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Hi, I am almost through 'Ruach Qadim' and really enjoying it. What I cannot understand is Andrews' references to 'cross'. Without me going into great depths about this subject, (yet), surely it must be a red herring? Also it is uncomfortable to read words like 'church', am I missing something plain here? Is someone trying to 'paraphrase things?'
Your post is quite unreferenced, I don't know andrews writing on this, but 'cross' is in fact from latin origin (crux) while the Greek (stauros, xulon) and Aramaic words ( NeZD'QeP, zqipeh) for the 'thing' that Jesus died on, is wood or stake.

When the people cried: "Hang him!" they said something like and Aramaic word NeZD'QeP which means: "Lift him up."

Anyway, I don't really care since arguing whether or not it was a cross or not, is as important as a grain of sand.
Dear Mark,

Do you have an issue with Crosses and Churches? In case you didn't notice, there is a Cross prominently featured on this website and on every page of the Interlinear, and this website happens to be run by a clergyman of a Church.

If the symbols of Christianity or "Messiahnity" as we say in Aramaic bother you, perhaps there an internal prejudice you need to work on.

Please clarify.

+Shamasha Paul
Paul,

Would you mind posting a translation of John 20:25? Specifically, is "nails" plural or singular in Aramaic?

Your friend,
Keith
In Paul Younan's translation found at this web site:

John 25:20 reads "...unless I see in his hands the places of the nails and place my fingers in them...."
Shlama all--

I am not sure what the issue is either. Depending on context, I have been known to reference both "cross" and "execution stake". In my upcoming translation, I tend to favor the latter and state my reasons for doing so but I don't ignore the Christian majority tradition on the matter either.

It is a fact though that what is linked in the execution of Y'shua is in Tanakh reflected in Deuteronomy as being "hung on a tree" and this is quoted by Rav Shaul in that context, through the prism of that particular reference. Whether this is equally fine with two pieces of wood nailed together from a tree (cross-ified) or not is something I will not broach here because of general theological restrictions.

In the future, don't just reference my book, but give me the page. I have TWO books with "Ruach Qadim" in the title:

1) Aramaic Origins of the New Testament
2) The Path to Life

I assume you mean #1 but if even I cannot be sure and I WROTE these books, I can 100% guarantee others here have no idea what you are talking about. For their sake, more than my own, please define your terms. I take major exception with such a broad based charge whose sole purpose seems to be to cast aspersions because there is no way to respond efficiently. If you don't want to explain, I suggest it is better for all concerned to not bring it up at all. Otherwise, you just create confusion and no chance to move forward.

Shlama w'burkate
Andrew Gabriel Roth
"The very form of the cross, too, has five extremities two in length, two in breadth, and one in the middle, on which the person rests who is fixed by the nails." Irenaeus, Against Heresies: Book II, Chapter 24:4

"For the one beam is placed upright, from which the highest extremity is raised up into a horn, when the other beam is fitted on to it, and the ends appear on both sides as horns joined on to the one horn. And the part which is fixed in the centre, on which are suspended those who are crucified..." Justin Martyr, Dialoge with Trypho Chapter 91
Apparently neither the Greek word staurov nor the Aramaic word [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0pyqz[/font] distiguishes between a single stake and a cross. However, I believe that tradition which seems to extend back to the times when people actually witnessed Roman crucifixion support the tradition that it really was a CROSS.

OTTO
Shlama all,

The following verse which Keith earlier asked about supports the "cross" position over a "stake":
The Nature of the cross

(the disciples) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0dymlt[/font] (to him) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]hl[/font] (& were saying) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyrm0[/font]
(to them) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nwhl[/font] (said) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]rm0[/font] (but) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyd[/font] (he) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]wh[/font] (our Lord) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nrml[/font] (we have seen) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyzx[/font]
(in His hands) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]yhwdyab[/font] (I) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (see) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0zx[/font] (unless) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0l0[/font]
(I) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (& shall put) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0mrw[/font] (of the nails) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0ccd[/font] (the places) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0tykwd[/font]
(my hand) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]ydy0[/font] (I) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (& reach) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]+$wmw[/font] (my fingers) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]yt9bc[/font] (in them) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyhb[/font]
( I ) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (shall believe) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nmyhm[/font] (not) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0l[/font] (in His side) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]hnpdb[/font]
The Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament

