woman-behold-thy-son


The Cross

Real or Fiction?

This Short Study will look at the "concept" of the Cross, the significance of it's design and how that relates to us today; in the process we will also look at the concept of "Apologetics," which defnes our faith without the using a spirit of debate. 

By Pastor G. E. Newmyer 

This area will be an introduction to the concept of Apologetics, yet we're not apologizing, rather it's a matter of defending the faith, without debating. Paul tells us debate is a sin: a debate is an argument based on what each person thinks are the facts concerning their viewpoint. Far different from presenting Truth, although the natural mind considers their opinion truth, we find Truth is found in Jesus, not opinion. Paul's Letter to the Romans is a typical example of an Apologist format as he was defending the faith. Strange, or perhaps sad is how we find Paul defending the Faith to those who were already in the Body. 

Rome was an area full of idols and mystery religions, from there came some unsound remarks concerning the Cross of Jesus. Over the years we know there are those who desire to be more special than the rest of the Body of Christ, they pick up winds of doctrine, or make their own making them feel superior, yet if the elevate themselves, they have actually lower themselves. In some cases we find someone who is termed a scholar, yet becomes so centered on a subject they tend to go completely the other way, falling into error in their fight against heresy. We can also find a scholar, who wants to force their view to the point they remove, or ignore Scriptures. Theology is a study, it is not suppose to be unyielding, rather it has to yield, even if it means rewriting everything we've written. Only the Holy Ghost can interpret the Bible, yet the Bible will define itself, thus all mysteries are defined for us in the Bible, thus all mysteries point to Jesus, since the Bible testifies of Him.

Things are things, the thing is neither good or evil, rather it's what man does with them. A pencil can be a tool to help us in our communication, but if we worship it, it becomes a idol, is it the fault of the pencil? No, of course not, it's the fault of the person misusing it. Even if we remove the pencil, they will find something else to worship. The problem is within the person, not the thing, thus we are being cleaned by the Word in us. Paul said the idol is nothing, thus it's not the idol, or even the social evils, it's what people make of them. Some of the attacks against the Cross are based in misunderstandings of the Cross. The Cross in and of itself never saved anyone, it's He who was on the Cross becoming the issue, thus Jesus on the Cross made the Cross a doorway, or place of separation. It was Jesus on the Cross sanctifying the Cross, not the other way around. However, there are elements of the Old Covenant nailed to the Cross, there they must stay, yet we know Jesus isn't on the Cross now, He sits at the Right hand side of Majesty.

The same is true with the Cup, it was the Blood of Jesus giving the cup importance, not the other way around. At times man misses the point, ending exalting things far above measure.  

Alexander Hislop's book Two Babylons attempts to depict what he considered the misuse of the word Crucifix by saying it was connected to the idol Tammuz, or other pagan rites; his purpose was to point out how anyone can do as the children in the Old Testament did with the Brass Serpent, end giving worship to something God used as a tool. The Cross is the object upon which Jesus was raised, the Crucifix is likeness of Jesus on the Cross, yet giving worship to either is error.          

There is always a danger in giving worship to the things of God, one can worship the anointing, the office, the person who is anointed, rather than Jesus. Winds of doctrine make much to do about things meaning little, but the type of Cross Jesus was on is important. It had to represent a Door, a place of separation between Life and Death. Unless it held the symbols to identify the purpose it failed in the process, thus knowing the type is important, but to worship it would be error.

There are some who attack the shape of the Cross, some point to the "T" shape as a symbol going back to the time of the idol Tammuz (Ezek 8:14), like any idol, in and of itself it was nothing, it was the evil in the heart of man making it something (I Cor 8:4). Years ago we were told television was the "mark of the beast", then those who said it were all of a sudden on television. They said credit cards were the mark of the beast, later they began to take credit card donations. Then it was the computers, but then they used computers in their ministry. Then it was the World Wide Web, yet they obtained Web Sites. Were those things evil? No, they were things, nothing more, nothing less. James says everyman is drawn away by his own lust (James 1:14), thus it was the lust in the person causing the evil, not the thing. In Acts the people burned their own books, but those books were manuals instructing them in the black arts, much different from "books" in general (Acts 19:19). Clarity is always the Pureness of God's Wisdom, it keeps us from destroying the Wheat thinking we are killing Tares.

