A Cross or Torture Stake: Evaluating the Watchtower’s Claims

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There is perhaps no other Christian symbol that is despised by Jehovah’s Witnesses as the Cross. This is reflective of their contempt for the Christian Church, which they derogatorily term as “apostate Christendom.”

This piece intends to demonstrate that the very belief of Watchtower Society regarding the cross of Christ actually exposes it as an organization that every truth-seeking individual must reject.

An Innovative Idea

At its inception in 1884 and for more than half a century, the Watchtower Society held the cross in high esteem. Many of their publications during these early years contained references – some with vivid illustrations – of Christ’s death upon a cross.

For example, the Society’s early symbol, a cross and crown, was featured on the cover of each edition of The Watchtower magazine.

Their founder, Charles Taze Russell’s pyramid monument at his gravesite in Pittsburgh’s Rosemont United Cemetery, also bears this cross and crown image.

In 1921, the second president of the Watchtower Society, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, wrote:

The cross of Christ is the greatest pivotal truth to the divine arrangement, from which radiate the hopes of men” (The Harp of God, p. 141).

An illustration from a book titled Life, written by Rutherford in 1929 clearly showed Jesus carrying the cross on the way to Golgotha (page 198).

But in 1931 things began to change. First, the cross and crown image was dropped from their magazine. Then in 1936, Rutherford released a book, Riches, where he declared that: “Jesus was crucified, not on a cross of wood … Jesus was crucified by nailing his body to a tree” (p. 27).

Since then, the current JW position was affirmed: “We know that Jesus was nailed to a torture stake” (The Watchtower, January 15, 1966, p. 63).

The Watchtower Society illustrates this torture stake as a single standing pole without a horizontal cross beam, with one nail piercing both of Jesus’ hands – which were placed above His head.

All the artistic renditions in Watchtower publications present this, yet we are told:

“In one instance, he invited Thomas to inspect the wounds inflicted in his hands by means of the nails [John 20:19-29]” (The Watchtower, January 15, 1966, p. 63).

Now this is a contradiction. If Jesus died on a torture stake, it would require just a single nail piercing both hands, yet this Watchtower article is telling us about “wounds inflicted in his hands by means of the NAILS.”

Is it one nail or two?

Granted, The Watchtower says “the depictions of Jesus’ death in our publications … are merely reasonable artistic renderings of the scene…” (August 15, 1987, p. 29).

If this is true, then their depiction of Jesus’ death should not contradict the Bible, logic, archaeology and history. But this is not the case as I will show.

Biblical evidence

First, the Bible clearly states that Jesus’ hands were nailed with two nails. It quotes the words of Thomas who was an eyewitness to the crucifixion:

Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails...” (John 20:25).

The nails mentioned here were for His hands, not feet. Notice that he used the plural form of the word ‘‘nail,’’ while ‘‘print’’ is singular, indicating a separate nail punctured each hand leaving a single mark in each hand.

Second, in Matthew’s account, we read:

‘‘They put up above His head the
charge against Him, which read,
‘This is Jesus the King of the Jews’’’
(Matthew 27:37).

Notice the description provided in God’s inspired Word. Matthew reported that the proclamation of Pontius Pilate was ‘‘set up over his head.’’ If Christ had been impaled as the Watchtower describes, the text would have read: ‘‘set up over (or above) his hands.’’

Evidently, Jesus died on a cross. His hands were stretched out and the sign was placed above His head.

Third, the very words of Jesus Himself prophesying the Apostle Peter’s martyrdom refutes the claim of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

‘‘Truly, truly, I say to you, when
you were younger, you used to
gird yourself, and walk wherever
you wished; but when you grow
old, you will stretch out your
hands, and someone else will gird
you, and bring you where you do
not wish to go. Now this He said,
signifying by what kind of death
he would glorify God” (John 21:18-
19).

Notice again the wording of Scripture as Jesus declared that Peter’s hands would be stretched out, not raised over his head. Peter’s crucifixion is attested to by church history.

