The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sparked a heated debate with the Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and Italian mayors over the role of the crucifix in Italian society (Christian Telegraph, November 18, 2009). But, a more fundamental issue should be addressed. Is the cross even a Christian symbol in the first place?
Alarming the churches and local authorities is the ECHR's ban on displaying crucifixes in Italian schools. Greek Bishop Nicholas "lamented that at this rate youngsters will not have any worthy symbols at all to inspire and protect them" (BBCNews, November 12, 2009). The leader of the Greek Orthodox church, Archbishop Ieronymos, "echoed comments by the Catholic Church that the ECHR is ignoring the role of Christianity in shaping Europe's culture, laws, and identity" (Interfaith.org, November 16, 2009).
But what is the real history and meaning behind this religious symbol? Did Jesus Christ, the Apostles, or the original New Testament Church adore the cross as "a worthy symbol to inspire and protect them?" Should you?
The story of the cross as a religious symbol begins in ancient Babylon. Upon Nimrod's death, his wife Semiramis exalted her infant son, Tammuz, as Nimrod re-born. God-king worship became quickly entrenched among the ancient Babylonians…and the Tau symbol – the first character of Tammuz' name became a key symbol in Babylonian worship.
It is historically indisputable that the Tau was an integral part of pagan religious worship in pre-Christian culture. The cross was sewn into pagan priests' costumes, worn by vestal virgins, and adorned pagan temples. (See, Alexander Hislop's: The Two Babylons and The Catholic Encyclopedia, "The Cross and Crucifix," page 517, 1913 edition). The Tau took various forms such as Τ and ϯ and would sometimes incorporate a circle representing the sun – an integral part of the Babylonian Mystery Religion.
After death, Nimrod was worshipped under various names including Marduk, Bel, Baal and Beelzebub. Baal-worship, a continuation of Babylonian religion, was what God rebuked ancient Israel for when they "did evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs" (Judges 3:7). It was in service to this pagan deity that ancient Israel sacrificed their infant children as burning sacrifices (Jeremiah 32:35). Baal worship was a terrible abomination in God's sight.
But Nimrod worship spread throughout the ancient world. Nimrod-reborn as Tammuz was associated with the Tau symbol in the pre-Christian, pagan worship of the ancient Babylonians, Orientals, Philistines, Egyptians. It crept into what became the Roman Catholic Church and then was adopted by the various Protestant denominations. The pagan Tau now adorns most church buildings and priestly costumes – just as it did in the ancient, pagan world! But it never adorned Christ, the Apostles or the membership of the original New Testament Church.
To argue that this heathen symbol "is now OK to use and honor because the meaning now points to Christ," is not only to ignore that Jesus Christ and the Apostles and the original New Testament Church never worshipped or revered the cross (they saw it for what it was – a pagan symbol and a cruel instrument of death), but is also to ignore the words of Jeremiah the prophet – "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen" (Jeremiah 10:2, KJV).
While human memory is short, and most simply do not understand the pagan history of the cross, the Almighty God does remember where the symbol came from! He remembers the cry of burning infants sacrificed to Baal (Ezekiel 16:20&21)! He remembers the cruel instrument of crucifixion upon which many died, even including His Son.
For more on how ancient pagan Babylonish practices been adopted into modern false-Christianity, read the Tomorrow's World article, The Lady of Nations; the study paper, Who is the Harlot of Revelation 17?; and the booklet The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?.