Tammuz has a history, it was picked up by the Greeks and renamed Thaumas; mythology said he was the father of Iris and the Harpys. The Harpys were the idol counterfeit of the Trinity named Okypete, Aello and Podarge. Should we then reject the Trinity because the pagans copied it? The sign of Tammuz was not a Cross, but a plus sign; the name Tammuz means Sprout of Life, the priests of Tammuz had plus signs along the rims of their headgear to identify them with the idol. The same sign was picked up by the Romans, thus some misguided Christians assumed the plus sign inside a circle inscribed on the coins of Julius Caesar in 100-44 BC became the Tammuz symbol; however, there are many things to consider with the premise. The worship of Tammuz was done many years before Rome was Rome. Next, Jesus commanded Peter to obtain a fish, in the mouth of the fish would be a silver coin, which Peter was to use to pay taxes with. The taxes collected by Rome from the Jews were used to build temples for idols. Didn't Jesus know it? Yes, but what someone does with the product in hand, is no reflection on the one who gave it. The heart of the giver is the issue, what the receiver does, the receiver is responsible for.

Long before Caesar was in power, far back to the third dynasty of Ur we find the Tammuz symbol, thus it was not invented by Caesar. All this shows the item is not evil, just as the love of money is the root of all evil, not the money. If we are obsessed with money, then the obsession is evil, not the money. The circle on Caesar's coins is reported by historians to represent eternity, as found in the Delphic temple; therefore, if we take it to its extreme we end tossing out Proverbs 3:18, 11:30, 13:12, 15:4 and Revelation 22:2. This in no way condones idol worship, but in our haste to toss out the idol, we may toss out the good with the bad. The same is true in dealing with any lust, we can mistakenly toss out some picture, or icon, thinking we are free, yet we haven't dealt with the lust. In Romans Paul is going to deal with many misconceptions, lusts, and problems any Babe in Christ can fall into. So, if we toss out the Book of Romans, do we also remove the conviction? No, neither does tossing out the icon free us of the lust, we must turn our backs on the passions of the world.

Jesus was not afraid of idols, neither was Paul. We know Paul preached to Mars' Hill, looked right at an idol marked "for the unknown god", then used the symbol to preach Jesus. Was the man crazy? How could he use an idol to preach Jesus? Today some in the Body would not only condemn Paul, but toss him to the wolves, others would say he left his "eye gate open".  When in fact he had awareness of what an idol was, nothing, a thing without power, or authority. It's not what goes into a person defiling them, it's what comes out of their mouths, corrupt words from a corrupt tree, make the person corrupt.

All this still has to do the lust to worship things, or elevate them above what God has. Jesus was on the Cross, He was in the Grave, but are we to worship either the Cross or the Grave? Of course not, we know all things are under the feet of Jesus. We are suppose to be Christ Minded, yet if we become paranoid, or fearful regarding the things of darkness, we are no longer above them, but in them. The fourth month of the Jewish religious year, which is also the tenth month of the civil year is Tammuz, which means First Grapes in Hebrew. The Jews still observe the 17th of Tammuz when the breach of the walls of Jerusalem took place (Fast Of Tishah Be-Av). The Jewish use of the term Tammuz doesn't mean they worship Tammuz, they merely have a month by the name. We also have a month by the name of August, named after a Roman emperor, should we shut ourselves up in a cave during August so we don't become "evil"? Not hardly, we know it’s a month, it doesn't have life, it can neither offend, nor edify. 

One should never confuse veneration with respect, we must determine what is exalting Above measure, as compared to exalting within measure. We respect the people of God, there are people God has exalted, yet we are warned not to exalt them above the measure. Icons, images, and the such are not people, God doesn't exalt "things", thus there is no measure. God exalts His Word, but His Word is Jesus. The word Image means a Likeness, thus we are to be the Image of God’s Son, yet man can make an Image of an animal then worship it.

The word Icon means a Representation, picture or religious image used for veneration, thus veneration becomes the problem, not the thing. Pictures of Jesus are Icons, since no one past 130 AD knows what Jesus looked like. Statues of little angels are a likeness of the Greek god Eros, thus they are Icons. Some of the most used pictures of Jesus are not likenesses of Jesus, but likenesses of models used by the artists. Does it mean we should run in fear, or destroy the pictures of Jesus? Not at all, it's the veneration of icons becoming the problem, not the icon. We pray to the Lord, not to a picture.

