What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?

Did early Christians use crosses? Where did crosses originate? Can the cross be considered an idol?

By COGwriter

Much of the world associates the symbol of the cross with Christianity. While many who profess Christ carry and/or venerate crosses, did early Christians use crosses? If not, where did the cross originate? Does the Bible tell Christians to wear or venerate crosses? Is the cross the mark of the beast as some have claimed?

How much do you really know about the cross, its origin, the Bible, and possible future uses for the cross?

This article will try to supply answers to these issues and more (a related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross).

The "Cross" and the New Testament

The first place to state for those interested in Christianity and the cross may wish to consider some facts about the Bible.

And what does the Bible, specifically the New Testament say about crosses?

Not as much as most believe as it is not certain that the word is ever used.

Why?

Well, amongst other reasons, the Greek word commonly translated as "cross" in the New Testament is stauros, which means pole or stake.

NT:4716
stauros (stow-ros'); from the base of NT:2476; a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specifically) a pole...(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

σταυρός...‘upright, pointed stake’ or ‘pale’;...a pole to be placed in the ground and used for capital punishment (Bauer W, Danker FW. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 3rd edition. University of Chicago, 2000, p. 941)

It should be noted that according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance every time in the NT (KJV) the word cross appears, it comes from word 4716.

But, some may ask, what about the word "crucify" or "crucified"? Does this mean being killed on a cross? While that is how people interpret that in English, the two Greek words translated as crucify in the NT (KJV) come from stauros and mean impale:

NT:4717
stauroo (stow-ro'-o); from NT:4716; to impale (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

NT:4957 sustauroo (soos-tow-ro'-o); from NT:4862 and NT:4717; to impale in company with (literally or figuratively) (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

(There is a third word once incorrectely translated as"crucify" in the KJV NT, but it means to kill again, and thus has nothing to do with an actual cross.)

Neither the apostles nor their immediate followers--who would know first century koine Greek better than any currently alive--ever were recorded using or wearing or honoring any cross. The fact is that modern scholars know that stauros meant a stake, but many have chosen because of tradition to translate it as "cross." In Greece now, because of 'tradition' (see also Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings) the word stauros is now considered to mean 'cross' even though it clearly did not originally.

The Bible simply does not teach that Jesus had to have been killed on a cross. Also notice:

Theologian Gunnar Samuelsson of Gothenburg University says that the legend of Christ's execution is not based on any real evidence but on the traditions of the Christian church and pieces of art rather than ancient texts.

Samuelsson believes that the Bible has been misinterpreted claiming that there are no textual references to crucifixion or even the use of nails in the Bible or other reliable texts of that time...

Samuelsson asserts that there are references to the fact that Jesus carried a "staurus" towards Calvary but he feeels that this refers to a pole or a tree rather than a cross. http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6175139-jesus-did-not-die-on-cross-claims-swedish-theologian

Gunnar Samuelsson is a theologian at the University of Gothenburg. He made headlines ... on the history of crucification. In his report, Samuelsson suggests that there is little to no evidence that the religious figure Jesus Christ died on a cross. The cross has become the dominant symbol of the Christian faith. Most Christians believe that Jesus was executed by the state on a cross

Samuelsson explains:

"When the Gospels refer to the death of Jesus, they just say that he was forced to carry a "stauros" out to Calvary. 'Stauros' is actually used to describe a lot of different poles and execution devices.

He goes on to explain that early historical texts suggests that Roman's seldom used crucifiction to execute prisoners. Instead, they used poles and crosses to hang the dead (after the fact). He explains, "If you search for ancient texts that specifically mention the act of crucifixion, you will end up with only two or three examples." http://www.zimbio.com/Gunnar+Samuelsson/articles/H8hpj72UxPz/No+Evidence+Jesus+Died+Cross

Dr. Samuelsson did a lot of research into ancient 'crucifixion' techniques and practices and has written that it was not likely that Jesus was killed on a cross. I read over his extensive doctoral dissertation and basically he concludes that a 'stauros' is a pole, that the ancient 'crucifixions' in much of the Greek literature did not support the view of a person suspended with nails on an actual cross, that researchers who claim Romans commonly used crosses were mainly referring to a single pole as a cross (the so-called crux simplica, a term apparently invented by the 16th century Justus Lipsius, to refer to a single pole), the New Testament does not teach a cross-type crucifixion, and that the idea of a cross developed in the Greco-Roman religious world mainly after the first century A.D.

Here, for example, is something he concluded about the word stauros:

σταυρός is used when referring to cc a raised pole" in a wide sense, or cc a pole onto which something or somebody (dead or alive) is suspended," and is not limited to the meaning of "pointed stake" like σκόλοψ. Thus, σταυρός refers to all kinds of standing poles, including pointed ones, while σκόλοψ appears only to refer to pointed poles. (Samuelsson G. Crucifixion in Antiquity: An Inquiry into the Background and Significance of the New Testament Terminology of Crucifixion. ©2011 by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Germany, p. 285)

Here is something he concluded about writings of the Latin historian Tacitus:

Tacitus uses in several texts a terminology, such as patibulum, crux and affigere, which is commonly connected with the punishment of crucifixion. However, the rather surprising - and apparently the only plausible - conclusion that can be drawn on the basis of a reading of Tacitus' text is that it cannot be decided whether he describes a crucifixion in a tradition­ al sense, surprisingly enough not even in the case of Jesus. Tacitus describes several kinds of punishments in his texts, but he is not specific enough for the present reader to decide what kind of punishments. (Samuelsson, p. 167)

I quoted the above, because people like Tacitus have been cited as proof that the type of 'cross crucifixion' that many claim Jesus went through was the common practice--yet research does not confirm that claim.

Here is the conclusion of a major document by Dr. Samuelsson:

Conclusion

The frequent and colorful depictions of crucifixions and the death of Je­ sus mentioned in the previous chapter are essentially without support in the studied text material. Neither biblical nor extra-biblical texts up to the turn of the first century offer such detailed descriptions as the mentioned scholars do. These scholars seem to imply that all texts in which the terms occur are crucifixion accounts from which they can extract information and, despite the texts' diversity, add it together. The problems connected with this scholarly procedure have been the topic of the present investigation.

It is not impossible to find references to crucifixion in the ancient text material, but it takes more than the occurrence of a single term. It is not, of course, possible to draw the conclusion that crucifixions did not occur. There were probably suspensions in ancient times that cohered well with the suspension of Jesus. Yet that is not the problem. The problem is to determine with a decent level of probability that a text describes such a punishment. The overwhelming majority of texts are simply not comprehensible enough for that. (Samuelsson, p. 338)

Additionally, it should be noted that no one in the New Testament is ever described as wearing a cross (or even a stauros). Even though this is known, most translators seem to use the word "cross" based upon their particular religious traditions, as opposed to the literal Greek. And while it is possible that Jesus was crucified on some type of a cross as opposed to simply a pole, that does not mean that a symbol of torture (which also has pagan religious origins) should necessarily be worn or revered by those who profess Christ.

But Didn't Jesus Say He Would be Crucified?

In English translations of the Bible, the word 'crucified' is often found. Notice the following Protestant and Catholic translations of a statement from Jesus:

2 "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified." (Matthew 26:2, NKJV)

2 'It will be Passover, as you know, in two days' time, and the Son of man will be handed over to be crucified.' (Matthew 26:2, NJB)

The word commonly translated as 'crucified' is the Greek word stauroo which is impalement on a stake or pole. Actually, that term is mistranslated as 'crucified' 46 times in the NKJV.

So, no, Jesus did not teach that He would be 'crucified' in the sense He did not specify if a cross bar would be part of the instrument of His punishment by the Romans.

Did Not the Romans Often Use Crosses?

While Romans did sometimes use a type of cross as part of capital punishment, what they tended to use was a tree or pole. Not something that looks like the type of crosses in most churches (Samuelsson, p. 338).

Notice also:

Although there are references to crucifixions hundreds of years before the Romans these may refer to other forms of impalement - cases where offenders were nailed to trees and other frames, where they were left to die.

