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Mike Felker

If it turns out that "torture stake" is the best translations then...well...I can't say i'm going to lose too much sleep over it. Shame on evangelicals who die on this hill, when in fact the translation shouldn't effect their theology one scintilla.

tom sheepandgoats


Every once in awhile we are semi-allies, and perhaps this is one of those times. You're right, the instrument of Christ's death doesn't affect the power and consequences of his sacrifice in the slightest.

It's a detail. Might as well be accurate about it. But as to the overall picture, I agree it changes nothing.

Romulus Crowe

This is news to me.

Are we talking Vlad the Impaler type stakes, or some form of hanging?

As Mike says, it makes no difference to the effective belief (and as you say, Tom, it wouldn't really change the religion if he was shot in the head with a Magnum, only the symbol would change) but it is of interest to this pedant.

He was up there for several days, as I recall, before the soldier speared his side and found that the blood had separated. Impaling might possibly take that long depending on the sharpness and girth of the stake (apologies to the squeamish who have imaginations). Hanging would be over much faster and would have made conversation while on 'the cross' impossible.

I have not studied the original texts, so I'll be interested in your opinions here.

tom sheepandgoats



I'll get back with more, as time permits. The figure pictured is not meant to be Christ, but illustrates the form of execution. It is from a book of 1600 vintage.


This shows the value of translating with an unbiased eye rather than the oft-clouded glasses of tradition.

Concerning the NWT, I have noted that, over the years since its publication, other English Bible translations have adopted some of its readings.

Whether advertent or inadvertent, "Imitation is the sincerest of flattery." -- Charles Caleb Colton, 1820

tom sheepandgoats

Click on Solomon's link to his excellent and unique blog: John 1:1 and the Coptic Translations.

Romulus Crowe

So, not the Vlad type of impalement but still very nasty.

I realise that practically every Christian (and every church I've ever been in) has violated the second commandment by having images of Jesus or Mary or a cross to worship, but does this mean that those who have a cross are not actually breaking that commandment? If there was no cross?

Or are they making it even worse by bowing down to something that isn't connected to their faith at all? A modern day golden calf, perhaps?

Oddly enough, the church I went to in my youth had the commandments written on the back wall (opposite the altar) including the 'No graven images' rule.

Behind the altar was a huge cross with a graven image of Jesus.

This might be a subconscious reason why I couldn't stay with the church.

Not if they so flagrantly ignore their own rules.



It's interesting that you bring up the worship of images. Jesus himself compared his being put to death on the stake (stauros) to an ealier event in Israel's history, saying, "just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up." (John 3:14)

It's a nice parallel, as that account is as follows: "Moses at once made a serpent of copper and placed it upon the signal pole; and it did occur that if a serpent had bitten a man and he gazed at the copper serpent, he then kept alive." (Numbers 21:9)

So not only was this copper serpent hung on a "pole" (NOT a cross), but it also gave life to those that looked to it in an act of faith. And yet, what eventually happened with this item?

Centuries later, it had to be destroyed: "[King Hezekiah] crushed to pieces the copper serpent that Moses had made; for down to those days the sons of Israel had continually been making sacrificial smoke to it, and it used to be called the copper serpent-idol." (2 Kings 18:4)

Interesting, isn't it? If they rendered worshipful honor to an object that was actually used by God and THAT was wrong, how do you think God feels about people using crucifixes and so forth in their worship?

On another note, I have heard a Protestant give some commendation for the New World Translation's unique rendering of stauros, but not for its accuracy. This person brought up the point that many people quite possibly misunderstand verses like Luke 9:23 because a cross is now primarily understood as a symbol, often in the form of jewelry. "Then [Jesus] said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" (NIV)

So the NWT jostles some readers to the fact that Jesus isn't telling them to carry some outward symbol of their faith, but to 'carry' their own torture stake every day, to be willing to endure real persecution each day for their faith.


tom sheepandgoats

You know, TJ, I've never heard that application before. But now that you mention it, I can readily picture religious characters wearing their 'cross' jewelry around their necks, imagining that by so doing they are fulfilling Luke 9:23.


As a Bible student of course your problem ? is that the watchtower taught that our Lord did die on the cross.Rather than any exposai on the cross they pointed out that the blodd in the most Holy 0f Holies in the tent,was poured out in the shape of the cross.
I think that the whole point is that Jesus died a a ransom for All inclusive adam.


I should have added of course that Jehovah God is a spirit and that we must worship Him through His Son in spirit an in truth.
God bless

tom sheepandgoats

Sorry, Phil, I can't quite make out what you're trying to say in your first comment. Not sure whether you're being cryptic, sarcastic, deep, or sincere, but I'm just not reading where you're coming from.


Phil... Your comment, "As a Bible student of course your problem ? is that the watchtower taught that our Lord did die on the cross.Rather than any exposai on the cross they pointed out that the blodd in the most Holy 0f Holies in the tent,was poured out in the shape of the cross." ... WHAT?


Please post that watchtower for referencing. Thanx Phil.

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