Some think Jesus would never allow a T shaped Cross because of the association  made between the Cross and Tammuz, but to assume Jesus would be afraid of the T shaped element rejects faith, it also removes the purpose of the Cross. Jesus defeated the devil by death, yet God is the God of living. Could Jesus be placed on a symbol of Life, to defeat death? No, Hebrews tells us it was Through death Jesus destroyed (made ineffective) him who had the power of death, that is the devil (Heb 2:14).

The shape of the Cross was important, to assume the T shaped Cross would not be used because of Tammuz, would also denote the I type couldn't be used either, since at the same time the Romans were worshipping Tammus, they were also worshipping Isis. The temple of Isis became the cause of the Jewish rebellion, which caused the destruction of the temple in 70AD. The "I" was used in the court of Caesar, it was also found in many temples of idol worship. The seven mountains surrounding Athens were used for idol worship during the earthly ministry of Jesus and beyond; does it mean we should reject the number Seven? Of course not, there is a freedom in understanding it's not the things, but the lust in the person making the things evil.  

Counterfeits are around, even in Paul's day there were counterfeits. Paul was faced with the counterfeit of spiritual matters when talking to the Corinthians, he warned them about attempting to use carnal means to arrive at spiritual conclusions. The Corinthians had their treasury in Delphi, a city across the bay from Corinth, which also happen to be a center of divination. This would be the same location where the "damsel" in Acts 16 would have obtained her training (Acts 16:16-18). The Delphic priestess chewed on a laurel leaf, then drank water until her speech was incoherent, then she would answer questions from the priest, thus the priest Interpreted the tongue. Does it mean we should reject all manifestations of the Spirit? Of course not, the enemy displays counterfeits to scare us away from the real (Steven Rossiter, Greece; London: Ernest Benn, Ltd, p 400).         

It's true the devil has symbols of power, but those symbols have no power. Crystals are a prime example, the Book of Revelation shows the Crystal as a metaphor for the Bride of Christ (Rev 4:6 & 21:11), is it therefore any wonder why the devil would counterfeit the purpose of the Crystal? Should we then deny being the Bride because the devil uses some Crystal? Should we burn our Bibles because some Satan worshiper owns one? On the same note should we make our Bible a god? No, there is a spiritual attitude wherein we keep things in Order.

What then gives these elements power? Our fear of them, thus as faith has a power, so does fear. The New Age is not new, our fear of it may be. What would the enemy desire? For a Christian to fear his counterfeits, but why? Authority, once we fear the enemy, or his doings, we are giving him authority over us. Once we determine "things are things",  as all things are under the feet of Jesus, we can then retain our faith, refusing to give place to the enemy.

Cult systems are motivated by the lust of being the special among the special, a hidden book, a special revelation, a certain act of self-righteousness, all pride based, but they center on placing fear on people, they want us to fear the world, fear icons, fear most anything, even the shape of the Cross, once we allow fear to reign, our faith is set aside, or we become susceptible to their deception. From there they will introduce us to another Cross, one where the Law, or the curse is not nailed, one where pride and deception rule. This is clearer when we find Rome used three types of stakes (crosses), the I, which was originally used for all violations of Roman Law; however, the method was binding the victim, not nailing them, it was termed the Pole, not the Stake. The method was to hang a sign on the person denoting the violation, then placing them just outside the city, to warn others of the punishment for violating the law. Needless to say it was more of a deterrent than a posted speed limit sign. This type of cross was used upon clear evidence of a violation of civil law, thus it had nothing to do with religion, Jesus or Moses, thereby showing it would not hold victory for us, rather if we accepted this type of cross it would be the wrong cross, for the wrong reasons. If this type was used it would show there was evidence to prove Jesus was a malefactor, which we know is not the case at all.

The next shape was X shaped, later to be known as Saint Andrew's Cross, the victim would hang upside down on the cross for days until death came as the blood rushing downward burst in the brain. The Catacombs in Rome show many various shapes of crosses, most of which were not used to crucify people, rather they were used for identification. They included the Pope Cross, the Alpha and Omega and many others. They represented different things, but not the Roman elements of bringing death.

Why does the devil want us to run from one type of cross, or use another? The lustful desire to be the special of the special, or greater than the brethren. The lust to be superior is based in pride, the mother of all cult systems. In most cases we tend to attack the cultist person, but clarity points us the cause. Therein is the place of ministry, the manifestation of the Spirit will bring the cultist to a place of decision.

