Was the Messiah nailed to a cross, as is represented by Christian symbolism, iconography, literature, and much more, or is this scripturally unfounded? First impressions from reading Christian bibles would suggest the cross, and listening to pastors give sermons about the cross every week would firmly establish it as legitimate, but though the Messiah was certainly executed, deeper study of the scriptures does not suggest a cross, but in fact something much more profound. As well, deeper study of ancient pagan customs and traditions, along with study of ancient histories, (things churches generally do not go into in their Sunday sermons) actually shows the venerated cross to be not only a great discredit to YHWH the Creator and the Messiah He sent, but also a sinister thing which is of the adversary. This study will focus on two specific areas when evaluating the truth of Yahushua (called “Jesus” by Christianity) the Messiah’s execution: The first will be evaluation of the Hebraic scriptures (commonly called the “Bible”) and the second will be evaluation of other traditions, which serve as witnesses to the scriptures when properly discerned.
Within the Ebereth (Hebrew) Scriptures.
What Words are Used to Describe the Cross?
If one is to open a bible such as the King James Version (KJV) or New International Version (NIV) or any such modern Christian bible, they will without a doubt find proof of the cross written plainly.
“Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15 NIV)
“Save thyself, and come down from the cross.” (Mark 14:30 KJV)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.’ ” (Matthew 16:24 ESV)
Here we have three different verses from three different Christian translations, each one bearing witness to the cross. However, these are all English translations, and all are Christian translations, and Christianity asserts the cross as The Messiah’s instrument of execution as one of the foundations of the religion. If any Christian were to translate something other than cross, they would be certainly ostracized, and their translation of the scriptures would be rejected, with all of their work for nothing. This type of problem to be encountered by translators is also the basis for the problem of what is known as the “Comma Johanneum”, where in many Christian bibles, 1 John 5:7-8 reads, “7For there are three that bear record in heaven, The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8And there are three which bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” (KJV). In translating the Textus Receptus in the early 16th century, the translator Erasmus of Rotterdam initially was not going to include the portion in bold, as his criticism of numerous manuscripts, of Latin and Greek origin across many centuries, led him to conclude that it was not authentic, but a later interpolation. However, his beneficiaries insisted that he keep this clause in agreement with the contempory bibles of that time, so as not to discredit the work they had Erasmus working on, and to forsake the risk of losing his contract, Erasmus kept the clause.
This is the same kind of issue a translator would face if they did not use the word “cross” where it is generally translated, because any other implication would be against the tradition of Christianity. However, when the word “cross” is used in English, it is translating some form of the Greek root word σταυρός (stauros) which means “stake”. The literal translation of this word is not cross, but rather better describes the instruments that were used to impale or fasten the hands of Yahushua to something else. In fact, the word “crucify” in Greek is only the verb form of the noun “stauros”. In Luke 23:21 it reads: “But they cried, saying, ‘Crucify him, crucify him.’ ” (KJV). Here in the original Greek, the word for “crucify” is σταύρου (staurou) which means “impale, or drive in with stakes”. The crowd was asking for stakes to be driven through Yahusha. According to the Christian model, if using the original Greek texts, then The Messiah was impaled by nails onto nails.
Moreover, in Colossians 2:14, Sha’ul (Paul) writes : “…he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Here, in the Greek manuscripts, the word for “cross” remains σταυρός (stauros) but the word for “nailing” is προσηλώσας “proselosas”, which translates as “to attach, or fasten with nails”. Though this would seem as though it describes fastening with nails to a “stauros”, or cross, the Greek itself does not imply this. The Greek for this part of Colossains 2:14 reads:
“…καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν ἐκ τοῦ μέσου προσηλώσας αὐτὸ τῷ σταυρῷ.”
Here, underlined in bold, is what is typically translated as “nailing it to the cross”. However, the cases for the nouns and verbs do not agree with this. Here, αὐτὸ, meaning “it”, is what is called the accusative case—it is having a verb acted on it. This verb is προσηλώσας, which is the past tense of fastening or affixing with nails. In this same passage, τῷ σταυρῷ, meaning “the stauros” is what is called the dative case—it is what the verb is acting on the noun αὐτὸ. This passage therefore implies literally “it was given to be hung/fastened by the stauros” yet reads better as “It was fastened by the stake. Nothing in the Greek text here says that “it” was placed upon the cross (or stauros) itself, but rather says that the stauros was used as nails for hanging. Further examination of other New Testament passages shows the Greek language used to describe the physical placement of one noun upon another noun. Here we have Hebrews 10:16 and Revelation 13:16.
