... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)

08
October
2012

Added in translation: the "cross" Part 2 of 2

This symbol of a cross wasn't originally nor exclusively in use by Christians!
To Christians however the cross - the two-beamed cross to be exact - with time became a true symbol to their faith. Many honest believers and followers of Jesus/Yeshua don't know any better then this. But, ...

 

... most religions of pagan origins, as well as several organizations and institutions uses a cross of varying shape as their symbol. These include for example the Celtic cross, the Knight Templars cross, the Swastika which is in use not only in orient religions but also by the Nazis as their symbol and that of their Nazi religion. Judaism however, and initially Christianity, doesn't have a symbol in the shape of a cross. 

Christians in general are ignorant of the true origin and nature of this symbols. To them the cross, as the Christian cross is depicted, stands for the instrument of crucifixion that the Romans applied to kill Jesus Christ and metaphorically it also refers to his voluntary suffering for their sins. These two should actually be seen as two different things.

The believe in the sacrifice that Jesus/Yeshua made for humanity - John 3:16-17 - doesn't necessarily has to be remembered by the symbol of this cross. Nor should this symbol in itself be revered as something that is divine, as some tent to do. That would be against God's will. Remember the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20?

Though the crucifixion is mentioned in the Gospels, the first four books in the so called New Testament - name added much later to the Bible - there has been much debate about the instrument used at the time that this event took place. Still, the symbol of the cross became through ages the most wide spread symbol to Christianity ultimately to all its denominations. The reason, although subject to debate, is that this tow-beamed cross was the actual instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus / Yeshua. Several authors of some 19th-century reference works considered that the cross had no crossbar, while others had reason to believe it did.

The Anglican theologian E.W. Bullinger in The Companion Bible, published in 1922 commented that stauros never meant two pieces of timber placed at any angle across, “... but always of one piece alone … There is nothing [of the word stauros] in the Greek of the New Testament even to imply two pieces of timber.”
He went on stating that Christ was never depicted as “hanging on a cross”and that the cross was a pagan symbol from Egypt.

Bullinger also cited a letter from an English Dean John William Burger, who had questions about this symbol being used on any Christian monument of the first four centuries, “... The evidence is hens complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed in any manner.”

So, no two-beamed cross.

How did the two-beamed cross get into Christianity?

From the forth century on the Roman Emperor Constantine I (reigned 306 to 377 AD) made the use of the two-beamed cross as a symbol for Christianity more wide spread as he himself started to use this symbol on the shields of his soldiers after having a vision at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD.

Why did he use this particular symbol? Because, as he claimed, when he looked up at the sun before the battle, he saw in a vision a cross of light above the sun , with the phrase in Greek: “by this win”. This was the reason he had his soldiers paint this cross on their shield to go for battle. He did win this battle. Later during his reign he put a stop to the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, legalized the Christian faith, and made it the State religion. The Roman Christian Church adopted Constantine's cross, and popularized it.

At the time that Constantine I had his vision with a cross in it however, the word "cross" wasn't even mentioned in nor use in biblical scripture of the New Testament. That is, not in the Septuagint - late 3rd century - which was the translation of the Hebrew Bible and some related texts. Something the general public didn't even know. In those days many couldn't read nor write and the availability of books was restricted to the few of the upper-class.

So, the word "cross" was it even mentioned in early biblical scripture?

The word “cross” in the Bible

No, not until the late 4th century! If the word "cross" wasn't in use in the translations of the biblical scripture of those days, then which word or words were? And, what did they mean?

The introduction of the word "cross" in the Bible came with the translation of the biblical scripture into the Latin Vulgate that was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 AD. He wanted as the Bishop of Rome (366-384) a revision to be made of the earlier old Latin translations, collectively referred to as the Vetus Latina. The Latin Vulgate became ultimately the definitive and officially promulgated Latin Version of the Bible in the Roman Catholic Church.

In Greek the noun "stauros" which means primarily in the literally original sense an "upright stake, pale or beam". The verb "stauroo" means "to impale". According to Greek dictionaries and lexicons, this should be the translation of the word used for the instrument of crucifixion and the crucifixion itself in the New Testament. But, there is another word used in certain versus in the New Testament. The word "xulon"was used, meaning "timber, stick, club, t r e e or other wooden article or substance". This was the case in passages in the books of Acts, Galatians and 1 Peter.