However, our subject is the Cross, and why it had to be T shaped. The Cross being the very Door of Passover, the place of division between the world and the kingdom seems to come under attack, yet we can retort by making the Cross an icon, and be none the better. The devil's purpose in any counterfeit is many fold, first he preys on the lust in the person, next he wants us who accepted the Cross to make some mockery out of it by exalting it above measure. Even wanting the "the correct name for God" has been an issue used by cults, but it too is based in the same lustful desire to be greater than the rest of the Body. Often we go through all these Names of God to determine what we should call God, but God has told us the Name for us to use during our Season. It's one thing to tell God what name we will call Him, another when He tells us which Name He wants us to use. The same is true with the Cross, the Cross without Jesus is big piece of wood, but the second we introduce Jesus into the equation, the Cross takes on importance. Therefore, the shape or type of Cross without Jesus, really doesn't matter, but when we find Jesus and His disciples speaking of the type, then it does matter.

The same is true with the Name of God, the word Name means Authority, thus it depends on the Authority used to determine which Name is used. God doesn't need a Passport to identify Himself, thus He told Moses, "I Am That I Am". When God walks into a room He doesn't have to say, "Hi, I'm God who are you?". We know who He is, surely He knows who we are. In our Season the Authority of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are in the one Name (Authority) of Jesus. We are in the Body of Christ, not the Body of El or Jehovah. The Head of the Body is Jesus, thus we could use the title "Jehovah", but in so doing we would be using the wrong Authority for our Season. When Jesus told us to go in His Name, it’s what He desired. The winds of doctrine are areas drawing us away from the Truth of Grace, usually pulling us into areas of self-righteousness. When we engage in acts of self-righteousness we blind ourselves to the Righteousness of God.

Both the X and I types of crosses were Phoenician in nature; however, the Phoenicians didn't worship Tammuz, nor were they subject to the promises of God. The Phoenicians were in the location we know as Tyre, coming from the people noted in the Hebrew as Arvad (Gen 10:18 & Ezek 27:8-11). They didn't call themselves Phoenician, they called themselves Canaanites, they worshipped many gods and goddesses, including their god named El, but not the same El (God) as the Hebrews. The Phoenician El was supposed to be married to Asherah the goddess of the sea. Does it mean the El the Hebrews worshipped was an idol? No, of course not, keeping things in order keeps us from becoming fearful over things which matter little.

The shapes of the crosses give us symbols, the Romans had no idea of the importance of the symbol, but God did. When we take the I or X shaped pole, over the T shaped we are missing the Passover by miles. Both the I and X were used regarding civil matters, not religious. The Passover is religious in nature, thus the Cross had to have some significant connection to the Passover. What could it be? The Blood on the door, it was in three places, the top and both sides about two thirds up, giving us the perfect sign of the Cross. Jesus is our Passover, He went to the Cross on the Passover, thus the shape of the Cross had to correspond to the Door of the Passover.

The Holy Place had the furniture arranged to match the same figure, with the Menorah to the left, the Shewbread to the right, and the Golden Altar of Incense at the top just before the entrance into the Holy of Holies. If God saw the sign of the Cross when Moses held the first Passover, surely He knew the type of Cross to be used. If it was an X, then Moses would have placed the blood at the top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right; if it was the I shaped then the blood would have been at the very top, and very bottom, but Moses followed the instructions of God, indicating the Cross was seen in Passover. 

Simply because some idol worshiper or witch uses a symbol of God, it doesn't make the symbol evil. We as Christians must discern between good and evil, or we will fall into the evil thinking we are doing good, when all we're doing is working for the enemy. Allowing a carnal theology of fear to run to its extreme would cause one to remove the use of the name of God (El) based on the Phoenicians use, then we find the Phoenician god El was seen on many Roman coins at the time of Christ; especially the silver ones. When Peter took the money out of the mouth of the fish it was Roman money, paid to the Romans. Jesus told us to render to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God, separation and division, yet still rendering.

The Romans took from many sources, including the Phoenician. The Phoenician language was mixed with Egyptian, found in Cuneiform or wedge shaped letters and figures. Astarte was the main Phoenician goddess, and Nimrud (Nimrod) the main god, both were seen throughout history. We know Nimrod was related to Noah, so do we say Noah was a witchdoctor? No, God saved Noah and Noah's family, knowing full well Nimrod would begin Babel. If God knows all things, then He knows all things. It doesn't mean He ordains, or causes them, but it does mean He has full knowledge of them.