Jehovah’s Witnesses can’t have it both ways. They must either accept the inspired Biblical record or cleave to the uninspired Watchtower Society.

Semantic Acrobatics

JWs argue that the Greek words translated as ‘cross,’ stauros, means an upright stake or pole and not a timber joined into a cross.

Indeed, during the BC era, the term stauros strictly meant a pole or stake, but when the Romans adopted Greek language and customs, stauros came to be used to refer to both poles and crosses.

Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (vol. VII, p. 572) gives three meanings for stauros. Only one of them matches the Watchtower’s; the others present other distinct meanings:

‘‘The στανρoς [stauros] is an instrument of torture for serious offenses, … In shape we find three basic forms. The cross was a vertical pointed stake [Skolops] … or it consisted of an upright with a cross-beam above it [T, crux commissa] … or it consisted of two intersecting beams of equal length [† crux immissa].”

Another Greek scholar, Joseph Thayer, agrees with the dual meaning of stauros:

‘‘An upright stake, esp. a pointed
one, … a cross; a. the well-known
instrument of most cruel and ignominious punishment, borrowed by the Greeks and Romans from the
Phoenicians…” (Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 586).

The Watchtower Society dogmatically assert that the word xy’lon used in Acts 5:30, Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24 means ‘timber,’ not a cross.

Actually, the Greek word is xulon and it carries more definitions than “the Society” tells its readers.

Greek scholar W. E. Vine translates xulon as ‘‘wood, a piece of wood, anything made of wood’’ and gives its application as ‘‘of the Cross, the tree being the stau-ros’, the upright pole or stake to which the Romans nailed those who were thus to be executed’’ (The Expanded Vine’s Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words, p. 1165).

Kittel gives one of its renderings as ‘‘Cross. A distinctive NT use of ξùλον [xulon] is in the sense ‘cross’ (Theological Dictionary, Vol. 5 p. 39).

Strong’s Concordance defines xulon as anything made from wood, be it a stake, cross or a tree. It doesn’t have a fixed usage. In Matthew 26:47, the word is used for wooden instruments and in Acts 16:24 for clubs or stocks.

In non-Biblical texts, like Antiquities of the Jews for instance, Josephus used it to refer to “gallows” (Book II), and Polybius used it for “a cudgel” (Histories, Book VI).

An online Greek lexicon work defines xulon (tree) as “a beam from which anyone is suspended, a gibbet, a cross, a log or timber, a cudgel or a staff.”

In English language, the term “tree” has a variety of uses which includes a cross, therefore, its Biblical use is completely justified. The Watchtower is being deceptive by providing a single definition for a word with different meanings.

Misquoting Sources

In Watchtower publications, quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia, Critical Lexicon and Concordance or Greek scholars are often presented to convince the reader that stauros rigidly means torture stake.

But these quotes usually lack complete references or page numbers so you can’t double-check them. The reason is: Watchtower writers quote their sources out of context as if the authors agree with their views. (See some documented examples here and here)

Two examples will suffice.

(1) They cite the work of a
Roman Catholic scholar, Justus Lipsius (1547-1606), De
Cruce Liber Primus.

The illustration in it depicts a man being impaled on an upright stake and based upon the drawing, readers are told: ‘‘This is the manner in which Jesus was impaled.’’

But when one consults this Latin work (which is difficult to find), the dishonesty of the Watchtower Society becomes evident. The work includes several wood-cut illustrations portraying impalement or crucifixion. Most of these illustrations depict a man on the cross, not torture stake.

And Lipsius never suggested that Jesus was impaled on a cross, but instead argued for a ‘‘cross’’ with such statements as, ‘‘the cross was inserted and the other crosswise bar is joined and inserted with the upright plank, and thus it cuts [divides] itself.” (Justus Lipsius, De Cruce Liber Primus, Ch. IX, pg. 24. Translated from Latin by Marie Tseng, University of Southern California).