The Latin word "crux" which is generally translated as "cross" originally had a less specific meaning, referring to any object on which victims were impaled or hanged. (Gee A. Crucifixion from ancient Rome to modern Syria. BBC, May 7, 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27245852)

So, even the Latin word did not have to mean a cross. Crosses, as seen in Greco-Roman churches, were not as common of a capital punishment device as many seem to think.

The Cross was Not an Early Christian Symbol: They Knew Jesus was Killed on a Tree

Notice what Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, wrote in the second century:

Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, “who bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians, Chapter VIII. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson (American Edition, 1885; Reprint Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, pp. 33-36)

He, like others, referred to Jesus being killed on a tree. Notice some passages from the New Testament:

30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. (Acts 5:30)

39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. (Acts 10:39)

29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead. (Acts 13:29-30)

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), (Galatians 3:13-14)

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

The Greek word 'xulon' (ξúλον) translated as 'tree' above, basically means tree, stick or piece of timber.

Even though Greco-Romans titled it THE DISCOURSE ON THE CROSS, Melito of Sardis (late second century) actually wrote:

God who is from God; the Son who is from the Father; Jesus Christ the King for evermore...He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree. The Lord was subjected to ignominy with naked body--God put to death, the King of Israel slain!

Melito also wrote in his Discourse on Faith and elsewhere:

He who was hanged on the tree; . . .

This is He who took a bodily form in the Virgin, and was hanged upon the tree, and was buried within the earth, and suffered not dissolution; ... who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. ...

He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree.  The Lord was subjected to ignominy with naked body—God put to death, the King of Israel slain!

Early Christians reported Jesus was killed on a tree.

Notice an accusation against those who professed Christ in the second/third century (date uncertain) in a supposed argument between the heathen Caecilius and the claimed Christian Octavius:

Why have they no altars, no temples, no acknowledged images? (Minucius. Octavius. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4, Chapter 10. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

If the cross was an oft used symbol or sacred image for early Christians, the above accusation would not have been made against them.

In what appears to be circa 135 in Jerusalem, there was a group of compromised, Roman supporting "Christians" that wrote down what they thought were the gospel accounts. Yet, according to a later source, "In all this there was no mention of the cross or crucifix." (Pines S. The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity according to a New Source. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Volume II, No.13; 1966. Jerusalem, p. 16).

According to the historical records, no real Christian prior to the late second or early third century is ever described as carrying an idol, having images in any worship services, or even wearing a cross (though some apostates started to advocate crosses in the second and third centuries).

What About Nails? Don't Nails Prove Jesus was Crucified on a Cross?

Some have claimed that the following proves that Jesus was killed on a cross:

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. (John 20:24-25)

So, do nails in the hand PROVE a cross was used?

No.

Looking over ancient impalements, it has been found that NAILs were used (Samuelsson G. Crucifixion in Antiquity: An Inquiry into the Background and Significance of the New Testament Terminology of Crucifixion. ©2011 by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Germany, p. 286) and sometimes there were no nails in the feet (Ibid, p. 289).

It was more common for nails to be placed in the wrist as the palms of the hands could not support the body (Ibid, p. 293).

Since, in Jesus' case, there were nail prints in His hands, this would have necessitated two nails. One each in the palm of both hands. His hands could have been above His head right next to each other or just above each other.

Two nails simply is NOT proof that a cross beam had to have been used as various ones have tried to insist.

What About Catacombs and Burial Displays?

Some have suggested that catacombs and funeral-related items for Christians proves an early acceptance of the cross. But this is not the case. As one who has personally viewed various catacombs and funeral-related items, I have yet to run across an early (pre-third century) one with crosses in Rome or other places (like 'Monks Valley' in Cappadocia, Trukey) I have visited (I have not visited Egypt).

While The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the cross “appears at an early date as an element of the liturgical life of the faithful”—actually the fact that it does not appear until 100 years or so after Jesus was crucified should show all that will think about it that this obviously was NOT an original Christian practice. And as Tertullian admits, nor was it a biblically-commanded one.

Furthermore, while some have pointed to the letter “X” or other symbols on certain Christian documents and/or artifacts as a sign for the cross and/or proof of the early widespread acceptance of crosses, notice what Catholic priest and scholar B. Bagatti discovered:

The doctrine of millenarianism, being widespread, left many iconographical traces. As a sign of millenarianism, also called chiliasm, we find the Greek letter X, initial for the word chilioi (thousand)…Studying funeral monuments we find ourselves face to face with very many signs which lead us to millenarian iconographic repertoire. (Bagatti, Bellarmino.  Translated by Eugene Hoade.  The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970.  Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 297, 298)

Ancient artifacts showing versions of “+,” (Bagatti, From the Church of the Circumcision, pp. 298-299) or “YO (=Ω), YT, YX,” (Saller SJ, Testa E. The archaeological setting of the shrine of Bethphage; Issue 1 of Smaller series. Franciscan Press, 1961.  Franciscan Press, 1961. Original from the University of Michigan, DigitizedFeb 12, 2009, p. 108) and “Σ” (Saller, p. 113)  also were sometimes used as a symbol of the pre-millennial resurrection of the saints (Revelation 20:4-6)—this resurrection was, and still should be, a chief hope of Christians (Acts 23:6; 1 Corinthians 15:12-23).

When did "Christians" first begin using the cross as a sign of their religion? Did the apostles use a cross? Did the use of the cross come from the Bible?

The use of the cross for Christians is never mentioned in the Bible. The apostles left no record of ever using or the endorsing the use of the cross.

Jesus, likely was not even crucified on a cross, as the word normally translated as cross (stauros) in the New Testament means a stake.

The Encyclopedia Britannica noted:

It was not till the time of Constantine that the cross was publicly used as the symbol of the Christian religion. (Cross. The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1910, Vol. 7, p. 506.

Here is what Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words reports on the meaning of stauros and the adoption of crosses amongst professors of Christ (bolding in electronic source):

CROSS
stauros (σταυρός, NT:4716) denotes, primarily, "an upright pale or stake." On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, "to fasten to a stake or pale," are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed "cross." The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3 rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. 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, was adopted to stand for the "cross" of Christ.

As for the Chi, or X, which Constantine declared he had seen in a vision leading him to champion the Christian faith, that letter was the initial of the word "Christ" and had nothing to do with "the Cross" (for xulon, "a timber beam, a tree," as used for the stauros, see under TREE). (CROSS. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

So as the above indicates, pagan influence slowly introduced the cross as a symbol. After Emperor Constantine, it became widely adopted by the Greco-Romans.

The cross, which greatly predates Christianity, apparently did not become a symbol for even apostate Christians, until about the time it was discussed by the major heretic, Clement of Alexandria as The Catholic Encyclopedia records the following:

The sign of the cross, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both the East and the West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a very remote period of human civilization...

Early in the third century Clement of Alexandria ("Strom.", VI, in P. G., IX, 305) speaks of the Cross as tou Kyriakou semeiou typon, i.e. signum Christi, "the symbol of the Lord" (St. Augustine, Tract. cxvii, "In Joan."; De Rossi, "Bull. d'arch. crist", 1863, 35, and "De titulis christianis Carthaginiensibus" in Pitra, "Spicilegium Solesmense", IV, 503). The cross, therefore, appears at an early date as an element of the liturgical life of the faithful ...Tertullian says: "Frontem crucis signaculo terimus" (De Cor. mil. iii), i.e. "We Christians wear out our foreheads with the sign of the cross." The practice was so general about the year 200, according to the same writer, that the Christians of his time were wont to sign themselves with the cross before undertaking any action. He says that it is not commanded in Holy Scripture...the custom of placing the crucifix over the altar does not date from earlier than the eleventh century. (Marucchi O. Transcribed by Wm Stuart French, Jr. Archæology of the Cross and Crucifix. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

While The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the cross "appears at an early date as an element of the liturgical life of the faithful"--actually the fact that it does not appear until 100 years or so after Jesus was crucified should show all that will think about it that this obviously was NOT an original Christian practice.  And as Tertullian admits, not a biblically-commanded one.

