He was Hung on a Tree
Going back to the invaluable historical source that is Josephus Flavius, as he is a good literary source for a great many battles and matters of historical importance of the far forgotten ancient past. People might ask, are these records really trustworthy? Well the answer is, some of it is, not all of course. So discernment is important. Now in Josephus writings this time, its not geography we will look into, but rather we will look at the instances of the word or phrase `crucifixion` or hung at the stake til dead, as described by Josephus and other contemporary sources. Before we dive into some wonderful quotes though, and there are allot of them, we will do a little bit of background. Now at the end of this you should be able see and understand the difference between cross and stauros. Because somehow the vernacular Greek has been translated to cross, which is very misleading.
Now let it be clear our intentions is not too vilify people wearing a cross or to say he was not hung upon a stake with a wooden board across, because that may have happened. The problem is the cross is in itself used today as a symbol of worship. It is without doubt an ancient Babylonian symbol and now re-embraced as a Christians symbol, through Roman Catholicism. It has nothing, should have nothing, to do with worshipping Christ or be used as a marking on any of His followers.
Ask yourself if the Bible ANYWHERE use the actual word cross? We will show you the Scriptures later on but try to find them yourself first. A cross is indeed an image and against the Commandments. So if you don`t mind breaking the Commands of The Ancient One, the question is why the attachment for something that is simply just a piece of wood shaped as a cross? The symbol of the Cross is such a touchy topic amongst believers because many has them hanging from their necks or ears, tattooed to a chest or face even, as some sort of tribute or a conscious choice to show other people you are following Christ. Your faith will shine through you if truly are a follower - as your heart will have been changed forever. Now wanting to show people that Christ has touched your heart or called you out, is admirable, but does the cross have anything historically to do with Immanuel? Or was this cross implemented at later stage by the emerging counterfactual Gospel, spread by a Church that sits upon many waters... Lets get into this now !
Most are unaware that the Greek Stauros, traditionally translated as cross, denotes an upright Stake or Pale. Ancient Koine Greek had two verbs for to crucify anastauroo from Stauros that meant wooden pole, stake, pointed or blunt. The other verb was anaskolopizo which is more to impale, however in the earlier texts anastauro actually meant to Impale, so that may add to our understanding to Immanuel and his suffering in our heads and heart. We be even more convicted in our hearts of the fact that he did suffer allot for your sins and mine... Payed in full indeed !
For the odd academic out there lets get to grips with some sources and definitions of Stauros:
Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible (1879) says: "A stake."
The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (1852) says: "A stake."
Strong`s Exhaustive Concordance (1890) on #4716 says: "A stake or post."
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the NT (1889) says: "An upright stake."
A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (1895): "An upright pale or stake."
Let us therefore agree upon that it may have been, according to researcher Adolph Enrst Knoch (1874-1965), "...an upright (Knoch, 1930:63):
"...stake or pale, without any crosspiece."
Now a mere stake or a single piece of wood without a traversing crossbar, is a stake or a simple wooden pole. A known instrument of torture was impaling, and you will quickly find that there is no trace in the Greek New Testament that implies two pieces of timber being joined together like the below symbol. Although Christ may have been hung on one of these, that is not our issue with it. As we briefly discussed it is the blatant symbolism of it...
As we shall see from the historical quotes, it was on the stake they were nailed for execution, with no two-beamed cross. This very well known shape on the right has its origins in ancient Chaldea, and was THE symbol for the god Tammuz - shaped and formed as the mystic Tau (the initial of his name) in the country of Chaldea (may have been close what its today Central Southeast Africa) located not far from Egypt in the ancient times. The thing on looks familiar does it not? Not far from the Ankh symbol neither, another symbol born in Egypt, only to be embraced and worn on the necks of so-called Christians later. What a hot mess. And Even Though Christ was hung up on something like this, it does not give reason for the cross to be worshipped as the symbol it is. We must separate from it.
As the centuries after Christ settled, the faith had been departed from, or travestied/compromised certain doctrines of the Gospel message. Birthing another Gospel altogether. William Edwy Vine (1873-1949) Says it better In An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (1940):
"In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system, pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered [t], was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ."
