On What Was Jesus Crucified?

by Jefferson David Tant

According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine, Christ was put to death on a pole, rather than a cross. Notice a quote from their literature.

“Jesus did not die on a cross. He died on a pole, or a stake. The Greek word translated ‘cross’ in many Bible verses meant just one piece of timber” [What Does God Require of Us, 1996, p. 230.

The Witnesses’ contention is that the cross was a sign of pagan worship, and thus God would have had no part in any connection to pagan worship. But there are various things that do identify that Christ was actually nailed to a cross rather than just a stake or pole.

For one thing, consider the Greek word “stauros” for “cross,” and its definition. “Stauros in the NT… was a pole sunk into the ground with a cross-bar fastened to it giving it a ‘T’ shape. Often the word ‘cross’ referred only to the cross-bar.” [The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 1, 1976, pp. 1037-1038].

To avoid this obvious definition of the word, the Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation changes the definition to “stake” every time “stauros” appears in the New Testament. This is not the only time they have changed the original Greek text. Note Christ’s conversation with the Jews in John 8:56-59: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

Jesus was referring His eternity, as the Greek for “I am” is from “eimi,” which is defined as “the first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist” [Strongs Greek Dictionary]. This is a reference to Christ’s eternal existence. But since the Witnesses claim that Christ is an angel, and not eternal, they change the wording to read, “Before Abraham was, I was.” The same thing could be said concerning Christ and Noah. I have a concern about any denomination that has to have its own translation of the Bible.

But back to the crucifixion. Where did the soldiers place the inscription? Above his head, or above his hands? If his hands had been nailed to the post, the inscription would have been above his hands,” but the text says it was “above his head.”

And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, ’THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS" (Matthew 27:37).

The next time the Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door, you might ask them about this.

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