And the disciples were saying to him,
"We have seen Our Lord???, but he said to them,
???Unless I see in his hands the places of the
nails and I shall put my fingers in them, and
reach my hand into his side, I will not
believe."
John 20:25 The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English (in Estrangela font)

The above verse shows that Yeshua was not nailed to a stake, as Jehovah???s Witnesses claim. How so? If a man were nailed to a stake, two nails would be used- one for the hands and one for the feet. Think about it. Why use more than that, from a Roman point of view? In order to use more, the hands would either be placed one above the other (which would put all the upper body weight on one hand), or they would be placed on either side of the beam, but what sense is there in that?

Josephus-Wars of The Jews
???When, therefore, Vespasian looked upon himself as in a manner besieged by these sallies of the Jews, and when his banks were now not far from the walls, he determined to make use of his battering ram. This battering ram is a vast beam of wood like the mast of a ship, its forepart is armed with a thick piece of iron at the head of it, which is so carved as to be like the head of a ram, whence its name is taken. This ram is slung in the air by ropes passing over its middle, and is hung like the balance in a pair of scales from another beam, and braced by strong beams that pass on both sides of it, in the nature of a cross. When this ram is pulled backward by a great number of men with united force, and then thrust forward by the same men, with a mighty noise, it batters the walls with that iron part which is prominent. Nor is there any tower so strong, or walls so broad, that can resist any more than its first batteries, but all are forced to yield to it at last.???
Josephus-Antiquities (Notice Josephus' description of a battering ram with 3 pieces of wood, 2 on either side of the main large beam, as being like a cross.)

8. On the next day, when the Philistines came to strip their enemies that were slain, they got the bodies of Saul and of his sons, and stripped them, and cut off their heads; and they sent messengers all about their country, to acquaint them that their enemies were fallen; and they dedicated their armor in the temple of Astarte, but hung their bodies on crosses at the walls of the city Bethshun, which is now called Scythepolls.

3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
(According to Josephus' 1st century Jewish account from Israel, Jesus was condemned to the cross. His previous description leaves little doubt the nature of a cross (Greek - "Stauros".)
Wikipedia-

The earliest artistic representations of the Crucifixion show Christ on a cross. If they also show the two thieves, these too are on crosses. Not until the second millennium are the two thieves shown as executed on stakes or trees. Not until the twentieth century is Jesus himself shown (in a Jehovah's Witnesses publication) as dying on a stake.

The first form of that which is called the Christian Cross, found on Christian monuments there, is the unequivocal Pagan Tau, or Egyptian 'Sign of life'. Let the reader peruse the following statement of Sir G. Wilkinson: 'A still more curious fact may be mentioned respecting this hieroglyphical character [the Tau], that the early Christians of Egypt adopted it in lieu of the cross, which was afterwards substituted for it, prefixing it to inscriptions in the same manner as the cross in later times. For, though Dr. Young had some scruples in believing the statement of Sir A. Edmonstone, that it holds that position in the sepulchres of the great Oasis, I can attest that such is the case, and that numerous inscriptions, headed by the Tau, are preserved to the present day on early Christian monuments.' The drift of this statement is evidently this, that in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the 'Crux Ansata', or 'Sign of life', borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; that the ansa or 'handle' was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchres, therefore, could have no reference to the crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and long cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of the Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the 'cross'. This, no doubt, will appear all very strange and very incredible to those who have read Church history, as most have done to a large extent, even amongst Protestants, through Romish spectacles; and especially to those who call to mind the famous story told of the miraculous appearance of the cross to Constantine on the day before the decisive victory at the Milvian bridge, that decided the fortunes of avowed Paganism and nominal Christianity.