The T shaped Cross used by the Romans came from the Chaldees, during the third dynasty of Ur in the Chaldees the worship of Tammuz was common, so common it's believed by Jewish scholars Terah, the natural father of Abram may have been engaged in the making of Tammuz figures. Joshua 24:2 shows Terah did worship idols, some Jewish historians show Terah was also an idol maker. Abram left his father's house of idol worship, yet as Abraham he was the first person God imputed righteousness to. The history of Abram didn't stop God from making Covenant with the man, yet we also know God loved Jacob, but hated Esau. If God knows all things why even allow Esau to be born? God intervenes, He doesn't interfere.

The T shaped cross used by the Romans could always be determined by how the victim had to carry the cross piece, which had a weight near one hundred pounds, rather than the upright Pole which had a weight near seven hundred pounds. A hundred pounds would be a chore for any person to drag, but to think they were able to pull seven hundred pounds is out of the question. The use of Nails (plural) on the Victim removed the concept of the I shaped, but left the X and T shaped. The T shaped called for Three Nails to be used, one in each wrist, with one through the feet. There are historical notes showing the victim was more than likely bound with leather straps to the X shaped, eliminating the use of nails. The T shape used bindings to lift the victim, but they were then removed leaving the victim nailed to the cross piece by their carpals, then the upright piece held the feet one over the other with a nail through the top of the feet.

Thomas said, "Except I shall see in His Hands the print of the NAILS, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe" (Jn 20:25). This verse was quoted by Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Apostle, thus it's correct in language and tense. With this we know "blessed is he who doesn't see, yet believes". We find some must see before they  believe, interesting how man proves the point, those who believe, believe, those who don't, don't.

The standard or upright stake was always in place before the victim arrived with the cross piece. Usually there was a hole in the ground, thus the upright piece was placed in the hole, indicating Jesus carried His Cross, or better He carried the Cross Piece. The victim would be tied to the Cross Piece after nailing their wrists at the carpal joints to the cross piece; however, the palms of their hands would be turned and placed against the wood, rather than pointing outwardly. We get our English word Carpal from the Greek word Karpos which refers to the location where the wrist meets the base of the hand. To the translators, and early Greeks the word "hand" included the carpal joints to the point where the lower arm joined. We know the palm of the hand couldn't support the body weight, but carpal area could. We can become a legalist on the issue, missing the importance of the Cross. Making an issue of the "hand" or "wrist" is no different than making an issue out of the type of wood the Cross was made of, rather than what it represented.

The victim and cross piece would be raised by ropes going over the top of the cross, then tied to the cross piece behind the neck of the victim. The cross piece would be lifted until it was about two-thirds or higher up from the ground, but not at the top, since it couldn't be tied off if it was too high. The cross piece was not nailed to the upright pole, rather ropes held it in place. Then the legs were slightly bent, with one foot placed over the other, with the bottom of the feet against the upright pole. Than the final nail would be driven through the top of the feet into the pole, this nail was often referred to as the "sure nail", or the securing nail keeping the victim on the upright piece. This nail would keep the victim from twisting and turning, causing the ropes to lose grip.

With the palms of the hands turned and placed against the cross piece the victim's shoulder's would begin to come out of the sockets, the victim would push up with their legs to relieve the pressure, but as they did the nail through the feet would begin to break the many bones in the feet. The pain would cause them to relax their legs, but in so doing the shoulder's would again begin to disjoint. When the shoulder's did disjoint the bones would slam together in the neck area causing the victim to choke to death. The T shaped Cross was the only one wherein the victims legs would be broke. It did no good to break their legs on the X, or the I shaped. As horrid as this type of death was, God saw it before the Romans used it.

David the king and prophet wrote "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels" (Ps 22:14). The Septuagint shows Psalm 22 reading, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are loosened; my heart in the midst of my belly is become like a melting wax" and "they pierced my hands and feet". This is important since the Septuagint is not a Christian document, rather it's Jewish. Psalm 22 shows the dislocation of the bones, thus if we claim the Cross was "I" shaped, the prophetic Psalm would show we were in error.

