Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why the COGs Deny Jesus Died on a Cross

LCG's July 8, 2010 Weekly Update has a news bulletin suggesting that Jesus did not die on a cross. This idea, like so much of HWA's ideas, come straight from the Jehovah's Witnesses, who have taught that Jesus did not die on a cross since around the 1930s.

Here is what LCG's Weekly Update says:
Christ Probably Did not Die on a Cross. In a recent dissertation study at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, pastor Gunnar Samuelsson spent 400 pages describing the “Crucifixion in Antiquity.” His findings bear out what God’s Church has known and taught for decades—that Jesus Christ likely did not die on a “t-shaped” cross. As a devout evangelical preacher and believer in the “power of the Cross,” what Samuelsson discovered shocked him! In his in-depth research, he could find no clear references to the t-shaped cross. Samuelsson noted in an ABC News interview that “…for generations people have misinterpreted and mistranslated the Greek word ‘stauros’ [translated cross in most Bibles] to mean crucifix, when really the term just means a suspension device, which might have been anything such as a ‘pole or tree trunk’” (www.whas11.com, July 2, 2010). Although the information presented by Samuelsson has been known by scholars and God’s Church for decades, it is interesting to see it highlighted in the media. Satan, in his craftiness, has deceived people into believing and even worshiping the crucifix—rubbing likenesses of it, kneeling before it and even making it into religious jewelry. Sadly, not only do many people bow before an image, which God forbids (Deuteronomy 5:8), the crucifix is probably not even an accurate portrayal of the instrument of Christ’s death.
Again HWA took this idea from the Jehovah's Witnesses who use this idea to persuade followers to lose any lose for the Cross and view any Christian who uses it as false Christians which makes it necessary to follow the Watchtower Cult.

You can read more about the great similarity between the Watchtower Cult and HWA's teachings on this matter in this review of Mystery of the Ages. This work exposes
Why would HWA derive this teaching from a known cult? Ironically, what HWA didn’t know was that the Watchtower Society lied about the cross of Christ to their own members. In their "Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures," the Watchtower Society intentionally misquoted Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius (Joost Lips), in his book, "De Cruse Liber Primus" while deceptively displaying only one of the three illustrations shown in this book.15 The first illustration shows a man being crucified on a single beam, with his hands nailed above his head. The next two illustrations in Lipsius’ book—which were deliberately omitted by the Watchtower Society—show the correct cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Lipsius states that four pieces of wood were used: The upright stake, the crossbar in which his hands were nailed in an outstretched position, the piece of wood above the crossbar which contained the entitled superscription ("JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS"), and the final piece of wood fastened below for his feet. Justus Lipsius affirms that Jesus was nailed to a cross as displayed in the latter two illustrations, and not on a simple stake as shown in the first. HWA never realized that he was being duped by the Watchtower Society while he was gleaning his doctrines! The Interlinear is not available to the general public,16 so HWA was never aware of how the Watchtower Society lied about this particular teaching.
As an antidote to this attempt by LCG to alienate you from any Christian who uses the cross, take a look at this article, Cross or Stake?, which shows that, contrary to the Watchtower's constant assertions, there is plenty of evidence to believe that Jesus did indeed die on a cross.

Here's one small sample from this article:
It was not until well into the time of Rutherford in the 1930's that the anti-cross teaching was developed. Rutherford started to promote the view of several Protestant preachers that the word stauros was not known as cross until Constantine introduced it 300 years after Jesus death. This was supposedly done by Constantine to make Christianity more appealing to the Pagans that were already using the cross as a symbol. This article shows that this is not borne out by history. There is ample evidence that..."
In this article the author presents evidence to show that
  • "in Jesus' time stauros could refer to a cross,"
  • "the cross was a common form of torture,"
  • "that Jesus was crucified and Christians were identified by the symbol of a cross 200 years prior to Constantine."
  • "Most importantly, Scriptural references to Jesus death show that he was on a cross."
Here's some of the Scriptural evidence he presents:
Look at the number of nails in each picture. [This is after he has shown a tradition portrayal of the Crucifixion and one from the Watchtower.] Notice in the above depiction from the Watchtower publication ... there is only one nail and it goes through the wrist and not the hands, due to it being a stake, not a cross. Compare this to what Thomas stated at John 20:25;

"unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and stick my finger into the print of the nails and stick my hand into his side, I will certainly not believe".

Jesus was crucified with two nails, one in each hand, not a single nail through the wrist. That separate nails were in each hand is made clear by the use of the word 'nails' not 'nail'. This suggests that Jesus had his arms separated on a cross, not together on a stake as represented in Watchtower publications.

Matthew 27:37 also supports the idea of a cross rather than a stake when it says;

"Above his head they had put the charge against him in writing: 'THIS IS JESUS, KING OF THE JEWS' ".

In the picture of the crucifixion the plaque is above Jesus head, whereas in the Watchtower representation it is necessarily above his hands. If Jesus were impaled on a stake it would be stated that the titilus was placed above his hands, not his head. J. H. Bernard observes that this scripture "suggests that the cross was of the shape called crux immissa, with a cross-bar for the arms, as painters have generally represented it to be" (A Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John, 1929, Vol. 2, p. 628).
The idea that Jesus did not die on a cross is simply used by the Watchtower and Armstrongites to alienate people from any and all Christians who use the Cross as a symbol and to force those people to rely only on their particular non-Cross using group.


  1. I agree with your conclusions. By focusing on the "correctness" of the symbol used by christians, they side step entirely what it represents. It's been something that has been hitting me a lot lately that under the Armstrongist view, they make Christ insuffienct for salvation. God's grace is no longer able to conquer sin. It has to be Christ and some aspect of the law.