The Orthodox Pages

email: pater@christopherklitou.com 

 ASK AN ORTHODOX PRIEST

Homepage

 

   Back                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Question 368

Where did the cross come from ?

 

 

Answer to Question 368

 

Not sure what you are asking. The cross or crucifixion was an instrument of shame and the standard form of capital punishment used by the Romans so they must have had many beams of wood ready to be used, but I think you mean where did the wood used for the Cross of Jesus originate from. There are many myths about the origin of the wood, the most popular taken from the Apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus which says that when Adam fell sick, he sent his son Seth to the gates of the Garden of Eden to entreat God for some drops of the oil of mercy distilled from the Tree of Life with which to anoint his head. However, the Archangel Michael gave him a branch of the tree of knowledge, which, on the death of Adam, Seth planted on his grave. In after years, the tree flourished and attained a great age.

 

When Balkis, the queen of Abyssinia, came to Solomon, she worshiped this tree, “for,” said she, “thereon should the Saviour of the world be hanged, and that from that time the Kingdom of the Jews should cease.” On hearing this, Solomon commanded that the tree should be cut down and buried in a certain place in Jerusalem, where the pool of Bethesda was dug, and the guardian angel of the mysterious tree troubled the waters of the pool at certain seasons, and those who first dipped into it were cured of their ailments (see John 5:1-9).

 

As the time of the Passion of the Savior approached, the wood floated to the surface of the pool, and of that timber was made the upright part of the Cross. The crossbar was made of cypress, the piece to rest the feet upon was of palm, and the inscription was written on a piece of olive. There are many other stories associated with the origin of the wood of the cross. I don't think we should take them seriously especially the story from the Apocryphal. If there was any truth in them I'm sure there would have been references to them in the Church's hymns for the Crucifixion and the feasts for the Cross, but nothing is mentioned of these stories.

 

Same member

Was not the cross a symbol of paganism a worship of idolatry. Was Christ son of God not crucified on a stake. 1 Peter 2:24.

 

Reply

Whether or not the shape of the cross was used in pagan worship has no bearing on the use of the cross in Christianity. We venerate the Cross because it was through the Cross that Christ defeated death. As for Christ being crucified on a stake, 1 Peter 2:24 does not say this, unless you are using a Bible translation used by the Jehovah's Witnesses who deny the cross and preach that Christ was crucified on an upright stake. The original Greek say: "ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον" which translated mean "upon the wood" The KJV of the Bible translated it as "on the tree". It does not literally mean that Christ was crucified on a tree but refers to the material of the instrument of death which was made of wood.

 

Same member

Yes you said any normal bible. says it which is stake or pole and gods name not a name but a title ex 6:3 said he spoke to his 3 prophets and said to them by my name yawve which means in English Jehovah!

 

Reply

I did not say any normal Bible; I mentioned that the Original Bible which is written in the Greek language says "ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον" which is not translated as a stake or a pole. As for God's name I did not understand what you are trying to say, but may I ask if you are a Jehovah's Witness?

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that God has a certain name and that this name is Jehovah. They believe that if they don’t call him Jehovah then they will not belong to the group that comprise his people and so they won’t be saved. 

 

The origin of the name goes back to Moses when God appeared to him in the burning bush. God told Moses to go and tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel leave Egypt. Moses said to God “When I go to the Israelites to tell them that I was sent by the God of our Fathers, and they ask me “What is His name?” what should I tell them?” (Exodus, III:13). In reply to this question, God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

 

In the Hebrew this is represented by four consonants which in English would be JHWH.  But if this is God’s name then there are many other names that Scripture gives to God. In Exodus we read “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose NAME is Jealous is a jealous God: Exodus 34:14. From Isaiah we read “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose NAME is Holy” (Isaiah 57: 15). Again from Isaiah we read that God’s NAME is Redeemer (Isaiah 63:16) In other places we read that God’s name is Adonai, Elohim, Almighty etc.