John said he saw both blood and water flow from the side of Jesus. There is a sack covering the heart of a person, in the sack is a fluid like water, when the spear entered the heart of Jesus, both water (mercy) and blood (grace) came out, showing He was physically dead, but hardly soul dead. When a person is under pressure to the point their heart bursts, the sack around their heart also breaks, but John saw the water and blood flow from the wound, indicating the spear passed between the third and fourth rib, then punctured the heart. However we also find both Mercy and Grace were in Jesus, they flowed out making the Water and Blood two elements of the Witness, the Spirit as a result of being Born Again the third element to the Witness (I Jn 5:7-8). The Record in Heaven consists of Father, Word and Holy Ghost, the Witness connects the Water for the Mercy of the Father, the Blood for the New Covenant of the Word, then the Spirit as the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Report sees things complete, thus it makes Declarations, but the Witness carries out the Declarations. Therefore, God can say something is complete as far as the Report is concerned, but the performance of the matter must be completed by the Witness to bring them into Unity.

It all begins at the Cross, the Law and Commandments which were against are nailed to the Cross, so it might be important to know which one we should claim. The T shaped cross being the only one of the three wherein the victims legs were broke gives us an undisputed clue to the type of cross Jesus was on (Jn 19:32-33). Adding the comments of Thomas, it becomes clear, it was a T shaped Cross.

Like Mark 16:16-18 we have choice before us, the evidence shows the verses are proper and needed as presented in the various Manuscripts (codex) and supportive materials, including other verses, thus we can believe, or find reasons not to. There are 2,800 different manuscripts, all dated prior to 1500 AD, excluding the Wycliff, Bishops and other texts. We can search the Scriptures in order to support our thinking, or search the Scriptures to have our thinking conform to the Word, or we can search and find some reason not to believe, all avenues have some support, but only the Believer who is in the Body can claim "shall be saved" if they continue to believe. We can use the words of man to override the Bible, or allow the Bible to define the Bible. Both use the words with the scholarly endeavors of man, both use the Bible, but only one of those allows the Bible to reign supreme over the words of man. When we elevate the intellect of man above the Bible we have made an idol of flesh and blood. If we have to trust in the intellect of man, we are in sad shape. The Teacher who teaches the teachers is still the Holy Ghost, He still teaches by comparing spiritual to spiritual (Jn 14:26 & I Cor 2:13-14).

All cult systems have three pillars, self-righteousness, corrupt end time thinking, and something they assume elevates them above the rest of the Body. The attempt to make the Cross of Jesus something it wasn't is a prime example. If we hold to the I type of cross, we are saying Jesus failed at the Cross, thus we are yet lost. History does help in this matter, we find Constantine was a heathen Roman, who had a vision, which was so moving he converted to the faith. Some tell us Constantine used the sign of the T shaped Cross on his armor, but history shows he used the Greek CHI or X as a sign of Christ, rather than the sign of the Cross, thus giving us X for Christ, explaining the phrase "XMAS", or Mass for Christ. Before Constantine converted he was a sun worshipper, so does it mean we should never use the name of Christ, since a sun worshiper like Constantine used the symbol of Christ? Jesus told us to follow Him, not men, thus following the concerns, or religious fears of man, is still following men.

There is the argument the Greek word used for Cross means an Upright stake, which it does, but it was part of the Cross. Jesus wasn't hanging in mid air, the upright piece was there. The sign hung on the Cross was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, giving us the authority to use the Latin. The early church used the Latin word for the word Cross, the six panels of forty seven translators of the King James used several texts, including Jerome's Latin Vulgate, the Latin word for Cross denotes two pieces of wood, not one. Jerome used Polycarp and others as witnesses, as well as his own personal evidence of the Persecution. The scriptures show Jesus hung on the Cross from the ninth hour until sunset, thereby providing more Scriptural evidence regarding the type of Cross.

The Wood can be one piece, as a tree with branches is one piece, thus it doesn't mean one upright piece, but a connection of the pieces to form One Cross, and the Cross piece represents the Branches of the Tree.

