The Origin of the Cross Symbol Used in Christianity

The cross is used within the Christian faith and among the Christian sects. It is the most common symbol seen in, on, and around Christian churches all over the world. Since it pre-dates Christianity and has pagan beginnings, at least one church father of the 3rd century CE condemned its use.

The first appearance of a cross in Christian artwork was on a Vatican sarcophagus from the mid-5th century. It was a Greek cross with arms of equal length and Jesus’ body had no place on it. The first portrayals of crucifixion on a cross did not appear until the 7th century CE. This particular cross took the shape of a letter “T”. “T”, the initial of the name Tammuz. This shape is from the form of the Tau Cross. The church may have copied this symbol from the Pagan Druids who made crosses like this to represent the Thau, or god. St. Philip was allegedly crucified on a cross like this.

Later on in Christian history, the Tau Cross became the Roman Cross that most everyone is familiar with today. The Romans sometimes executed people on a Tau Cross and sometimes a Roman cross. There were times they used a simple stake and would forego the cross all together.

It is not likely that Jesus actually hung on a cross at all but instead hung on a tree, stake, or pole. The original gospels written in Greek used the word “stauros” to refer to the structure used for execution. This word means a vertical pole with no crossbar. Jesus may have been hung on a tree (Acts 5:30) (1 Peter 2:24)

What has caused some conflict is Deuteronomy 21:23 which states that a person hung on a tree was cursed by God. This verse here prevented many of the Jewish faith from accepting Jesus as Messiah. Until Constantine made his entrance, the cross as an artistic reference to Jesus’ crucifixion cannot even be found. Since crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian Sun-god, it could be said that Constantine was a Sun-god worshiper!

There are several pre-Christian beginnings of the cross symbol that can be found. These crosses range in design but are a cross nonetheless. In Babylon the cross took its place with a crescent moon and was the symbol of their moon deity. In Egypt the ankh cross (a Tau cross topped by an inverted tear shape) reflects their Goddess of Truth. It also represents Isis and Osiris and their sexual union. In India, in Hinduism, the upright shaft stands for the higher states of being while the horizontal bar stands for the lower states of being. In Assyria the corners of the cross represent the four directions in which the sun shines. In Scandinavia the Tau cross symbolized the hammer of the God Thor. In Europe the use of a human effigy on the cross in a scarecrow form has been used since ancient times. Long ago, and this is pretty gross, a human would be sacrificed and hung on said cross. Later on that sacrifice would be chopped into pieces so his blood and flesh could be widely spread and buried to encourage crop fertility. I don’t know about you but I’ve lost my appetite.

As you can see, the symbol of the cross dates back to pre-Christian times. The words “cross” and “crucify” are nowhere to be found in the Greek of the New Testament. They are mistranslations. Constantine was a big instigator in uniting Sun worship and Messianic Faith. In order to increase the prestige of the church, he allowed pagans into the churches along with their signs and symbols. The “T”, or cross, was one of these symbols. It seems Jesus and “cross” are not really linked at all.

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