible are we told to construct crosses and then to wear, or hang them up as constant reminders of what Jesus did by dying for us.
Return of Jesus Christ
It is evident to all that we are in the last days, and that Jesus’ return is imminent! Therefore, His Bride must dump all of the inherited pagan customs that have come down over the ages via the religious traditions of mainline denominationalism.
· From scripture there is no command whatsoever from Jesus to his followers to make any type of image of the cross. And God-forbid to worship it! The scripture is emphatic: “…cursed is he that is hung on the tree… Gal 3:13.
· Prove from historical records that the cross symbol (in many forms) was revered primarily as the tree of life by different cultures long before the advent of Jesus Christ.
· From historical records prove that Crucifixion was a method of capital punishment, which was used by different cultures long before the advent of Jesus Christ. In fact, in the Roman world Crucifixion was an every-day occurrence, and there was nothing unique about it. So much so, that on any given day throughout the Empire, thousands of individuals were crucified.
· Hard-hitting medical evidence revealing the gruesomeness of crucifixion, depicting the horrendous physical and mental suffering our Saviour endured in order to become our redeemer. After reading this report, we challenge those who adorn themselves with their Christian ‘badge of office’ to consider if they have the guts to be crucified? Because, if they do not, then it proves their ‘badge of office’ is for show! What mockery!!
· Satan’s supreme moment of glory was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He gloated in Jesus’ death, believing through His death he would retain the keys of the kingdom. What a shock he got when three days later beloved Abba raised His Son from the dead.
· Do not be deceived!!! The cross is the symbol of DEATH!
It is fitting that we end this dissertation with the profound words of a precious saint that has gone on before us:
“Wearing or making the so-called sign of the cross is a curse! We Christians neither want, nor worship crosses as the pagans do”.—Minucius Felix (Christian author, circa 200 A.D.)
· If after reading this document, our beloved Holy Spirit has perhaps convicted you over this issue, you need to urgently repent!
· Ask yourself the following questions, “
Am I currently wearing the cross symbol, or, have I in the past worn this pagan image? Do you perhaps have the image hanging up somewhere?
· After confessing your sin of idolatry and rebelliousness — totally destroy whatever pagan images you have. Utterly destroy them! Do not even think of giving them away — as they are a curse.
Compiled by: The Final Word Internet Ministry
Document may be copied and freely distributed as long as no charge is levied.