Jehovah`s Witness/Responding to Eddie and Sister T, on the cross/stake
You can get a good idea right from the start, about the solidness (or lack of), of your opponent’s position, simply by looking at its foundation. When the foundation is based upon misquotes, and statements taken out of context from their original meaning, then you know right off the foundation is not solid.
Take for example, the following misuse of a quote, found in Sister T’s comments on the cross. She quotes from the IMPERIAL BIBLE DICTIONARY, the following….
SISTER T (quoting IMPERIAL DICTIONARY)………
“The Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions (“torture stake” in NW) is stau·ros′. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·ros′], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.”
Now, a VERY important part of this quote, is the ELLIPSES (…). There is a proper usage of the ellipses (to remove IRRELEVANT parts of a quote), and there is an improper use (to remove RELAVENT parts of a quote). We see that Sister T did not provide the entire quote.
ACTUAL QUOTE FROM IMPERIAL DICTIONARY………
“The Greek word for cross, (stauros), properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling (fencing in) a piece of ground. But a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek-speaking countries. Even amongst the Romans, the crux (from which the word cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole, and always remained the more prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment, a traverse piece of wood was commonly added: not however always then. … There can be no doubt, however, that the later sort was the more common, and that about the period of the Gospel Age, crucifixion was usually accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood.
… But the commonest form, it is understood, was that in which the upright piece of wood was crossed by another near the top, but not precisely at it, the upright pole running above the other, thus "a cross" and so making four, not merely two right angles. It was on a cross of this form, according to the general voice of tradition, that our Lord suffered.
... It may be added that crucifixion was abolished around the time of Constantine, in consequence of the sacred associations which the cross had now gathered around it."
Now, I believe it is safe to say, that the Imperial Dictionary actually gives us a VERY different argument, than the manner in which Sister T quoted it. In fact, it clearly shows that crosses WERE in use in Jesus’ time, which I believe is the exact opposite of the point she was hoping to use this quote to prove.
Now, why would she do this? I can only speculate, by my guess is, that the merely took the quote from a Watchtower publication, without bothering to actually check it out for herself. I do not believe she was trying to be dishonest…she merely trusted the wrong source for her information. This is what unwavering trust in the accuracy of the Watchtower, will do for you.
And when you then challenge people to “do the research and see for yourself”, then you should not get angry when they do so, and conclude that your premise was wrong, and that you (inadvertently, or not) used a quote in an improper way.
I believe that, by the conclusion of this study, there will be no doubt what the facts of history, archaeology, and the Scriptures, show to be the case.
My response to Eddie G and Sister T on the issue of the cross, will be divided up into several posts, as I don’t want any one single post to be too long, although the wealth of information on this topic, will make the articles incredibly long, despite my only using PART of the evidence available.
This post will simply be my introduction, and some comments about remarks made by Eddie and Sister T, which I think need to be responded to. When you debate a JW, you can never just discuss the facts…You always have to un-muddy the waters, and deal with a lot of side issues and remarks as well, in order to set the record straight and have accuracy.
I will discuss the Scriptural, and the Archaeological/Historical evidences in separate posts.
I would like to begin by thanking, both Eddie G, and Sister T, for sharing their opinions about Jesus’ death with us. Its always fascinating to read what other people think, and their reasons for arriving at their conclusions.
I wish to thank Eddie G for his reply to my reply, without waiting for the remainder of my reply, which I have stated would hopefully be completed by the end of this week.
And Sister T, for reminding us that “The Bible has the last word!”
Of course, we all already know that. But it would’ve been great, had Sister T actually SHOWN us something from the Bible, that supports her view that Jesus died on a stake, and not a cross. Instead, what I saw were some Scriptures listed, and her own interpretation imposed upon those Scriptures, rather than being derived FROM those passages. That’s not the way it works, unfortunately.
The following posts (posted separately) will address the issue of whether or not Jesus died on a cross, or a “torture stake”…aka…an upright pole with no cross-beam. The facts of Scripture, history, and archaeology, all support that Jesus died on a cross. This is evidenced by simply reading the posts from the other side in this debate, and how free they seem to be with the “facts”. There were several historical inaccuracies, and just plain wrong statements, as well as a MISQUOTE or two, for good measure..
Initially, I thought I was merely going to be responding to Eddie G. But then Sister T posted on this topic also, quite sincerely no doubt, but grossly irresponsible with her handling of the Scriptures, and the facts. When people want solid answers, they do not normally fall for straw men arguments, and shrill emotional rants that really do nothing in the way of providing evidence for your view. So, I will reference comments from BOTH Eddie and Sister T, which I believe are inaccurate. There is no possible way to cover all of the inaccuracies, because I would be typing for days on end. I will, hit some highlights, and then give what I believe is the solid evidence for Jesus dying on a cross.