Since Clement of Alexandria was clearly not faithful to biblical Christianity in so many ways, it is not astounding that he may be among the first to write about the cross being a symbol among some who professed Christ (the words cited in The Catholic Encyclopedia actually do not have to mean 'cross'--it is only astounding that any could claim Clement of Alexandria seriously had anything to do with those Christians who were "faithful."

Here is something that Clement wrote where the word "cross" is found (this is the only place in this book, Stromata VI, a word is translated in this version as cross):

Whence also Peter, in his Preaching, speaking of the apostles, says: "But we, unrolling the books of the prophets which we possess, who name Jesus Christ, partly in parables, partly in enigmas, partly expressly and in so many words, find His coming and death, and cross, and all the rest of the tortures which the Jews inflicted on Him, and His resurrection and assumption to heaven previous to the capture of Jerusalem. As it is written, These things are all that He behoves to suffer, and what should be after Him. Recognising them, therefore, we have believed in God in consequence of what is written respecting Him." (Clement of Alexandria. Stomata, Book VI, Chapter XV. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/clement-stromata-book6.html viewed 04/13/12)

Though the above is a translation of what Clement wrote, there is no evidence that Peter preached the above--hence Clement appears to be relying on unscriptural sources (Origen also referred to this "Preaching," but not approvingly as Clement did. http://www.ntcanon.org/Preaching_of_Peter.shtml viewed 04/13/12). I have made some attempts to find the actual Greek (thus far without success).

Notice that both Catholic and Protestant scholars acknowledge that Clement of Alexandria had problems:

Clement of Alexandria, himself infected with Gnosticism (Strom, VI, xvi) (Arendzen JP. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas. Marcus. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Unlike Irenaeus who detested it, Clement refers to secret tradition, and his affinities to gnosticism seems to go beyond mere borrowing of gnostic terms. (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 87).

Perhaps it should also be mentioned where Clement of Alexandria Egypt got the cross was probably from Egyptian paganism and/or Gnostic teachings, according to Catholic sources:

The sign of the cross , represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both the East and the West , the introduction of Christianity....Another symbol which has been connected with the cross is the ansated cross (ankh or crux ansata) of the ancient Egyptians , wrongly called the "ansated key of the Nile". It often appears as a symbolic sign in the hands of the goddess Sekhet. From the earliest times also it appears among the hieroglyphic signs symbolic of life or of the living, and was transliterated into Greek as Anse (Ansa). But the meaning of this sign is very obscure (Da Morgan , Recherches sur les origines de l'Egypte, 1896-98); perhaps it was originally, like the swastika, an astronomical sign. The ansated cross is found on many and various monuments of Egypt (Prisse d'Avennes, L'art Egyptien , 404). In later times the Egyptian Christians (Copts), attracted by its form , and perhaps by its symbolism , adopted it as the emblem of the cross (Gayet, "Les monuments coptes du Musée de Boulaq" in "Mémoires de le mission française du Caire", VIII, fasc. III, 1889, p. 18, pl. XXXI-XXXII and LXX-LXXI) (Marucchi, Orazio. "Archæology of the Cross and Crucifix." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 22 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04517a.htm>)

The application of these principles, of Platonic or Pythagorean origin, to Christianity introduced a great diversity of views…In this system were admitted as personified the tetrad (= 4), namely, the four fundamental elements of the cosmos, become through application synonymous with the cross (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p.149).

Gnostics used heretical principles of Platonic or Pythagorean origin and tried to combine them with Christianity.

The apostate Justin Martyr tried to indicate that Moses invented the cross, and that it was a biblically-appropriate symbol that also influenced the pagan philosopher Plato:

And the physiological discussion concerning the Son of God in the Timæus of Plato, where he says, He placed him crosswise in the universe, he borrowed in like manner from Moses; for in the writings of Moses it is related how at that time …that Moses, by the inspiration and influence of God, took brass, and made it into the figure of a cross, and set it in the holy tabernacle, and said to the people, If you look to this figure, and believe, you shall be saved thereby. And when this was done, it is recorded that the serpents died, and it is handed down that the people thus escaped death. Which things Plato reading, and not accurately understanding, and not apprehending that it was the figure of the cross, but taking it to be a placing crosswise, he said that the power next to the first God was placed crosswise in the universe. And as to his speaking of a third, he did this because he read, as we said above, that which was spoken by Moses, that the Spirit of God moved over the waters. For he gives the second place to the Logos which is with God, who he said was placed crosswise in the universe; and the third place to the Spirit who was said to be borne upon the water, saying, And the third around the third. (Justin.  First Apology, Chapter 60)

The Bible does not show that Moses intended for the serpent symbol to be a cross, or that Plato got his ideas from Moses. Furthermore, when some Israelites did treat the serpent symbol like many compromisers today treat the cross, King Hezekiah had it destroyed (2 Kings 18:4). One claimed to be as educated as Justin should have known that.

While he did cite Justin as a type of cross advocate, notice the following view from the late French Catholic Cardinal Jean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou:

The first text in which the Cross appears with a theological significance is the Gospel of Peter. (Daniélou J, Cardinal. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964, p. 266)

Now, the so-called Gospel of Peter is a false gospel (even according to the Church of Rome) and was being used in parts of Egypt and Rome until around the start of the third century. Saint Serapion of Antioch condemned those who used that book--later the Churches of Rome and Alexander dropped it (see also The New Testament Canon - From the Bible and History). Yet, sadly they may have been influenced from it as several of their early leaders accepted it for some time.

Related to Egypt, consider the following:

In the myth of Osiris developed, it was said that it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was the goddess of the last moments of birth. As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet's role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association led to her amulets gaining the phrase I am the resurrection in the Christian era along with cross and lamb symbolism. (Heqet. Wikipedia, viewed 03/12/15)

Heqet was the frog goddess of the ancient Egyptians (see also Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus).

Tertullian of Carthage (Egypt), an area not too far from Alexandria, used some version of the cross around the beginning of the third century:

Tertullian (De cor. Mil., iii), "in all our coming in and going out, in putting of our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles , in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross". (As cited in Thurston, Herbert. Sign of the Cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 May 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13785a.htm>)

In the area of Palestine, there were apparently no images until the time of Theodosius II (5th century)--thus strongly suggesting that this was NOT an original custom or practice of the early church:

In Palestine, the first evidence of venerated images we find in an account related to Theodosius II in which Eudoxia sent from Jerusalem to Pulcheria in Constantinople, an image of the Virgin painted by St. Luke (PG 86, 165-6), though it is not stated that the image was venerated in any church (Bagatti, Bellarmino.  Translated by Eugene Hoade.  The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine, Part 1, Chapter 1.  Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970.  Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p. 120).

Of course, the Luke of the Bible did not paint that image. And even Greco-Romans who professed Christ were not supporters of images for centuries.

But with Emperor Constantine, things changed. Notice the accounts from two historians:

The Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312 A.d.)...Constantine...the... cross. He had been led to adopt this emblem through the appearance, as once he prayed to the sun-god, of a cross over the setting sun, with the inscriptson upon it, In this sign conquer. Obedient unto the celestial vision, Constantine had at once made the cross his banner,a and it was beneath this new emblem that his soldiers marched to victory at the battle of the Milvian Bridge.

Whatever may have been the circumstances or the motives which led Constantine to make the cross his standard, this act of his constitutes a turning point in the history of the Christian Church. Christianity had come into the world as a religion of peace and good will... But after the victory for the Cross at the Milvian Bridge a change passed over the Church. It leaned more and more upon earthly power, and became militant. This infusion into the Church of the military spirit of Rome was one of the most important consequences of the story of the miraculous cross in the sky, and of the espousal of the Christian cause by the emperor Constantine. (Van Ness Myers, Philip. Ancient History. Published by Ginn and company, 1916 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Sep 26, 2007, pp. 480-481).

{Constantine} described to them the figure of the sign he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones...Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones; and within this, the symbol of the Saviour's name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X in its centre...The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies (Eusebius. The Life of Constantine, Chapter 31).

