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The Cross and the Jehovah’s Witnesses

For Christians, the cross of Christ is a symbol of god’s judgment, mercy and means of salvation all rolled into one. The cross is seen as the instrument through which Jesus was killed nearly 2,000 years ago. For most there is little dispute that it is indeed a cross on which Jesus died, this is not universally accepted however.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses assert that the cross was not in actuality a cross, but instead was a simple upright pole onto which Jesus was nailed. According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses the symbol of the cross was a later accretion from pagan mythology, this therefore should not be accepted by true believers in Christ.


For the Jehovah’s Witnesses it is significant that the term used to describe the means of execution in the Bible was ξύλον (xulon/xylon). Citing Strong’s concordance of the Bible they note that Xylon simply means “timber,” and “by implication a stick, club or tree or other wooden article or substance.”[1]

As further evidence Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:22, 23 are raised as proof texts that the method of death was fastening to a stake or a tree.


In the source cited above it is also asserted that the symbol of the cross did not appear in Christian iconography for the first four centuries of the Christian church. This is raised as an indication that the Cross was not in fact known as the method of Christ’s execution during that time frame.


Are the Jehovah’s Witnesses correct in their understanding of the Cross? To put it simply, no.