(2) They also quote from the Imperial Bible Dictionary (1874, vol. 1, p. 376):

“The Greek word for cross, properly signified a stake, an upright pole … Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole, and always remained the more prominent part. But from the time it began to used as an instrument of punishment, a transverse piece of wood was commonly added. .. about the period of the Gospel age, crucifixion was commonly accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood.”

The part appearing in bold was conveniently omitted by Watchtower leaders for obvious reasons: it damages their argument. So, they dishonestly cite it as if the author agreed with their theory. This is a common tactic in JW publications.

Archaeological evidence

False beliefs do not usually survive the light of scientific inquiry. The archaeological evidence favouring a cross is much more convincing than the alternative theory.

In his book, Evangelism in the Early Church, Michael Green states:

‘‘Some experts doubt whether the cross became a Christian symbol so early, but the recent discoveries of the cross, the fish, the star and the plough, all well known from the second century, on ossuaries of the Judaeo-Christian community in Judea put the possibility beyond reasonable cavil’’ (pp. 214-215).

In the 1945 discoveries at Talpioth, eleven ossuaries were found and reported to be from Christian grave sites in Bethany. These burial boxes too were engraved with crosses and their burial date was estimated at 42-43 A.D. – slightly more than a decade after our Lord’s death and resurrection (Jack Finegan, The Archeology of the New Testament, pp. 238-240).

Even non-Christians indicate that archaeology favours the cross above a torture stake. In 1971, it was reported that:

“Israeli archaeologists announced that they had identified the remains of the unfortunate young man and found clear evidence of his grisly execution. The Israelis scholars who studied the find for more than two years before making their announcement, were understandably cautious. What they uncovered and authenticated is the first firm physical evidence of an actual crucifixion in the ancient Mediterranean world” (Time Magazine, 1971, p. 64).

Early Church History

From the works of early church writers, one can infer that it was common knowledge that Jesus died on a cross.

In 100 AD, the writer of The Epistle of Barnabas (12:2) says:

“The Spirit saith to the heart of Moses, that he should make a type of the cross and of Him that was to suffer, that unless, saith he, they shall set their hope on Him, war shall be waged against them for ever” (J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer, eds. The Apostolic Fathers, p. 278).

Justin Martyr (160 AD) described the cross beam used to crucify Jesus and wrote that, “He will come again in glory after His crucifixion was symbolized by the tree” (Dialogue with Trypho, p. 40).

Ignatius of Antioch, an early church leader, in his Epistle to the Trallians (11:1-2), speaks of the ungodly and says:

‘‘These men are not the Father’s
planting; for if they had been, they
would have been seen to be
branches of the Cross, and their
fruit imperishable — the Cross
whereby He through His passion
inviteth us, being His members.”

Tertullian also said that Christians used the Greek letter tau or T as a sign of the cross after the manner of Jesus’ death (Ad nationes 1:11).

Interestingly, The Watchtower (November 15, 1993, p. 9) quotes Tacitus, a historian saying that the early Christians were “nailed up to crosses” after the manner of Christ.

An ancient drawing (dating back to the 3rd century) called Alexamanos graffito shows a Roman soldier worshipping a man with a donkey head being crucified. The caption on it reads:

“Alexamanos worships [his] God”.

It was probably intended to mock Christians who worshipped a victim of crucifixion.

Early church scholar, Tertullian, made allusion to these mockeries of the Christian faith by unbelievers: “Some among you have dreamed that our god is an ass’s head – an absurdity which Cornelius Tacitus first suggested” (Ad nationes 1.11).

On a final note, true believers do not venerate or pray to a cross as Jehovah’s Witnesses are made to believe. The true Christian focus is not on the cross as a piece of wood, but on what Jesus accomplished on it (Col. 2:14-15)

However, when Biblical, historical, archaeological and logical evidence are integrated, it’s safe to conclude that Jehovah’s Witnesses are in plain error on this one. Their organization has revealed itself as one of the “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18).