So the cross became a uniform "safeguard against every adverse and hostile power" when a pagan Emperor persuaded many who professed Christ to become warriors and not true Christians (true Christians were always pacifist, see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?)

Many claim that Emperor Constantine was, or became, a Christian no later than in 312 A.D. when he supposedly had a vision that contained a cross.

Yet, this is not quite so. It is not that he did not claim to have a militaristic vision then, but he had not renounced his connections to the sun god Sol or Mithras.

Constantine personally claimed to see an apparition of the sun god Sol in a grove of Apollo in Gaul in 310 (discussed in Rodgers, Barbara S. “Constantine’s Pagan Vision, ”Byzantion, vol. 50, 1980, pp. 259–78).

Even after his alleged conversion to his claimed version of the Christian faith in 312 (if he was ever baptized, it was supposedly on his death bed in 337 A.D., despite him declaring himself a lay “Christian” bishop by 325), Emperor Constantine still put the sun god Sol on his coins.

Below is a coin from 317 A.D. which shows his likeness on one side and the sun-god on the other side:

Constantine Coin Honoring Sun God

The expression SOLI INVI-C-TO COMITI in English means “In honor of the unconquered Sun (god)”.  Hence it is clear that in 317 Constantine was still honoring the sun-god.

Emperor Constantine had been (and remained) a worshipper of the sun-god Mithras (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?). Notice something about that religion:

Candidates who successfully passed the Mithraic initiations were called Lions and were marked upon their foreheads with the Egyptian cross. (Manly P. Hall Manly P. Hall (Author), J. Augustus Knapp (Illustrator) The Secret Teachings of all Ages. Originally published 1926, reprint Wilder Publications, 2009, p. 45)

Mithras signed his soldiers on the forehead with a Cross. X is the mark of 600, the mysterious cycle of the Incarnations. (Pike A. Morals and dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. First published 1871. Forgotten Books, 1962, p. 246)

A curious bas-relief recently published shows us the spectacle of this sacred repast (Fig. 38). Before two persons stretched upon a couch covered with pillows is placed a tripod bearing four tiny loaves of bread, each marked with a cross. ... these love feasts are evidently the ritual commemoration of the banquet which Mithra celebrated before his ascension. (Cumont F. The Mysteries of Mithra. Open Court, 1903. Original from Harvard University, Digitized Feb 15, 2008, p. 160)

Mithratic...initiates...would henceforth have the Sun Cross on their foreheads. The similarity to the cross of ashes made on the forehead on the Christian Ash Wednesday is striking. Some have suggested this to be an example of the early Christians borrowing from the Mithratic cult; others suggest that both cults were drawing upon the same prototype (Nabarz P. The mysteries of Mithras: the pagan belief that shaped the Christian world. Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 2005, p. 36).

... the cross occurs upon Runic monuments in Europe long before Christianity was introduced into the regions containing them; that ancient altars to the Sun-God Mithras bearing the sacred symbol of the cross have been discovered even in England; and that Laplanders of old when sacrificing marked their idols with the symbol of the cross, using the life blood of their victims for this purpose.

It should be pointed out that on a coin of Thasos bearing representations of a phallic character connected with the worship of theThracian Bacchus, a Svastika cross is a prominent symbol ... (Parsons JD. The Non-Christian Cross: An Enquiry into the Origin and History of the Symbol Eventually Adopted as That of Our Religion, Chapter XX. Library of Alexandria, 1896)

Thus, it is not surprising that Emperor Constantine believed in and promoted crosses. In a move that got them more widely accepted, his mother Helena went to Jerusalem, claimed to have discovered Jesus' cross' on September 14, 326, and bring back part it (along with other relics). The veneration of this relic, led to broader acceptance and veneration of crosses by those of the Greco-Roman faiths outside of Egypt.

Notice that even Roman Catholic scholars know that the early church was against idols and images and that the reason given to accept them appears to contradict the Bible (bolding mine)as The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

"Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God," etc. It also explains the fact that in the first ages of Christianity, when converts from paganism were so numerous, and the impression of idol-worship was so fresh, the Church found it advisable not to permit the development of this cult of images; but later, when that danger had disappeared, when Christian traditions and Christian instinct had gained strength, the cult developed more freely (Cabrol F. Transcribed by Wm Stuart French, Jr. The True Cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, long after the apostles died, once non-biblical "Christianity" attained power, it allowed the veneration of images and crosses to develop. Shouldn't everyone associated with the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches understand that there veneration of images is NOT consistent with the Bible or the practices of the "faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)?

There Were Early Opponents to Crosses

Once the use of crosses had became somewhat widespread, some stood up against them as The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

The origin of the movement against the worship of images...had existed for some time among Christians. There seems to have been a dislike of holy pictures, a suspicion that their use was, or might become, idolatrous among certain Christians for many centuries before the Iconoclast persecution began. The Paulicians...held...To honour the Cross was especially reprehensible...some Catholics, too shared their dislike of pictures and relics. In the beginning of the eighth century several bishops, Constantine of Nacolia in Phrygia, Theodosius of Ephesus, Thomas of Claudiopolis, and others are mentioned as having these views. (Fortescue A. Iconoclasm. Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler.The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

A 10th-11th century Islamic Arab document professes to have a Judeo-Christian perspective of the Council of Nicea.  Here is some of what Shlomo Pines summarized from that Arabic report of that Council and what preceded it:

Constantine called a gathering of Christian monks with a view to the formulation of obligatory religious beliefs…However, some of them disagreed with this text…There was a scission and the symbol of faith which had been formulated was not regarded as valid.

Thereupon, three hundred and eighteen men gathered in Nicaea and formulated a symbol of faith, which was accepted and made obligatory by Constantine.  People who dissented from it were killed and professions of faith differing from it suppressed.

In this way people who professed the religion of Christ came to do all that is reprehensible; they worshipped the cross, observed the Roman religious rites and ate pork.  Those who did not eat it were killed. (Pines, pp. 31-32)

So, according to an Islamic reporter, there were Christians who were upset by the changes that Emperor Constantine enforced, such as crosses and Roman religious rites.

The following is apparently from the work History of Armenia by Chamich and is from a 1054-1058 A.D. letter written by Gregory Magistros against the Manichaeans (note I have left out additions by the editor/translator F. Conybeare):

...they represent our worship of God as worship of idol. As if we, who honour the sign of the cross and the holy pictures, were still engaged in worshiping devils (Conybeare F.C. Addend ix III in: The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, p. 149).

In Italy, and elsewhere, others (whether truly faithful Christians or not is unclear) objected to crosses:

About the year 1040, the Paterines had become very numerous at Milan, which was their principal residence, and here they flourished at least two hundred years. They...they rejected not only Jerome of Syria, Augustine of Africa, and Gregory of Rome, but Ambrose of Milan ; considering them, and other pretended fathers, as corrupters of Christianity...They called [the adoration of] the cross the mark of the beast (Jones W. The history of the Christian church from the birth of Christ to the xviii. century, Volumes 1-2, 3rd edition. R.W. Pomeroy, 1832. Original from Harvard University, Digitized, Feb 6, 2009, p. 289).

...the Cathari also renounced priestly vestments, altars, and crosses as idolatrous. They called the cross the mark of the beast, and declared it had no more virtue than a ribbon for binding the hair (Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Chapter X).

It is of historical interest to note the following doctrinal admissions in the article on the Paulicians in The Catholic Encyclopedia (bolding mine):

They honoured not the Cross, but only the book of the Gospel...Since Gibbon the Paulicians have often been described as a survival of early and pure Christianity, godly folk who clung to the Gospel, rejecting later superstitions, who were grossly calumniated by their opponents...

History records that crosses were used centuries before Jesus was born.  For one example, the British Museum holds an Assyrian statue of King Samsi-Vul, son of Shalmaneser, wearing a cross around his neck.  The Greek goddess Diana was often portrayed with a cross above her head looking very much like later medieval portrayals of the "Virgin Mary." But the original usage seems to be even older.

