Jehovah`s Witness/The Cross
QUESTION: Hi David,
I was hoping that you follow up soon so that I can post my reply to the archeological links you posted.
In any case, since you haven't made one yet, I took it upon myself to create one in order to post my findings.
So here we go:
ANSWER: Hi David,
Like I said already, much of what we know and learned from history about Christianity is that after the death of the apostles, the "church" was corrupted from within. And, that from then on it went from bad to worst.
In fact the apostles were VERY AWARE of this dark development that they gave advanced warnings to their fellow believers.
“Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed YOU overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own [Son]. 29 I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among YOU and will not treat the flock with tenderness, 30 and from among YOU yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:28-30)
“Let no one seduce YOU in any manner, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
“However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons,” (1 Timothy 4:1)
They knew what was coming - apostasy. A great Apostasy.
And this is noted by historian Will Durant as he explains the development this way:
“The Church took over some religious customs and forms common in pre-Christian [pagan] Rome—the stole and other vestments of pagan priests, the use of incense and holy water in purifications, the burning of candles and an everlasting light before the altar, the worship of the saints, the architecture of the basilica, the law of Rome as a basis for canon law, the title of Pontifex Maximus for the Supreme Pontiff, and, in the fourth century, the Latin language . . . Soon the bishops, rather than the Roman prefects, would be the source of order and the seat of power in the cities; the metropolitans, or archbishops, would support, if not supplant, the provincial governors; and the synod of bishops would succeed the provincial assembly. The Roman Church followed in the footsteps of the Roman state.”—The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ."
Furthermore the Nat Geo website you posted confirmed the amalgamation of paganism into Christianity. Te article stated that:
"Amanda Claridge, a classical archaeologist at the University of London, says it's unlikely the practice began with the Jews. "I think it evolved from the cremation burials [of pagan Romans], which were all rock-cut, underground depositories that date from the very early first century B.C.," she said.
Claridge adds that Roman pagans later switched from cremation burials to corpse burials, which necessitated bigger chambers like those found in the catacombs.
"The Christians adopted traditional Roman motifs for their tombs, including garlands, flowers, birds, and other animals, according to Claridge.
"They get taken over into the Christian world and acquire ever more exclusively Christian associations," she said. "For instance, sheep are considered very Christian, but they are already there in the existing [ancient Roman] repertoire for the decoration of tombs."
So these facts are well established and undeniable!
It was indeed Dark days that took over Christianity for a long period of time, until Jehovah's Witnesses came to the world scene. Now, God's people are no longer slaves to pagan doctrines, human philosophies and unscriptural traditions!
Praise Jah Jehovah and His son our savior Christ Jesus for freeing us from such enslavement.
As for the archeological links, about:
"Jesus and Jehohanan: An Archaeological Note on Cruxifixion Archaeological discoveries offer new information about the Roman practice of crucifixion."
The Frontline article noted that:
"Within the caves were found fifteen limestone ossuaries which contained the bones of thirty-five individuals."
And upon investigation they noticed that the:
"skeletons reveal... a startling tale of the turbulence and agony that confronted the Jews during the century in which Jesus lived. Nine of the thirty-five individuals had met violent death. Three children, ranging in ages from eight months to eight years, died from starvation. A child of almost four expired after much suffering from an arrow wound that penetrated the left of his skull (the occipital bone). A young man of about seventeen years burned to death cruelly bound upon a rack, as inferred by the grey and white alternate lines on his left fibula. A slightly older female also died from conflagration. An old women of nearly sixty probably collapsed from the crushing blow of a weapon like a mace; her atlas, axis vertebrae and occipital bone were shattered. A woman in her early thirties died in childbirth, she still retained a fetus in her pelvis."
But then they particularly noted:
"a man between twenty-four and twenty-eight years of age was crucified."
and deduced that the name:
"Jehohanan ...was incised on his ossuary ... was crucified probably between A.D. 7, the time of the census revolt, and 66, the beginning of the war against Rome...."
and that he probably:
"...experienced three traumatic episodes. The cleft palate on the right side and the associated asymmetries of his face likely resulted from the deterioration of his mother's diet during the first few weeks of pregnancy. The disproportion of his cerebral cranium (pladiocephaly) were caused by difficulties during birth. All the marks of violence on the skeleton resulted directly or indirectly from crucifixion."
But in the end admitted that:
"If Jesus had been crucified in a similar fashion, and we cannot be certain of this although it is probable"
Because the conclusion they arrived at was just based on speculation, a guess work based on how Jehohanan was supposedly crucified.
Just like you said, it:
>>is a forensic artists rendering of what this mans crucifixion would have looked like"<<
Thus no solid evidence to back up the claim, unless of course you accept their assumption. Interestingly this is similar to how evolutionists present their case and try to convince you of something that is not there.
Now as a Christian, would you based your faith on probability /a coulda/ a woulda happened?
And would you based your faith on Jesus impaled on a cross that is long known and associated with:
1) pagan sex worship
2) an instrument of death?
If so, whose agenda will you be supporting then? Jehovah's or the father of the lie?
As for "staurus" and Xylon"
There's NO contradiction made on the part of the Awake and Watchtower writers when translating the Greek words "staurus and xylon" into "torture stake" (in association with Christ). None, because the evidence shows that the writers of the Scriptures themselves NEVER referred to it as stake with a crossbeam. Outside of the scriptures, sure there are several renderings as noted in your quotation of our Awake magazine. That is:
"By Jesus day xylon had many meanings, including wooden artefacts made out of more than one piece of wood. In classical and Koine Greek xylon was used to refer to "benches" (Demosthenes, 1111.22; Aristophanes, Vespae, 90; Acharnenses, 25)--End quote
"While the word xylon generally means a piece of wood, no longer living, it is at times used in the Scriptures to refer to figurative living trees...." ---End quote
That fact is well known by the writers of the Awake magazine.