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Examining the Qur’an’s claims of Bible Corruption

the-koran-vs-the-bible

Below is a question I received from a member of this blog’s Facebook page. This question is germane to all Christian-Muslim discussions, therefore, I’ve expanded my response to Thomas for the purpose of this article.

Please is it true that the Quran explicitly says the Bible is corrupt as alleged by the Muslims?

The charge of Bible corruption is one that Muslims of all stripes perennially levy against Christians and Jews (some of them believe Romans were the culprits), but so far, not one Muslim has been able to specifically identify the people who altered the Bible, where it happened, how it happened and provide any evidence to back up their loud assertions.

The fact is, there is no place in the Quran where it explicitly states that the Bible has been textually altered, though it makes references to people (Jews and Christians) hiding, mistranslating and twisting the interpretation of the Bible.

I will proceed to quote ten of these passages and give a summary under each category.

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are taken from Mohammed Habib Shakir’s English translation of the Quran.

Sura 2:59 “But those who were unjust changed it for a saying other than that which had been spoken to them, so We sent upon those who were unjust a pestilence from heaven, because they transgressed.”

Sura 2:75 “Do you then hope that they would believe in you, and a party from among them indeed used to hear the Word of Allah, then altered it after they had understood it, and they know (this).

Sura 3:78 “There is among them, a section who distort the Book with their tongues as (they read), you would think it is part of the Book, but it is not part of the Book

Sura 4:46 “Of those who are Jews (there are those who) alter words from their places and say: We have heard and we disobey and: Hear, may you not be made to hear! and: Raina, distorting (the word) with their tongues and taunting about religion; and if they had said (instead): We have heard and we obey, and hearken, and unzurna it would have been better for them and more upright; but Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief, so they do not believe but a little.”

Sura 5:41 “O Messenger! let not those grieve you who strive together in hastening to unbelief from among those who say with their mouths: We believe, and their hearts do not believe, and from among those who are Jews; they are listeners for the sake of a lie, listeners for another people who have not come to you; they alter the words from their places, saying: If you are given this, take it, and if you are not given this, be cautious...”

You can see from all these passages that the allegation was that the “people of the Book” were twisting the Bible with their tongues, that is, misinterpreting it.

Not one of these passages ever accuses them of altering the text of the Book. The scenarios described were of people listening to the words flowing out of Muhammad’s mouth and reciting divergent accounts.

This shows that even the Quran affirmed the authenticity and inspiration of the Bible, since it indicated that those altering the Bible with their tongues were cursed and deluded people.

Thus, the Bible is given its proper place in the Quran as God’s Word – a stance that damages the Quran itself.

Other passages accuse Jews and Christians of hiding their Scriptures (which is the truth) from Muhammad:

Sura 3:71 “Ye people of the Book! Why do you clothe truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you have knowledge” (Ali)

Sura 2:140 “Nay! do you say that Ibrahim and Ismail and Yaqoub and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Are you better knowing or Allah? And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from Allah? And Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.

Sura 3:187 “And when Allah made a covenant with those who were given the Book: You shall certainly make it known to men and you shall not hide it; but they cast it behind their backs and took a small price for it; so evil is that which they buy

Sura 5:13-15 “… We cursed them [the Jews] and made their hearts hard; they altered the words from their places and neglected a portion of what they were reminded of… And with those who say, ‘We are Christians’, we made a covenant but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of … O followers of the Book! indeed Our Messenger has come to you making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book and passing over much; indeed, there has come to you light and a clear Book from Allah

From all these verses, it’s clear that while the Quran accuses Jews and Christians of hiding, forgetting or neglecting a portion of the Bible, it never accuses them or anyone else of altering its texts.

This allegation was a convenient excuse Muhammad obviously rehashed to satisfy his narcissism, because he realized that the Jews and Christians rejected his fictionalized, redacted and spurious accounts of bible characters, so rather than admit his ignorance and lies, he blamed them for forgetting or hiding the portions of the Bible which he came to reveal.