“This is the covenant that I will make wit them after that time, says the Lord [YHWH]. I will put my laws in their hearts and write them on their minds.” (Hebrews 10:16) (NIV)
“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,” (Revelation 13:16) (NIV)
In both of these verses, there is a specific word to describe the physical placement of one noun upon another noun by means of a verb, and that word is ἐπὶ, meaning on or upon, and this is the word that is translated to “on” in the bold and underlined words in the verses. Here we have a clear placement of one thing upon another by the means of some action. But in Colossians 2:14, no such indication of one thing being placed upon another is given. Additionally, Hebrews 10:16 is quoting Jerimiah/Yirmeyahu 31:33, and in the case of “writing them on their hearts” the Hebrew text reads: where the Hebrew translates: “and upon their hearts I will write it for them”, with meaning “upon”. Here we have a symbolic representation: something spiritual being described by a physical act of writing or engraving “it” upon “their hearts”. So in conclusion of this examination of Colossians 2:14, it does not imply that anything is being nailed to the “stauros”, but rather that the “stauros” is the device used to hang the accusative noun “auto”.
The conclusion from this part of the study suggests that the “stauros” was not necessarily what the Messiah was hung on, but likely part of the implement of his execution. Nowhere in any gospel account is a scene of any cross given. Even the famous scene of the three crosses—one larger one of the Messiah, and two smaller ones of the two criminals on his right and left—is only depicted based on the assumption of the Messiah being on a cross, and therefore the two criminals must have also been on crosses. Yet the scriptures only say that one criminal was on Yahushua’s left, and another on his right, with Yahushua in the middle of them. It does not indicate that they were on separate crosses.
“Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.” (Matthew 27:38) (NIV)
“They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.” (Mark 15:27) (NIV)
“32Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right and one on his left” (Luke 23:32-33) (NIV)
“Here they crucified him, and with two others—one on each side and Jesus [Yahushua] in the middle.” (John 19:18) (NIV)
If not a Wooden cross, then What?
The question remaining is this: if Yahushua (Jesus) was not nailed to his own individual cross, nor were the robbers, then what was he hung on? The gospels tell us of the style of execution the Messiah was to be given, but the writings of the apostles describe what object that type of execution was acted upon. Within the books of Acts, Galatians, and 1 Peter we have five witnesses to what Yahushua The Messiah was nailed to:
“The God of our fathers raised Jesus up from the dead, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 5:30) (NIV)
“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 10:39) (NIV)
“When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.” (Acts 13:29) (NIV)
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree:” (Galatians 3:13) (KJV)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24) (KJV)
Here in these verses, the same root word is used throuout: ξύλον (Xulon), which can mean two things: wood or tree. However it is always translated as “tree”, and this word is used more than just in these five instances. In Revelation 22:2, it reads:
“down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for healing the nations.” (NIV)
Here, the word for the “tree” is again of the root ξύλον (Xulon), and this verse clearly is describing a living tree, not a plank of wood. This is important to prophecy, and will be discussed further on.
Additionally, In Luke 23 we see Yahusha the Messiah being led to his execution, with women, the daughters of Yerushalyim weeping for him (Luke/Luqas 23:26-28). Yahushua responds to their weeping y saying, “ ‘For look, days are coming in which they shall say, “Blessed are the barren, and wombs which never bore, and the breasts which never nursed.” Then they shall begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” Because if they do this to the green tree, what is going to be done to the dry tree?’ ” (TS2009). The Greek for this is written:
ὅτι εἰ ἐν ὑγρῷ ξύλῳ ταῦτα ποιοῦσιν ἐν τῷ ξηρῷ τί γένηται
Literally this passage reads: “Because if with(ἐν) a watered tree(ξύλῳ ) they do this, with the(τῷ) dry what will become?” Here the word for “tree” is ξύλῳ, (Xulo) with its change from “Xulon” only due to its relationship to its accusative verb ὑγρῷ, indicating that the action of being watered or wet is being done on the word for “tree”. Nevertheless, this describes a living tree. Yahushua was interplaying prophecy and figurative language with what was currently happening at that moment literally. Though the passage in the TS2009 scriptures translates this as “if they do this to” it is properly rendered “with”, as the word ἐν means “with”, not “to”. They were leading Yahushua to be hung on a living tree. His execution was what they were doing with the living tree. This is also extremely important in biblical/Hebraic prophecy, and why this is will be further on.
