Jehovah's Witnesses, Ezekiel, and the CROSS


#1

Jehovah’s Witnesses loathe the Cross, and believe that God hates the Cross too because it allegedly is a purely “pagan” thing. But did you know that God commanded the use of a cross in the Old Testament? Yes, He did.

In Ezekiel 9: verses 3 and 4, a holy man with an inkhorn is told to go throughout the city and mark the righteous in their foreheads with a mark. The NAB calls this mark an X, but this is incorrect, for the Hebrew word for that mark is a TAU. The man with the inkhorn was told to go through the city and mark the foreheads of the righteous with a TAU. A TAU is a Cross.
The NAB, which uses the letter X instead, nonethess in it’s footnote to Ezekiel 9:4, admits that the Tau or Taw is the form
of a Cross.

Isn’t that odd that God would command the use of something he abhors, a cross, to mark the foreheads of the righteous??

By the way, I don’t think that that use of the Tau in Ezekiel 9:3,4
is accidental either. As Tertullian said around 200 A.D., the early Christians had the longstanding habit of marking their foreheads with the Sign of the Cross.

God bless,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)


#2

:slight_smile: Jay, have you read this article in a 2001 edition of THIS ROCK? -

catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0101frs.asp


#3

Wow, thanks for that link !!
Excellent article.
I remember being startled when I first learned
that the mark to be put on the good peoples’ foreheads
was the Tau (Cross).

God bless,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)


#4

What it says about the Cross on the Watchtower website is

“6. Cross: Jesus did not die on a cross. He died on a pole, or a stake. The Greek word translated “cross” in many Bibles meant just one piece of timber. The symbol of the cross comes from ancient false religions. The cross was not used or worshiped by the early Christians. Therefore, do you think it would be right to use a cross in worship?—”

I like to look at the websites of JW’s and Mormons etc because i think it is important to know one’s enemy and what he is thinking. Who goes to battle without knowing where the other side’s soldiers are and if possible knowing what plans have been drawn up for atttack?:thumbsup:


#5

Tequilamac, I agree it’s important to know what the other side is claiming.

What the Watchtower Society is claiming, however, is blatantly false, because as the link above demonstrates irrefutably,
the early, early Christians in fact DID use the cross, regularly, and hundreds of years before Constantine.

The Watchtower Society is extremely deceitful.

God bless,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)


#6

An angel, actually :slight_smile:

is told to go throughout the city and mark the righteous in their foreheads with a mark. The NAB calls this mark an X, but this is incorrect, for the Hebrew word for that mark is a TAU. The man with the inkhorn was told to go through the city and mark the foreheads of the righteous with a TAU. A TAU is a Cross.
The NAB, which uses the letter X instead, nonethess in it’s footnote to Ezekiel 9:4, admits that the Tau or Taw is the form
of a Cross.

Isn’t that odd that God would command the use of something he abhors, a cross, to mark the foreheads of the righteous??

By the way, I don’t think that that use of the Tau in Ezekiel 9:3,4 is accidental either. As Tertullian said around 200 A.D., the early Christians had the longstanding habit of marking their foreheads with the Sign of the Cross.

God bless,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)

**But see, for an alternative understanding of the Taw in Ezekiel 9.4, the commentaries by Greenhill (in the Geneva Commentary series) & by Daniel Blok (in the NICOT series). Blok’s commentary is a mammoth achievement in every respect - nobody who wants to understand Ezekiel can afford to be without it; it is extremely thorough, shows a good coomand of the literature on the book, and treats the book with both great reverence & great learning (two things not always found together) It is also well written - not something one can take for granted nowadays. **

As for the distaste for the Cross - I will be very surprised if it does not owe a good deal to “The Two Babylons” - a book often mentioned on these forums (often by me :o). Its case against the Cross is built on the idea that it is pagan. While there are pre-Christian cross-shaped designs, it is misleading to call them crosses without further ado, since for Christians the Cross has meaning only because of Christ - which can scarcely be said of cruciform designs which arose in cultures where Christ had not been preached. It is the meaning that is important, more than the shape; which is why it is relatively unimportant whether Christ suffered on a tau-shaped Cross, or on what heraldry calls a Latin Cross; or even on a crux quadrata. If He had been executed by the Assyrians or Persians, the JWs might be correct - He was crucified by the Romans, so a stake is out of the question.

