Did Jesus actually die on a cross or a pole????

And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

Jun 6, 2023 - 10:25
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Did Jesus actually die on a cross or a pole????


By Elijah Asuo Wiredu

I was in my office one afternoon when some visitors entered for a discussion. They were members of the Jehovah’s Witness. We had a good and short discussion but at the end of what they came to talk to me about I asked them a question. How is it that they have a lot of teachings that are different from other Christian groups? The answer was that every doctrine they have is deeply rooted in the Bible and we have to take what the Bible says but not what we think. I asked if I could bring one of such teachings for them to educate me on and they consented. My question was “why do they say that Jesus didn’t die on the cross” by quoting John 19:32-33

The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

John 19:32-34


Their response was that they don’t actually mean Jesus didn’t die. What they mean is that what Jesus was crucified on was not a cross. To them, Jesus was crucified on an upright stake. So all churches and pastors who use the cross as a symbol of Christ are out of order and are practicing paganism.

Our discussion on this subject matter was not completed so we agreed on another date. While I tried to get the understanding fully I chance on one JW website that taught this whole thing. I had some Bible verse that describes the instrument of Jesus’ crucifixion as a tree.

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

Acts 5:30 (KJV)
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

Acts 10:39
39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

Acts 13:29
29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

1 Peter 2:24
24 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.

I however got other Bible verses that described the instrument as a cross.

Matthew 27:40

And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

Matthew 27:42
He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

Mark 15:30
30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.

Mark 15:32
Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Luke 23:26
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

John 19:19
And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS

The verdict

To get the right one, I looked for the original version of the word, “cross”. The New Testament was written in Greek and the Greek word for ‘cross’ is ‘stau-ros’ which means “pole”. However, the stau-ros refers to “pole“ in the plural form as in Poles used to fence a garden.

With this, I realize the JW were wrong in their understanding of “stauros” since they understand it to be a single pole.

I also realized from my research that two different Greek languages were used in the past. The oldest form of Greek is known as Homeric and classical Greek and it was in this Greek to refer to ‘saturos’ as poles. The second Greek language was called Koine Greek and it was used during the Hellenistic and Roman periods of history and it is the Greek language that was used in the period in which the Bible was written. In Koine Greek, cross is used in the singular form and it describes an instrument used in capital punishment and it is either in the shape of a cross or a ‘T’. if the Bible was written between 65 and 50Ad which was the same period Koine Greek was spoken then it means the idea of Stauros in the Bible referred to a cross and not a pole. Finally, in the modern Greek language, stauros to refers to a cross.

It is therefore clear that Jesus was crucified on a stauros (cross) and not on a Stauros (pole or stake)

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