Indeed, this was an utterly illogical and self-defeating charge. How could Muhammad who was illiterate know exactly which part of the Bible had been expunged, hidden or forgotten?

Again, why would followers of a faith alter their own sacred book? Can Muslims alter their own book? It doesn’t add up.

The only way out for Muhammad’s followers today is to admit that their guru lied: the Bible was not tampered with. And once a Muslim agrees with this, his faith in Islam must wane.

Finally, there is one passage that comes close to the Muslim’s charge, but it still doesn’t support their claims, if read carefully:

Sura 2:78-79 “And there are among them illiterates who know not the Book but only lies, and they do but conjecture. Woe then, to those who write the Book with their hands and then say: ‘This is from Allah’, so that they may take it a small price; therefore woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn

First, this verse is too vague for any definitive conclusion. It makes a reference to a group of illiterates who don’t know the Bible. This couldn’t be Jews and Christians, since the same Quran says they knew their Scriptures and were literate (e.g. Sura 2:113).

Second, the passage is denouncing those who make a merchandise out of selling the scriptures. The Bible also denounces the same. Even today, there are Muslims who also alter and twist the meanings of Bible passages for pecuniary benefits.

Third, the verse is condemning this group of people, not what they had written. So by any means, the Quran still upholds the integrity and authenticity of the Bible, even while pronouncing woe on those who trade on it or alter it. So, this passage fails to support the Muslim claim.

It’s on this leverage that the Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, Abdullah Saeed, wrote:

“If the texts (of the Bible) have remained more or less as they were in the 7th century, the reverence the Quran has shown them at that time should be retained even today. Many interpreters of the Quran from Tabari to Razi to Ibn Taymiyya, and even Qutb appear to share this view” (The Charge of Distortion of Jewish and Christian Scriptures in the Muslim World, Volume 92, 2002, 434).

The idea that Christians or Jews physically altered the Bible wasn’t known in the days of Muhammed until about 400 years after his time. The charge of Bible corruption (tahrif) was made up by Ibn Hazm (Khazm) in the 11th century A.D. in a bid to explain the startling differences between the content of the Bible and their Quran.

It’s still the same deluded mindset from Muhammad at work: the Bible which the Quran desperately appeals to for legitimacy must be “wrong” for their Quran to be “right.”

Refutation of “Constantine’s Creation of Jesus”

nicaea-iznik

One of the fans of this blog’s Facebook page sent me a pamphlet entitled Constantine’s Creation of Jesus Christ by Kerrie French.

This title alone betrays its conspiracy theme. Reading its first two pages, it became clear to me that the write-up is aimed at misleading folks into the Sacred Name Movement (SNM), a sect linked to the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM).

The SNM began within the Church of God (Seventh-Day), propagated by Clarence Dodd in the 1930s, which seeks to conform Christianity to its ‘Hebrew Roots’ in practice, belief and worship. SNM groups advocate for the use of the “sacred name” of God as Yahweh (though there’s no agreement on this) and Jesus as Yahshua (varied as well) and keeping Old Testament laws.

Now, when a new religious movement claims to have “the only truth” or an exclusive understanding of an old truth, its truth claims need to be critically examined. To this end, I will be rebutting the main arguments in this pamphlet:

It appears that in A.D. 325, a new god was conceived within the black and white marble halls of Roman Catholicism … Constantine’s intention at Nicea was to create an entirely new god for his empire who would unite all religious factions under one deity. Presbyters were asked to debate and decide who their god would be. Delegates argued among themselves, expressing personal motives for inclusion of particular writings that promoted the finer traits of their own special deity (p. 1-2).

Each sentence here is patently false. There was no Roman Catholicism in the 4th century. Not one single person at the Council of Nicea adheres to the definitive doctrines of Roman Catholicism.

The intention of the Council of Nicaea was to settle a Christological controversy caused by a presbyter named Arius who denied the deity of Christ. It was never about “creating a god.”

