Discourse on the Mystery of the Cross:

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Discourse on the Mystery of the Cross:

Post  Admin on Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:10 pm

Discourse on the Mystery of the Cross:

Many believe that Jesus died on a cross, but let's consider whether this is so or not. First let's look at the Koine Greek word that many English translators translate as cross as given in Strong's Concordance with
Hebrew and Greek Lexicon shows, with the word commonly translated cross #4716.

4716 staurov stauros stow-ros'

from the base of 2476; TDNT-7:572,1071; n m

AV-cross 28; 28

1) a cross
1a) a well known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves
1b) the crucifixion which Christ underwent 2 an upright "stake", esp. a pointed one, used as such in fences or palisades

4716. staurov stauros stow-ros'; from the base of 2476; a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specifically) a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment); figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. self-denial; by implication, the atonement of Christ:-cross.

As can be seen, there is a translation problem here as the Koine Greek word staurov stauros stow-ros' actually means an upright "stake." But for a clearer understanding let's look at what scholars in this area have to say instead of leaning on our own understanding and/or preconceived concepts.

Hislop and Wilkinson have the following also: "Now, this Pagan symbol seems first to have crept into the Christian Church in Egypt, and generally into Africa. A statement of Tertullian, about the middle of the third century, shows how much, by that time, the Church of Carthage was infected with the old leaven. Egypt especially, which was never thoroughly evangelised, appears to have taken the lead in bringing in this Pagan symbol. 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." " [The Two Babylon's, by Reverend Alexander Hilsop]

The Cross and Crucifixion.
This Is Appendix 162 From The Companion Bible.
In the Greek New Testament two words are used for "the cross" on which the Lord was put to death.
1. The word stauros; which denotes an upright pole or stake, to which the crimminals were nailed for execution.
2. The xulon, which generally denotes a piece of a dead log of wood, or timber, for fuel or for any other purpose. Is is not like dendron, which is used of a living, or green tree, as in Matthew 21:8; Revelation 7:1, 3; 8:7; 9:4, etc.
As this latter word xulon is used for the former stauros, it shows us that the meaning of each is exactly the same.
The verb stauroõ means to drive stakes.1
Our English word "cross" is the translation of the Latin crux; but the Greek stauros no more means a crux than the word "stick" means a "crutch".
Homer uses the word stauros of an ordinary pole or stake, or a single piece of timber.2 And this is the meaning and usage of the word throughout the Greek classics.3
It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone. Hence the use of the word xulon (No. 2, above) in connection with the manner of our Lord's death, and rendered "tree" in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29. Galatians 3:13. 1 Peter 2:24. This is preserved in our old English name rood, or rod. See the Encycl. Brit., 11th (Camb.) ed., volume 7, page 505d.
There is nothing in the Greek of the New Testament even to imply two pieces of timber.
The letter chi, , the initial of the word Christ , was originally used for His Name; or . This was superseded by symbols and , and even the first of these had four equal arms.
These crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian sun-god, , and are first seen on a coin of Julius Cæsar, 100 - 44 B.C., and then on a coin struck by Cæsar's heir (Augustus), 20 B.C.4
On the coins of Constantine the most frequent symbol is ; but the same symbol is used without the surrounding circle, and with the four equal arms vertical and horizontal; and this was the symbol specially venerated as the "Solar Wheel". It should be stated that Constantine was a sun-god worshipper, and would not enter the "Church" till some quarter of a century after the legend of his having seen such a cross in the heavens (EUSEBIUS, Vit. Const. I. 37).
The evidence is the same as to the pre-Christian (phallic) symbol in Asia, Africa, and Egypt, whether we consult Nineveh by Sir A. H. LAYARD (ii 213), or Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, by Sir J. GARDNER WILKINSON, iii. pages 24, 26, 43, 44, 46, 52, 82, 136.
Dr. SCHLIEMANN gives the same evidence in his Ilios (1880), recording his discoveries on the site of prehistoric Troy. See pages 337, 350, 353, 521, 523.
Dr. MAX OHNEFALSCH - RICHTER gives the same evidence from Cyprus; and these are "the oldest extant Phoenician inscriptions"; see his Kypros, the Bible, and Homer : Oriental Civilisation, Art, and Religion in Ancient Times, Plates XIX, XXV, XXVI, XXX, XXXI, XXXII, XL, LVIII, LXIX, etc.
The Catacombs in Rome bear the same testimony : "Christ" is never represented there as "hanging on a cross", and the cross itself is only pourtrayed in a veiled and hesitating manner. In the Egyptian churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life, borrowed by the Christians, and interpreted in the pagan manner. See the Encycl. Brit., 11th (Camb.) ed., volume 14, page 273.
In his Letter from Rome Dean Burgon says : "I question whether a cross occurs on any Christian monument of the first four centuries".
In Mrs. Jameson's famous History of our Lord as Exemplified in Works of Art, she says (volume ii, page 315) : "It must be owned that ancient objects of art, as far as hitherto known, afford no corroboration of the use of the cross in the simple transverse form familiar to us, at any period preceding, or even closely succeeding, the time of Chrysostom"; and Chrysostom wrote half a century after Constantine!
"The Invention of the Cross" by Helena the mother of Constantine (in 326), though it means her finding of the cross, may or may not be true; but the "invention" of it in pre-Christian times, and the "invention" of its use in later times, are truths of which we need to be reminded in the present day. The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two piece of timber placed at any angle.
NOTES
1 There are two compounds of it used : sustauroo - to put any one thus to death with another (Matthew 27:44. Mark 15:32. John 19:32. Romans 6:6. Galatians 2:20); and anastauroo - to rise up and fix upon the stake again (Hebrews 6:6). Another word used is equally significant : prospegnumi - to fix or fasten anything (Acts 2:23).
2 Iliad xxiv. 453. Odyssey xiv. 11.
3 For example, Thucydides iv. 90. Xenophon, Anabasis v. 2. 21.
4 Other coins with this symbol were struck by Augustus, also by Hadrian and other Roman emperors. See Early Christian Numismatics, by C. W. King, M.A.
[http://www.therain.org/appendixes/app162.html]

