The Cross: Pagan Symbol or Symbol of Faith?

By Wayne Turgeon

Seeing as Christ was crucified, is it okay to wear a cross symbolizing our faith?

First, are you sure that Christ died on the cross? History, and more recently archeology, show that the cross was used as a religious symbol centuries before Christ. The shape of the two-beamed cross had its origin in ancient Chaldea and was used to represent the god Tammuz. Tammuz is the deified Nimrod, the first man to lead the opposition against God after the great Flood. He founded the city of Babylon, and along with his mother/wife Semiramis, founded the pagan Babylon mystery religion—the origin of all false religion today. The Egyptians used crosses in abundance, as did the Hindus. The British Museum, for example, exhibits statues of the ancient Assyrian kings wearing almost perfect Maltese crosses around their necks.

The ancient Greek goddess Diana is pictured with a cross over her head, in much the same way the “Virgin Mary” is represented by many medieval artists. Bacchus (the Greek god of wine) is often pictured wearing a headdress adorned with crosses. Different types of crosses were used in Mexico centuries before the Spaniards arrived.

The widespread use of the cross did not begin until the time of Constantine, three centuries after Christ. Archaeologists have not found any Christian use of the symbol before that time. According to one W.E. Vine, the cross as a “Christian” symbol was taken directly from the pagans (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

Check any encyclopedia or historical reference work on this subject. It makes for an interesting study for those who are not afraid to face the truth about this matter.

The New Testament does not specifically describe the instrument upon which Christ died, but the following accounts all use the Greek word xulon, which can be translated as “tree,” but can also mean “a stick, club … or other wooden articles” (Strong’s).

  • “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 5:30).
  • “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 10:39).
  • “And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre” (Acts 13:28-29).
  • “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).
  • “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Xulon is unlike dendron which is used of a living, or green tree, as in Matthew 21:8; Revelation 7:1, 3; 8:7; 9:4.

Another interchangeable word with xulon is stauros which means “an upright stake,” to which criminals were nailed for execution. The Companion Bible has this to say on the subject: “[O]ur English word ‘cross’ is the translation of the Latin crux; but the Greek stauros no more means a crux than the word ‘stick’ means a ‘crutch’ …. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone …. There is nothing in the Greek of the N.T. even to imply two pieces of timber.”

As a matter of fact, the first person to describe the instrument of Christ’s crucifixion as a two-beamed cross was Justin Martyr (Dialogue with Trypho XCI), and he wrote about it more than a century after the resurrection.

Christ was put to death on an upright stake, not on two pieces of timber intersecting at any angle. There is absolutely no evidence that God’s true Church ever used the cross symbol for any purpose. Nowhere does the Bible command its use. What an oversight if God required this of true Christians.

But is it okay to wear a cross as a symbol of our personal faith? One person wryly asked a facetious but very interesting question: “If Christ died by a bullet would we wear a bullet, around our necks?” Of course not! Or would we?! Though we do not wear crosses, we still deeply appreciate the fact that Christ died for us. We should recognize Christ’s sacrifice for us as a marvelous demonstration of God the Father’s power and eternal love for us in giving up His only Son. We don’t need a mere physical object like a cross to assist us in worshiping this great God of love. If we do, then we may only have a dead and empty faith after all. As the apostle Paul exhorted, Christ’s true followers walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The Bible plainly states that God is Spirit and we are to worship Him in both spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

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37 thoughts on “The Cross: Pagan Symbol or Symbol of Faith?

  1. In a few hours, it will be Passover, ABIB 2014. I am studying and have been led to read, “The Cross: Pagan Symbol, or Symbol of Faith? by Wayne Turgeon.

    Until THIS very moment, I NEVER knew or even considered to ask the question of
    this symbol, so grossly misrepresented by the world. I feel shame for my ignorance,
    but gratitude for the teaching of GOD’s Church. Light on my path. Thank you.

  2. Of course the cross is a pagan symbol. In no place in the Bible does it mention having to wear a cross around ones neck, or to keep crosses mounted on walls. Besides, even if Jesus was hung on a cross, why on earth would we carry a symbol of the time when our God died from excrutiating pain through unimaginable torture, suffering so severely to the point that he cried to our other God on why He (God the Father) was forsaking Him (God the Son)? That would be the same thing as calling the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln a symbol for racial equality!