Once again, the MAIN issue for me as a Christian of 28 years and a follower of Christ, is not WHAT Jesus died on, or how His hands happened to be placed at His death…The MAIN issue is what His death means for me, as someone who was a lost sinner, in need of salvation, and how His death provided the means for my salvation.
However, since it is the JWs who have used this very doctrine to distinguish themselves as the only true Christians, and all others as “false Christians”, and since they are actually in the wrong on this issue, it is good to discuss it and get to the bottom of the truth. This is only an issue because they have made it one.
Now, I will address a few statements from both Sister T and Eddie G. In no way are these comments intended as an attack against them personally, although I am quite certain it will be taken that way. Unfortunately, their arguments are inaccurate and illogical.
Now, both Sister T and Eddie G, merely keep repeating their historic inaccuracies, as well as their false accusations that born again Christians WORSHIP/venerate crosses. I guess when your foundation is built upon a false premise, and that false premise is refuted by someone who actually KNOWS what they are talking about, the JW is left without anything else to use as an argument. So, they just keep repeating the inaccuracy. This is only effective with others who also believe the same inaccuracy, however.
Such as this one….
QUOTE FROM SISTER T: “First many people will make the claim that they do not worship the Cross, but history and churches show otherwise, actions speak louder than words, and the actions of people show that the Cross is venerated and worshiped. And even if it was just a reminder or remembrance of Jesus dying for our sins, does that make it all right to carry around, display, use with prayer, bow to, look up to, bless people with, etc according to the Almighty God?”
REPLY: This is a classic example of a “straw man” argument.
Once again, we see her simply REPEATING the same inaccuracy that has already been stated by Eddie, and for good measure, implying that Christians who know and state that we do not worship the cross, are lying. Basically, Sister T and Eddie G, who do not go to a Christian Church, know more about our worship than those of us who go every single week. I don‘t think so.
But unfortunately, Sister T, just like Eddie, gave us nothing but her opinion, and this “Believe it because I say so”, mentality. She gave us in this paragraph, the classic example of a “straw man” argument….namely, setting up a FALSE scenario, and then refuting it.
Her only problem is, we do not “venerate” or “worship” the cross. So, her entire premise was false. She states that “history and churches prove otherwise”, but sadly, neglected to mention what those facts are.
Again, I state….Born again, Bible-believing Christians (the only true kind), do NOT worship or venerate crosses. They should have limited this accusation to Catholics, or possibly, some Orthodox groups who are not far-removed from Catholicism.
We fully recognize that the cross is the instrument of our Savior’s death, and our worship belongs to God. We see the cross as a reminder of His love for us, and our message of salvation is the cross of Christ, just like it was Paul’s message. But no worship or veneration is given to the cross itself, by those who hold the Scriptures as the final authority.
Sister T needs to just give us some “facts” that refute this, rather than a loud opinion that is supposed to convince us, because it is spoken as if it’s a fact, in a very emotional manner.
QUOTE FROM SISTER T: “Would a person be so bold as to say that they are right and Almighty God is wrong? If God says one thing in the Bible and someone else says something else, I suggest you go with what God says.”
REPLY: Well, that’s great advice and all, but nobody said that they are right, and God is wrong. She is creating a false scenario…again, setting up a “straw man”, and then attacking it.
I would never say that I am right, and Almighty God is wrong. I WILL say that Almighty God is right, and the WATCTHOWER is wrong, and as long as my belief is based on the Scriptures, then it is right. Some JWs just seem to have trouble differentiating between the Watchtower, and Jehovah God!
And as this article will show, the Bible actually DISAGREES with the Watchtower teaching. So, we will see just how consistent Sister T is going to be with her excellent advice to, “go with what God says”
, and let “the Bible have the last word“.
I hope Sister T remembers that she said herself, that the Bible has the final say.
Sister T did list some Scriptures, but unfortunately, she failed to mention that these Scriptures are condemning the use of making a graven image for the purpose of WORSHIP, and that Christians do not WORSHIP the cross. Instead, her entire argument depends upon the false argument that we DO worship it.
Unless she wants to say that paintings and photographs are also condemned by these Scriptures, she needs to be really careful in how she misapplies Scripture. If they can show some proof that born again Christians DO worship crosses, then I agree, her Scriptures would apply. But if they cannot (and they cannot), then her Scriptures are condemning the worship of an image, as a “god”, and have no relevance to a Christian seeing a cross and being reminded of Christ‘s death.