Some tend to use Acts 19:19 as a support to denounce the T shaped Cross as some symbol of witchcraft; however, Acts 19:19 shows the items were Books of Curious Arts. The wording Curious Arts means books used to practice something, does it mean all our books used to gain the knowledge of God must be burned? Hardly, the books noted in Acts 19:19 had to do with the actual practice of witchcraft, including formulas and chants, thus they were working witchcraft manuals. The people burned their own books based on their own will, they were not ordered to. If Paul would have told these people to burn their books, he would have entered legalism. We can't force our congregation to burn books, or tear down icons, it has to be the desire of the person to do what is right. Knowledge is the key, once knowledge is introduced, choice follows, but knowledge never allows us to force someone to do something. Liberty means Free, yet we have the choice to do what is right, or not, the choice is ours, the result in God's hand.

Two sins of the Body from 300 AD to 1500 AD are noted as the worship of Icons and Simony, both came from Simon Magus (Acts 8). Simon Magus was noted by John and others in the early church as the father of all heretics. Although he was rejected from obtaining the baptism with the Holy Ghost, the man did believe the signs, he was baptized in water, thus he was a member of the Body. He remained natural, walking away from the Faith, but he was nonetheless water baptized. Is water baptism then evil? Of course not, is the baptism with the Holy Ghost evil? No, although Simon wanted to buy the power of the Holy Ghost, we know he was baptized in water, so do we now reject water baptism? The heart of Simon was not right before God, thus water baptism didn't change his heart, it's not suppose to. The New Man changes our character and nature based on being our New Heart. Simon Magus is an example of someone who believed the signs, engaged in water baptism, yet failed to look at his own heart, then attempted to get other people to do his prayer of repentance for him.

Now we allow brother Paul to put the finishing touches on this. The Greek word for Wood is Xulon meaning Fuel, but the Greek has many words for the English word Tree, depending on the type of tree. One of those is the Greek Dendron used in Revelation 7:1, then another for the Fig Tree, another compound word for Olive Tree, with two separate words denoting which type of Olive Tree. One meaning a Wild Olive Tree, the other meaning a Good Olive Tree, all words used by Paul. The Hebrew helps explain the types; Josephus uses the Hebrew Ets translated as Cross, telling there were many Jews  crucified before Jesus came. Josephus records how the type of element for religious death was a Tree with Branches, or the sign of Tammuz. The Hebrew word Ets means Tree or Timber, but it's always a plural, or more than the trunk itself. It comes from the Hebrew Atsah meaning to fasten, it was used in Deut 21:22-23 in the phrase, "Cursed is anyone who is hung on a tree"; therefore, in order to complete this Scripture the Tree has to be more than a trunk, it had to have at least one branch. The Vine without the Branches is not a Vine. This takes us to Galatians 3:13 where Paul used the Greek word Xulon for Tree, explaining Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. This connects to Deuteronomy 21:22, showing the concept of the Cross Paul knew had a "branch". Why did Paul use the word Xulon rather than Stauros? The Greek word for Cross is often Stauros, which comes from the Greek Stao meaning to Stand, from which we get the Greek Stauroo for Crucify. Again we know Jesus was on an upright piece, but his arms were held by the cross piece, thus Paul used a word conducive to the Scriptures, as Josephus concurred.

The word Cross then denotes the method of being Crucified, not the actual element upon which one is crucified. Paul's use of Xulon shows it had to be more than one piece of wood in order to fit the Scripture. Taking us back to the Hebrew Ets, then to the Hebrew word Paraq (Crossway), as the intersecting of two things. The Cross represented the placement of the Street, the element joining two things. The kingdom of heaven is based in Mercy, metaphorically seen as water. The kingdom of heaven was operational before the Cross, but not the Kingdom of God, thus the Kingdom of God is based in the Blood of Jesus. As the Son of man Jesus introduced the direct Mercy of the Father, as the Son of God He granted us Grace, both Water and Blood. Therefore, if it was not a Tree with braches we are still under the curse of the Law, without hope.

The Jews related Ets with Paraq, thus the Cross also represented the Crossway, or the Street joining us to heaven. The root word for Paraq means to deliver, but in Daniel 9:24-25 it's Rechowb meaning an Avenue, the concept is the same. The Street is a place between places, linking places, in this case it shows how the Cross of Jesus is not only able to deliver both Jew and Gentile from the snare of the enemy, but deliver them from the second death as well. The Cross of Jesus is the place where the Mercy of the Father meets the repentant heart of man, bringing mankind into the place of safety, where they can be sprinkled by the Blood of Jesus as they are saved by Grace through Faith.