"THE sign of the cross has been a symbol of great antiquity, present in nearly every known culture. Its meaning has eluded anthropologists, though its use in funerary art could well point to a defense against evil. On the other hand, the famous crux ansata of Egypt, depicted coming from the mouth, must refer to life or breath. The universal use of the sign of the cross makes more poignant the striking lack of crosses in early Christian remains, especially any specific reference to the event on Golgotha. Most scholars now agree that the cross, as an artistic reference to the passion event, cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine." [Ante Pacem-Archaeological Evidence of Church Life Before Constantine (1985), by Professor Graydon F. Snyder, page 27]

The Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, by M'Clintock and Strong, comments:
'Much time and trouble have been wasted in disputing as to whether three or four nails were used in fastening the Lord. Nonnus affirms that three only were used, in which he is followed by Gregory Nazianzen. The more general belief gives four nails, an opinion which is supported at much length and by curious arguments by Curtius. Others have carried the number of nails as high as fourteen.'- [The Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, by M'Clintock and Strong, Volume II, page 580]

"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 symbolized to their votaries by a cruciform device." [The Cross in Ritual, Architecture, and Art (London, 1900), G. S. Tyack, p. 1. ]

"The shape of the [two-beamed cross] had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ." [n Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London, 1962), W. E. Vine, p. 256.]

I believe the ANK may have been a form of cross, from the Egyption period. I would need to do some research to back this up, this is just a knee-jerk response to this post. Paul --- Mark McFall <markmcfall@jps.net> wrote: > Heinz (quoting 21st Century NT appendix) > > Christians are sometimes disturbed to learn that > the cross, > > considered for centuries as a Christian symbol, > had its origin long > > before Christ and was actually used in pagan > mythology.It was the > > symbol of the god Tammuz, and Bacchus, and the > Egyptian Osiris. > > Mac: Hey Heinz, I've read and heard similar comments > before. However, in > regards to Osiris, I have never come across > something that suggests that > the ancient Egyptians identified a cross with > Osiris. I've read quite a > bit from _The Book of the Dead_ and other primary > Egyptian texts (by > means of translations of course), but I haven't > found anything that > would hint at that beyond what I read from lazy > scholars like Feke and > Gandy. [Heinz Schmidt, Bible Scholar]