The cross as a Christian symbol or "seal" came into use at least as early as the second century (see "Apost. Const." iii. 17; Epistle of Barnabas, xi.-xii.; Justin, "Apologia," i. 55-60; "Dial. cum Tryph." 85-97); and the marking of a cross upon the forehead and the chest was regarded as a talisman against the powers of demons (Tertullian, "De Corona," iii.; Cyprian, "Testimonies," xi. 21-22; Lactantius, "Divin?? Institutiones," iv. 27, and elsewhere). Accordingly the Christian Fathers had to defend themselves, as early as the second century, against the charge of being worshipers of the cross, as may be learned from Tertullian, "Apologia," xii., xvii., and Minucius Felix, "Octavius," xxix. Christians used to swear by the power of the cross (see Apocalypse of Mary, viii., in James, "Texts and Studies," iii. 118).[8]

What is the second century "sign of the cross" or "marking of a cross on the forehead and chest"? Shall we say it was a sign of a stake? A stake has no symbol or symbolic value.
What nonsense!

If this is a trivial matter, then why is it ever brought up as a topic of discussion? Apparently Jehovah's Witnesses think it's important. Personally, it grates on me when people cavil against the cross and argue for a stake. It seems to be a symbolic way of demeaning the historic Christian faith and an attempt to redefine the entire Christian faith as something "off the beam", as it were. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> I am out of patience with the worldwide attacks and crusades against Christianity, no matter whether Eastern or Western, Roman Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox, or some offshoot of any major branch. I will defend any and all against such onslaughts, as I see them for what they truly are- attacks against Him Who died on the cross for all the sins of all people of all time and for eternity, and attacks against the work He accomplished on that cross.

Perhaps this is not a trivial matter. It may be the "crux" of Christianity. Look up the etymology of "crux" if you don't know it.

18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) Philippians 3

But let it not be for me to take pride except
in the crucifixion (cross) of Our Lord Yeshua The
Messiah, in whom the universe has been
crucified to me, and I have been crucified to
the universe
. Galatians 6:14

I would not deface an American flag, because it represents my country and constitution, and all who gave their lives to secure and defend it.
I will not remain silent before the defacing of a far greater symbol- the cross, for it represents all that is Holy and Good and True; it represents The Father, The Son and The Spirit of Holiness and the price and sacrifice God paid to redeem us all, even His very Blood, Life and Body.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which The Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it Lord, that I should boast
save in the cross of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See, from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so Divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all. -Isaac Watts 1674-1748 (Hymn-"When I survey The Wondrous Cross")

Dave Bauscher
The image below was take by me in the Roman National Museum, I'm sorry I did not get the date and the figure, but he was a greek mythological musician/God Pan who died on a pole/stake and the statue was +/- first century, as I remember.

I _have been_ a 'Jehovah's Witness' and currently, I no longer witness of the Watchtower teachings, but I witness of the The Father who is called God Jehova and the Son Jesus.
I know why this is an issue. The Watchtower teaches that 'true religion' has no left-overs of 'heathen' symbols and feasts and traditions. And 'the cross' was a babylonic symbol, _so_ they say, we have no such things! We are in, and we have THE truth!

However, they nullify the really important things. It COULD have been a stake, instead of a cross, but what's the point? If this 'fact' is not right, does that mean that Jesus will not have you benefit from HIS sacrifice? God forbid!
True love and everlasting life, do NOT depend on 'knowledge' or 'epignosis' as Jehovah's Witnesses think and say (they wrongly citate John 17:3) but on the unconditional, with no look at the face, _love_ of the father!
John 3:15, 16. (EVERYONE who believes (or has faith) in him, will not be destroyed...

[Image: execution_stake.jpg]

But, do the Watchtower followers know that THEIR watchtower symbol _really_ is a Greek goddess? Yes! Freemasonry, (Russell was one) has dual faces! At one side, Ezekiel mentions a watchtower, at the ohter side, Free masons, _hide_ their true faces behind a thick fog of symbols that only the 'higher levels' know.
[Image: z_wt_artemis2.jpg]
distazo Wrote:Your post is quite unreferenced, I don't know andrews writing on this, but 'cross' is in fact from latin origin (crux) while the Greek (stauros, xulon) and Aramaic words ( NeZD'QeP, zqipeh) for the 'thing' that Jesus died on, is wood or stake.