So Mexican or Assyrian “crosses”, though cruciform, cannot be used as ammo in arguments against the Cross or the Crucifix, because they mean something quite different from the Cross & the Crucifix - unless one is going to out-Mormon the Mormons, & say that Christ preached in Assyria in 1800 BC, & in Mexico in 1500 AD. Even if He did, that would not of itself make the Cross or the Crucifix bad, evil, pagan or forbidden to Christians. ##


#7

jw’s also state this, why would we want to revere the cross when it reminds God of the fact that it was the instrument of His Son’s death? They also state, since Christ did not die on a cross but a pole, the cross is a pagan synmbol, and jw’s do not revere the instrument of Christ’s death. ( the pole ) hmmmm let’s see here, they used to have a symbol of the cross on their magazines years back. another flip flop.


#8

Marilena said:

jw’s also state this, why would we want to revere the cross when it reminds God of the fact that it was the instrument of His Son’s death?

Yes, and this line of reasoning is mistaken. An example of it is from the 11/8/72 Awake:

“How would you feel if one of your dearest friends was executed on false charges? Would you make a replica of the instrument of execution, say a hangman’s noose or an electric chair?”

The Cross is spoken of as an object of glory, not dishonor, according to Paul:

**GALATIANS 6:14 ** But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

It is central to the Gospel:

1 CORINTHIANS 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

1 CORINTHIANS 1:17-18 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (NOTE: Paul calls his message “the word of the cross.”)

There is a good possibility that Paul actually used a visual aid to show people how Jesus was put to death:

GALATIAN 3:5 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?


#9

it is mistaken on their part.


#10

Just remember that the person who translated the NWT Bible was a man who did not understand nor knew ancient Greek (aka Biblical Greek). Charles T. Russell studied modern Greek for two years and that made him the expert on translation. Blah!! So these people who have had no training nor studies on Biblical languages claim that their translation is the correct one! For God’s sake!!! Also, they completely ignore history. If they look at Roman history, they can see that the cross was used in Jesus’ era to punish criminals. As the Wikipedia Encyclopedia says , “This painful method of execution was common for slaves and non-Romans convicted of serious crimes in the Roman Empire”.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_cross

So, I don’t get why these JWs swear that they know everything and say that we made up the idea of the cross.

I guess these people need to find a way to travel back in time so they will open their eyes and heart to the Truth!


#11

Minor correction, it was Frederick Franz who did the 2 year study of modern Greek, not Russell. Russell on the other hand, while he claimed fluency in Koine Greek, proved unable to even recognize the Greek alphabet–and demonstrated that ignorance in court!


#12

PRECISELY what i was thinking just about an hour ago!!! exactly!!!


#13

Minor correction, it was Frederick Franz who did the 2 year study of modern Greek, not Russell.

While Fred Franz is the best guess of who did the translation, it still can’t be known with 100% certainty. Lion, if you’ve got some sources that state it with certainty, along with documentation, I’d be curious to know. I’m aware that this is what his nephew Ray believes, as do most others (including myself) but I’m curious about further documentation. Thanks.


#14

Marilena said -

it is mistaken on their part.

Marilena - There is an article in the April '06 Awake entitled “Did Jesus Really Die On A Cross?”. Maybe that woman who is calling on you can come up with one. Anyway, there is a bona-fide mistake in it. It makes the statement:

“It was not until about 300 years after Jesus’ death that some professed Christians promoted the idea that Jesus was put to death on a two beamed cross.”

That just isn’t correct :nope: .

Here’s an article that documents that Christians before the year 300 taught that the stauros was a cross:

catholicapologetics.net/jw_cross45.htm

They are usually pretty careful about their facts, but they really let one slip through this time. Sad thing is, most Witnesses would never take the trouble to verify that statement. I don’t know - maybe there’s a way for you to point that out to the woman :yup:.