It is a rather shameless and deceptive undertaking for someone to distort a documented historical event that is well-attested to by ancient sources in the name of presenting the truth. Even a heathen shouldn’t stoop that low. Here are three standard reference works on the council of Nicea:

Encyclopedia Britannica

New World Encyclopedia

Encyclopedia.com

Throughout the meeting, howling factions were immersed in heated debates, and the names of 53 gods were tabled for discussion. “As of yet, no god had been selected by the council, and so they balloted in order to determine that matter. . . For one year and five months the balloting lasted. . .” God’s Book of Eskra, Prof. S.L. MacGuire’s translation, Salisbury, 1922, chapter xlviii, paragraphs 36, 41 (p. 2-3).

Again, we are treated to mythical assertions. I personally wonder why, of all the councils in church history, Nicea seems to be the favourite dream works studio of conspiracy fiction writers and anti-Christians who re-write history when it doesn’t play their game.

Kerrie laces this paragraph with a source to feign legitimacy, but that is a smoking gun right there.

An entry of the quote and God’s Book of Eskra into Google shows that this quote and alleged source is identical on SNM websites. These guys just mindlessly parrot and copy one another without any recourse to intellectual scrutiny.

God’s Book of Eskra is not a historical source. It was an occult legendary book called Oahspe, written by a dentist named John Ballow Newbrough and published in 1882. Newbrough admitted his work came from spirits (“automatic writing”) without any prior text before him.

The translator “Prof. S. L. MacGuire” was obviously made up since the Oahspe was already written in English. A search of “S. L. MacGuire God’s Book of Eskra” on WorldCat (a compendium of 71,000 library catalogues in 112 countries) turns up no relevant hit.

These SNM websites got the quote in question from one original source: Tony Bushby’s Forged Origins of the New Testament (2007). Bushby must have fabricated “Prof. S.L. MacGuire” and his alleged “translation” to make Newbrough’s book appear as an ancient source.

So there are three strikes against this one: a false claim, a fraudulent reference and a demonic source. Absolutely invalid!

I invite my readers to read about the council of Nicaea from both Judaic and Catholic sources and draw their own conclusions:

Encyclopedia Judaica

Catholic Encyclopedia

Constantine was the ruling spirit at Nicaea and he ultimately decided upon a new god for them. To involve British factions, he ruled that the name of the Druid god, “Hesus,” be joined with the Eastern Saviour-god, Krishna (Krishna is Sanskrit for Christ), and thus “Hesus Krishna” [Jesus Christ] would be the official name of the New Roman god (p. 3).

The post-Nicene detour of Roman churches into Arianism and the necessity of the Council of Constantinople to redress this is one proof that Constantine wasn’t the ruling spirit at Nicaea.

The Gaulish god, Esus, has no connection with Jesus (an Anglicized name). This writer fondly imagines that the people at Nicea and the Celtic Druids spoke English language.

According to this goofy reasoning, Constantine picked a Celtic god, joined it to an Indian god to become a “new Roman god”! This nonsense is beyond belief.

The name Jesus is an English transliteration of the Hebrew Yeshua or Yehoshua and Greek Iēosus. It literally means “the LORD (or Yahweh) is salvation.” Centuries before a council held in Nicaea, the Bible speaks of several people bearing this name:

Jesus Barabbas, a prisoner released by Pontius Pilate before Jesus was crucified (Mt. 27:16-17 REB); an ancestor of Jesus (Lk. 3:29); Joshua, son of Nun (Acts 7:45); Jesus Justus, a Jewish Christian who with the apostle Paul sent greetings to the Colossians (Col. 4:11) (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. Ronald Youngblood, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995, 658).

Whether it’s spelled Jesus, Joshua or Yeshua, it means the same: the Lord our salvation (Matt. 1:21). Changing a name from one language to another does not change the meaning of the name nor does it change the character or identity of the person.