When the people cried: "Hang him!" they said something like and Aramaic word NeZD'QeP which means: "Lift him up."

Anyway, I don't really care since arguing whether or not it was a cross or not, is as important as a grain of sand.


Greetings brother in the precious name of Yeshua. My question was certainly quite 'unreferenced' and I should not have presumed that I was in a forum with other bible students. Because of the long (thousands of years) history involving the 'cross' in all the cultures and systems prior to Rome or indeed of Yeshua I was especially surprised to the use of the word 'cross in researched' literature as is the case with book I am currently reading "Ruach Qadim". The context of my 'thinking' was around Yeshua's words in Revelation 18:4 "Come out of her, My people..." With the overwhelming evidence of the origins and uses of the wooden cross in time, especially it's roots in Babylon and then following in the many 'kingdoms' that were/are pagan. As a student of scripture (the Word encourages us to search things out), I am always gratified to learn something more which gives clarity to His word. For example, when reading Ruach Qadim, the many references to Aramaic 'thought' and their corelating 'idioms' have helped hugely in my understanding of scripture, i.e. Brit HaChadashah. In the context 'it doesn't matter', I refer you to Paul's warning 'if a man be ignorant...' I will readily agree, however, that we are entrusted with the beautiful 'evangel' and the glorious gift of salvation.
Shalom,
Mark
Paul Younan Wrote:Dear Mark,

Do you have an issue with Crosses and Churches? In case you didn't notice, there is a Cross prominently featured on this website and on every page of the Interlinear, and this website happens to be run by a clergyman of a Church.

If the symbols of Christianity or "Messiahnity" as we say in Aramaic bother you, perhaps there an internal prejudice you need to work on.

Please clarify.

+Shamasha Paul

Hi Paul, I believe you may have 'jumped the gun' a little when inferring that 'I may have an internal prejudice'. Offense is very often not the best form of defense. Do you really know that Yeshua came to setup a church? I don't think so. I am sorry that you take esteem out of the title 'clergyman' but of course this is not biblical either, is it? Brother, if you care to read my reply to 'distazo', I feel you see where my enquiry is coming from.
Yours in Messiah,
Mark
Keith Wrote:Paul,

Would you mind posting a translation of John 20:25? Specifically, is "nails" plural or singular in Aramaic?

Your friend,
Keith

Hi Keith, I use the Concordant Literal Version (mainly), the following is a 'posting of that translation':
"Should I not perceive in His hands the print of the nails, ..."
This translation refers to a print not print(s). This may seem like semantics but it is not the reason why I asked the question about the usage of 'cross'.
I am however, reminded that my intention was never to offend anyone when referring to the 'greatest act among mankind'.
Yours in His name,
Mark
distazo Wrote:The image below was take by me in the Roman National Museum, I'm sorry I did not get the date and the figure, but he was a greek writer and executed in the 2nd century BC and the statue was +/- first century, as I remember.

I _have been_ a 'Jehovah's Witness' and currently, I no longer witness of the Watchtower teachings, but I witness of the The Father who is called God Jehova and the Son Jesus.
I know why this is an issue. The Watchtower teaches that 'true religion' has no left-overs of 'heathen' symbols and feasts and traditions. And 'the cross' was a babylonic symbol, _so_ they say, we have no such things! We are in, and we have THE truth!

However, they nullify the really important things. It COULD have been a stake, instead of a cross, but what's the point? If this 'fact' is not right, does that mean that Jesus will not have you benefit from HIS sacrifice? God forbid!
True love and everlasting life, do NOT depend on 'knowledge' or 'epignosis' as Jehovah's Witnesses think and say (they wrongly citate John 17:3) but on the unconditional, with no look at the face, _love_ of the father!
John 3:15, 16. (EVERYONE who believes (or has faith) in him, will not be destroyed...

