The manner the Messiah was actually executed:
STRONGS NT 4716: σταυρός "THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF CROSS"
σταυρός, σταυροῦ, ὁ (from ἵστημι (root sta); cf. Latinstauro, English staff (see Skeat, Etymological Dictionary, under the word); Curtius, § 216; Vanicek, p. 1126);
1. an upright stake, especially a pointed one (Homer,Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon).
σταυρόω, σταυρῷ; future σταυρώσω; 1 aoristἐσταυρωσα; passive, present σταύρομαι; perfectἐσταύρωμαι; 1 aorist ἐσταυρωθην; (σταυρός, which see);
1. to stake, drive down stakes: Thucydides 7, 25, 6 (here οἱΣυρακοσιοι ἐσταύρωσαν, which the Scholiast rendersσταυρους κατέπηξαν).
2. to fortify with driven stakes, to palisade: a place,Thucydides 6, 100; Diodorus
3. to crucify (Vulg.crucifigo): τινα,
The STAUROS of the New Testament: Cross or Stake?
This page will address the following questions:
What was its form in the case of Jesus Christ? Was it a two-beamed cross or a simple upright stake?
Was wood scarce in and around Jerusalem at the time and does this have any bearing on what method the Romans used in Jesus' case?
What does the Greek word mean?
Are there scriptures that 'point' to its form?
What weight should be given to post-N.T christian writers?
Can archaeological findings, such as supposed 1st century christian inscriptions, be of help?
Has the New World Translation's choice been critiqued fairly?
Is the New World Translation alone in its preferred rendering?
Whatever form it was should we have it as a symbol in our places of worship or cherish, hold as dear, the implement of Christ's death?
The word "stauros" occurs 27 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures(the 'New Testament'). This word has been consistently translated in the New World Translation as "torture stake" and never as "cross". It is the implement on which Jesus Christ was afixed and executed. Also, another Greek word was used by the Bible writers "xylon", as the same implement of execution in regard to Jesus, which denotes, "wood, a piece of wood, anything made of wood..."-Vine. At those places where "xylon" is used in connection with Jesus' execution the New World Translation has rendered it as "stake". Is there any justification for the New World Translation to do this with these Greek words?
Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says:
"STAUROS....denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors ware nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross. The shape of the latter had it's origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used of the symbol of of the god Tammaz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name in that country and 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 of faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in it's most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ"
The Classic Greek Dictionary, Greek-English and English-Greek, With an Appendix of Proper and Geographical Names prepared by George Ricker Berry reads under "stauros": "..an upright pale, stake or pole; in plu. a palisade. II. the Cross.(p.648). Although this lexicon seems to give "the Cross" as a meaning for "stauros" it seems rather as a reference than a meaning ("the Cross" rather than "a cross") and to that of Jesus Christ. Hence definition II is somewhat 'suspect' and may only reflect the lexicons belief that the stauros in the NT was cross-shaped or it may be giving it as a reference, that is, that when we read in the English Bibles "cross" this is from the Greek stauros and no indication it was actually cross-shaped. In its definition 1 though there is no doubt the meaning of stauros and anything other than that stauros meant more than one piece of wood, whether it was a "pale, stake or pole" is not mentioned and certainly none of which were 'cross-shaped.' This is its meaning in all the Greek classics such as Homer. There is no evidence that the from or shape of the stauros in Jesus Christ's case was any different.
Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words has under the word Tree:
"2.XULON.....(b) of the Cross, the tree being the stauros, the upright pale or stake to which the Romans nailed those who were to be executed, Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal.3:13; 1 Pet.2:24;"
According to a Greek-English lexicon by Liddell and Scott, this word means "Wood cut and ready for use, firewood, timber, etc. . . . piece of wood, log, beam, post . . . cudgel, club . . . stake on which criminals were impaled . . . of live wood, tree." "wood . . . " Hence in the Authorized Version/King James Version this word is rendered as "tree" at Acts 5:30. The Complete Jewish Bible by D. Stern has here "stake." See also Acts 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24.
In agreement with the above is that which Dr Jason BeDuhn has written(a private letter written to us and published with his permission) when asked what he thought of the New World Translation's rendering of the word "stauros":
"On "torture stake," again, I think that the NWT is a bit heavy handed in trying to make a point. Certainly "stake" would be sufficient, and more desirable. The JW's are trying to shock Christians away from their devotion to the cross. It is, after all, an instrument of execution. They are right that STAUROS does not necessarily mean the cross form as Christianity has thought of it. It can be just a plain stake in the ground to which someone is nailed. But I think "torture" is too much and misses the point: it is meant to be a form of execution and not torture.