The concept of a cross as an item of veneration is admittedly pagan, "At successive periods this was modified, becoming curved at the extremities, or adding to them more complex lines or ornamental points, which latter also meet at the central intersection. The swastika is a sacred sign in India, and is very ancient and widespread throughout the East. It has a solemn meaning among both Brahmins and Buddhists, though the elder Burnouf ("Le lotus de la bonne loi, traduit du sanscrit", p. 625; Journ. Asiatic Soc. of Great Britain, VI, 454) believes it more common among the latter than among the former. It seems to have represented the apparatus used at one time by the fathers of the human race in kindling fire; and for this reason it was the symbol of living flame, of sacred fire, whose mother is Maia, the personification of productive power (Burnouf, La science des religions). It is also, according to Milani, a symbol of the sun (Bertrand, La religion des Gaulois, p. 159), and seems to denote its daily rotation. Others have seen in it the mystic representation of lightning or of the god of the tempest, and even the emblem of the Aryan pantheon and the primitive Aryan civilization. Emile Burnouf (op. cit., p. 625), taking the Sanskrit word literally, divided it into the particles su-asti-ka, equivalents of the Greek eu-estike. In this way, especially through the adverbial particle, it would mean "sign of benediction", or "of good omen" (svasti), also "of health" or "life". The particle ka seems to have been used in a causative sense (Burnouf, Dictionnaire sanscrit-français, 1866). The swastika sign was very widespread throughout the Orient, the seat of the oldest civilizations. The Buddhist inscriptions carved in certain caves of Western India are usually preceded or closed by this sacred sign (Thomas Edward, "The Indian Swastika", 1880; Philip Greg, "On the Meaning and Origin of the Fylfot and Swastika"). The celebrated excavations of Schliemann at Hissarlik on the site of ancient Troy brought to light numerous examples of the swastika: on spindle-racks, on a cube, sometimes attached to an animal, and even cut upon the womb of a female idol, a detail also noticeable on a small statue of the goddess Athis. The swastika sign is seen on Hittite monuments, e.g. on a cylinder ("The monuments of the Hittites" in "Transactions of the Soc. of Bibl. Archæology", VII, 2, p. 259. For its presence on Galatian and Bithynian monuments, see Guillaume and Perrot, "Exploration archéologique de la Galatie et de la Bithynie", Atlas, Pl. IX). We find it also on the coins of Lycia and of Gaza in Palestine. In the Island of Cyprus it is found on earthenware vessels. It originally represents, as again at Athens and Mycenæ, a flying bird. In Greece we have specimens of it on urns and vases of Botia, on an Attic vase representing a Gorgon, on coins of Corinth (Raoul-Rochette, "Mém. de l'acad. des inscr.", XVI, pt. II, 302 sqq.; "Hercule assyrien", 377-380; Minervini in "Bull. arch. Napolit.", Ser. 2, II, 178-179), and in the treasury of Orchomenus. It seems to have been unknown in Assyria, in Phnicia, and in Egypt. In the West it is most frequently found in Etruria. It appears on a cinerary urn of Chiusi, and on the fibula found in the famous Etruscan tomb at Cere (Grifi, Mon. di Cere, Pl. VI, no. 1). There are many such emblems on the urns found at Capanna di Corneto, Bolsena, and Vetulonia; also in a Samnite tomb at Capua, where it appears in the centre of the tunic of the person there depicted (Minervini, Bull. arch. Napolit., ser. 2, Pl. II, 178-179) This sign is also found in Pompeian mosaics, on Italo-Grecian vases, on coins of Syracuse in Sicily (Raoul-Rochette, "Mém. de l'acad. des inscr." Pl. XVI, pt. II, 302 sqq.; Minervini, "Bull. arch. Nap.", ser. 2, Pl. II, p. 178-179); finally among the ancient Germans, on a rock-carving in Sweden, on a few Celtic stones in Scotland, and on a Celtic stone discovered in the County of Norfolk, England, and now in the British Museum. The swastika, appears in an epitaph on a pagan tombstone of Tebessa in Roman Africa (Annuaire de la Société de Constantine, 1858-59, 205, 87), on a mosaic of the ignispicium (Ennio Quirino Visconti, Opere varie, ed. Milan, I, 141, sqq.), and in a Greek votive inscription at Porto. In the last monument the swastika is imperfect in form, and resembles a Phnician letter. We shall explain below the value and symbolical meaning of this crux gammata when found on Christian monuments. But the swastika is not the only sign of this kind known to antiquity. Cruciform objects have been found in Assyria. The statutes of Kings Asurnazirpal and Sansirauman, now in the British Museum, have cruciform jewels about the neck (Layard, Monuments of Nineveh, II, pl. IV). Cruciform earrings were found by Father Delattre in Punic tombs at Carthage. [The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV, Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York]

The Scriptures, by the Institute for Scripture Research, also uses the term "impale" (it also uses "stake"), but the 21st Century NT ignores the term. The Jewish NT has "execute him on a stake." The term "impale" may not be the best rendering here for an English reader, but it can have the meaning other than something being thrust thru. Consider Esther 9:13: "have the bodies of Haman's ten sons hung from the gallows." GNB However, the New Jewish Publication Society has: "let Haman's ten sons be impaled on the stake." [comments by Bible scholars and the New Jewish Publication Society]

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Re: Discourse on the Mystery of the Cross:

Post  Admin on Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:00 pm

SOME WOULD RATHER USE OBVIOUS HOXES SUCH AS THE JEHOHANAN HOAX AND THE PITSDWON HOAX THAN ACCEPT REALITY:

INTRODUCTION:

In Archeology and similar pursuits there are many hoaxes by people wanting to make a name for themselves. The most famous of these was,

‘The Piltdown Man was a hoax in which bone fragments were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknownearly human. These fragments consisted of parts of a skull and jawbone, said to have been collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, East Sussex, England. The Latin name Eoanthropus dawsoni ("Dawson's dawn-man", after the collectorCharles Dawson) was given to the specimen. The significance of the specimen remained the subject of controversy until it was exposed in 1953 as a forgery, consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan deliberately combined with the skull of a fully developed modern human.
The Piltdown hoax is perhaps the most famous paleoanthropological hoax ever to have been perpetrated. It is prominent for two reasons: the attention paid to the issue of human evolution, and the length of time (more than 40 years) that elapsed from its discovery to its full exposure as a forgery.
[source - retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man on 11/16/2013] ‘

With respect the obvious Jehohanan Hoax this is readily discernable from the illustration of the find. Any knowledgeable individual would recognize he could not possible have been crucified in that manner.