#15

I really enjoyed the information you are discussing, I just shared most of it through email to a fellow Catholic friend that has an acquaintance at work that is a JW. I know I’m not on the right board to ask this, but maybe you could direct me to someplace that could help…?

I’m trying to help her find a way to open up dialogue regarding his JW belief, maybe some kind of common ground for a starting point, and then let the dialogue open from there. Any suggestions? He’s always mentioning what his elders are instructing him to do, if that helps?

Thank you.


#16

i sent you a pm. you need to talk to jeff schwehm here.


#17

take alook at this passage from Josephus:

One of the most remarkable passages in the Jewish Antiquities is the ‘Testimonium Flavianum’:

At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of the people who receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. He was the Messiah. And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so. For he appeared to them on the third day, living again, just as the divine prophets had spoken of these and countless other wondrous things about him. And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out. [Jewish Antiquities, 18.63-64]

livius.org/jo-jz/josephus/josephus.htm

note that josephus, a jewish historian states cross not pole.

here is yet more evidence:

Also, prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, in the Roman territory of Judea, criminals and rebels were put to death by crucifixion, and documents suggest that the cross used was a + shape.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion#Archeological_evidence_for_ancient_crucifixion

see this:

The crucifixion of living persons was not practised among the Hebrews; capital punishment among them consisted in being stoned to death, e.g. the protomartyr Stephen (Acts 7:57-58). But when Palestine became Roman territory the cross was introduced as a form of punishment, more particularly for those who could not prove their Roman citizenship; later on it was reserved for thieves and malefactors (Josephus, Antiq., XX, vi, 2; Bell. Jud., II, xii, 6; XIV, 9; V, xi, 1).

newadvent.org/cathen/04517a.htm

from the same site:

According to Roman custom, the penalty of crucifixion was always preceded by scourging (virgis cædere, Prud., “Enchirid.”, xli, 1); after this preliminary punishment, the condemned person had to carry the cross, or at least the transverse beam of it, to the place of execution (Plut., “Tard. dei vind.”, ix, “Artemid.”, II, xli),

newadvent.org/cathen/04517a.htm


#18

the above mentioned articles burns holes in the witnesses claim that Christ was crucified to a pole.


#19

Also see this from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tau

Tau

Tau (upper case Τ, lower case τ) is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 300. This letter in English is pronounced taʊ (as the first syllable in “tower”), but in Modern Greek, this letter’s name is pronounced tæf. This is because the pronunciation of the combination of Greek letters αυ has changed from ancient to modern times from one of “au” to either “av” or “af” (see Greek language#Orthography).

The symbolism of the cross was connected not only to the letter chi, but also to tau, the equivalent of the last letter in the Phoenician and Old Hebrew alphabets, and which was originally cruciform in shape.

An essay written around 160 CE, attributed to Lucian, a mock legal prosecution called The Consonants at Law — Sigma v. Tau in the Court of Seven Vowels contains a reference to the attribution. Sigma petitions the court to sentence Tau to death by crucifixion, saying:

Men weep, and bewail their lot, and curse Cadmus with many curses for introducing Tau into the family of letters; they say it was his body that tyrants took for a model, his shape that they imitated, when they set up structures on which men are crucified. Stauros (cross) the vile engine is called, and it derives its vile name from him. Now, with all these crimes upon him, does he not deserve death, nay, many deaths? For my part I know none bad enough but that supplied by his own shape — that shape which he gave to the gibbet named stauros after him by men.

Other uses of Tau:

In ancient times, a symbol for life and/or resurrection, whereas the 8th letter of the Greek alphabet, theta, was considered the symbol of death.
In Biblical times, the Tau cross was put on men to distinguish those who lamented sin, although newer versions of the Bible have replaced the ancient term “Tau” with “mark” (Ezekiel 9:4). Resonating with this, the Hebrew form of the word Tau is pronounced tov, which means "marking."
Tau is usually considered as the symbol of Franciscan orders due to St. Francis’ love for it, symbol of the redemption and of the Cross. Almost all franciscan churches have painted a tau with two crossing arms, both with stigmata, the one of Jesus and the other of Francis; usually members of the Secular Franciscan Order wear a wooden τ in a string with three knots around the neck.


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