Its always best to put Scriptures in their rightful context when using them, so that you don’t twist them just to prove the point you want to make.
If anyone were to bow to a cross, pray to it, or worship it, then yes, they are guilty of idolatry. I have been quite clear on that already.
Sadly, Eddie G threw his false statement out there, and did not display the honesty in correcting it. I was hoping for more integrity and honesty from him. Instead, he chose to continue with his falsehood, with the following statement….
QUOTE FROM EDDIE G (directed at me): ”and having friends and co-workers of same faith like yours, I'm well aware of what you believe - especially when it comes to the cross. On this I can surely say, I know what I'm talking about and I can prove that that what you believe about the cross is wrong.”
REPLY: No Eddie, you do not know what you are talking about, nor can you prove that anything I believe about the cross is wrong. The ONLY thing you even have a chance to prove wrong about the cross, is that it is the instrument that Jesus died upon. We both agree that worshipping the cross is wrong, and we both agree that the cross has had other uses besides crucifixions. So, “prove” away, my friend.
This is quite an amazing comment from Eddie, in light of what it implies. Consider…
It implies EXACTLY what I described as typical JW mentality in my previous writing….namely, that THEY know more about what you believe, than you do. As amazing as that may seem, we just saw Eddie prove my statement correct. Notice he presumes to tell ME what I believe, AFTER my telling him that I do NOT believe that. This is JW mentality at its finest.
There is a certain haughtiness in these people, that does not allow them (most of them, anyway) to admit error. They will tell you what YOU believe, and if you tell them they have it wrong, they will not even consider that perhaps the WT gave them bad information. No, surely YOU must not know what you really believe.
Conclusion…In Eddie’s mind, I believe in worshipping the cross, even though I previously condemned such action as idolatry. I guess they must think I’m in some sort of trance or something, and just don’t remember what really happened at church. Its amazing how far these people will go, to not admit they made a blunder.
That’s fine…I’m not really worried about it. Those who are born again Christians such as myself, and who are reading this, know that I am correct. And those who are inside the WT Organization and are programmed, will believe whatever they are told. Eddie G’s and Sister T’s responses, only show the depth of their programming…nothing else.
Interestingly, Eddie admits to being a former Catholic. Thank you, Eddie, for answering my question about your former religion. That is precisely what I EXPECTED your former religious background to be, and that is the reason I asked that question. Because in Catholicism, images ARE bowed down to, and prayed to. In addition, Mary and saints are prayed to as intercessors, as well. All of this is completely unscriptural, and I AGREE, constitutes idolatry.
But where you made your blunder, is claiming that born again, Bible-believing Christians do this. On that, you are a million miles off base, my friend.
Now, I want to look at another part of Eddie’s comment, and look at what he is really implying. I will quote it again. He says..
QUOTE: “and having friends and co-workers of same faith like yours, I'm well aware of what you believe - especially when it comes to the cross.”
REPLY: There are so many problems with this, I don’t know which one to start with. Let’s start with your “friends” of the same faith as mine, as if you know anything about my faith.
So Ed, you work with people who attend Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches, and they told you that they worship and pray to crosses? Is that REALLY what you want to tell this forum? Because I know better, and so do you.
As I said before, I believe I am in a much better position to inform people of our position on this, than you are. I myself am an ordained Independent Baptist minister, and have served as a pastor, although I am not currently serving as a pastor at this time. I have been a minister for well over 20 years now. And you are going to come on here and tell me that you “are aware that we worship crosses”
, because of some anonymous so-called friends and co-workers?
Sorry, but that’s just not gonna cut it.
I would like for you to tell us if you actually want us to believe, that you went to work and directly asked your co-worker of the “same faith” as mine, if they worship a cross, and they said “yes”
. Give it up, Ed. No born again Christian would tell you such a thing, not even one that has been a Christian for a short time.
There are other born again Christians on this forum…Why don’t you ask them if they worship crosses in their church? What is it about you people, that you feel free to completely misrepresent what someone believes, and feel perfectly entitled to do so without correcting your false statement?
Its time to tell the TRUTH, Guys….It is NOT okay in the eyes of your God, to misquote and misrepresent the beliefs of others!