Perhaps, a few statements from the 19th century historian Alexander Hislop may be helpful for some:

In the Papal system as is well known, the sign of the cross and the image of the cross are all in all. No prayer can be said, no worship engaged in, no step almost can be taken, without the frequent use of the sign of the cross. The cross is looked upon as the grand charm, as the great refuge in every season of danger, in every hour of temptation as the infallible preservative from all the powers of darkness. The cross is adored with all the homage due only to the Most High and for any one to call it, in the hearing of a genuine Romanist, by the Scriptural term, "the accursed tree," is a mortal offence. ...

The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honoured with the same honours. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians--the true original form of the letter T--the initial of the name of Tammuz...That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, * and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol...To identify Tammuz with the sun it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun; sometimes it was inserted in the circle...The mystic Tau, as the symbol of the great divinity, was called "the sign of life"; it was used as an amulet over the heart; it was marked on the official garments of the priests, as on the official garments of the priests of Rome; it was borne by kings in their hand, as a token of their dignity or divinely-conferred authority. The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. The Egyptians did the same, and many of the barbarous nations with whom they had intercourse, as the Egyptian monuments bear witness...The cross thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a sacred emblem, was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses...

The first form of that which is called the Christian Cross, found on Christian monuments there, is the unequivocal Pagan Tau, or Egyptian "Sign of life." Let the reader peruse the following statement of Sir G. Wilkinson: "A still more curious fact may be mentioned respecting this hieroglyphical character [the Tau], that the early Christians of Egypt adopted it in lieu of the cross, which was afterwards substituted for it, prefixing it to inscriptions in the same manner as the cross in later times. For, though Dr. Young had some scruples in believing the statement of Sir A. Edmonstone, that it holds that position in the sepulchres of the great Oasis, I can attest that such is the case, and that numerous inscriptions, headed by the Tau, are preserved to the present day on early Christian monuments." The drift of this statement is evidently this, that in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the "Crux Ansata," or "Sign of life," borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; that the ansa or "handle" was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchres, therefore, could have no reference to the crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and long-cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of the Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the "cross." ...

It is certain that the X was the symbol of the god Ham in Egypt, and as such was exhibited on the breast of his image. Whichever view be taken, however, of Constantine's sincerity, the supposed Divine warrant for reverencing the sign of the cross entirely falls to the ground. In regard to the X, there is no doubt that, by the Christians who knew nothing of secret plots or devices, it was generally taken, as Lactantius declares, as equivalent to the name of "Christ." In this view, therefore, it had no very great attractions for the Pagans, who, even in worshipping Horus, had always been accustomed to make use of the mystic tau or cross, as the "sign of life," or the magical charm that secured all that was good, and warded off everything that was evil. When, therefore, multitudes of the Pagans, on the conversion of Constantine, flocked into the Church, like the semi-Pagans of Egypt, they brought along with them their predilection for the old symbol. The consequence was, that in no great length of time, as apostacy proceeded, the 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.

(Hislop A. The Two Babylons. Chapter V, Section VI, The Sign of the Cross. pp. 197-201)

These statements hopefully show everyone that the use of the cross can clearly be an idol for billions of people on the earth today. Does anyone really feel that God wanted Christians to venerate the object that was used to torture His Son? (Note the idea of Jeus being killed on an 'accursed tree' comes from Galatians 3:13).

Crosses were a pagan symbol that some who compromised with pagans adopted.

Is there a Connection Between Nimrod, Tammuz, and Crosses?

There are various ones who believe that Tammuz mentioned in Ezekiel 8:14, whose symbol basically was a type of cross (called a Tau which looks like a T,), was originally Nimrod of Genesis 10:8-11 (see also 1 Chronicles 1:10). While the Bible does not specify that there are reasons to believe that the connection is valid.

Here is a report from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary:

Ezekiel 8:14

Tammuz - [perhaps contracted for Tam­zuwz, from a Hebrew root, 'to melt down;' taamaaz the same as maacac, referring to the river Adonis, fed by, the melted snows of Lebanon, as also to the sun's decreasing heat in winter, and to the melting lamentations of Venus for Adonis]. Instead of weeping for the national sins, they wept for the idol. Tammuz (the Syriac for Adonis, according to Jerome), the paramour of Venus-and of the same name as the river flowing from Lebanon-killed by a wild boar, and, according to the fable, permitted to spend half the year on earth, and obliged to spend the other half in the lower world. An annual feast was celebrated to him in June (hence called Tammuz in the Jewish calendar) at Byblos, when the Syrian women, in wild grief, tore off their hair, and yielded their persons to prostitution, consecrating the hire of their infamy to Venus; next followed days of rejoicing far his return to the earth-the former feast being called 'the disappearance of Adonis,' the latter, 'the finding of Adonis.' This Phoenician feast answered to the similar Egyptian one in hononr of Osiris. (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The above shows a connection between the Hebrew word for Tammuz and a river called Adonis. It also ties this in with Osiris of Egypt.

Furthermore notice:

The boar was sacrificed to Adonis, or Tammuz, the Sun-god, and its head served up at his festival, because Adonis (the same, be it remembered as Nimrod) was said to be killed with the tusk of a boar. The goddess Diana, though only commonly regarded as the huntress Diana, was in reality identical with Cybele, and Rhea; in her attributes under the form of the Ephesian Diana was worshipped as the Mother-goddess. Now this deity was none other than Semiramus deified : though there is a confusion in the Babylonian mythology between Semiramus and Eve--each being, in a sense, regarded as the Mother of the Child. And Diana, accordingly, is frequently represented with the boar's head as her accompaniment: in token not merely of success in the chase, but of her triumph over the traditional destroyer of her son. The boar was also sacrificed to Venus--another form of the Mother of the Child--for the same reason. In Rome, the boar formed the principal dish at the festival of the Saturnalia, which is the Roman Christmas--Saturn being identical with Nimrod, Tammaz, or Adonis. In like manner, the continental Saxons offered a boar on Christmas day to the Sun--worshipped by them as a goddess--to propitiate her for the loss of her beloved Adonis. (Shepheard H. Traditions of Eden; or, Proofs of the historical truth of the Pentateuch. 1871. Original from Oxford University, Digitized Aug 17, 2006, p. 167)

(Some other legends say that Nimrod was killed by a sword.) But the above is tying Nimrod to Adonis and Tammuz.

The Bible warns about adopting pagan practices with the worship of the true God:

26 Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.
(Deuteronomy 7:26, NKJV)

14 Do not harness yourselves in an uneven team with unbelievers; how can uprightness and law-breaking be partners, or what can light and darkness have in common? 15 How can Christ come to an agreement with Beliar and what sharing can there be between a believer and an unbeliever? 16 The temple of God cannot compromise with false gods, and that is what we are -- the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, NJB)

19 What does this mean? That the dedication of food to false gods amounts to anything? Or that false gods themselves amount to anything? 20 No, it does not; simply that when pagans sacrifice, what is sacrificed by them is sacrificed to demons who are not God. I do not want you to share with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-20, NJB)

Crosses do not come from the Bible. They are not Christian symbols and should not be used as part of Christian worship.

The Murderous Crusaders Were Cross Bearers

The term 'crusader' basically means cross-bearer.