As further witness to the tree being what Yahushua was nailed to, in Galatians 3:13, Sha’ul (Paul) writes, “Cursed is everyone who hangs from a tree.” As is understood, he is writing about the Messiah to those who knew of his execution. What is not always understood is that Sha’ul is quoting the Torah—specifically Deuteronomy/Debarim 21:22-23, which reads:
“And when a man has committed a sin worthy of death, then he shall be put to death, and you shall hang him on a tree. Let not his body remain overnight on the tree, for you shall certainly bury him the same day—for he who hangs from a tree is accursed of Elhayim—so that you do not defile the land which YHWH your Elhayim is giving to you as an inheritance.” (TS 2009)
Here the Hebrew word for “tree” is , meaning many things including “tree, or plank, wood, etc.” This word is typically translated as “tree” or “trees”, yet often translated as “wood”, yet interestingly it is also translated seven times as gallows, but only in the Book of Esther, each time speaking of the gallows built originally for Mordechai, but then used on Haman and possibly his ten sons. Though one could assume this is simply the word being used to describe a gallows made of wood (much like a crucifix might be considered a gallows) it should be noted that in Esther 5:14 and Esther 7:9 that the gallows is described as being fifty cubits high. One cubit is about 17.5 inches to 20.4 inches, depending on the type of cubit. This would make the gallows between 73 and 85 feet tall. This would suggest something the height of a seven to eight story building, and to construct a gallows of wooden planks and beams of such a size would be at the least completely impractical, and at the most practically impossible. However, it would be much more sound to reason that the gallows meant for Mordechai, but eventually used for Haman and possibly his ten sons, was a 73-85 foot-tall tree with ropes strung upon its boughs.
Prophecy of the Tree in Scripture
The crucifixion of Yahushua on a living tree is fulfilment not only of past scriptural prophecy, but also the explanation of future scriptural prophecy, and its implications are of a deep spiritual nature. The prophecy of the tree begins in Genesis/Bereshith and ends in Revelation/Hazon, and appears throughout the rest of scripture.
- The Tree of Life and The Living Waters
(Though the tree and the river of water go together, the subject of this article is the execution on the tree, and the topic of Yahushua’s connection to the tree and the river of living waters is a subject for in article on its own. Therefore, the focus on this aspect of prophecy will be on the tree.)
First, let one consider the statement of Yahushua in Revelation/Hazon 22:13:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (NIV)
“I am the ‘Aleph’ and the ‘Tau’, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (TS2009)
Though the use of the Hebrew ‘aleph’ and ‘tau’ carry very significant meaning on their own, and the use of the Hebrew better fulfills scripture, there still remains much significance in using the Greek ‘alpha’ and ‘omega’ in the case of ‘alpha’ being the first letter of the Greek alphabet and ‘omega’ being the last, just as the ‘aleph’ is the first letter in the Eberi aleph-bet, and ‘tau’ the last. Now if one were to examine The beginning and the end of the Eberi scriptures, two notable passages would be similar: Genesis/Bereshith 2:9-10 and Revelation/Hazun 22:1-2:
“9And out of the ground YHWH Alhayim made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided and became four heads.” (Gen/Ber 2:9-10)
“1And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of Alhayim, and of the Lamb. 2In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Rev/Haz 22:1-2)
Before delving into the full depth of the meaning in this, one can already see that the Beginning of creation (Genesis/Bereshith) has the tree of life and the river to water the garden of Eden; and the end (or better understood as “end of the old, beginning of the new”) also bears the tree of life and the river to water the land. There is no cross symbolism or prophecy in the beginning, nor is there any cross symbolism or prophecy in the end. The nearest thing to proof of cross prophecy lies in the Eberyeh “tau” in the “Aleph and the Tau” statements in Eberyeh restorations of Revelation. The letter “tau” appeared as this in the original Eberyeh script:. It looks much like an “X” in Latin-based alphabets, as well as various letters in other writing systems such as Greek and Cyrillic. This is the closest semblance to a cross, yet it’s meaning in Revelation/Hazun does not have to do with a wooden crucifix, but rather the Eberyeh letter itself.