I also noticed something else Eddie G tried to do, in an attempt to be clever and manipulate the readers. He admits to not responding to a large portion of my reply. SUPPOSEDLY because it was so long, which as I stated, was only because he had made so many false statements that needed addressing. He claims he only responded to the “relevant parts”, but he sure did ignore a lot of those “relevant” parts. Such as the Scriptures I listed, showing Paul’s attitude towards the cross…how it was the message he preached, and how it broke his heart that there were those who were ENEMIES of the cross, and what it stands for. Those Scriptures showed clearly that the cross IS a symbol of Christ’s death for our sins, and although not an object to be worshipped, it is the method of His death for our sins, and the Gospel message cannot be separated from what happened on the cross.
Also, Eddie G completely ignored the questions I asked him, about what constitutes “worship”, namely, the example of the man who took a picture of his wife with him when he was away. That was a VERY relevant question pertaining to this topic. Several more things, as well, that Eddie G chose to leave out. The reasons are obvious.
No Eddie, you are not going to prove anything wrong…especially if you ignore it. Don’t worry about the length or what the readers think of it. Nobody forces anybody to read the answers here. If its too long, they can choose not to read it. If they are interested in this topic, they will read it.
Don’t use that as a cop out, for ignoring points that are relevant to this topic.
Now, the other thing that Eddie G is attempting to do here, is claim “I was right”
by zeroing in on one small part of my response.
I quote Eddie G….
QUOTE: ”Did Mr. Holland just admitted that I'm correct about the Pagan Cross?
Furthermore, he states….”Top of the list is the simple fact that you didn't even refute nor ague against the archeological and historical facts I've presented on the post below…”
Then, he states…”Now, if you only paid close attention to the Subject or the contents of my post, you would have noticed that I was talking about the PAGAN-CROSS, that is 'The Pagan Cross of Christ' not whether Jesus died on a stake or a cross (to be discussed later).”
Then, he states a complete falsehood….”In any case, since you choose to ignore the (historical and archeological) evidence that I presented, I will assume then that what I "claimed" (about the cross) are FACTUALLY ACCURATE and the TRUTH!”
REPLY: Nice try, Ed. But let me just go ahead and let the wind out of that sail, because you are trying to give a false impression that “Mr. Holland admits I am right”
. Don’t try to be deceitful, Eddie. The fact is, your posts on the cross are like most ANY false doctrine….its sprinkled here and there with a mixture of truth, and error. You were factually correct that the cross has had other uses steeped in paganism, which have nothing to do with Christianity. You were also correct that its detestable to God, to worship a cross. But then you altered the facts of history, and claimed the cross wasn’t in use in Christianity until much later than Christ‘s time, and you made the incredible jump of “logic”, that the pagan use of the cross somehow proves Jesus didn’t die on one.
On that count, you are incorrect. You had a couple of correct statements, and a very INCORRECT conclusion, mixed in with a lot of incorrect statements.
You claim I “chose to ignore archaelogical evidence”
. We will see just WHO did that, Eddie, in my next article.
There is a REASON I did not argue with you about the pagan use of the cross….I guess you apparently forgot how this all started, this back-and-forth between you and I. Let me refresh your memory, on what the subject was actually about, and what started this…
It all started when I made reference to the series of articles that you posted several weeks back, and I made the comment (at least 2 times that I recall), that “Eddie G thinks we WORSHIP crosses.”
That was, and IS, my point of contention with you. That, and the fact that Jesus died on a cross.
The fact that the cross has had other uses also, some of which are rooted in paganism, is NOT a point of contention, and it never was. I do not believe you will find any such comment of mine, to that effect.
However, if you would like, you can ask Rando to INVENT a quote from me, as he has been doing regarding Easter. But I am confident you won’t find one anywhere. At any rate, do not twist my words and try to make it appear as if I am admitting Eddie G “was right” after all. The pagan use of crosses never was an object of disagreement.
So, let’s be clear, and let me just address the question of whether you are right, or not….
1. On the issue of certain forms of the cross having been used before Christianity as an object of pagan worship, you are correct.
2. On the issue of the cross being worshipped by born again, Bible-believing Christians, your accusations are absurd, and completely false, and you are not correct.
3. On the issue of whether Jesus was crucified on a cross, your stance being that He was not, you are not correct.
So, you are wrong on 2 of your 3 main points. That isn’t really anything to be proud of.
Now in regards to why I didn’t dispute your first 4 points, the reason is simple….That wasn’t my objection to begin with. My remarks about your post, were directed specifically to your comments that we WORSHIP crosses…period. Also, I pointed out that you are wrong about Jesus being put to death on a cross. These were false statements, and the only ones that I felt needed addressing.
As for the pagan use of the cross, it simply has nothing to do with the question of what instrument was used in Christ’s execution. For a guy who likes to only discuss “relevant” points, you sure blundered that one.
Let me see if I can illustrate this for you in a simple way….