  3. Interesting! I did not know about that it could have been something else. What would make sense is a large board, but the questions I would have on this, would be what about Luke 9:23 where it says to take up the cross and come after him. Obviously we can’t take up a tree and come after him, because nobody can uproot a tree. Upright stake would make more sense, but a cross would as well, because they didn’t break Jesus’ legs for suffocation because he was already dead. They would break the legs of the criminals so that they would hang, unable to breathe, and would die. Again, an upright stake would even make more sense than a cross. Thanks for the article, there was a lot to ponder there! Jory

  4. I’ve been dooped. I mean it seems like mostly everything I learned in church (not the COG) is false teaching. It sorta makes me distrust all the other churchs such as Baptist, and nondenominational churches. Even though at this point im disturbed by all these false teachings. I must stay in God Word. I am so thankful that he has led me to Study with his true church. I was just having a hard time erasing the false information that i recieved all these years. Even if you guys have not a clue of what im saying. All I know is that the truth is setting me free. I am blessed because of the work of his faithful people. Wow! This is amazing.

  5. remember God is watching and you all will have to account for your actions and reactions. everyone has to, No One will be standing between you and God on that day.

    • How true. Thanks for the reminder to work out our own salvation and prove all things for ourselves. Its up to us to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

  6. Thanks for the great explanation of a basic truth, We are too always stand ready to answer any question, and I have been asked this one, You have explained this in such a way who could argue, the very plain truth of God. How easy it is to find the truth if only one would look, instead of just blindly excepting what they have been taught in today’s worldly religions.

  7. Now I know! I always took for granted that it was actually a cross. Even though I know the cross itself is pagan, I never gave it much thought after that. Thank you Mr. Turgeon for opening my eyes to this overlooked – by me – yet important information.

      • that is alittle difficult to say since the whole chapter of matthew 27 speaks of different subjects. It speaks of Judas remorse, Jesus before Pilate , the treatment, the crucifixion,burial. and resurrection. There are certain things explained thoughout the chapter and there are lectures to explain them fully with understanding, However, I am unable to direct you or to post these lectures any where online since it is protected by copyright.

        But i do know from my studies that the kvb got its information for the new testment from the greek manuscripts called ‘ The Septuagint’. If you were to acquire ‘The Companion Bible’, that book has within its margins meanings and alot of meaningful information. In the back of the companion bible there are appendixes with even more information. if you were to go to a store where they sell that book And you were to look inside of it, you will see what i am talking about. Plus when you go to check these things out for yourself ,instead of relying on what some person were to tell you which IS Always better to prove it to yourself and God wants you to not relay on anyone but him, anyway while you are looking it would be a great help in understanding The WORD OF GOD, also look for the strongs exhustive concordance of the bible (contained within this book are the: updated hebrew and greek dictionaries, computer generated text for highest accuracy, proper names cross referenced to modern translations, nelsons exclusive topical index of the bible, words of Christ highlighted for easy translations.) these are the study books i use. and I have found them very helpful in understanding Gods word. Hope this will help you too.

        Your friend in Christ,

        Beresis

  8. While modern Greek dictionaries may translate ‘stauros’ as meaning either a stake or a cross. In ancient Greek writings up to and including the time of Jesus ‘stauros’ always meant a stake. The definition of cross was added some time later. In any case it would be just as wrong to make an idol out of a stake.

  9. The cross is one thing that most so called religions have in common.
    Satan sure gets his nose into everything. We are corrupt and need to be purged of all our sins.
    we are so lucky to have a Father who loves us and a Christ led ministry to help show us the way back to a real furfilling way of LIFE! Thanks Mr T. for a great article.

  10. MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS POR ESTE ARTICULO TAN INFORMATIVO. ESTE YA APARECIO EN LA REVISTA “PHILADELPHIA NEWS” HACE MUCHOS AÑOS. SIN EMBARGO ME PREGUNTO
    ¿POR QUE SE SIGUE UTILIZANDO LA PALABRA “CRUZ”, TANTO EN LA LITERATURA RELIGIOSA, COMO AL CITARLA DE LA BIBLIA? SERIA MUY BUENO SABER LA RESPUESTA.
    FELICIDADES A TODOS.

  11. maybe after nimrod (tamuz) was slain they were the crosses as part of rememberance of their ( babylon mystery religion) god. i think also that in the TWO BABYLONS book it mentions nimrods body being sent to far away parts of the earth as an example. this would seem to indicate their were followers in distant places and could account for ancient finds of the cross being used…
    possibly

  12. I occasionally would wear one but upon reading the Bible and finding out God is a personal God not some distant removed God, I was inspired not to need it anymore, or any jewellery even a watch. Also Christ Jesus lives, think on the living God not some image. We know the story and love Him for his sacrifice in deed. With an inward love we don’t need outward signs. And the crosses with Christ hanging on them are against the 2nd commandment, don’t worship images.