 Following long-standing heathen custom, Constantine used the official gathering and the Roman apotheosis decree to legally deify two deities as one, and did so by democratic consent. A new god was proclaimed and “officially” ratified by Constantine (p. 3).

This is straight from the fevered imaginations of Tony Bushby, but with a twist. While Bushby asserts the Bible was formed at Nicea, Kerrie French and his SNM comrades claim a “new god” was proclaimed there. Notice his choice of words too. He vaguely refers to “heathen custom,” that a man gathered people to “legally deify two deities as one” by “democratic consent.” This is gobbledygook, even by heathen standards.

If there was such a decree, it would be documented. The writer resorts to demagoguery in place of facts. He strings together big words to dazzle his uninformed readers when in actual fact, he’s saying nonsense.

Some authorities, who have spent their entire lives studying the origins of names, believe that “Jesus” actually means— “Hail Zeus!” For Iesous in Greek is “Hail Zeus.” That is, “Ie” translates as “Hail” and “sous” or “sus” is Zeus. Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend, J.C.J. Melford, 1983, p. 126.

 No quotation from the source is given, but in some SNM website where this line was copied from, the quote appears to have been astutely wrenched from its context.

Notice that the writer talks about “some authorities who have spent their entire lives studying the origins of names,” but gave only one source that can’t even be termed an authority. This is cultic politics of language: maximal claims, minimal output.

Initially, he says Jesus was an amalgam of a Celtic and Indian god which became a Roman god, now he says the name is of a Greek god. This writer couldn’t even convince himself.

The Greek word for “hail” is xaipe or xaipete and it’s not a constituent of the name Iēosus. The name Iēosus is found in the Greek Septuagint, a translation dating to the B.C. era.

First century works of Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, written in Koine Greek also refers to at least 20 different people with the name Iēosus (Jesus) (Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd, The Jesus Legend, Baker Pub., 2007, 129).

That the name ends with “sus” or “sous” furnishes no evidence that it’s from Zeus. That a certain word or word part sounds like another is no proof of commonality.

For instance, it would be insane for someone to say that Yahuwah was stolen from the Sumerian monster deity named Huwawa because of the phonetic similarity. Yet this is the dark, twisted logic being touted by SNM adherents.

Apparently, this new fabricated name was applied throughout the pages of the Scripture’s Renewed Covenant (NT), radically altering every reference of Yahusha יהושׁע (H#3091) the Messiah to “Hail Zeus-Krishna” (Jesus Christ). Deceptively, the reference to Christ was never a Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah, but it specifically comes from the name of a pagan god, Christna, most commonly spelled Krishna (p. 3)

Bear in mind that Sacred Name and Hebrew Roots adherents deny the validity of the Greek New Testament, asserting that it was “originally” written in Aramaic – a claim that is rather a testament to their profound delusion. Thus, when this writer calls the NT “Renewed covenant,” he is peddling an agenda that denies the plain differences between the Old and New covenants.

He also alleges that the Bible has been “radically altered.” On pg. 4, he writes: “Who said the Scriptures remain pure and undefiled? Should we not be wise to discern what else has been changed, manipulated, or removed?

This is the convenient cop out cultists mouth when they realise their folly cannot be substantiated by Scripture. The NT was written in Greek, so there wasn’t any need for the Hebrew name of Jesus to be expunged from it. Moreover, His Hebrew name is Yeshua (or Jeshua) not Yahusha.

John F. Sawyer, Professor of Religious Studies at University of Newcastle, England, has this to say about the word “Christ”:

“The word is derived from the common biblical Hebrew word māšîah, meaning ‘anointed.’ In Greek it is transcribed as messias and translated as christos. In the Hebrew Bible, the term is most often used of kings, whose investiture was marked especially by anointing oil” (The Oxford Companion to the Bible, eds. Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, Oxford Press, 1993, 513).