THE FACTS ON CRUCIFICITION AND THE MEANING OF THE GREEK WORDS ‘STAUROS’ AND ‘XULON’

Specifically as these two words were used in the first Century in both Classical Greek and Koine Greek there is absolutely nothing to indicate a cross or crossbeam as used in the modern day. The following conclusively prove this FACT.

Pay particular attention to what Rev. Dr. Michael T. Welhous, says in NOT A CROSS TO BE FOUND


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.

AND,

Was Christ Hung on a Cross?

TO MANY millions of people the answer to this question seems as simple as the three-letter word “Yes”. To serious students of both ancient history and the Bible the answer is even simpler, as simple as the two-letter word “No!” But two answers as far apart as these open up between them a great gulf that all truth seekers must be able to bridge in order to stand on the solid ground of truth.

It is common knowledge in this enlightened age that the Bible was not first set down in English. Consequently, to settle the question as to whether Christ was hung on a cross or not it is necessary to consult the original Hebrew and Greek languages in which the Bible was written. By God’s grace manuscript copies of the original accounts, some of which copies date back to within fifty years of the originals, are available to scholars. Besides these, the original words are defined and explained in dictionaries or lexicons written in modern English, if that is the only language you read. And, in addition, there are dependable encyclopedias, histories, etc., to which reference can be made.

The Catholic Digest magazine, May, 1948, page 108, had the following to say on the subject of the cross: “Long before the birth of Christ the cross was a religious symbol. On the site of ancient Troy discs of baked clay stamped with a cross, were recently discovered. Two similar objects were found at Herculaneum. The Aztecs of ancient Mexico carved the cross on amulets, pottery, and temple walls. Many traces of use of the cross by North American Indians have been discovered. Buddhists of Tibet see in the cross a mark of the footprint of Buddha. The Mongolians draw a cross on paper and place it on the breasts of their dead. Egyptian inscriptions often have the Tau (T) cross. They considered the scarab (beetle) sacred because markings down the back and across the thorax form a T. A cross of this form was used as a support for the arms of Hindu ascetics in India who were wont to sit for days and nights in a Buddhalike attitude. The crux ansata (handled cross) has a loop serving as a handle. For the Egyptians this cross was a symbol of life and in their sign language meant ‘to live.’” See also The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, page 517; the footnote on pages 312, 313, of Gibbon’s History of Christianity, Eckler’s edition, 1891.

But how was the cross a “symbol of life” to the pagans? Well, a father, the male, is life-giver to his children by and through the mother. Hence, those sex-worshiping pagans, under the inspiration of the Devil and his demons, constructed a phallic image of the erected male genitive organ, with a crossbar toward one end to represent the testes. Carrying the symbolism a step further in the crux ansata, the loop on the top, which pious religionists choose to describe as a “handle”, represented the female genitive organ joined to the masculine symbol. That these diabolical facts are true, see the following references: Funeral Tent of an Egyptian Queen, by Villiers Stuart; Masculine Cross and Ancient Sex Worship, by Sha Rocco; Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop; Essays on the Worship of Priapus, by Richard Payne Knight.

Reference to the original languages in which the Bible was written will show beyond a question of doubt that Christ was never hung on any pagan cross. Hence, the use of the word “cross” in the English-language Bibles is a mistranslation. On this, the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, in its appendix, on pages 768-771, in commenting on Matthew 10:38, where the Greek word ??????? (stau•ros?) first appears and which is translated “cross” in most Bibles, states:

“This is the expression used in connection with the execution of Jesus at Calvary. There is no evidence that the Greek word stau•ros? meant here a ‘cross’ such as the pagans used as a religious symbol for many centuries before Christ to denote the sun-god. On the ancient sculptures of Egypt may be seen representations of their gods bearing the so-called crux an•sa?ta, a T-cross with a loop at the top, it being a phallic symbol of life. In Babylonian inscriptions Tammuz was signified by a heart from which sprang a single or a double cross.

“India, Syria, Persia, as well as Babylon and ancient Egypt, have all yielded objects marked with crosses of various designs, including the swastika among the early Aryans. This betrays the worshiping of the cross to be pagan.

“In the classical Greek the word stau•ros? meant merely an upright stake or pale, or a pile such as is used for a foundation. The verb stau•ro?o meant to fence with pales, to form a stockade or palisade, and this is the verb used when the mob called for Jesus to be impaled. To such a stake or pale the person to be punished was fastened, just as when the popular Greek hero Pro•me?the•us was represented as tied to a stake or stau•ros?. The Greek word which the dramatist Aes?chy•lus used to describe this means to fasten or fix on a pole or stake, to impale, and the Greek author Lucian used a•na•stau•ro?oas a synonym for that word. In the Christian Greek Scriptures a•na•stau•ro?o occurs but once, at Hebrews 6:6. The root verb stau•ro?o occurs more than 40 times, and we have rendered it ‘impale’, with the footnote: ‘Or, “fasten on a stake or pole.’”