Every letter in Paleo Eberyeh has a meaning given to it, corresponding to a pictograph. The letter in Paleo-Eberyeh happens to share a similar pictograph in the shape of a cross, yet being understood as two crossed branches or twigs, and its meaning being: sign, mark, covenant. This is where the concept of “X marks the spot” is likely to have originated from. Though there are those that claim the ‘tau’ pictograph of the crossed branches represent the cross, and that therefore the cross is represented in the “I am the Alef and the Tau” statement, it is not likely that the pictographs themselves are what is being made significant in this statement, since one would also have to reckon the fact that the “Alef” is represented by the head of a bull, and where this image of a bull can be found to have literal representation of the Messiah or YHWH is not scripturally founded, other than in Exodus 32, in the story of the golden calf idol, which was understood to be an abomination to YHWH so grievous that He threatened to obliterate all of Y’shral and restart Y’shral with Mosheh and his seed. However, the symbolic meaning of the “Alef” character is “strong, leader, powerful”. These symbolic meanings describe both YHWH the Creator and Yahushua the Messiah symbolically just as well as the “tau’s” meaning of “mark, sign, covenant”, along with the concept of these beginning and ending letters representing the literal beginning and end, and what that means. However, the head of the bull does not fit well for this, and if we are to exclude one pictogram of the “Aleph and Tau”, we should exclude the other for consistency, rather than claim that one is important yet the other irrelevant.
Looking again at the idea of the “Alef and the Tau” or “Alpha and Omega”—the beginning and the end—and the verses from Gen/Ber 2:9-10 and Rev/Haz 22:1-2, one sees the tree of life and the river about it watering all things. These two—the tree of life and the river—directly relate to Yahushua as the Messiah, and fulfill what he spoke about in the gospels, particularly the gospel of John/Yohanan. Most telling of his statements in this matter is one that is most often completely misunderstood to be referring to the eucharist (a practice that did not begin as a required sacrament until the 3rd century C.E.). This profound statement comes from John 6:47-57:
“47Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in me possess everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down out of the heaven, so that anyone may eat of it, and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down out of the heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever. And indeed, the bread I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 52The Yahudim, therefore, were striving with one another saying, “How is this one able to give us his flesh to eat?” 53Yahushua therefore said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the son of Adam and drink his blood, you possess no life in yourselves. 54He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood possesses everlasting life, and I shall raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is truly food, and my blood is truly drink. 56He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood stays in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me shall live because of me.” (TS2009)
Here we have Yahushua saying four times to eat his flesh and drink his blood. The common belief is that this proof text for the bread and wine of the eucharist. However, this is not the case. Here we see the motif of bread being used by Yahushua, but he never says to eat literal bread that is to represent his flesh. He first makes an allusion to the manna, which is first described in Exodus/Shemuth 16:13-36, and its appearance is also described in Numbers/Bemidbar 11:7. It is described as a bead-like, white crystalline substance that looked like frost, about the size of a coriander seed. It was also described as looking like bdellium, which is understood to be either a crystalline resin, or a pearl. It could be cooked and baked, but would also melt in the sun, and breed swarms of worms. When the children of Y’shral first looked at it, they saw it as a completely alien and unrecognizable substance, and had to be instructed what to do with it.
This strange substance, called “manna” is in no way bread, or flour for making bread. It can be described in the most rudimentary way as a “supernatural” substance. Yet Yahushua likens manna to bread, and then refers to himself and his flesh as bread. The concept is not of the physical bread, but the implications of bread, which (in Yahushua’s time) were its nutritious life-sustaining properties. Therefore, Yahushua is referring to himself as the ultimate source of life— the way to eternal life—hence he is the true “bread of life”. Nothing else can be as life sustaining as that which makes one live forever.
