Is it wrong to
wear a Cross?
Q. If I show on the wall or wear a cross in my home am I going against the teachings of Jesus? I look at it as a reminder of the sins he carried for us. But my son says it is an idol (false image of Jesus) and that we should not have them in the house.
(Submitted by: Joan)
A. The Greek word stauros, Strong's Concordance Number #4716, is often translated as "cross". This is an error in translation. Stauros should be translated as "stake" or "post". The instrument of torture on which Jesus died was NOT in the shape of the letter "T". It was simply a post or stake on which the victim was hung by nailing both hands over his head. The feet were also impaled so the victim not only suffered more pain, but also was unable to move enough to dislodge the hands. This caused suffocation if the victim did not die from other afflictions.
The representation of the crucifixion that you have had its origin LONG BEFORE the time of Jesus. In some other cultures it was called a Tau and was the symbol for "female". As such, it was a symbol used in many pagan religions representing goddesses such as Ishtar, Astarte or Venus, as she was called in the Greek language. It was first introduced to Christianity by Constantine, Emperor of Rome, in 313 AD. Alexander Hislop in his book The Two Babylons, chapter 5, section 6 states:
"The cross is looked upon (in reference to the Papal system of the Catholic Church) as the grand charm, as the great refuge in every season of danger, in every hour of temptation as the infallible preservative from all the powers of darkness . . . it is adored with all the homage due only to the Most High; and for any one to call it, in the hearing of a genuine Romanist, by the Scriptural term, "the accursed tree," (see Galatians 3:13) is a mortal offence. To say that such superstitious feeling for the sign of the cross . . . ever grew out of the saying of Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14) -- that is, in the doctrine of Christ crucified -- is a mere absurdity, a shallow subterfuge and pretence . . .
"The same sign . . . that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honored with the same honors . . . it was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians -- the true original form of the letter T -- the initial of the name of Tammuz -- which, in Hebrew, radically the same as ancient Chaldee, as found on coins, was formed as in Number 1 of the below picture and in Etrurian and Coptic, as in Numbers 2 and 3. That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol. To identify Tammuz with the sun it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun, as is shown in Number 4 below; sometimes it was inserted in the circle, as is shown in Number 5."
by Pagan Religions
1 ------------ 2 ------------ 3 ---------- 4 ----------- 5
In reality, in terms of what the Bible teaches, the Tau has nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity.
The word stauros is also used figuratively in the Bible, for instance Matthew 10:38, where Jesus told His followers to take up their "cross" and follow Him. In this instance, it represents the sacrifice one makes when leaving the ways of the world and following Jesus.
We are cautioned in the Ten Commandments:
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. " (Exodus 20:4, NIV)
One who uses the Tau to represent Jesus or God, even those who wear one as a cross, would be coming dangerously close to idolatry. Although it may remind you of Jesus taking away our sins, it was not the instrument of His death and you can probably find some other way of remembering His great sacrifice rather than using a pagan symbol to do so. And we can be certain that a cross does not remind God of His Son's sacrifice and suffering either.
I heard someone say that it was a good thing they didn't have electrocution for capital punishment in the time of Jesus because people would wear little electric chairs on chains around their necks and put them on top of steeples on their church buildings. (Steeples are also a pagan symbol. They are a male phallic symbol (e.g. made to represent a penis) and were worshipped by pagans throughout the Bible. It was these stakes in the "high places" that made God so angry at the Israelites who were worshipping idols.) Although somewhat irreverent and facetious, he did make a good point.
I believe it would be more appropriate to hate the instrument of torture on which our God and Savior died rather than venerating it. I thank God daily that Jesus was willing to die for my sins but His death is not something I relish thinking about.
I believe your son's comment about not displaying or even not to wear a cross is good advice that deserves serious consideration.
Written by: Clay Willis