Let’s just say a guy is stabbed with a knife, and dies. Now, let’s say that I want to start a religious movement that denies this guy was murdered by a knife with a sharp edge on it, but instead, I want to claim that it was really an ice pick, instead.
My reason is simple…Knives with sharp edges, have a history in pagan rituals, that pre-dated the man’s murder . They were often used in human sacrifice, and also animal sacrifice to pagan “gods”. Sometimes, knives are used in Satanic rituals, as well. And a knife standing in an upright position, has a remote resemblance to the male organ.
Therefore, because knives with sharp edges were used previously in false forms of worship, then there is no possible way this man was stabbed with a knife, similar to the knives used in pagan worship. It must’ve been a similar object, but somewhat different.
Sounds perfectly logical, huh? Uhm, no.
You see, whatever uses that these knives had previous to the murder, have NO bearing whatsoever on whether a similar knife was used IN the murder.
Do you understand now, Eddie? Your information about the pagan uses of crosses was quite fascinating. It simply had no remote relevance to, either, whether Christians worship crosses, or whether Jesus was crucified on one.
These are the types of arguments that JWs like you try and use, to give the impression that you are intelligent and well-researched. But thinking people simply see it as a “red herring”
argument, having nothing to do with the issue at hand.
It is on this count, Eddie, that you are wrong in your facts. Jesus DID die on a cross, and both the Biblical and historical facts will show this.
Now, I would like to thank you for giving us even more quotes, merely repeating the one undisputed point here…that crosses, or cross-like symbols, were used in ancient pagan worship. Now, I was a little surprised to see you make reference to Vine’s Commentary, as his comments on the cross being the instrument of Jesus’ death, have been refuted by several sources. But at any rate, thank you for giving us more quotes on something we both agree on…that crosses were used in pagan worship.
But you still have not backed your claim that born again Christians WORSHIP the cross, and that Jesus did not die on one. Instead, you have attempted to connect a completely irrelevant point.
Along these lines, you ask….”Hint:
What's the difference in saying 'ALL Christian' vs. 'Christians', 'many Christians' worship the cross?
And “majority“ of Christians do it" (i.e worship the cross) vs 'majority of "Christians" view the cross as part of their worship to God?'?
It's not a hard or trick question.”
REPLY: Nope, not a trick question. Nor is the answer very difficult, either. In fact, had you read my comments carefully, I actually explained that in my last writing to you. Did you just not read it?
I said that I am defining “Christian” in the Biblical (and therefore, the only true) sense, as one who is born again into the family of God, by faith solely in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Scripturally speaking, there is no other kind of “Christian”.
For YOUR accusation to be true, you have to define “Christian” MUCH more loosely, in that many people consider themselves “Christian” because they live in America, and America is not a Muslim nation. Not yet, anyway. You have to define it in a way where most EVERYBODY who is not an atheist, claims to be “Christian”, like “60% of the population considers itself Christian”, because they have attended a church at some point in their lives, or went through a process of confirmation, or were baptized as an infant, etc. NONE of which makes one a true Biblical Christian.
Did I not already go over that, Eddie?
You AGAIN falsely state that…”And the majority of Christians do it”
, when they do not. I will go on record again, that NO born again, Bible-believing Christian worships the cross, or uses it as part of their worship.
Ed, are you trying to use “Christian” in such a loose, and inaccurate manner? Never mind, you already blew that option, back when you made it personal, and presumed to tell ME that I, indeed, worship the cross, because you work with people who believe like me. So, you cannot even use that argument there. In essence, you stuck your foot in your mouth, by presuming to tell me what I do, and don’t do.
Therefore, I can confidently say that you lose this portion of the discussion, because your comment is completely untrue, and not factual. And you have offered no proof at all, that your accusation is true.
Again, Eddie, you would not have had a problem if you had merely addressed your posts to Catholics who DO as you claim “most Christians”
do. But instead, you widened your accusation to include Biblical Christians who ABHOR the worship of crosses, and then you presumed to tell me, a Bible-believing Christian, that you “know what I believe” when you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.
You really need to develop enough humility, to admit when you make an error.
QUOTE FROM SISTER T: “Can one honestly say that a cross is not an idol or carved image and that it's not venerated and be telling the truth? NO! Can one honestly say that a Cross is not an object of extreme devotion and be telling the truth? NO!
The Cross receives extreme devotion, this is a fact of history and present! But who should we give our complete devotion and worship to, and only to? Jehovah God! (Matt 4:10) why?”