However, Yahushua is not commanding that we take part in the eucharist in order to have eternal life. This is a backwards concept. Instead of Yahushua calling himself bread—the bread of life which sustains life forever—the church is calling plain bread (much of which today has little, no, or negative nutritional value) the body of Yahushua, though in the bread alone there is nothing, for even in this chapter of John/Yohanan Yahushua implies that any bread still brings death
Prophetically, how does this concept of bread and the flesh of Yahushua relate to the tree? If the analogy is not solely in bread of flour, water, and yeast, but rather that which is food in general (i.e. the manna), then one should refer to the beginning, in Genesis/Bereshith, where one finds that we did not eat bread, but rather all of the fruit which grew in Eden, including the fruit of the tree of life.
8And YHWH Alhayim planted a garden in Eden, to the east, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9And out of the ground YHWH Alhayim made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the midst, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen/Ber 2:8-9) (TS2009)
16And YHWH Alhayim commanded the man, saying, “Eat of every tree of the garden, 17but do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” (Gen/Ber 2:16-17) (TS2009)
With the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, every tree was for man to eat, including the tree of life. Once man transgressed and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was forbidden from eating the tree of life, was banished from Eden, and was punished with deterioration, and eventually death. (Genesis/Bereshith 3) Man originally had access to the fruit of the tree of life, the fruit which brought eternal life, but lost it in his transgression. What we see in Genesis/Bereshith is that fruit was our sustainance before bread, and just as manna is not truly bread, but was a food, one can say that the Messiah is likening himself to the food which brings eternal life, his flesh being akin to the fruit of the tree of life in Eden which brought eternal life, rather than all other foods which do not bring eternal life. It should be noted that not only the flesh of animals is called flesh. Fruit also bears flesh, and it is generally that part of the fruit that we eat.
Now if we compare this from John/Yohanan 6 and Genesis/Bereshith 2 and 3 to what is written in Revelation/Hazon 22:2-3, we see a strong symbolic parallel:
2In the middle of the street, and on either side of the river, is the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for healing the nations. 3And no longer shall there be any curse, and the throne of Alhayim and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.” (TS 2009)
Those in Yahushua the Messiah have their part of the tree of life, and the promise of eternal life. As it was in the beginning (Alef), so it will be in the end (Tau) that YHWH’s people will have access to the tree of life, and only through atonement by Yahushua. Hence why all other foods lead to death, yet the flesh of Yahushua brings eternal life, because through him we receive the fruit of the tree of life which all mankind was prohibited from due to his transgression.
Once again we see that this idea of Yahushua’s flesh is deeper than a ritual of eating bread of the eucharist. As for the idea of having to drink Yahushua’s blood, and that being symbolically represented in the wine of the eucharist—this is explained in the concept of the blood of Yahushua being the rivers of the water of life, or the living waters, and also relates to Eden and the river of the waters of life new Y’rushalem spoken of in Revelation/Hazon. Additionally, these things are also symbolic of our earthly dedication to YHWH through following Yahushua’s teachings, as Yahushua was the greatest teacher. The drinking of Yahushua’s blood has nothing to do with sacramental wine. Again, Yahushua being our passage to the tree of life and the waters of life of the new Y’rushalem is a deep subject to be covered in another article.
- Prophecy of the Tree Hanging in Deuteronomy
As was stated earlier, Deuteronomy 21:22-23 is cited by Sha’ul (Paul) in Galatians 3:13, with the text he was citing fully reading:
“22When a man commits a sin worthy of death, then he shall be put to death, and you shall hang him on a tree. 23Let his body not remain overnight, for you shall certainly bury him the same day.—for he who is hanged from a tree is accursed of Aluhayim—so that you do not defile the land which YHWH your Aluhayim is giving you as an inheritance.”(TS2009)
So Sha’ul writes in Galatians/Galatiyim 3:13:
Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah, having become a curse for us—for it has been written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree” (TS2009)
What Sha’ul is describing here is that those who are YHWH’s people in the Messiah are redeemed from the penalty (or the curse) for breaking the Torah. That curse was often the first death, and ultimately is always the second death—the death that is eternal. Therefore Yahushua was put upon the tree as a curse in our stead, enduring the curse many of us would incur in the first judgement of our sin, becoming a curse for us, and thereby freeing us from the second part of the curse—the final judgement of eternal death.