  13. “…for those who are not afraid to face the truth about this matter.”

    I’m not sure it is as much fear as indifference or apathy. As long as the majority believe in it; or, better yet, as long the beautiful people in Hollywood and music industry wear the largest ones possible as a fashion statement, then it must be OK, right? After all, what’s harm?

    Actually, your last paragraph answers all these questions. Informative article!

  14. Oh, Awwww, you are a genious Mr. Turgeon. Sounds like you have all your sheep in line. Not one single negative comment. Amazing!!!

  15. thank you very much for this putting forth of this evil system in the light,even as it want to keep hidding and cause so much disaster to people belief. let our Father hasten the fall of babylon the great , indeed it is a mother with many children of abomination . only those God call out today can truly be free from her.
    this is truth that gives light to enlighten God’s people, thank you very much.
    “come out of her my people ….she is dangeriously evil and sinister in her way”

  16. Thank you for this enlightening piece. I never knew in all my life being in Gods Church that the “cross” was around BEFORE Christ’s crucifixion! Id love to add alongside that it is STILL a graven image that many tend to worship or view as sacred. Interesting hew people think that the 10 Commandments are only in effect where murder, stealing and some lies are negatively affect our fellow man. But it’s not even a thought as to what offends God!!!! I look at every giant cross beside a church building and it looks more and more like the symbol of a dagger jammed into a hillside that narrowly missed the building! Pretty soon it will not miss!!! JSFCR

  17. I understand the meaning of “tree” now. My question is the stakes that were driven into His hands, how did the soldiers “hang” Jesus? Looked up the scritures quoted, njk states it was a tree! How we as a nation DO not truly study God’s Word! Thank you for this bible study!

  18. Thank you Mr. Turgeon. I really appreciate your evaluations and explanations. It is important to be reminded of the who, what’s, when’s and where’s, because Satan lives in the conformity to traditions, as well as to the exclusions of truth. It amazes me, how very well hidden he can be, behind the smallest of details. Thank you again Sir.

  19. Thank you! though I have never been into physical signs and symbols. I have wondered at the extensive use of the word cross, even in the RSV. The vulgar Vulgate still infiltrates its lies?

  20. Thank you for this article. I am prompted to search and know more of this subject. It is amazing that a whole could be deceived and led to acceptence of this symbol.

  21. I deeply appreciate this article. Highly informative. This is really a new truth to me, showing how deceived this world really is.

  22. Wow, this is interesting to read. I have never asked to understand why the cross has always been the symbol of faith or where it originated and if it is biblical. Now I need to know more..

  23. I appreciate your expounding on all things Pagean. Excellent work.
    The truth gives joy to know. I’m glad to read what increases my knowledge so I can grow in truth and knowledge of God.

  24. Wow Mr. Turgeon it is good to be reminded of the meaning behind the cross. I attended the World wide Church of God & for awhile I was wearing cross earrings! We sure appreciate these royal Vision Like articles. Thanks to You Yours. Keep on keeping on! Its scarry because we are all being evaulated by God the Father. Pretty soon the finall test will prove weather or not we passed His evaulation!! Hopefully so.

  25. Mr. Turgeon, what great articles to look forward to everyday.
    Especially to the young people in the Church and the new members
    We can never have to many repeats, that’s for sure.
    We do need to be like the Bereans or else we will find ourselves in the pagan teachings of all these customs surrounding us. We must always remember that satan is out there roaming about to see who he can lead astray.
    Thank you also for taking time out from your busy activities to teach us of God’s way.

  26. Thank you, finally-more people than my family and I understand this. We don’t need a cross to worship God. He commands we worshipm Him in spirit. Also that aside, the etymology or the latin word crux is accurate and that is why I feel that anyone who truly wants to study the gospel -the truth gospel should always look into the history/root of all key words. Thank you for such a great article.

  27. What Great Spiritual Food to do dwell on. Thank you for the great story and for explaining to us why we don’t wear crosses.

  28. Amen! Thanks for that article Mr. Turgeon. I love the way God’s Church puts so much effort into study and research as the Bereans did. Keep up the amazing job. I am in awe every day of this incredible work.

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