Also, the Companion Bible in it's Appendix 162 remarks:
"In the Greek N.T. two words are used for "the cross", on which the Lord was put to death.1. The word stauros; which denotes an upright pale or stake, to which the criminals were nailed for execution. 2. The word xulon, which generally denotes a piece of a dead log of wood, or timber, for fuel or for any other purpose. It is not like dendron, which is used of a living, or green tree, as in Matt.21: 8; Rev.7: 1, 3; 8:7; 9: 4, &c. As this latter word xulon is used for the former stauros it shows us the meaning of each is exactly the same. The verb stauroo means to drive stakes. 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 simple piece of timber.[ftnote, Iliad xxiv.453.Odyssey xiv.11] And this is the meaning and usage of the word throughout the Greek classics.[ftnote, eg.Thucydides iv.90. Xenophon, Anabasis v.2.21] It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but of always 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; Gal.3:13, 1 Pet.2:24. This is preserved in our old English name rood orrod. See Encycl.Brit., 11th (Camb)ed., vol.7, p.505d. There is nothing in the Greek of the N.T. even to imply two pieces of timber."
A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, p819. E.W.Bullinger states:
"Used here[cross] for the stauros on which Jesus was crucified. Both words[stauros, xylon]disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarized by pictures. The stauros was simply an upright pale or stake to which the Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified. Stauroo[the verb], merely to drive stakes. It never means two pieces of wood joining each other at any angle. Even the Latin word crux means a mere stake."
The Concordant Literal New Testament with the Keyword Concordance states:
"stauros STANDer: cross, an upright stake or pole, without any crosspiece, now, popularly, cross..."
"stauroo cause-STAND, crucify, drive a stake into the ground, fasten on a stake, impale, now by popular usage, crucify, though there was no crosspiece."- pp. 63, 64, Greek-English Keyword Concordance, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1983, 3rd printing of 6th edition of 1976.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary says about crucifixion: "The act of nailing or binding a living victim or sometimes a dead person to a cross or stake(stauros or skolops) or a tree(xylon)...Under the Roman Empire, crucifixion normally included a flogging beforehand. At times the cross was only one vertical stake. Frequently, however, there was a cross-piece attached..."- Volume 1, pp.1207, 1208
The book Dual Heritage-The Bible and the British Museum states: “It may come as a shock to know that there is no word such as ‘cross’ in the Greek of the New Testament. The word translated ‘cross’ is always the Greek word [stauros] meaning a ‘stake’ or ‘upright pale.’ The cross was not originally a Christian symbol; it is derived from Egypt and Constantine.”
To read what an issue of The Watchtower magazine wrote in 1950 when the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was published see here.
CONNECTION TO EGYPTIAN TAMMUZ AND TAU CROSS
Plymouth Brethren preacher W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words also states that the primary meaning of stauros was an upright pale or stake on which malefactors were nailed for execution. Vine said the shape of the ecclesiastical form of two-beamed cross had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (taking on the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in Chaldea and nearby lands, including Egypt. He said third century churches, which by then had departed from certain doctrines of the Christian faith, accepted pagans into the faith in order to increase their prestige and allowed them 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."
A tradition of the Church which our fathers have inherited, was the adoption of the words "cross" and "crucify".
These words are nowhere to be found in the Greek of the New Testament. These words are mistranslations, a "later rendering", of the Greek words stauros and stauroo. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says, "STAUROS denotes, primarily, an upright pole or stake ... Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pole, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two-beamed cross.
The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea (Babylon), and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) ... By the middle of the 3rd century 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 .
Dr. Bullinger, in the Companion Bible, appx. 162, states, "crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian Sun-god ... It should be stated that Constantine was a Sun-god worshipper ... The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle."
Rev. Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, pp. 197-205, frankly calls the cross "this Pagan symbol ... the Tau, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah ... the mystic Tau of the Cladeans (Babylonians) and Egyptians - the true original form of the letter T the initial of the name of Tammuz ... the Babylonian cross was the recognised emblem of Tammuz."