Those of Y’shral in Messiah’s time who were not blinded as many were, and who had knowledge of the scriptures, would have readily recognized the meaning of the execution upon the tree when compared with Yahushua’s prophetic message and the prophecies written about him. Sha’ul himself clearly recognized this when writing to the Galatyim. Although Sha’ul originally rejected Yahushua, his eyes were eventually opened (literally and figuratively) and he recognized him, and his death on a tree made sense to him.
Another point to note in the execution and its comparison to Deuteronomy/Debarim 21:22-23, is verse Deu/Deb 21:23 specifically commanding to remove the hanged from the tree overnight, but to bury the body the same day. Each gospel account mentions the removal of Yahushua’s body from where it hung, but John/Yohanan 19:31-33:
31Therefore, since it was preparation day, that the bodies should not remain on the staurou on the Sabbath—for that Sabbath was a high one—the Yahudim asked Pilate to have their legs broken and that they be taken away. 32Therefore the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was impaled with him, 33but when they came to Yahushua and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. (TS2009)
What needs to be understood here is the Feasts of YHWH in the Torah, and their relation to Yahushua. Yahushua died on Passover, (called Pesach in Eberyeh) during the daylight hours. As is seen in John/Yohanan 19:31, the day was what is called the “preparation day”. Preperation day is the day before a Shabbat—whether the weekly seventh-day Shabbat or a Feast also deemed a Shabbat—in which all the work that is prohibited on that Shabbat is done beforehand, so that it will be prepared and dealt with by the time the Shabbat comes to pass. A day according to YHWH begins at sunset, and so ends at sunset (much is found about this in the Torah, particularly in regards to beginnings of feasts and endings of unclean periods). Now if Yahushua died on Passover during the day, the next day to come would be the first day of Matsuth, or the feast of Unleavened Bread, and here in Leviticus/Wayyiqra 23:6-7 we read the instructions for this day:
6And on the fifteenth day of this new moon is the festival of Matsuth—seven days you eat unleavened bread. 7On the first day you have a set apart gathering, you do no servile work. (TS2009)
No servile work could be done the next day, which would have began on the evening of the Roman calendar day that Yahushua died. If Yahushua was still alive and were to remain on the tree (along with the two criminals) he might have died and hung on the tree for over the period according to Deuteronomy/Debarim 21:22-23, and none would be able to take him off as it would have been a day when no servile work such as that could have been done, thus bringing defilement upon the land. However, Yahushua was found dead on the tree, and so was taken off, for if he was to remain on it in his death, he would not be buried the same day according to the Torah, and so it would be a transgression, since none would be able to bury him for many days (This conclusion is based on the fact that after Yahushua’s were two more feast days and the normal seventh-day Shabbat, during which no servile work of burial could be done. The subject of the days of Yahushua’s death and resurrection are a subject for an article of their own). In John/Yohanan 19:40-42, one reads that Yahushua’s body was hastily buried that same day before the sun went down, so hastily as to place him in a tomb right on the site of his execution:
40Then they took the body of Yahushua, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as was the habit of the Yahudim for burial. 41And at the place where he was impaled there was a garden, and in the garden a fresh tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42There, then, because of the Preperation Day of the Yahudim, they laid Yahushua, because the tomb was near. (TS2009)
This then fulfills the requirements for Yahushua’s prophecy “For as the Yonah was three days and three nights within the stomach of the great fish, so shall the son of Adam be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew/Mattithyahu 12:40) (TS2009).Why this is, as was stated above, is a lengthy subject on its own and will be discussed in depth in another article.
Another point to make regarding John/Yohanan 19:31-33 is a matter of logic and visualizing the written scene in one’s mind, rather than simply reading the text. The common belief is that Yahushua was placed on his own cross, and the two criminals each on their own separate crosses, making three crosses total, based on accounts from each of the gospels, with Yahushua in the middle and the criminals on either side of him. Yet in John/Yohanan 19:31-33 we read that the soldiers went from each crucified person to another to break their legs. If Yahushua was in the middle of a row of crosses, why would he be the last? Here is a simple diagram to show the natural path of travel between a row of crosses, and a likely path to follow if three men were all hung from one large tree:
As crude as this image is, it illustrates the point: That with three crosses, an illogical path would have to be taken to go to the two criminals first, and the Yahushua—a path that would seem to require purposefully ignoring the natural flow of travel to Yahushua second in order to make Yahushua the last one to be visited. However, with a round tree trunk, with each person hung from some side of it, it is easy to make a circular path around the trunk of the tree from one criminal, to the other criminal, then finally to Yahushua, even though Yahushua could be described as in the middle of them, with one criminal to his right and one to his left.