The Catholics also called for the crusades which killed Muslims and eventually others:

Urban's main achievement was convoking the Council of Clermont, November 1095, which called the First Crusade. The Byzantine Emperor, Alexius Commenus, had sent a desperate appeal to Urban for armed knights to defend Christianity against the Moslem enemy. When the Pope laid the Emperor's pleas before the knights in Clermont, the main concern of the noblemen there was not so much the defense of Byzantium as the rescue of the Holy land from Moslem domination. Palestine had been under Moslem control since the days of the Caliph Omar, but at least the Arab Moslems had allowed Christian pilgrims to visit the places made sacred by the life of Christ. The SeIjuk Turks, now the dominant Moslem power, had, on the other hand, closed off the Holy Land. Thus the Pope concluded his speech to the council with these words: “Men of God, men chosen and blessed among all, combine your forces! Take the road to the Holy Sepulcher assured of the imperishable glory that awaits you in God's kingdom. Let each one deny himself and take the Cross!” With a shout — "God wills it” — the Assembly rose. They adopted a red cross as their emblem, and within a few hours no more red material remained in the town because the knights had cut it all up into crosses to be sewn on their sleeves. Because of their emblem (crux is the Latin word for cross) they were given the name Crusaders. (Carrol A. The Crusades. Catholic Education Resource Center. http://catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0010.html viewed 07/27/14)

Decrees of Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, 1095... He established and decreed that knights and footmen, that is whoever were able to go to deliver Jerusalem and the other churches of Asia from the power of the pagans, for the love of God and to obtain remission of all their sins, should set forth with one soul, bearing arms, and he decreed that in their property until their return unbroken peace and security should be observed. At the same time he provided that all who went there should bear the sign of the cross marked on the garments on their shoulders or on their forehead, whereby they would show the piety and pilgrimage of so great a journey and be impeded by no one. All those who were present, hearing such a good and desirable edict, lifted their voices to the heaven in ovation, shouting altogether again and again : God wills it, God wills it, God wills it. (Decrees of Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, 1095. In a Historia peregrinorum at Monte Cassino is contained an amplified version of the Cencius-Baluze text (p. 124n.) Translated from Robert Somerville, The Councils of Urban II. vol 1, DECRETA CLAROMONTENSIA, Amsterdam 1972. http://falcon.arts.cornell.edu/prh3/259/texts/clermont.html viewed 07/27/14)

The Crusades were expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny. The origin of the word may be traced to the cross made of cloth and worn as a badge on the outer garment of those who took part in these enterprises. Medieval writers use the terms crux (pro cruce transmarina, Charter of 1284, cited by Du Cange s.v. crux), croisement (Joinville), croiserie (Monstrelet), etc. Since the Middle Ages the meaning of the word crusade has been extended to include all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels, i.e. against Mohammedans, pagans, heretics, or those under the ban of excommunication... the extermination of the Albigensian heresy was due to a crusade (Bréhier, Louis. "Crusades." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 27 Jul. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm>)

The Crusaders were murderous ones promised remission of sins for killing while wearing crosses. This is not biblical, yet there are Catholic prophecies that seem to align with biblical ones that teach something like this will happen again.

Might Some Type of Cross May End Up as a Symbol of Antichrist? Is the Cross the Mark of the Beast?

Some type of cross has been used by many religions in the world. Most who profess Christ do not seem to consider that the final Antichrist may use some type of cross or crucifix as a sign or mark. Decades ago, I recall watching an old black and white rerun of the old William Tell show. In it, the Austro-Hungarian empire wanted all to bow or kneel before some flag or standard of the empire. The common people refused. So, the authorities called the locals to a square and threatened to kill them all if they would not kneel or bow down before it. After the standard was raised, no one bowed down, then several seconds later, all the people knelt. The local government official began to smile as he felt that now all would accept his authority. Yet, he looked behind himself and saw a priest who had just raised a crucifix. The government official was disappointed but kept it to himself, while the local people were happy and comfortable kneeling before a cross.

Could a type of cross/crucifix be a symbol for the final Antichrist or even the image of the beast in Revelation 13?

As quoted earlier, some of the Cathari and Patrines claimed that the cross was "the mark of the Beast."

Various Catholic writings suggest that some type of cross may be a symbol for the conquering of the world prior to the return of Jesus Christ, apparently by the Beast (666) and False Prophet (Antichrist).

While that may seem to be a bold assertion, there are many reasons to take warnings against crosses seriously. People need to remember that the swastika is a type of cross and it was used as a symbol by Adolph Hitler--hence there is recent historical precedent.

Their is also older precedent. The type of cross that Emperor Constantine had his soldiers wear is known as a labarum:

The Labarum (☧) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the first two Greek letters of the word “Christ” (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ).It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I…

Though modern representations of the chi-rho sign represent the two lines crossing at ninety degree angles, the early examples of the Chi-Rho cross at an angle that is more vividly representative of the chi formed by the solar ecliptic path and the celestial equator. This image is most familiar in Plato’s Timaeus…Of Plato’s image in Timaeus, Justin Martyr, the Christian apologist writing in the second century, found a prefiguration of the Cross (Labarum. Wikipedia, viewed 03/04/09).

So, the Chi-Rho existed from at least the time of Plato (a pagan philosopher), but was adopted by Constantine centuries after Christ died.  The heretic Justin was probably one who originally encouraged its adoption, and he apparently got it from Plato.

It is possible that religious icons, such as crosses may be involved in the interfaith movement. Many religions use crosses, and although they were not an original symbol of Christianity, many of the world's churches have adopted them. The use of a symbol like a cross may make those of the Greco-Roman and other religions comfortable enough so that they will not think that the final Babylonian Antichrist power has risen up. Many religions have long used a cross and it may end up as a symbol in an attempted "one-world" religion (see also Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction?).

Some version of a cross seems to have been warned against by a Catholic mystic:

Countess Francesca de Billiante (died 1935): Many in this land will carry the hooked cross on their forehead and their breast, not suspecting that this is a sign of Satan. (Culleton, G. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 226).

There was also another Catholic writer who indicates that the image or perhaps mark of the Beast may be something that resembles that Constantinian cross:

Priest P. Huchedé (19th century): Antichrist will further make all men, great and small, rich and poor, freemen and bondmen, bear a sign on their right arm or their forehead. (Apoc. 13:16). What this sign shall be time alone will reveal. Yet there are some {Catholic} commentators of the Holt Writ, who, according to a special revelation pretend to say that it shall be formed out of the Greek letters X and P, interlaced…which resembles the number of Christ. (Cornelius a Lapide in Epis. 2 to Thes.). No one can either buy or sell without this mark, as specified in the Apocalypse (13:17). (Huchedé, P.  Translated by JBD. History of Antichrist.  Imprimatur: Edward Charles Fabre, Bishop of Montreal.  English edition 1884, Reprint 1976.  TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 24).

If the cross is a symbol of the future Antichrist/Beast power as Priest P. Huchedé indicates it could be (and it is in a book with an official imprimatur), perhaps those who come from faiths descended from Emperor Constantine should be concerned about their religion now–before it becomes even further removed from the original faith. The Bible indicates that the true Christians will NOT have the symbol/mark needed to buy or sell when the two beasts of Revelation 13 are in power, but only those that will follow those beasts will (Revelation 13:16-17)–and while crosses may not necessarily be required everywhere, other Catholic writings suggest that in certain places, they will be.

Although all real scholars admit that the original Christians would not kill or intentionally participate in military service, yet after Emperor Constantine claimed to see a spear in the sky with a traverse bar (see Constantine is Why “Christians” War), the group that accepted his authority then allowed him to convene what is known as the Council of Nicea in 325. A.D.

Astoundingly, there are writings that indicate that some who wear crosses will be persecutors:

St. Francis de Paul (1470): These holy Cross-bearers shall reign and dominate holily over the whole world until the end of time…(Culleton,p. 157-161).

St. Bridget of Sweden (died 1373): …war shall end when an emperor of Spanish origin will be elected, who will, in a wonderful manner, be victorious through the sign of the Cross. He shall destroy the Jewish and Mahometan sects… (Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times , p. 154).

Anne Catherine Emmerich (October, 1820): citizens and peasants, many of whom were marked on the forehead with a red cross. As this army drew near, the captives and oppressed were delivered and swelled the ranks whilst the demolishers and conspirators were put to flight on all sides (Emmerich AC. The Life of Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Schmöger edition, Vol. IV. Nihil Obstat: D. Jaegher, 14 Februari 1914. Imprimatur: A.C. De Schrevel, Brugis, 14 Februari 1914. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 2004, pp. 290-291).