“The inspired writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures wrote in the common (koi•ne?) Greek and used the word stau•ros? to mean the same thing as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or pale, a simple one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary. The apostles Peter and Paul also use the word xy?lon to refer to the torture instrument upon which Jesus was nailed, and this argues that is was an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy?lon in this special sense means. (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24) At Ezra 6:11 we find xy?lonin the Greek Septuagint (1 Esdras 6:31), and there it is spoken of as a beam on which the violator of law was to be hanged, the same as at Luke 23:39; Acts 5:30; 10:39.

“The fact that stau•ros? is translated crux in the Latin versions furnishes no argument against this. Any authoritative Latin dictionary will inform the examiner that the basic meaning of crux is a ‘tree, frame, or other wooden instrument of execution’ on which criminals were impaled or hanged. (Lewis-Short) A cross is only a later meaning of crux. Even in the writings of Livy, a Roman historian of the first century B.C., crux means a mere stake. Such a single stake for impalement of a criminal was called crux simplex, and the method of nailing him to such an instrument of torture is illustrated by the Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius, of the 16th century. We present herewith a photographic copy of his illustration on page 647, column 2, of his book De Cruce Liber Primus. This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled.

“Religious tradition from the days of Emperor Constantine proves nothing. Says that monthly publication for the Roman Catholic clergy, The Ecclesiastical Review, of September, 1920, No. 3, of Baltimore, Maryland, page 275: ‘It may be safely asserted that only after the edict of Milan, A.D. 312, was the cross used as the permanent sign of our Redemption. De Rossi positively states that no monogram of Christ, discovered in the catacombs or other places, can be traced to a period anterior to the year 312. Even after that epoch-making year, the church, then free and triumphant, contented herself with having a simple monogram of Christ: the Greek letter chi vertically crossed by a rho, and horizontally sometimes, by an iota. [Artwork—Greek characters] The oldest crucifix mentioned as an object of public worship is the one venerated in the Church of Narbonne in southern France, as early as the 6th century.’

“After showing the pagan origin of the cross, The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. 7, of edition 11, page 506, says: ‘It was not till the time of Constantine that the cross was publicly used as the symbol of the Christian religion.’ That was but logical, for Emperor Constantine was a worshiper of the pagan sun-god, whose symbol was a cross. Other experts have pointed out that ‘before the fourth century the cross was not used as a Christian emblem in the East any more than in the West’.

“Rather than consider the torture stake upon which Jesus was impaled a relic to be worshiped, the Jewish Christians like Simon Peter would consider it to be an abominable thing. At Galatians 3:13 the apostle Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 and says: ‘It is written: “Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.’” Hence the Jewish Christians would hold as accursed and hateful the stake upon which Jesus had been executed. Says the celebrated Jewish authority, Moses Mai•mon?i•des, of the 12th century: ‘They never hang upon a tree which clings to the soil by roots; but upon a timber uprooted, that it might not be an annoying plague: for a timber upon which anyone has been hanged is buried; that the evil name may not remain with it and people should say, “This is the timber on which so-and-so was hanged.” So the stone with which anyone has been stoned; and the sword, with which the one killed has been killed; and the cloth or mantle with which anyone has been strangled; all these things are buried along with those who perished.’ (Apud Casaub. in Baron. Exercitat. 16, An. 34, Num. 134) Says Kalinski in Vaticinia Observationibus Illustrata, page 342: ‘Consequently since a man hanged was considered the greatest abomination—the Jews also hated more than other things the timber on which he had been hanged, so that they covered it also with earth, as being equally an abominable thing.’

“The evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at a right angle. We refuse to add anything to God’s written Word by inserting the pagan cross into the inspired Scriptures, but render stau•ros? and xy?lon according to the simplest meanings. Since Jesus used stau•ros? to represent the suffering and shame or torture of his followers (Matthew 16:24), we have translated stau•ros? as ‘torture stake’, to distinguish it from xy?lon, which we have translated ‘stake’, or, in the footnote, ‘tree,’ as at Acts 5:30.”

The gulf of speculation having thus been bridged, Christians today stand on the solid ground of provable facts when they emphatically declare that Christ was never hung on a pagan cross of phallic origin.
AND

The words "cross" and "crucify" are mistranslations, a "later rendering," of the Greek words stauros and stauroo. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, STAUROS denotes, primarily, an upright pole or stake. The shape of the two-beamed cross had its origin in ancient Chaldea and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz. In the third century A.D., pagans were received into the apostate ecclesiastical system and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols.

According to The Companion Bible, crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian Sun-god. The evidence is complete; the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, not on two pieces of timber placed at an angle.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, in the Egyptian churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner.