- Various Fruit Tree References in Prophets and Natsarim Writings (New Testament)
Throughout the Tanak (Old testament) and Natsarim Writings (New testament) is found symbolism using trees and prophecies concerning trees. Many of Yahushua’s statements are regarding trees and fruit, and are used as symbolic representations of eternal life and eternal death, corruption and purity, and as motifs for being one with Messiah, and therefore one with YHWH the Father. Here one reads of Yahushua himself calling himself the vine:
“1I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2Every branch in me that bears no fruit He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, so that it bears more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Stay in me, and I stay in you. As the branch is unable to bear fruit of itself unless it stays in the vine, so neither you unless you stay in me. 5I am the vine and you are the branches. He who stays in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit. Because without me you are able to do naught! 6If anyone does not stay in me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire and are burned.” (John/Yohanan 15:1-6) (TS2009)
Here Yahushua clearly describes Himself as being the vine, or the root and strength of all the other branches in him, with YHWH being the One who tends it all as His own. Those who reject Yahushua are not of the vine, and are not of YHWH’s garden, and are burned as branches, those branches being the final fires of destruction before the re-creation of the world (Revelation/Hazon 20:7-15 ; 21:1-27). Those who do not inherit a portion of the new earth and a portion of the fruit of the tree of life because they are not with the tree of Yahushua, are those who are burned away with all else in the first creation, just as Yahushua describes in Jhn/Yn 15:6.
Sha’ul continues to describe a motif of being part of a tree that is rooted in Yahushua Messiah in Romans 11:16-24:
“16Now if the first-fruit is set-apart, the lump is also. And if the root is set-apart, so are the branches. 17And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, have grafted in among them, and came to share the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18do not boast against the branches. And if you boast, remember: you do not bear the root, but the root bears you! 19You shall say then, “The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20Good! By unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by belief. Do not be arrogant, but fear. 21For if Aluhayim did not spare the natural branches, He might not spare you either. 22See the kindness and sharpness of Aluhayim: on those who fell, sharpness; but toward you, kindness, if you continue in His kindness, otherwise you also shall be cut off. 23And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, shall be grafted in, for Aluhayim is able to graft them in again. 24For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree.” (TS2009)
Here throughout we read Sha’ul speaking to the Romans of being wild branches that are made one with the root through grafting in, that root being Yahushua Messiah. He writes of branches that were cut off, just as Yahushua speaks of, and this image is essentially the same as Yahushua’s image in Jhn/Yn 15:1-6, only Sha’ul is using the an olive tree instead of a vine, and he is also speaking of the states of the unbelieveing Y’shral and the believing gentiles. But the image is quite clear: we are the branches, and Messiah is the root—the tree itself—without which we have nothing.
In Isaiah/Yeshayahu 11 it is written concerning Yahushua this nature of being the root:
And a rod shall come forth from the stump of Yishai, and a sprout from his roots shall be fruitful. (Isa/Yesh. 11:1) (TS2009)
And in that day there shall be a root of Yishai, standing as a banner to the people. Unto him the nations shall seek, and his rest shall be esteem. (Isa/Yesh 11:10) (TS2009)
Yishai (anglicized as Jesse) is the father of Dawid (David) and the line of Yahushua, and Yahushua acknowledges himself as such, and so does Sha’ul.