What does the Almighty Father through his word in biblical scripture by his given witnesses has to say about this subject? The biblical scripture of the Gospels don't have a detailed description of the crucifixion event on the subject of the instrument of the crucifixion. But other passages in biblical scripture does, speak of hanging on a tree as the (New) King James Version Bible makes clear in:

30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Acts 5:30
29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. Acts 13:29
39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Acts 10:39
13 Christ has 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” Galatians 3:13
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Hanging on a pole, the New International Version Bible:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” Galatians 3:13

And, Deuteronomy 21:23 already spoke of the cursed one hanging on a tree / pole, not a cross! To Christians this person would be Jesus /Yeshua, whom hanged on a tree, not a two-beamed cross.
22 If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, 23 you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. (NIV)
22 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God. (NKJV)

So, the words in use were amongst others “tree, pole, stick” and to crucify would be “to impale”. These words could have continue to be in use in biblical scripture. Why didn't this happen? Because of Constantine's political agenda!

From where did Constantine borrow this symbol?

Origin of the cross

The cross is originally a pagan symbol - in all its many different forms - for the Sun-god of Tammuz with his many aliases depending on which country's religion is referred to. This originated in Mesopotamia and went in time over to the Babylonians (the Chaldeans), the Egyptians, the Greek, the Romans and ended up in the Roman Christian Church and through it to all other Christian denominations world wide.

W.E. Vine a Plymoth Brethren - conservative Evanglical Christian movement with a history dating back to the 1820s in Dublin Ireland – preacher in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, also states the stauros primary meant an upright pale or stake that was used for crucifixion. Further more he said that the two beamed cross originated in Chaldea and nearby lands including Egypt. It was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz, the mystic Tau, the initial of his name.

Reverent Alexander Hislop in The Two Babylons on page 197-205 call the cross, “... this pagan symbol … the Tau, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah ...”.
Who was/is this Tammuz? He is mentioned in Ezekiel 8:14 (NIV),
14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz.

According to pagan mythology the Sun-deities are slain in the winter, are wept for, and they return in spring or summer. To this day this. Sun-god is being revered even and especially amongst royals and the elite in society. He is the Sun-diety, a Sun-god known and revered in pagan religions since the times of Mesopotamia. The cross was and is one of this pagan god's symbols. The cross is the symbol of the first letter of his name, the mystic Tau, “T”. This is a god to whom his worshipers sacrificed children. Sun-worship with its symbolism of the Sun and a cross - Constantine received his vision as he claimed while he was looking at the Sun - is pure paganism. He wouldn't be the only one to adore  the Sun as his deity, as to this day is being done by so many.

Tammuz was also known as Baal and Molech, Jeremiah 32:35 (NIV),
35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molek, though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.

According to again W.E. Vine, some Christian churches who departed from certain doctrines of Christianity accepted pagans in their midst whom retained their pagan signs and symbols. This started to occur in the 3rd century when these churches tried to increase their prestige and there for their. In accordance with Why would Constantine go to all this trouble, including later on convening the first appeal to certain groups of people. He stated, “hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form with the cross-piece lowered was adopted, to stand for the cross of Christ.”

Concerning this symbol of the cross, what would Jesus do? Jesus / Yeshua was a Rabbi whom lived by the Gods Law, which included his feasts and God-given symbols to the people, congregation of Israel. To him these are also meant for his followers up to this day. He said about God's Law, Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV),

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

This fulfillment of the Law is about the new covenant the Almighty Father gave to his congregation of Israel, Jeremiah 31:33 and Isaiah 59:19-21. According to this, the Law will be written by the Father in the believers heart just as he has written it in Jesus / Yeshua's heart!

And Jesus / Yeshua said, Matthew 5:19 (NIV),
19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

So, Jesus / Yeshua wouldn't accept this symbol. If he does not, neither should his honest and sincere followers do when they stop being ignorant about the true origin of this symbol!

Conclusion
Christians whom in general claim to be the follower of Jesus / Yeshua, consider him to be their example in their daily personal life. So to them, what he has to say on this subject has to be of utmost importance. First off all Jesus/Yeshua was a Jewish Rabbi, whose own Jewish religion was part of his personal believe which in turn was the bases of his teachings. Second in his life he lived up to his believes. Both his teachings and his way of life form a bases, which is rooted in the Jewish religion with the Torah as a crucial and intricate part of it, also for Christianity.

Why is it so important to know the real origin of the use of this symbol? To prevent oneself from being misguided. When it comes for example to the understanding of visions, dreams!
What did Constantine say? He had a vision! What did he do with it? He acted on it. The ultimate result? Christianity loosing its roots, and people misguided into believes that are not God's will, to this day. Having any dreams or visions with a cross in it lately? Be ware, don't believe it, don't act on it!

It's not from God the Almighty Father, for he truly doesn't have nor use such symbol. The Almighty Father makes his will known mainly and far most through his word at which he worked for ages together with those faithful to him. It is the ultimate check on which ever dream and/or vision.
It is also important to prevent people from holding on to lies.
For those who do this will have no place in the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:27 and 22:15.

It is the truth that will set us free - John 8:32 - not a lie!

21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. John 5:21 (NIV)

God bless you,

 

Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: Opinion