Christ’s Crucifixion: Cross or Tree? Does it REALLY Matter?

Sycamore Fig Tree in Israel  (Source: Pinterest)

Galatians 3:13 Christ 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” — 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (NASB 1995)

Many have asked the age-old question of whether Christ was crucified on a Roman cross regardless of its shape (e.g. the traditional crux immissa or Latin cross, the crux commissa or Tau cross, etc.) or hung on a tree per Torah (=the Law).  If a tree, what kind and why? For starters, let’s examine one of the more significant pronouncements that the incarnate Christ made:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (NASB 1995)

Author’s Note: Believers do NOT go to Heaven; the Kingdom of Heaven is New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-14), and she will descend from the New Heaven to the New Earth after Judgment Day (aka the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord [lit. Yahoah]).

Most “Christians” conveniently forget that Joshua (see footnote b) the Anointed (Gr. Iesous Christos/Heb. Yehoshu’a HaMaschiach) is a Torah-observant Jew who hails from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14-17). These same “Christians” claim to be from NT-only churches and that the Law (Heb. Torah) does not apply to them; they couldn’t be more wrong (Acts 15:1-32).

Flashing back to 10 Abib in 36 CE leading up to Christ’s crucifixion on 14 Abib (Passover), we have this peculiar event:

Matthew 21:18 Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. 20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (NASB 1995)

Author’s Note:  Examine Strong’s 4808 regarding early figs in June with the primary harvest in August and September.  There was absolutely no way ANY fig tree in the Levant would have beared fruit in late March/early April, so this act was definitely symbolic.

But, why this particular fig tree? Let’s flash back to the Garden of Eden (Heb. Gan ‘Eden):

Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (NASB 1995)

Note that God gave the commandment to Adam; Eve had not been created yet! Adam had a choice of immortality from the beginning; EVERY decision has cause and effect. Also, note:

Genesis 2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (NASB 1995)

Flashing forward to the moment of the “original sin:”

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 4 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed FIG LEAVES (emphasis mine) together and made themselves loin coverings. (NASB 1995)

Obviously, Adam taught the commandment spoken to him by God; Eve CLEARLY knew the rule (although she added to it: “or touch it” in v3b), but the DESIRE to obtain something forbidden (i.e., the false promise of having the mind of God) overtook her. Adam certainly had no backbone to say no; that reminds me of a majority of men today  spiritually and morally bankrupt!

Bottom line: They BOTH partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and immediately became MORTAL and ashamed of their nakedness. What was the first thing they did? They gathered leaves from the tree closest to them and fashioned loin coverings!  Folks, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a FIG TREE!

Flashing back to that eventful day on 14 Abib in 36 CE… Most think that Christ was crucified in accordance with Roman law.  That flies in the face of Christ’s proclamation regarding His fulfilling Torah in Matthew 5:17-19, doesn’t it? Pilate washed his hands of the affair. So, what was Christ’s alleged crime?

Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council [=Great Sanhedrin] kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. 60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62 The high priest [=Yosef ben Caiaphas] stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; 66 what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” (NASB 1995)

So, Christ’s alleged crime was blasphemy, which is a crime worthy of/punishable by death (v66) as He confirmed that He is the prophesied “Son of Man” [=Son of God]. Then, we have these two exchanges:

John 19:1 Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3 and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. 4 Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” 5 Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!” 6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” (NASB)

So, what is that Law referenced in v7?

Deuteronomy 21:22 “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance. (NASB 1995)

See what transpires next:

John 19:13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” 15 So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

16 So he then handed Him over to them [=the Jews, specifically the Council of the Great Sanhedrin] to be crucified. 17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross [Gr. stauros; =crossbar; Lat. patibulum], to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. (NASB 1995)

Author’s Note: Golgotha is the place where Goliath’s severed head was buried outside the walls of modern day Jerusalem by then shepherd boy David (1 Samuel 17:31-58). Christ is of the lineage of David both patrilineal (Matthew 1:1-16 concentrating on v6) and matrilineal (Luke 3:23-38 concentrating on vv31-32).

So, the tree on which Christ and the two criminals were hung was the cursed and withered fig tree — which was likely the original tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the Garden of Eden! Why was this done in this manner?

Galatians 3:13 Christ 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” — 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (NASB 1995)

What an impressive picture through symbolism! Man was created and intended to live forever; that ended as mortality was introduced when Adam and Eve partook from the fig tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! Christ cursed that tree that led to death for all of mankind, then that Lamb of God became a “curse of the Law” so that believers in Him — including Gentiles — may receive Salvation and everlasting life! His First Coming was about overcoming death and providing Salvation!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (NASB 1995)

Hallelujah and amen! Please read my article on Passover for more details.

Remember:  If you had been a true prophet, sage, or scribe of El Elyon — much less the Son of God — you would have had a proverbial death wish in ancient Israel; some things never change.  Pharisaism in the first century CE re-emerged as modern rabbinic Judaism (Matthew 23:8).

Matthew 23:29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of [lit. Gehenna]? 34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (NASB 1995)

One parting question: How did we end up with Christ’s crucifixion being symbolized by a Latin cross? Because the RCC usurped everything that is “Christian” and applied their own esoteric symbology and “sacred mysteries” as well as false traditions (embellishments not in the Scriptures), precepts of men (manufactured theology), and doctrines of demons (assimilated paganism); the Scriptures explicitly warn against all of these. Many of these false teachings carried over to Protestant churches after the Reformation. No modern church nor synagogue teaches the whole truth; truth mixed with lies are still lies! The TRUE early church was called The Way — to the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentiles); practically everything Hebraic has been eradicated and replaced in our “Christian” churches. It is in good company with modern JudaismBelial is proud of his handiwork.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (NASB 1995)

We have arrived, folks!  #QuestionEverything

Be sure to examine the articles, calendrical documents, maps, and figures in the following series:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 2019, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB 1995)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

2 thoughts on “Christ’s Crucifixion: Cross or Tree? Does it REALLY Matter?

  1. At the time of Jesus the Romans did not yet crucify’ people in the way as it is present in Renaissance paintings and has become a common presentation of Christ’s death.

    People were impaled on a vertical piece of wood or on a (death) tree. The cross is also the sign of the god Tamuz and should never be revered, like not one statue (image, figure, portrait, icon) or representation of a human being or of an object from nature should be honoured.

    Only The One True God of Whom no pictures or statues may be made may be worshipped.

    Real lovers of God should keep to God’s commandments, enduring sound Biblical doctrine and not preferring human doctrines and traditions of man.


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