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Bible Basics (5th. ed.)

Study 1: God || Study 2: The Spirit Of God || Study 3: The Promises Of God || Study 4: God And Death || Study 5: The Kingdom Of God || Study 6: God And Evil || Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus || Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus || Study 9: The Work Of Jesus || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus || Study 11: Life In Christ   9.1 The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2 The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3 Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4 Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5 The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Doctrine In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Doctrine In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Doctrine In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Doctrine In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross

Digression 17: The Crucifix

It is widely believed in Christendom that Jesus Christ was killed on a cross.  However, the Greek word 'stauros', which is normally translated 'cross' in English Bibles, really means a stake or pole. Indeed, the crucifix symbol probably has pagan origins. It is fitting that Christ died with hands and arms lifted up above his head, rather than spread out in a crucifix form, seeing that uplifted hands is a symbol of God's promises being confirmed (Eze. 20:5,6,15; 36:7; 47:14), as well as intense prayer (Lam. 2:19; 1 Tim. 2:8; 2 Chron. 6:12,13; Ps. 28:2), which Christ was engaged in on the cross (Heb. 5:7). He said that as the bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole when Israel were in the wilderness, so he would be publicly lifted up in his time of dying; thus he associated the 'cross' with the pole (John 3:14).

The Roman Catholic Church has attached great mystical significance to the cross. This is completely without Biblical support; it has resulted in the crucifix becoming a talisman, a physical token that God is with us. People have come to feel that by wearing a crucifix or regularly making the sign of the cross, God will be with them. This is mere tokenism; the real power of the cross is through our association with Christ's death by belief and baptism, rather than recalling the physical form of the cross. It is easier, of course, to do the latter than the former.

There is no lack of evidence that the crucifix was a pagan symbol known and used well before the time of Christ. It is yet another piece of paganism, like Christmas trees, which has been mixed into ‘Christianity’.

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