The Concordant Literal New Testament with the Keyword Concordance stated:" [cross] [u]sed here for the stauros on which Jesus was crucified ... [stauros, xylon] disagree with the modern idea of a cross, with which we have become familiarized by pictures. The stauros was simply an upright pale or stake to which the Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified. Stauroo [the verb], merely to drive stakes. It never means two pieces of wood joining each other at any angle. Even the Latin word crux means a mere stake."
"stauros STANDer: an upright stake or pole, without any crosspiece, now, popularly, cross..."
The book, Dual Heritage-The Bible and the British Museum, states:
“It may come as a shock to know that there is no word such as ‘cross’ in the Greek of the New Testament. The word translated ‘cross’ is always the Greek word [stauros] meaning a ‘stake’ or ‘upright pale.’ The cross was not originally a Christian symbol; it is derived from Egypt and Constantine.”
- [it's likely derived before Constantine, as Justin Martyr shows]
The Non-Christian Cross, An Enquiry into the Origin and History of the Symbol Eventually Adopted as that of our Religion, by John Denham Parsons, pub. 1896, https://archive.org/details/nonchristiancros00pars // https://onlytruegod.org/defense/stauros.htm // http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9071
Moses was sent with a rod to effect the redemption of the people ; and with this in his hands at the head of the people he divided the sea. By this he saw the water gushing out of the rock ; and when be cast a tree into the waters of Marah, which were bitter, he made them sweet. Jacob by putting rods into the water troughs caused the sheep his uncle to conceive . . . . Aaron's rod which blossomed declared him to be the High Priest. Isaiah prophesied that a rod would come forth from the root of Jesse, and this was the Christ."
Further on in the same work, Justin Martyr, alluding to the statement in the Israelitish Law "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," states that
- "It was not without design that the prophet Moses when Hur and Aaron upheld his bands, remained in this form until evening, For indeed the Lord remained upon the tree almost until evening."
There is also in existence a long essay by Tertullian which starts by discussing 'the efficacy' of " the sign " as an antidote. The sign of the cross as traced upon the forehead in the non-Mosaic initiatory rite of baptism seems to be what is referred to; and no representation of an instrument of execution, or cross-shaped symbol of wood or any material, is once mentioned. https://onlytruegod.org/defense/parsons3.htm
excerpts from The Non-Christian Cross, Parsons, 1896, continued -
In another of Tertullian's works we come across the passage " In all the actions of daily life we trace upon the forehead the sign."
His famous reference to the Sun-God Mithras reads as follows
Elsewhere Tertullian writes [Apology 16]:-
- "The devil in the mystic rites of his idols competes even with the essential portions of the sacraments of God. He, like God, baptizes some, that is, his own believing and faithful followers, and promises the putting away of sins by baptism; and if I remember rightly Mithras there signs his soldiers upon their foreheads, celebrates the oblation of bread, introduces a representation of the resurrection, and places the crown beyond the sword."
- "If any of you think we render superstitious adoration to the cross, in that adoration he is sharer with us .... You worship victories, for in your trophies the cross is the heart of the trophy. The camp religion of the Romans is all through a worship of the standards . . . I praise your zeal: you would not worship crosses unclothed and unadorned."
- "As for him who affirms that we are the priesthood of a cross, we shall claim him as a co-religionist . . . Every piece of timber which is fixed in the ground in an erect position is part of a cross, and indeed the greater part of its mass. But an entire cross is attributed to us . . . . The truth however is that our religion is all cross..... You are ashamed, I suppose, to worship unadorned and simple crosses."
In the Instructions of Commodianus we read "The first law was in the tree, and so, too, was the second."
Cyprian contends that "By the sign of the cross, also, Amalek was conquered by Moses."
Elsewhere Cyprian tells us that "In this sign of the cross is salvation for all people who are marked on their foreheads quoting as proof of this, from the Apocalypse, "They had his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads"," and "Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have Power over the Tree of Life."
- Agaisnt the jews, bk II - https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05. ... .xxii.html