According to Greek dictionaries and lexicons, the primary meaning of stauros is an upright pale, pole, or stake. The secondary meaning of "cross" is admitted to be a "later" rendering. In spite of the evidence, almost all common versions of the Scriptures persist with the Latin Vulgate's crux (meaning cross) as the rendering of the Greek stauros.

The most accepted reason for the "cross" being brought into Messianic worship is Constantine's famous vision of "the cross superimposed on the sun" in A.D. 312. What he saw is nowhere to be found in Scripture. Even after his so-called "conversion," his coins showed an even-armed cross as a symbol for the Sun-god. Many scholars have doubted the "conversion" of Constantine because of the wicked deeds that he did afterwards.

After Constantine had the "vision of the cross," he promoted another variety of the cross, the Chi-Rho or Labarum. This has been explained as representing the first letters of the name Christos (CH and R, or, in Greek, X and P). The identical symbols were found as inscriptions on rock, dating from ca. 2500 B.C., being interpreted as "a combination of the two Sun-symbols." Another proof of its pagan origin is that the identical symbol was found on a coin of Ptolemeus III from 247-222 B.C.

According to An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols, the labarum was also an emblem of the Chaldean sky-god. Emperor Constantine adopted the labarum as the imperial ensign. According to Dictionary of Mythology Folklore and Symbols, the symbol was in use long before Christianity. Chi probably stood for Great Fire or Sun. Rho probably stood for Pater or Patah (Father). The word labarum yields "everlasting Father Sun."

CJB execution-stake SISR stake SSBE torture stake
NWT torture stake
Versions using Cross: AAT, AB, AIV, ANT, BNT, CENT, CEV, CLNT, CNT, CTNT, DHB, DRB, EBR, EDW, EVD, GW, HBME, HBRV, IB, IV, JWNT, KJV, KLNT, KTC, LB, LBP, MCT, MNT, MRB, MSNT, NAB, NAS, NBV, NCV, NEB, NET, NIV, NJB, NKJ, NLT, NLV, NNT, NRS, NSNT, ONT, PRS, REB, RNT, RSV, SARV, SGAT, SNB, SV, TCNT, TEV, TJB, TM, WAS, WET, WNT, WTNT, YLR. [SOURCE - RETRIEVED FROM Melissa ON 11/16/2013]

AND,

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon
Strong's Number: 4716 Original WordWord Originstauroßfrom the base of (2476)Transliterated WordTDNT EntryStauros7:572,1071Phonetic SpellingParts of Speechstow-ros' Noun Masculine Definition1. an upright stake, esp. a pointed one
2. a cross
a. a well known instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the Phoenicians; to it were affixed among the Romans, down to the time of Constantine the Great, the guiltiest criminals, particularly the basest slaves, robbers, the authors and abetters of insurrections, and occasionally in the provinces, at the arbitrary pleasure of the governors, upright and peaceable men also, and even Roman citizens themselves
b. the crucifixion which Christ underwent NAS Word Usage - Total: 27cross 27 NAS Verse CountMatthew5Mark4Luke3John41 Corinthians2Galatians3Ephesians1Philippians2Colossians2Hebrews1Total27Greek lexicon based on Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament." These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Stauros". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon". . 1999. [SOURCE - RETRIEVED FROM http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/stauros.html ON 11/16/2013]

AND,

NOT A CROSS TO BE FOUND

Rev. Dr. Michael T. Welhous
One of the reasons why I pursued a degree in Christian ministry, and became an ordained Nondenominational Christian minister, was because I became increasingly disturbed at what I heard coming from the pulpits of the various churches I attended. I had been studying the Scriptures for many years, and it amazed me that the congregations were not hearing the simple truths contained in God’s word. I felt the need to share with people the truth about what the Bible actually says about various things. All to often, people accept what the various members of the clergy state as fact, without questioning it and without taking the time to verify their statements.

Most of these truths are not difficult to understand. They are simple Scriptural facts that are not being conveyed to the people. One such truth is the fact that most English translations of the Bible refer to a “cross,” yet the fact is that the word “cross” is an inaccurate translation of the original Greek word stauros. Simply put, a “cross,” i.e., two intersecting beams of wood, is nowhere to be found in the Bible!

The cross has become the foremost symbol in Christendom, so this would obviously be disturbing news to many Christians who have crosses hanging on their walls, around their necks, on loved ones graves, in front of their churches, on the alter of their churches, and even mentioned in songs they sing.

The question, however, must be asked: “Since nothing in the ancient Greek manuscripts which were compiled to form the New Testament portion of the Bible, suggests nor implies an instrument composed of two intersecting beams of wood, then where did the term, image, and subsequent symbol come from?”

First, there is no doubt that the Greek word stauros has been inaccurately translated as “cross.” In Classical Greek literature, stauros simply meant “an upright stake or post.” The verb stauroo meant “to fence with pales (stakes), to form a stockade (a barrier constructed from stakes or timbers driven upright into the ground one beside the other).” There is nothing at all found in the Scriptures to suggest a crossbeam of any kind at any angle, therefore, staurosmeans the same thing in the Bible, as it did in Classical Greek writings.