But if you're not yet clear with what they said , below are additional information that you might need to consider. Hopefully you will read them with an open mind.
In the Insight book Vol 2:
Under the title:
*** it-2 pp. 1116-1117 Torture Stake ***
"An instrument such as that on which Jesus Christ met death by impalement. (Mt 27:32-40; Mr 15:21-30; Lu 23:26; Joh 19:17-19, 25) In classical Greek the word (stau·ros′) rendered “torture stake” in the New World Translation primarily denotes an upright stake, or pole, and there is no evidence that the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures used it to designate a stake with a crossbeam.—See IMPALEMENT; Int, pp. 1149-1151.
The book The Non-Christian Cross, by John Denham Parsons, states:
“There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . it is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as ‘cross’ when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting ‘cross’ in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.”—London, 1896, pp. 23, 24."
Furthermore, the same JW publication (Vol1 ) states:
"*** it-1 pp. 1191-1192 Impalement ***
What does the original Greek reveal as to the shape of the instrument on which Jesus was put to death?
Most Bible translations say Christ was “crucified” rather than “impaled.” This is because of the common belief that the torture instrument upon which he was hung was a “cross” made of two pieces of wood instead of a single pale, or stake. Tradition, not the Scriptures, also says that the condemned man carried only the crossbeam of the cross, called the patibulum, or antenna, instead of both parts. In this way some try to avoid the predicament of having too much weight for one man to drag or carry to Golgotha.
Yet, what did the Bible writers themselves say about these matters? They used the Greek noun stau·ros′ 27 times and the verbs stau·ro′o 46 times, syn·stau·ro′o (the prefix syn, meaning “with”) 5 times, and a·na·stau·ro′o (a·na′, meaning “again”) once. They also used the Greek word xy′lon, meaning “wood,” 5 times to refer to the torture instrument upon which Jesus was nailed.
Stau·ros′ in both the classical Greek and Koine carries no thought of a “cross” made of two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile, or pole, as might be used for a fence, stockade, or palisade. Says Douglas’ New Bible Dictionary of 1985 under “Cross,” page 253: “The Gk. word for ‘cross’ (stauros; verb stauroo . . . ) means primarily an upright stake or beam, and secondarily a stake used as an instrument for punishment and execution.”
The fact that Luke, Peter, and Paul also used xy′lon as a synonym for stau·ros′ gives added evidence that Jesus was impaled on an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy′lon in this special sense means. (Ac 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Ga 3:13; 1Pe 2:24) Xy′lon also occurs in the Greek Septuagint at Ezra 6:11, where it speaks of a single beam or timber on which a lawbreaker was to be impaled.
The New World Translation, therefore, faithfully conveys to the reader this basic idea of the Greek text by rendering stau·ros′ as “torture stake,” and the verb stau·ro′o as “impale,” that is, to fasten on a stake, or pole. In this way there is no confusion of stau·ros′ with the traditional ecclesiastical crosses. (See TORTURE STAKE.) The matter of one man like Simon of Cyrene bearing a torture stake, as the Scriptures say, is perfectly reasonable, for if it was 15 cm (6 in.) in diameter and 3.5 m (11 ft) long, it probably weighed little more than 45 kg (100 lb).—Mr 15:21.
Note what W. E. Vine says on this subject: “STAUROS (σταυρός) denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.” Greek scholar Vine then mentions the Chaldean origin of the two-piece cross and how it was adopted from the pagans by Christendom in the third century C.E. as a symbol of Christ’s impalement.—Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1981, Vol. 1, p. 256.
Significant is this comment in the book The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art: “It is strange, yet unquestionably a fact, that in ages long before the birth of Christ, and since then in lands untouched by the teaching of the Church, the Cross has been used as a sacred symbol. . . . The Greek Bacchus, the Tyrian Tammuz, the Chaldean Bel, and the Norse Odin, were all symbolised to their votaries by a cruciform device.”—By G. S. Tyack, London, 1900, p. 1."
As for this:
>>I've never seen a "tree" that looks just like a single pole. Trees have branches.<<
Sure, trees have branches but don't forget, trees have trunks too (a pole).
Coincidentally, the translators of the KJV forgot to change the word "stauros" at Acts 10:39 because they left the original rendering as "a tree" instead of "a cross".
Act 10:39 KJV - "And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:"
Any idea why?
Hopefully these explanations will put to rest the mistaken understanding of how Christ our savior died and the lie that is the cross.
Additional reference made by a researcher/scholar:
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Additional instances where the translators of the KJV did NOT or forgot to change the Greek word Xylon into "a cross" but instead left it as is - "a tree":
Just in case you want to know if there are additional instances (besides Acts 10:39) where the translators of the KJV did NOT or forgot to change the Greek word Xylon into "a cross" but instead left it as is - "a tree"
Here they are:
Act 5:30 KJV - The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree
Act 13:29 KJV - And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took [him] down from the tree
, and laid [him] in a sepulchre.
Gal 3:13 KJV - Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree
1Pe 2:24 KJV - Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree
, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Q: Why did the KJV translators left the original Gr word Xylon as "the/a tree
" in the above instances while saw fit to change it as "a cross" on others?
Any idea David?