REPLY: Again, another “straw man”. Sister T does not provide any evidence that Christians such as myself, and countless other Bible-believers, actually venerate/worship the cross. She merely calls us liars, if we say we don’t. I guess by emphasizing the word “NO!”
in all caps, accompanied by an exclamation mark, that makes her comments the truth. She tells us this is a “fact of history and present”, yet failed to provide any such fact.
Again, it’s the mind-set that they think they know more about your worship practices than you do, even though they wouldn’t dream of darkening the door of your church, to actually find out for themselves. It also illustrates just how unimportant getting the FACTS are to them, as they simply accept every bit of inaccurate information that they are spoon-fed.
At any rate, this comment is absurd, and is not based in fact. I DO deny venerating or worshipping a cross, as well as ever praying to it. And that IS “telling the truth”
, regardless of what Sister T thinks about it.
Then, Sister T proceeds to do what she should not have….presuming to educate us on the usage of “stauros” and “xylon”, which she illustrated she is not qualified to do. Unfortunately, it seems as if her quotes are taken directly from a Watchtower publication, and not from a valid or accurate source. It is common knowledge that the Watchtower misuses the ellipses (…), and also freely alters quotes to suit its doctrine. An example of this is found in her quote from the IMPERIAL BIBLE DICTIONARY, covered in another article.
It is also documented that the Watchtower quotes mainly the comments that AGREE with them, but leave out the quotes from other authorities that do not. Not exactly honest.
I am sorry that Sister T does not seem to realize that the basic definition of “xylon”
, is something made of wood. If its wood, it’s a “xylon”
, whether it is a cross, stake, statue, tree, bench, fence post, or even a living tree. This word in and of itself, has no relevance whatsoever to whether Jesus died on a cross or stake, and does not even address the SHAPE of the object in question.
QUOTE FROM SISTER T: “Noteworthy it is that the crossbeam and rendering of the word Stauros as Cross came into use later! But Originally it meant upright stake, or pale.”
REPLY: What they are not telling you, is that “stauros” WAS commonly used as a cross, by the time of Christ. It is an established fact, that the Romans crucified people on crosses during Christ’s time. They can claim the original meaning was “pole”, and that it “later”
came to mean “cross”…But the problem is in when “later”
actually was. By Christ’s time, it was already “later“
. This will be discussed under the ARCHAELOGICAL EVIDENCE post that I will write.
QUOTE FROM SISTER T: “Also the word xylou (tree) is used to describe the instrument to which Jesus was put to death on. A tree is not a cross! In fact I have never seen a tree shaped like a cross, even with all it's branches still attached! But a tree is an upright stake, is it not? Look at a tree and see for yourself.”
REPLY: All I can say to this, is that Sister T must either live right downtown in a large city where there are few trees, or in the desert somewhere. Either way, she must not get to see a lot of trees.
At any rate, I decided to take her advice, and “look at a tree”
. I am, currently, looking into my front yard at the many fruit trees there. I have a plum, 2 apple, 2 peach, 1 cherry, 2 dogwood, and 2 Bradford Pear, trees. And not ONE of them even remotely resembles an upright pole.
Also, my home is surrounded by woods, with countless oak and pine trees, and some maple. None of them resemble upright poles. Not that they are exact replicas of a cross, either (the pine trees do resemble a cross slightly, if all but 2 branches were trimmed), but the branches would certainly come closer to THAT description, than an upright pole with NOTHING else on it. About the ONLY tree that I can think of, that would cooperate with Sister T’s comments, might be some species of palm tree. Other than that, sorry….using “tree” doesn’t help at all, your argument that there was no cross-beam. The word “xylon”
simply doesn’t speak to that argument, one way or the other.
Uh, I think the point of using “xylon”
, is that the object of his death is made of WOOD, not what shape it was. Its truly amazing how far they will go, to argue an outdated point that no longer holds any plausibility.
QUOTE FROM EDDIE G: “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?”
REPLY: I would simply like to call Eddie G out on this accusation of his, and ask him to please explain where he got the idea that the KJV uses “stauros”
in Acts 10:39. Everything I have researched on this, shows the word to be “xylon”
Please, if you are going to level a charge at the King James Bible of dishonesty, why not be honest yourself?
Is the word in Acts 10:39 REALLY “stauros”
, Eddie? Or is it “xylon”
Also, would you please be kind enough to show us where the KJB ever translated “xylon”
? If you have that reference, I would like to see it.
Is the Watchtower really honest, though? They claim that it was several hundred years after Jesus’ death, that the belief in the cross was adopted by Christians. Unfortunately, this is simply not factual, and the Watchtower KNOWS it.