Second, there is another Greek word used by the New Testament writers when describing the execution of Jesus. It is the word xylon, which means “timber,” and by implication “a stick, club or tree.” Notice again that there is nothing to suggest a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. Consider the following references where xylon occurs, and notice that it is consistently translated “tree.”
Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.”
Acts 10:39 “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.”
Acts 13:29 “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down
from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.”
Galatians 3:13 “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.”
1 Peter 2:24 “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.”
Interestingly, when we read the Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of the Old Testament written in the same koine, i.e. “common” Greek as the New Testament, we find xylon at Ezra 6:11. There it is spoken of as “timber” on which the violator of the law was to be hanged.
“And a decree has been made by me, that every man who shall alter this word, timber
shall be pulled down from his house, and let him be lifted up and slain upon it, and his
house shall be confiscated.” (Ezra 6:11, The Septuagint – An English Translation)
If we were to read the Bible in the original languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek – we would NEVER have the mental picture of a “cross.” Even when the Bible began to be translated into Latin, translators used the Latin word crux, which also does not specifically suggest a two-beam intersecting instrument.
The Latin dictionary by Lewis and Short states that the meaning of crux was “a tree, frame, or other wooden instruments of execution, on which criminals were impaled or hanged.” In the writings of Livy, who was a Roman historian of the first century B.C., crux means merely a stake.

“[Crucifixion] was an ancient mode of capital punishment, and is said to have been devised by Semiramis. It was in use by the Persians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Carthaginians, Scythians, Greeks, Romans, and ancient Germans. It was a most shameful and degrading punishment, and among the Romans was the fate of robbers, assassins, and rebels. It was especially the punishment of criminal slaves. There were several kinds of crosses used.” (Manners And Customs Of The Bible, James M. Freeman, page 394, paragraph 2.) [Semiramis was a Mesopotamian queen.]
Since there were many kinds of impalement instruments used by the Romans and the other nations, to definitively identify any particular “cross,” and relate to others that it is the exact type of “cross” that Jesus died on, especially given the Scriptural evidence of simply a “stake” and “tree,” is for a clergy member or Bible teacher, irresponsible at best!

In writing to the believers in Galatia, Paul said, “though we [i.e., the apostles], or an angel

from heaven, publicly announce any other gospel to you than that which we have publicly

announced to you, let him be eternally condemned. As we said before, so say I now
again, if any man publicly announce any other gospel to you than that you have received,
let him be eternally condemned.” (Galatians 1:8-9) Given Paul’s exhortation, we must
make every effort NEVER to add anything to God’s word by publicly announcing something
that simply is not what the Bible is announcing. The Bible speaks of the “stake” and the “tree,” NEVER a “cross.” [SOURCE - RETRIEVED FROM http://www.devotedservants.com/cross.htm ON 11/16/2013]

AND

Where was Jesus put on when he was crucified?

Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi (MENJ) has invested his creativity into creating the following little problem:
In Mark 15: 32, we are told that Jesus was put on a "cross" to be crucified:

Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
The word for "cross" here in Greek is "stauros", which James Strong defined as:

(4716) from the base of 2476; a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specifically) a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment); figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. self-denial; by implication, the atonement of Christ: --cross.[1]
Yet in I Peter 2:24, we are told that Jesus was crucified on the "tree":

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.

The word for "tree" in Greek is "xulon", and is defined by Strong as:
(3586)from another form of the base of 3582; timber (as fuel or material); by implication a stick, club or tree or other wooden article or substance: --staff, stocks, tree, wood.[2]

The error here is obvious. The Greek word "stauros" means definitively a "cross". There is no double meaning employed to the word. Whereas the word xulon can be translated interchangeably as "wood", "staff", "tree", etc. but in the case of I Peter 2:24, it is translated as "tree". Now we need to ask why would the word xulon was used in the first place when there is a more definitive word for it, "stauros", if the verse really intends to mean the "cross"?
It is therefore obvious that the word xulon is indeed used for "tree" in I Peter 2:24, and therefore there is a contradiction with Mark 15: 32.