 

If Holy Scripture presents us with so many names for God, why do Jehovah’s Witnesses insist only on the name Jehovah and by what logic does the name Jehovah save and not these other names?  They reply that the other names are not in reality proper names but just adjectives or characterizations. We reply: Yes they are adjectives and characterizations but Holy Scripture calls them names. But then neither is the JHWH or from the Greek “I AM” a proper name but a verb and in the sense that God used it to answer Moses’ question of “what is God’s name” it is saying that I AM the only, true, existing God. Egypt worshipped many false gods with names, but God here is saying that he is the only God – I AM he who is, whereas the other gods are not. In giving us His name as I AM THAT I AM, He tells us that He is the ‘Absolute Being’ that has no beginning or end, or I AM from the very beginning and ever shall be. And because JHWH is a verb and not a proper name it is just common sense that it can be translated into any other language just like any other verb, thus when the Hebrew text was translated into Greek it was translated as I AM or Lord which even the Apostles did in the New Testament. 

 

But just for arguments sake the JHWH is God’s name where did the Jehovah come from. The ancient Jewish language didn’t have any vowels thus the name was written with just four consonants and was properly pronounced as Yahve. But due to an excess of piety the Jews rarely pronounced the name and due to a misinterpretation of a law in Leviticus (24:16) they believed it was forbidden to pronounce the name of God out loud so with time the name came into disuse and they forgot which vowel sounds accompanied the four consonants. 

 

After the 6th century AD, the Masorites (Judean scholars of that era) introduced their own vowels into Hebrew words. Thus, because they didn’t know what the correct pronunciation of the word “Yahve” was, they arbitrarily added vowels to the four-letter “JHWH”, which they had taken from the words “Adonai” (Master) and “Elohim” (God) and created the word Jahovah which then became Jehovah. Jehovah therefore is not the name God revealed to Moses in Exodus, but a created word of the wise men of Israel. Today all the experts are in agreement that the four letter JHWH was pronounced Yahve. Thus the Jehovah of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a name that doesn’t exist and is without any meaning.  Even though today’s self-proclaimed “Jehovah’s Witnesses” are aware that the pronunciation they are using for God’s name is incorrect, they insist on using it, because “this is how they have become accustomed to it”.

 

In response to the Christian observation that this, incorrect use of the name “Yahve” is irresponsible and perhaps even blasphemous, they reply: “So is Jesus’ name in Hebrew not pronounced “Jesus” but “Joshua”, and despite this fact, we refer to it in Greek as “Jesus”. In the same sense, therefore, it would not be wrong to use the mistaken pronunciation of “Jehovah”, since that is how it is prevalent.”

 

 To this we reply: “The name “Jesus” is used in the Greek form because the New Testament was written in Greek and this is how the very Scriptures themselves have given us the name, consequently, we too can use it. However, the name “Jehovah” is not used in this form, so, consequently, we do not have the right to use it arbitrarily. Even more so, because today, we are acquainted with the correct pronunciation of the name, which is: “Yahve”.

 

Acting as always with prudence and respect, the Church of our Lord uses the forms of address that the Apostles used in the New Testament. They never used the name “Jehovah” in the New Testament; or even the name “Yahve”. They only used it in the Greek sense, as “He Who Is”, or, they used words that the translators of the Septuagint translation used, such as: “Lord” or “God”. In this way, they delivered the meaning of the word, which was exactly what God Himself wanted, when He chose the strange name: “I AM”. 

 

To their insistent that only the name Jehovah can save we reply: that it is true faith that saves and not just a name, but if there is a name that helps us to be saved it is none other than the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ because he is the only saviour of the world. This is testified by Holy Scripture itself: In the Acts of the Apostles we read concerning Jesus Christ that “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (4:12) Also from John “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (20:31)  “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.” (1 John 3:23) “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36) 

 

I could quote many more lines from Scripture, but these are more than enough to prove that our only saviour is Jesus Christ and that there is no other name given to us whereby we might be saved. Scripture calls us to be Witnesses of Christ and his Resurrection and to no one else. The Apostles, who preached the Gospel, preached in the name of Jesus Christ and never mentioned the name Jehovah.

 

Same member

Yes, we are all brothers but the truth must be said even if it hurts or in what position we hold because now or later the truth will come out I know that the truth is being held back that's the way we were raised. Why !

 

Reply

I'm not sure of what truth you mean is being held back

 

Same member

The British museum has many answers.

 

Reply

So does the Orthodox Church