Crosstianity – A New Religion
Miles R. Jones
Dr. Miles Jones is a 7th generation native-born Texan. He is the author of numerous religious history books, including Writing of God: Secret of the Real Mount Sinai; Sons of Zion vs Sons of Greece: Survival of The Hebrew Gospels and the Messianic Church; The Coming Crisis: Answering the Call from Sinai in a Time of Chaos; and The Hebrew Epistle of James.
It is “a new religion that will bring you to your knees” as the old song goes. I live in a community that has erected a seven-hundred-seventy-seven foot hollow cross on a hill overlooking the town. It is a beautiful place, a calm place, a spiritual place, with a gorgeous garden full of remarkable sculptures, a great fountain, scriptural verses inset into the walkways in three languages (English, Spanish & German), picnic tables among the shade trees, beautiful spiritual music playing, free religious literature, a truly great view of the countryside, and, of course, a 777 foot cross. I go up there often enough. It is only a couple of miles from my home. The Messianic group of which I was a part even meets there for some of their Sabbath gatherings. Lots of people are getting saved there and it has become a powerful focal point of the faith.
Most Christians are not aware that the cross was not put into the creed until the fourth century AD when Constantine, the Roman Emperor, created a new religion called Christianity. Constantine – at the crucial battle of Milvian Bridge outside Rome – saw a vision of a cross in the sky and heard the words “Under this sign, Conquer!” His soldiers quickly painted the cross on their shields and went on to conquer Rome. The rest is history, as they say, except for a few niggling details.
The pagan cross pre-dated Christianity and yes, it was used as a Roman standard in battle long before Milvian Bridge. It has a long pagan history. The vision was spin, invented a decade or so after the battle by Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, to cement Constantine’s appeal to Christians – already a significant part of the population of the Roman Empire. It worked and Constantine added the words Cross and Crucifixion into the Christian Creed. It may surprise the reader to know that the cross is never mentioned in the earliest Greek New Testaments. It is a fourth-century Roman invention. “The word “cross” appears 28 times in the New Testament, and in all cases, it is translated from the Greek word stauros. The original meaning of this word was not “a cross” but “an upright stake.” The words cross, crucify, and crucifixion were added into Scripture in the fourth century as part of the new religion along with a new Sabbath day (Sunday) and the new feast days of Easter and Xmas, Christmas. In Greek the X (chi) is the first letter in Christ. There are many religious symbols, icons and anagrams of the cross, representing Christ and Christianity.
The point is that there is a world of difference between praying AT the cross and praying TO the cross. Some may think this far too trivial a point, but it isn’t really. Would it be better if we used a symbol from the Bible – such as the Menorah – designed by Yehovah himself? (Exodus 25:31-40) Would a 777 foot Menorah be better, more godly? Not really, not if you understand why the worship of images and idols is expressly forbidden. It is so much easier to worship the
SEEN than the UNSEEN – to bow down to an image or icon in stone (or wood or metal or paint or plaster) rather than to stretch one’s mind and spirit to walk in a Covenant of absolute truth and love with the Creator. That is why the 2nd Commandment states, “You shall not make unto you any graven image, nor any likeness of any thing… you shall not bow down yourself to them nor worship them!” (Exodus 20:4).
Another icon meticulously designed by our Maker was the Temple. Devotion to it misled the Jewish people to become Temple worshippers. They subtly shifted their focus and allegiance from Yehovah to the Temple and its officials – high priests and such – known as the Sadducees – (Righteous Ones). The Messiah’s Talmidim – students, later to become His Apostles – were full of awe as they showed Yeshua the truly incredible Temple and surrounding complex that had been recently completed by Herod. Herod was known as the Great – because of his massive building projects. His majestic and beautiful gold-plated Temple gave this king spiritual legitimacy among the people although he was one of the darkest, cruelest, most evil monarchs ever to ascend the throne. It was Herod Magnus (the Great) who ordered the slaying of all the infants of Bethlehem, and his son Herod Antipas who engineered the death of the Messiah.
Yeshua was not impressed with the Temple. “See you not all of these things? Truly I say unto you there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:2). And so it happened not 40 years later, the Romans burnt the Temple down, all the thin gold plate melted and ran between the stones, and literally every stone was thrown down from the others in order to scavenge the gold. Yeshua did not hesitate to condemn the idolatrous Temple worship in public either. “Tear down this Temple and in three days I will raise it up!” (John 2:18). This raised the ire of the Temple crowd. At His crucifixion they mocked him, “You, who would destroy the Temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the stake.” (Mark 15:29).
The Messiah did return from the grave in three days as He promised. He will also return among us again! Will we recognize the Messiah when he returns? I don’t know that he will be doing the robe-&-long-hair thing anymore. He may show up in a beat-up pickup wearing scuffed boots, faded jeans, and a T-shirt. I do not really know, but I do know that only seeing the surface of things is the problem, isn’t it? I also know the good people of my community – I know their hearts and their devotion to the Word – so I am certain that many, I pray most, of them will indeed recognize the Messiah and welcome Him. But what if the Messiah ignores the big, beautiful Cathedrals and Churches and Temples? After all, they have been built as appropriately grandiose places for Him to “tabernacle among us.” That is another phrase that does not appear in Scripture. What if Yeshua stands before our 777 foot cross and says, “This is not my symbol! Tear it down!”? Do you think that might arouse some ire, perhaps even some violent passions? I suspect so. But then we would know, for sure, the difference between Crosstians – and followers of the Messiah, wouldn’t we?