Eddie G constantly refers to the statement “The lie that is the cross”
. Well, about the only lies, are the ones that the Watchtower is telling its followers. They have told their gullible followers that the cross did not come into Christian belief, until several hundred years after Christ’s death. This is a religious lie that has been promoted for decades by the Jehovah's Witnesses . I found some interesting information about the WT’s knowledge of this, and I will quote from the person who brought it out…
“Although the Watchtower has pridefully refused to admit this teaching is in error, their lies and contradictions can be seen from their own literature.”
QUOTE: From Awake!, April 2006:
"It was not until about 300 years after Jesus' death that some professed Christians promoted the idea that Jesus was put to death on a two-beamed cross."
So according to Watchtower teaching, we could not find any mention of Jesus dying on a cross prior to the 4th century. Since Jesus died approx 33 CE, 300 years would bring us up to the time of Constantine in the 4th century (approx 333 CE), according to the Watchtower.”
REPLY: The truth is that Christians had been believing Jesus died on the cross, for hundreds of years before that time. And the Watchtower knows that.
QUOTE: *** w57 3/15 p. 166 Did Christ Die on a Cross? ***
Nor does the fact that the Epistle of Barnabas and the Gospel of Nicodemus state that Jesus died on a cross prove anything.... Obviously both were written after the cross had been adopted as a symbol of Christendom.
*** g76 11/22 pp. 27-28 Does Christianity Have a Visible Symbol? ***
Justin Martyr (114-167 C.E.) ...” This indicates that Justin himself believed that Jesus died on a cross.
However, Justin was not inspired by God, as were the Bible writers. He was born more than eighty years after Jesus’ death, and was not an eyewitness of that event. It is believed that in describing the “cross” Justin followed an earlier writing known as the “Letter of Barnabas.”
REPLY: So here the WT admits that Justin, who was born in 114 CE, about 80 years after Jesus died, believed it was a cross. Not only that, but an even earlier Christian writer, called Barnabas, had written about it. When was that, exactly?
According to the 1957 WT, quoted above, it wasn't until after the cross was established in Christendom as the instrument of Jesus' death. So when does the WT say that the Letter of Barnabas was written?
QUOTE: “*** g87 4/8 p. 15 Abortion—And “the Source of Life” ***
Early Christian Thinking
Following the death of Jesus Christ’s apostles in the first century, many men expounded on their teachings. These writers were not inspired as the Bible writers were, but their comments are of interest, for they reflect the religious thinking of their time on this crucial issue. Here are some excerpts.
The Letter of Barnabas, chapter 19:5 (c.100-132 C.E.)”
REPLY: So according to the WT's own writings, the belief that Jesus died on a cross was established no later than 132, or a century after Jesus died. Yet they persist in misleading people into believing that it was an idea that never occurred to early Christians until about 300 years later when they decided to say it was a cross, supposedly in order to make some pagans happy.
But you know what? All of this talk about “xylon”
, or "stauros"
does not prove the point, nor does arguing about Jesus dying on an upright pole. Why? Because we now KNOW how crucifixions were commonly carried out. We know that there was normally a STATIONARY POLE at the crucifixion site, which would be used for subsequent crucifixions. Unless of course, you think that the condemned person laid there on the ground, waiting for the executioners to dig a brand new hole in the rock each time they executed someone, and waited for them to secure a new piece of wood in it. No, they used the execution sites more than once, and also the pole. That is why it was left there, for that purpose.
So then, WHAT did Jesus CARRY to the execution site, then? If the “pole” was already there?? Simple…He carried the “xylon”
, the wooden object, which would make the cross-beam.
Interesting how JWs want to keep having this argument, that only makes their religion look out-dated and silly. They say…”Jesus was crucified on a pole”! Well, of COURSE He was! It was a stationary pole, with a CROSS-BEAM attached to it.
May I just bring out some COMMON SENSE points here? A pole does not cease to be a pole, when a cross-beam is attached to it, any more than a telephone pole ceases to be a pole, when the LINES are attached to it. Its still a pole. Its just a pole with a cross-beam.
Also, another common sense point….TWO poles, when placed at the correct angle, form a CROSS! Why does this even need to be said? There was a stationary pole at the execution site, and Jesus CARRIED the cross-beam part of the way to this site (Simon assisted Him), which was then affixed to the pole that was already there.
So, this argument from the JW side about “xylon”
, etc, is completely pointless. Saying it was a pole, in no way negates that it had a cross-beam. And it did. The “xylon”
refers to MANY objects made of wood, with MANY different shapes and sizes.
QUOTE FROM SISTER T: “Also, Jesus himself told of the manner of his death and compared the way he was to die to the serpent that Moses was told to put upon a pole, not a cross!