Now we can see from the Greek language the word cross is another place where religion has surely changed the truth of SoNiNi and turned into a lie (Romans 1,25). And Our Saviour did not give his life upon a cross, but died at the stake or even on a tree, just as confirmed by 1. Peter 2,24:
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his own body on a tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
So then we as believers know Immanuel has freed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us, for as it is written (Galatians 3,13):
13 Immanuel redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
We see here that the cross is not just something that man has corrupted for his own purposes, but rather they are kinda denying the Gospel from happening and Christ becoming the Tree of Life. Immanuel provided life for us being hung on a tree. But how did the cross of Tau find its way into Christian worship? When today it is regarded as nothing but a Christian symbol, when it is certainly nothing Christian about it, it is notoriously heathen of origin. Anyone who looks into the matter will be able to ascertain that this cross existed in Africa, Asia, America and Europe as a religious symbol years before the Christian Area.
In Egyptian Churches the cross was a pagan symbol simply borrowed by the Apostate Christians, those that departed from the Gospel, and interpreted the symbol to mean whatever way they needed it to. This same symbol was used by the Babylonian Sun god, and it is said Constantine, the progenitor of the Roman Catholic Church, was a worshipper of the sun. The Tau, the sign of the cross and indisputable sign belonging to Tammuz, worshipped by Chaldeans and Egyptians, the name of Tammuz also found its way into the Bantu Hebrew Calendar as we know.
The symbol worship must stop and is in contradiction to the Scriptures and the Commandments, and we will list them below for anyone interested or in a deluded state that you do not need to know them or live by them today. They are still as valid as yesterday, our Lord does not change and Immanuel did not remove the Law but removed sin from us. Now seek Immanuel and have him teach you the values and importance of following and he will show you the Father and the relationship we all may have with SoNiNi (Exodus 20,1-17):
20 And SoNiNi spoke all these words:
2 “I am SoNiNi na NiNi, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, SoNiNi na NiNi, am a jealous One, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not use the name of SoNiNi na NiNi in vain, for SoNiNi will not hold anyone guiltless who uses His name in vain. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to SoNiNi. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days SoNiNi made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore SoNiNi blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land SoNiNi na NiNi is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
Ben Sira tells us to bind these commands on our fingers... Now The Commandment regarding images is the longest one of the lot and it holds no bearing today because apparently we are allowed to live as Lawless people. According to some Christians. This is one of the beliefs of the Apostate Church, that left the pure faith and ventured into Darkness, crosses, saints and images followed suit. Remember to do your best to cast these worthless traditions of men far away from you and your family's house. Before listening to Josephus and some other quotes on the matter of crucifixions (with no mentions of crosses) we will investigate what it really meant to be crucified.
Back in the day Crucifixion was THE capitol punishment, used by Historical Persians, Romans, Phoenicians and Carthaginians on their salves, pirates or rebels. Rome was the one civilisation that took this punishment to the next level though, and especially seemingly enjoyed punishing people for treason by condemning them to the stake. They were tied or nailed to a large wooden stake and left there to you died. An extremely long and painful death. The main purpose, in addition to public disgrace, was to discourage others from committing similar crimes by making an example and by order of intimidation. Roman law used this method a a torture but not only to kill, but to emphasise the disgrace and lowly nature of the one at the stake. Aa it was they often broke the legs to hasten death, they could forbid burials and at the last gave a stab with a long and sharp spear. Now the practising of crucifixion was already very much present in ancient times, and Cicero described the execution as “a most cruel and ignominious punishment”.
If we look closer at language, both the Greek and Latin (Roman) they have an ambiguous meaning in their early Christian sources. The Greek word used in the New Testament is XYLON - which means living tree, wood or and object made out of wood. The Other one we know and is Stauros referring to a vertical bar, but others say it had a different meaning in Koine Greek, and included the T shape of the vertical bar. The Latin Crux had a deeper meaning than cross, all depending on how you fastened the cross beam. It does not matter if or when you crossed the beam, like all those images above, it is an image and we as believers was commanded not to create for ourselves an image. If it was any of the below:
Crux commissa - a cross in the form of the letter Greek letter Tau
Crux immissa seu capitata - a standard cross as spread by churches
Crux decussata or andeana - the cross of St. Andrews in the shape of the letter X
Crux simplex - a vertical bar or stake
We are called away from it. However there was certainly different modifications of the process itself, as we have discussed the Romans developed their method over the years. One of those was with a vertical pole to support the weight of the feet, a peg or knot (sedile). That way the convicted man could rest his legs and breathe more freely during the ordeal. Here death occurred from exhaustion of the body, even several days after the execution was started, when the victim did no longer have the strength to support his own body weight.