In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, vol. 14, p. 273, we read, "In the Egyption churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner." Jacob Grimm, in his Deutsche Mythologie, says that the Teutonic (Germanic) tribes had their idol Thor, symbolised by a hammer, while the Roman Christians had their crux (cross). It was thus somewhat easier for the Teutons to accept the Roman Cross.
Greek dictionaries, lexicons and other study books also declare the primary meaning of stauros to be an upright pale, pole or stake. The secondary meaning of "cross" is admitted by them to be a "later" rendering. At least two of them do not even mention "cross", and only render the meaning as "pole or stake".
In spite of this strong evidence and proof that the word stauros should have been translated "stake", and the verb stauroo to have been translated "impale", almost all the common versions of the Scriptures persist with the Latin Vulgate's crux (cross), a fallacious "later" rendering of the Greek stauros. Why then was the "cross" (crux) brought into the Faith?
Again, historical evidence points to Constantine as the one who had the major share in uniting Sun-worship and the Messianic Faith. Constantine's famous vision of "the cross superimposed on the sun", in the year 312, is usually cited. Writers, ignorant of the fact that the cross was not to be found in the New Testament Scriptures, put much emphasis on this vision as the onset of the so-called "conversion" of Constantine. But, unless Constantine had been misguided by the Gnostic Manichean half-Christians, who indeed used the cross in their hybrid religion, this vision of the cross superimposed on the sun could only be the same old cosmic religion, the astrological religion of Babylon. The fact remains: that which Constantine saw, is nowhere to be found in Scripture.
We read in the book of Johannes Geffcken, The Last Days of Greco-Roman Paganism, p.319, "that even after 314 A.D. the coins of Constantine show 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, and because of the fact that he only requested to be baptized on his death-bed many years later, in the year 337. So, if the vision of the cross impressed him, and was used as a rallying symbol, it could not have been in honour of Yahushúa, because Constantine continued paying homage to the Sun-deity and to one of the Sun-deity's symbols, the cross.
This continuation of Sun-worship by Constantine is of by his persistent use of images of the Sun-deity on his coins that were issued by him up to the year 323. Secondly, the fact of his motivation to issue his Sunday-keeping edict in the year 321, which was not done in honour of Yahushúa, but was done because of the "venerable day of the Sun", as the edict read, is proof of this continued allegiance to Sol Invictus. We shall expand on this later.
Where did the cross come from, then? J.C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols, p. 45, aptly summarises it, "Cross - A universal symbol from the most remote times; it is the cosmic symbol par excellence." Other authorities also call it a sun-symbol, a Babylonian sun-symbol, an astrological Babylonian-Assyrian and heathen run-symbol, also in the form of an encircled cross referred to as a "solar wheel", and many other varieties of crosses. Also, "the cross represents the Tree of Life", the age-old fertility symbol, combining the vertical male and horizontal female principles, especially in Egypt, either as an ordinary cross, or better known in the form of the crux ansata, the Egyptian ankh (sometimes called the Tau cross), which had been carried over into our modern-day symbol of the female, well known in biology.
As stated above, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the mystic Tau of the Babylonians and Egyptians, was brought into the Church chiefly because of Constantine, and has since been adored with all the homage due only to the Most High.
The Protestants have for many years refrained from undue adoration of, or homage to the cross, especially in England at the time of the Puritans in the 16th - 17th centuries. But lately this un-Scriptural symbol has been increasingly accepted in Protestantism.
We have previously discussed "the weeping for Tammuz", and the similarity between the Easter resurrection and the return or rising of Tammuz. Tammuz was the young incarnate Sun, the Sun-divinity incarnate. This same Sun-deity, known amongst the Babylonians as Tammuz, was identified with the Greek Adonis and with the Phoenician Adoni,96 all of them Sun-deities, being slain in winter, then being "wept for", and their return being celebrated by a festivity in spring, while some had it in summer - according to the myths of pagan idolatry.
The evidence for its pagan origin is so convincing that The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that "the sign of the cross, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both East and the West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a very remote period of human civilization." It then continues and revers to the Tau cross of the pagan Egyptians, "In later times the Egyptian Christians (Copts), attracted by its form, and perhaps by its symbolism, adopted it as the emblem of the cross."98 Further proof of its pagan origin is the recorded evidence of the Vestal Virgins of pagan Rome having the cross hanging on a necklace,99 and the Egyptians doing it too, as early as the 15th century B.C.E.100 The Buddhists, and
Ancient Egyptian Rot-n-no priests. Note the crosses on the robe, and hanging from their necks.