[Image: execution_stake.jpg]



But, do the Watchtower followers know that THEIR watchtower symbol _really_ is a Greek goddess? Yes! Freemasonry, (Russell was one) has dual faces! At one side, Ezekiel mentions a watchtower, at the ohter side, Free masons, _hide_ their true faces behind a thick fog of symbols that only the 'higher levels' know.
[Image: z_wt_artemis2.jpg]

Thanks for your contribution but these are widely published. Yes, you are wise to stay clear of 'cults' but pursue the truth nevertheless. Yes, we thank Yeshua through His Father (YHWH) for the wonderful gift of eternal life!
gbausc Wrote:Shlama all,

The following verse which Keith earlier asked about supports the "cross" position over a "stake":
The Nature of the cross

(the disciples) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0dymlt[/font] (to him) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]hl[/font] (& were saying) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyrm0[/font]
(to them) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nwhl[/font] (said) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]rm0[/font] (but) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyd[/font] (he) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]wh[/font] (our Lord) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nrml[/font] (we have seen) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyzx[/font]
(in His hands) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]yhwdyab[/font] (I) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (see) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0zx[/font] (unless) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0l0[/font]
(I) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (& shall put) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0mrw[/font] (of the nails) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0ccd[/font] (the places) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0tykwd[/font]
(my hand) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]ydy0[/font] (I) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (& reach) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]+$wmw[/font] (my fingers) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]yt9bc[/font] (in them) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nyhb[/font]
( I ) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0n0[/font] (shall believe) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]Nmyhm[/font] (not) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]0l[/font] (in His side) [font=Estrangelo (V1.1)]hnpdb[/font]
The Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament

And the disciples were saying to him,
"We have seen Our Lord???, but he said to them,
???Unless I see in his hands the places of the
nails and I shall put my fingers in them, and
reach my hand into his side, I will not
believe."
John 20:25 The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English (in Estrangela font)

The above verse shows that Yeshua was not nailed to a stake, as Jehovah???s Witnesses claim. How so? If a man were nailed to a stake, two nails would be used- one for the hands and one for the feet. Think about it. Why use more than that, from a Roman point of view? In order to use more, the hands would either be placed one above the other (which would put all the upper body weight on one hand), or they would be placed on either side of the beam, but what sense is there in that?

Josephus-Wars of The Jews
???When, therefore, Vespasian looked upon himself as in a manner besieged by these sallies of the Jews, and when his banks were now not far from the walls, he determined to make use of his battering ram. This battering ram is a vast beam of wood like the mast of a ship, its forepart is armed with a thick piece of iron at the head of it, which is so carved as to be like the head of a ram, whence its name is taken. This ram is slung in the air by ropes passing over its middle, and is hung like the balance in a pair of scales from another beam, and braced by strong beams that pass on both sides of it, in the nature of a cross. When this ram is pulled backward by a great number of men with united force, and then thrust forward by the same men, with a mighty noise, it batters the walls with that iron part which is prominent. Nor is there any tower so strong, or walls so broad, that can resist any more than its first batteries, but all are forced to yield to it at last.???
Josephus-Antiquities (Notice Josephus' description of a battering ram with 3 pieces of wood, 2 on either side of the main large beam, as being like a cross.)

8. On the next day, when the Philistines came to strip their enemies that were slain, they got the bodies of Saul and of his sons, and stripped them, and cut off their heads; and they sent messengers all about their country, to acquaint them that their enemies were fallen; and they dedicated their armor in the temple of Astarte, but hung their bodies on crosses at the walls of the city Bethshun, which is now called Scythepolls.

3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
(According to Josephus' 1st century Jewish account from Israel, Jesus was condemned to the cross. His previous description leaves little doubt the nature of a cross (Greek - "Stauros".)
Wikipedia-

The earliest artistic representations of the Crucifixion show Christ on a cross. If they also show the two thieves, these too are on crosses. Not until the second millennium are the two thieves shown as executed on stakes or trees. Not until the twentieth century is Jesus himself shown (in a Jehovah's Witnesses publication) as dying on a stake.

