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The New Encyclopedia Britannica writes in the article "Tammuz": ". (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. In both of these the criminal was first of all usually stripped naked, and bound to an upright stake, where he was so cruelly scourged with an implement, formed of strips of leather having pieces of iron, or some other hard material, at their ends, that not merely was the flesh often stripped from the bones, but even the entrails partly protruded, and the anatomy of the body was disclosed. 506) In such a case, after the scourging at the stake, the criminal was made to carry a gibbet, formed of two transverse bars of wood, to the place of execution, and he was then fastened to it by iron nails driven through the outstretched arms and through the ankles.In this pitiable state he was reclothed, and, if able to do so, was made to drag the stake to the place of execution, where he was either fastened to it, or impaled upon it, and left to die. Sometimes this was done as the cross lay on the ground, and it was then lifted into position.Catholics and Protestants wear crosses on necklaces, bracelets, rings, pendants, keychains and items of clothing.People in some churches "cross" themselves by touching the forehead, breast, and then each shoulder to form a symbolic cross in carrying out certain religious rituals or in blessing themselves or others.Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world. Emphasis ours.) Clearly, long before the coming of Christ, pagans used the cross as a religious symbol.India, Syria, Persia and Egypt have all yielded numberless examples, while numerous instances, dating from the later Stone Age to Christian times, have been found in nearly every part of Europe. The ancient world used many variations of the form of the cross.The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times, and among non-Christian peoples, may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship. Did the ancients use the type of cross that is generally used as a symbol of Christianity?
Notice this paragraph from The Encyclopedia Britannica: From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, from the dawn of man's civilization."So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the L' S house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz" (Ezekiel ). This "nature god" was associated with two yearly festivals, one held in late winter and the other in early spring. 2004 ) in the city of Umma (modern Tell Jokha), the marriage of the god was dramatically celebrated in February-March, Umma's Month of the Festival of Tammuz. According to historian Alexander Hislop, Tammuz was intimately associated with the Babylonian mystery religions begun by the worship of Nimrod, Semiramis and her illegitimate son, Horus. The original meaning of this word was not "a cross" but "an upright stake." Originally Gk.Who was Tammuz and why would women be weeping for him? in Mesopotamian religion, god of fertility embodying the powers for new life in nature in the spring" (Vol. The cult of Tammuz centred around two yearly festivals, one celebrating his marriage to the goddess Inanna, the other lamenting his death at the hands of demons from the netherworld. The original form of the Babylonian letter T was †, identical to the crosses used today in this world's Christianity. Referring to this sign of Tammuz, Hislop writes: That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated into the Mysteries. staurós designated a pointed, vertical wooden stake firmly fixed in the ground. They were positioned side by side in rows to form fencing or defensive palisades around settlements, or singly they were set up as instruments of torture on which serious offenders of law were publicly suspended to die (or, if already killed, to have their corpses thoroughly dishonored). 825) Two methods were followed in the infliction of the punishment of crucifixion.The tau cross is a common Egyptian device, and is indeed often called the Egyptian cross.
(ibid.) Variations of the tau cross were used extensively by nominal Christians in Egypt. The tau form of the cross had been used as a pagan Egyptian symbol and then adopted by "Christians," called Copts, in Egypt. [T]he X which in itself was not an unnatural symbol of Christ, the true Messiah, and which had once been regarded as such, was allowed to go entirely into disuse, and the Tau, "†", the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah, was everywhere substituted in its stead. 198-199, 204-205) Adopted by "Christians" One can easily corroborate from history that nominal Christians adopted this pagan symbol as a sign of their religion, even though it had nothing to do with true Christianity. Emphasis ours.) As we have seen, an enormous body of evidence proves that the cross is not a Christian symbol but has its roots in rank paganism.
"The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life—the ankh, a tau cross surmounted by a loop and known as crux ansata—was adopted and extensively used on Coptic Christian monuments." (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1995, Vol. (A Copt is a member of the traditional Monophysite Christian Church originating and centering in Egypt. The death of Christ on a cross necessarily conferred a new significance on the figure [of the cross], which had hitherto been associated with a conception of religion not merely non-Christian, but in its essence often directly opposed to it. Emphasis ours.) It was not till the time of Constantine that the cross was publicly used as the symbol of the Christian religion. Constantine's action was no doubt influenced by the vision which he believed he saw of the cross in the sky with the accompanying words en toutw nika [by this conquer], as well as by the story of the discovery of the true cross by his mother St. Some will argue, however, that we may use the sign of the cross because 1) it represents the manner in which Jesus Christ died, and 2) we are not using it today to worship a pagan deity.