In Matthew 21:33-40 we see the parable of the vineyard, and the master who lent it to farmers, then sent his servants and son to retrieve the fruit:
“33Hear another parable: there was a certain man, a householder who planted a vineyard and placed a hedge around it, and dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. And he leased it to farmers and went abroad. 34And when the season of the fruits drew near, he sent his servants to the farmers, to receive its fruit. 35And the farmers took his servants and beat one, and they killed one, and they stoned another. 36Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37And at last he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They shall respect my son.’ 38But when the farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and let us possess his inheritance.’ 39And they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Therefore, when the master of the vineyard comes, what shall he do to those farmers?” (TS2009)
Though there are a few aspects of this parable, the subject of this article is “why the tree, and not the cross”, so only the tree aspect will be looked at. Here we have Yahushua expressing the Kingdom symbolized as a vineyard. Although most would assume grapes to be vines (which they are) they do, in fact, grow similar in appearance to trees, especially if trained and pruned, and can be viewed as such. Once again the whole of YHWH’s people in Messiah are described in comparison to fruit trees. What is important to note is the bold in verse 33, “…planted a vineyard and placed a hedge around it, and dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower.” Yahushua is quoting Isaiah/Yeshayahu 5:1-2, and Isa/Yesh 5:1-7 continues the whole prophecy:
1Please let me sing to the one I love, a song for my loved one regarding his vineyard: my loved one has a vineyard on a fertile hill. 2And he dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a watchtower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it. And he waited for the yielding of the grapes, but it yielded rotten ones. 3“And now, O inhabitant of Y’rushalem and man of Yahudah, please judge between Me and My vineyard. 4What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I waited for the yielding of grapes, did it yield rotten ones? 5And now, please let me inform you what I am doing to My vineyard: to take away its hedge and it shall be burned; to break down its wall and it shall be trampled down; 6and I lay it waste; it is not pruned or dug, and thornbushes and weeds shall come up; and I command the clouds not to rain on it.” 7For the vineyard of YHWH of hosts is the house of Y’shral, and the man of Yahudah is his pleasant plant. He looked for right-ruling, but see, oppression; for righteousness, but see, weeping. (TS2009)
This from Yeshayahu parallels well with what Yahushua spoke when representing YHWH’s people Y’shral as grapes to be harvested, and when looking at Revelation/Hazon 14:14-20, this is further reinforced with fruit-tree symbolism:
14And I looked and saw a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like the Son of Adam, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15And another messanger came out of the Dwelling Place crying with a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, “Send your sickle and reap, because the hour has come for you to reap, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16And the one sitting on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. 17And another messenger came out of the Dwelling Place which is in the heaven, and he too held a sharp sickle. 18And another messenger came out from the slaughter-place having authority over the fire, and he cried out with a loud cry to him with the sharp sickle, saying, “Send your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” 19And the messenger thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of Aluhayim. 20And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the bridles of horses, for about one-thousand-six-hundred stadia.” (TS2009)
Here what we see are two harvests, one of Messiah’s people for salvation, and one of the Nations for destruction, though the grape imagery is used more strongly for the ones to incur wrath, they are equally harvests of grapes, as Yahushua has shown in his sayings throughout the gospels when speaking of those in him. Indeed, it says in Revelation/Hazon 17:6 that the great whore of Babylon is drunken with the blood of YHWH’s people, as one would be drunken with wine:
And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the set-apart ones, and with the blood of the witnesses of Yahushua. And having seen her, I marveled—greatly marveled! (TS2009)
Though there are many more mentions of trees used figuratively in understanding Yahushua, especially in the Gospels, for the sake of brevity, what has been shown will suffice. However, in conclusion of the evidence in scripture, it should be noted that blood is directly connected with grapes in Eberyeh language. The Eberyeh word (Dem) used for “blood” in the sense of what flows through the body of man and animal, and is its life force (Lev/Way 17:11), is also used sometimes to describe the juice of the grape, most notably in this passage from the prophecies of the twelve tribes of Y’shral by Yakub, the father of the blood people of Y’shral, with this prophecy concerning Yahudah:
“10The scepter shall not pass from Yahudah, nor an inscriber from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him is the obedience of all peoples. 11Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes.” (Genesis/Bereshith 49:10-11) (TS2009)
Here the word for blood is that word for the blood of man and animals, but is used to describe the juice of grapes. One should note the word “Shiloh”, which is a transliteration from the Eberyeh text which has no meaning as one word, but is rather multiple Hebrew letters which are each used as different parts of speech, which translates along the line of “that whom it belongs to” or “he which it belongs to”, which can be understood as Yahushua, the final king of the line of Yahudah.
This Article Will be Expanded to Include the Other Half—the Other Historical Accounts and Support—at a Later Time