Question by Knight of The Lord’s Table: Do you know the origin of the Cross? Has the early Catholic Church influenced modern Christianity?
Surprising as it may sound, the cross was in use as a religious symbol for thousands of years before Jesus Christ ever walked the earth. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
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 (1908 edition, volume 4, p. 517).
An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols authored by J.C. Cooper confirms the ancient origins of the cross. A universal symbol from the most remote times; it is the cosmic symbol par excellence. It is a world center and therefore a point of communication between heaven and earth and a cosmic axis, thus sharing the symbolism of the cosmic tree, mountain, pillar, ladder etc (p. 45).
Later, the Celtic cross came to symbolize the four roads to the corners of the earth.
Unger’s Bible Dictionary confirms the usage of the cross in ancient times as a pagan symbol. The authors write: That the cross was widely known in pre-Christian times as an emblem that was a well-known Heathen Sign. The vestments of the priest of Horus the Egyptian god of light are marked by a cross. At Thebes, in the tombs of the kings, royal cows are represented plowing, a calf playing in front. Each animal has a cross marked in several places on it. Rassam found buildings at Nineveh marked with the Maltese cross. Osiris, as well as Jupiter Ammon, had for a monogram a cross.
The form of the cross now used in Christianity actually had its origin in the letter “T.” This was the traditional symbol for Tammuz, the ancient god of the Chaldeans and Egyptians. Tammuz was the brother of Ishtar, the goddess of fertility who is now unwittingly worshiped by millions of professing Christians on the holiday that bears a form of her name—Easter. The symbol for Tammuz is what the mystery religions call the mystic “T.” It is an emblem of great antiquity, and it is sometimes called “the sign of life.”
The lower case “t”, or cross, was originally used as an amulet over the heart. Sometimes it was inscribed on the garments of pagan priests, and other ancient pagan religions used it as part of the dress of vestal virgins. This Pagan symbol … the Tau, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah … the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) and Egyptians—the true original form of the letter T—the initial of the name of Tammus … (was) the Babylonian emblem of Tammuz.
Buddhists believe that the cross represents both the tree of life and spiritual nourishment.
The Hindus also incorporate the symbol of the cross in their faith. They call the cross the “rajas,” the expansion of being.
The linguistic evidence from the Bible suggests that Jesus was crucified not on a cross, but on an upright stake, or post. The original word that the King James translators rendered as “cross” is the Greek word “stauros.” Found 28 times in the New Testament, the word “cross” in every single case is the Greek word “stauros.” In Strong’s Dictionary of the Greek language, the word is defined as “an upright post or stake.”
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: [Stauros] denotes 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).
Has the “Universal Church” or Catholic Church duped Christians subtley?
Answer by Christopher
Christ died on the cross.
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