Yet, Jesus (e.g. Matthew 5:11-12; 10:23) taught that Christians would be the persecuted, not the persecutors (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

Furthermore, notice what one claimed to be “Mary” allegedly stated in an apparition Pfaffenhofen, Germany on June 25, 1946:

I am the great Mediatrix of Grace. The Father wants the world to recognize His handmaid…My sign is about to appear. God wills it…I cannot reveal my power to the world as yet…Then I will be able to reveal myself…Chose a sign for yourself so that the Trinity may soon be adored by all! Pray and sacrifice through me!…I will impose crosses on my children that will be as heavy and as deep as the sea because I love them in my sacrificed Son. I pray, be prepared to bear the cross in order that the Trinity may be honored (Culleton, Reign of Antichrist, pp. 217-218).

Real Christians would not pray and sacrifice through Mary as the Bible only shows such practices as appropriate for God.

In 1958, Matous Losuta of Czechoslovakia claimed that “Mary” stated:

All my children will receive and carry the sign of the cross on their foreheads (Flynn, Ted & Flynn, Maureen. Thunder of Justice: The Warning, the Miracle, the Chastisement, the Era of Peace. Signs of the Times Illustrated by Kaleidoscope Graphics Staff Contributor Malachi Martin Published by Maxkol Communications, 1992, p. 331).

But this is not something that the Bible advocates. (More on Mary can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.)

Thus, according to various Catholic mystics and writers, those that follow a persecuting power will wear some type of cross.  And according to at least one Catholic priest, it is similar to the type of cross that Emperor Constantine used, and according to that same priest, it may be an important symbol for the beasts of Revelation 13 and their followers:

14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed...(Revelation 13:14-15).

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities (Revelation 18:4-5).

There is no place in the Bible that says that Christians should have or bow down before any idol, statue, or "holy icon" (nor is the term "holy icon" ever used in the Bible). Instead, we see warnings throughout the Bible NOT to be part of those that participate in those practices. Whether or not any type of cross will be one of the icons of the Beast can be debated, but the fact that the Bible warns against worshiping images cannot be. The Bible suggests that even the appearance of worshiping before statues is wrong (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:10).

Real Christians would not follow the Beast and False Prophet and hence should not wear crosses nor bow down before any statues or icons now. (For more information, and even a picture, please see Persecutions by Church and State.)

Now interestingly, the Bible tells that the beast supporters will turn against the harlot woman (Revelation 17:16-17), who may have employed crosses and images that somehow speak (cf. Revelation 13:15).

Although the originator probably had a different intention in his comments, notice what the following truncated Catholic private prophecy states:

Bernadine Von Busto (died 1490): Satan...will cause a voice to come from the crucifix saying: `Why do you call on Me, as if I can help you? I am not God nor the Saviour of the world, but a sorcerer, an instigator and deceiver of the people, for I was a false prophet...Therefore, call on me no more…I am not the son of God, but rather the greatest sorcerer the world has ever had...Also the pictures of the Mother of God at times will speak when someone will be praying before them: `Cease your supplications. I am not the Mother of God. I have no power with God. I am only a miserable creature...' It will be the same with the pictures of the Saints. That it is the devil who speaks from the crucifixes and pictures…

I wonder if Satan may admit to this type of thing, and perhaps do this, around the time of the fulfillment of Revelation 17:16-17). The fact is that the images that people bow down before and pray are inspired by Satan.

The Great Monarch May Be Annnounced with Signs Like a Cross and May Uses Crosses for His Army

An Orthodox Catholic prophetic document, called the Anonymou Paraphrasis (10th century) seems to suggest that a king that sounds a lot like the Beast of Revelation and King of the North of Daniel 11 will be revealed with signs including a cross:

The one true King…is destined to become manifest [be revealed]…by means…of signs… The King will hear the voice and instructions by an Angel appearing to him…he has foresight and is cognizant of the text of the prophecies…the name of the King is hidden [concealed] among the nations…And the particular manner of the king’s manifestation to the public [to the world] will take place as follows: A star will appear for three days…And a herald speaking with a very loud voice in the course of the three days will summon and unveil the hoped for one…There will become visible in the sky a ‘nebulous firmament of the sun’…under that image will be suspended a cross…And the invisible herald from Heaven with his thunderous voice will say to the people: Is this man agreeable to you?  At that moment everybody will be taken by fear and terror (Tzima Otto, H.  The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. Verenika Press, Rock City (SC), 2000, pp. 30, 31, 32, 50-51,52).

The Bible warns that the 'man of sin' will be accompanied by signs and wonders:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Might one or more crosses be involved with the signs and wonders? See also The Mark of Antichrist and Mark of the Beast.

Did Jesus Leave With a Cross? Will Jesus Return With a Cross?

It should also be mentioned that one reason that Jesus will not be recognized when He returns by Catholics is that Catholics expect Him to come with a cross.

Based on several false books which the Church of Rome teaches are non-canonical (such as the Apocalypse of Peter and the Epistle of the Apostles), the late French Catholic Cardinal Jean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou wrote:

Just as the Cross accompanied Christ in his ascent to heaven, so it will precede him at his coming again. (Daniélou J, Cardinal. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964, p. 268)

It must be added that the Bible does not teach that a cross accompanied Jesus into heaven, but that Cardinal Daniélou cites the discredited Gospel of Peter (Ibid, p. 267) as his source for that claim.

Those who rely on prophecies in books that were not inspired by the Holy Spirit, that are in conflict with scripture, will be deceived (see also Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?).

The Church of Rome wrongly believes that Jesus will be announced by a cross.

This is based upon not only false gospels, but a wrong interpretation of Matthew 24:30:

22. But what is the sign of His coming? Lest a hostile power dare to counterfeit it. And then shall appear, He says, the sign of the Son of Man in heaven {Matthew 24:30}. Now Christ's own true sign is the Cross; a sign of a luminous Cross shall go before the King , plainly declaring Him who was formerly crucified: that the Jews who before pierced Him and plotted against Him, when they see it, may mourn tribe by tribe {Zechariah 12:12}, saying, "This is He who was buffeted, this is He whose face they spat on, this is He whom they bound with chains, this is He whom of old they crucified, and set at nought. Whither, they will say, shall we flee from the face of Your wrath?" But the Angel hosts shall encompass them, so that they shall not be able to flee anywhere. The sign of the Cross shall be a terror to His foes; but joy to His friends who have believed in Him, or preached Him, or suffered for His sake. (Cyril of Jerusalem. Catechetical Lectures, XV. Translated by Edwin Hamilton Gifford. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1894.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310115.htm>)

"The sign of the Son of Man appearing in the heavens"

In Matthew 24:30, this is indicated as the sign immediately preceding the appearance of Christ to judge the world. By this sign the Fathers of the Church generally understand the appearance in the sky of the Cross on which the Saviour died or else of a wonderful cross of light. (McHugh, John. "General Judgment." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 9 May 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08552a.htm>)

There is nothing in the Bible that says a luminous cross is the sign of Jesus. Furthermore, early Christians DID NOT use a cross as a Christian sign. Yet, because the Church of Rome teaches that a cross will appear in the sky to show that Jesus is about to come, if one associated with the 'man of sin' in 2 Thessalonians appears as Eastern Orthodox prophecy teaches, Catholics and others will sadly be inclined to falsely believe it is a sign from God (see also Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

I would also add that it is not proper to teach that Ignatius associated the 'cross' "with the power of the Holy Spirit" as the late Cardinal Danielou did (Danielou, Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964, p. 278 and many mistranslators have. Ignatius used the word staros/stake, not the word cross, in his writing in his letter to the Ephesians, Chapter IX.

What About the Tau in Ezekiel and the Marking of Revelation 14?

Some believe that instead of possibly being a symbol of Antichrist, that the wearing of crosses may instead distinguish those that follow God from those that follow Antichrist. While, intuitively, that would appear to go against the Bible and practices of the early Christians, proponents of this view cite a passage in Ezekiel for their proof.

As a rule, Catholics tend to believe that they are SUPPOSED to be MARKED with a cross.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

The sign of the cross...marks with the imprint of Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1235, p. 347 ).

Catholics, including Eastern Orthodox ones (Seymour WW. The cross in tradition, history, and art.  pp. 423-427), are specifically “marked” with the sign of the cross upon baptism (Thurston, Herbert. Sign of the Cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 May 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13785a.htm>) and confirmation (Morrisroe, Patrick. Chrism. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. Nihil Obstat. November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1908.  25 May 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03696b.htm>). The sign is normally made with the right hand touching the forehead and then other parts of the body.