The birth of what is known today as CHRISTIANITY did not exist until Constantine united his empire under the name of his newly fabricated god “Jesus Christ” … Simply, no one was a Christian prior to A.D. 325. All the churches that claim to be Christian today are merely daughters of the Roman stylized system of false worship of “Hail Zeus-Christna” (p. 4).

Certainly, once you eliminate the Lord Jesus from the equation and dismiss the validity of Scripture, the next logical step is to throw 17 centuries of historic, orthodox Christianity under the bus. What you end up with might appear ‘Christian’ but it’s the kingdom of the cults.

This is the logical plinth on which Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Christian Science cults are based.

They first have to abjure church history to justify their own existence. That way, they can easily claim to be “restoring ancient Christianity.” The logic is: no one got it right until we alone came on the scene.

At least, most aren’t ridiculous to the extent of declaring that no one was a Christian prior to 325 A.D.

The Christianized churches continue to utilize the fabricated terms to replace Yahuah יהוה with “the Lord,” and perpetuate the contrived tradition of replacing Yahusha ,יהושׁע the Messiah, with “Jesus Christ” (Hail Zeus-Christna) (p. 5).

Notice a pattern: Each time the writer refers to Jesus, he finds it necessary to include Zeus-Krishna in brackets beside it. This is aimed to program an unwary reader’s mind to associate the name of Jesus with pagan deities even though this lacks a factual basis. This is Pavlovian brainwashing, utilized by most cults.

In the Old Testament, we see that God revealed Himself by different names. In more than 6,000 times, He is revealed as YHWH (often pronounced as Yahweh) which is likely related to the verb “to be” (Ex. 6:6; 20:2).

He is designated as Adonai, which means “lord” or “master” 449 times. Adhon reveals God’s authority as Master, One who is sovereign in His rule (Ps. 110:1; Hos. 12:14).

He is also designated as Elohim, a plural Hebrew form more than 2,000 times (Dt. 32:17; Josh. 3:10) (Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press, 2008, 201).

Therefore, when a group places an extreme emphasis on a certain name of God and builds a castle around it, alleging it is “suppressed information” a cultic mindset is being instilled into its adherents.

Interestingly, in Scripture, the term elohim is also used as a generic term for “god” as when speaking of the Philistine god Dagon (“elohim” 1 Sam. 5:7); Chemosh, the god (“elohim”) of Ammon and Moab (Jgs. 11:24) and Milcom (1 Kgs 11:33). But SNM don’t push out articles on the name elohim.

Here is the point: the context and usage of “lord” determines who is being referred to. When apostle Paul quotes Psalm 117:1 “Praise the LORD (Yahweh), all you nations…”, and then writes, “Praise the Lord (Kurios), all you Gentiles…” (Rom.15:11), every right thinking reader can see that Yahweh is equivalent to the Lord Jesus.

Whether in Greek (Iēsous), Latin (Iesus), Arabic (Yesu), French (Jésus) or Yoruba/Igbo (Jesu), the name of Jesus carries the same power and authority in setting free men from sin and Satan.

The writer says false religious organizations don’t observe “Yahuah’s sacred seventh-day Sabbaths and/or set-apart Feast Days of Scripture … [They are] lacking in the knowledge of the truth unto salvation and the power bestowed in the true sacred names” (p. 7).

Let no legalist or “sacred name” nutter lead us to make an idol out of any earthly language and bring us back under bondage of the Old Testament laws.

This pamphlet states its agenda when it says: “Names have meanings, but it is not proper to translate them” (p. 10).

SNM heretics have so much idolized Hebrew language that they believe any translation of Jesus’ name into any language on earth other than Hebrew must be despised and demonized in every sort of way – whether by hook or crook. That is the fundamental assumption underlying this excuse of a pamphlet.

Nothing in it is new however. For many years, enemies of the Gospel have tried in vain to parallel Jesus with Attis, Mithras, Krishna or Horus. The difference now is that the atheists, agnostics and skeptics have left it up to modern day Judaizers who claim to be Christians to regurgitate their delusion.