Is the Cross Pagan?
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
You remember the 1980’s movie the Gremlin’s? Remember how Gremlins came from furry, cute, cuddly and benign “Gizmo”? How if you broke the rules and fed Gizmo after midnight or got him wet spore like eggs would pop from Gizmo’s skin and produce the Gremlins? Well, the Christian Cross is that sort of metamorphosis.
Many argue that the Christian cross was adopted and used as the symbol for Christianity during the time of Constantine, the pagan Emperor who only made Christianity legal and was said to have converted to one himself only as a political stratagem so as to unify his empire; to unite pagan and Christian by “Christianizing” the pagan holidays of the empire. Constantine used the symbol of the cross on his army’s shields.
However, the cross in use prior to the time of Constantine and may have been used to symbolize the first century Natsari movement because the symbol has been found on Hebraic ruins in Bethany that date back to the time of Yeshua. How could this be you may ask? Isn’t the cross a pagan Roman symbol? Yes, and no. Yes the symbol of the cross does have pagan roots, but no, in the sense that it equally has Hebraic roots. You see the cross in the ancient (paleo) Hebrew is the last letter of the aleph-bet, which is the “tav” and it was used in the time of the prophets.
Ezk. 9:4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
That word “mark” in Hebrew is… yep, “tav” which looked like an “x” or a Roman cross set on its side. Some fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls found among the Qumran Community speak of this “tav” being used as mark made from ashes which was placed upon ones forehead. Hmmm, we see this in the papal religion during lent; yet another thing the papacy ripped from ancient Judaism, perverted and claimed as their own, just like their religious officials wear a type of kippah and a sash around the shoulders that looks an awful lot like a stylized tallit.
So it was this “tav,” that was apparently used as a symbol used with in the first century movement of Torah obedient believers in Yeshua that found prophetic fulfillment in the cross Yeshua died upon and was eventually officially adopted as the symbol of modern day Christianity after the gentile believers broke away from the movement that was firmly rooted in Judaism.
There is also ancient Roman graffiti that pre-dates Constantine that shows people making fun of the Torah obedient first century believers and their beliefs by drawing a man on a cross with the head of an ass saying that this is the god that Christians/Messianics (a word used as a slur at that time) worship. Or it said that they (Christians/Messianics) worship a dead god.
So we see that the Hebrew “tav” has morphed into the pagan Roman cross we see symbolize Christianity today. From Gizmo to Gremlin if you will.