A Cross, a Pole, a Stake, or a Tree?

The dominate symbol of Christianity is the cross and one doesn’t have to look too far within the Christian Church or with its members to see the use of this symbol to identify themselves with the belief that the Messiah died on a cross for their sins.  And, within some denominations, we see what we might label as complete idolatry, or an overemphasis on the symbol itself.  I’ve even seen whereby the cross seems to have taken on a sort-of new age healing type power within the symbol.  You’ve probably seen too where people flash up the cross symbol because they think of it is protection, trying to send demons fleeing, may kiss it for “good luck”, or parade with it raised high in the air in services.  I wonder if this is what Yahweh might have meant when He said,

  • Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath nor that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them nor serve them; for I Yahweh thy God am a jealous God,”  Exodus 20:4-5a
  • `Ye do not make to yourselves idols; and graven image or standing image ye do not set up to yourselves; and a stone of imagery ye do not put in your land, to bow yourselves to it; for I [am] Yahweh your God.”  Leviticus 26:1
  • `Thou dost not make to thee a graven image, any similitude which [is] in the heavens above, and which [is] in the earth beneath, and which [is] in the waters under the earth; thou dost not bow thyself to them nor serve them,”  Deuteronomy 5:8-9

When you read the command of Yahweh, He is talking about pagen gods, obviously, but He seems to also be talking about even the worship of Himself.  He seems to despise the use of any type of symbol by His statement:  ANY graven image in ANY likeness of anything on the earth or in heaven.  It would stand to reason that Yahweh feels that by having these images, we place the focus on these images (or even pictures of what we think the Christ may have looked like), and not on Him, which is unseen to our eyes.

  • Graven image definition:  “a carved idol or representation of a god used as an object of worship.”
  • And weird, look at this… Definition of graven: “past participle of grave.” – Wouldn’t that refer to the object of crucifixion, or in other words, the cross?
  • Image definition:  “a representation of the external form of a person or thing in art.,
  • So, from the definition of these three terms, it would tell us that Yahweh doesn’t want any representative images of Himself used in any fashion, especially one of the grave and death. It would also seem even more obvious that His son hanging on the cross as an image would be even more abhorrent to Him.

Ironically, no one has been able to physically prove the shape of the item where Christ was killed, nor is it provable in the Bible. The Greek word stauroo, which is translated “crucify,” means “to be attached to a pole or cross.”  This same word in historical and fictional Greek texts referred to putting up a fence with stakes or poles.

We see in Matthew, the English translates to cross, but is still the same word, stauros: an upright stake, especially a pointed one, Strong’s 4716

40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders,[l] mocked him and said, 42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the King of Israel! Let him[m] come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God rescue him now—if he takes pleasure in him![n] For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with him taunted him.”  Matthew 27:40-44

The Romans weren’t set on how they would crucify people. Historically, scholars know the Romans crucified people on crosses, poles, stakes, upside-down crosses, X-shaped crosses (such as the apostle Andrew is said to have been martyred on), walls, roofs, etc. And, many times, they were known to have used living trees as stauron for their crucifixions.  Yahusha could have been crucified on any of these objects, which doesn’t minimize what he did, but may help us to see how the use of any type of symbol in our worship could be not correct at all and possibly even against the truth of Yahweh.

It is stated that John 21 may be making a parallel to the cross when Yahusha told Peter, ”

18 verily, verily, I say to thee, When thou wast younger, thou wast girding thyself and wast walking whither thou didst will, but when thou mayest be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another will gird thee, and shall carry [thee] whither thou dost not will;’19 and this he said, signifying by what death he shall glorify God; and having said this, he saith to him, `Be following me.’

, but we need to realize that John was the last gospel written, 10-20 years after the other three were completed (in about 90-95AD), when Peter was already dead.  We don’t know for sure how he died, but it is assumed he died upside down on a cross shape.  And, we have another point that many Biblical scholars debate the accuracy of John’s gospel as many things in this one don’t match up with the other three.

Plus, it is argued from John 20, that Yahusha talks about the plural ‘nails’ in his hands, so this means that his hands must have been outstretch; however, physically, you can use nails to nail the hands down at the side, behind a pole, or use nails to nail them up above the head in an ‘x’ shape.

25 the other disciples, therefore, said to him, `We have seen the Lord;’ and he said to them, `If I may not see in his hands the mark of the nails, and may put my finger to the mark of the nails, and may put my hand to his side, I will not believe.’”  John 20:25

On a contrasting note, other biblical authors describe the instrument of Christ’s death as a “tree,” which is a different word then the Greek word from above, but rather: xulon: wood, anything made of wood, a piece of wood, a club, staff; the trunk of a tree, 3586

  • 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, hanging him on a tree. 31 Yahweh has exalted him with his right hand as Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”  Acts 5:30
  • 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. 30 But Yahweh raised him from the dead,”  Acts 13:29-30
  • 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of Judea and in Jerusalem, whom they slew hanging him on a tree.”  Acts 10:39
  • 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, (for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree),”  Galations 3:13  (This is a reference to Deut 21:23)
  • 24 he himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose wound ye were healed.”  1 Peter 2:24

We find that in the Old Testament, the use of a tree for hanging people is seen quite frequently, so the “invention” of the Romans of crucifixion, wasn’t really their invention as I had been previously told.  There seems to be no actual reference to a cross type shape in the Bible, but rather many references to trees.  Here’s a few of them…

  • “Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee and shall hang thee on a tree, and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.”  Genesis 40:19
  • “And Yahweh said unto Moses, Take all the princes of the people and disjoint them before Yahweh hanging them from a tree against the sun, that the fierce anger of Yahweh may be turned away from Israel.”  Numbers 25:4
  • 22 And when a man shall have committed a sin worthy of death, and he is to be put to death, and thou shall have hung him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt without fail bury him that same day (for he that is hanged is accursed of God) that thy land not be defiled, which Yahweh thy God gives thee for an inheritance.”  Deut 21:22-23

  • “And afterward Joshua smote them and slew them and caused them to be hanged on five trees; and they hung upon the trees until the evening.”  Joshua 10:26

Why might this all be important to us?  It’s not important to know what thing Christ died on specifically because this doesn’t negate the fact that he did die as punishment for our sins, but it is important because there is a reason why Yahweh commands us not to make images of anything in heaven or on earth in order to represent Him or other gods.  He cannot be represented with symbols and when we choose to make these symbols, we shift our focus (even if ever so slightly or to extreme) to these symbols, and may also be in danger of using a wrongful symbol.

Personally, because of this discovery, I’ve now removed all crosses from my walls within my home and am in the process of removing the rest of them from my jewelry and such as I now feel like I’ve used an incorrect symbol to represent my faith as well as have gone against one of the 10 commandments of Yahweh.  And, I’ve removed a portrait of “Jesus” that a little girl drew as this also would be a false representation.  Instead of these symbols, I’ve decided to post wall art with Scripture verses, which is command by Yahweh to us to remind us of His Word.

“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules[a]—that Yahweh your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear Yahweh your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our God, the Lord is one.[b] You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  Deut 6:1-9

18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. ”  Deut 11:18-21

Consider what Yah might show you from this.