It may be of interest to note that the Geneva Commentary on Revelation 13:16 (a Protestant source) believes that confirmation, which it neglects to mention is a cross on the forehead with oil, is the mark of the beast:

…to receive 24 a b mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads…
(24)        That is their consecrated oil, by which in the ordinance (as they call it) of confirmation, they make servants for themselves, the persons and doings of men, signing them in their forehead and hands. They make the sign left by Christ, see Revelation 7:3 and the ordinance of baptism useless. For whom Christ has joined to himself as signified by baptism this beast challenges with his greasy consecrated oil, which he does not hesitate to prefer over baptism, both in authority and value.
(b)          The mark of the name of the beast. (Geneva Notes, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2005, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc.)

A writing that may have been improperly ascribed to Hippolytus claimed, “Ye were marked with the seal of my cross, but ye deleted it by your hardness of heart” (Hippolytus.  On the End of the World.  Appendix to part II. Of the works of Hippolytus. Containing dubious and spurious pieces. Section XLVIII.  Ante-Nicene Christian library: translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, Volume 9. T. and T. Clark, 1872. Original from Oxford University. Digitized, Aug 22, 2008, p. 129).  This seems to suggest that the author considered that a cross was a good mark.  But Jesus never said anything like that.

Here is part of a Catholic explanation of Revelation 7:2-3 and 13:16:

Chapter VII...Verses 2-3...The angel has the sign of the living God, the sign of the cross...The purpose of delaying the onrush of the four winds is to give time to sign the foreheads of God’s servants.  The scene calls to mind Ezechiel (IX. 4) to mark a “Thau” on the foreheads of the faithful; and this Thau in ancient Hebrew had the form of a cross…In Chapter XIII. 16, the followers of the Beast have are signed in the forehead or in the right hand.  They have the seal of the Beast in contrast with these who have the seal of the Spirit on their foreheads and on their hearts. (Kramer H.B. L. The Book of Destiny.  Nihil Obstat: J.S. Considine, O.P., Censor Deputatus.  Imprimatur: +Joseph M. Mueller, Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, January 26, 1956.  Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), pp. 172, 174-176)

The implication is that believers will be signed with a Tau/Thau cross and followers of the Beast another mark. Before addressing that, it is important to realize that the Bible nowhere teaches that the cross is the sign of the living God--the cross has long been a pagan symbol. Certain other Catholics also believe that God had His people in the Old Testament marked with a cross:

There are in the Old Testament clear allusions to the Cross  and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Thus the Greek lefter (tau or thau) appears in Ezekiel 9:4, according to St. Jerome and other Fathers, as a solemn  symbol of the Cross  of Christ — "Mark Thau  upon the foreheads of the men that sigh". (Marucchi, Orazio. Archæology of the Cross and Crucifix. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.  Robert Appleton Company, 1908.  27 May 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04517a.htm>)

Yet, it needs to be understood that a thau/tav (ת orTofor possibly possibly shaped like an "x") does not really look like a typical Catholic cross, but this is the interpretation of Ezekiel 9:4 that many Catholics hold to.

Here is a somewhat related teaching about supposedly why/when crosses entered Catholicism per The Catholic Encyclopedia:

The cross was originally traced by Christians with the thumb or finger on their own foreheads. This practice is attested by numberless allusions in Patristic literature, and it was clearly associated in idea  with certain references in Scripture, notably Ezekiel 9:4 (of the mark of the letter Tau); Exodus 17:9-14; and especially Apocalypse 7:3, 9:4  and 14:1. Hardly less early in date is the custom of marking a cross  on objects — already Tertullian speaks of the Christian  woman "signing" her bed (cum lectulum tuum signas, "Ad uxor.", ii, 5) before retiring to rest—and we soon hear also of the sign of the cross  being traced on the lips (Jerome, "Epitaph. Paulæ") and on the heart (Prudentius, "Cathem.", vi, 129). (Thurston, Herbert. Sign of the Cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 May 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13785a.htm>)

So, basically at the time of the end, many Catholics consider that their people will have crosses, despite the fact that this was not really a symbol for Christians until a century or so after Jesus was crucified. However the word that is often translated as mark in Ezekiel 9:4 is not translated that way another time it is used in the Old Testament (one Protestant and then two Catholic translations are shown):

35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. (Job 31:35, KJV) 

35 Will no one give me a hearing? I have said my last word; now let Shaddai reply! When my adversary has drafted his writ against me (Job 31:35, NJB)

35 Who will grant me an hearer, that the Omnipotent would hear my desire: and that himself that judgeth would write a book. (Job 31:35, Original DOT).

The fact that the Douay Old Testament does not even translate the same word as “mark” or indicate a type of cross when it is also used in Job 31:35 is something that they seemed to have generally missed. The term seems more to mean word.

Cross on Mars?

Some believe that a NASA photo shows a cross/crucifix on Mars. A reader sent me a link to the following in 2016:

Is there a CRUCIFIX on Mars? UFO hunters have spotted a cross on the red planet near the ruins of a ‘beautifully carved’ structure in latest bizarre claim

This claim was first spurred by a UFO hunter in France, who noticed the unusual shapes in a photo taken by Nasa’s Curiosity Mars rover. ...

The claim has since been picked up by UFO Sightings Daily, where editor Scott C. Waring explains its potential religious significance to readers.

According to the post, the zoomed in photo from the Curiosity rover shows a cross that is partially blocked by rocks.

Nearby is what they claim is a ‘beautifully carved’ roof, with archways and layered sections.

‘This is a very unusual find and probably a significant discovery for some readers here that are religious.

'A cross was discovered on Mars by Christian Mace in France,’ Waring says in the post.

‘The cross is sitting on the other side of the rock hill, so the bottom portion of it is not visible, but if the rover took the photo from the others side, I would be big money that this is a full size cross. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3472070/Is-CRUCIFIX-Mars-UFO-hunters-claim-spotted-cross-red-planet-near-ruins-beautifully-carved-structure.html#ixzz41y4QRLFs March 1, 2016

Whether or not this is an actual cross or a shadow issue is unclear. No human has been to Mars and it is not likely that a land-vehicle sent from Earth would have constructed it.

Thus, this Mars' 'cross' may have ecumenical and interfaith appeal. It may be that those that do may consider the Mars' 'cross ' (presuming it is not a shadow or something) as proof of its 'universal' nature.  This may encourage some to embrace the interfaith and ecumenical agendas that the Church of Rome is promoting.  Especially if the Vatican ever accepts the possible existence of this Mars' cross as valid.

Crosses Should Not be Part of Christian Worship

Early Christians did not use crosses in their churches. Early Christians did not wear crosses. While it is true that various ones in Egypt adopted crosses from paganism, it was not until the fourth century that most professors of Christ accepted the cross as a symbol. And those that did, accepted it as a symbol of war, which is in direct contradiction to the beliefs and practices of early Christians.

The Bible teaches:

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

The truth is that God did not tell people to use crosses to worship Him. Crosses are physical objects that came from paganism that were adopted by many professors of Christ because various ones compromised with Mithraism. Egyptian paganism, and/or the old Babylonian mystery religion.

Christians should not mix pagan practices with their faith (1 Corinthians 10:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-16).

This is not to say that all who own a cross are active idolators. Some countries use crosses on their flags and national identification cards, which are not wrong to own. Nor is it wrong to own something from groups such as the Red Cross, which feature crosses on a lot of medical supplies. Nor is it wrong to accept awards that some groups give out that have some type of a cross.

Yet, as far as Christianity goes, the historical facts should give people pause to realize that crosses should not be part of true Christian worship. But because many do not realize this, many are subject to being deceived by the final Beast power, a power that may well utilize one or more cross symbols.

A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross. An article of related interest may be: What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?

Thiel B. What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol? http://www.cogwritr.com/cross.htm (c) COGwriter 2012/2014/2015/2016 1108

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