Numerous other sects of India, also used the sign of the cross as a mark on their followers' heads. "The cross thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a 'sacred emblem', was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses. "It was also the symbol of Jupiter Foederis in Rome.103 Furthermore, we read of the cross on top of the temple of Serapis,104 the Sun-deity of Alexandria.
This is Tammuz, whom the Greeks called Bacchus, with the crosses on his head-band.
After Constantine had the "vision of the cross", he and his army promoted another variety of the cross, the Chi-Rho or Labarum or sometimes . This has subsequently been explained as representing the first letters of the name Christos, the being the Greek for "Ch" and the being the Greek for "r". but again, this emblem had a pagan origin. The identical symbols were found as inscriptions on a rock, dating from the year ca. 2 500 B.C., being interpreted as "a combination of two Sun-symbols", as the Ax or Hammer-symbol of the Sun- or Sky-deity, and the or as the ancient symbol of the Sun, both of these signs having a sensual or fertility meaning as well.
Another proof of its pagan origin is the identical found on a coin of Ptolemeus III from the year 247 - 222 B.C. A well-known encyclopaedia describes the Labarum (Chi-Rho) as, "The labarum was also an emblem of the Chaldean (Babylonian) sky-god and in Christianity it was adopted..."Emperor Constantine adopted this Labarum as the imperial ensign and thereby succeeded in "uniting both divisions of his troops, pagans and Christians, in a common worship ... according to Suicer the word (labarum) came into use in the reign of Hadrian, and was probably adopted from one of the nations conquered by the Romans. "It must be remembered that Hadrian reigned in the years 76 - 138, that he was a pagan emperor, worshipped the Sun-deity Serapis when he visited Alexandria, and was vehemently anti-Judaistic, being responsible for the final near-destruction of Jerusalem in the year 130.
Another dictionary relates the following about the Chi-Rho, "However, the symbol was in use long before Christianity, and X (Chi) probably stood for Great Fire or Sun,and P (Rho) probably stood for Pater or Patah (Father). The word labarum (labarum) yields everlasting Father Sun."
What is the "mark of the beast" of which we read in Rev 13:16-17, Rev 14:9-11, Rev 15:2, Rev 16:2, Rev 19:20 and Rev 20:4 - a mark on people's foreheads and on their right hands? Rev 14:11 reveals the mark to be "the mark of his (the beast's) name." Have we not read about the mystic Tau, the T, the initial of Tammuz's name, his mark? This same letter T (Tau) was written in Egyptian hieroglyphics and in the old Wemitic languages as, representing the CROSS. Different interpretations have been given to the "mark of the beast", and also the cross has been suggested. There has been some research done on the strange crosses found on quite a few statues of pagan priests, on their foreheads. However, these scholars have been unable to come to an agreement. Conclusive evidence may still come (see among others: Dr. F.J. Dolger, Antike und Christentum, vol. 2, pp. 281-293).
Let us rather use the true rendering of the Scriptural words stauros and stauro, namely "stake" and "impale" and eliminate the un-Scriptural "cross" and "crucify".
Incidentally, Christmas - December 25 - is associated to the birth of Tammuz as well.
Science Proves the Messiah was Nailed to a Stake in a "Y" Position and not a "T" Position as on a Cross
piece of art and human ingenuity’.
He set out to find whether the ‘bloodstains’ on the left arm matched up with the flow of blood from a crucified person.
To investigate, another researcher from the University of Pavia, Italy, assumed different crucifixion poses while donated blood trickled down his arm from a place where the shroud shows a nail was hammered through the hand.
The duo found that the ‘blood’ marks on the shroud correspond to a crucifixion – but only if a person was nailed onto a cross in a ‘Y’ position instead of a ‘T’ position, as depicted in most Christian art.
The scientists set out to find whether the 'bloodstains' on the Turin Shroud flow of blood from a crucified person. By safely simulating different positions of crucifixion they worked out that the man wrapped in the legendary cloth must have been crucified in a Y-shape position, pictured right.
Here is the video of the test:
Does it make a difference how the Messiah was executed?
Absolutely... the truth sets you free of false, established paradigms that would have you believe there is salvation in a pagan Egyptian symbol - the Tau - which expressly violates the Father's 2nd commandment to NOT worship false images. Given Roman Catholicism's obsession with pagan worship - particularly Egyptian - it is not surprising it would adopt and sell an instrument of death for salvation.