The first form of that which is called the Christian Cross, found on Christian monuments there, is the unequivocal Pagan Tau, or Egyptian 'Sign of life'. Let the reader peruse the following statement of Sir G. Wilkinson: 'A still more curious fact may be mentioned respecting this hieroglyphical character [the Tau], that the early Christians of Egypt adopted it in lieu of the cross, which was afterwards substituted for it, prefixing it to inscriptions in the same manner as the cross in later times. For, though Dr. Young had some scruples in believing the statement of Sir A. Edmonstone, that it holds that position in the sepulchres of the great Oasis, I can attest that such is the case, and that numerous inscriptions, headed by the Tau, are preserved to the present day on early Christian monuments.' The drift of this statement is evidently this, that in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the 'Crux Ansata', or 'Sign of life', borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; that the ansa or 'handle' was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchres, therefore, could have no reference to the crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and long cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of the Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the 'cross'. This, no doubt, will appear all very strange and very incredible to those who have read Church history, as most have done to a large extent, even amongst Protestants, through Romish spectacles; and especially to those who call to mind the famous story told of the miraculous appearance of the cross to Constantine on the day before the decisive victory at the Milvian bridge, that decided the fortunes of avowed Paganism and nominal Christianity.

The cross as a Christian symbol or "seal" came into use at least as early as the second century (see "Apost. Const." iii. 17; Epistle of Barnabas, xi.-xii.; Justin, "Apologia," i. 55-60; "Dial. cum Tryph." 85-97); and the marking of a cross upon the forehead and the chest was regarded as a talisman against the powers of demons (Tertullian, "De Corona," iii.; Cyprian, "Testimonies," xi. 21-22; Lactantius, "Divin?? Institutiones," iv. 27, and elsewhere). Accordingly the Christian Fathers had to defend themselves, as early as the second century, against the charge of being worshipers of the cross, as may be learned from Tertullian, "Apologia," xii., xvii., and Minucius Felix, "Octavius," xxix. Christians used to swear by the power of the cross (see Apocalypse of Mary, viii., in James, "Texts and Studies," iii. 118).[8]

What is the second century "sign of the cross" or "marking of a cross on the forehead and chest"? Shall we say it was a sign of a stake? A stake has no symbol or symbolic value.
What nonsense!

If this is a trivial matter, then why is it ever brought up as a topic of discussion? Apparently Jehovah's Witnesses think it's important. Personally, it grates on me when people cavil against the cross and argue for a stake. It seems to be a symbolic way of demeaning the historic Christian faith and an attempt to redefine the entire Christian faith as something "off the beam", as it were. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> I am out of patience with the worldwide attacks and crusades against Christianity, no matter whether Eastern or Western, Roman Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox, or some offshoot of any major branch. I will defend any and all against such onslaughts, as I see them for what they truly are- attacks against Him Who died on the cross for all the sins of all people of all time and for eternity, and attacks against the work He accomplished on that cross.

Perhaps this is not a trivial matter. It may be the "crux" of Christianity. Look up the etymology of "crux" if you don't know it.

18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) Philippians 3

But let it not be for me to take pride except
in the crucifixion (cross) of Our Lord Yeshua The
Messiah, in whom the universe has been
crucified to me, and I have been crucified to
the universe
. Galatians 6:14

I would not deface an American flag, because it represents my country and constitution, and all who gave their lives to secure and defend it.
I will not remain silent before the defacing of a far greater symbol- the cross, for it represents all that is Holy and Good and True; it represents The Father, The Son and The Spirit of Holiness and the price and sacrifice God paid to redeem us all, even His very Blood, Life and Body.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which The Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it Lord, that I should boast
save in the cross of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See, from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present far too small
Love so amazing, so Divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all. -Isaac Watts 1674-1748 (Hymn-"When I survey The Wondrous Cross")

Dave Bauscher

Hi Dave and thanks for the comprehensive work put forward. My initial questioning about the cross 'symbol' came about because of the prior renderings throughout Tanakh regarding the 'tree'. I am about to ask Andrew but thought I would reply to you first.
Blessings,
Mark
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