Granted after 300 AD the Body began many traditions, and held many things not Christ in nature, even changing some traditions into doctrine, but prior to 300 AD the sign of the Cross was common, even among the Apostles, as well as the three forms of Baptism, Water (Mercy), Holy Ghost (Grace, Spirit), and Fire. In the First Century a noted saint and church leader known as Tertullian found it necessary to defend the Christians against the heathen charge of worshipping the Cross. This false charge came about when John the Apostle, the disciple whom Jesus loved was seen with a wooden cross. John did not have a Crucifix, but a cross. However, John used it as a teaching tool, he was never seen worshipping it. Tertullian explained how the Christian didn't worship the Cross, rather they respected it; thereby giving us the difference between respect and worship.

In the First Century it was common to use olive oil on a subject by making the sign of the Cross on their forehead; however, in all this the Cross or the Oil were not subjects of worship, but symbols. Records show the making of the sign of the cross was done by many in the first century (Apol. c. 16 et al); the same records show the "sign of the cross" was used when anointing someone with olive oil on the forehead in the shape of a T. This act was done at water baptism after the person made their declaration of belief in the Cross, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

The Crucifix was not introduced until much later, becoming an Icon, since it has a likeness of Jesus on it; however, it only becomes an Icon when it’s worshiped, prayed to, or used it as a source of power. The early church held small wooden Crosses with a cross piece near the top. Later they added the A for Alpha, then a W or O for Omega, an X or P for Christ, as well as introducing the Pope Cross which had three cross pieces. The three pieces of the Pope Cross referred to Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In Justin's Dialogue With Trypho (110-165 AD) the description of Jesus on the Cross is compared with Moses holding his hands out to the side in the battle with Amalek. Justin notes how it took both Hur and Aaron to hold the hands of Moses out to the side during the battle, rather than holding them together in an upright position, thus Justin in the First Century equates the position of the arms of Jesus on the Cross as out stretched.

If all things were created by Jesus, then we should look to Him, not the item created. All those who have had experiences with symbols of Satanism, tell us there is one key to witchcraft; it's the "worship of the symbol" not the mere possession (World Harvest School Of Continuous Learning, pp 60-64). If we can't discern these things, we will form our own heresy attempting to avoid what we presume is heresy. We don’t need magic water, or an icon we have the Name of Jesus. Making things a god is a direct violation of Faith; we can even worship our theology, or knowledge, forgetting if God had not made Himself known to us, we would never know there was a God. Our theology can be more god than God, causing us to make our own translation to support our theology, rather than change our theology to fit God.    

All this brings us down to the point, the Cross is the place of the imputed death of the flesh, as we are commanded to pick up our cross. It may sound like a small thing, after all if someone wants to change the type of Cross, so what? If we can alter the type of Cross Jesus was on, we can also alter our cross; ending in a self-crucified state, missing the purpose. We must submit to the Cross, not make up fables about its type. Rather than a Cross, we can use a tooth pick, or a pencil, then make ourselves special among the special. Rather than deny the self, we end exalting it. The issue is really accepting the conditions of the Cross, rather than change the Cross to fit our religious opinions. The Cross can be one piece, or fifty, if we haven't accepted it fully by imputing the flesh dead, we have missed "deny yourself and pick up your cross". We can see how the Romans missed the point, because they confused one element for another. In Romans Paul is going to instruct them what "being justified" consists of, as well as why we shouldn't attempt to mix the Law of Moses into the Law of the Spirit. The importance of never imputing sins on people, or judging them, rather than discerning. We should not judge the cultist, the cult yes, not the cultist. We present the cultist choice, just the same as we do anyone. What they do with it is up to them, but at least they will have the Truth, and not a fable. Selah.

Note: The use of SOZO Bible Study Lessons, Newsletters or Short Studies (written/penned by Pastor G. Evan Newmyer as scribe and author, prior to his passing from this world) has been given to Ann M. Wolf by written permission from the author, as was customarily granted to alumni of the Sozo Bible Institute. This limited permission is given under clear agreement to never “charge” specific amounts for the Lessons, but rather to share the material with others as the Spirit leads, for the purpose of “edification and encouragement,” on a free will offering basis, and while honoring the biblical principal to “teach the truth in love.” We ask then, that the desires of the original scribe (Rev. Newmyer) be respected; therefore the material can be shared among those who are dedicated in their study of the Bible, but shared freely without charging specific fees and with respect to the copyright laws of the land and states. All rights are reserved.

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