It also happened that the executions were accelerated by breaking the convict’s legs (crurifragium), which made it impossible to support himself and try to catch a breath, or by simply hanging/nailing the condemned man’s hands. In both cases, the lack of support caused problems with the intake of air, and death could occur within a few minutes. Now soldiers would be close on their post and watching until death ensued. Once the victim was confirmed dead, they could leave their post. Sometimes the body was on the stake for a longer period of time as a message for potential criminals or follow up offences, and the body would decay further eaten by vultures and other scavengers. Roman law would allow them to remove the bodies only after they had been given relevant permission from the authorities.
To give even more graphic images on what would happen during a fixation and flogging. Often times the victim was so severely whipped before being hanged on the stake, that the victim soon dies from a state of shock and dementia. All the clothes was stripped, using tools such as flagrum and taxillum romanum were used for the whipping. A whip made of two or three straps attached to a handle, with sharp tips at the end of the strap to intensify pain. I mean lets stop there... We have all seen Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson did not spare any details of those last 24 hours before being hung on the tree.
Now then, in General Josephus Flavius writings we find the general in command of the Hebrew forces of Galilee in the Great revolt against Rome in the years after Christ, Immanuel had already walked the earth. He reported attempts of saving the lives of 3 people put on stakes and appealed even to the Roman General Titus himself to take them down. As the story goes one made it the other two died under the care of the physician. There is allot of speculation on Josephus in academical circles and if Josephus remarks on Christ are genuine or not, we will include them towards the end so people can make up their own minds.
Antiquities of the Jews 12:4,5
Many Hebrews there were who complied with the king’s commands, either voluntarily, or out of fear of the penalty that was denounced. But the best men, and those of the noblest souls, did not regard him, but did pay a greater respect to the customs of their country than concern as to the punishment which he threatened to the disobedient; on which account they every day underwent great miseries and bitter torments; for they were whipped with rods, and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified, while they were still alive, and breathed. They also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the stakes.
Antiquities of the Jews Chapter 75
And when I was sent by Titus Caesar with Cerealins, and a thousand horsemen, to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp, as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered.
Antiquities of the Jews 13,14
2. Now as Alexander fled to the mountains, six thousand of the Jews hereupon came together [from Demetrius] to him out of pity at the change of his fortune; upon which Demetrius was afraid, and retired out of the country; after which the Jews fought against Alexander, and being beaten, were slain in great numbers in the several battles which they had; and when he had shut up the most powerful of them in the city Bethome, he besieged them therein; and when he had taken the city, and gotten the men into his power, he brought them to Jerusalem, and did one of the most barbarous actions in the world to them; for as he was feasting with his concubines, in the sight of all the city, he ordered about eight hundred of them to be crucified; and while they were living, he ordered the throats of their children and wives to be cut before their eyes. This was indeed by way of revenge for the injuries they had done him; which punishment yet was of an inhuman nature...
Antiquities of the Jews 17,10:
10. Upon this, Varus sent a part of his army into the country, to seek out those that had been the authors of the revolt; and when they were discovered, he punished some of them that were most guilty, and some he dismissed: now the number of those that were crucified on this account were two thousand.
Antiquities of the Jews 18,3 is interesting because Josephus actually mentions the Crucifixion of Christ in passing:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, [if it be lawful to call him a man;] for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher [of such men as receive the truth with pleasure,] He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. [He was the Christ.] And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the stake, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; [for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.] And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
In the next paragraph though, Josephus recounts the crucifixion in Rome of the priests of Isis, ordered by the Emperor Tiberius Cesar himself, for their misdeeds in arranging the sexual seduction of a virtuous women (Antiquities of the Jews):
4. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome . . . When he had said this, he went his way. But now she began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments, and told her husband of the horrid nature of this wicked contrivance, and prayed him not to neglect to assist her in this case. So he discovered the fact to the emperor; whereupon Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, and ordered them to be crucified, as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition, and who had contrived the whole matter, which was so injurious to the woman. He also demolished the temple of Isis, and gave order that her statue should be thrown into the river Tiber; while he only banished Mundus, but did no more to him, because he supposed that what crime he had committed was done out of the passion of love. And these were the circumstances which concerned the temple of Isis, and the injuries occasioned by her priests. I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would.