RESPONSE:

The only obvious error is Menj's misreading and manhandling of both the biblical texts and his own lexical sources. He claims that "stauros" definitely means "cross", all the while ignoring the very own lexicon he quotes which states:

(4716) from the base of 2476; A STAKE OR POST (as set upright), i.e. (specifically) A POLE or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment); figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. self-denial; by implication, the atonement of Christ: --cross.[1]
Furthermore, do notice the different meanings given by Thayer's Lexicon for "xulon":
3586 xulon {xoo'-lon}
1) wood
a) THAT WHICH IS MADE OF WOOD
1) AS A BEAM from which any one is suspended, a gibbet, A CROSS
2) a log or timber with holes in which the feet, hands, neck of prisoners were inserted and fastened with thongs
3) a fetter, or shackle for the feet
4) a cudgel, stick, staff
2) a tree
AV - tree 10, staff 5, wood 3, stocks 1; 19 (Source: Blueletter Bible)
Notice how this same word is used elsewhere in the NT:
"‘Am I leading a rebellion,’ said Jesus, ‘that you have come out with swords and CLUBS (xulon) to capture me?’" Mark 14:48
No one assumes that "xulon" here means tree, that is unless of course one wants to claim that the soldiers were armed with actual trees! And:
"Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the STOCKS (xulon)." Acts 16:24
"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, WOOD (xula), hay or straw." 1 Corinthians 3:12
This demonstrates that "xulon" means different things in different contexts and doesn't always refer to an actual tree. Since Strong's lists "cross" as a plausible meaning of "xulon", this in itself refutes Menj's alleged contradiction.
Second, 1 Peter 2:24 is not the only place where Peter refers to Christ being crucified on ‘a tree’:

"The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead - whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree (epi xulou)." Acts 5:30
"We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree (epi xulou)." Acts 10:39

Interestingly, Luke who recorded Peter's speeches in Acts also wrote that Jesus was crucified on a cross (stauros):

"But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify him (staurou)! Crucify him (staurou auton)!’ ... As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross (ton stauron) on him and made him carry it behind Jesus ... When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him (estaurosan auton), along with the criminals - one on his right, the other on his left." Luke 23:21,26,33

That Luke could mention Jesus being crucified on a cross while recording Peter's statements that Jesus was hanged on a "tree" demonstrates that these Christians saw no problem with these statements. Unlike Menj, they realized that both "stauros" and "xulon" could be used interchangeably in referring to Christ's crucifixion. This is further seen from the Apostle Paul:
"When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree (tou xulou) and laid him in a tomb." Acts 13:29
Paul says that Christ was brought down from the tree. Yet the same Paul speaks of Jesus being crucified on a cross:

"For the message of the cross (tou staurou) is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

quot;Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross (to skandalon tou staurou) has been abolished." Galatians 5:11

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (en to stauro tou Kuriou hemon 'Iesou Christou ), through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14
Paul clues us in as to why both Peter and he could speak of Christ hanging on a tree:

"All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, ‘The man who does these things will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree (epi xulou).’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Galatians 3:10-14
The phrase refers to one who is accursed of God for failing to obey the commands. Christ being crucified on a cross was a sign that Christ had become a curse for us since he had become our sin bearer, taking upon himself the punishment that we deserved in order that we who believe may be forgiven by God. In the words of the Apostle Peter:
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree (to xulon), so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." 1 Peter 2:21-25
Messianic Jewish believer, Dr. David H. Stern sums it up best. In his comments on Acts 5:30, Stern writes:

Stake. Greek xulon, which KJV renders "tree" here and four other places (10:39, 13:29; Ga. 3:13; I Ke [Sam- Peter] 2:24), all referring to what Yeshua was hanged on until he died. Yeshua was not hanged on a tree, but on a stavros, usually translated "cross" and in the JNT translated "execution-stake," as explained in Mt 10:38N. The word "xulon" is used instead of stavros in these five placesbecause all of them quote or allude to Deuteronomy 21:22-23, where the Hebrew word is "'etz," normally rendered into Septuagint Greek as "xulon." Both Hebrew 'etz and Greekxulon can mean "tree, wood, stake, stick" depending on context. In Deuteronomy 21:22-23, where the subject is hanging, an 'etz is any piece of wood which a person can be hanged, i.e. a stake (perhaps if metal gallows had existed, a different word would have been used). If Luke had meant a tree and not a stake, the Greeks had a word for it, "dendron," which he could have used but didn't. Therefore, while at Mt 26:47 and Mk 14:48 xulon means "stick," at Lk 23:31 and Rv 18:12 it means "wood," and at Rv 2:7 it has to mean "tree," here it means "stake"... (Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary [Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., Clarksville Maryland, 1996], p. 237; bold emphasis ours)

In light of the preceding considerations, we once again see that Menj has failed to prove a real bonafide contradiction in the Scriptures. His criticisms only expose his lack of understanding regarding the historical and cultural context in which the New Testament was written.
In the service of King Jesus forever, the crucified and risen Lord of eternal glory. Amen. [source - retrieved from http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/stauros.htm on 11/16/2013]

AND,

ull Definition of STAURO-
: cross <stauromedusae> <stauroscope>
Origin of STAURO-
LL, fr. LGk, fr. Gk stauros pale, stake, cross
This word doesn't usually appear in our free dictionary, but the definition from our premium Unabridged Dictionary is offered here on a limited basis. Note that some information is displayed differently in the Unabridged.
To access the complete Unabridged Dictionary, with an additional 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary, [SOURCE - RETRIEVED FROM http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stauro- ON 11/16/2013]

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