Let's read what Jesus said and the scripture he was referring to:
John 3:14 KJV "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:"
and the scripture Jesus was referring to:
Numbers 21:8,9 KJV "And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
So we can see Jesus said himself said he would die on a pole, not a cross!”
REPLY: This one hardly deserves the dignity of a response, but it is getting one, merely because of the way she felt free to add to the Scripture what is not there, nor even inferred.
I reply to this comment from Sister T, because of the way she clearly misrepresents the Scripture, ADDS her opinion to it, and claims it says something it clearly does not. And then, she proceeds to lecture us about “twisting the Scriptures”, which she has just done with this comment herself.
Personally, I do not appreciate seeing someone take such liberties with God’s holy Word, and manipulating it in this manner, to prove their doctrinal point.
Did Jesus REALLY “say Himself”
that He would die on a pole, and not a cross? Well, I’ve read and re-read this passage several times, and I do not see that comment. What I DO see, is a comparison between what Moses was commanded to do in the wilderness, and how that was a type of what Christ would do for us. I also see a comparison between the serpent being lifted up and people LOOKING at it, and Christ being lifted up for our sins, by us BELIEVING in Him (v. 16).
I do not see a statement that the same exact object that Moses used, must be the same exact object that Jesus died on, shaped exactly the same way. And again, since a cross actually IS a pole with a cross-beam, it is safe to say that Sister T has no evidence that this pole with the serpent, was shaped exactly as her notion of a “torture stake”.
This is called…”Making the Scriptures say what you WISH they said”
That simply doesn’t work.
Jesus said….”And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up”
Where does this say that Jesus told us that He would not die on a cross? Does anybody see it, or is that something that Sister T is IMPOSING into the text?
Was Jesus “lifted up” in the wilderness, also?
What we DO see, is a comparison, shown by the word “as”
. The word “as”
denotes a simple comparison, between the serpent being “lifted up”, and Christ being “lifted up”. It is not making a statement about the exact likeness of the 2 instruments whereby they were lifted up.
The parallel is that both the serpent and Christ would be lifted up. Not that the objects they were lifted up on, would look exactly alike. Jesus is here speaking to Nicodemus, about the need to be born again, which incidentally, JWs deny.
Jesus reminds Nicodemus of a Scripture which he would’ve been quite familiar with, and compares that to His own being “lifted up”. He does not say…”Now Nicodemus, the point I want you to get, is that I will be lifted up on a pole that will be an exact replica of the pole that the serpent was on. This is CRUCIAL, Nicodemus, that you understand the shape of the pole is the primary thing here. This will be a MAJOR deciding factor, as to whether or not you will be regarded as a true Christian, or a pagan destined for destruction.”
So no, Jesus did NOT “say Himself“
, that He died on a pole instead of a cross. He didn’t make that statement ANYWHERE.
If you’re going to make a comment like that, how about showing us where the statement was actually MADE?
Sister T makes a very obvious mistake here, in her zeal. And that mistake is, there are SEVERAL such comparisons and “types” of Christ’s death, found in the Old Testament. And it is not required that ALL details are exact, for the “type” to be valid.
A VERY similar, in fact, almost identical, comparison is found in the words of Christ, in regard to His death and resurrection and the parallel with the prophet Jonah.
Matthew 12:39-40- “But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
“You see? This proves that Jesus Himself said that He would be in the belly of a whale for 3 days and nights!”
Uh, no it doesn’t. But if we use her logic, it should. Unless she wishes to concede that the parallel is still valid, although not every detail is identical. Jonah’s body was in the belly of the whale, while Jesus’ body was in the tomb. Certainly not the same thing. But again, the word “as”
denotes the comparison that Christ was trying to convey…He was speaking of the LENGTH OF TIME, not the location of His body, nor the shape of the place that would hold His body. Just AS Jonah was in the whale for 3 days and nights (so much for Good Friday), Jesus would be in the heart of the earth for that length of time.
This really isn’t complicated.
Genesis 22:8-13- The ram that was sacrificed by Abraham, was a “type” of the death of Christ. However, Jesus did not die by being caught in a thicket, and then being subsequently cut into pieces upon an altar. Nor did He have “horns”, as the ram did.
However, the type and parallel is still valid.
QUOTE FROM SISTER T: “The Bible has the last word!”
REPLY: That is correct. I certainly hope you will remember saying that, when it is shown that your Watchtower is teaching a view that is not in harmony with the Scriptures.
Now, I will move on to the next portion of this discussion….Did Jesus die on a cross, or a stake?