Antiquities of the Jews 20,5 talks about the sons of Judah, having lead a Revolt over Roman taxation, were crucified by Roman procurator Tiberius Alexander, who was actually the nephew of Philo of Alexandria :
Under these procurators that great famine happened in Judea, in which queen Helena bought corn in Egypt at a great expense, and distributed it to those that were in want, as I have related already. And besides this, the sons of Judas of Galilee were now slain; I mean of that Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews, as we have showed in a foregoing book. The names of those sons were James and Simon, whom Alexander commanded to be crucified.
The War of the Jews 4,5 we find reports of different Hebrew customs of taking down bodies of the people crucified by the Romans during the Great Revolt and burying them, if they were given permission to take them before sundown. And this should be read in context of Deuteronomy 21,22-23:
“When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse.”
Nay, they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial, although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down of the sun.
The War of the Jews 5,6 Josephus reports here that the Romans crucified allot of people during the siege After centuries after Christ. They wanted to terrorise the population forcing them to surrender, and so bad dit it get that the number reached 500 a day at one point, until there was no wood left in the area....
5. Now it happened at this fight that a certain Jew was taken alive, who, by Titus’s order, was crucified before the wall, to see whether the rest of them would be affrighted, and abate of their obstinacy. But after the Jews were retired, John, who was commander of the Idumeans, and was talking to a certain soldier of his acquaintance before the wall, was wounded by a dart shot at him by an Arabian, and died immediately, leaving the greatest lamentation to the Jews, and sorrow to the seditious. For he was a man of great eminence, both for his actions and his conduct also.
The Wars of the Jews Chapter 11
1. So now Titus’s banks were advanced a great way, notwithstanding his soldiers had been very much distressed from the wall. He then sent a party of horsemen, and ordered they should lay ambushes for those that went out into the valleys to gather food. Some of these were indeed fighting men, who were not contented with what they got by rapine; but the greater part of them were poor people, who were deterred from deserting by the concern they were under for their own relations; for they could not hope to escape away, together with their wives and children, without the knowledge of the seditious; nor could they think of leaving these relations to be slain by the robbers on their account; nay, the severity of the famine made them bold in thus going out; so nothing remained but that, when they were concealed from the robbers, they should be taken by the enemy; and when they were going to be taken, they were forced to defend themselves for fear of being punished; as after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy; so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more: yet it did not appear to be safe for him to let those that were taken by force go their way, and to set a guard over so many he saw would be to make such as great deal them useless to him. The main reason why he did not forbid that cruelty was this, that he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at that sight, out of fear lest they might themselves afterwards be liable to the same cruel treatment. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies.
The Wars of the Jews Chapter 11
Because the crucifixion itself – without significantly damaging the organs – did not cause death, in most cases the direct cause of death of the convict (occurring within a few to several hours or even days) was asphyxiation, exhaustion, dehydration or bleeding as a result of injuries. In this case, the condemned person initially had relatively straightened legs, bent enough so that the feet could be nailed to the cross. After a few or a dozen or so hours, the leg muscles could no longer support the weight of the body and flexed under the condemned man. At that time, the diaphragm and the costal muscles were pressed so much by the weight of the body that the convict began to choke – and this could take another several or several hours.
Now Josephus also made an interesting Remark on James, the Brother of Christ, James the Just was according to Josephus stoned by High Priest Ananus son of Ananus (Antiquities of the Jews 20,9-1):
Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned."
Another comment on this was Origen of Alexandria, that claimed that James the Just had such a great reputation among the Hebrews that he wrote in Commentary of Matthew Book X Chapter 17:
And to so great a reputation among the people for righteousness did this James rise, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the “Antiquities of the Jews” in twenty books, when wishing to exhibit the cause why the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the temple was razed to the ground, said, that these things happened to them in accordance with the wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James."
Lastly we can say these quotes from these ancient sources are Interesting and on the Roman method of punishment, quite terrifying. So then, what was Immanuel hung upon? We at this blog would go for what is written in Scripture, Peter said it best (1. Peter 2,24):
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his own body on a tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”